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Headteacher’s Blog

A new member of our school community announced their arrival this week! The recently hatched duckling made a special guest appearance at breakfast club on Wednesday morning and was made to feel very welcome.

Our current expectation regarding mobile phones is that independent travellers in Y5 or Y6 can bring their phones to school, present them to the school office each morning and they are locked away safely until the end of the day. This expectation had been reviewed and adjusted during the Lockdown period so that pupils now give in and collect their phones directly to and from the class teachers. Pupils are not allowed their phones in school and they are not expected to switch them on whilst they are anywhere on the school site. We will be reminding pupils in Y5 and Y6 of these expectations, next week. We hope that families understand and appreciate the need to be very firm about mobile phones at school and hope that you will support and reinforce these rules and expectations with your children.

Please could you send your child to school with a re-fillable water bottle each day. Shared water fountains at school cannot currently be used due to COVID-19 measures therefore we ask that pupils have their own re-fillable bottles so that they can access frequent drinks throughout the day.

Hertfordshire County Council would like parents and carers to complete a survey about mental health information, support & services for children. Closing date – May 17th.

3G are setting a very high standard with their class attendance. For the seventh week running, they have the highest attendance of all classes in KS2. This week – 99% attendance. Fantastic!

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!

 

Headteacher’s Blog

Pupils returned to school last week, after the Easter break, ready for their final term of the school year. Hopefully, as more Lockdown measures are lifted, pupils will be able to enjoy a full, settled summer term, taking part in many of the activities that they would normally experience towards the end of an academic year. Two weeks down….. 12 more to go!

Since all pupils returned to school on March 8th, whole school attendance has been consistently above 96% which is really positive. It would be great if we could maintain this standard for the rest of the school year, ensuring that all pupils are attending school every day, unless they are ill or self-isolating. Excellent attendance and punctuality is essential to help your child recover and catch-up after the loss of so many hours of face-to-face teaching and learning, this year and last. Congratulations to RecEK and 3G – the classes with the best attendance last week.

Yesterday was Earth Day. This annual, global event celebrates and raises awareness of environmental protection. This week, pupils have been learning about Earth Day and the importance of looking after and protecting our planet.

Mrs Gritz is working with our newly-formed eco-committee, to increase our school community’s awareness of and participation in environmental action and to encourage pupils across the school to help care for our planet. There are lots of activities and events planned throughout the summer, including developing a wildlife garden and entering District in Bloom. If your child is in Key Stage 2, please could you send your child into school next week with a yoghurt pot or small drinks carton (labelled with their name or initials) as they will be planting sunflower seeds.

Please could we remind parents and carers to ensure that pupils wear full school uniform every day, including footwear which should be plain black. Hoodies and tracksuit tops are not part of school uniform and should not be worn instead of Bowmansgreen jumpers, cardigans or fleeces. Next week, staff will be speaking with all pupils who are not in correct uniform, reminding them of our expectations. Please also remember to name all of your child’s uniform so that it can be returned to them if it is lost around school.

On Wednesday, the Children’s Commissioner for England launched The Big Ask – the largest ever consultation with children aged 4 to 17 in England. It aims to find out children’s concerns and aspirations about the future, as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please encourage your child to take part in the survey which takes around 5-10 minutes. Parents and carers are also invited to complete the adult survey to share your views about the future for children and young people today. The results from this survey will help identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set goals for the future.

Enjoy your weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog

Congratulations to Mr Broadwell and Mr Major, our newly elected parent governors. I look forward to welcoming and working with them, as part of the school’s governing body.

We hope that you have found this week’s Meet the Teacher appointment a helpful opportunity to discuss your child’s return to school and the impact of the partial school closure upon their learning and progress. A summary of the meeting discussion will be sent home for you to refer to and discuss with your child. If your child has a pupil passport, this will also be sent home for you to sign and return to school.

