We have now reached the end of another busy and hectic academic year. Parents and children should now have received their annual reports which I’m sure you will have been pleased to read. Once again we have seen children working tremendously hard. It is wonderful seeing the children achieving their expected outcomes and equally rewarding seeing those who make substantial progress towards them.
During the summer break I’m sure there will be many opportunities to engage the children in family activities and for some a trip away somewhere nice as well. Alongside the enjoyment of play there may well be opportunities to learn at the same time such as playing board games. Making use of our local libraries and signing up for the ‘Summer Reading Challenge’ will certainly provide golden opportunities to read for pleasure. A visit to a National Trust property or a museum will certainly help to ‘feed the mind’ and help the children to recognise some of our cultural heritage.
I’m sure that many children would accept the chance to sit at a screen and play electronic games. However, striking a balance between playing on a screen and engaging in a range of other tasks would be ideal. A recent visit by PC Nick Westmacott highlighted some of the issues that the police are experiencing. They are recognising that children in Primary schools are playing games on the internet which are not age appropriate. They are also concerned that some of these games are being played with the safety settings either set to a minimum or turned off altogether. The development of the internet in recent years has been enormous. The potential for it to support learning and improve our lives is also immense. However, as parents we must be very mindful of the hidden dangers which are not obvious to children. The advice from the police is that we should always ensure that children only play age appropriate games, the computer and game settings are secured to ensure that their play is as safe as you can make it. They also advise that all parents monitor what the children are interacting with and insist that they never give any information to another person regarding their name and contact details. We all want our children to be safe and we can do so by applying some of the above mentioned suggestions.
During term 5 our Year 6 and Year 2 pupils were presented with the challenges that are placed upon them for their SATs tests. All of the children gave these tests their full attention and applied themselves to the full. Over the years these tests have become increasingly challenging and are certainly not taken lightly. I would like to say that all the children did their very best and worked extremely hard. In addition to these assessments the Year 1 pupils were tested on their ability to use and apply their knowledge of phonics as one measure of their skill at reading – well done to all the pupils for applying themselves and giving their very best.
A fantastic evening of music was held on 23rd May. Blockley pupils did the school proud performing in front of an enthusiastic audience. Well done to all those who look part and demonstrated their talents. The audience were also treated to performances from local musicians giving the pupils something to aspire to. Thank you to all those who attended. £120 was raised for Blockley Educational Trust. This money goes to support local young people with educational grants.
We have spent this term implementing some changes to our lunchtime routine as part of a whole school approach to high standards of behaviour that we expect from our pupils. The initial target for the lunch hall was ‘We speak quietly to those around us’ with the additional target of lining up calmly ready to leave the hall. The pupils have really taken this on board and are rewarded with golden tickets from the lunchtime supervisors. These are then entered into a prize draw, which is drawn during Monday assembly, with the successful pupil being allowed to sit on the Golden Table to eat their lunch at dinner time. The four chosen pupils are able to invite a friend or member of staff to join them at the Golden Table. Mr Jones was the lucky individual chosen for the first Golden Table. In addition to this reward each golden ticket earned by a pupil allows the class to place a ball into their ‘Jar of Good Choices’. When the class jar is full the whole class group are rewarded with a golden time activity.
This reward system is ensuring that the noise level in the hall is reduced, lunch time is a calmer experience and therefore more enjoyable for all.
Fly to the Line
A team from Blockley took part in a Fly to the Line competition to design, make and fly a model glider at MOD Kineton. They had a very successful race day and gained a place in the national finals at RAF Cosford. While not coming in the top three during the finals they represented the school fantastically. They also spent time exploring the museum at Cosford and sitting in a glider.
If you were able to visit school during our Open Afternoon you may well have seen the photo display from our visit to Blockley Church for Experience Church. After a welcome, the children split up into groups run by volunteers from the congregations at Blockley and Bourton on the Hill. They travelled around the church to see the ’stations’ that had been set up. These included the font as a place of welcome and commitment where a lot of water was splashed around! At the alter pupils drew around their hands to symbolize being welcome to share together. This work is displayed in the main foyer at school. At the prayer tree pupils learnt about the Lord’s Prayer and wrote their own prayers if they wanted to. By the pulpit they looked at the Bible and thought about Bible stories. The pupils talked about things that worry them as well as the natural world before making origami twirling birds that flew from the pulpit. The beautiful stained glass windows also provided reminders for favourite Bible stories. At the door to the church the pupils met to discuss taking our values out into the world. The children’s responses include reflections on faith and appreciation for Experience Church. Thank you to all the pupils and volunteers who witnessed the children’s exemplary behaviour and delightful attitude to the thought provoking work stations.
The weather was perfect for a great day of Sports at the Prince of Wales Stadium for our Sports Day this year. The pupils showed how talented they are, whether in the traditional sporting sense with some fast runners and powerful jumpers or talents in the wider sense, supporting others and building house teams. Perseverance and trying your best were demonstrated in abundance. Well done to all those who took part and thank you to Mr Jones for organising the event.
