Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 24th May 2019
Our football team have played games on Tuesday and Thursday evening this week. Last night against Gayton Junior school we won one and lost one, which means that we are still waiting to find out if we are league champions again. We’ll let you know after the holiday.
Our cyclists enjoyed their fist competition of the summer on Wednesday evening at Kilburn Junior School. Many thanks to Mrs. Taylor for taking all the children to this event.
Many thanks to all the parents who have helped us in our walk to school week. I hope that for parents or families that have had to change a normal routine that the walk and fresh air has been enjoyable, we’ve certainly had the weather for it.
Our school hall was full on Wednesday and Thursday evening as year 5 and year 6 parents came to school to find out about the residential visits that their children will be going on in June. Many thanks to the staff who give up time to ensure that the children can enjoy these opportunities.
We have sent out letters to all of the children that will be joining us in our reception classes in September 2019. In this letter the parents were told that unfortunately the new reception classrooms that are been built will not be ready for September when their children start. The builders have informed us that due to unforeseen circumstances that the building will not be finished until autumn 2019. I look forward to sharing more information about when the building work will now finish as soon as I have it.
We get many requests to sign post families to events and have been asked to ensure that our community knows of two forthcoming events in Belper. The Belper Goes Green Festival at the Rugby club on the weekend of the 31st May and the first Pride in Belper festival on Saturday 3rd August are two recent events that we have been asked to mention. I hope that both a successful.
Finally a newsletter went home on Monday 20th. You can get a copy from our website. CLICK HERE.
Have a lovely holiday – we return to school on Monday 3rd June at 9am.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 17th May 2019
We welcomed a new member of staff to school this week with Mrs. Simpson starting with us on Monday. Mrs. Simpson is working in the office and replaces Mrs. Martinez who left St. John’s at Easter. Mrs. Simpson will be working 5 days a week from 9.30am to 4.45pm every day and looks forward to meeting new faces and getting to know all of the St. John’s community.
This new staffing arrangement doesn’t affect the opening times of the office, which is open from 8am to 4.45pm 5 days a week.
All of our year 6 children have worked hard and can be very proud of themselves this week. They have all worked very hard during their SAT tests. As year six parents you can also pat your selves on the back as we had 100% attendance in year six this week and all children were on time and ready to do their best every morning. Thank you. I would also like to thank the governors who have come into school throughout the week to check that the tests were being administered correctly. It’s really important for the community to have faith in the tests and that they do represent the hard work of the children and teachers and as governors you have again played a key role in this. Papers have now been collected by parcel force and sent off to the markers. We look forward to letting the children and families know how they have done in July when we get the results back from the DfE.
As the weather warms up and we welcome summer we need to work together to help children stay safe and happy in the warmer weather.
On Thursday our football team won two games against Brackensdale Junior School. We look forward to the final game of the season on Thursday against Gayton Junior school where we hope to be able to finish the season as League Champions.
Our year two children have enjoyed a Judaism workshop today. They were able to spend time with Jewish religious objects and wear traditional Jewish clothes. The day was enjoyed by all and our thanks go to the open centre in Derby for helping organise the day.
In other news we have started the recruitment process for 4 new teaching and learning assistants to start work with us in September. Information is on the vacancy section of our website. CLICK HERE.
Finally it would be remiss of me not to congratulate all the Derby County fans on reaching the play off final at Wembley later this month. I hope that the best team win on the 27th May and that Aston Villa enjoy their return to the premiership next season.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 10th May 2019
Our end of year tests have started for children in year two this week, next week the tests take place for our year six children and in a few weeks’ time we have our phonic tests for our year one children. All of these tests are government tests that children have to take. In the next couple of years we will also have government tests for year four and reception children. Year four children will have to take multiplication tests at the end of the year and reception children will have to take their entry tests when they begin at school.
I understand that different parents have different views on the tests with some parents thinking they are a good idea to help see how schools perform and some parents feel that they promote a lot of anxiety and worry for their children. I hope that the approach that we have at St. John’s helps with these concerns. We publish our test results every year, we provide workshops for parents to help explain what we do (year 2 and year 6) and we provide lots of support for children. In year two the tests are very low key and children are encouraged to see them as an exciting opportunity to have a go at something new. In year one, I would be surprised if the children knew they were doing a test. In year six the children are encouraged to do their best and the teachers and children work hard throughout the year to get everyone ready for their test week. We also had help from our school Chaplain, Alex Lamb, last week who came and ran some prayer space workshops for our children to help give them a bit of head space and thinking time.
On Monday 13th May year six children across the country will all be taking their Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar tests. Throughout the week they will take several other tests until they finish with Maths on Thursday 16th. Hopefully the children will not be nervous or worried about next week. They have all worked hard and are ready to do their best. I was talking to some year six children this week and we talked about why we don’t have government tests in art or music. The conversation led us onto how we are all good at lots of things and that next week’s tests won’t celebrate the hundreds of other skills that their time at St. John’s has helped them with, such as how to be good friends, how to help others, how to persevere when stuck and how Christian Values such as love, compassion and forgiveness will help them throughout adult life. I only hope that when children get their test results in July that they and their parents remember all the other attributes and characteristics that we can celebrate – and that they can be proud of their English and maths results, because they have certainly worked very hard.
In other news – this week our reception children all enjoyed a bikeability day on Tuesday and Wednesday and today 18 class photographs have been taken of over 500 smiling children. We’ve also had Derby County staff take PE lessons in year three and played a rugby match against Duffield Meadows.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 3rd May 2019
I hope that you all had a lovely Easter break and got to enjoy the sunshine and weather over the Easter weekend itself. It doesn’t look like the weather will be as kind this bank holiday weekend. Please remember that school is closed on Monday 6th May for a bank holiday. Children are in school on Tuesday 7th May as normal.
