Who we are & Head Teacher’s blog
Mrs S Whales
Please scroll down for our Head Teacher’s blog to see what has been happening in school.
Class Teacher - Mrs L Burton
Assistant Teacher - Mrs S Howell
Governors - please visit our Governors page.
Head Teacher's Blog
17th May 2021
Did you know that ordinarily last week would have been SATs week? In truth, we didn’t miss them! To be honest, it has been really beneficial to concentrate on the subjects and areas of the curriculum that the children need to practise. Whilst we must continue to build on the basics, learning should be fun, stimulating and enriching.
Welcome to the families who have recently joined us at Northaw. It is always an anxious time for new children as they adapt to our routines, absorb our values and learn our behavioural expectations. The pandemic has affected all children and families in different ways and we must do our best as a Northaw family to make new families welcome and to help them to be included.
It seems that the dry weather which we experienced a couple of weeks ago has now changed to regular wet weather, especially at 3 o’clock! Please ensure that your child has a coat with them, just in case it drizzles at lunchtime - they need a breath of fresh air!
If you are a working parent, please ask your employer if they can donate a prize for our Grand Day Out summer raffle; we would like to raise some money in order to restock our reading scheme books.
10th May 2021
This week I wanted to inform you of the various supportive methods that the school is engaging with to care for the wellbeing of our children. The six week project based on children’s emotional wellbeing led by a member of The Hive Support Base for our children in years 1 and 2 is going well. Recently this has involved getting the children in creative art activities whilst exploring their thoughts and feelings.
A colleague from the Specific Learning Difficulties team came into school last week to give some advice for children who may be experiencing writing, spelling and processing difficulties; most of the methods suggested had already been tried and tested! However, a couple of new ideas will be explored over the next few weeks.
Children in Oak class enjoyed a FLIP workshop (see newsletter for more information).
Mrs Rush, our Special Educational Needs Coordinator is constantly getting in touch with different agencies, family support groups, school nurses and SEND specialist advisors. However, if there is anything that you are worried about please talk to your child’s class teacher in the first instance. Apart from you, they know your children best!
Baseline assessments for the spring/summer term have now been completed. We will report on your children’s progress and attainment at the end of the academic year as usual but please be mindful that whilst we are trying our hardest to bridge any gaps in learning, the disruptions over the last year will in many cases make a difference to the end of year assessment results.
Finally, I apologise for my error in last week’s newsletter. The Grand Day Out summer raffle is NOT the first and last fundraiser, but part of the year’s fund raising activities! I understand that some very busy PTA representatives have been working hard raising money through second hand uniform sales and cake sales. Thank you to everyone who has supported the PTA through this very difficult year.
3rd May 2021
We hope that you enjoyed your long weekend!
Following on from our worship last week focusing on ‘Giving with no strings attached,’ I am pleased to announce that we will be having a Mufti day on Friday 28th May in aid of Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. We would like all the children to wear something red and/or yellow and to donate £1.00 or more for the Air Ambulance Service.
On the 16th July, we will be drawing the winning number for our ‘Grand Day Out’ summer raffle. The PTA will be asking you to find donations for the raffle and to sell as many tickets as possible. As this is our first and last fund raiser of the year, we would like to make this really special.
We are currently looking into the future provision of after school clubs for the autumn term 2021. A questionnaire will be sent out to you this week. We would like you to indicate which activities your children would attend if they were available. As usual, there have to be enough children interested in order to make the club viable.
Finally, whilst we are very sad about the departure of Mr Napoleon at the end of the summer term, please be assured that school staff and governors will do their very best to find an ideal replacement.
26th April 2021
Following on from my newsletter last week, which focused on the Five Ways of Wellbeing, I thought I would continue with the wellbeing theme and tell you about the fantastic opportunities that the children get to improve their skills in sports and games.
We are very fortunate to enjoy the good company of Billy, from G C Sports, who joins us at 7.30am every morning to engage the children in games on the playground after breakfast. Billy comes back at lunchtime and takes each class in their ‘bubbles’ on the playground for ball skills, games and fitness activities either before or after lunch.
Thanks to Sports Premium Funding, we have been able to ask Billy to teach our PE lessons in the afternoons. Billy liaises with the teachers about the curriculum. Key Stage 2 children are taught in year groups, which mean no more than 15 children per group. At this time teachers are able to plan, prepare and assess learning whilst the Assistant Teacher teaches the other half of the class. It works well!
We hope to continue with this range of fitness provision next year. Why not try out the Breakfast club? Pay in advance via the School Gateway and drop your child off between 7.30 and 8.00am.
We are looking to raise some much needed funds for the children in our school by holding a ‘Grand Raffle’ at the end of term. If you know of any business that would kindly contribute a prize, we would be most grateful to receive any donations! We will also hold a separate children’s raffle- again donations would be gratefully received!
Finally, thank you to everyone who has supported the school by parking sensibly away from the school gates. The impact on safety has been incredible and I really appreciate your sustained efforts.
19th April 2021
I hope that you enjoyed a lovely weekend. Isn’t it lovely to see the sunshine! Bright skies do wonderful things for our wellbeing. Our wellbeing ambassadors have been busy looking for children showing one or all of the Five Ways of Wellbeing.
