Tuesday 30th June 2020
As the summer holidays fast approaches, we enter one of the busiest periods of the school year in order to get ready for September. Today’s blog is a bit of a mixture of celebration and administration, but I think this is a useful forum to pass on some key messages at this time.
End of Year Reports
On Friday 10th July, we will be sending home an end of year report for all of the children as has been traditional. This will be in a much shorter format compared to previous years, but we felt it was extremely important that the teachers had an opportunity to write to all of the children in order to celebrate their achievements throughout the year.
Unfortunately, in line with government expectations, there will be no individual subject assessments for 2019/20. This is mainly down to gaps in curriculum coverage and an inability to complete end of year assessment tasks with the children - both as a direct result of the school closure.
For Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, all reports will be sent home with the children on the day. They will also be given a report for any sibling that is currently not back at school. Any remaining reports will be posted out to parents.
PTA Donation - New Computer Suite
Last week, we received the incredible news that we are set to receive a £20,000 donation from the Friends of Collingham School (FoCS). This huge sum is to subsidise the refurbishment of our computer suite where the current machines are now over 10 years old and running a now-defunct operating system.
The money will allow us to buy 32 brand new computers, keyboards and mice and to also replace the current classroom-type chairs for proper computer chairs. All being well, these will be ready to use at the start of the new school year.
Fortunately, there will be a large portion of the funds leftover and this is going to allow us to also buy a brand new class set of iPads. Again, this is to replace some very old devices that we have in school.
It is incredibly exciting that we are able to update our technology offer, but this would simply have not been possible without the incredible support of our parents. In the past year, we have had the Collingham Real Ale Festival, the circus event, a Movie Night, the annual Christmas Fayre, the brilliant disco with - the one and only – Mr Shuffles, and a highly entertaining Quiz Night! All of these events have made a vital contribution towards the huge figure that has been raised overall.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have helped to make all the events such a huge success, but particularly to those parents who have given up their time to get involved in the running of them. We are really grateful for everything you have been doing to help benefit the children at our school.
School Library and whole school reading offer
Before the school closure, we were working hard to promote a culture for reading in school where all children read for pleasure. As a part of this, we invested £10,000 to revamp our entire reading offer for the children, including: new books to meet the phonetic needs of the children in Early Years and KS1; brand new reading scheme books such as Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat; and a complete overhaul of the fiction and non-fiction books in the school library.
We had found that so many of our books were old, tatty and discoloured. They were certainly not books to engage and enthuse young readers. We therefore felt it was the least the children deserved for us to buy completely new books throughout school.
We now have a brand new shelving unit full of new books that have been separated into sets based upon different phonic sounds to help support early reading.
Our school library has also had a makeover with – sadly - scores of books being only fit for the bin and brand new books bought to replace them. A huge thank you to Mrs Myers, Mrs Questa, Mrs Grange and Mrs Wood who worked really hard during the school closure period to bring the library to life. Sadly, because of the pandemic, the children have not had an opportunity to explore all of the exciting fiction and non-fiction texts now in there, but as soon as we return properly then I am sure that the children will be blown away by the books that they will discover.
Class email addresses
To maintain contact between teachers, children and parents throughout the school closure period, we created some new class email addresses. The teachers have really enjoyed reading about everything the children have been doing at home and looking at all of the fantastic photos that have been sent in. Many of these have been used in the blog over the past few months. I hope that you feel the email addresses have been helpful during this difficult time.
We will continue to keep these email addresses open for the remainder of this academic year; however, these will be deactivated at the start of September when we hopefully have all year groups coming back at school. This is in the interests of staff well-being. We politely request that parents revert to emailing the school office should they wish to discuss or raise anything with the class teachers. Thank you.
Monday 7th September will be our first training of the 2020/21 academic year. Therefore, all being well, the first full day back at school for all year groups will be Tuesday 8th September.
On Monday, we sent out some dinner money payment reminders for our Year 6 children and also for some of our Year 3/4/5 children who still owe for meals taken before the school closed back in March. We politely request that all payments are made before Friday 17th July.
Some refunds are due for children in Key Stage 2 and these can either be carried over to September or refunded by Leeds City Council should you wish. All refunds for Year 6 children will be made after Friday 17th July.
