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Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 7th April 2017


Many thanks to the PTFA who paid for our end of term Easter treat today. We had a theatre company come and perform a lovely version of the Easter Story to all children today. The half hour show was full of fun, magic and meaning. Please ask the children about what they saw, what they remember about it and if they enjoyed it or not.


Our football team have just booked their place in the finals again, winning the semi-final of the cup tonight against Cavendish Close 5-1. We look forward to playing at Derby County’s training ground again for the second year running in the final in a few weeks.


Our gymnasts performed to parents and were awarded certificates by Tom this week. Well done to all of them for their hard work in getting to this level. We all enjoyed watching your performance.


Emotional farewells were said to Mr. White our caretaker today as he begins his retirement. He has worked at St. John’s since 1999. By our reckoning he has mopped the hall floor over three thousand times in that time. We wish him all the best as he has more time to enjoy more time with his grandchildren.


Have a lovely Easter break, we look forward to seeing the children when they return to school on Tuesday 25th April at 9am.

Headteacher Weekly Blog – Friday March 31st 2017


Our exciting curriculum often leads to unique occasions and this week we’ve had two events take place that have involved dressing up and a third science event. On Thursday our year two children had a pirate day and spent a few hours in a pirate workshop in the school hall. They all thoroughly enjoyed singing, dancing and acting out pirate stories and sea shanties. Then, on Friday our year six children had their evacuee day. This involved lots of special activities including a ration based lunchtime meal, which our wonderful cooks got into the spirit of as can be seen in the picture below.


Our year three children have also had staff from Carsington reservoir in this week explaining how our rain water is filtered and cleaned to make drinking water that comes out of our taps.


Finally tonight we still have the PTFA quiz and chips night to look forward to. We’ve sold over 100 tickets, so I’m looking forward to seeing the school hall in action again – and a portion of chips!

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 24th March 2017

On Tuesday it was the turn of the girls year five and six football team to represent the school at an all-day tournament. Mr. Hallam reported back that the girls behaved wonderfully and represented the school very well. Out of the eight teams that took part we finished fourth.


On Tuesday evening our boys’ football team played back to back matches with William Gilbert primary school. We won both games which has done our position in the league no harm at all.


Today we have had lots of fun with our red nose day activities. Many thanks to all parents that donated cakes to bring in today for our cake sale and many thanks to all the children that brought some pocket money into school to purchase some cakes or to come dressed in red. Our year 6 children did a great job this afternoon of organising our play time cake sale, for which they both won class of the week certificates in today’s celebration assembly. It’s not often (if ever) that that two classes get class of the week, so they must have both done very well. It looks like we’ve raised just under £600. I look forward to confirming the final amount when we have it.


I hope that all our mums enjoy their special day on Sunday and finally, don’t forget that clocks go forward an hour on Saturday night, we don’t want any late children on Monday morning!

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 17th March 2017


On Monday we had the fire safety team come to school to talk to year 2 and year 6 children. They were able to help children learn how to stay safe in their homes and what to do is they see a fire. I hope that children were able to talk to you about what they learned. It would be great if you could develop this conversation by talking about children about what to do at home if they discover a fire in your house. The fire service will have encouraged the children to think about a home evacuation if they discover a fire. There is some great information on their website CLICK HERE or HERE for some useful information to help at home, it could be the best thing you do this weekend.


On Tuesday our girls got to the quarter finals in a Derbyshire football tournament. They were beaten by eventual winners Silverhill Primary from Mickleover in Derby. Well done to the winners and to our girls for doing so well. Our boys also won their cup game on Tuesday after school meaning that they are now in the semi-finals of this year’s cup competition.


Please note that a newsletter came home today. You can get a copy form the letters section of this website.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 10th March

Oh, no – I’m really sorry but I forgot to put a weekly blog up last week, I’m writing this on Friday 17th March.


The highlight of the week for us all was welcoming Hollie Webb to school on Monday afternoon. Hollie won a hockey gold medal in the Rio Olympics in 2016. She comes from Amber Valley, played hockey for Belper when she was younger and struck the shuffle (penalty) that won the team the gold medal. CLICK HERE to watch the video clip on you tube (please note we are not responsible for third party videos) with highlights of the winning match. Hollie was great and inspired us all with her story of how she went from Amber Valley to Olympic champion. I hope that we get to welcome other Belper Olympic champions to St. John’s in years to come.


Our year 3 children had a theatre workshop on Wednesday morning. The actors that came in worked with the children to help them develop some work that they started in year two.


And finally, on Friday afternoon our school newspaper team were working on our latest addition with parent volunteer Mrs. Koe. All additions of the newspaper are online for you to read at your leisure.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 3rd March 2017


On Monday evening our brilliant PTFA met at the Greyhound Inn. Their time and effort has led to them contributing money back to St. John’s to help us purchase exciting equipment for children that we wouldn’t normally be able to afford. The minutes of the meeting are on their page of the school web site. I look forward to having the new prizes and resources on site soon.


On Tuesday Mrs. Astell and Mrs. Carvell ran a parent information evening for year 2 and 6 parents to inform them of what tests their children will be doing at the end of the year. Copies of the handouts can be found on our website in the paperwork for school year 2016-2017 page.


On Wednesday 350 children all walked to St. Peter’s church for our annual lent service. This was led by Year 5 children, see the picture below. It was a wonderful service and helped us all appreciate what Jesus went through when he was in the desert for forty days and nights. I know that lots of us will be either giving something up for Lent (the children know what I give up) or will be taking part in the forty acts of kindness campaign.


On Thursday hundreds of children and lots of staff dressed up as favourite book characters. We are really pleased with the focus on reading at St. John’s at the moment. Our new accelerated reader resources and days such as this are really helping us focus on develop a love and understanding of reading. Remember ‘Books build Brains’.

Headteacher Weekly blog – Friday 24th February 2017


I trust that you all had a nice half term break and came back refreshed for the second half of the spring term.

We started our half term with another sporting link with Derby County when their Move and Learn team came into school on Tuesday to start a series of lessons with year 5 children. These will continue every Tuesday for the next few weeks.


On Wednesday after school we had sixty teachers from all the primary schools in Belper and neighbouring schools come to join us for a joint celebration of Belper work. Teachers from across Belper spent an hour working with colleagues form other schools that teach in the same year group looking at work from everyone’s schools. We did this for the first time in 2016 and the success of it meant that we ran it again this spring. This important opportunity gave us all a chance to benchmark our work with other schools and share and copy good ideas!


Unfortunately the poor weather yesterday meant that we had to postpone our football match with William Gilbert, I hope that we get to re-arrange it soon.


Please note that next week we have our Lent service at St. Peter’s church on Wednesday 1st March. This will be led by our Year 5 pupils and will begin at about 10am, depending on how long it will take us to walk four hundred children to church after morning registration. If you are able to help walk your child’s class too or from church please let your child’s class teacher know.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 10th February


Our reception children are half way through their first year at school. This may take a few parents by surprise. It only seemed a short while ago that these children all started their St. John’s journey, however, they have already completed 7% of their primary school life!


