Tuesday, 31 July 2007

UK Music Review

I have created a blog where people can review the latest music releases called UK Music Review. Add comments and let others know what you think!

Boffin Squad

The Boffin Squad is a new website which helps primary pupils identify their areas of intelligence and help them to choose the career path that they may follow. The website features colourful characters all with different backgrounds, hobbies and degrees of intelligence. The idea of the site is to change people's ideas about cleverness. The creator of the website, Ian Fisher, says, "Every single child is a boffin. Every single child is good at something. But they may not know it because they don't score highly in what we label key skills."

Monday, 30 July 2007

SATs Targets reached five years late!

The Independent reports that primary schools will reach an important target for national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds this summer - five years after the original deadline for attaining it. The percentyage of children reaching the required standard in both maths and English tests will rise by between 1 and 1.5% this year. This would mean that for the first time 80% were reaching the required standard in English and 77% in Maths. The targets set for 2002 were 80% for English and 75% in Maths. As these targets were not reached that year Education Secretary Estelle Morris resigned!

Whilst this news is fantastic, results still fall short of the aspirational 85% set in 2006!

Friday, 27 July 2007


Just as one year has left, we spent the morning of our INSET day preparing a diary of events for the next entire year. How quickly will this one go?!!

With our amalgamation there are exciting times ahead. I'm really looking forward to being part of it!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Leavers' Assembly

We held our Leavers' Assembly today. The children were sensational! Some of the children read their favourite memories of Year Six and the whole school. Everyone was given a part in our History play where the children explained what they learned this year in History. We also had a humorous sketch to show some of the amusing things that happened in our visit to France. We are so proud of the children and how much they have improved and matured this year. I wish them the best of luck for high school and the future.

It always amazes me how kind and generous the children and their parents are. Lots of brilliant gifts! Thank you everyone!

Monday, 23 July 2007

"Could I Do Better" by Phil Beadle

Today the Daily Telegraph published the first of three extracts from Phil Beadle's book, 'Could I Do Better?' The featured article includes inspiration for how to develop the learning of children of differing intelligences - the mover, the talker, the thinker, the dreamer, the musical child, the mathematician and the wordsmith. It makes for interesting reading. The whole article is online at the newspaper's website.

Presentation Evening

Known in school as 'The Oscars', we held our annual Year Six Presentation Evening tonight. This is a lovely evening. Each child is given a certificate to reward their SATs results and they all receive one or two others to celebrate their efforts during the year. PE, Humanities, Maths, English and Science certificates are awarded, as well as prizes for sports stars, musicians and Road Safety Officers. We also have a Maths Student of the Years and and English Student of the Year. Afterwards, our school cook had prepared special cocktails for the children and grown ups and lots of photos were taken!

Friday, 20 July 2007

History: Out of order?

Children must be taught landmark dates in chronological order from primary school, to give them a common sense of British history and identity, Ofsted has told the Government.

Far from knowing the order of key events, such as the Battle of Hastings or the signing of Magna Carta, pupils have no overview of history and cannot answer the 'big questions' it poses. Not only are key events in British and world history overlooked, but without a sense of the order in which they occurred, students cannot make any connections with the periods that they have studied.

This is what we teach in history in our school (in order from year 3): Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Romans, Vikings, Tudors and Britain since 1930. I can't help think that we get it wrong! Do we need to teach about two ancient civilisations? Why can't we teach Victorians as well? It will be interesting to see what happens when we join up with our infant school in September. I'm looking forward to finding out where our new subject leader will steer the subject.

As far as our history in Year Six goes next year we will continue to teach Britain since 1930 but our focus will purely be on the Home Front and World War 2. In the past we have tried to cram in so much, but the children love our study of the war and I can't help feeling that we'd do it more justice if we focused on this period and its legacy for the year.

I'd like to create a sort of World War Two garden outside my classroom. I want it to include a miniature Anderson shelter as well as growing some vegetables. Does anyone have any ideas? The photo shows a victory garden I found on the internet. At the moment this is my only source for inspiration!

Grow a Pound Week - Spending the money!

On Tuesday the children made their decisions about how to spend the Grow A Pound Week money. They decided that they wanted to buy some recycling bins for the school. A wise investment, I think, and one which shows how much the children have matured this year!

They decided that their leavers' treat would be to go bowling! Somehow, in just four days a visit to the local bowling alley was arranged. We had a brilliant afternoon and they had a really good time.