Many of you may have voted in local elections yesterday. A few years ago you may remember that we used to be used as a polling station and you may have historically come to St. John’s to vote in elections. After some work we were able to move the polling station for this area which meant that for the last few years we haven’t had to close on an election day. It would have been a very strange start to the summer term if we would have had to close yesterday. I’m pleased that we were able to open all week and that families weren’t having to make child care arrangements for the day.
On Wednesday Miss Thompson took our dancers to a competition in Alfreton. The children had been working hard throughout the spring term after school on Mondays practising for their routine. The children all did brilliantly, and although there was no formal competition and awards given out the dance our children did was enjoyed by all.
Our school chaplain, Mrs. Alex Lamb, has been in school for two afternoon this week working with our year 6 children. Our year sixes have a lot on their minds at present with their end of year tests and their summer move to secondary school. It was great to see lots of them working with Alex who helped them prepare for the next few months.
On Thursday Mrs. Winson-Bushby began a new after school club at St. John’s that was enjoyed by over a dozen children. The ‘Look who’s Talking’ club helps children develop their speaking in public skills and help them celebrate the joy of the spoken word. She was joined by Mrs. Pridmore who is volunteering her time, my thanks go to her and Mrs. Winson-Bushby for their time.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 12th April
Well done to our parent volunteers who ran and organised our Easter disco last night. Lots of children had lots of fun due to your support of the school. Our volunteers had even arranged for the Easter bunny to come to the disco and hand out Easter Eggs to children – what a lovely way to start the Easter holiday. Today at school the PTFA funded another Easter treat as we welcome a theatre company to school who performed the Easter story to all the children this morning.
Many thanks goes to three more parents who have supported the school over the last few years; Anna Waite, Natalie Mills and Marie Taylor. All three have been valued members of the governing body for the last few years but have recently resigned and moved onto new challenges. I am pleased to share the names of three new governors that are joining our governing body after the Easter break. After the recent parent governor elections Karen Clark and Charlotte Mather join as parent governors and we welcome James Rollin as a co-opted governor. I look forward to the support of these new three members of the governing body.
Helpful and supportive parents also ensured that we walked over 400 children to the church and back safely on Thursday morning for our annual Easter service. Many thanks to all of those who walked with us. The year four children were brilliant and performed wonderfully telling the Easter service beautifully.
Unfortunately today we said goodbye to Mrs. Martinez and we wished her all the best as she moves to another part of the country to work in another school by the coast. We wish her and her family well in this new adventure. Many of you will have been helped by Mrs. Martinez as she has worked in our office since 2015.
As we say goodbye to Mrs. Martinez we will be saying hello to three new members of staff in the coming months following three sets of interviews this week. I look forward to confirming names after the final pre-employment checks are completed and our new office administrator, welfare and medical assistant and midday supervisor join the team.
Our year 6 children have visited Magna Science centre in Sheffield this week and our netball team represented the school at Belper Leisure Centre on Tuesday evening.
Enjoy your Easter holidays, I look forward to seeing you all on Monday 29th April at 9am when we begin our summer term with sport days, residential visits, annual reports, SAT week, summer fayre and much, much more to enjoy.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 5th April 2019
All of our year two children enjoyed their bike ability days this week. The picture below shows some of the children showing off their new skills riding with no stabilisers and ‘racing’ across the playground. Great fun was had by all.
On Wednesday our cross country team finished first in the Amber Valley competition at Eyes Meadow in Duffield. Well done to all the children that took part. Mr. Hallam thinks that this is the 5th year on the trot that we have won this trophy!
On Thursday evening our football team played against St. Alban’s in the cup. Unfortunately we lost, however, Mr. Hallam thought that the team played well – and we can now concentrate on the league. Well done to St. Alban’s and good luck to them in the cup.
Finally in Celebration worship this afternoon the choir entertained us with a lovely song. Mr. Garbutt has a weekly choir club for all the children and it was easy to see today how much fun they must have in their weekly club – they sounded lovely in the hall this afternoon.
This afternoon we were able to count all the votes for the parent governor vacancy. We look forward to sharing the results as soon as we can, hopefully before the Easter break.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 29th March
Our infant children all enjoyed a scooter day on Wednesday. Rob Bounds from the travel smart team was in school for the day helping the children learn how to use their scooters safely.
On Tuesday evening we played a rugby game against Oakwood School. We did really well and won, putting us top of the league!
The chickens that have spent a fortnight with us in reception have been taken back to the farm today. It’s going to be very quiet in reception next week without the excitement of having the chicks in school and without the chirping of the birds in their incubator.
On Thursday Mrs. Astell ran two workshops to help prepare parents for the government tests that their children in year two will take after the Easter holidays. The powerpoint that she used is available on the year two website
Finally, children have all brought home information about the parent governor vacancy today. We have had four parents offer to come and volunteer as a parent governor and your children have brought home information and ballot forms today. Please check your children’s bag to find out how to vote. Due to the nature of the voting it is only the eldest child at school that has brought home information, younger siblings will not have any information with them.
Headteacher weekly blog Friday 22nd March 2019
Our year 2 and year 6 children have all had fire safety talks at school this week from members of staff from the fire service. They have learned how to be fire safe at home. I hope that they were able to come home and talk to parents about how to be safe at home. One of the most important things that the officer told me was to regularly check batteries in smoke detectors. I checked mine at home that evening – when was the last time that you checked yours?