We collected two awards form the Amber Valley Sport School Partnership this week. A gold award for our achievements over the last year and a ten year award as we have now worked with them for ………10 years!


Mrs. Bould enjoyed her last day with us today. We worked out that if over the 28 years she has worked here she sent home three bumped head letters a day that would be over 15,000. That’s some achievement.


Have a lovely half term holiday – the PTFA’s newsletter that went home today had lots of ideas for things to do at home. See you on Monday 20th February at 9.00 for the start of spring term two.

Headteacher weekly blog - Friday February 3rd 2017


This week we’ve had a variety of activities take place in the school hall. As well as the normal collective worships, PE lessons and dinner times we’ve had -

  • Dinner with parents on Wednesday. Children from Mrs. Turner’s class had their parents come to school for dinner. This regular feature moves throughout the school so that lots of parents regularly get to see what we do at lunchtimes in the dining room and get to eat some of the great food that comes out of the kitchen.

  • EYFS meetings with parents. Our EYFS teachers have run two meetings this week with parents, helping us improve communication between school and home in their child’s first year with us. Over 40 parents came to the meetings.

  • Infant film night. Just under one hundred children came to our cinema evening on Thursday night. It was lovely to see children enjoy a ‘night at the cinema’ with their friends, however I am sure that a lot of children spent more time concentrating on their popcorn and drinks than Finding Dory


We said goodbye to Mr. Broughton this week. Mr. Broughton has worked as a relief caretaker for several months whilst Mr. White was off work. We now have Mr. White back and I’m sure that lots of you have seen him at the school gate in the morning.


On the theme of goodbyes, please don’t forget that we say goodbye to Mrs. Bould on Friday 10th February. After twenty eight years at St. John’s she is looking forward to her retirement. I’m sure that lots of you will want to join me next week in saying goodbye to a much loved member of staff during her final few days. She must have helped thousands of children with grazed knees and wobbly teeth with her magic cold compress and comforting cuddles over the years, and by my calculations some of those children will now be in their late thirties themselves and Mrs. Bould is probably onto her second generation of families. I hope her last week with us is one she’ll remember fondly.


Finally – some good news for year 4 and 5 children. If you go to the school calendar you’ll be able to see the dates that we’ve booked PGL and Whitehall for summer 2018 when you are in year 5 and 6.

Headteacher weekly blog Friday 27th January 2017

We have another trophy on the table!! Well done to the girls Footsall team, winning on Tuesday night. It was great to see you all in your medals today in our Friday celebration assembly.


Our Y4 children had a successful trip to the Sea Life centre in Birmingham on Thursday. This will help them with their Blue Abyss work that they are studying in class at present. As they left it is worth noting that a member of Sea Life staff came to Mrs. Taylor to comment on how well your children had behaved throughout the day.


We welcomed Miss Pinhorne and Miss Thompson to school on Monday as they started work with us for the next two months. They’ll be working with Mrs. Gascoyne and Mrs. Turner in year one. It is always a pleasure to welcome staff from the University of Derby who help us keep our teaching fresh and exciting.


Finally – well done to our PTFA for organising last night’s junior film evening. Over 80 children enjoyed themselves at the ‘cinema’ eating popcorn and watching the film.

Headteacher Weekly Blog – Friday January 20th 2017


Our success on the sports field continues with us reaching the Derbyshire finals of the EFL kids cup. Our team took part in an all-day competition on Wednesday and finished winners. This means that next week they play in the regional finals at Derby County’s Moor Farm training ground on Friday 27th next week. Let’s hope that their great season continues with another trophy in the cabinet.


Our year one children have had bakers from Warburton’s bakery in class all week showing us how to make bread and the food theme continued today with our year two children tasting food from around the world.


The highlight of the week though has been the ‘Wannabee Day’ today. All of our children have come to school dressed as the job they want to do when they grow up and were encouraged to research the job at home to find out about what qualifications you need. This has been supported with several parents coming to school to talk about their jobs to classes as well. Many thanks to all parents that have supported their children in dressing up today, it has been one of the best dress up days we have had and well done to the school council for organising it. Below you can see that one of the children wants to be the headteacher at St. John’s and was able to come and sit at the desk that he wants to work at in few years’ time. It’s good to know the future of our school is in safe hands.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 13th January 2017


The picture at the bottom of this blog was my highlight of the week. On Tuesday afternoon our year four orchestra entertained over one hundred friends and family members. I’m really proud of how much progress these children have made since they started their weekly clarinet lessons in September. It’s lovely working in my office on Tuesday afternoons during orchestra practice when music ‘flows’ around the school. Hats off to all the children who took part.


On Thursday our basketball played in the Derbyshire finals. Before Christmas we won the Amber Valle league so were very proud to be playing against Derbyshire’s best in this ‘Champions League’ competition. The children played very well and can be very proud of making it through.


Children in Mrs. Gascoyne’s class enjoyed having their mum and dads join them for dinner on Wednesday. Wednesdays are normally roast dinner day. Remember that the full menu is published on our website and can be found here the School Dinner section.


Finally on Thursday our year five pupils had Adrian Farmer visit them. Adrian is a local Belper expert and he captivated the children with stories and pictures of Belper form now and yesteryear. Did you know that we’ve had elephants walk up Belper high street? We’ve seen the pictures to prove that they have. I’m sure that the children will enjoy telling you what they found out if asked.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 6th January  2017

Happy New Year. I trust that you enjoyed a lovely Christmas holiday and that the first week of 2017 has been as enjoyable for you as it has for us at St. John’s. Lots of new projects have started in our classrooms. To help get projects underway we’ve had a visit from the Queen who spent the afternoon with our year ones and our year two’s have had a very messy Wednesday. I’m sure that you’ll be able to find pictures on relevant class pages.


We’ve published our termly calendar for the fridge door. This can be downloaded from our calendar section of this website and all children will be bringing home a copy next week.


Unfortunately Mrs. Robinson is still not well enough to return to work. I am sure you join me in wishing her all the best as she gets better. I am pleased that Mrs. Newton is going to be able to teach in her Y5 class until Mrs. Robinson returns. This does mean that Eyam class in year one have had to have a teacher change as Mrs. Newton will not work part time here any more, I look forward to welcoming Mrs. Pierce on Monday who will be able to work with them for the first part of every week.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 16th December


Our children have spent another week reminding us all of how talented they are. On Monday evening our carol concert at St. Peter’s was another success. The children that had speaking parts spoke beautifully and clearly. They were accompanied by our singers and musicians who were brilliant. Our band had only had six lessons with Mr. Woods before the concert so were very nervous before they played their two songs. Our choir sang wonderfully and Mrs. Garbutt made sure that they brought a few tears to parents’ eyes with their candlelit singing.


