Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 21st July
Our school has lost a group of very special children today as our year six left us. They’ve had a cracking last few weeks with the highlights being last week’s prom (we were so busy having fun that I didn’t write last week’s blog) and yesterday’s leavers’ service. We are saying goodbye to a group of hugely talented, lovely children that are going to be taught by some very lucky year seven teachers. I hope that in years to come they come back to remind us of how brilliant they are and help us celebrate their future achievements.
We also say goodbye to Mrs. Wayne this week and wish her all the best as she stars her new venture in Belper town centre.
Our building work is continuing at a good pace. The internal remodelling work has almost finished. Miss Cooper and Mrs. Turner are looking forward to moving in during the first week of the holiday and putting furniture in and displays up. The nursery work is still on schedule to finish on Friday 25h August, if not before, with the modular building itself arriving next week! We also have a kitchen refurbishment to look forward to that starts tomorrow. In September our kitchen staff will have lots of lovely shiny new toys to play with when cooking just under 400 meals a day, forty nursery children will have a state of the art bespoke nursery unit to start their school life in and our year two children will have three proper sized classrooms with walls and doors and not the curtains and cubby holes that they have had to put up with for several years. I can’t wait!
Over the last fortnight we have also had our well dressing that was part built by every child at school on show at Belper Riverside gardens. We’ve also had a lovely Keystrings concert this morning with two very talented musicians entertain and educate the children with their musical skills.
Finally lots of staff will be around and about for times during the summer holiday. I will be in for all of the last week if anyone for anyone that wants to ring with any questions or queries about the new year.
Have a lovely holiday, I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday 5th September 2017 when school opens again at 9.00am.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 7th July 2017
On Tuesday and Wednesday morning this week all of our children spent time their new teachers to help prepare for September 2017. Lots of exciting ‘get to know you’ activities were carried out. I hope that when the children came home they were excited to tell you who their new teachers were. We also welcomed our reception children to school for the mornings. For a lot of these children it was their first day at big school and you could tell how excited they all were. I look forward to seeing them all again in September and getting know them over the next seven years!
Last night we won the Amber valley tough runners competition. This was no ordinary running race, but one with attitude. The children did brilliantly and in the end it was our year 5 children that won overall, actually beating our year 6 team in the process!
Yesterday we also ran two parent workshops to help promote e-safety at home. They were attended by about 60 parents who gave feedback that it was excellent and really helped them understand what children can, can’t, will, won’t, should and shouldn’t do on the various screens, tablets, computers and games consoles you probably have at home. One of the most interesting things shared was the results of the survey that our children did before the event. Many parents were shocked by what their children said they did online. We hope that the workshop helps families that were able to attend support their children through the jungle of the internet to help use it appropriately and safely.
Our infant sport day today was a success. All the children ran, hopped, balanced and skipped as fast as they could from one end of the race track to the other and were cheered on by very supportive friends and family, it was a lovely afternoon.
This morning in our celebration assembly we had our school band play their newest song to us. This was a fantastic addition to the normal routine. It takes a lot of nerves to play in front of 500 people so well done to them for doing it so well.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 30th June
The highlight of the week had to be today’s sport afternoon for the juniors. It ran like clockwork, all the children enjoyed their races and the rain held off for the 2 hours we were out on the field. Well done to Mr. Hallam for organising and thankyou to all the parents who came and cheered us all on.
I am able to share that at the summer fayre a fortnight ago we raised over £2,500. This is brilliant and huge thanks have to go to the PTFA team for all of their work in running such a lovely and enjoyable evening.
Year 1 children spent Tuesday lunchtime at St. Peter’s church, even though they got a little wet walking there and back they all enjoyed their visit.
And finally on Wednesday all of our year 5 children went to Belper Secondary school for a secondary taster day. I know that they all learned a lot about what they have to look forward to when they join secondary school in a year.
Don’t forget that next week all our children will spend a morning with their new teachers. They will all be coming home on Wednesday looking forward to telling you who their new teacher is.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 23rdrd June 2017
Sorry that this is getting posted on Monday 26th.
On Wednesday evening we welcomed lots of new parents to school who will have children starting with us in reception in September. It’s very exciting to be welcoming new families and children who will be with us at St. John’s until July 2024. I know that for all teachers the biggest pleasure in our work is seeing children develop and learn as they grow up and then leave to become secondary school students. Nights such as Wednesday allow us to reflect on the journey that child, family and teacher go on together as we turn non reading or writing children into children capable of writing the most fantastic pieces of text at the end of year 6.
We on a new cricket trophy on Wednesday as the boys won the Amber Valley cricket competition. This means that they now go onto the county finals to be played in a couple of weeks.
We said goodbye to Mr. Fentem on Tuesday as his 17 years of working with the school came to an end. Mr. Fentem has taken regular assemblies at school, representing MAST a Christian organisation based in Matlock. Mr Fentem’s magic and passion for the bible will be missed and we wish him all the best as he takes on the role of grandparent in the next chapter of his life.
Finally on Friday we had our house sports competition. As usual we had fantastic help from the year ten PE students from Belper secondary school who come and help organise and referee the sports. The picture below shows the red team on the tug of war, however, even though they won this particular match, blue team won the annual house cup, well done to them.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 16th June 2017
This is very brief as it’s our summer fayre tonight, see below for the pictures of us all enjoying ourselves. If you aren’t here you’re missing out.
Last night we had a fantastic music evening with 30 children amazing over 150 parents with their musical skills. Well done to Mrs. Garbutt for organising.
A newsletter has gone home today with lots of information about the last few weeks of term.