Hundreds of parents came to school to meet teachers to talk about your children’s hard work and success at school over three evenings this week. Tuesday and Wednesday evening were made more enjoyable as parents of year six children were selling hot drinks and cakes to help raise money for the year 6 prom. The PTFA provide £820 to the annual event as a farewell treat for the children, the money raised at the refreshment stall will be added to this to help make the night an enjoyable one for all the children.
On Thursday our football team played two games against Duffield Meadows. We won one and drew one, well done to the players for picking up four points. Mr. Hallam also held a trial for cross country runners at lunchtime today and over 100 hundred chose to spend their lunchtime running around the field.
Finally the reception children have had an exciting week with the arrival of 10 eggs on Monday. By Wednesday 7 had hatched. The chicks will be with us all next week and I’m sure that the reception children will continue to enjoy seeing them – they may even get the odd cuddle as the chicks get a little stronger, before they leave us on Friday 29th. Many thanks to the PTFA who fund this annual treat.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 15th March 2019
It’s been a busy week for publishing information. On the weekly email that we send home to parents we have shared information about two staff vacancies, a parent governor vacancy, term dates for 2020 to 2025 and at last night’s PTFA meeting it was decided to change the date of the summer fayre from Saturday 22nd to Friday 21st June. All of this information is on our website – please follow the links highlighted above.
Our football team got back to winning ways after the mid-season break with wins on Thursday night against St. George’s. Well done to them.
Due to red nose day today there was no headteacher hero or heroine awards given out as we had a danceathon instead of celebration worship. The initial money count shows that your generosity and support has raised in excess of £700. Many thanks for all of your support. The cakes and the dancing were enjoyed by all, well I think that my dancing was enjoyed, but I am sure that the cakes were!
At last night’s PTFA meeting funding requests from the school for well over £3,000 were agreed, I look forward to sharing what we will be enjoying at St. John’s soon. Many thanks for all of your support at the events that are organised and staffed by our parent volunteers. The next event is the Easter discos on Thursday 11th April.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 8th March 2019
Our football team would have been looking forward to Thursday evening and their first football match after the winter break. The lines had been painted, the grass had been cut and the pitch looked fantastic after the maintenance work we had done in October. But the rain that fell on Tuesday and Wednesday quickly made the field too wet and muddy to play on. On Thursday next week we will be playing on a 3G pitch, it’ll take a lot of rain to call that match off so I look forward to reporting the result in next week’s blog.
At last night’s governor meeting we accepted the resignation of two governors who have helped, supported and challenged the school for a number of years. Many thanks to Mrs. Waite and Mrs. Mills who have both served on the governing body for over three years, your work has been hugely appreciated. In the next couple of weeks we will be distributing information to all parents regarding these vacancies as we look to recruit a parent and a co-opted governor. If you would like to find out any more information before them please look at our governor web page, CLICK HERE.
Thursday we celebrated World Book Day. Hundreds of children and lots of staff came to school dressed as their favourite book character. Perhaps the most exciting part of book day has been the distributing of £10,000 worth of new books around the school ready to be used by children next week. Our year two children also had a pirate workshop on Thursday to help with their Land Ahoy project. The picture below shows them enjoying their time with the Partake Theatre company.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 1st March
As I write the hall is fall of parents and families who have come to enjoy our family quiz and chips evening. The PTFA have given their time to organise and then run tonight. I look forward to enjoying the evening and answering all of the Aston Villa questions correctly!
We have been to church twice this week. On Tuesday our infant children were at St. Peter’s for their welcome service. This is led by Rev. Anne and all the reception children attended. This service bookends the leaver’s service that the children run when they leave. Our present reception children will enjoy their leaver’s service in July 2025. On Thursday our year 5 children led our annual lent service. Well done to all these children for reminding us of why this time of year is important for Christians.
During the week a few parents contacted us to ask how we were helping children at St. John’s with an online e-safety concern that was featured in some national press. Throughout the week we followed the procedures that we always follow. You can read this on our parents’ safety page on our web site. CLICK HERE. I am pleased that at the end of the week we received notification from Derbyshire safeguarding board that this is what they were advising schools to do. As always whenever a parent has an esafety concern please contact the school so that we can work together to help keep our children safe on the internet. The more we work together the more successful we will be. With this in mind can I please draw attention to the ages that children should be before they start using certain social media platforms? There is a picture on the parents’ esafety page that demonstrates this. In summary children need to be at least 13 before they access most social media platforms and we will gladly help support parents in enforcing this rule.
Finally brand new reading books have started arriving in school. We have ordered just under £10,000 of books that children will be beginning to bring home next week. I can’t think of a better way to help celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 7th March.
Head teacher weekly blog – Friday 15th February 2019
A newsletter has gone home today with lots of information on it – so it’s a small blog for the week.
You may have noticed three new faces around school over the last few weeks. Our work with the University of Derby continues for a third year as we continue to work with trainee teachers. We have three students working with us this year, working predominantly in Mr. Hallam’s, Mrs. Newton’s and Miss Nicklin’s classes. The three students will be with us for another few weeks after the holiday before they return to the university to continue their courses as they work to become full time teachers.
On Monday our year 5 children went to visit a local mosque to help them with their RE work. The visit was organised with the help of the Open Centre. All of the children enjoyed the trip and were able to do some work after the visit to help with their work studying the Muslim faith.
On Monday our year 5 and 6 dodgeball team took part in the Amber Valley competition at Belper Leisure Centre. A top 5 finish was a great result given that there were well over a dozen teams taking part.
We break up for our half term holiday today. Children return to school on Monday 25th February at 9.00am.
Have a lovely holiday.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 8th February
On Monday evening Miss. Thompson took some of our lower junior children to a dodgeball competition at Belper Leisure centre. The children all did very well and our two team finished 4th and 5th. Well done to the children for taking part.
