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.
Welcome to Year 3!
The Y3 teachers are Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Mrs Holden (3SH), Mrs Noble & Mrs Finney (3N/R) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have several Teaching Assistants who work with Y3 children at different times through the week: Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Proctor, Mrs Hill, Mrs Allen, Mrs Dawes and Mr Gartrell.
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.
Welcome to the Year 5 Blog page.
The Year 5 teaching team includes our class teachers, Mrs Loosley (5NL), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Mrs Webb and Mrs Ridsdale (5WR) and Miss Cunningham (5EC). Many children are supported by Mrs Hill, Mr Swain and Ms Kania (the Year 5 Teaching Assistants) who work with children across the 4 classes. Our Year 5 teaching team aims to create a stimulating learning environment that is safe, happy, exciting and challenging, where each pupil is encouraged to achieve their full potential.
As a parent or carer, you play a massively important role in your child's development and we'd love to work closely with you. Please feel free to make an appointment to see us if you want to discuss your child's attitude to learning, their progress, attainment or anything else that might be on your mind. We'd also love to hear from you if you have any skills that we could use to make our Year 5 curriculum even more exciting. Are you an avid reader, a talented sportsman, a budding artist, a mad scientist or a natural mathematician? Would you be willing to listen to children read on a regular basis? If so, please contact your child’s class teacher. Similarly, if you have a good idea, a resource, a 'contact' or any other way of supporting our learning in year 5, please let us know.
We are working very hard to ensure your child has a successful year 5, please help us with this by ensuring your child completes and returns any homework they are given each week. If there are any issues regarding homework or your child finds a particular piece of homework challenging, then please do not hesitate to come and speak to us. In order to help improve your child’s reading skills, increase their vocabulary and develop their comprehension skills, we also ask that you listen to your child read and ask them questions to ensure they have understood what they have read.
We look forward to keeping you up to date on the exciting things that we do in year 5 through our year group blog.
The Year 5 Team
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), Mr Bradshaw (until Mrs Parker returns) in Y6AP), Mrs Phillips (Y6CP) and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 is Miss Lee (Monday - Y6AP, Tuesday - Y6HN and Wednesday - Y6S/W) and Mrs Grimsley (Tuesday -Y6CP).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth and Mrs Biggs. 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....
Today's round of Primary Schools Cross Country was at Bradfield School. We have had two weeks of Marti Pellow weather and Bradfield is out of the city. The course, largely on the school field, hosted the Secondary Schools version the weekend before.
Brilliant route; there are a couple of banks across the field so of course the route goes up them, twice each. There's a pond off to one side so the route skirts the edge so that the route is really wet. As it is still the football season the course hugs a straight line between two pitches in the middle of the field. And the field outside the school that the Y5 and Y6 runners lapped was described as 'heavy'.
Get 500 or so children to run a path about 5 metres wide on waterlogged grass and it quickly looks like a festival field. The corners were churned, the edges were filthy, the finish was gloopy. There were dirty legs and faces and bottoms and hands - you could easily tell how fast each child had run by how high up their backs the mud splashes reached.
If ever a sporting activity is going to test resilience it is this. Cross Country like this is sapping and hard. There is huge achievement but not so much fun while you are actually running. The hot chocolate afterwards is good and the stories are told for hours - of lost shoes, and muddy legs, and falling over. There was a course inspection at 8:00 on the morning of the racing and we knew it was perfectly safe (and set to be very tiring). The race distances are kept relatively short because the children are young and because we want them to want to come back next time (two weeks - Longley Park). One of our runners was thrilled with his performance and proudly told me of his 133rd place - he'll be back for more, and he'll become a stronger and stronger person because of it.
I was a Marshal - I get there about 8:00 to help set up, mark out and test the route, and get the first flags up.
I was tasked with keeping adults off the fields, and I was, as expected, rather a failure - you cannot keep a determined parent from following their child across a muddy field to cheer them on. We wanted to limit the squelch by reducing the foot traffic on the field; Bradfield School had instructed us to do so; I hope they are understanding.
It is the simplest of sports and literally anyone can participate. Ability ranges are huge and applause is given from first to last runner in every race. In fact, the best reception was for the very back marker in the Y5/6 boys race (and he had the biggest smile). Kit requirements are minimal - some run in fancy spikes but many wear football boots or trainers or even walking shoes. These are 'events' and new runners are always able to simply turn up and join in.
