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Mrs S Whales
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Head Teacher's Blog
22nd February 2021
I hope that you enjoyed a healthy half term.
The News today suggests that schools will be expected to open for all children on Monday 8th March. This is brilliant news! Depending on the Prime Minister’s briefing later today, we will send out a reminder of our operating systems next week.
Whilst I have been unable to go out for coffee with my friends at the weekend, like all of you I have been at home. I do like to go out walking but when the weather is wet, I stay in and cook. I have found some interesting recipes.
I like this one because it is a healthy snack and it also saves me throwing away those leftover pitta breads that are past their best. Have you got a good recipe to share? Perhaps a dip to go with my Pitta Sticks? (I tasted some lovely food in January 2020 during our Try Something New event!) How about we start a Northaw Cookery Book? Would anyone like to volunteer to develop this idea? Please let me know.
8th February 2021
Thank you for your continued support with remote learning. You are doing an amazing job and everyone here in school appreciates your support. We know that it is enormously difficult to juggle these demands with the care for home and relatives and the challenges of work. All I can say is thank you!
I received an enquiry last week about the purpose of Lockdown Learner awards. These are supposed to be a means to congratulate rather than compete because we understand that family home challenges are different for everyone. Some people are single parents, some children have complex needs and difficulties and some families are sharing equipment with a number of family members.
The teachers and I felt that this was a nice way to celebrate the efforts of children who had achieved something good at home and to applaud their successes, usually in relation to our 6Rs, in our weekly newsletters just like we would normally do. Our lockdown learners mentioned so far may have responded really well to feedback, produced an excellent piece of work, been creative or thoughtful, shown resilience and/or researched well for projects. I hope that this explanation helps!
Thank you to the families who responded to our request for photos last week. It is not too late to show us your ‘happiness’ moments!
We are continuing with Feel Good Fortnight by sharing some of the stories and ideas from the resources that were sent to you last week. I hope that you are finding them useful.
Finally, a big thank you to you all for your patience and understanding during these difficult times. I am hopeful for some good news after the half-term break about getting the children back to school and I will keep you updated. Please look out for a message from Trudy regarding reporting positive Covid results over the half term.
Enjoy a rest from learning over half term, enjoy some fresh air and enjoy time with your lovely children.
1st February 2021
Before Christmas our children wrote cards to some of the elderly residents in Potters Bar. During covid times, Cooperscroft and Cuffley Manor care homes came together with our school to support each other’s mental health and wellbeing. We plan to repeat this activity as it was so well received by our elderly friends. A report of the Christmas activity has been published by the care homes and should appear in the Welwyn and Hatfield Times in the near future. In the meantime, we will be sending you a copy of their own publication. You can also find it on our wellbeing page.
The grey days of January are over and we are looking forward to a fabulous February. We have some lovely ‘feeling good’ activities for you to try at home and at school. Feeling Good Week is a Hertfordshire-wide event that we have enjoyed taking part in over a number of years and we feel that this year is even more important! This special week is designed to encourage schools and the wider community to promote children and young people’s emotional wellbeing by raising awareness of mental health and showing where support can be accessed within the community. At Northaw, we have decided to extend this event and have re-named it - FEELING GOOD FORTNIGHT! Please see this weeks school newsletter for some really good websites that might inspire you to try something new.
Finally, we would like to create a school display; we would like you to send in a photo of your child doing something that makes them feel good. If you have any other material/evidence based on your FEELING GOOD FORTNIGHT experiences, we would love you to share it with us. This feedback from you will help us to provide evidence for a funding bid which was applied for in the autumn term; we hope that we can rely on your support.
25th January 2021
Well done to the Hill family who have won our Christmas quiz with 44 points! It was a tight finish with the Rawlings family and Trudy coming a close second! Thank you to everyone who contributed; we raised a fabulous £40 for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. We will send out an answer sheet for anyone who is interested. Watch out for our Easter quiz, which will be released in the next few weeks.