‘Catch-up’ opportunities and interventions have already begun across the school and will continue for the foreseeable future, as part of our provision until there is no longer the need. Additional small group and individual teaching interventions and after school booster sessions are two of the ways in which pupils will be supported to close the gaps in their learning, that have formed as a result of the absence or lack of teaching at school.

Different children will be targeted for different interventions, some of which, pupils themselves will not be aware of because they will be incorporated into their weekly class timetable. Their teachers are the experts in knowing what your child needs, and how best they should be supported, to help them to make up for the lost learning time. Please do not panic if your child is not targeted for a particular intervention – trust their teachers to know what is best for each pupil. Please also remember that this will be a long lasting programme of support and will involve a range of activities, approaches and opportunities.

We will be able to offer some additional teaching sessions to some pupils, during the first week of the Easter holiday. If this intervention is aimed at your child, they will bring a letter home with them, next week. Again, please do not worry if your child is not selected for this intervention – there will be plenty more opportunities to help your child catch-up, throughout next term.

We have an inclusive, whole school model and approach to teaching, promoting and managing behaviour and conduct that are based on shared expectations and common values which
reflect and best support our diverse school community. At Bowmansgreen, we strive to create a culture of certainty and consistency, where all pupils feel secure, safe and confident of the rules, values, boundaries and expectations. Staff use scripts to help achieve consistency in their language and approach and to support them to know what to say in the heat of the moment or when faced with a challenging situation. Scripts help staff to remain calm, in control and avoid conflict. Families might also find these scripts useful, to help resolve disagreements and to manage challenging behaviours at home. We are currently focusing on using the following scripts, which can be adapted to suit a range of situations:

Proximal praise (and positive reinforcement)

  • Look at (name) sitting sensibly
  • (Names) are showing us how to line up
  • (Name) thank you for listening
  • (Name) thank you, you are sitting quietly – you may go

Give limited choices

  • (Name) you can choose, work sensibly now or at playtime
  • (Name) sit quietly or go to time out
  • (Name) choose this seat or this seat/ this sticker or this sticker
  • (Name) you choose: work with the group or by yourself
  • (Name) either work at this table or that one
  • (Name) choose a partner or I will choose for you
  • (Name) you choose: put the toy in your pocket or in your tray

Acknowledge feelings

  • (Name) I can see you are cross
  • (Name) I think you look a bit worried
  • (Name) I know you are having fun with your friends but …
  • (Name) I can see you are finding this difficult
  • (Name) it looks like you are bored/tired/cross/fed up with this but …

Assemblies this week have focused on our half-termly school values of courage and determination. See if your child can tell you which group of incredible people we share these school values with. Staff have spotted lots of pupils demonstrating these values, this week in their learning and play, as role models for their House and wider school peers. Well done, everyone!

Congratulations to 1OW and 3G as the classes with the best attendance at school this week, in each key stage. Attendance since fully re-opening, is currently at 96%. Keep up the fantastic effort to be at school, every day!

There is lots to look forward to next week at Bowmansgreen, including another crazy hair day….

Enjoy your weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog

It has been really lovely seeing all pupils back together at school, this week. It has clearly been a bit of a shock to the system for some – back to early mornings and a full-school timetable. I have no doubt that some children will have slept very well last night!

We know that many parents are worried about the impact of the partial school closures on their child, particularly regarding their progress and attainment. Lots of parents have asked if their child is now ‘behind’ where they should be. The loss of daily, class teaching at school has had an impact on all pupils and for most, the sad and frustrating reality is that it has interrupted the progress that they had been making. It is a consequence that we have been expecting and are prepared for but there are no quick fixes or magic wands to make it disappear. Teachers have already begun assessing the impact of lost teaching time and school hours on your child and planning opportunities and interventions to identify and address gaps. We hope that next week’s Meet the Teacher appointments are a timely opportunity for you to discuss your child’s return to school, including a focus on their learning and what home and school can do together, to support your child to have a successful rest of the school year.