First race in a fortnight is at 10:00 and will be Y3/4 girls. Make sure you have some soap powder in at home and bin sacks to cover the car seats, and come and join in.
An extra Blog this week - Coat Pegs (a burning issue) coming up as soon as I can find the photos I took on Friday.
So a study published this week in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) shows that Primary Schools’ efforts to help cut obesity, and improve physical activity, don’t work.
More than 600 primary school pupils in the West Midlands took part in a 12-month anti-obesity programme.
But the study found no improvements in the children's diet or activity levels.
This was despite the involvement of the local Premier League football team, cooking classes and clubs, 30 minutes of exercise each school day, and advertising local family exercise.
My observation in school is that some children simply do not take up what is on offer:
I counted the numbers of children who took no fruit, vegetable or salad from the range on offer with the regular school meal over the last two days. Logic would suggest that, in our affluent, middle class, well-educated, advantaged area, our pupils would be familiar with all that we have on offer and keen to sample green beans, sweetcorn, peas, apples, pears, baked beans, melon, tomatoes, cucumber, salad leaves, couscous and so on. Yesterday one half of all the meal takers had no fruit, vegetable or salad on their plate. Chilli and rice, wraps, jacket potato, but no veg, fruit or salad. Today, with the most popular menu of the week, over one third had none of the three (but only if I count baked beans as a vegetable). Fish, chips, and sometimes just chips, no veg, fruit, salad and sometimes no pudding.
We have trained pupils to act as Playground Playmakers. They organise and run games and activities on the top playground every day. They are keen – they volunteered for the role, and always turn up. What is striking is how few children join in the games they arrange. Today there were often no more than five children participating, out of the 342 in school!
Ask a child who does participate and what you find is that it is just one of the many things that they do each week – tomorrow’s cross country runners will then be off to skate, swim or dance, for example. To coin a phrase, ‘Those who do, do. Those who don’t, won’t’. It could be a dispiriting and difficult hill to climb, but we find ways to address the issues.
What the recipe for the menu does is slide in under-cover fruit and vegetable. The chilli had carrot and tomato, the wraps had peppers. The sponge included apple puree in the recipe, and the chocolate crunch bar had orange in the blend. If we can just make sure that they do eat what they choose to take …
Mapping the schools present at Saturday's Primary School Cross Country event (Longley Park - a real gem and perfect for the event) suggests that some gradual change around inclusion and participation is happening.
These are brilliant mornings. Saturday was cold, the ground was firm but giving, and the course was brilliantly planned to give ascent and descent, great views and enough distance to separate out the runners. We are a bit light on numbers currently, but we'll give it a bit of a boost and see if we can't get back to high twenties and teams in each age group for the next round.
As the photograph shows, schools huddle together and make a village of flags. By showing the flags it is easy to see where, from across the city, the runners are coming from. I used to tut sadly, as this revealed the sad, obvious, almost inevitable, massive majority of schools present were in the south west of the Sheffield. Yet anyone can run, and this simple, accessible sport is not elitist. It does need someone, or a team, in a school to give some time on a few Saturday mornings, and that is crucial. The children are always keen, no matter where they go to school. It has looked as though parent income or 'disadvantage' directly impacts on participation when the majority of schools taking part are from the better-off areas of the city.
So it was good to sit with a city map on Saturday afternoon and actually plot the school locations, count the A61 split (it runs north-west / south-east), and see that change is happening.
Dobcroft Juniors had the first four finishers in one race, which is fairly stunning. I was just as impressed by the growth in numbers of children running at schools that we didn't see at all a year ago, and by the involvement of schools from as far west, east, north and south as Sheffield's boundary stretches; Stocksbridge, Bradway, Mosborough and Ecclesfield.
I wonder if this is an outcome of Sheffield's Outdoor City initiative, or the Sports Premium in schools, word-of-mouth promotion by the already-convinced, or just a bit of random variation over time.
When asked, ‘Do you enjoy being a teacher / Headteacher?’ I could just tell folks about the Friday just gone. It was a privilege, a delight and an eye-opener to take part in the brilliant range of activities such as I did.
