The Headteacher's Blog


Welcome to Lydgate Junior School.

We aim to ensure that all children receive a high quality, enjoyable and exciting education.

We feel that our school is a true reflection of the community we serve. Lydgate children are well motivated and come from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Within the school community we appreciate the richness of experience that the children bring to school. This enhances the learning experiences of everyone and it also gives all pupils the opportunity to develop respect and tolerance for each other by working and playing together. We want your child's time at Lydgate to be memorable for the right reasons - that is, a happy, fulfilling and successful period of his/her childhood.

Yours sincerely,
Stuart Jones

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Welcome to Year 3!

The Y3 teachers are Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/dB), Miss Hayden (3RH), Mrs Holden (3SH) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have several Teaching Assistants who work with Y3 children at different times through the week: Miss Mahon, Mr Bartholomew, Mrs Dawes and Miss Kania.

We will use this blog to keep you up-to-date with all the exciting things that we do in Year 3, share some of the things that the children learn and show you some of their fantastic work. We hope you enjoy reading it!

The Y3 team.

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Welcome to the Y4 blog. 

The Y4 team consists of the following teachers: Mrs Purdom in Y4JP, Mrs Smith and Mrs Smith (yes, that's right) in Y4SS, Mrs Wymer in Y4CW and Mrs Drury in Y4JD. The children are also supported by our teaching assistants: Mrs Proctor, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Mulqueen, Mrs Allen, Mrs Hill and Mr Gartrell. We have help from Ms Reasbeck, Miss Lee and Mrs Grimsley too. What a team!

We know that the question children are mostly asked when they arrive home is 'What did you do today?' The response is often 'nothing'! Well, here is where you can find out what 'nothing' looks like. In our weekly blogs your children will share with you what they have been getting up to and show some of the wonderful work they have been doing. Check in each weekend for our latest news.

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Welcome to the Year 5 Blog page.

The Year 5 teaching team consists of: Mrs Loosley (5NL), Miss Cunningham (5EC),  Mrs Ridsdale and Mrs Webb (5W/R) and Mr Bradshaw (5BB).  The children are also supported by our teaching assistants: Mr Swain, Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Hornsey and Mrs Allen. We have help from Mr Jones, Miss Lee, Ms Grimsley and Ms Reasbeck too. What a fantastic team!

Our PE days are Tuesday (indoor) and Wednesday (outdoor): the children need to wear their PE kits for school on those days. 

Spellings are sent home every Monday, to learn ready for a spelling dictation each Friday. 

Homework books (maths and SPaG) will be sent home once a week - the days will be decided by the class teachers who will let their classes know. They will have a whole week to complete the homework tasks. 

In our weekly blogs, the children will share some of the things they have been doing at school. Check in each weekend for the latest Y5 news!

The Year 5 Team

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We are the children in Y6 at Lydgate Junior School. There are 120 of us and our teachers are: Mrs Shaw and Mrs Watkinson (Y6S/W); Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (Y6R/J); Mrs Phillips (Y6CP); and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 are: Miss Lee (Thursday in Y6R/J); Mrs Farrell (Thursday  in Y6HN); Mrs Grimsley (Thursday in Y6CP); and Mr Jones (Thursday inY6S/W).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Hill, Mrs Mulqueen and Mr Gartrell. We use this space to share all of the great things that are happening in our classrooms. Join us each week on our learning journey....

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09 Sep 2016

‘All’ Schools – meaning less than 1 in 5

It’s not the politics of the news on selective schools that gets me. It’s not the cost, either, or the extra funding being found to promote the process. It’s not, either, another round of change facing the education system. It’s not even the announcement of Policy that seems to fly in the face of all advice, from all levels and areas of Government advisors, from Ofsted leaders to former Secretary of State. I’m not peeved at or by the illogical conclusion that, if all schools become ‘selective’ then some children will not have a school to go to. Nor by the logic that says that selection is only needed when schools are over-subscribed – selection becomes an admission criteria so that the school can decided which of the applicants should get the places in demand.

No, what gets me going is the use of the word ‘all’. Three letters, wrongly used, implying something that isn’t meant (and possibly not intended), but which, at a stroke, insults four fifths of the country’s schools and school staff members. Certainly the reporting has stressed that this could be open to ‘all’ schools.