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Monday 8th June 2020
Last week, we successfully reopened our doors and welcomed back the children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. I have to be honest - this was a bittersweet moment - as it was fantastic to see these children returning with such beaming smiles on their faces; however, we were sadly still missing all of those from Years 2/3/4/5 who are unable to rejoin us at this moment. This has been a small step towards normality in the longer term and - for all of us at Collingham School - the return of each and every child cannot come soon enough. Only then will our school have truly emerged from the other side of this crisis.
I would like to thank all of our parents for their unwavering support and patience. Those in Rec/Y1/Y6 for following all of our new timings and social distancing guidelines to ensure we can get the children in and out of school safely and to those in Y2/3/4/5 for continuing to approach home-learning with such positivity after ten long weeks when keeping the children motivated can be such a huge challenge.
In today's blog, I wanted to celebrate some of the activities that the children in Y2/3/4/5 have been enjoying over the past few weeks. I hope that you are able to share these photos with all of them to try and raise their spirits a little. I appreciate what a difficult time this is and I know from seeing older siblings dropping off younger brothers or sisters each morning that the children are desperate to return.
At the end of this week, we will be ensuring that we try and maintain contact with all of these children in new ways for as long as school closure remains in place for them. This will include telephone calls from class teachers and video messages through the class pages so that the children can hear a voice and see a face. It is imperative for us that these children are not forgotten and that they still feel very much included at our school. They may be out of sight, but they are most definitely not out of mind!
Please don't forget that if you would like to share anything that the children have been doing at home then photos can be emailed directly to the teachers using the class email addresses. I plan to continue sharing these right up until the end of the academic year. The photos always bring a smile to our faces!
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Friday 22nd May 2020
It has been an extremely busy couple of weeks making preparations for a potential reopening of school on Monday 1st June for the children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. I am pleased to confirm that everything is now in place should we be given the green light to open our doors and full details regarding our arrangements were emailed to parents in these year groups yesterday evening. There was a 90% uptake of places, which was really pleasing, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming these children back to school.
For children in Years 2/3/4/5, the immediate future unfortunately remains unclear. The government ambition is for these year groups to return for four weeks in the lead up to the summer holidays. I have to be honest that I am concerned at this time about how we will be able to facilitate this. A lot will depend on what the government guidance instructs. In the arrangements to bring back Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, we are using every single classroom in school and every single member of staff available to us. Should the remaining year groups be asked to return then we simply would not have the space to accommodate everyone and especially if the maximum class size continues to be set at 15 children. The only way forward that I could see in these circumstances is that year groups were brought in on some sort of rota rather than being in school every day. I am hopeful that we will have more information on this to share with you soon.
As soon as Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 return, this will bring the home learning provision for these year groups to an end. Parents who have chosen not to send their children back will be able to access work and resources through BBC Bitesize and The Oak National Academy. I am afraid that due to the commitments of staff working full time in school, it will not be possible to maintain previous levels of home learning on the school website.
In Years 2/3/4/5, the home learning offer will continue, but the class pages will now only be updated once a week rather than twice. Again, these teachers will be working full time in school, although release time is being provided to ensure that they have the capacity to provide work for these children. Home learning sections of the website will be updated by 9.00am every Friday with activities to be used during the following week.
As with previous school holidays, there will be a short break from home learning for half-term. We will inform you shortly when the class pages are next updated. We hope that you have an enjoyable week and that you are able to make the most of the glorious sunshine that is forecast.
Stay at Home 'Virtual' Sports Day 2020
In my previous Headteacher Blog, I regretfully informed you of the need to cancel our traditional Sports Day that was scheduled for Wednesday 3rd June.
Whilst this was hugely disappointing, I am delighted that I can now reveal the full details about our first ever Stay at Home 'Virtual' Sports Day to replace our usual event.
Mr Elliot and James H (School Sports Ambassador – Year 6) have been working on plans to keep all of the children active and to maintain some level of competition between our houses – even if from a distance!
The Virtual Sports Day will run throughout half-term (Monday 25th May to Friday 29th May) and - with your assistance – the children can record all of their scores on the sheet provided and once completed these can then be emailed to Mr Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any photographs of the children participating then please feel free to send these in alongside your completed record sheet.
Full details can be found below. Good luck everyone!
Have a fantastic half-term!
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Thursday 7th May 2020
This is the end of our fifth school week since we closed to the majority of the children, but it has definitely felt like a lot longer.