On Thursday afternoon our year 4 children entertained over a hundred families and friends in their clarinet concert. They are half way through the year and amazed us all at how good they were at playing already. I am really looking forward to the concert at the end of the year!
This morning children form year two and up watched an internet safety play and then took part in an internet safety workshop. All of the children enjoyed the production and let staff know that they have further developed their understanding of how to be safe online. This legal summary sheet informs us of how old children need to be to have social media accounts. CLICK HERE. In summary this shows that children under 13 should not be accessing the social media sites listed. I hope that the reminders that the children have had about this today will help parents at home in supporting their children to stay safe and happy on the internet.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 1st February
Our Values for Life day today has been a great success. All of the children in the school have worked to produce a piece of art work for their class that will be displayed in the hall. We have 18 classes so we are looking forward to having the 18 art works, each one recognising one of the Christian values for life that we follow in collective worship. We started the day with all of the school in the hall to introduce the values. You can have a look at this presentation to help explain what we did. You can see pictures below of activities in two of the classrooms that were considering the values of creativity (our beautiful world) and service (a café serving children and staff all afternoon!)
Last night at the PTFA meeting we said good bye to Zoe and Darryl who have both done a sterling job as chair and social media officer for the past couple of years. I am sure you join me in thanking them both for their work as volunteers in ensuring that the children have fun at all of the events that they organise. We welcome Marisha to the role of Chair, Charlotte remains treasurer and Gail becomes our social media officer. I look forward to working with the PTFA as these new parents continue to ensure that the children get to enjoy lots of lovely events at school. For example last night the PTFA gave the school money to purchase the maths times table boards you can see on the year 3 and 5 bungalow block, pay for our Easter treat on Friday 12th April when the and purchase the living eggs for reception children later this spring. All of this came up to about £1000.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 25th January 2019
Many thanks for all of your comments and questions about my trip to India last week. It was great to find out that so many families and children had been following the daily blog, I hope that you found it an interesting talking point for you and your children. Now I have been home for a few days I have been able to reflect a bit on what was a truly exceptional opportunity.
The welcome and Indian culture that I was able to experience will never be forgotten. I can only describe my first few days in Kolkata as an ‘explosion of life, sound, taste and noise’. Everywhere you looked you saw people busily getting on with their day to day life. I was made to feel very welcome by everyone that I met. The visits that we had to different churches and temples highlighted the huge breadth of culture and history that modern Indian life is built on.
The poverty that Mrs. Hodgson and I saw whilst in Kolkata was deeply upsetting. Unfortunately some of the children at Scott Lane were referred to as ‘pavement children’ by the Indian teachers. It was very hard hitting to know that some of the children we were trying to help in school were going ‘home’ to a piece of pavement on the side of a road. Mrs. Hodgson and I saw hundreds families living in such conditions. I hope that over the coming years we are able to build on these new relationships that we have begun to build with Scott Lane School, the Cathedral Social Service and the Cathedral Relief Service in Kolkata to help such children have the opportunities that all children should have.
Finally you may have noticed that the school that Mrs. Hodgson and I were able to work in and support was Scott Lane School and not The Scottish Church Colligate School that we had originally planned on working with. The decision to change was made when we arrived in India and could see the support that we could offer the children and teachers at Scott Lane was something that we are sure we can build on successfully over the coming years.
Despite the adventure I had in India it was good to be back at school on Tuesday morning. It has been a fantastic to answer questions from children at school about the trip and begin to help our children begin to understand what life is like for children and families in Kolkata.
It was also a pleasure to return to school to a letter from Mrs. Pauline Latham MP. Pauline is the member of parliament for Belper and she had written to the school to congratulate us on the year 6 SAT results in May 2018. It was good to see that the hard work of the children, teachers and parents last summer has been recognised by her. Well done to all involved.
We said good bye to Mrs. Stone-Payne today. She has worked at St. John's for over 12 years as a midday supervisor and cleaner. We wish her well as she moves to her new job of school caretaker in Ripley.
Headteacher blog by Mrs Carvell - Friday 18th January
I am really pleased to have another opportunity to write the blog for you this week, and what a busy and extremely enjoyable week it’s been!
We’ve had Mr Averis and Mrs Hodgson updating us with their daily blogs from India, including videos and pictures, which the children have enjoyed. While they’ve been busy miles away, we’ve all been very busy here at school. So here's a taster of what's been happening.
Our Year 3 classes enjoyed a visit from Partake Theatre to enhance their project work and ‘bring it to life’. They thoroughly enjoyed their time in the hall re-enacting Jason and The Golden Fleece with props, music, drama and dance.
On a sports theme, we had two teams competing in the EFL Kids Cup Competition with one of our football teams reaching the quarter-finals and the other team reaching the semi-finals, only to be beaten on penalties. In addition to that, our Y5/Y6 team won the Amber Valley Futsal Competition this week. The children were extremely sporting throughout the competition, and exemplary ambassadors for the school, so a huge well done to everyone who took part - you should feel really proud of yourselves!
And finally……..some of the classes in school have had a new and exciting addition this week with a new interactive board being fitted in their classrooms - six in total. The children were excellent during the installation of these boards and this means that all of our classes throughout school now have this fantastic resource at their fingertips.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Headteacher weekly blog – Thursday 10th January 2019
School is open as normal tomorrow, please don’t think that this is the end of the week, however, unfortunately I won’t be able to write the blog tomorrow so I’m having to do it today.
Happy new year – it was a pleasure to welcome the children back on Monday. I trust you all had lovely holidays. We’ve had a lovely first week back after the Christmas holidays.
Our year two children had a great Mess Muck and Mixtures day on Tuesday when they spent the morning experimenting with various messy liquids to start their science project.
