We had our first governors meeting of the summer term on Monday, as the operations committee sat to discuss finances, premises and COVID-19 staffing and operational matters. I always enjoy these meetings as they are an opportunity to reflect on the progress and decisions that have been made over the previous term or so. Our governing body are hugely supportive of the school, give up a huge amount of their time to support the school. They certainly keep us on our toes which is a good thing! It is at this time of year, that budgets for next year are being set and work on the building is being organised for the summer holidays. As we have an old building, there are always jobs to be done, and this summer it will be the roof that needs to be repaired. So a busy and robust conversation about all of these matters was had at the committee meeting! Never a dull moment at THJS!
Our (gold award winning) young careers group met again this week for the first time this year. Lockdowns and COVID have made it difficult to meet up and chat, but years 3 and 4 had a very productive meeting this week in the base. Mrs Popa and Ms De Louvois had a fantastic range of activities on the go, the children bring their lunch along and chat, share experiences and have fun! It will be the turn of years 5 and 6 next Wednesday!
We have started the first phase of the regeneration of our old tennis courts this week. It is unclear how long they have been out of use and hidden, but I first found out about them in the autumn term - a whole year after I started at the school! They were barely recognisable as tennis courts when I first visited them, except for the fact that they were surrounded by the familiar looking chain link fence. Mrs Gibbons, our facilities manager - has been busy getting quotes and asking local firms to come and see how they might have all the overgrown shrubbery and trees cut back. This week- finally - it happened! As you can see there is still a long way to go, the surface is in a worse condition than we had hoped for and so it will cost more than we expected. It is a longer term aspiration, but we do want eventually to have a multi use games area that the children can use for sport and that we can also hire out to raise funds for the school. The fundraising will begin next year - so watch this space!
On Friday we invited all children who celebrated Eid last week to come to school wearing their Eid clothes today. The purpose of this, was linked to our values of pride and equality. We wanted our Muslim children to feel proud of their faith and culture and for the rest of the school community in turn, to feel proud of our diversity. We also invited all children to bring in snacks and treats to share, and invited the children to share their Eid celebration stories with their peers. As I walked around school during the afternoon, there was such a palpable buzz in the classrooms and wet-bays. Our children had such a fantastic and inclusive time in classrooms, discussing Eid and eating food - some traditional and delicious Pakistani and Turkish foods but also less traditional treats like popcorn, biscuits and cupcakes. Everyone was challenged to make sure that they went home knowing at least 3 new things about Eid, how it is celebrated, why it is so significant but also how differently it is celebrated in different homes and families. Thank you to all of our families for your support in this new initiative.
What a busy week that was! I have been blown away by how purposeful the school is at the moment. Our children have always loved learning because our teachers are experts in pitching the learning in such a way to motivate their pupils and accelerate their progress. However there is something special about the energy around school at the moment; the children really are grateful to be in school, and they are seizing every opportunity to learn and develop their skills and knowledge. I have lost count of how many times this week, there has been a knock on my door and I have looked up to be greeted by a pupil holding evidence of some excellent learning behaviour. I have shared a few examples in this weeks blog below, just to give you a small flavour!
The whole school enjoyed an incredible, live zoom cast this week, along with 30 000 other children nationally. We spent the morning with Baroness Floella Benjamin as she shared her experiences of coming to England as part of the Windrush generation. Her voice was powerful, honest and incredibly important for our children to hear. TA huge thank you must go to Mrs Chahal for organising such an incredible experience for our pupils. Our Aspire curriculum also covers this aspect of the British Empire in their Year 6 history lessons. #aspire
This week, we held a special Pyamarama day in school. All children were invited to wear their PJ's to school in exchange for a £1 donation to The Book Trust, a charity that aims to make sure that there are books in every child's home.
We also had another day of drop everything and read as part of #Pyjamarama day. Whenever the bell rings, whatever you are doing - you must literally drop what you are doing and read your book! Even (as happened in year 4) if it rings in your PE lesson! Lots of fun, but with a serious message - daily reading of a quality text has been shown to be the single biggest indicator of future academic success. It is so vital that our children read every single day. #teamTH