Remote learning continues to be published on our school website for families who have to self-isolate or shield. This content has moved to a new dedicated Remote Learning page and will continue to be updated weekly.

There have been a few arguments, frustrations and tears in school this week, that have stemmed from pupils falling out whilst playing on-line games with each other. It often takes lots of adult intervention and time to resolve such conflicts and upset, often involving a number of pupils. Please continue to talk to your child about what on-line games or conversations they are engaging in so that you are aware and can help them resolve any issues they might be experiencing. At a time when we are trying to maximise the teaching and learning time for pupils, now that they are all back in the classroom, I am sure you will agree that we do not want to compromise this valuable time, dealing with issues involving fallouts between pupils that have occurred online and outside of school.  Please also check that the online content, including language, that your children are exposed to and engage in, is age-appropriate and what you expect. It is all of our responsibilities to ensure that your children are safe online.
PEGI games ratings – Parent Zone
Online safety – NSPCC.
Online safety – Thinkuknow

Please read this letter from Jim McManus, Director of Public Health

If you are concerned about your child’s emotional health and well-being, we encourage you to talk to us as there are lots of ways that we can help. Parents and carers can also contact the school nursing team via https://www.hct.nhs.uk/our-services/school-nursing/ or the duty School Nurse line on 03001237572 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm). Families can also access up to date information on www.healthforkids.co.uk.

Please could I remind parents and carers not to park in front of the school gates, including for the breakfast club drop-off. With all families having now returned to school, traffic and parking pressures on local roads have also returned, causing renewed frustration for our neighbours and increased risks and danger for pedestrians. Cars should not be pulling up in front of the school gates, blocking cars or pedestrians entering or leaving the school site.

The closing date for voting in the parent governor ballot is Monday 15th March 2021 at 9am. Read the supporting statements from each candidate  and vote via the link sent to you by email, last week. Please let us know if you did not receive an email and we will send out a voting link, by text or email. Alternatively, if you wish to vote by paper, please collect a form from the office or click here to download.

Headteacher’s Blog

Bowmansgreen celebrated World Book Day in style this year, with pupils and staff dressing up as book characters or in their pyjamas, to mark this annual event in the school calendar. Masked readers tried to hide their true identities from pupils, as they talked about and read from some of their favourite books. Thank you to Miss Ottley for organising this event and to parents and carers for helping your children to look fantastic!

All pupils are currently studying a whole school unit of English based on the book ‘Tuesday’ by David Weisner. Throughout the unit, each year group will have completed one or more writing tasks. Families who have been learning remotely, please could the pieces of writing be emailed to your child’s class email address or brought into school on Monday so that they can be used to help plan your child’s next steps in writing, which will be shared at the Meet the Teacher meetings.

March 8th is International Women’s Day.  Despite all pupils returning to school on the same day, we did not want to miss out on celebrating this important date. All pupils will hear stories and learn about some amazing girls and women and hopefully be inspired by their adventures and achievements.

Please be reminded to book your appointment for Meet the Teacher, on Tuesday 16th or Thursday 18th March, 2021.

Breakfast club provision – information and update for March 8th

Three more sleeps until all pupils return to school – exciting!

Enjoy your weekend.

 

Headteacher’s Blog

Our next Meet the Teacher evenings will take place on March 16th and March 18th. Appointments will again take place via video call and the booking system is now open. Some of the January meetings were affected by a power outage suffered by the the company hosting the calls – we do not anticipate the same issues re-occurring. With all pupils returning to school from March 8th, we feel that it is important to meet with all of our families quickly, to focus on how best to support your child after such a lengthy, unsettled period.

