SJP6941

From the Headmaster….

Posted: 16th September 2019

Dear Parents,

We are now fully up and running; the timetable works!  The children’s attitudes to learning are in an excellent place and the process of establishing baselines and bench-marking now allows us to more fully ensure that stretch and challenge, consolidation and high quality support is achieved where required.  Our aim is to ensure each child’s needs are met through a professional assessment of their gaps and resulting next steps. Teachers will ensure that effective learning is taking place in all lessons and that children make progress every week.  The curriculum map outlines the areas of study and we are keen for children to make links between these.  Year 2 children, for example, were learning about ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ in a PE lesson this week to support their ‘Land Ahoy!’ theme. Do talk to your children about their subjects and areas of learning and encourage them to explain their own learning to you. It is not always an easy thing for children to do.  They will tend to describe what they did (task) rather than what they learned (learning objective).  Encourage them to talk about the latter. For example, in an English lesson, Year 6 pupils were asked to draw a picture of a scene from their class book, Skellig.  The task was to draw the picture; the learning objective was to develop a deeper understanding of the use of nouns and adjectives within the text and to express this in a different format.  This metacognitive approach encourages the pupils to have a greater awareness and understanding of their own thought processes; academic rigour being at the heart of our learning environment.

It was my utmost pleasure to host children’s author, Nick Butterworth and Bellevue Founder and CEO, Mark Malley on Thursday for the Official Opening of the EYFS building.  The children in Pre-R, Reception and Year 1 enjoyed some wonderful storytelling with Nick Butterworth before he cut the ribbon to mark the opening.  Nick said that when he visited Holmwood House he always felt it was a special place “where things really happen; where the sun always shines; where the friendliness of the community from the office to the classroom was always so much in evidence.” My thanks to Gary Bigg, the building contractor, who did such a great job; it was good to see him at the ceremony, too. 

The Produce Show is such a high point of the autumn term.  It is a whole school community event which brings the talents and efforts of both children and adults together in a wonderful array of baking, displays, fruit, vegetables and some rather exotic beverages!  It was great to see so many of you attend the event and indeed submit produce. The Macmillan Coffee Event which ran alongside the Produce Show is a well-supported annual fixture, too.  My thanks to Miss Godman in particular who masterminds the show and puts in a huge effort to make it the success it always is.  

Can I flag up an important event for parents in Years 3 to 6.  On Tuesday 24 September we will present a series of speakers to parents on the subject of understanding the benefits of Years 7 and 8 at Holmwood.  The line up will include a senior school headmaster, past pupils, current pupils and two parents of children who have gone through the system and are now at senior schools. The evening aims to inform parents of the value of the top two years of the school in terms of their choice of senior schools. Drinks will be served from 6.45pm and the talk starts at 7pm in the Talbot Room. Please also note the Revision and Study Skills Parent Workshop on Thursday 10 October at 7pm and Looking Ahead to Senior Schools Parent Workshop on Tuesday 5 November, also at 7pm.  Please put these important dates in your diaries. 

With best wishes

Alexander Mitchell 
Headmaster

Categories: Headmaster's Blog


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