In my house, the honeymoon period is well and truly over and it is proving ever more challenging to motivate my boys to complete their home-learning. For them, the novelty of lockdown has worn off and the warm sunshine outside is a constant lure to play in the garden rather than to get out the maths books. Being a headteacher/teacher with your own children makes absolutely no difference when you are a parent first and foremost. Also, trying to keep up with the day job in terms of the day to day running of the school whilst ensuring my boys don't 'kill' eachother has been a particular challenge. Today, I have put my terrible artistic skills to some sort of use by supporting my eldest son to create a collage of Andy Warhol's 'Vesuvius' and with my youngest son I have battled to remove him from FIFA 2020 on the X-Box in order to write a factfile about Saltwater Crocodiles. As much as I love them and have tried my hardest today, I am currently counting down the hours until their bedtime!
Does this sound familiar?
Throughout all of this, we keep going back to the word 'unprecedented' and I don't think that word has ever been used so widely as it has for the past two months. It is certainly the most fitting to describe the current situation. Once we were notified of a school closure, our mission was to put out a balance of work for you to use at home to support with learning rather than to deliver an entire curriculum to your children. All families will be different and their individual circumstances will dictate how much or how little work they will be able to complete with their children. All you can do is what you can actually manage to fit in during these challenging times. There is certainly no judgement from us on what you are able to complete. I hope you have found the class pages useful as well as - for those who want more - BBC Bitesize and the Oak National Academy. You will likely be facing the same challenges to encourage, motivate and enthuse your children as the length of the national restrictions continues to increase. Try to stay positive and remember that you are doing both your best and what is best for your family right now.
All children in the United Kingdom are in the same position as our own and will undoubtedly have been impacted by these school closures in some way, shape or form. The education landscape is going to look very different in the immediate future as we try to address what is the challenge of a generation. I want to reassure you that whenever the children return to school, we will have a meticulous plan in place to support each and every one of them and to address their needs - educationally, socially and emotionally - following these 'unprecedented times'.
On Sunday afternoon, I am anticipating an announcement from the Prime Minister that will include his plans for the phased reopening of schools. This might possibly be from Monday 1st June. Once received, we will immediately 'kick into action' to find the best way forward for Collingham School and with consideration to all of our children, parents and staff. I hope to be able to bring you some news as soon as I possibly can.
Thank you for your continued support and patience.
This year, the traditional May Day Bank Holiday was moved to this Friday in order for everyone to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. On 8th May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced on the radio at 3.00pm that the war in Europe had come to an end following Germany’s surrender the day before. This was an emotional day and one that so many people across the world had been hoping and praying would arrive. Huge crowds came out in celebration and street parties were held across the country.
Back in March, we were already discussing about how we could mark the occasion in school, but our plans were sadly undone with the unfolding events of the past seven weeks. I know that the teachers have been sharing activities on the class pages and I am sure that some of you will be planning on celebrating at home whilst taking advantage of the fantastic weather that is forecast.
It’s an incredible twist of fate that we should be celebrating such a significant event from the past as we continue to work through such a significant event in the present. It is a great opportunity to remember the huge sacrifices that were made by those people living in 1945 to bring peace and freedom to the world; however, we may also feel we are currently making many sacrifices ourselves, but this time, for the benefit of our own health and those around us.
With school still providing childcare throughout this crisis for some children of key worker parents, Miss Hicks and Mrs Shaw have worked throughout the week with Lydia and Emily to create Collingham School’s own contribution towards marking the occasion tomorrow. A huge banner has been unveiled at the front of school and I am sure you will agree that it looks fantastic. If you haven’t seen it already, I have included the photos below.
I hope you have an enjoyable day should you be celebrating.
Collingham Kids' Rocks
Now, we have always known that Collingham kids rock, but now we actually have Collingham Kids' Rocks.
Ben (Year 2) and Alex (Reception) - under the watchful eye of their mum - have been incredibly busy over the past few weeks decorating rocks to hide around the village. The colourful stones have been placed in secret locations and they encourage the finder to post a photo on a new Facebook group before rehiding the rock. So far, over 100 people have got involved and have joined the group. Ben and Alex would love for even more to join in and create their own masterpieces to hide.
It's such a great idea and certainly boosts the motivation to get out on that daily walk and spot one of the hidden treasures. It's also a really lovely way for everyone to keep in touch and to give a break from a 'virtual' world that can be dominated by screens.