We expect and will be prepared for many pupils to find the transition back to school quite a challenge – whether they have been learning remotely since the beginning of January or they have been in school throughout, as part of a very small class. It will be a different experience for each child, affecting them in different ways. If September is anything to go by, our pupils will amaze us with how positively they will manage and embrace this transition. We will not, however, underestimate the impact that this second Lockdown and another partial school closure will have had upon our pupils and we will work hard to identify and meet their needs, acknowledging that this next period of recovery will be long lasting.

Next week, we will provide details about our recovery curriculum and how we plan to support pupils holistically, as they all return to school, addressing their social, emotional and learning needs as a result of this pandemic.

Next Thursday, March 4th, is World Book Day. Miss Ottley has been busy organising some exciting activities to support this event, detailed in her letter, sent out earlier this week.  We look forward to celebrating this day with you, in your pyjamas or fancy dress!

Enjoy Mr Bronstein’s music assembly with a focus and activities for World Book Day.

There have been three applications for our two parent governor vacancies. We are currently setting up an online voting system for the election, which will take place next week.

This half-term’s home learning grids are now available.

British Science Week starts next week (March 5th – 14th) with the theme of ‘Innovating for the future.’  Pupils learning at school and remotely can get involved in some exciting and inspiring activities and experiments.

Enjoy your weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog

As anticipated, the Prime Minister has just announced that all schools in England will fully re-open from March 8th. We expect updated guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) to follow shortly so that we can effectively plan to welcome all pupils back – again! – according to government guidance and recommendations. We will keep families informed about the expectations and measures that we will take, to fully re-open Bowmansgreen, promptly and safely.

Although the Prime Minister has now announced a ‘roadmap’ to lift national restrictions, please be reminded that a national Lockdown currently remains in place. Government guidance and the law sets out specific expectations for leaving home and meeting others. Children are often very keen to share their news with school staff and an increasing number of pupils are reporting that they have visited and stayed over at their friends’ houses in recent days and weeks. This is very awkward and uncomfortable for staff as well as contravening Lockdown measures. With only a few weeks to go until national restrictions begin to be lifted, I would like to urge all members of our school community to continue to do their bit to help keep each other as safe and protected as possible, especially as all pupils are set to return.

Congratulations to Amelia, Hollie, Maddison and Issa, the winners of our recent House competition in support of Children’s Mental Health Week. Their super, winning entries are all so different and perfectly demonstrate what makes the pupils of Bowmansgreen so incredible. What a creative, diverse and talented school community we are! Well done to everyone who took part in the competition and thank you to our Year 6 House Captains for helping to decide on the final winners. The winning entries will be published on our Health and Wellbeing page, tomorrow.

Something very curious happened at Bowmansgreen during half-term….
You might have noticed that this half-term has started with a frog-themed ‘incident,’ that has really excited and inspired pupils. All year groups are focusing on the book ‘Tuesday’ by David Wiesner, as the stimulus for their new unit of English. If you have not yet had a chance to enjoy this picture book, please do take a look as it will help to explain the ‘crime scene’ that faced your child today – as well as the lily pads!

To accompany the unit of work on ‘Tuesday,’ Mrs Street has prepared two lessons that focus on the music and instruments used in the animated video of the book.
Introduction to ‘Tuesday’ by David Wiesner
Tuesday – Music narration 

A Times Tables Rock Stars tournament took place before half-term between 5W, 6C and 6A – 5W were crowned winners. Who will they challenge next?….

Headteacher’s Blog

It was great to see everyone wearing blue on Wednesday, to help us feel connected as a school community and in support of Children’s Mental Health Week. Pupils have been taking part in a range of activities to discuss and support their own mental health and wellbeing. Children learning at home and school are telling us that they miss being together but that often, they have developed some good coping and self-care strategies and have found ways to keep in touch with friends. The morning meetings and focus groups are also helping to keep pupils learning remotely, connected to school and their peers.

We will continue to provide pupils with information and activities to help them take good care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Take a look at our Health and Wellbeing page for more advice and strategies for families, including the Five Ways to Wellbeing which is our focus for ‘Feeling Good Week,’ next week.