Grow A Pound Week has once again proved to be a worthwhile activity and I would recommend anyone to try it. Please get in touch if you'd like further details.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Bonkers over Conkers

Headteachers who ban conkers and snowball fights because of injury risks were blasted by Schools Secretary Ed Balls yesterday. “We all want children protected from harm and abuse. But this does not mean we should wrap them in cotton wool," he said.

"You have to have as a society some common sense and that applies to the legal system. The idea that as a society people are not playing with snowballs because of a compensation culture isn't the kind of society I want to live in." He revealed that £2 million was paid out last year to children injured on school property.

He warned that kids are being robbed of childhood pleasures because of molly-coddling staff. Scores of schools refuse to let kids play traditional games or go on trips for fear of being sued.

It's about time that someone said it!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Sports Day

We managed to fit in our sports day today. A really enjoyable afternoon was completed when Dario Gradi came to present the winning team with the trophy!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Work Experience for Year Sixes?

We arranged for a small number of our Year Sixes to go on work experience today. They went to the Infants and the local nursery school to work with the children. They loved it and I hope it has developed their interest in working with children even further.

I wonder - would it be possible to organise a work experience placement for all the Year Sixes. Maybe there are insurance implications for employers to take in 10-11 year olds. Does anyone else do anything like this? I can't help thinking it would be brilliant!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Grow a Pound Week - The results!

Last year we held our first ever Grow a Pound Week. It proved to be a great success as the children grew £60 into £400.

I was absolutely gobsmacked when the money was counted from this year's week. Would you believe that £59 was grown into £620!! How did they do it?!

The children were brilliant in running their stalls (one stall was even featured in the local newspaper). Now the two winning teams get to choose how the money is spent. They need to choose a leavers' treat and something to buy the school!

And more football!

We only went and won the football competition that I mentioned last week! We have an incredible side and I really can't wait to see how well they do next year!!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Wistonia University

So Wistonia University came to a close this week. This has proved to be a huge success and children, staff and volunteers have really enjoyed the experience. The newspapers came round today to take some photos so I'm looking forward to a report being in the Crewe Chronicle soon! On Thursday we will have our Graduation ceremony. Between now and then I've got tonnes of certificates to print out for the children!

Who says you wind DOWN at the end of the year?


Today we gave the children their SATs results and they were each sent home with their reports. The children have done exceptionally well and we are very proud of them.

It's always a relief to get the reports sent home - they are on your mind for ages!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

More football

The problem with being the school football team manager is that if your team does well then the number of nights you have to devote to it increases!

Just when I thought all the football might be over for this year a new competition was announced for pupils in Y4 and 5.

Would you believe it but they won tonight's group stage! They couldn't stop scoring! This now means that we are through to the final on Monday!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Sharing Network Trophy

As a member of the Steering Group of the Primary Strategy Learning Network of which our school is included I wanted to organise something for the children to enjoy before the end of the year.

Over the last few weeks, therefore, I, and some of my Year Sixes, have been organising the Sharing Network Football Trophy, in which the five schools in the network entered teams of pupils in Years 2 and 3.

What an enjoyable afternoon! Particularly because I didn't actually have to do anything! As well as being something for the players to enjoy, to help promote economic well-being I arranged for the Year Sixes to run everything. They were the referees, the commentators and the score keepers. They distributed the refreshments, took the photos, manned the car park (with supervision) and presented the trophy! The children relished their responsibilities and did a fantastic job!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Milldale - A River Study

Would you believe it? The only day that it hasn't rained and we had rearranged our river study to take place that day! The weather did us a favour for the first time this year!!

Considering we only made the decision to have the visit yesterday the day went surprisingly well!

At 7.30 this morning I was putting up signposts to help parents to find the Scout Camp, and adding orienteering clues and notices for where activities were due to take place.

The bus took us to Milldale at 1.15 (taking a very long way round). Once there, the children were placed into groups whilst safety points were discussed.

The children were going to take these activities: orienteering around the grounds, poetry writing, a tree study (finding the height and age of the trees), sketching, investigating the speed of flow and finally studying the depth of the river and discussing erosion and deposition.

The children learned a lot about rivers and had a great day. I spend the whole afternoon in the river working with children on the last activity. It was cold but really good fun (apart from when I slipped and fell)!

We hadn't arranged transport to get home as we organised a barbecue and invited all the parents. So at 5.45pm parents began to arrive and an enjoyable day ended with a great chance for parents to chat and have something to eat.

After a mad panic to organise everything I thing we did a good job. The children (and parents) really enjoyed themselves so it was worth it!