I am sure that you’ll agree that these are difficult times! Family struggles are many; ill-health, squabbling, not seeing friends, home learning that children don’t want to do, money and jobs…the list is endless and I’m sure that you don’t need me to remind you. But amongst all this, there are genuine heroes. Our Tidy Team in school were always very helpful, picking up litter that the wind had blown, because I can’t imagine that any of our children would be messy! Could you spare an hour or two with your children tidying your neighbourhood?
I am really grateful to Denni and Stevie’s dad, who has tidied up our Acorns garden.
I am grateful to Salvo, Tindaro and Hoxha (friends of Mrs Cullingford) who, will be putting in the firm foundations for our eco-greenhouse – once the snow has gone!.
I am grateful to our teachers who spend hours and hours responding to your children’s learning online. It is not easy to juggle the pressures of online learning for 30 children with the full-time care of children in school. Please send a kind word in appreciation to them.
I am grateful to our support staff who help us to keep the school running.
We all miss the children and I’m sure that the children all miss each other. Please do your best to set up safe social calls to keep the friendships going and let us know your ‘lockdown’ stories. Who have you helped today?
Remember to keep your children reading, learning their spellings and doing mental maths (Number bonds, times tables etc.) We hope that we will be able to see you all again soon.
Finally, I want you all to be happy. Being active will help that so how about trying out some of the activities from the Herts Sports Partnership https://sportinherts.org.uk/peschoolsport/behappy/
18th January 2021
Earlier this week we asked all of our families to review their need for in-school learning. It is a difficult time for all of us and we appreciate just how tricky home educating can be, particularly when trying to work from home. We also appreciate that for some of our critical worker families, it is simply not an option to home educate.
To those of you who have been able to make adjustments to your working week in order to facilitate part-time schooling, we would like to say thank you. By agreeing to keep your child(ren) out of the classroom for even one day a week, you are enabling us to support more of our families whilst minimising the risks to everyone in our school community.
It is going to be tricky for a number of weeks yet and we would appeal to you all to continue to be as flexible as you can be during these difficult times.
I was very fortunate to be able to do playground duty on Monday last week. I noticed how your children enjoyed the chasing and teams games that Billy put into place. Some of the little ones are really fast runners! We hope that for those of you at home, you still manage a little physical activity between the learning and the showers!
A physically active child is a healthy child.
Physical activity strengthens a child’s muscles and bones, prevents excessive weight gain, and reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. However, physical activity is also beneficial to the mental health of a child.
Experts say physical activity allows children to have a better outlook on life by building confidence, managing anxiety and depression, and increasing self-esteem and cognitive skills.
Mrs Taylor sent out a couple of emails this week about Internet Safety. Please take a moment to read through these as they contain some important messages, especially as children are using devices more. Please make yourself aware of the suitability of online games, that they are age-appropriate and are regularly monitored by the adults in your family.
11th January 2021
A happy new year to you all!
During the last week we have had to deal with the last-minute changes of guidance, the u-turns, the lack of empathy and veiled threats from the DfE and the uncertainty of a virus that threatens to affect us all. It is now, more than ever, that we ask for your support to trust what we are doing.
We are aware that online learning is not ideal and certainly as teachers, this is not what we signed up for when we joined this profession. Teachers are working flat out to try to keep up with home learning as well as being in class, often having to respond to over 100 pieces of learning each day.
Unfortunately, in our school we are unable to do ‘Zoom’ lessons. This is because we have two year groups in one class and many differentiated lessons within those groups. What I am saying is that at school your children access a ‘bespoke’ type of lesson that focuses on their own ability. This cannot be achieved through ‘Zoom’. A report from the Education Endowment Foundation concludes: ‘the quality of remote teaching is more important than how lessons are delivered’. If you would like to have a look at this report it can be found here.
We understand too that yet again you are trying to motivate, organise and maintain a good mindset at home whilst trying to encourage your child to learn. This is not easy but we appreciate every step that you take to help us.
