I hope that you are all well. This week has seen our first series of parent consultations. Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking part. We were very close to 100% parental participation. This is amazing and I believe is a sign of how we are currently working together in the best interests of your children. As I have said to all the teachers, I was extremely lucky to be able to walk in and out of classes during these meetings and listen to the interactions that were taking place. What struck me was how well the teachers knew your children and how best to support and challenge them. Telephone calls would not be our first choice of communication and we hope to be able to change this in the not too distant future. Once again, I would like to thank our amazing office team for organising these meetings. Every teacher I listened to ended by saying that you should contact them in the future if you would like to discuss anything. Please do this. We are keen to promote an ongoing dialogue rather than just relying on termly meetings. Forgive me while I wax lyrical about our team but I truly believe we have a special team of staff in place to care for your children and I feel very lucky to lead them.
I am currently writing my termly report to the governing body and it has been really great to reflect on what we have already achieved this term. One area I am very proud of is our promotion of reading across the school. We have established consistency in the teaching of reading and I have been really impressed with how your children are accessing the texts that they are studying. You may know that I teach Year 5 on a Tuesday and I have been absolutely hooked by the two texts that we have looked at so far (The Girl of Ink & Stars and Treason if you're interested). We heavily invested in books last year and it is lovely to teach a text when every child has an actual copy of the book in front of them. The reading award scheme continues to gather support and I am spoken to daily by children telling me how many dots they have achieved. Please continue to support your children reading at home. With three of my own children I am acutely aware of how difficult to listen to them or read to them every night. Our time is limited and I sometimes find it difficult to be at my best by bedtime but please invest in encouraging a love of reading.
To help you with this, we will be sending out a separate reading for pleasure newsletter with tips and recommendations. We have also commandeered an area of the website where we have uploaded examples of teachers reading to children with some useful prompts (Reading Page). We will also be populating this area with teachers reading books so when you are really busy you can play these to your children. I was going to look for a famous quote that extols the benefits of reading but I thought it was just better to speak as myself. Becoming a fluent reader who reads for pleasure is the key that will unlock any curriculum your children encounter in the future as well as opening up worlds beyond their current comprehension. We have set ourselves the ambitious task of igniting a love of learning in every child at Darell. Please do all that you can to encourage this at home.
You will see that we have planned two INSET days after the Christmas break, effectively meaning that your children will return on Wednesday 6th of January 2021. I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we are only doing this because we have been given the opportunity for a number of our staff to have First Aid training on this day. We want as many of our staff as possible to be competent and accredited as first aiders as it helps to make the school an even safer space.
The PSA have organised movie week next week and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the support they are giving the school. Every penny that they raise directly benefits the children of the school. We are looking to spend some of the money raised on programmable robots for Key Stage 1 and more advanced hardware for Key Stage 2. We will let you know how the money is being spent as we move forward.
Two images will stick with me this week. Firstly, walking past the Year 5 classroom and seeing every child working on what is effectively their own chromebook and secondly, seeing a class teacher brimming with positivity after completing her parent consultations. Thank you for your part in this. I spoke about walking last week and I plan to get out with my children this weekend to limit screen time! I have found this website provides some fantastic walks if you're stuck for somewhere new to go - https://fancyfreewalks.org/
Have a lovely weekend. Look after yourselves, family and friends and stay safe.
This year, our annual Darell Christmas lunch will be Wednesday, 16th December. Please could you fill out the form by following the link below to indicate whether your child will be having Christmas Lunch and their choices. The lunch cost will be £2.25 which you can pay by logging in and topping up your Arbor Account. If you are in receipt of free school meals the Christmas lunch is included.