I spent half an hour before school setting up for the day, writing up some notes from the day before, and using the freedoms of Headship to have my daily fun when writing up the notice board in the staffroom. (I choose to post something quirky / me each day, often based on the news or an anniversary.)
A few brief chats followed, with staff back from absence, students on how their week is going, and colleagues with a need for an answer.
I watched, with a colleague, a colleague teach a maths lesson using the ‘mastery maths’ approach. Watching others at work is something that never loses value or disappoints, and allows us to make a difference. We find talent in unexpected areas at times and can then recommend the sharing of really good practice. Our knowledge increased.
After a review with the colleague who shared the observation I went to set up for the lesson I was teaching in Year 3 – RE lesson two, understanding that Christians are told to love their neighbours. I was to be watched, incidentally, by one of our teacher training students, so I needed to be good having watched her earlier in the week. Turns out that the children have heard and seen the story of The Good Samaritan a few times before – no surprise, and so I was ready for this. The children were delightful, amusing, keen, happy, engaged, on form and great to work with. The lesson used video, autobiography, pictures, pupil talk, question and answer, drawing, writing, modelling and me eating a few pre-dunked malted milk biscuits (instead of sharing them or giving the whole lot away). I enjoyed the lesson, the children enjoyed the lesson, the observer enjoyed the lesson, and the children told me exactly and articulately the learning from the lesson.
I spent lunch with a pupil, ensuring he had a safe time and could return to class ready for the afternoon. We ate, we chatted, we played a couple of games of Connect Four, we talked about my Easter Egg Maths Challenge. It worked just fine.
I rushed across to give feedback to the colleague I watch teach in the morning before she was due back in class for the afternoon. It is the best form of training we have available, perhaps, and certainly the one most easily available to us and most affordable. It makes a difference directly.
Then it was off to our Learning Partnership (S10LP) half-termly Headteacher meeting, at one of the other schools. We talked admission numbers, national funding formula, high needs crisis funding, Ofsted and Pupil Premium, the impact of local moderation working, suggestions for combined funding for lead Headteacher work in SEN, the PE Pledge, mental health training opportunities, a request to join us from another school (not in S10), Tracking data systems, vacancies and the coming retirement of two of those present. Frank, funny and friendly conversation with one or two decisions (rather than just a moan and groan session). Plus there were strawberries and chocolate pieces.
It was back to school by 3:30. I spent 30 minutes or so with one of the teacher training students who has an interview next week. We practiced a q & a session, helping her to explore her ideas, preferences and experiential learning. We talked through the possibilities of the practical task she has to do at interview, and how to make the best impression of her skills and abilities as a teacher by NOT talking all the time available. An enjoyable and fulfilling activity this one – the greatest thing we get to do is appoint staff, and when we do we change lives.
Finished off back in my Office, filing, sorting, wrapping up a few things, and dealing with a few of the in-box of emails. It was pleasing to see how much had been achieved in one week.
As I left (5:45 p.m.), changed and ready for a run up the hill to Ringinglow, I saw a colleague loading the boot of her car with the cross country team flag and vests. Saturday morning saw the Y3 & 4 team at Hillsborough Arena for the relays – another totally free and totally brilliant sporting event. And so Friday becomes Saturday, and on Sunday I bought rhubarb crowns for our soon-to-be-planted rhubarb triangular bed. Love it.
The demise of inter-school competitive sport has long been a feature of the popular press, and sometime Government Ministers.
They have clearly never heard of SFSS - Sheffield Federation for School Sports, and the annual winter cross country league. The first event of this season was run, quite literally, this morning, just over the hill in Crookes. Overcast, wet and slippery it may have been, but getting on for 800 children were there, with mums and dads, sisters and brothers, dogs, teachers and the odd Headteacher, even. 800 children, at 9:30 on a Saturday morning, just to run around the edge of a big, sloping field, and probably not win.
But there they were, and how they were applauded for every effort and every place they finished.
The series is held in parks across the city, and all are free to enter for spectators. The atmosphere is so positive and warm - I love it. Have a cheap morning out on the 26th of September over at Ecclesfield Primary School for event two (with Concord Parkrun just before, perhaps?).