It has been great to walk around last week and see the children hard at work. I spent some time as a TA in Year 3 and enjoyed their morning skills session; this is something that I wholeheartedly approve of from the Science of Learning, the revisiting of different spellings, handwriting development and times tables each day will enable them to ‘stick’ in their long term memory more easily.
Our new catering manager has begun to institute some changes. The salad bar has seen a revamp, the ‘alternative’ options on each day have seen some exciting differences and the daily menu has seen some variation. There have been some interesting moments with supply and delivery but she has managed those well. She is using the steam oven more and she has persuaded me now to steam the boiled potatoes at home, as hers are super! Thomas Franks have been awarded the catering contract here and we look forward to welcoming them onsite. Their ability to bulk purchase should enable greater quality and variety. I have always worked with schools who are ‘under contract’ and have seen the real value of the external linkage.
We are very sad to see Mrs Talbot leave but have had an amazing field of candidates. Ms Ellie Shipley has been appointed as her replacement. Ms Shipley will be a class teacher for Year 4ECT, and teach Maths in Year 4 and Year 6. Ms Shipley was educated at New Hall, trained at Saint Mark and Saint John, Plymouth, and currently teaches Year 6 at Baddow Hall Junior School. She runs the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme for cadets in Essex. She specialises in Maths; she runs the upper school choir at Baddow Hall, plays the flute, drums, guitar and trombone. Mrs Mitchell is looking forward to her support with the music! Ms Shipley starts in April but will spend some afternoons here this term.
Assembly today focused on perfectionism. In a world based on tests, matches, getting into teams it is very easy to want perfection. The pupils were challenged about comparison and self-criticism; expectations of perfection from others and impatience when they aren’t perfect; and a desire to seek praise and perfect scores – and being gutted when they don’t get them. They were encouraged to challenge their effort not their results and to bear with others and look after the things in their control. This film provided some illustration.
I spent time on Friday with the former Director of PE from Bede’s Senior School in Sussex (who was amazed at the space and the facilities here), and the Bellevue Group Education Director, Steve Wade talking through strategy for sport as the school goes through to 16, and developing our sporting offer. One element focused on how better to develop the girls’ and boys’ racket skills working with the Lexden club onsite – and access for you too there. The discussion also ranged across facilities and the coaching of all sports at all levels. It was a very useful stage on the journey.