We’ve also had our final two nativity plays of the year. Our year two children were the last to perform their nativity plays this year, which they did with confidence and smiles in their faces. Over the last two weeks we’ve had just over 700 parents come and watch all of our infant children on stage. Huge thanks need to go to our hard working office staff for making sure that all ticket allocations took place to get everyone in to watch children and grandchildren perform.


This week has seen the release of school assessment data for schools in Derbyshire and the rest of the UK. It was very pleasing to see that all of the hard work our children and staff do resulted in us getting placed in the top ten schools in Derbyshire. There are over three hundred primary schools in Derbyshire Local Authority so for St. John’s to finish in the top ten for the first time is something we can all be proud of. The full article can be seen on the Derbyshire Evening Telegraph website or you are invited to go to the Department for Education website to see all of the Derbyshire data for yourselves. We are particularly pleased with this when you consider our average position since 2011 is 117th. The Department for Education also produce a page with information specifically about St. John’s which you can also visit.


Finally the Christmas elves have had lots of fun at school over the last few weeks. Last night was a particularly busy night for them.  As you can see below, they broke into my office and partied, whilst holding me hostage!

Merry Christmas and God Bless.

See you in 2017

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 9th December 2016


Lots of children enjoyed our Christmas disco last night. There was lots of dancing and excitement, which was topped off by a visit from Father Christmas himself. Many thanks to all of the volunteers who gave up time to help make the evening a success. I look forward to letting you know how much money we raised.


We’ve had our reception and year one children perform their nativity plays this week, next week we look forward to our year two plays. The children have all worked very hard to learn their lines and songs. It’s a lovely time of year to work at St. John’s watching our children tell the traditional Christmas story under the stage lights. Below you can see Mrs. Newton and Mrs. Girling’s class dressed up just before they went on stage this afternoon.


So far 140 children have walked to the Ritz Cinema in Belper for their Christmas treat, next week the remaining 280 children will get their turn. Many thanks to the parents association who fund this annual treat.


Children brought home our fifth newsletter of the year on Tuesday. You can download a copy from our letters section of this website.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 2nd December 2016


The Christmas tree went up in the entrance foyer this week. As you can imagine this has meant that children have begun to get more excited as our preparations for Christmas continue. Rev. Anne was also in school to help us prepare for Christmas this week with her advent assemblies. Rev. Anne explained to us all about the four advent candles that we light on the four Sundays before Christmas. See if your children can remember what each candle stands for. We also changed the alter cloth that we use in daily acts of collective worship from green. Can you children tell you what colour we are using for the next few weeks?


Unfortunately we have two teachers away at present. Mrs. Clare and Mrs. Robinson have both confirmed that they will be away until Christmas. We wish them a speedy recovery. I am now in a position to confirm that we have secured the same teacher to cover their classes for the next two weeks and many thanks go to Mr. Oakes who is covering Mrs. Clare’s work and Mrs. Kirkland who is covering Mrs. Robinson’s class. I trust that in securing the same teachers for the following two weeks that the stability this offers will help the children.


I look forward to seeing you all at the nativity plays that start next week, first off are the EYFS children on Tuesday at 2pm.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 25th November 2016


Well done to all the volunteers who made sure that last night’s Christmas fayre was a success. Lots of fun was had by all. I look forward to letting you know how much money we raised. Many of you may have noticed that there is a slide show of pictures of all the volunteers that helped out on the night on the PTFA page of our web site. CLICK HERE.


On Monday we had more sporting success when our junior basketball team won the Amber Valley competition. Well done to the team and congratulations on bringing another trophy to St. John’s.


Our year 3 children had great fun on Wednesday when they spent the afternoon dissecting owl pellets. There is a great slide show on Mrs. Allen’s class page that needs to be viewed with caution as the children unearthed plenty of disgusting looking bones etc. from the pellets.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 18th November


On Monday our infants won the Amber Valley invasion games competition. We’ve given out more medals in assembly and will receive another trophy for our display table. Well done to all the team.


On Tuesday morning 4 members of our school council went to Derby Cathedral to work with Derbyshire’s Bishop Alistair. We got the 6.2 bus from Belper to town and back and had a very interesting morning. Bishop Alistair is a member of the House of Lords and he ran an event for primary school to coincide with democracy week. The cathedral was turned into the houses of parliament and children were invited to discuss and debate whether a levy of £2.50 should be imposed on sweets. The money would be used to help pay for health care. Most children their thought that this wasn’t a good idea, despite some very good arguments for and against the proposal.


We’ve had reception children’s parent in school all week coming to take part in phonics lessons and help their children in school. I hope that all the parents that came to school enjoyed the experience and that it helps them understand what their children get up to every day.


Today our year 6 children have worked very hard raising over £1,000 for children in need. The cake and bring and buy sale this afternoon was very well supported. Many thanks for all of your donations. We’ve also sent off about 100 show boxes today after our Christmas Shoe box appeal; again, many thanks for all of your support for this very worthy cause.


Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 4th November


Welcome back after the half term break. Our new half term got off to a winning start with us crowned Tag Rugby Derbyshire Champions on Wednesday evening. Well done to the team and captain Fran Town for scoring the winning try in golden time to clinch the trophy.


Our year 3 children got their predator project off to a great start on Wednesday with the visit of several birds of prey. All children were able to hold the birds whilst learning all about them. They had a great day and I’m sure that everything they learned will help them enjoy the rest of the project.


On Thursday our year six pupils led our harvest festival. Many thanks to all the parents that sent donations of food in that was gratefully collected by the Padley centre today. The children did very well and their assembly was enjoyed by Rev. Anne who was able to come and watch the assembly in the morning.


Rev. Anne was also in school on Monday and Tuesday taking Junior and Infant collective worship. In these assemblies she presented each class with a copy of the Lord’s Prayer. We are now using the ‘modern’ version of the prayer rather than the traditional one, as happens at St. Peter’s church. Rev. Anne was able to help us understand the meaning of the words in the prayer and taught us some actions to go with it to help us appreciate the real power of this prayer. I wonder if any of your children can remember any of them yet.

Headteacher Weekly Blog – Friday 21st October


The picture at the bottom of this blog says it all – what a great week. The picture was taken from the stage of Pop UK on Thursday 20th. This was the second night where all our children were on the stage looking at St. Peter’s church full to capacity with friends and family enjoying themselves during the encore. All of the audience could see hundreds of children enjoying themselves singing on stage, not knowing that we were enjoying ourselves looking at parent, grandparents and friends enjoying themselves dancing and singing. They were both brilliant nights – thankyou to everyone who helped it take place.


Other things have taken place as well this week, yesterday our year 4 children took part in the Amber Valley athletics competition. We did very well finishing second, runner up to Ridding’s Junior School, well done to them for winning.


On Wednesday all junior children watched an e-safety play.  A theatre company, Saltmine Trust, spent the morning with us. They did a 45 minute play, and then ran a 45 minute workshop for all junior children. Ask your children about what they learned during the event about e-safety, hopefully they’ll be able to tell you about some of the things they can do to stay safe when using computers.