If it wasn’t for the wording of the Prime Minister’s speech I might just blame sloppy reporting, and a bias ‘in the media’ (a sloppy phrase itself) against the primary years when all children do is play all day.

Apparently ‘all’ schools will be allowed, subject to certain conditions, to become ‘selective’. Except the Prime Minister in her speech today, and the DfE in its clarification did not mean ‘all’ at all. She and they meant ‘all Secondary schools’, and not ‘all’ schools. There were 16,778 state-funded Primary-sector schools in England in 2015. And just 3,401 state-funded Secondary-sector schools.

My question is, in what sort of logic does 3,401 out of a total of 20,179 schools represent ‘all’?

The use of such language says to every pre-school setting, every Nursery and every Infant school, every Junior School and every through Primary that they don’t exist and don’t matter and don’t count. Because we don’t actually even feature on the thought process around ‘all’ schools.

And yet we (the Pre, Nursery, Infant, Junior and Through) make up the Primary sector, and doesn’t ‘Primary’ mean first, coming before all others, main, central, cardinal and chief? ‘Secondary’ suggests of lesser importance – minor, lesser, derivative, second-rate and second-hand.

Or should we in the Primary Sector take this sort of language use as a compliment – that they need reform and we don’t, that we are doing the business and they aren’t, that we are giving the people what they want while Secondary sector schools are not?

With my tongue on my cheek, I shall ask the school’s Governors if they wish to investigate becoming a ‘selective’ school as ‘all’ schools have been invited to become.

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09 Apr 2016

Those boots? Are they made for walking?

At some point, growing up, I noticed that all those well-known phrases and sayings that gave advice had, each, an exact opposite. For ‘many cooks spoiling broth’, there is ‘many hands make light work’. For ‘he who hesitates is lost (or last)’ the opposite is ‘look before you leap’.

And for ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ there stands ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’.

We tend to know the latter as ‘what you do not condemn you condone’.

One of our pupils returned to school mid-morning one day this week. She was clearly upset when she arrived and already in tears. She was, it turned out, worried that she was about to get into trouble because of her new shoes. Mum had brought her in, as the girl had been to a podiatrist appointment; the new shoes were as a result.

The girl had on a brand-new pair of pink and grey trainers, with very bright laces. Not ‘school uniform’, clearly, or what might be considered ‘school shoes’.

I took her down into the nearest classroom, Y5H/D, and interrupted their maths lesson so I could point out the array of shoes being worn in there. There were zebra-print boots, baseball shoes, DMs, blue trainers, burgundy boots, Converse pumps, black shoes, lace-ups, Velcro-fasteners and slip-ons. All the children said that they had never been told off about what they had on their feet. Much assured, the young girl was returned to her mother and then back to class, where she enjoyed the rest of the day.

So, in ignoring what it says in our written and published School Uniform Policy about ‘school shoes’, are we making sure we ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ (as the children’s shoes tend to be out of sight under the desks) or is it the ‘thin end of the wedge’ (and if we don’t condemn it then we could face a larger, avoidable, challenge to school rules and good order)?

That same day I showed a family round school – they are moving to the area, and wanted to check out possible schools for their three children. The parents asked about behaviour in the school, and how the children are when supply teachers are in classes. So I took them to the same Year 5 base, and we stood at the back. One class had a supply teacher, and the other their regular teacher. The parents (nor the children) could not tell which was which, as behaviour was perfect in both.

It seems to me that a bit of leeway on what children’s shoes look like is not the thin end of any wedge. We’ll worry if the shoes aren’t fit for purpose.

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12 Mar 2016

Is next Friday the end of term?

Simple enough question, but the answer, of course, is, ‘It depends’.

Okay, but what does it depend upon, exactly?

Well, for one thing it depends which school you attend. Lydgate Junior School breaks up this coming Friday, 18th March. Two weeks off and back on Monday 4th April, ready for a long summer term of fun and learning. But St. Wilfred’s Primary and St. Marie’s Primary, just 3.1 and 0.7 miles from LJS, both break up the week after, on Thursday 24th March (or Maundy Thursday). They are both Catholic Primary Schools, and the Catholic Schools tend to be open in Holy Week leading up to Easter.