Today was a day that our year one children will remember as the Queen visited them in their classrooms. The Queen was able to come to St. John’s to help the year one children begin their Bright Lights Big City project when they will be learning all about London. The children spent the morning getting ready for the royal tea party and then spent the afternoon with the Queen eating sandwiches and biscuits.
The year four children have been to Birmingham today to the Sea Life Centre to help them begin their work on the Blue Abyss project. Children were very excited to tell me all about George the Stingray on their return – so I am sure that they had a good day.
The reason that I won’t be writing the blog tomorrow is because I won’t be in school for the next 8 days. Tomorrow Mrs. Hodgson, one of our support staff in year 4, and I fly to India to set up links with a school in Kolkata and work with the children and teachers for a week. We return to St. John’s on Tuesday 22nd January. Whilst I am away I will be writing a daily blog of the visit for the children to read. I really hope that you are also able to join in with the visit by looking at the blog every day and talking to your children about what Mrs. Hodgson and I have been doing. I have already written some entries with some information about packing and getting ready and I know that the children have already enjoyed seeing the blog links to the Virtual Aeroplane and the flight tracker that you will be able to show them at home as well. Go to the daily blog page to follow the links.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 21st December 2018
We’ve had a lovely week at school with lots of families joining us for traditional Christmas events. On Monday our Carol Concert at St. Peter’s church saw our choir and school band join in with Heage Brass Band to take us through the Christmas Story. Well done to Mrs. Garbutt for organising. We’ve also had hundreds of families come and watch the year 1 and year 2 nativities this week in the afternoons. The children were all fantastic on the stage and it was obvious to all that family and friends in the audience were rightfully proud of their children.
We’ve also had lots of families help us walk children to and from the cinema safely this week. Thank you for your support.
On Wednesday our kitchen staff did a sterling job in cooking and serving over 450 Christmas Dinners to some very excited children. Our kitchen staff are brilliant, as well as Christmas Dinner day this week they have also helped our year four children enjoy a Roman Banquet at lunchtime today. They had definitely earned their Christmas holiday.
Lots of children also came to school in Christmas jumpers on Wednesday and about £150 was donated to school for us to help support our link school in India, thank you.
We had our weekly Celebration Worship this morning, rather than this afternoon. Our school choir sounded wonderful as they sang the Christmas Alphabet song to all the children.
Unfortunately Mrs. Clare let me know last week that she will not be returning to St. John’s. She has decided to focus on returning to full health before she begins the next chapter of her career. I am sure that join me in wishing her a healthy recovery and in thanking her for her many years of work at St. John’s in which she has supported and helped hundreds of children. Children in Norbury class have brought home a letter today letting them know how this will affect their children.
Finally I would like to wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 14th December 2018
Our nativity plays have started this week. On Tuesday our nursery children kicked us of on Tuesday with their lovely performance and today and yesterday our reception children have also performed to their families and friends. Next week our year one and two children continue with their performances. It is a privilege to work in primary schools at Christmas with our traditions such as nativity plays and our carol concert and it’s lovely to see so many families support us at such events again this year.
Our PTFA have supported the school this week with our Christmas discos last night and by funding our annual trips to the cinema. Many thanks to all the parents and families that are helping us walk to the Ritz safely. I hope you are enjoying the films!
Our staff meeting on Wednesday was led by Miss Nicklin and was all about science. Your children will be bringing a letter home before Christmas with information about a Science Selfie project we are running. I hope that over the festive fortnight you are able to support us by taking a picture of some scientific activities around the house of the holiday.
Head teacher weekly blog – Friday 7th December 2018
Our year three children had a very exciting start to the week on Monday morning. The ‘Predator’ project they are studying at the moment is all about animals and on Monday we had several birds of prey in school for the children to feed, handle and observe. The weather meant we had to work in the hall, rather than outside, however great fun was had and the children learned a huge amount about the birds in school.
Christmas nativity rehearsals are now in full swing, the stage is up and the children are learning lines and stage directions. Well done to all the teachers working hard to ensure that the hundreds of parents that will be coming to school over the coming weeks will enjoy their child’s nativity plays. Please be aware that letters have gone home with ticket information.
On Wednesday our basketball team competed in the area finals. We won the Amber Valley competition a few weeks ago. Unfortunately we didn’t win this time, however all the children tried their hardest and enjoyed themselves.
Finally in Celebration Worship this afternoon the children (and staff) all finished the week by singing a very familiar song with a twist and all five hundred children joined in with the air guitars at the relevant place! Please feel free to use this links to go to the YouTube page where we played it from, however, please be aware that you are going to a third party website and we are not responsible for any other content. CLICK HERE.
Headteacher weekly blog –Friday 30th November 2018
The children have had a three day weekend but all of the staff have been in school today. We have all spent time looking at some new grammar resources that will complement the new spelling resources we looked at on our INSET day on October. The staff have all spent the morning being trained on how to use the resources and this afternoon have spent time planning activities with them for use in classrooms.
Our improvement plan for the school year shows that we were going to be spending time looking at developing writing skills and two of our INSET days this year have focused on this. We hope that your children notice the different approaches we’ll be using and that they help further improve standards across the school.
On Monday evening our year 3 and 4 basketball players took part in the Amber Valley competition at Belper Leisure centre. I am pleased that as well as having good fun they came back as champions.
Also on Monday Rev. Anne came into school to work with the year three pupils, helping them understand baptism. The activity that Rev. Anne did was really enjoyed by all the children.
On Wednesday and Thursday we’ve had reception parents come to school in the morning to take part in phonics activities with their children.