Please note that newsletter 4 came home today – you can download a copy from our school website if yours didn’t make it home.


Have a lovely holiday, see you all on Monday 31st October.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 14th 2016


Although the children have only had a four day week all staff are in school today on our INSET day. At our recent parent information evening we let parents know that staff today were spending time looking at the new reading resources we have purchased, ready to use with children soon. All of us are now getting to grips with the new accelerated reader information. Our year 6 children have started to trial the system and over the coming months we will be able to roll it out to other children as well. We will be running specific accelerated reader meetings for parents overt the coming months to help ensure that we get the most of this exciting initiative with home/school links as well.


As well as some staff training taking place today we have some specialist cleaners in school. They are cleaning an area of school that desperately needed some attention. I’m not going to tell you where it is, but I hope that parents that see it notice a difference, we certainly have. It may be that parents of our reception children will readily be able to notice where the cleaning is taking place.


Many thanks to all the parents that came to parent evenings this week. It is always good for teachers and parents to say hello for the first time and this October parent evening is really important for this. I also appreciate the time that parents gave to completing the parent survey sheets that we gave out at the parent evenings. Many thanks to our governors who were welcoming parents and distributing the surveys. I look forward to sharing the results with you once we have ‘number crunched’ all the information.


Pop UK were in school all week and have got us all ready for our concerts next week. You may have noticed your children singing a couple of the songs that we have learned. They are very catchy and we are all very excited about singing them next week. Rumour has it that the staff recorded a ‘secret’ song that will be hidden on the CD. I can only apologise in advance to any families that are upset with the singing of the male soloist who features on this song, but I’m afraid that Robbie Williams wasn’t available and Mr. Hallam was busy teaching……you can work out the rest.


We also had half a dozen staff from DEB come to school on Thursday to help promote national hand cleaning day. They ran several workshops informing the children of how important it is to wash hands to our year one and two children. The children also took home a hand cleaning pack. Many thanks to all of the DEB staff that came to school.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 7th October 2016


Our week started with our year 3 pupils walking to the Belper Co-op to help with their project work at present. All the children got to see behind the scenes, have a go on the till and even ate some samples. Many thanks to the staff at the co-op for helping out.


Our year two children won their first competition of the year on Monday night at the Amber Valley Athletics competition. Well done to them, let’s hope it’s the first of many trophies for these sporting superstars.


On Tuesday we had our friend Ezekiel Katato return for the second year to tell us about life as a Maasai Warrior. He was able to spend half an hour with most children letting them know about topics as diverse as food, medicine and plants and trees form his native Kenya.


Over 100 parents came to our parent information meetings on Wednesday where senior teachers were able to give information about school results from last year and our school improvement plan for next year. You can get copies of all the information from our web site in the Useful Paperwork section, CLICK HERE.


We had rocket cars and rocket space ships blasting along our playground and up into the sky at the end of the week. Rolls-Royce staff were back with us with our Bloodhound project and saw them helping children blast their rocket propelled cars along the playground, with a record speed reached of 43 mph. We also had our year 5 children blast rockets into the sky and beyond, with the furthest travelling a fantastic 15 meters!


Finally, unfortunately our football team have just finished playing, and losing, a cup football match against Chellaston. Well done to the winners and hard luck to our boys who were beaten 1-0 by the better team.

Headteacher weekly blog Friday 30th September


Our sporting season has well and truly started this week. Last night Mr. Hallam took our football team for the first tournament of the season. All games were won which got us through to the final, which was drawn. Unfortunately we didn’t win the penalty shootout, but good fun was had by all and the event gave Mr. Hallam a great insight into how the team will play for the rest of the season. The team’s first league game of the season is tonight at home against St. Werburgh’s on our playing field. I hope that home advantage sees us get off to a wining start.


We welcomed Miss. Thatcher to Mrs. Wojcik’s class this week. Miss Thatcher is from the University of Derby and will be working with Mrs. Wojcik for the next few weeks.


Children have brought home their Pop UK concert letter today. Your child will either bring home a pink or blue letter depending on which night their year group is performing at St. Peter’s. Year 6 children are performing both nights, so have two letters. Please make sure that you return your ticket order form ASAP and by 12th October at the latest.

Headteacher Weekly Blog – Friday 23rd September


This week has seen us settle into the annual routines. All of the children now know where they need to be and when they need to be there and homework and school work patterns are in place. I hope that your children are settled and hope that if you are still having any ‘teething’ problems that you have found time to speak to the class teacher, however, our first parent evenings of the year are only three weeks away if you haven’t had time yet.


Even though we’re only into week three we’ve already had to start thinking about September 2017. We’ve now had families come on introduction tours with their nursery children to see if they want to apply for a place at St. John’s for next year, and our year six pupils have had to start applying for their secondary school places.


Rev. Anne Stratton came into school on Monday and Tuesday to lead our infant and then junior collective worships. We have very strong links with St. Peter’s so Anne was also in school on Monday morning when we had a foundation governor meeting. Our foundation governors are governors that are appointed by the church to the governing body. These links with St. Peter's will be celebrated at two forthcoming events, Education Sunday on the 16th October at the 10.45am service and on the 19th and 20th October when we perform our Pop UK songs at St. Peter’s church. Families and friends are invited to all these occasions, but tickets are needed for the Pop UK concerts.

Headteacher Weekly Blog – Friday 16th September 2016


The focus of this week has been reading. We’ve had three different events to promote and recognise reading.


On Monday we had staff from the local library come and hand out certificates to lots of children that had taken part in the summer reading challenge. Lots of children have read 6 books over the summer holidays and all were presented with their certificates and medals in Monday’s special assembly.


On Tuesday we recognised the brilliance that is Roald Dahl. Hundreds of children and dozens of staff came dressed as Roald Dahl characters and then took part in activities that celebrated his books. I had no idea that so many characters existed. I also felt for the bathrooms of the families who had children painted in purple body paint, I hope that your towels survived.


On Wednesday Mrs. Smith ran two reading workshops for our new reception parents. At this meeting she shared all of our reading resources and gave tips on how we can work together as schools and families to help children develop their reading and phonic skills as quickly as possible.

As we all know, books build brains, and from the evidence of this week we have hopefully help build lots of brains this week.


Also on Wednesday we had our first PTFA meeting of the year. I’m pleased that 3 new parents, Zoe Adamson, Yvonne Byrne and Liz James have volunteered to take up the rolls of chair, secretary and treasurer. Because of this we have also been able to add dates for lots of events for the autumn term to the school calendar, which are as follows -

  • 12th October 7.30pm – Christmas Fayre planning meeting at the Greyhound pub.

  • 7th November 7.30pm – PTFA meeting at the Greyhound pub.