Class 3 have had tropical rainforests as their topic. This has been linked to many areas of the work that they are completing in class. As part of this work they went on a visit to the Living Rainforest where the pupils were able to see many rainforest plants and experience the heat and humidity of the rainforest.
The pupils in Class 1 have enjoyed a pirate themed term. They were able to showcase their work including their skills at preparing party food with a pirate themed celebration to which they invited their parents/carers. The room looked spectacular and the children were really excited to be able to share their work.
They then enjoyed a trip to Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water where they were able to see parrots and other birdlife.
Class 2 have studied plants as part of their work this term. They were able to spend a day at Batsford Arboretum looking at a great variety of plant life and taking part in interactive workshops.
We were pleased to welcome the September reception children into school for two afternoons in July. They were able to spend time as a group to familiarise themselves with the setting and teaching staff.
All pupils have now had chance to move into the classrooms that they will be in next year. In larger schools, with 7 or more classrooms, each year group will have an individual class but in smaller schools such as ours, with a 5 classroom situation, year groups have to be mixed. Differentiated work is set by the teachers according to the ability of the children and their year group to ensure that all pupils reach their full potential. We were also pleased to welcome Mrs Furniss into school again giving her further opportunity to familiarise herself with the pupils that she will be teaching next year.
Year 6 Leavers
The year 6 leavers have had the opportunity to take part in various leaving events. They had a leaving service and picnic at the local vicarage, a year 6 party, leavers lunch and will have an assembly as a final ‘goodbye’. Their leaving events begun with a residential at Viney Hill Christian Adventure Centre in the Forest of Dean where pupils had the chance to create lasting memories of their final term at primary school and gain confidence for their move to secondary school. Activities that they were able to participate in included raft building, bush craft, a night hike, climbing wall, camp fire and games.
Autumn Residential 2018
The year 4 and 5 groups in November 2018 will be able to attend their own residential at Viney Hill and participate in outdoor activities. For those who attended last year they will be able to visit again and try out different challenges.
Internet Safety Talk
Our local police constable, PC Nick, visited the school recently to talk to the children about Internet Safety. He was also able to speak to some of the parents who attended the adult talk to explain about the current online dangers for our children.
Reading is always something that we encourage the pupils to participate in and the summer holidays are an ideal time to read with, read to or encourage independent reading. The local library service visited school to speak to the pupils about their summer reading challenge ‘Mischief Makers’. Visit your local library to find out more.
RAF 100 Street Party
Miss Overton-Short organised a fantastic street party to celebrate 100 years of the RAF. Thank you to all the Grandparents that attended and made the day a special occasion with a wonderful atmosphere. The pupils enjoyed their hot picnic thanks to the catering staff. A special thank you also goes to the Friends of the School for supporting the event and giving up their time for the school.
We are looking forward to welcoming the Bikeability trainers into school in September for the Year 6 pupils to learn how to ride their bikes safely on the roads. This is a national scheme and more details can be found on the Bikeability website.
We are excited that we continue to have links to a school in Ghana. Our pupils have been able to write letters to their contemporaries in Ghana and, in due course, hope to receive letters in reply. Pupils in Ghana have a very different school experience in terms of resources available to them and love to hear from pupils in England. We were also able to welcome the Bishop to our school assembly recently.
Class 1 are continuing with their popular Forest School sessions. Recently they have had fun using natural materials to make musical instruments and weaving pirate ship steering wheels.
Other classes have also been using the Forest Area to support their class work, looking at the natural world with quizzes and reflection time.
Mr Jones will be our Sports Champion for 2018-2019. Within this role he will be able to champion sports throughout the school, encouraging pupil involvement with activities on the playground during morning and lunch break. He will continue to run afterschool clubs and encourage all pupils to join in with some sporting activity. His role will include supporting Mrs White with Forest School as other pupil groups are given the opportunity to engage in Forest School activities.
Thank you for not bringing dogs onto the school site. Could we please ask that they are tied up well away from the school gates to ensure a clear access? Many thanks for your cooperation.
The number of nominations equalled the number of vacancies so our two new governors were elected unopposed. We are pleased to welcome Mr Sampson and Ms Riberzani to our Governing Body. They will have a four year term of office and will be registered as Directors of Blockley Educational Academy.
All the staff and governors would like to wish the Year 6 pupils the very best of luck in their secondary schools next year. We are certain that they will all enjoy all the opportunities that are on offer and will rise to the challenges that are presented to them.
The staff and governors would like to wish Mrs Dodgson-Hatto, Mrs Pettit and Miss Williams the very best of luck in their futures; as a new Headship, as a retiree and a new teaching post respectively. I know that they are all looking forward to the changes that they are embarking upon.
I would like to wish everyone a safe, happy and enjoyable summer holiday with your children. Let us hope that the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities and that farmers and growers will receive a reprieve from the very dry weather of late.
We are looking forward to the new term in September. Following two INSET days for staff only we welcome pupils back to school on Wednesday 5th September.
May we wish you all a restful summer and we hope you all have an enjoyable break. We look forward to seeing everyone in September.
Blockley School Staff