Pupils are taking part in a House Competition this week, to create a piece of art work to reflect the fortnight’s focus on mental health and wellbeing. They will have discussed the focus with their teachers – either ‘Express Yourself’ of ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing.’ Work will be shared with their teachers – pupils learning remotely can email work (scanned, pdf or photo) via the class email address or handed into the school office, if preferred. Entries to be submitted by Wednesday.

We have two parent governor vacancies at Bowmansgreen. If you are interested in becoming a school governor, find out how to put yourself forward for a nomination.

Our approach to remote learning acknowledges that the quality of the learning that pupils engage in – whether at home or school – is key. A short activity of sharing a story, discovering something new, or giving quality one-to-one time so that your child feels listened to, is much more effective and beneficial than sticking rigidly to a number of hours learning when the environment is busy, noisy and full of distractions and interruptions, which is what many households are like when most family members are at home together!

Primary aged children require adult support with their learning, as they develop their knowledge, skills and independence across the curriculum. At school, they rely on adult modelling, explanation and scaffolding in most areas of learning. That is why most primary classrooms have additional adults working in them. We appreciate that this is an additional pressure for families when supporting your children to learn at home – your young children are not likely to be able to learn for long on their own. This is perfectly normal and why teachers are trained to plan and deliver activities that develop skills, knowledge, understanding and independence – they are experts at teaching your children. Again, there is no expectation that families can replicate this model at home.

We want families to feel supported to help their children learn and not feel pressurised to deliver ‘schooling’ – which, from your feedback is working well for some families but proving very difficult and stressful for others. We ask that you do your best to spend quality time supporting your child but appreciate that it is not always easy, within the context of busy family households already under the strain of Lockdown.

With most children currently learning at home, there is more opportunity for them to spend time online. Read the latest parent online safety newsletter, from Herts for Learning which includes a Tik Tok checklist (and reminder that the official app rating is 13yrs) and information about a new digital safety and wellbeing kit for families.

There is tension in the air! A change of leadership on the Times Tables Rock Stars leaderboard has thrown pupils (and staff!) at Bowmansgreen into a frenzy. Log-in to find out who has toppled Mr Gowler from his lofty throne. Let’s just say that the girls of 6A are getting comfy in that throne. How long they stay there, is up to you…..

Headteacher’s Blog

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be supporting two important campaigns.

Children’s Mental Health Week: Feb 1st – 7th

We have lots of activities planned to bring our school community together and help support and look after the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils, at this particularly difficult and isolating time.

To help us to feel connected as a whole school community, we would like everyone to wear something blue on Wednesday. Whether families are attending school face-to-face or learning remotely, it would be great if you could wear an individual item or a whole outfit of blue, to remind us that we are all part of the same Bowmansgreen community, even if we cannot currently all be together at school.

There is a live assembly to launch the week – Monday morning at 9am. There will therefore be no morning meetings with class teachers on Monday so that all families can enjoy this assembly to launch the week and find out more about this year’s theme of ‘Express Yourself.’

Feeling Good Week: Feb 8th – 12th

To celebrate Feeling Good Week we will be focusing on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which are:

  • Connect
  • Be active
  • Take notice
  • Learn
  • Give

We are developing the Health and Wellbeing page of our school website, with information and resources that we hope you will find useful.

Thank you to Mrs Turner for recommending How to Stay Calm in a Pandemic by Dr Emma Hepburn which many families will find helpful and supportive at this current time.

Please could we remind all adults to wear face coverings on-site. Many members of our school community have underlying health conditions or other vulnerabilities which place them at greater risk of becoming very ill if they contract coronavirus.

The DfE has confirmed that schools will be closed to all pupils this February half-term. We ask that you email school (covidreporting@bowmansgreen.herts.sch.uk) if a family member tests positive during this week so that we can notify close contacts from school.

Enjoy your weekend.