  • 10th November 5.30pm – Infant film night

  • 25th November 5pm – Christmas Fayre

  • 8th December – Infant and Junior Christmas Discos


Please add these dates to the calendar. It would be great if we had a few more parents and family members come to the meetings on the 12th October and 7th November to help with the organising and running of the events. The money that the PTFA use is spent throughout the school to by lots of nice treats for all the children. For example on Wednesday night the PTFA agreed to fund our annual Christmas treat again with a visit to all children in year one to six to the Ritz cinema in Belper. This costs £2,000, is enjoyed by all and is only possible due to the fund raising events and the help of our parent volunteers.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 9th September 2016


We’ve had a lovely first week back. It’s been lovely to speak to all the children about their holidays and the lovely places they’ve visited. However, 6 weeks is long enough and I’m sure that many families were looking forward to the normal routine starting again on Tuesday.


Clarks shoes must have done a roaring trade over the holiday as lots of children had very shiny shoes on Tuesday that complimented lots of very smart looking uniforms. I greatly appreciate the support we get from families in following our uniform rules. Having children in uniform really helps us nurture a belonging to the St. John’s family and promote a good school attitude and good behaviour.


Our year 5 students had a great start to their astronomy topic with a travelling planetarium visiting us on Tuesday morning. It all looked very exciting as the children crept into a huge dome tent in the hall and were treated to a tour through space.


All children brought home a newsletter and a school calendar for the year on Tuesday. Copies can be downloaded from the website.  


As a final note our vacancies section of the web site lets you know that we have midday supervisor vacancies at the moment at school. If you would like to come and work at St. John’s we are looking for people to join our lunchtime midday supervisor team. The work is during the school day and is term time only so would ideally suit anyone looking for work whilst their children are at school.  Our midday supervisors spend their hour at work playing with the children and helping them in the dining room. Information and an application form can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Headteacher fortnightly blog – Friday 22nd July


Last week’s Friday night prom meant that no blog was published, sorry, but we were all enjoying ourselves at the beach party. The parents organised a great event and 71 children were sent off in style. The pictures of the evening will bring back memories for a long time to come with a bouncy castle, posh cars, cocktail bar and jazz band being just some of the highlights. Our Y6’s had a very busy week last week as they also had a trip to Magna science museum in Sheffield and got back from their residential visit. It’s a wonder that they have any energy left at all to put on their leavers show next week on Monday morning.


We also had our music evening on Wednesday night last week. Mrs. Garbutt organised a brilliant event with dozens of children getting the opportunity to show us their great musical talents on stage to an audience of over 150 parents. It was a great evening that really brought home how lucky we are to be able to work with such talented children.


Our reception children had a very exciting pirate day on Wednesday. We had lots of great costumes come to school and today it was a pleasure to see three pieces of great pirate writing come to me as headteacher hero and heroine work.


We had our summer discos last night. Our fantastic PTFA ran another brilliant evening for hundreds of children to enjoy dancing, eating and drinking with their friends. Many thanks to them for organising this event.


A newsletter came home today with lots of information on it about the last few days of term. You can download a copy from this website.



Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 8th July 2016


Like thousands of head teachers around the county I was logging onto the Department of Education website at a very early hour on Tuesday morning to collect SAT test results for our year 6 children. Once I had all of the data, was able to see how children had done and compared our school results with the national averages (a process that took most of the day) I was able to pause for thought. I know that your children’s seven years at primary school should not be summed up in the results of three tests that took about seven hours to complete but I worry that many people do think so and about the consequences that the results will have on some children and families.


This brief period of reflection in another very busy day did lead me to conclude that I am sure that a child that scores 102 is not necessary better, wiser, smarter, nicer, kinder, happier and more loving, caring and forgiving than a child that scored 101. I therefore hope that when our year 6 children get their results in their reports on Tuesday they are encouraged to realise this by parents and families. Your children all achieve a huge amount at St. John’s, this week alone we have had



  • Our year 4 children entertain parents with their last night of the proms concert on Tuesday afternoon

  • Our year 3 children spend the day at Darley Park outward bound centre learning team building skills

  • Our year 6 children begin a three night residential to PGL in Shropshire where they’ll learn how to look after themselves

  • Our year 5 children board the train on a school trip to Matlock

  • Our Year 2 children set a balloon free to find out where it will land and await the return of the card with excitement you cannot imagine

  • Our science club launch their rocket powered cars across the playground

…..and what worries me is that what they all learn doing these activities is quickly forgotten and dismissed as not important on test result day!


Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 1st July


I hope you enjoyed a three day weekend. All staff spent Monday 27th June in school getting ready for next year. I’m looking forward to sharing with you teacher locations, pupil movements and new cornerstones projects as soon as we’ve finished dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.


Our year 5 children spent Wednesday at Belper secondary school. This is a great idea for children to see what secondary schools are like, whether they go to Belper or not. I hope that Belper continue this in future years for all children to get to go at the end of year 5.



On Thursday we had our Olympic day. Joe Roebuck, an Olympian from London 2012, was with us for the day. All children spent a PE lesson with him and then got to go to an assembly led by Joe when he told us of how he went from learning to swim to winning medals on the world and European stage. It was a great motivational speech for the children to listen to.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 24th June 2016


We’ve finished counting all of the money raised at last week’s summer fayre. The PTFA’s hard work and your support has meant we raised £2,591. This is a fantastic total and we look forward to spending it on your children.


On Wednesday night we welcomed new parents to our school who will have children starting in September 2016. These children will be with us until July 2023! Now that we have met the parents we look forward to welcoming the children themselves over the coming weeks as they come to spend some time with us.


Several classes have spent time at St. Peter’s church this week learning all about our local church and finding out about how it works. Many thanks to the parents who helped us walk down safely and to Rev. Anne and her team for putting on a lovely set of workshops.


This afternoon we finished off the week with our Junior Sport day. The rain held off for us to enjoy lots of races that concluded with the blue team winning the trophy for this year. Well done to them and thank you for your support.


We sent a newsletter home on Wednesday, I hope yours made it home, if not please CLICK HERE.

Please note that we have an advert out at present for a Teaching Assistant to join us in September. If you want to apply the information is on this website in the Current Vacancies section.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 17th June 2016


All of our year 1 children have taken their DfE phonic reading tests this week with Mrs. Gascoyne and Mrs. Marsh. They all did very well and can be very proud of themselves.


On Tuesday our year 6 pupils spent a couple of hours at Belper secondary school watching their end of year drama production. As well as giving our children another taste of where most of them will be in September it was good to see lots of ex-pupils on the stage, showing us how talented they have become.

Mrs. Wayne organised a great art screen painting day on Wednesday for lots of children working on their art mark. Their finished products were excellent.


On Thursday Mrs. Gartside ran her ‘Save a Life’ workshop for parents. Mrs. Gartside is a qualified swimming coach and ran a first aid session designed to help families that may come into trouble over the summer holidays when children will be playing in water. I hope that none of the families that came need to use the skills that they learned, but am really pleased that Mrs. Gartside was able to potentially help ‘Save a Life’ through giving her time to this valuable programme.