We have two members of staff who are our leaders for mental health and well-being. They plan and deliver ‘Wellness weeks’ and ‘Feeling Good Weeks’ during which children evidence strategies of how to develop good strategies for coping with emotions and enjoying good physical health. Our KS2 leader provides children with whole class mental health programmes with leading experts in child mental health. . She has taken part in an action research project called INSPIRE, which is led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. This has been commissioned by the DfE to deliver and evaluate pioneering ways of supporting children’s mental health and well-being in schools.
Thank you to all of you who have managed to park away from our school gates. Your compliance is appreciated and your sensible actions could save a child’s life!
Please ensure that your children are dropped at their appropriate gate at the allocated time. If you are late, you will be asked to wait until the other classes have entered safely. This is to ensure that ‘bubbles’ are not broken and children’s health and wellbeing is not compromised.
We are looking forward to another sunny week.
12th April 2021
I hope that you enjoyed a restful Easter break. We are happy to return to teaching your children using the same arrangements as the end of the spring term. The same entry and exit times will apply so please make every effort to arrive at school on time.
We would also like to ask you to continue parking away from the school gates, which includes NOT parking opposite the zig-zag lines. The near miss a few weeks ago has frightened us all and we wish to avoid any serious accidents. Judges and The Two Brewers have kindly offered spaces in their car parks. I noticed that the vast majority of you parked sensibly this morning – thank you for your consideration.
PE lessons will also be on the same days and the children may wear their PE kits to school on those days. Children in Acorns and Apples and Pears may also wear their PE kits for Forest School.
We are looking forward to sunny days but as we have experienced recently, the weather can turn very chilly, very quickly so please make sure that your children have warm coats every day!
Thank you to everyone who took part in our fundraising for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. It would be really great to try some ‘safe’ fundraising for our school. If you have any wonderful ideas please email Trudy or pass your ideas on to your PTA representatives.
Well done to all the children who earned certificates last term; we hope that you like the new postcard format, which focuses on our 6Rs and the accompanying Bible stories.
22nd March 2021
I should like to say thank you to all the families who park at the designated areas away from the school gates. You are responsible people who should be applauded for your care and sensible behaviour.
Sadly, there were two incidents last week that very nearly led to the serious injury of two of our children. We have therefore decided that to limit the possibilities of such danger, we will be putting measures in place to stop anyone parking opposite the school. You will be required to park elsewhere. We have already mentioned that the Two Brewers and Judges have offered their parking spaces and the alternative would be the village hall. We are really sorry that it has come to this but after last week’s near misses we have no alternative.
On a brighter note, we are looking forward to the Easter break. We hope that you find some time to enjoy the fresh air and perhaps some relaxation.
After the Easter break, the same routines, drop off and pick up times will be in place and PE will be on the same days. We hope to start reintroducing some after school clubs in bubble groups as soon as possible so please look out for information.
Finally, thank you to all of you who have supported us during these difficult times. We look forward to sunny days and some summer fun.
15th March 2021
It seems that the children have settled back into school very well although some of them looked a little tired towards the end of the week!
Only two weeks to go until the Easter break.
Don’t forget you could be sharing a Tower of Chocolate with your family over the holidays. All you have to do is make a donation towards Essex and Herts Air Ambulance via the School Gateway or to the office in a named envelope, complete our Easter quiz and send your entry into school by 22nd March to be in with a chance of winning.
Thank you for being patient in the mornings when you are waiting for the gates to open. To comply with Government guidance and the Local Authority and School Risk Assessments we must maintain staggered entry times whatever the weather. Please don’t ask staff to let your children in early.
8th March 2021
It is lovely to see the children back in school.
We hope that you enjoyed the World Book Day activities last week and that they have inspired you to read with your children. Reading is so important: it helps your child get to know sounds, words and language, and develop early literacy skills. ... it helps to develop your child's brain, ability to focus, concentration, social skills and communication skills. It even helps your child learn the difference between 'real' and 'make believe’.
This coming Sunday is Mothering Sunday which was first celebrated in the UK around the 17th century, and was closely linked to the Laetare Sunday festival in the Christian calendar. The tradition mainly involved visiting your 'mother' church in your childhood home and eating simnel cake. In the UK, the date is linked to Easter, which is different each year as it is determined by the lunar calendar. The UK's Mother's Day always falls on the fourth Sunday during the period of Lent, when people typically give up things like certain foods or bad habits for the days leading up to Easter. We hope that you enjoy Mother’s Day with your children and that they truly spoil you!
1st March 2021
It looks like spring is on its way. I hope that you enjoyed some of the sunshine at the weekend.
We are busy organising the children’s return to school and completing the last week of ‘lockdown learning’, we hope! It is at this point I should like to thank you for all the effort you have made over the last year to support your children’s learning and to support the school.
On Thursday we will be celebrating World Book Day. There will be activities online and in school for all the children. Unfortunately there will be no dressing up in school, but if any home learners dress up as a favourite book character please send us some pictures!
I hope you have taken a look at the Easter Quiz. This is just a bit of fun for you all to enjoy leading up to Easter but I really hope you will consider making a donation on the School Gateway as we are still trying to raise money for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. If you do make a donation and send in your completed quiz by 22nd March you will be entered into our prize draw to win a Chocolate Tower. What a way to celebrate Easter! Happy St David’s Day!
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