Have a lovely weekend.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 9th June 2017
Several new learning projects got off to great starts throughout the school this week, but the highlights were the year 1 space project and the year 4 music project. On Tuesday we had a planetarium set up in the hall. All the children got to spend time ‘star gazing’ and had a guided tour of our galaxy. Today our year four children spent some time with local talented musician Jamie Rutherford. Jamie plays in the band ‘Threaded’, a folk band based in Derby. He seemed to be able to play any string instrument and was fantastic showing the children how to play everything from guitars to ukuleles. He played lots of songs that the children knew and showed them how much good fun making music is.
All of Mrs. Higgs’ year six children have had a successful (if not a bit wet) week learning how to rides bikes safely on the road. Well done to them all for their excellent behaviour when on the roads and careful attention to all the new skills they have learned.
Don’t forget that next week we have our summer fayre on Friday and that on Monday the PTA are meeting at the Greyhound Inn at 7.30pm to put the finishing touches to organising it. I hope to see you at the summer fayre and on Monday night if you feel you are able to help.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 26th May 2017
Our year 5 children certainly had great weather for their residential trip to Whitehall in Derbyshire this week. Unfortunately I have no pictures to share yet, but I am sure that when we get some after the half term holiday they’ll show hot, happy children having fun, river walking, climbing, etc. Many thanks to all the staff that gave up time to help the children have a lifelong memorable experience.
Mrs. Carvell’s year 6 class have also had a great week in the sunshine as they all had their Bikeability lessons. I hope that the sun is shining after the break when Mrs. Higgs’ class have their lessons.
On Thursday our year three children took our annual Pentecost service at St. Peter’s. This is the first service these children have led at church and they all did very well.
Our building work begins next week, the pictures below show you what the area to be developed looked like at the end of the day today. I know that lots of your will have had lessons in this open plan classroom over the years. We are looking forward to September when the area is transformed into two classrooms with their own doors and walls, and we lose the curtains! I am sure that hundreds of children will benefit from this in the coming years.
Have a lovely holiday, see you all on Monday 5th June.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 19th May 2017
Our year 2 children did their QCA SAT tests this week. They all worked very well and appeared to enjoy testing themselves. Unlike the Y6 tests the year two tests are marked by the children’s teachers. The year two teachers then use tests results to help report on how well the children are working. The tests that the year six children did last week are not marked by us, but have to be sent off to be marked as soon as the children have completed them by the government testing agency. We don’t get the year six results back until July.
Our year 3, 4 and 5 children have also done some tests this week. These tests that these children do are not government tests, but are some tests that we use as a school to help us assess children’s understanding of the year’s objectives. You can find all of the standards that we have to teach towards and then assess against on our curriculum page.
We welcomed the window fitters back to school this week as they continued to replace some of our 1973 windows with lovely new shiny double glazed ones. They will be continuing over the weekend and next week at the front of the school.
Our Rugby team finished top of the league on Monday night after beating Oakwood in the final match of the season. You can follow all of our sporting success on our sport page.
We have published September 22nd 2017 as an INSET day when children will not be coming to school. All calendar dates are always kept up to date on our calendar page. There are three more INSET days to add to the school calendar for 2017-2018 still. We will publish them all as soon as we have them.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 12th May 2017
Our celebration assembly this afternoon rocked to Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ as we showed off our newest addition to the trophy cabinet. Our 9 a side football team played in the cup final on Tuesday night at Derby County’s Moor Farm training ground. They won 4-1 and brought back by far the largest trophy on the table. Well done to them.
Well done to our year 6 pupils as well, who have all shown an excellent attitude throughout this test week. All children have done their best, I am sure that they will be able to be proud of the results we will get back in July.
On Wednesday evening at our staff meeting we had some PE training delivered by Amber Valley Schools Sports Partnership. We have recently bought a new scheme of work from them that we are looking forward to using properly from September. Some staff are using it from now to help us make sure we have the right resources ready for the autumn term.
Finally, two letters have come home this week. Our sun safe letter came home earlier in the week, if you would like your child to access school sun cream over the coming weeks you need to complete and return the slip. Secondly our latest newsletter came home today.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 5th May 2017
Many thanks to our school chaplain Mrs. Alex Lamb who spent two afternoons in school this week with a colleague working with our Y6 children. The children had a great time praying, reflecting and finding some head space to help them in the run up to next week’s tests. I’m sure that this, all the work they have done with us since September 2010 when they started school and the support and love they have from families will ensure that next week every year six child will do themselves proud in their SAT’s.
I’m glad to report that we’ll be supporting the sun safe campaign again this year. Next week we have an assembly and workshops planned for all children to attend to help them be sun safe this summer. We’ll also have a sun cream dispensers around school to help children begin to learn how to apply sun cream to themselves.
It was class photograph day today, all classes had there photographs taken this morning and all the children looked wonderful and very smart. I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures in a couple of weeks when they will be available for any parents that want to, to purchase them.
Headteacher weekly blog – Friday 28th April
On Monday our INSET was spent with staff from St. John’s Ambulance who led their first aid in schools training session to us all. Many thanks to their staff for helping us keep our first aid skills up to date. We have made a couple of minor changes to some procedures in light of this. Children with inhalers will now have them kept in their classrooms and not in the first aid room and bumped head letters will have the time that the child bumped their head as well as the day. These small changes will help us keep your children as safe as possible when they are at school.
We’ve won Amber valley cross country competition on Wednesday night and today our rugby team have won their matches against Dale Primary School. Well done to all our sports stars.
You may have noticed that we are recruiting a new teacher to come and work in our nursery unit in September. All the information is available on the vacancies section of this web site.
Have a good three day weekend!
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.
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