What a week it has been! I mentioned last week that the weather was due to improve and I hope you have been able to enjoy it. I know for some it was too hot at times, but for me, the hour or so I was able to enjoy it at home each evening was welcomed for the first three days. I would have loved more.
I do hope that the improved weather continues until the end of September as I am pleased to give you notice now of the delayed Sports Day from last July. This is planned for Tuesday 28th September for Y1-Y6 children, with a reserve date, if needed, for Thursday 30th September. With all restrictions removed, as long as the weather is kind to us, then we can look forward to a fabulous day – I would just ask that you continue to show consideration for others as we continue to find our way in this 'new normal'. More details will follow next week.
We have all learnt lessons from the times when school was forced to change. One of the best received so far has been that children can wear PE kits to school for the whole day when needed; for us it also increases the time children can be taught. A similar change is coming with spellings; we have read and researched current thinking about spellings and discussed this at the staff meeting. We are all confident that testing a child on a set of words is not particularly effective at improving their real spelling ability, they are often quickly forgotten and may not be used by the children in their work.
Therefore, from next week, more time will be spent on teaching spelling rules and patterns in classes across the week, focussing the children on recognising these in many contexts and applying them in their work. You can, and are encouraged to support them still, by asking them about spelling patterns they are working on and then making a point of looking for these in any text you come across.
There will not be a dedicated test once a week; time gained from not doing this will therefore give teachers more time to teach spelling and other curriculum areas.
So many highlights this week, not least the first of the new Foundation Stage children beginning on Wednesday morning, all keen and ready to start a wonderful journey with us. For me, what has topped off this first full week back was on Thursday morning when the whole school sang together for the first time since March 2020. We chose some gentler songs but many of the staff, including myself, had goosebumps at how well the children remembered them and participated. There was a palpable joy in many of the children's faces and even the youngest children who have never experienced singing together were making attempts to join in.
Next week is unknown, but as I have finished the week in Worship with the principle of acting to make a difference, it is within our grasp to make the best of whatever comes. Make the most of the weekend.