Year 1 Blog

Welcome to the blog for our Mitchell, Spencer, and Churchill class children.


Wow! What a celebration!

Herts Balance and Ride with Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School

This summer we joined forces with Phil from Herts Balance and Ride to launch a new initiative funded by our Sports Premium budget (with no cost to parents) to teach our Year 1 and 2 children the life skill of balancing and riding a bike.

Why learn to ride a bike?

  • Our Physical Education curriculum must ‘provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness’ National Curriculum 2013
  • Develop strength, coordination, balance and stamina
  • Increase fitness levels and learn habits to encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Contribute to a sustainable environment
  • Take on a new challenge
  • Have fun!

After 6 days of working with Phil over the course of 4 weeks, working with a total of 63 children in KS1, here are the results:

By the end of their final session 84% of children were riding, 14% had transitioned to gliding on a pedal bike and 1 child was balancing, very close to transitioning to a pedal bike.

Here’s what the parents thought  – 

‘Absolutely fantastic…. she loved every minute and I cannot believe she could independently ride a bike in under an hour. She has been on lots of bike rides since learning her new skill.’

‘My 6 year old daughter is thrilled to be actually riding a bike properly now and is always asking to go out for family bike rides.’

‘I cannot commend this experience enough…she enjoyed it so much and made extremely fast progress and is now confident bike riding. We very much hope you will continue this initiative for when our son joins the school in Sept 2019.  Congratulations to Phil and his team and well done BH school in being so innovative…’

‘He had shown no interest in learning to ride a bike before (happy to just sit in my child’s bike seat) and was a bit nervous. He was so proud that he has learnt to ride and I am amazed he has done this in such a short amount of time. He is now asking for a bike, which I am keen to get him so that we can practice together. I’m so grateful he has had this opportunity. Phil had a lovely gentle manner with the children which I think is so important’

‘It was really helpful for her to have the practise on a balance bike and she’s already asked us to take her stabilisers off so she can practise gliding on her bike this weekend.  A great school initiative, thanks very much indeed.’

‘A massive thank you to the school and Phil for organising the bike lessons…He’s definitely shown more interest in riding in the garden and his confidence has grown since the lessons.  Thanks again to you and all the staff who coordinated the bike training and a super thank you to Phil who has taught the kids so incredibly well. I know many parents who were equally amazed at how well their kids can now ride a bike.’

‘My daughter was unable to ride without stabilisers before the course. She could use a balance bike, but was nowhere near riding for herself. She is quite small and last summer she just wasn’t physically strong enough to get going despite our efforts.  We knew that it was time to get her going this year, but could see it being difficult because she wasn’t confident on the bike and also has 2 bigger, stronger sisters who are physically streets ahead of her which sometimes can make her unconfident in her own ability.  At the end of the 2 bike sessions, she was riding independently, although still a bit wobbly and not that confidently.  However, she has taken every opportunity since the course to be outside on her bike and she’s now really cracked it and is enjoying cycling.  It has been brilliant for her to be able to learn with her own peers and to get going so quickly.  She can now join her sisters when they are out of their bikes without feeling like she’s missing out and we are looking forward to finally going out together as a family this summer.  Many thanks for giving her this opportunity.’

‘Our son recently undertook the learning to ride program…he never showed any interest to learn previously despite previous attempts …he learnt on the course the balance bike then second day he could actually ride unsupported  (we offered [him] an extra incentive that when he progressed  we would get him a bike).  We bought him a bike 2 days later…now he is on it every day…he even sits on the bike on the terrace waiting for us to take him out !!  He is getting more confident with every session….and will look for a bike myself  so that we can go out together.’

‘We were amazed that after just one lesson he could confidently ride a bike without stabilizers. He was so proud of himself after the first lesson and demonstrated his skills around our close and proudly told the neighbours and also random strangers that we met that week that he could ride his bike without stabilizers! After the second session with Phil he had increased in confidence even more and it was great to see him cycling fast and confidently around the playground.

He has since had an increased interest in riding his bike in the evenings and at weekends, he rode down to the local park this weekend. His Dad has also just purchased a bike so that he can go out on bike rides with him.
Many thanks to the school for using the funding towards this, a really important skill for children to learn and I think doing it with peers in the school setting helps their confidence and focus as they see it as a challenge and another form of learning.’
We could keep going!  Your support has been fantastic; thank you for joining us at the ‘showcases’ to celebrate the children’s successes and for getting out on your bikes at home.  We look forward to continuing our work with Phil in the autumn.

Windows Update

One of the biggest challenges to overcome – replacing the hall windows!

Here’s Mitchell Classroom looking a bit different.

Another huge thank you to the fantastic team who worked tirelessly to complete the window project on time.

Brand New Windows

The window walling project has begun!  Each KS1 class is ‘evicted’ for a day – Alban and Morpurgo have spent the last two days learning outdoors – whilst Nick and his team remove the old windows and external doors and replace them with brand new ones!

Take a look at Morpurgo’s makeover…



Cycling Day 2

Day 2

We are pushing off, gliding, pedaling, braking, turning and feeling very confident!

Learning to Balance and Ride

Day 1 of Herts Balance and Ride and we are feeling very proud!  Look at what our Y1 children have achieved today.