17th December 2020
Oh my goodness, we’ve made it!!!! What a fabulous week, celebrating Christmas with the opening of Dan’s Den and a visit from the Bishop of Hertford on Tuesday and a fabulous Christmas lunch yesterday!
On behalf of all the staff, thank you for your generous gifts and cards. Whilst we are aware that this has been a challenging term, we are grateful for the positive partnerships that we have with you.
Yesterday we sent you a very important ‘Covid-19 reporting’ letter, please take the time to read the instructions carefully. As Hertsmere is now in Tier 3, we will also be sending you an update from the Local Authority.
Our Christmas performances have been a little different this year. Parents of Acorns children have already been sent the link to their performance…didn’t everyone travel a long way! Parents of children in Apples and Pears, Willow and Oak classes will be sent the link to our ‘NaTVty’ today. Thank you to everyone who provided the glorious costumes for the children to wear; thank you to all the staff who directed and organised the groups of children through the scenes; thank you to Miss Barker who wrote the screenplay and finally thank you to Mrs Taylor who used her IT wizardry to put everything together. We really hope that you enjoy it!
A very big thank you to Reverend Chris and the local Parish Church who have provided the children with a special ‘Christingle’ gift and an invitation to a Christingle service. Also, thank you to our PTA who have provided the children with a delicious selection box. This is in place of their Santa’s grotto gift because Santa is self-isolating!
Please remember to collect the plastic bottles (2litre washed and with the label removed) for Mrs Cullingford and plastic bottle tops for Miss Barker; we have some wonderful eco-council work starting in 2021.
Finally, well done to all of this term’s certificate winners.
Warmest wishes for a happy Christmas and a healthy New Year!
14th December 2020
Well done everyone, we have almost made it to the end of term!
Thank you to our hard-working PTA members who packed and stacked boxes safely ready for distribution last week. I do hope that you enjoyed all their festive fun activities. On behalf of all our staff, I should like to say a huge thank you for all the lovely gifts that the PTA left for staff with Trudy last week. Your generosity and kindness are much appreciated.
Tomorrow we will be welcoming some very special visitors to our school; the Bishop of Hertford and Dan and Chris Ruge-Cope. We will all be celebrating the opening of Dan’s Den, a new gazebo that has been erected owing to the generous and thoughtful donation made by Dan and Chris. The children will get so much use out of Dan’s Den- to shelter from the rain in winter and to hide from the heat in the summer. We also have a new path that connects the gazebo to the spiritual garden. This not only makes the spiritual garden more accessible but also provides a different route to the playground for Oak and Apples and Pears classes.
We are very grateful to Ginnie and her girls, who will provide the children with their special Christmas lunch albeit in class bubbles.
School finishes just after lunch on Thursday! Please see left for the staggered times you should collect your children. School starts again on Tuesday 5th January.
Please look out for a very important email at the end of the week. It will give you details of what to do if you or a member of your child’s class tests positive for COVID-19 during the Christmas break.
Finally, please enjoy a restful and joyous Christmas and New Year break. We all wish for a healthy and happy 2021!
7th December 2020
Last week Oak class enjoyed a visit from Sir Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne. He answered the children’s questions based upon Covid-19 and the lockdowns, climate change and even the odd personal question about why he wanted to be a MP! He was really impressed with the children’s thoughtful letters and asked to keep them for reference.
The children looked absolutely fabulous today in their beautiful Christmas jumpers. Thank you to everyone who sent in donations for the hampers.
Thank you also to everyone who sent in a donation for the Christmas shop; every little helps! All the proceeds from the PTA Christmas events apart from the quiz will go towards the school. PTA funds provide your children with the little extras that make school fun. The proceeds from the sale of the quiz go to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Service.
Well done to Nyah, who won the Hertford and Ware Schools Sports Partnership Key Stage 1 award for the most number of skips! Thank you to Billy, who helped the children to practise at lunch times!
