14th February 2020
Dear Parents/ carers,
As we are half way through the year, I thought it would be a good time to update you on the work our four leadership teams have achieved so far.
We have four teams, each lead by a member of the Senior Leadership Team:
Assessment – Bex Carter; Citizenship – Suzie Espie; Curriculum – Kim Hall and Mental Health – Jules Cowell.
Here is a roundup of some of the work that’s been going on!
Assessment Team: The school’s assessment team has been busy making sure that teacher assessment of pupil achievement is consistent across the school. All teachers assess their pupils’ learning and then we moderate each other’s findings – which means we check that we agree with each other. In addition the team has been focusing on how the school is helping children achieve the highest possible standards. This means that all staff are ensuring that all children are challenged as much as possible, learning to accept (and celebrate!) their mistakes, learn from them and improve as a result. At the half way point in the year, all teachers record their assessments for all subjects and the assessment team analyses how well different children are doing, based on prior attainment. This is a busy time for the team, as it monitors whole school pupil achievement and works with teachers to accelerate progress, through targeted high quality teaching and learning. For the rest of the year we will continue this cycle of assessment and review.
Citizenship Team: Our citizenship team are working to identify, promote and celebrate positive citizens in school. In the Autumn Term we reviewed the organisation of our assemblies, ensuring that each month had a specific assembly theme linked to citizenship (and on some occasions, wellbeing too). Current assembly themes to date include Black History Month in October, (where classes also focused their learning around role models such as Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, researching ways in which they have been recognised as positive citizens, and making links to their own citizenship). Displays were also created in the media suite celebrating the variety of learning that had taken place around school over this month.
The citizenship team have a display board in the entrance hall incorporating and celebrating our children’s positive citizenship roles as well as providing general citizenship information. Examples include celebrating ‘Acts of Kindness’ in December, their ‘hopes and aspirations for future careers’, and our next display will celebrate and inform others of ways the children have been ‘active citizens’. More information on this to follow after half term.
In September, our Year 6 class undertook a six week Playleader course, before writing letters to apply to be Playleaders. On the playground, they can be identified by their yellow hats and bibs, working hard to promote positive playtime experiences for our younger pupils. As a school we celebrate their positive citizenship roles by awarding a ‘Playleader of the week’ in assembly. We recognise that they choose to forgo their own play times to support others, and last week they had a campfire to say thank you! Further ideas to promote positive playtimes are ongoing – we have new posters that display our playground rules visible on every classroom door, and have many more ideas for the future to develop the range of playground equipment on offer.
Children continue to display positive citizenship through our many sporting events on offer for the children, where we are often celebrate the positive behaviour and sportsmanship displayed when they represent our school. Fortnightly school (and eco-warrior meetings with Mrs De Howes) focus on developing greater pupil voice through active citizenship, and working to organise and deliver specific themed days, such as to support Sport Relief, Safer Internet Day etc. We continue to strive to find opportunities and celebrate positive citizenship experiences for individuals in school and beyond, reaching out to the children’s wider community.
Curriculum Team: It has been a busy time for the Curriculum Team, with such a vast area to cover. One of our key areas of focus for the last term has been spellings and grammar, ensuring that staff are following a consistent approach of teaching across the school, through professional development sessions for all staff. This is on-going, with the next half term really diving into how this links with the children’s reading books.
As we move through the year, there is a main focus on our curriculum offer and the development of the children’s knowledge through the curriculum. We will be interrogating our curriculum to ensure that the learning provides opportunities for the children to use their knowledge in a variety of contexts to ensure the knowledge learnt ‘sticks.’
We have also been looking at various ways to make the curriculum more exciting and engaging for all children, looking at different ways of teaching, for example outdoor learning across all year groups.
We have also organised various themed weeks and details of these will be sent out after half term.
A success last term, was the revalidation of Henham’s Healthy Schools Award.
Mental Health Team: The school’s Mental Health Team has been promoting emotional wellbeing across the school. We started the academic year by focussing on the themes of Resilience and Growth Mindset during Monday assemblies. Every Wednesday we now have a ‘resilience assembly’ at which the teachers talk about a pupil in their class who has demonstrated ‘resilience.’ In October we delivered training to all staff about ‘Growth Mindset’ and we have started monitoring how teachers are using these strategies across the school, Although every class now has a ‘Growth Mindset’ display we are very keen for to this concept to be embedded as ‘more than just a display’ and we are eager to see our pupils learning from their mistakes and being resilient with their learning.
Just before October half term we had our termly Mental Health day with the aim being to promote different ways to relax. As part of the Mental Health Day all the children were able to toast marshmallows on the campfire, Key Stage 1 tried yoga and Key Stage 2 took part in a Bounce lesson. We have also introduced 10 minutes of relaxation for each class after lunch during which time the children take part in a range of activities such as mindfulness, meditation, journaling, jigsaws, reading and even cross stitch (which has not proved as relaxing for the teachers!).
In January, we introduced a ‘worry box’ in every class so that any pupil who doesn’t feel able to talk to an adult can write down their concerns. Staff have also been able to attend some training courses about children’s emotional wellbeing as we are keen to have more targeted provision for pupils who need additional support in this area. Finally, Mrs Cowell has organised two parent coffee mornings for Friday 28th February and Friday 24th April, with the focus being on children’s emotional wellbeing. Please do come along!