Finally today, after our English training this morning and then our planning time this afternoon the staff have spent an hour decorating their classrooms for December. All the teachers had good fun, as you can see below. I am sure that your children will enjoy the next few weeks as we celebrate Christmas at St. John’s. A newsletter will be coming home next week with information about dates and times for the final three weeks of term.
Headteacher Weekly Blog (by Mrs Carvell) - Friday 23rd November
As we come to the end of what I’m sure you’ll agree has been a cold week, and with Mr Averis attending a course today, I have the great pleasure of writing this week’s Headteacher Blog.
Last week’s excitement of Children in Need and Anti-bullying Week, with Odd Socks Day, is a hard act to follow, but I can share some exciting activities that have taken place this week.
We had a successful evening on Monday with our basketball team, when nine of our Y5/6’s participated in a competition at Belper Leisure Centre. Mr Hallam reported that they played some great basketball, only losing one match all evening. As a result, they won the event - helped by a half court winner in the semi-final and an extra-time winner in the final. They are now through to the Amber Valley Borough finals in a few weeks. Well done to them all!
On Wednesday, we had Parents to Lunch with the parents of children from Mrs Christie’s class joining their children for some delicious food, which both the children and parents thoroughly enjoyed.
The week has come to an end with a wonderful Celebration Assembly with some super singing and lots of success to celebrate, which the children are rightly proud of. I am also excited to report that the final total for Children in Need came to a huge £1132.77 – thank you to everyone for your generous contributions and donations again this year.
And finally, we look forward to the work at the front of the school being completed shortly, and we will let you know as soon as the date for this is confirmed. Please continue to come into school as you have done during the last couple of weeks. I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind you that next Friday, 30th November, is an INSET Day.
I wish you a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, and look forward to another week of fun and learning next week.
Head teacher weekly blog – Friday 16th November 2018
The highlight of the week for lots of children was either –
Children in Need. Your very generous donations and Mrs. Carvell’s hard work have ensured that we have raised over £1,100 with a cake sale this morning and a bring and buy sale this afternoon. It is fantastic to be able to send over £1,000 off to Pudsey bear this weekend.
Beginning work on the three new reception classrooms. Lots of children have enjoyed watching the diggers in the morning as the new car park is built. This week work has begun in earnest at the back of the school on the new classrooms. This has meant that dozens of children now spend playtimes with their faces pressed against the fence watching the diggers, trucks and building work.
Odd sock day on Monday. We had lots of fun on Monday comparing socks and looking at what everyone was wearing.
As you may be aware from being at school today the carpark at the front of the school has not being handed over for us to use. Unfortunately the builders will have to continue the work into next week.
This week all children have joined in with some work surrounding National Anti-Bullying week. This was why we all wore odd socks on Monday. We were showing that even though people are different we can all work well together. The focus for the week was respect and we have spent the week helping the children recognise the importance of showing respect in how we talk and work with each other.
Finally on Monday our infant handball team went to Belper Leisure centre with Mr. Hallam after school to take part in the Amber Valley competition. We did really well, finishing runners up with our keeper winning the award for the best save of the night!
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 9th November
As I write we have dozens of generous parents helping set up the Winter Gift Fayre in the school hall. I look forward to seeing anyone who is able to come and support us later tonight. Events such as this help us fund events that your children enjoy such as the Christmas trip to the cinema. We have booked these again for December 2018, you can find the dates for each year group on the school calendar.
Earlier today in celebration worship we welcomed our reception children for the first time. Reception children have already joined smaller infant assemblies, but today was the first time they joined the whole school. It was really nice to have all 480 of the children in the school together for the first time this year.
On Wednesday Rev. Anne visited our nursery to read a bible story to the children. This new monthly event is really enjoyed by the children. Thank you to Rev. Anne for coming in on the first Wednesday of every month to spend some time with the youngest members of our school.
In collective worship this week I was able to tell the children of an exciting new venture for St. John’s. In January Mrs. Hodgson and I are travelling to Kolkata in India with the Diocese of Derby. We are going to go and work in The Scottish Church Collegiate School helping the teachers and children. This is the first stage in a project that will see us build substantial links with this school and help our children at St. John’s find out about school life and how children live in another part of the world. The Diocese of Derby has run annual trips to Kolkata for several years and in this time dozens of schools in Derbyshire have developed such links with teachers travelling to other slum schools in Kolkata and helping the Indian teachers and children. I showed the children parts of the video that can be found on the Diocese web site. There are parts of this video that show the slums that the school children live in and the schools that the children attend. We spoke about how lucky we are in Belper and began to think about how we could help the new friends that Mrs. Hodgson and I will make when we travel to Kolkata ourselves.
Mrs. Hodgson and I have already spent several Saturdays working with the thirty teachers that are travelling to India in January planning the work that we will do and making plans for the links that we want to establish. At one of these meetings we met staff from Ashgate Primary School in Derby. This will be the third year that staff from Ashgate have travelled to Kolkata and their website gives a taste of the work that they have done celebrating the links between their school and their school in Kolkata after the two trips they have been on so far. It will be great for us to help children at St. John’s develop such links as well.
The building work started this week for the three new reception classrooms and extended carpark. Information about what the three new classrooms will look like can be found in this letter. Our reception teachers are really looking forward to September 2019 when we will be teaching our 70 newest members of the school community in these new shiny classrooms. The existing reception classroom will then hopefully be getting modernised to look as nice as the year two classrooms do after they were modernised in 2017.
With the building work taking place we have had to change the pickup and drop of arrangements this week. Many thanks to parents and families that have helped in these new arrangements and have found new meeting points for their children. Several parents have let me know that they prefer been on the playground. Please be aware that parents do not have to come onto the playground to collect their children, we are aware that parents of some elder children have pick up points a short walk away. Elder children are still allowed to do this.
