In the words of Peters and Lee…
Welcome home, welcome.
Come on in, and close the door.
You’ve been gone, too long. Welcome, you’re home once more.
Words cannot express how happy we are in school. It feels like our family is back together again and we are absolutely delighted to see such happy and settled children. Welcome to all new children, families and friends- we are glad you joined us.
For any new families and friends reading this blog and wondering what it is all about, I have written a weekly Headteacher blog since the first week I started at St.Francis’ in 2015. You will hear comical anecdotes and hilarious moments about things that have happened during the school week and and I will put pictures and information about school, which you will find useful and help you feel connected to us, especially whilst you are unable to come into school at the moment. You will read about the inner workings of school and I will keep you up to date with exciting learning events across the whole school. Every half term, you will receive a ‘Curriculum Learning Booklet’ from your class teacher and you will be kept up to date via Seesaw.
Next week, you will receive a newsletter and you will have dates for you diary and general information. Miss Taylor will email newsletters to you and calendar dates will also be on our school APP. Your class teachers will Seesaw information just for your class- examples would be about trips or PE days.
Typical past blogs have included events such as finding a bag of teeth in a box of books donated for book day (to this day, we still don’t know who the owner was), bat and general animal rescue from the most ridiculous of places around school, being told I look like a giant butterfly, Fr Smith providing me with a handwritten manual of how I drain the frogspawn from the boiler room (wearing a torch hard hat) and the day I cleared 32 cow pats from the school field in order for the children to have football practice on time at the end of the day. For anybody thinking that being a Headteacher involves being in an office, you will see what a varied, interesting and hands on job it is. You will see me rodding the drains on the playground and removing sheep from the car parks. No job is too small and I love it!
This is the first blog of the year and what a great first few days we have had. Apart from the first day car park disaster ( which I had on paper and in my mind perfected to the tiniest detail) all has gone according to plan. I am very grateful for your patience and understanding with some of the drop off and collection times. There was no other option but to change the system and create a longer gap between timings when dropping off and collecting year groups bubbles and it really is a matter of safety and following legislation. I never anticipated that we would have the problem ( be it in some senses a good one to have) of not being able to physically fit all cars on our car parks but I am already exploring sensible options to solve the issue. For now, we will continue with the new system and keep this under review. My message would be for any families who pick up high school siblings, just come when you can!
We have a unique situation at St.Francis’ because we have no roads to park and wait or walking areas to come to school by foot but it would be a great help in freeing up spaces for the safe and swift movement in the car parks if you could arrive as close to the designated time as possible. Please be reminded to drive very slowly and carefully as a matter of safety.
Within school, children are kept in their bubbles and it really doesn’t seem to have caused any upset at all. I enjoy nothing better than to visit classrooms and join in with activities and learning. I have been in awe of how quickly our new Reception Class starters have settled and it feels like they have been here for much longer. The classroom is a hive of excitement and I am already looking forward to reading with the children. The paintings have been beautiful and I know Mr McGill ( and all teachers) will be keeping you up to date with everything going on through Seesaw. Next week, the children will be using space hoppers outside to bounce to the letters they are learning and they will be continuing to bond as a new class through a range of magical activities.
Parlick Class have gone on more adventures around school than I can count. They constantly wear their lovely smiles and I can’t believe how they have adjusted so quickly to their new classroom set up with two teachers. The children, who came up from Reception Class, have amazed us with how they have taken to moving into a new class with little transition. They really do look like ducklings following Mrs Davies around school and their enthusiasm is infectious! I really don’t know where time goes and it seems like only yesterday when we were welcoming the new Year 2 children in Reception Class! Parents, bottle every minute of your child’s younger years because they don’t last long enough.
Ms Silvester is besotted with her new class (as she is every year!) and I don’t think I have ever see her smile so much as she has this week. The children are a wonderful mix together and it is nice to see them together again as a class. She is very excited to begin her ‘Young Enterprise’ UFA and we have very exciting things planned.
True to form, Mrs Rossall and Mrs Riley have got stuck in and the children have already wowed us with their enthusiasm, maturity and eagerness to learn. With our exciting curriculum, they are all in for such fun! I’m not too sure how much fun Mrs Rossall was having on Thursday afternoon after her creative direction took a turn for the most patience testing activity you can do with a whole class at once…SEWING! Many fear sewing with children with all the knots, stitches and general nightmare that accompanies the joyful activity. It is a good job Mrs Rossall is one of the most patient and calm people I have had the privilege of working alongside. I, on the other hand, left the room pretty sharpish to avoid getting involved in the complexity of it all. The children loved it and that’s what matters.
Out of all observations with how our children have settled back into school, the most remarkable appears to be the nursery and pre-school group. We have had children clinging onto gates because they don’t want to leave and our new 2 year olds are absolute stars. After such a long time off, I really thought that our younger children would find returning the trickiest to adjust to but this has shown me how happy the children are with us. I thank each and every member of our staff family. We all play a vital role in ensuring the children’s happiness, delight, interesting lessons and wellbeing and these couple of days back have reminded me how in awe and proud I am to be able to work alongside such incredible people. We welcome Miss Gardener in Reception Class and Miss Bates in nursery as our new apprentices.
UFA begins next week, which means I bring back my wellies and take charge of another animal and horticultural group. This will be every Wednesday afternoon and I am pleased to tell you that our lemon tree is in bloom so it won’t be long before we can make our own lemonade to cool down after an afternoon of harvesting, processing, planting and marketing produce. I hope to be able to take the children to So Plants soon in order to learn many fascinating facts and information from Michelle Unsworth- the children will love this and we may even come back with an orange tree to plant in the greenhouse too!
Our plans for the MUGA continue and I’ll keep you posted. We are currently exploring the DfE funding for schools for additional tutoring to support children after so many months away from school. As soon as I have information to share with you, I will.
From next week, Mr Warren will be teaching curriculum music in Fairsnape and Beacon Classes. I have ordered new laptops and we are installing Sibelius and other music systems so the children will be well prepared for High School music lessons and in order to develop their composing and appraising skills. We will link this to class keyboard lessons and general musical knowledge, skills and appreciation- who knows where these skills we take the children! The children will be learning about great composers, genres of music and individual music lessons will resume. Mr Warren has some spaces for woodwind and brass lessons for children in Year 1 upwards. If you are interested, please email Miss Taylor or call us for information. We hope to have our amazing school band up and running again soon. For all children currently learning an instrument, please bring your instruments and anything else you need into school next Friday.
Mrs Doran will be sending information about First Holy Communion- you will find this on our newsletter, where she will also provide you with her contact details to get in touch.
I can’t tell you what a joy it is to be back. If you ever have any questions, suggestions, concerns or queries, please don’t hesitate in contacting us- we are here for you and your children.
Our thoughts are with the children who left St.Francis to go onto high school. Good Luck children and enjoy all of the fantastic experiences on your next stage of education!
Take care and have a lovely weekend.