And guess what! As I was driving home, it began to rain!

Monday, 9 July 2007

River study is back on

Despite a successful start to Grow a Pound Week I didn't really have time to enjoy it with the children. This is because this morning we went to do a final risk assessment to see if we could have our river study on our reserve date, tomorrow. Would you believe it? After all the rain the river actually was not flowing too fast. The depth was not too bad. I had to dangle from a log with a stick to check the depth and it was fine!

Whilst I am thrilled that the river study can take place after all, it now means that we have today in order to organise a whole visit. I was so convinced it would be cancelled, I haven't bothered with a lot of the preparation!

The worst thing is that by lunchtime we had made arrangements for the visit to be on. However, of course, a few minutes later it was pouring with rain again! I will let you know whether it's a disaster or not tomorrow!

Grow a Pound Week

Today we launched our Grow a Pound Week in Year 6.

The children have each been given a pound by the Friends of the School to form their own businesses. They have a week to 'grow' their pound into something more. The money they make will be used to pay for a leavers' treat and also to buy a gift for the school - a sort of legacy. Last year the children raised £400 which was raised on bouncy castles and ice creams for the Year Sixes and a bench for the school.

They were allowed to form companies of up to 4 people (so they would have £4 instead of just a pound). Last week they had to carry out market research to find out what people thought about their idea for a business. They then had to prepare a business plan and a presentation to give in a whole school assembly. The presentations often included PowerPoint slideshows but sometimes they included sketches, demonstrations or question and answer sessions.

Over the weekend the children went out to spend their pounds on prizes and materials. Today they arrived in school armed with cakes, biscuits and lots of other items ready to launch their stalls. The stalls are held each lunch time for a week. Of course the rain made it difficult today and the stalls were forced to go inside.

The children love this chance to show their entrepreneurship. I will keep you up-to-date with how much they grow their pounds.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Leavers' Prom

Our Primary Strategy Learning Network schools are working ever closer. We decided that we would hold a Leavers' Prom. One school agreed to organise it this year with someone else taking a turn next year.

It took place this evening at Wychwood Park Golf Course, near Crewe. The children enjoyed it greatly. There was a disco and a buffet with lemonade cocktails. A photographer was there to take photos of all the children looking smart. Each child was given a yellow rose (symbolising friendship) to take home. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Staff Vs Pupils

Well we didn't let the rain stop one of our other annual traditions. Last year I arranged a football match between the staff and the Year Sixes and it was such a laugh. We drew 0-0 and then lost on penalties.

After being dry all day today it started to rain at about 3pm. But we weren't going to let it stop us! We played in the pouring rain and had a great game. We ended up drawing 5-5 (we equalised in the last second of the game)! We then went on to win 3-2 on penalties!

It's a fantastic laugh and a great way for the children to help end the year!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

River study cancelled

Well the rain has claimed yet another disaster - we were supposed to be taking the children to do a river study today. This time last year we were basking in heat on one of the hottest days of the year. Today we wallow in the wettest day of the year. How much water can there be up there?!

Updated ICT schemes of work

I am think ahead about changing our ICT scheme of work next year. The QCA schemes of work are years out of date and bear no reflection on the different ICT skills that are needed in 2007. Where is social networking? What about blogging? How about Wikipedia? Perhaps downloading music and podcasting ought to be taught now.

I was wondering if anyone has anything new and exciting that they use in ICT. In particular I am wondering whether social networking is used in the classroom.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Memory stick

I found a bargain on the net the other day. I wanted a new memory stick to save my work on and I discovered this bargain. £17.99 + £1.99 P&P for a 4gb memory stick. I bought mine from DVD.co.uk. There are some other memory bargains to be found too. Might be worth a look...

Girls' House Football Competition

Today we completed our Girls' House Football Competition! This has become an annual event which the children love and the parents really support. The girls play as part of their house team and they have played each other over the last few days. This year, our red team, Beeston won!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

June's Poll

Thank you to everyone who voted in June's Poll. I was trying to discover how much teaching of English and Maths goes on after the SATs. The results were interesting:
5 times a week - only 8.7% of readers have 5 lessons a week.
4 times a week - 26.1%
3 times a week - 34.8%. This is how often I teach after the SATs. I think this helps to promote a varied and balanced curriculum.
2 times a week - 21.7%.
Once a week - 0%
0 times a week - a brave 8.7% don't teach English and Maths at all after the SATs.

The poll is going to take a month off in July. The next poll will begin in August!