We are looking forward to a Christmas workshop tomorrow run by staff from St Alban’s Cathedral. Look out for feedback on this in next week’s newsletter.
It seems that there have been many coronavirus outbreaks in Hertsmere so please play your part in keeping our children and families safe.
30th November 2020
Isn’t it exciting? You have a new Head Teacher from September 2021! Mrs Foster and I will work closely together (2m apart!) over the remaining two and a half terms to ensure a smooth transition. Northaw Church of England Primary School looks forward to a bright new future, refreshing ideas and firm friendships. When the time comes, I hope that you will embrace the changes without losing the fond memories of the past 6 years!
Last week the children had their individual and sibling photographs taken. We enjoyed 3 hours of fun trying to get the photos perfect…let’s hope that you get the results that you wanted! If you are not able to order online you must return your sealed envelopes with the correct payment to the school office by Wednesday this week.
Please note that the Governors are sending out a letter this week to our local residents regarding parking across driveways and parking opposite the zig-zag lines. We have tried to ask you to park further up the road or use the car parks provided at the local restaurants but so many people are ignoring our requests. We have instructed residents to call Welwyn and Hatfield Council if they feel aggrieved by the inconsiderate parking across driveways as this is a form of anti-social behaviour. We are sorry that it has come to this because it is only a few people who spoil it for the rest.
On a lighter note, we will be offering you the chance for your family to win a 2.432g box of Celebrations! This is a huge box! All you have to do is enter our cryptic quiz. All proceeds will go to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.
Entries will be judged on Monday 11th January so you have the whole of December and the beginning of January get those festive brains working with your families. Quiz sheets will be available from tomorrow at a cost of only £2.00 per copy. Please send your money in a named envelope into class and your child will receive one of our very cryptic quiz sheets. Don’t forget to write your names on your entries - happy quizzing!
23rd November 2020
We are very grateful for an amazing donation of £7,000.00 from Dan Ruge-Cope, which will pay for the refurbishment of the gazebo. The work will take place early in December 2020. At the same time a footpath will be made to join the spiritual garden with the gazebo. This will make the spiritual garden more accessible and also give Oak class and Apples and Pears a mud-free route to the playground without going through the school. We intend to have a grand, socially distanced, opening with the children before Christmas. Dan, who is a longstanding member of the Governing Body said that he “was very proud to be part of our school.” THANK YOU DAN! Last Friday the children enjoyed a very active day. The children tried out some new sports like curling, boccia and archery. Everyone had a fun time learning new skills and getting fit! Last Friday you will have received a request for costumes for our Christmas production. We will be trying to put a show together albeit remotely and demonstrating that all is not lost for Christmas this year! Sadly, I need to remind parents and carers not to park or turn opposite the school or in the school entrances! This is very dangerous and risks the lives of children getting to school. Please park in Judges car park (mornings only) or The Two Brewers car park, get fit and walk. Finally, on a more pleasant note, keep a look out for PTA notices; there is more excitement to be had in the run up to Christmas!
16th November 2020
This week is Just Talk Week: this special week is all about positive mental health - an upbeat campaign, designed in collaboration with young people and with over 30 partner agencies from across Hertfordshire. The focus is on sharing ideas and information on self-help and coping strategies, as well as making sure every young person knows where they can access more information or support should they need it. In light of Covid-19 this is more important than ever. We will be delivering some special ‘Just Talk’ lessons in school.
To celebrate all of the wonderful work around the children's wellbeing that is happening in school, we are introducing 'Wellbeing Ambassadors.' There will be one ambassador per class (these will change half termly) and they will be on the lookout for examples of when their peers demonstrate one of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. The five Ways to Wellbeing are: Connect, Give, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Be Active. They will award a member of their class with a colour coded sticker each week during their class Celebration Assembly with the aim of reminding the class about the different ways to promote their own wellbe