Finally we had our annual summer fayre today. Over 800 paying adults came to enjoy the stalls and fun, even though we were worried when a heavy shower at 4.45pm threatened to spoil all our work 15 minutes before we opened. I am sure you would like to join me in thanking Charley Moorhouse from the PTFA for organising and running the whole event. I am looking forward to sharing how much money we raised as soon as it has all been counted.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 10th June 2016


It’s been great to have lovely weather all week. This has meant that our second week of cycle training has taken place in dry weather and the children have enjoyed learning safe cycling skills on our playground and neighbouring streets in sunshine. All of our year 6 children have now had a number of Bikeability lessons during the last two school weeks to help them stay safe on the roads when they are out on their bikes. Many thanks to Derby Bikeability for organising great lessons that the children have enjoyed.


The weather just about held off for us to enjoy our infant sport day this afternoon as well. The very start was spoiled by a brief heavy shower, but the grass didn’t get too slippy so we were able to carry on as planned. Mr. Hallam and his year 5 class have done a great job of organising the event. His children have done a fantastic job of making sure the infant children get to enjoy their races and sprint, hop, run and crawl to the finish line with huge smiles on their faces. It was particularly nice to see the year 5 children in charge of the finish line, who were giving out stickers to the finishers, also giving high fives to all the children congratulating them on their races.


Gary Spendlove has begun his annual cricket coaching sessions with our junior children on Thursdays. This series of lesson culminates with a year 6 cricket tournament later in the term.


Yesterday it was great to welcome governors into school during the day to come and see us at work and then have lunch with the children. I am looking forward to getting their reports on what they saw and then feeding their findings into next year’s school improvement plan, which we have started to write this half term.


Finally don’t forget it’s our summer fayre next week. All the fun starts at 5pm on Friday 17th June. Any parents that are able to help are invited to contact the PTFA via their web page - . Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 27th May 2016


Having started to write this week’s blog I have realised that I didn’t write one last week, so I’ll start with a summary of week ending Friday 20th May.


On Tuesday 17th a parish council meeting was held at school at 7pm. It was the first council meeting to be held at our school for some time. The meeting began with a tour around the school for the 20 members, some of which were ex pupils who were taught at the old school house near the chapel. I hope that we are able to continue such works and links with St. Peter’s.


On Wednesday 18th May Mrs. Winson-Bushby ran the first of our more able sessions. In order to help us give more able children extra opportunities we are going to utilise the strengths of our teachers to run specific workshops for children and Mrs. Winson-Bushby, our language expert got the ball rolling. We had 20 children from throughout the school spend a few hours learning about different languages as well as picking up some Latin!


As you are also all aware I had to make a decision to close the school on Friday 20th May. On Thursday 19th we had just under 100 children away, with the vast majority of parents saying that their children were suffering from sickness and diarrhoea. I went to take advice from many agencies, including school health, Derbyshire health and safety and Public Health England, all of which were very supportive of what we were doing. Public Health England did not want us to take any samples from any ill children as all information pointed to a viral bug brought into the school and not a food based bug. I was informed that viral bugs have the capacity to spread very quickly and easily from child to child when they are working in proximity to each other. We were advised to order a deep clean of the school as a ‘belt and braces’ procedure, which we gladly did. It was also considered that closing for a day, and then not having children on site for the weekend, would help ensure that any viral bugs were not given the opportunity to spread. With all the information to hand I made the closure decision, with the support of governors and with your child’s welfare in mind to close.


I am pleased that Public Health England have continued to offer support and have kept the case open on their records. They have rung me this week and will be doing so after the half term break so that they can be kept informed of where we stand in relation to any lingering concerns.


Once again, I’ll take this opportunity to draw your attention to the most important advice I was given last week and ask you to ensure that children are kept away from school for 48 hours after their final sickness and diarrhoea episode.  Other advice included the promotion of hand hygiene after visiting the toilet and the use of soap and water been the best way of cleaning hands.


This week has seen a return to normal and several exciting events. On Tuesday we started our transition work with secondary schools and nursery schools in earnest. Our Y6 teachers spent a morning with Belper School’s teachers and Mr. Cooper, he headteacher at Belper Secondary School, spending 30 minutes with all of our year 6 children. Our reception teachers have also spent a couple of hours with staff from local nurseries to find out about the children joining us in September.


On Wednesday our year 3 children led a fantastic Pentecost service at St. Peter’s church. One of the highlights was them greeting all of us with singing as we walked into the church at the start of the service, a lovely touch. We now also have a Pentecost display up at St. Peter’s celebrating the work we did in preparing the service.


Yesterday, Thursday 26th, we hosted a girls’ football tournament on our school field. Several schools took part and the event was enjoyed by all. Then last night Mr. Hallam and I were at the annual football presentation evening, at the Riverside Conference Centre, with our 7 a side football team, to pick up our league champions trophy. A great way to finish the season!

Headteacher weekly blog, Friday 13th May 2016

Last week was finished off at Derby County’s fantastic training ground for the schools’ cup final. Those of you that follow us on Twitter will have seen that unfortunately we lost 3-2. We did very well to get to the final (for the second year on the trot, we were the defending champions) as 38 teams entered. Well done to St. Albans Primary school for a deserved victory. You can see below that out boys still enjoyed getting their medal from Lee Grant, Derby’s number one keeper!


We did however find out that we have won the league this week! This is great news as this means we are off to the Derby presentation evening on 26th May. We think that this may be the 18th year on the trot (but we will be corrected if this isn’t the case) that St. John’s football team has gone to the annual presentation evening to pick up silver wear, a truly fantastic record.


Our year 6 children have ‘done themselves proud’ this week completing all of the SAT tests in great spirit and with lots of commitment. Well done to them all.


We also need to say thank you to the school council this week who helped us out in recruiting a new teacher to join our team in September. We were interviewing today for a new senior teacher and for one of their tasks they had to be interviewed by the school council, who had prepared their own questions. All of the candidates said that our council members were very mature and gave a great impression of the children at St. John’s. I look forward to sharing the name of our newest staff member as soon as possible in a future newsletter.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 6th May 2016


It has been a quiet 4 day week due to the bank holiday weekend, but it is about to get a lot noisier. This is a very brief blog as I am about to leave to go to Derby County’s training ground to watch the cup final! St. John’s, (defending champions) have got to the final again. I look forward to tweeting the result later tonight, kick off is at 6pm. Good luck team!

Headteacher weekly blog 29.4.16

We started the week with dozens of animals getting delivered to our reception classes for the day. We had flying, hopping, crawling, fury and scaly animals for the children to observe, draw and learn about with some very helpful staff from White Post Farm. When the animals were collected at the end of the week they left a rabbit behind for the children to look after for the week. You can see below that all of us, including me, had great fun with them all.


Our football team won the football semi-final this week and are now going to play in the final on Friday 6th May at Derby County Training Ground, Moor Farm at 6pm. Let’s hope we finish the season with a victory. In other sporting news our rugby team finished a great second in the league, one point behind Duffield Meadows. Well done to Duffield Meadows on a deserved championship and well done to our team for doing so well throughout the entire season and finishing second in a league of 8.