Our Book Fair Rewards!

From the £1,400 spent by parents at our Book Fair in April we raised just over £800 in rewards to be spent on books for school.  Here are the new books we’ve received this week.  Due to the extremely tight budget this has been a huge help to us and has enabled us to update and replenish books in the library, in classrooms and to support our 1:1 Readit2 programme.

A huge thank you for your support – we are incredibly lucky!

Year 1 Art Days!


The first two days back after half term have been very creative! The children have been busy making their own amazing sketch books and filling  them with artistic techniques such as dots, dashes, cross-hatching, flicks and outlines! They have been illustrators like Quentin Blake and used mirrors to make self portraits.

Noah said “Before I found sketching quite tricky, but now I’ve practised and had a go I’m feeling much more confident.” One child who had a go at sketching their portrait commented “when I drew my face I made sure I added detail including my glasses and my eye patch.”

During child initiated play some children chose to colour, they remembered to go slowly and really concentrate on colouring inside the lines.

The children are looking forward to using their sketchbooks every weeks to consolidate and improve their drawing skills.



Maths Enrichment Days

Our Learning Hero Duck has been busy! Over the Christmas holidays and on the first day back at school delivered tricky maths challenges to each class!

Challenges involved making patterns, sharing and finding combinations that add to make a number. Year 2 solved magic boxes, Mitchell class went outside to solve the problem of getting from one end of the field to the other without letting their feet touch the floor! Churchill class made an estimation station where one child filled a bowl with dinosaurs and another child had to guess how many there were!

The Happy Puzzle company also came to visit and gave the children lots of puzzles to solve as a team in our school hall!

The children were encouraged to talk about the problems they encountered and find ways of overcoming these together (even when they were really tricky!)

Here are some quotes from the children following two fantastic days of being expert problem solvers just like Duck:


“We had to do teamwork and not give up like duck when solving the puzzles.” – Juliette

“I’m going to do a Duck challenge.” – James N

“It keeps going on and on. You can even put it in a circle and it’s still a pattern” – Anna taking part in a pattern challenge

“It gets harder and harder but I really like hard stuff.” – Maxime

“I like that it’s hard and it’s a challenge.” – Jojo

“I just like that we get to do tricky challenges.” – Sam

“You get to make puzzles.” – Kerr

“This one is the heavy one because there is rocks inside… Or maybe playdough.” – Grace

“Because you get to build a tower and this one is getting trickier and trickier!” – Aaryan


New School Council

Last week I met twelve very proud and excited children from Year 1 and Year 2. The new School Councillors met me in my office and received their new badge. They introduced themselves to the other members of the group and told everyone something they really like doing.

Alban Class – Ella and William

Morpurgo Class – Lilybelle and Casper

Ryder Class – Caitlin and Freddie

Mitchell Class – Ava and Oula

Churchill Class – Alex and Rosie

Spencer Class – Charlotte and William

The rest of our first meeting was spent choosing new signs for our playground. I was particularly impressed with the reasons they gave for the choices they made:

“We should have this one because it will help us learn” – Number bond flowers

“The little children will like this one” – Seasons

“We should have this one because it will keep us healthy” – Football scoring game

Look out for the new boards which should arrive in school before half term.

Usain who???

Sports Day was a massive success! Thank you to all the staff who worked hard to organise such great events and to parents for making the time to come and watch. The real stars of the day were of course the children…

Clarence and Verulam started the events with  an egg and spoon race where Verulam Class’ eggs looked like they may have been glued into place (Mr Wilson and Mrs Randall have assured us they weren’t!) Following that was an impressive obstacle race which involved getting a cup of water from one end of the field to the other, climbing over stepping stones and crawling under tables!

Next up were Heath and Heartwood, they exchanged the baton with skill and gave each other a well rehearsed high five during the hurdles. They too tackled the daring obstacle race with the winning team collecting 900ml of water between them.

All in attendance could not fail to notice the sheer joy on the faces on the children as they did their best in each event. When it came to the skipping race we saw a wide variety of techniques as the smiles turned to looks of pure concentration and determination. The crowd of spectators did a great job of encouraging and applauding our youngest athletes.

The afternoon involved a change of venue as we moved to the Heath. Year 1 and 2 had the opportunity to really gather speed as they sprinted from one cone to the other. Parents cheered whilst some got comfy on chairs and blankets. The expectations were raised for Year 1 and 2 and the afternoon finished with competitive sprints where 1st, 2nd and 3rd badges were awarded. Children were learning to win and lose and we were impressed with the incredible atmosphere of team spirit and good sportsmanship. One of our favourite quotes of the day came from a child in Year 1 who fell mid race, got up and ran for the finish line. It was all a bit overwhelming at the end of the race but when we chatted later she explained that she had thought of the Lion King when she had fallen, and in particular the bit where Simba got bumped on the head by the baboon and was told “Don’t worry about it, it’s in the past!” We were particularly impressed with this positive attitude and how it impacted on others who might have been feeling a bit disappointed about not winning their race.

Sports Day not only gave children the chance to show off what they can do physically, they also got the chance to stretch their personal, social and emotional muscles, building resilience and celebrating their best efforts whatever the outcome. We are all very proud.

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