My second year as Head Teacher has taught me so much, mostly that every day there is a new way the children at Bernards Heath can make me proud!
The ethos at school is one where expectations are high, it is the norm to hear staff and children talk about ‘doing their best’ and ‘feeling proud’ of their achievements. Effort is encouraged and we are always glad to hear about new learning at school, at home and in after school clubs; it is particularly impressive when children play their instruments and sing in assembly and this year we have been treated to ukulele, cello and guitar to name a few! The opportunities in clubs have met a wide variety of interests and have taught children new skills and built confidence and self esteem. A big thank you to the staff who run these clubs and give up their time.
One of our main focus points on the School Development Plan has been to raise the percentage of Year 1 children meeting the expectation in the statutory Phonics Screening. There has been a huge amount of work done by the entire staff and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support, energy and commitment to giving our children the best learning experiences. I am proud that our 81% target has been exceeded and 88% of our Year 1 cohort reached the expectation this year – our highest ever! In meeting this whole school objective we have not lost the ‘love of reading.’ The love of reading will continue over the summer; look at the ‘Learning Together’ page on our website for ideas about how you can continue to support reading and sign up to take part in the library reading challenge.
The curriculum at school is something many parents have commented on in report reply slips. There have been so many additional experiences including visits, visitors, performances, assemblies, curriculum weeks and complete classroom transformations that wouldn’t happen without the creativity and energy of our staff. They are an incredible bunch of people who put children and their wellbeing and learning first. They work incredibly hard and the reports they have written about your children and the way they talk about every child at pupil progress meetings demonstrates what a good understanding they have of every child as an individual.
We know that we are sharing our days with children who are still forming their view of the world and are learning how best to make an impact. Responsibility is key. We have had a year of uncertainty in the wider world and our children have picked up on this and been keen to take action. The ‘Help Refugees Committee’ have organised fundraisers and rallied support from across the school resulting in over £2000 being raised to help vulnerable children and families. It blows my mind that children who are six and seven years old have a level of emotional intelligence and social responsibility and can articulate that so clearly in the actions they take. The School Council and Play Leaders are other examples where children have given up their time and put their personal and social skills to excellent use. Our playground is a busy and happy place for children to play. They tell us they feel safe and that they love their school.
There is a huge amount that happens ‘behind the scenes’ I would like to thank the Governors for their support and challenge and Mrs Kilpatrick at the Junior School for the excellent communication we share. Miss Woolfson and Miss Kearns have a daily impact and are an inspirational pair with the highest expectations for themselves and others. Our admin team is exceptional! They answer in excess of a million questions each day and manage to keep calm and smile at all who encounter them!
One of the things I am most proud of is our communication with parents. We truly value our partnerships with parents and continue to be committed to working together to best support children. The outcome we see as a result of this is happy, confident and independent learners. Thank you for volunteering, giving us feedback both positive and constructive, taking on board suggestions, attending meetings about how to have an even bigger impact on learning at home and clapping loudly at every event we invite you to! We really couldn’t be as successful as we are without your support and your children benefit enormously from this.
As we look forward to September and welcoming new families to school we have already started thinking about our priorities; we are planning to further develop our learning environments to enhance independence and further promote early reading and writing. We are also planning to develop staff curriculum teams to look at how we can further challenge children outside the core areas of learning.
First though… a holiday! I wish you a safe, happy and adventurous 6 weeks and look forward to seeing you in September!