Our year 5 children are just in the final stages of getting ready to leave for their weekend residential. I am looking forward to finding out about the climbing, abseiling and soakings that they will get this weekend. Huge thanks to Mr Hallam, Miss Dallison, Mrs. Wojcik and Miss. Cooper who are giving up their bank holiday weekend to take the children away.

Headteacher weekly Blog – Friday 22nd April


CHAMPIONS!! The trophy pictured below was won by our cross country team on Wednesday evening. We finished first, and therefore won the cup for this year. Well done to all the children involved who ran as fast as they could and did themselves proud!


The PTFA have done themselves proud this week as well. On Monday evening we had enough volunteers come to the meeting to make sure that summer fayre could go ahead on Friday 17th June. I look forward to seeing you all then on what I hope is a warm, golden summer evening! The PTFA then also organised and ran the discos last night. About 200 children came to enjoy themselves for an hours dancing and sweet eating. Many thanks to all the volunteers that helped out, I believe that we raised a huge amount of money and look forward to confirming how much once we have it all counted.


Class photographs were taken today, all the children looked wonderful. Information about how to purchase them will be coming home soon.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 15th April 2016


We’ve had a lot of coaches taking children on trips this week as well as having children walking to locations in Belper. Our year 2 children have been to Warwick Castle to help them start their work for this half term; our year 1 pupils have been off to Conkers forestry centre to help them start their woodland project for this half term; year 5 pupils have been to a local allotment patch, to speak to allotment holders and learn ideas to help them with their own allotment back at school. All of our children have been well behaved with staff at all three locations letting us know how well behaved they were.


We’ve had busy week with governors this week. On Wednesday and Thursday evening governors were at school for a couple of hours on training one evening and developing future plans for the school the other. Both evenings were interesting and exciting, I look forward to sharing with you the outcomes of the planning meeting at a future parent information evening. Our training evening helped inform governors of our options under the governments planned forced academy programme. It’s good to know that our governing body is already responding to this very recent announcement to ensure that we are fully informed to help us make the future decisions.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 18th March 2016

Our year 4 children enjoyed a trip to the Sea Life centre at Alton Towers on Monday. This is to compliment the ‘Blue Abyss’ project they are studying this half term. I have been informed that a great day was had by all and that our children were, as usual very well behaved.


On Thursday we took part in the Sport Relief fund raising campaign. Every child in the school ran a mile around the school field. Some year 5 mathematicians spent an hour earlier in the week calculating where the mile long track would need to go. All of the children also came to school dressed in sports kits for any sports that they take part in outside of school and it was great to see just what clubs and sports our children get involved with when they go home. Not all of the money has been counted yet, but we have already exceeded the £500 mark, so well done to all for taking part.


Continuing the sporting theme, our footballers won their cup football match on Monday evening against Duffield Meadows, so congratulations to them for progressing through to the next round.


On Friday school was closed for an INSET day. All of the staff went to the Education Show in Birmingham for the day. It was a great days training with hundreds of educational companies displaying the products they sell and that we could use to help children at school. There were also lots of lectures and seminars attended by staff, helping us ensure that we keep abreast of current issues.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 11th March 2016


We’ve had the fire service in school this week helping our children learn about the importance of fire safety. Fire officers were in school on Monday and Tuesday working with year 2 and year 6 pupils. I hope that your children are able to remember what they have learned and talk to you about it over the weekend. They may be able to help improve safety at your home.


Our Bloodhound fastest car in the world club on Wednesday evening saw our children propelling rockets into ‘space’. Using wtare powered rockets we got our models to travel well over 10 meters and least 10 metres high – it was great, wet and fun.


On Wednesday evening our school choir sang at St. Peter’s church in the Belper Schools Easter Service. St. Elizabeth’s, Long Row and Milford children were all on stage with our children singing songs and telling the Easter story. Well done to all the children from all the schools and thank you to Mrs. Winson-Bushby for getting the children organised and sounding wonderful.


Last night we had our first full governor meeting of the year. Our governing body work hard supporting the school and last night was no different. The governors that give their time up freely for the school are a hard working bunch that do very well at improving our school for our children.


The 10 eggs that we had delivered into EYFS on Monday have so far resulted in 4 chickens hatching. The children have loved having them in the class room. They are spending the weekend with Mrs. Gartside and hopefully by Monday we’ll have more hatched eggs to eggsite the children.


Our football team is at present playing away at St. Peter’s in Derby City. Mr. Hallam is sure that if they win tonight the league is ours for the taking! Let’s hope we have good news to report next week.

Headteacher weekly Blog – Friday 4th March 2016


Our football team are very pleased that it’s stopped snowing, as they have a game tonight against Walter Evans, here at St. John’s. They didn’t want the game to be cancelled. I do think that they were the only children that didn’t want to the snow though and that the other 480 children would have loved for today’s snow showers to have stuck around for a little longer. Please remember that should snow or other adverse conditions threaten the running of the school you need to assume that we are open as normal unless we let you know otherwise. The best ways to find out are with the front page of our school webs site and our twitter feed. We gave out all of the information about school closures in poor weather in our December 2015 newsletter, CLICK HERE to read a copy of it.


We have evidence that the chicken came before the egg. This week our EYFS children had some caged pets and animals brought to school to help them with their work and one parent was able to bring in a couple of chickens for the children to look at. In a few days we will have our eggs, incubator, chicken feed etc delivered to EYFS for our annual chick watch. You’ll be able to watch the eggs as they hatch and the chickens as they grow through our regular tweeter feeds and on the EYFS website. CLICK HERE.


On Wednesday evening we welcomed over 40 teachers from lots of local primary schools. After a quick round of tea (teachers are very thirsty after a day in the classroom) all of us worked together looking at examples of books and work from every school in the Belper Primary cluster. It was a great evening to see what good ideas we could all copy from each other and it really helped all 60 teachers (20 were from St. John’s) get to grips with the new writing standards and expectations that we are using to assess work now we no longer use the old National Curriculum levels. I hope that it is the first of other similar events of all the local schools working together and sharing good ideas.



On Thursday we had a fire drill. As usual all of the children were brilliantly behaved. Mrs. Carvell and I were impressed again as 490 children and all our staff vacated the building in less than 90 seconds and lined up in sensible lines on the playground.

Headteacher Weekly blog – Friday 26th February

I’ve just seen that I didn’t write a blog on the week we broke up for half term. Sorry! On the Friday we had an INSET day at school so the change in routine must have upset the schedule. On the Friday staff spent most of the day preparing new Cornerstone plans for the summer term. We know how much the children are enjoying this new curriculum and we have spent a lot of time planning the lesson we are going to teach. This was the third and final INSET day we have given over to planning.