Finally, we work hard to ensure that children know to come back into school if they have a problem at the end of the day and can’t find the adult who is picking them up. This is still and will always be the case. We always tell children that they should come straight back to school to one of the adults here if they can’t find the adult that is picking them up and we encourage all parents to tell their children to do this as well.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 26th October 2018
I hope that the children have all enjoyed the first day of their October half term holiday today. All of the staff have been in work today for our INSET day. The majority of the staff have been working with a consultant as we consider how to improve our teaching and learning of spellings. This is part of our continuing effort to improve opportunities for writing. We have also had some staff working on developing the reception outdoor area. I am sure that the children will enjoy coming back to school in November and seeing the new outdoor learning opportunities that have been added today.
Nearly every parent has been to school this week for our first parent evening of the year. If you have not been able to see your child’s teacher yet, please ring school after the holiday to book an appointment as teachers will still be able to see you in November.
Our school chaplain, Mrs. Alex Lamb, has been in school every day this work helping the children make harvest and autumn prayer spaces every lunchtime. Lots of children have had a lovely time working with her and have produced some lovely prayers that they were very proud of.
Finally the building work has started today that will lead to us having three brand new reception classes in September 2019 and an extended carpark by the end of next month. All parents need to be aware that when we return to school after the break that all children will be entering school through the nursery gate and that all parents are invited onto the school playground to drop off and pick up their children. Extra staff will be on duty on the first day to help.
Have a lovely half term holiday – see you on November 5th when we return to school.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 19th October 2018
We have been overwhelmed by the amount of donations received for our harvest festival this week. The very generous St. John’s community donated boxes and boxes of food that has been distributed to the Padley Centre was gratefully received. Our year six children did really well as they only began getting ready for their service on Monday morning and by Thursday morning were ready to perform in front of hundreds of children and parents at St. Peter’s church. Unfortunately, even though they were ready the technology wasn’t and we were hit by a technical glitch that meant that the children had to perform without the lyrics and pictures that they had planned on using. Despite this they did brilliantly and the service was enjoyed by all.
Our year three children also got involved in the harvest celebrations with a trip to Morrisons on Tuesday morning. This trip also fitted into their project work.They had a tour of the store, speaking to staff on all the counters to find out about the food that they sell and make.
Unfortunately the rain over the weekend meant that we had to postpone our away football match on Monday evening at St. George’s in Derby who were suffering with a water logged pitch. We did however get to take part in a lower junior athletics competition on Thursday evening at Alfreton Leisure centre. Our team came 3rd and can be very proud of well they did.
Today we have had a dozen parent helpers in school help us prepare and organise hundreds of new books for the library and classrooms. We are very lucky to be supported by families in this way and really appreciate the help and support we get. I hope that your children enjoy reading the new books over the coming months.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 12th October 2018
This week has been all about singing and and iSingpop concerts. The children have all had a lovely week with Ashling from iSingpop learning lots of new songs and actions. There have been hundreds of smiles as the tunes, lyrics and actions have excited and inspired us all throughout the week. Last night we had our first concert at St. Peter’s church with half of the school, and it was clear that families and friends thoroughly enjoyed it. Tonight we look forward to our second concert with the rest of our children, I am sure that it will be equally enjoyable. There are some pictures of last night’s concert below, I hope that this doesn’t spoil the surprise for any parents who are coming tonight for the first time.
Huge thanks need to go to parishioners of St. Peter’s who have fundraised throughout the two years since our last concert to make this event possible and help celebrate the link between our school our church and our Christian values.
Don’t forget that we have our parent evening meetings in a couple of weeks and you are invited to book an appointment with your child’s class teacher. Information went home in the newsletter last week.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 5th October 2018
A newsletter has gone home this week with lots of information. Please make sure that you get your copy from your child’s book bag or online as it contains some important information, including details of the parent evenings that will take place during the week beginning October 22nd.
On Monday evening Mrs. Astell took our infant children to the indoor athletics competition at Belper Leisure centre and today in collective worship it was a pleasure to give them their runners up certificates. For many of the children it would have been the first time they represented the school so I am really pleased at how well they did.
Today hundreds of children have had their photographs taken by two fantastic and very patient photographers from Tempest photography. We have worked very hard to make sure that all the children smiled and looked smart and hopefully you’ll enjoy the photographs that you get the opportunity to purchase later this term.
Finally we’ve continued to have more work done to rectify some of the problems with the school field. Now that the field is fenced off to unwanted weekend and evening users we’ve invested money in re-soiling and reseeding areas of the field that were worn away. I look forward to when the field is ready for use again, hopefully this will be before the wet winter weather makes it unusable during the winter months.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 28th September
On Monday we had our second INSET day of the year. The day was focused around our status as a Church of England School and the importance that this has on our vision, values and our approach to educating children. On our website we have some links and a really useful video that help explain why we are a Church of England School. Over the coming year we will be recognising and celebrating our Church of England status as we work to respond to the new guidelines issued by the Church of England as to what makes a good Church of England School. Part of our training on Monday was led by Dr. Alison Brown, from the Diocese of Derbyshire as she helped us all understand this new document and look for ways that we can celebrate our achievements against it.
Our year two children have had a busy week with a walk to Belper on Tuesday and then a local historian, Adrian Farmer, come to school today to talk to them about Belper of yesteryear. This is to help them with their project work about Belper that they are studying at the moment.
On Wednesday we sent over twenty children do a triathlon competition at Allestree Secondary school and on Wednesday our girls and on Thursday our boys, took part in the first football competitions of the year.
