Sunday, January 8, 2017

My family Christmas...

So a brief resume of my own festive experience then....

Before Christmas I went up to Nottinghamshire, where my twin brother lives to catch up with him and his family.  

We visited Newark where I saw a great idea in a church.... charity Christmas trees....perhaps something for us to consider next year?

We had great fun over the weekend but chose to leave Yinka with a delightfully naive colleague and her family.  I can only imagine the carnage she doubt adding to their woe as one child went down with the sickness bug that seemed to sweep through certain classes.  I suspect that they won't offer again.

The village where we live, has a lovely tradition at Christmas of every house putting a tree up outside, on their street facing wall.  It creates a lovely festive atmosphere and sight as you walk or drive through it.

I had a wonderfully relaxing, family Christmas.   

Early morning runs with Yinka through the fields, 

family filled days, 

The daily struggle to find things to eat....

and evening walks through the orchards.  

We spent Christmas day round at my parents 

Yinka even let wore a Christmas jumper....

and we all went for the obligatory Boxing day walk on the Bay. 

After Christmas we popped up to London so Chloe could catch the sales and I could visit an art exhibition at the Royal Academy.  We even had time for lunch with some dinosaurs in Piccadilly. 

We visited Carnaby Street....Chloe loved the place and I told her stories of my frequent visits there as teenager.

And for New Year's Eve we visited old friends in London and had an enjoyable evening of chatting, great hospitality and karaoke!

So that was December was it.....

Ok, so I guess I have a little bit of blogging to catch bear with me as I whizz through Christmas at Wainscott.

Well we should start with one of the sweetest moments....this is what one of our Reception children thinks I look like....I wish.  

Elsewhere in my life, Yinka, who somehow managed to get to 8 months before her first visit to her dog stylist.  I'm not convinced that her previous look wasn't cuter, but I will let you decide.....



My daughter Chloe had a lovely run up to Christmas, visiting EuroDisney with a bestie....and yes I did get the obligatory fridge magnet!

The weeks leading up to Christmas are always, and should always, be a magical time in a primary school....and I hope it felt so for everyone here at Wainscott.  The staff put in an incredible effort to make sure that the children enjoyed their festive experience and were very touched by the incredibly generous gifts of cards and presents that so many of you gave.  We really don't expect it, which makes your thoughtfulness so very touching....thank you.

So what of Christmas then I hear you ask?  

 Infant Nativities....

Well it was every bit as fab as we'd hoped.  The children were their adorable selves throughout every Nativity, Carol Concert, Church Service et al.  They rose to the occasions, as they always do....singing their hearts out and remembering every line.  Those bath times spent listening to your loved ones practising, giving supportive nods and words paid off. 

It was also wonderful to see every event so well supported by parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.  We recognise how tricky it can be for some of you to get the time off work and it makes such a difference to the children to see a family face waving through the crowd.  

EYFS Nativity

We also had an amazing Christmas tree again.....thanks to the children's homemade decorations.  

Her are just a few of the amazing designs the children made.  If you haven't yet had your child's decoration sent home then please contact your class teacher......something for your tree next year I hope.

We also put on various fun, festive events to reinforce the message of Christmas with the children.

All staff reading a different Christmas story to the children.... this guy read a belter!

A pop-up Art exhibition....



Our Junior Carol Concert

With some very brave children who showed what hard work and practice can produce...

No one there will ever forget the hauntingly beautiful flute playing...

Junior and Infant Christingle Services...

Staff all dressing up as Elves to serve the children's Christmas lunch...

Even this guy again...

And to finish a real Community Church Service

Even Yinka got a mention somehow...

And a very amusing Carol Service where even the staff got in on the act... 

And we even had time to fit in the staff Christmas lunch.....sadly only fruit juice to wash it down.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Call that a storm Angus......

Whilst fully aware of the potential disaster that might become me should I mock the elements, I have to say that young Angus* was pleasingly underwhelming over the weekend.  In fact, my puppy caused far more mayhem in the village than the winter's first storm.   


Whilst the wind did wake us a couple of times during the night, the only visible damage was an old tree down on one of the side roads and an abundance of sticks for Yinka to play with on our Sunday morning stroll through the fields.  The orchards were surprisingly intact and many still fully leaved in their autumn finery.

It was however a quite welcome anticlimax after a hectic week at school.  It was a Chloe weekend for me, always fun but having a teenager daughter of growing independence means that I sometimes end up feeling one carriage removed from what's going. However, I'm not complaining given some of the very exciting events that have been happening at school lately.

The children recently finished their learning on World War One.  We will be leaving this theme now other than in one year group that covers it as part of the history National Curriculum.  It has provided us with some excellent learning opportunities and the children have really enjoyed using it as a vehicle for their maths, reading and writing in particular.  The display of their amazing work in the main hall illustrated just how much learning has come out of this topic.  It was wonderful to see how creatively the teaching staff have interpreted this aspect of history and exactly why we regularly chose exciting topics as a vehicle for the children's learning.  Many thanks to all of you who supported this and I hope you found the time to see for yourself first hand.  

Last brought it's own amazing highlight.....our children performing Shakespeare live on stage. 

Some of our junior children, many only nine years old, have been working on a shortened version of A Midsummer Night's Dream for several months as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival.  

This is an annual event and culminates in the children performing live on stage in a local theatre.  They have worked so hard as a group of children and the opportunity to practice and perform has really helped their development.  This is exactly the type of event that we look to create for our children, one that both challenges and rewards them, builds their self-esteem as an individual and a learner and shows the whole school community the art of the possible. 

Mrs Froudist has worked tirelessly with this group of children, ably supported by parents and staff and it was a genuinely wonderful evening and one we will now look to be involved in year-on year.  

The next such event will be when our choir sings at the O2 arena in the Young Voices charity concert in January.  

They have been working on a selection of songs with Miss Dillon our music teacher and it promises to be another incredible night for all concerned.

On a more personal note, I was fortunate to spend time in the classrooms last week looking closely at the teaching and learning, especially for SEND and the Early Years.  It was pleasing to see so many good things happening across the school.  I was particularly impressed to see the impact our 'Switch-On' programme is having on many of our developing readers and writers.  It's clear how much they are getting out of this opportunity thanks to a combination of their hard work and the quality teaching staff are providing.  

I was also attended a very interesting course in London on growth mindsets run by Matthew Syed.  This is an area we are being to work on as a school.  There will be a presentation to parents on this in the New Year and I urge you to try to attend. 

It's a really interesting aspect of education that will really benefit our children's development and future success.

We have also been working very hard on the quality and range of recording going on in books and how children self and peer assess their learning.  We have had a session on this as a staff team last week, sharing best practice ideas and looking at what is working well and what needs further refinement.  It confirmed the progress we have made as a school and something I hope you will notice yourselves when you look at your child's books at the upcoming parent consultations.  

It was also anti-bullying week, something we covered during the week with all the children.  This included re-visiting our ongoing work on internet safety and cyber bullying.  

The week ahead will feature work on road safety as part of national road safety week in schools.