All of our headteacher blogs

Autumn First Half Term 2020

Date: 2nd Nov 2020 @ 12:00pm

Welcome to my first blog on our new school website! We will also be welcoming communication from our school governing body and from class teachers as they share news about children’s learning.    

It has been a challenging start to the new academic year, yet one filled with much celebration for the achievements across school. I cannot describe how proud we have all been to see such resilience from our children in all year groups. They have settled well into their new classes, adapted to change in their environments, followed new routines, developed new skills and recalled knowledge from previous learning. Last half term certainly felt fast paced and the learning environments around school certainly reflect the hard work from the children. Reading has been a real priority with Read Write Inc well established for our younger readers. Children are really engaged in learning sounds, reading books, and writing with care. Further up school children have enjoyed books including Put Out the Light, Flat Stanley and Granny exploring other texts linked to subjects and learning.  

Learners in Early Years settled so quickly to full time education, discovering, and exploring both in their classroom environment and in the outdoor area. Each morning I am welcomed with a very cheery good morning, as they learn to use sign language and start their learning together. It is exciting to see their confidence grow each day. Over the half term Mr Walsh has added a mud kitchen for children to explore in the Early Years environment with their new garden area.  

Training for staff has focused on reading, behaviour approaches, high expectations and how to sequence learning in small steps; all key areas in our plan for excellence at Balby Central. We have also welcomed new staff in school and specialist provision including a trained therapist, a speech and language therapist and mental health workers.  

New ways of working have seen great improvements too, from 66% wearing PE kits in Spring 2020 to nearly 100% wearing PE clothing.  Our half term heroes saw 279 children with 100% attendance in October and overall attendance for the first half term was 94.9% with 97.1% attendance on our best day. We are looking forward to seeing the results of Never Late November as we return to school. A team in school are available to support any family with attendance and routines and have seen some real success stories.  

The support of families in our community helped us to raise a staggering £215.40 on ‘Wear Yellow Day’ for Mental Health Awareness. Staff wore pink at the end of half term and raised £78 for Breast Cancer Awareness; two great charities to support.  

To end the first half term parents have received a report from their child’s teacher to share progress and their half term achievements, with follow up phone calls with the class teachers to discuss these further. As we move to the next half term, we look forward to sharing achievements from each year group. Each team has shared their best bits from the first half term, enjoy finding out a little bit more about children across school.  

Nursery (Miss Jenkins and Mrs Gilson) 

In Nursery we have been very impressed by the maturity of the children whilst problem solving, the children are discussing and finding ways to work together. We have also been very impressed with the children's independence, they are keen to put on their own coats, hats etc and look after themselves!  The children have shown real enthusiasm towards maths, joining in with counting activities and participating in maths meetings.  

Reception (Mrs Lakin and Mr Smith) 

In Reception we have been really impressed with how well the children have settled straight into full time school they have shown great resilience, determination and a desire to investigate and learn. The children have formed friendships and created bonds with each other and the adults in the setting, collaborating well to learn through continuous provision.  Language development has been great - some children who were not talking at all are now answering the register and talking to their friends in provision.  Children are developing their ability to talk in full sentences and using their story language in play. 

Year 1 (Mrs Hodgson and Miss Bouttell) 

Year 1 have really enjoyed our new five-day timetable for reading a story! They are fully engaged with all elements of the plan, especially the role-play when they can become the characters. Children have been trying very hard to be more independent and use their talk partners to help progress their learning. We were impressed with how the children engaged with learning about Mary Seacole and Barack Obama as part of Black History Month, asking many questions and showing great interest in the lives of significant people.  

Year 2 (Miss Shaw and Mr Short) 

We are really pleased with the children's retention of phonics and proud of their results in recent phonic testing. The quality of the children's work in art has been amazing!  From the very first week the children have produced some fantastic artwork using a wide range of skills such as painting, hatching stippling and collage. The fact that the children settled in so quickly after a lengthy time away from school has been very impressive, including how mature and sensible the children have been following our new school rules. 

Year 3 (Mrs Drake and Mrs Hogarty) 

From the first day of term, the children in Year 3 have been really enthusiastic and ready to learn. They have really enjoyed finding out about The Stone age and Flat Stanley. They have approached challenges with confidence and determination to succeed - particularly with their weaving.  Each morning there are lots of smiley face at the door and children are consistently displaying 'ready, respectful, safe', trying hard with our learning superpowers too. It is lovely to see them making friends within their new classes as well as maintaining previous friendships. Finally, we are proud of how Year 3 have settled back in to school life and we cannot wait to see the amazing work they will create next term. They have already shown wonderful progress this year - really aiming to be the best that they can be. 

Year 4 (Miss Giddings and Miss Wales) 

Children in Year 4 have worked hard to settle back into school life that is a little different to what they remember. They have moved into a brand-new year group, with new teachers and support staff, in an environment that is not like any they have ever seen. Our own superheroes have shown their own skills in many ways since they started back to school. They have shown a great love for stories and have thoroughly enjoyed our first story, showing a real keenness to read and understand further. We are excited to see what our children produce as they come back next half term, with the same energy and drive to try their very best.  

Year 5 (Mr Mynett and Mrs Rehman) 

Year 5 have shown great energy and enthusiasm in the classroom, desperate to showcase their ideas, knowledge and learning. They have worked hard to meet the targets that we have set for them: collaborating with each other, being "ready" for learning and being independent. Children showed great attitudes towards our book: they have been fully immersed in their learning and produced some superb pieces of writing! It has been a pleasure to see how much they have enjoyed 'Put Out the Light'. We have also been so impressed with the maturity, integrity, and respect that all the children showed towards Black History Month and in the incredible poems that they wrote to mark the occasion. 

Year 6 (Miss Talbot and Mr Snape) 

In Year 6 we have been impressed with attitudes as children have returned to school. They have shown a great maturity and resilience to learning. They have shown determination when we have set them a challenge and they have worked incredibly well as part of a team. Granny Day was a great success, with some amazing costumes! We were even more amazed at their acting skills! Who knew so many Grannies and Grandads taking part in Olympic Games would be so incredibly funny to watch and so real! The day was a great success and a fabulous way to launch our book.  We cannot wait for the next half term to see the progress the children make! What an exciting year it will be!  

Mrs Cooke

Balby Central Primary Academy

Littlemoor Lane, Balby Doncaster DN4 0LL

Balby Central Primary Academy, Littlemoor Lane, Balby Doncaster DN4 0LL


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