Then it also depends on what sort of school – the private / public school, Westminster School, ends its Lent Term on Wednesday 23rd March, and starts back for Election Term on Thursday 14th April. Sheffield High School (also a private / public school) breaks up on the same date at LJS, but takes three weeks off, returning on Monday 11th April.

And it’s also geographical. Schools in Hull break up on the 24th March, as do schools in Derbyshire, Nottingham and Coventry.

A couple of weeks ago the Secretary of State decided not to enact a power given her in legislation that would have allowed every single school in England to set its own term dates. As a maintained school the council coordinates for all its schools, having consulted with neighbouring authorities and schools. How sensible.

But if you are a teacher and thinking of resigning to take a job at another school it’s different again. The end of the Spring Term is actually fixed by law as the 30th April each and every year. The summer term ends, officially, on 31st August, and the autumn term on the 31st December. Teachers have to give at least two months notice of their intention to leave (but three months in summer!) and so have to resign by the end of February (not the start of the half term holiday as many think), the end of May (not the start of May half term holiday) or the end of October (not the start of the October half term holiday). Headteachers have to give an extra month’s notice, by the way.

Why does any of this matter?

Because until the day after each of these resignation dates no Headteacher and no Governing Body can be certain which staff it will have for the next term. Plans cannot be published with total confidence until after that resignation date has past. It is one of the little reasons why plans do not get published earlier. Who knew?

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17 Nov 2015

85% of people

‘85% of people cannot see the the mistake in this sentence.’

Have you fallen for one of these on Facebook or elsewhere? And felt a little bit stupid?

Well, in the course of duty, I’ve just watched a video that explained how Primary schools will have ‘value added’ calculated next year. Fascinating! And I think I spotted the mistake in the explanation.

The challenge is that Year 2 outcomes of three years ago measured against a different curriculum to that which Year 6 are studying now, in a different scoring system (‘Levels’ then, and a ‘scaled score around 100’ in 2016), using all teacher assessment against national tests and in a stable situation (no change at KS 1 since 2004) against a brand-new one (we won’t know how to attain the ‘scaled score around 100’ until after the tests have all been marked, externally of course).

Well, the video explain how, in a class of 28, each child counts. The calculation takes each individual’s KS 1 outcome, for maths, reading and writing, and finds the mean. It compares that one child’s KS 2 ‘scaled score around 100’ against the national average for children with the same KS 1 outcome. That child earns a plus or minus figure for the class, depending on whether they have exceeded or trailed the national average (for children of the same prior attainment).

The total for the class or cohort is added up and averaged. A positive value added is good, and a negative is poor (though Ofsted seem to be suggesting that down to -0.3 will still be considered ‘average’).

Did you spot the the mistake? Obvious, really – those cheeky chappies – such little scamps and jokers the lot of them. I mean, who ever heard of a class of only 28!

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07 Nov 2015

Don't they know the Queen's English?

Don’t they know the Queen’s English?

To which an acceptable, though ignorant, answer would be, ‘Is she?’

The use of apostrophes to indicate contractions or omission is now in the English curriculum for Year 2 – that’s before our school even starts. And, to meet the national standard for Y2, children have to be, 'spelling some words with contracted forms'.

No problem – just get children to speak fully, correct sentences without any informal form of a word or words, then compare with the contracted, informal variety. Add apostrophes accordingly.

Except Costa Coffee in Broomhill has this sign on display in the front window:


It’s been there for a couple of years now.

And Iceland in Hillsborough is displaying this sign:


Same word, same misuse, same mistake. The copywriters or sign-writers both fail to meet the (interim) teacher assessment standard for the end of Key Stage 1, if (un)til is in their list, and certainly fail to meet the standard for end of Key Stage 2. You will only be ‘working towards ‘ the Y6 Standard if you are, ‘using capital letters, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, commas for lists and apostrophes for contraction mostly correctly’.

And if you’re not sure what I am talking about – do they mean that the shop till is not open on time? That the till will be open later than usual? No, they mean that the shop will be open until late on. That would be ‘Open ‘til late’.

So I could become all, ‘Mr. Pedantic from Peterborough’, but that is not what good teachers do. Instead, we use these examples with our pupils and ask them to work out what is wrong. This improves their own reading, spelling and punctuation.

I just hope neither sign was written, approved, printed or hung by one of my former pupils.

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