We’ve had our first PTFA meeting of the year on Wednesday night and due to the support of our volunteers are going to be able to add some dates to the calendar soon about disco and quiz nights! We also had our first governor meeting of the year on Thursday night. Amongst other things we agreed the school improvement plan for the school year, which will be available to view on our website soon and the results of the parent survey that parents completed in June 2018. We will be able to share the results of the parents’ survey in the next newsletter that we hope to send home next week.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 21st September 2018
On Wednesday, we held our first safe indoor practice of the year. This is the opposite of a fire practice when the children practice getting outside as quickly as possible. In a safe inside practice the children all know that they need to stay inside with the nearest adult. The children know that we have these safe inside practices for reasons such as having a dog on the playground, or a factory nearby might be spreading some smoke in the air and we need to be inside out of the way. Once again, the children were brilliant during this practice and behaved perfectly.
Today, Rob from the Amber Valley School Sports Partnership come and present us with two awards. There are 61 schools in the AVSSP and every time one of us enters a competition, we earn some points. School also earn bonus points for fair play awards or finishing in the top three. Every August AVSSP total up all these points to find out which schools did the best throughout the school year. I am pleased to announce that we came third place in the infants end of season table and second in the junior end of season table. This is a huge pat on the back to all the children that represented school during last year, and to Mr. Hallam and the staff that made it possible for them to partake.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 14th September 2018
The highlight of the week for many children was the visit of Dan Magness yesterday. Dan is a free style, football, world record holder. Due to our close links with Amber Valley School Sports Partnership we were able to have Dan spend the entire day with our junior children for free. Dan was very motivational and lots of fun.
We are really pleased that due to our new fence we now have a private and secure school field. Since the school was built in 1972, the school field has been open access and unfortunately, this has led to unofficial use by some members of the local community in the evenings and at weekends. The fence also means that we are significantly more secure when children use the field during the day. Because the field is now secure we are now investing time and money in making the field a nicer and safer place to be and next week we are going to have some work done to repair areas of the field that have been damaged by unauthorised use. This repair and re-seeding will take some time but we hope that the end product will be worth it. Unfortunately, despite the fence and repair work there will still be long periods of time when we will not be able to use the field at lunchtimes. As all local residents know the road that runs alongside our school field is called Marsh Lane, and having seen the field in the winter months I can assure you that this is not a coincidence. For most of the winter and spring, the field is very wet and muddy and will still only be used by the football and rugby team. Role on summer 2019!
We had our first fire practice of the year on Wednesday. All of the children, including our new reception children, all got out of the school safely and sensibly to line up on the school playground. Next week we will have our first safe inside practice of the year when children will all move inside the building and wait safely and sensibly with an adult. I am sure that this will be successful as well.
Headteacher Weekly blog – Friday 7th September 2018
We’ve had a lovely first week back at school. For all of the staff the week began on Monday when we had our INSET day. Despite the fact that a lot of teachers and staff are in during the summer there is still some work for us to do on the September INSET. We started the year with a prayer and moment of reflection led by our Chaplain, Alex Lamb along with Rev. Anne and Patience Atkinson-Gregory. We then used the morning to do several important jobs. We made sure that we are all aware of legislative updates regarding child protection and GDPR. We also looked at the behaviour policy and to make sure we are happy with it for the year and set the wheels in motion for the annual School Improvement Plan. In the afternoon the staff all worked in their year groups and in their classrooms putting the finishing touches to displays and lessons plans ready for Tuesday morning.
In looking at the behaviour policy we have decided to add a new line in the sanctions section. The existing policy read like this
Sanction for inappropriate behaviour
Glare by the member of staff in charge.
Name written on board.
Underline the name.
The child spends the following morning or afternoon break time against the wall.
Sent to Senior teacher (Assistant head) or colleague.
Child to complete the ‘apology’ and ‘next time I will’ slip. See Appendix 2. These are to be kept by the class teacher.
Child to be made aware of getting sent to Deputy Headteacher if behaviour continues that day.
Sent to Deputy Headteacher.
Class teacher needs to let parents know that their child has been sent to Deputy Headteacher.
Formal record in school behaviour log.
On the third time within a half term child gets sent to Headteacher.
At the beginning of every day the child is given the opportunity to return to stage 1
6. Sent to Headteacher.
a. Miss the half termly golden time.
b. When sent to the headteacher for the second time the child is put on a behaviour chart. Parents requested to come and see Headteacher to discuss the behaviour chart and any pre-exclusion plan. Behaviour chart – See Appendix 3.
c. Continued dialogue between Headteacher and parents.
d. Behaviour support staff from Local Authority informed.
If none of these sanctions are effective and the child continues to disturb the education of others within the school, then the Headteacher will begin a process of fixed term and then permanent exclusion. During this process the school and the Governors will follow the Local Authority’s guidelines and procedures.
Advice for parents about exclusions can be found http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/education/schools/attendance_behaviour_welfare/exclusion/default.asp
3. Underline the name.
a. The child spends the following morning or afternoon break against the wall.
b. Staff will keep a record of when a child has their name underlined and goes against the wall. If a child reaches 5 times in a half term they go to see the Deputy Headteacher, i.e. stage 5.
We hope that this will help us more effectively address persistent poor behaviour. We have also ‘moved’ the wall, not literally but we are going to use a new area of the playground. Children will now stand against Mrs. Carvell’s class and the reception yard in a quieter, less public, part of the playground.
Finally, all the staff at St. John’s hope your child has had a happy and successful first week back, I have certainly seen hundreds of smiling faces in classrooms and around. We are sure that any children that may have had first week blues after a lovely summer holiday will begin to settle next week, however, if not please come and see the class teacher to help should any concerns continue into mid-September.