We also had infant and junior softball teams represent the school at Amber Valley sport competitions. Our year 2 children represented the school for the first time and both teams we entered finished joint top! Congratulations. Our junior team told me that they finished second to let the other team finish first as we hosted the event. Thanks to Mrs. Brassington and Mr. Hallam for organising the teams


This week we have all started new projects. On Monday we had lots of baby brothers and sisters come and join us in year 1 to help them get their Memory Box work under way. Our year two children have started their bounce work – and have done some great art work inspired by Jackson Pollock. I wonder how many mums and dads have got the album that he designed the cover of in their collections?


All of our corridor displays have been updated this week and lots of them look very special. I have however decided to share a picture of the Greek display of our year 3 work. It’s in the main lobby and is fantastic. I hope that lots of you enjoy it as you come into school over the coming weeks.


We have a parent governor vacancy at present and all children have brought home a letter this week with information on how you can help us if you want to join our governing body. On Monday children will be bringing home information about our March parent evenings.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 5th February 2016


Our Thursday evening Bloodhound club is going really well. Mrs. Gascoyne and several helpers are ensuring that the 20 children that attend are really learning about construction and cars. This week the pneumatic pressure launcher we have led to us carrying out tests to see which car could travel the first when blasted off with a force of 40psi or 3 bar. Our pictures below show them carrying out the tests and then recording the results in the excel spreadsheet.


Reverend Anne came in to take our infant and junior collective worships this week. She was encouraging us to think about helping people. To help with this story she told the story of Jesus turning water into wine at a friend’s wedding. Whilst telling the story the children saw Reverend Anne pour clear water into an empty clay jug. One minute later they were all amazed as the water that came out of the jug was as red as dark Ribena. The children’s faces were fantastic as they couldn’t believe what they had seen. Well done to Reverend Anne for such a fantastic visual display to help us think about helping people.


Our school newspaper team have met this afternoon, they have begun working on the next addition of this great read. Colour version back issues can be read on this website, just CLICK HERE.


Headteacher weekly Blog – Friday 29th January 2016


On Tuesday afternoon we had just over 70 parents and friends come to school for our ‘Last night of the Proms’. Our year 4 orchestra entertained us for 30 minutes showing off their musical skills on their clarinets. All of our year 4 children learn how to play a musical instrument and this year they are learning clarinets, last year it was violins.  These children are half way through their musical year now but have set themselves the challenge of a second performance in July – we’re looking forward to it already.


We are really proud of the musical opportunities our children get. Once children have spent a year learning how to pay an instrument for free parents get an opportunity to continue the lessons in year 5 and 6. At the moment these lessons cost £1.50 a week. For this children get to keep the instrument for the year and have a weekly lesson with a small group of children. Many thanks to Derby Music Partnership for all their work with us.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 22nd January 2016.

As I write we have some volunteer parents form the PTA turning our school hall into a cinema for the evening. At 5.30pm we will have lots of excited infant children arrive for a weekend treat with a night at the movies. Popcorn, drinks and Alvin and the Chipmunks sound like a fantastic way to relax after a week at school. If you want to get involved and help at any PTFA events please get in touch with Sharon Kelby our chair. You can send her a message from our school website, just go to and use the contact us from at the bottom of the page.


Our girls and boys footsall teams have played this week in competitions. Our girls came second on Tuesday night and our boys can third last night in their respective competitions. Well done top both teams.


Over 120 parents came to our Parent information events this week. Lots of parents let us know how useful it was. If you want to get a copy of the presentation that we went through you can find it on our website here This is the second information update event we have run and we would like to run a third in the summer term. If you have any suggestions as to how we could make them better or if there is any information that we aren’t giving out that you would like to hear please let us know. Either speak to me at the school gate or use the contact the headteacher from at the bottom of this page.



Finally we intend to send home a newsletter next week, so please keep your eyes on your child’s book bags and the newsletter part of this website to make sure that you don’t miss your copy. One of the bits of news to come home in this letter is that we can confirm that we won’t be closing on Thursday 5th May for an INSET day. We have worked very hard with the team from Amber Valley Elections to find other ways of safely running elections without having to close the school to pupils. This means that our 5th and final INSET for this school year will be on Monday 27th June. We are very pleased with this outcome and hope that the day is a success as it will mean that we will now be able to choose to have INSET days at times to suit the training needs of the staff and therefore the education of your children rather than the demands of the election system.

Headteacher Weekly Blog – Friday 15th January 2016


We had our first PTFA (Parents, Teacher and Friends Association) meeting on Wednesday night. Lots of thanks to the parents who came to support the school. These volunteers were able to confirm that our upcoming events of the infant disco on Friday 22nd January, and our discos on Thursday 21st April will be able to go ahead. We have also pencilled in our Summer Disco for Thursday 21st July.


Our after school clubs are back in full swing. It was good to see Tom Ellison back this week after his knee operation. The children missed his gym club and looked to be very happy last night working with him again. Soccerstars and girls football is also up and running again. Unfortunately due to lack of demand however we were not able to offer the science club this half term. Mr. Hallam also took our new ‘Footsall’ team to Belper leisure centre last night at 6pm for a training session and to help the children get used to playing with a footsall, rather than a football.


We have also welcomed a new initiative that we have been working towards, at the school gates when children are arriving and leaving. Amber Valley are going to be sending regular traffic patrols to help us with safe parking. The parking attendants from Amber Valley will be with us a few times a week, this week they were here today and Wednesday before school. I hope, as you do, that this will help us ensure that parents dropping off do so safely for their and all other children.


Finally I look forward to seeing all the parents that are coming to our Parent Information Meetings next week. We are running the event twice, to help with childcare, on Monday evening at 6pm and on Thursday afternoon at 2.30pm. Well over 100 parents are already attending. If you would like to come but have not returned the slip you are still welcome to attend.

Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 8th January 2016


A new year and new curriculum projects have ensured that we have had a new exciting start to 2016. Already this week, amongst other excitement, we’ve had a messy day in year 2, children evacuated in year 6 and a visit from the Queen in year 1. Remember that you can find out what projects your children are studying now and what they’ll be doing for the rest of the year on the ‘Curriculum and British Values’ page on this website.


We welcomed Miss King to St. John’s on Monday. Miss King is teaching in year 4. She has let me know today that she’s had a great week getting to know the children in her class. Miss King is with us until Mrs. Green is able to return to work.


All of our upper juniors are taking part in a special PE lesson over the coming weeks and on Wednesday it was the turn of Mr. Hallam’s class who had a go at fencing. The picture below shows you that they all got to experience a new sport for the first time.


We have updated some of the information on our E-safety pages of the school website. We have two e-safety pages.

  • One is for parents and is designed to help you keep your children safe online. We have added a new document to this page that you may want to read, it contains lots of useful information. CLICK HERE to go to the parent e-safety page.

  • The second is for children and is there to help them if they have been made sad, upset or scared by something online, or if they think they may have done something online that they shouldn’t have done. We have added a link to the Police CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) page. CLICK HERE to go to the child’s e-safety page or CLICK HERE to go to the CEOP homepage.

You may want to make yourself aware of this e-safety information and share what you consider to be appropriate with your children to help them when they are using their computers, phones and tablets.

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