2018 - 2019 Head Teacher's Blogs

Do one thing every day that scares you - 4/3/2019
 
What have you done today that scared you? Something that made you a little apprehensive. Something that made you a little nervous. Something that made you take a deep breath before you began. Something that you would have preferred to avoid. 
 
This thought came to me this evening as I was posting photos from our Kingswood residential. Our children in the Peak District were challenging themselves today. It may have been by waving goodbye this morning. It could have been as they unpacked their clothes in their new home for the next five days. It may have been as they stepped into a harness, whilst looking up at the high ropes course. It could have been as they inched along that rope, metres above ground. 
 
Back in school, our children were also doing things that scared them. We have a theatre group in residence this week, to help us celebrate World Book Day, and Kate has been leading drama workshops. For some children, performing in front of their classmates will have made them nervous. Other children will have been apprehensive as they moved to a new level in the reading scheme or tackled a more challenging maths problem. For others it may have been joining in with that game on the playground, speaking to a new friend or answering a question in class. For a few children, today was their first day at our school, which may have made them nervous this morning. 
 
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The Point of Play  
 
Handwriting is important. Even in an increasingly technological world, there are still lots of reasons why your child needs to develop fluent, joined handwriting. Even though your child may record in school on an ipad sometimes, the bulk of their work is handwritten. Not just in primary school, but throughout their education. It's important that they learn to write neatly, but quickly, and without it feeling uncomfortable. This is why we teach the children joined-up writing. But, not everyone finds neat handwriting easy - or quick! But there's something you can do to help.
 
One of our areas to develop is in the children's presentation of their work. Children work each day on improving their handwriting and here's how you can help us to support your child further.
 
Play is crucial. It develops many, many skills and it helps children to develop the skills needed to pick up and hold a pencil; the skills needed to write fluently. So encourage your children to build, paint, thread, sort and organise. Give them sand or flour or play dough and let them use a range of tools. Find ways in which older children can manipulate small items. Join them in games of Jenga or doing a jigsaw. Ask them to make models from Knex, Lego or Meccano. Encourage them to build models from junk. Let them play with nuts and bolts and paperclips. Every one of these activities (and those pictured in the gallery to the right) will help your child to develop the strength and control they need to write neatly. 
 
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Small daily improvements - September 2018
 
Every day, every member of our school community experiences academic success. Like today, when a child who finds reading more challenging read aloud to four adults and left us all with huge smiles on our faces.
 
Every success is important, be it adding the full stop at the end of every sentence, remembering which way around a '5' is written or finally catching the ball in PE. As educators, it's our job to recognise these successes, celebrate them and then work out the next steps for each and every child to help them to more success. 
 
Challenge 2 on this year's School Development Plan is focused on further developing our use of assessment. We'll be continuing the staff training we began last year, working with an assessment expert, who will bring fresh ideas to our work. We've also begun to look at the ways in which we share assessment on your child with you and we will be providing you with even more information over the course of the year. Our first Parents' Evenings will take place either side of the October half term holiday, giving you the first insight into how your child is achieving this year.
 
If you would like to discuss our assessment of your child's achievements at any time, please do not hesitate to contact your child's class teacher. Myself and Elaine Wagg are also happy to meet with you, or chat on the phone, at any time. Please do not hesitate to contact us. 
 
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'The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement' - Helmut Schmidt
 
Every Monday on our Weekly Briefing for staff, we have an inspirational or motivational quote. Tomorrow, the quote above is on this week's staff briefing. 
 
Last year, every member of our school community worked hard to improve standards in our school. There are many, many ways to measure success and we use them all to ensure that we are constantly giving our children the best primary education we can. We use statistical measures; we observe lessons; we scrutinise children's books; we talk to the children, the parents, the staff, the governors and the community. We work closely with the Local Authority to ensure that standards in our school are constantly improving. Throughout last year, we shared our successes with you and we will continue to do so throughout this year, 
 
This process of school improvement requires everyone to play their part and so, over the coming weeks, we will be sharing this year's improvement objectives with you.
 
Challenge 1 - Leadership
 
We are continuing to strengthen leadership in our school by further developing skills in our staff that allow them to lead their subjects areas effectively.
 
Our English and Maths Leads (Caroline Colledge & Becky Duncton respectively) now have time each week to monitor standards in their subjects and improve provision in these areas.
 
The same is true for our Early Years Lead (Louise Harris), who is busy further developing provision for not only our Reception children, but for pre-school children from birth.
 
We've made some huge changes to Special Educational Needs Leadership and provision in the school this year. As a qualified SENDCo, I will be sharing the role with Janet Hunt, who is embarking upon her training to gain the national qualification. We will be working closely together to further improve our provision and practices. Within our support staff, we are creating specialists - staff who have an increased knowledge and understanding of a range of needs - who will support staff and children across the school. We have also set up our new CSI Team (they absolutely love the name!), which is focusing on improving communication in children of all ages. This team, lead by Elaine Wagg, also works hard to improve provision for children with sensory impairment.
 
Our PE leads now also have regular time each week in which to complete the mammoth task of ensuring that our children access high-quality sports provision, both within the curriculum and in addition to the school day.
 
All other subject leads will also been given regular time, each term, to focus on improving their subject areas each term. 
 
In addition to this, we have set up Phase Leaders to implement and monitor further improvements across the school, ensuring that we have consistency in everything we do:
 
EYFS Phase Leader (Nursery & Reception) - Mrs Louise Harris
KS1 Phase Leader (Years 1 & 2) - Mrs Janet Hunt
Lower KS2 Phase Leader (Years 3 & 4) - Mrs Caroline Colledge
Upper KS2 Phase Leader (Years 5 & 6) - Mrs Becky Duncton
 
Our governing body is also continuing to develop its leadership skills and will update you of its work throughout the year. 
 
In addition to all of this, Elaine and myself are continuing to work closely with the local education authority to further raise standards. Last year, we very successfully began this process and we are certain that our improvements will continue this year. We would, as always, like to thank you for the support you give us in our work and would like to remind you that you are welcome to come and chat to use at any time. 
 
Vicki

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Welcome Back …

We have had a fabulous start to the new term. Children all settled very quickly, including our new 2 year olds in our Seedlings Nursery Provision. The children seem to have all grown over the summer and all look very smart in their new school uniforms - thank you for your support with this; we really appreciate it. We have welcomed some new children into our school and we are receiving requests for places every day. We are excited about this new school year and can’t wait to share it with you all.

Last year was a huge year for our school and saw many changes taking place. We will update you regularly throughout this year with changes we are making and the impact of these. We are working hard every single day to constantly improve our school and raise standards further. You, as parents and carers, play a vital role in that and we look forward to working closely with you again this year.

At the start of each new year, there is always so much information to give you and much of it will be included in this newsletter. But, please make sure you check our Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates on a daily basis. As always, we are more than happy to talk to you at the end of every school day. Myself and Mrs Wagg are usually out and about in the mornings too.

Thank you for your continued support. If you ever have any concerns, please do come and speak to us at the first opportunity.

Vicki 

Staverton Rd, Daventry, Northants, NN11 4HW 01327 705785 head@thegrange.northants-ecl.gov.uk

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