Ben and Alex are so excited every time someone uploads a photo of one of the rocks. If you would like to join in then more information can be found on the link below:
Well done Ben and Alex! Your amazing creativity has brought a smile to so many faces in Collingham! You can have 5 powerhouse points each (and I'll save one for your mum too!).
Training Day - Monday 1st June 2020
Monday 1st June 2020 has been designated as our fourth training day for this academic year. Should the Prime Minister announce that schools can open to an increased number of children from this date then I have taken the decision to cancel this training day and to open school for any children who might be allowed to attend.
Sports Day 2020
I am sure it will not come as a huge surprise to learn that our annual Sports Day will, unfortunately, be cancelled for this academic year. This was originally scheduled for Wednesday 3rd June 2020 and it is always such a popular event in the school calendar for everyone in our school community.
However, I am excited to inform you that - despite this cancellation - Mr Elliot is currently putting together plans for our first ever 'virtual' Sports Day with full details being announced next week.
Have a fantastic weekend!
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Wednesday 29th April 2020
Firstly, I hope this finds you all well and that you are all managing to cope with the demands and challenges that you face during this school closure period.
At the moment, I am sorry to say that the education landscape is no clearer, but I am hopeful that - in the next couple of weeks - the government will start to release some information around its future plans to begin reopening schools to more pupils. As soon as I have any information, I will of course be in touch.
Last Monday, I emailed all parents with details about the expanded ‘BBC Bitesize’ website that was now offering a range of new online lessons and videos to support with home learning across the curriculum. There was no expectation for parents to take advantage of these, but I felt that they will have been useful if this was something that you felt would help to support you.
In addition to this, the government have also recently launched the Oak National Academy which aims to deliver 180 sequenced video lessons each week across a range of subjects for every year group (Reception to Year 6). There is also a plan of video lessons and resources to support three hours of learning a day for primary pupils. As with BBC Bitesize, this is not compulsory, but if you feel such lessons would be beneficial for your child/children then please access this free resource on the below link.
The teachers continue to report how much they are enjoying receipt of all the emails from parents and children to share some of the learning and fun that has been happening away from school. If you haven’t had an opportunity to contact your class teacher yet then I would strongly encourage you to do so as they are really looking forward to hearing from you. They can be contacted on the following emails:
A couple of weeks ago, I put together a gallery of photos that had been sent to the teachers in order to spread some positivity and to put a smile on everyone's faces. I enjoyed looking at these so much that I have collected some more photos to share with you today. I absolutely love how - even though we are all facing unprecedented challenges - the happiness of the children can still shine through. Take a look at what the children have been doing!
Well done to all of those who feature above and also to all of you who are working so hard at home!
We are really proud of you!
Thank you for everything you are doing to support at home and please continue sending us your photos. They really are fantastic!
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Monday 6th April 2020
Firstly……I won’t mention it if you don’t!
It was another busy week of ‘home-learning’ and the teachers have been inundated with photographs of the children enjoying both structured learning and other fun activities with their families.
I wanted to use this week’s blog as an opportunity to celebrate some of the things that the children have been doing at home. The photos that you have been sending in have really brought a smile to our faces and I hope that they do the same for you too. Please continue to send these photos into us as hopefully there will be opportunities to share more of them with you over the coming weeks.
Let’s see what has been happening in your homes…
Well done to all of those who feature above and also to all of you who are working so hard at home!
We are really proud of you!
Unbelievably, today is officially the first day of our Easter Holidays. Following the learning that was added to the class pages last Friday, these will now not be updated again until Tuesday 21st April at 9.00am so as to ensure that the teachers can enjoy a break themselves. Any emails that you send over this period will be responded to on this date also.
I know that it is unusual circumstances, but on behalf of everyone at Collingham School, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy Easter.
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Monday 30th March 2020
It is incredible to think that just over a week ago we were preparing to close the school doors for the ‘foreseeable future’. This created huge uncertainty for all members of our school community, but we have been steadfast in our belief that whilst this period would undoubtedly be a challenge – we will come through it.
Each day, I have been overwhelmed by stories celebrating the strength of ‘human spirit’ during this time of crisis. Over half a million people signing up to join the NHS’s ‘volunteer army’; children drawing pictures and making gifts for elderly residents in self-isolation; and entire streets singing happy birthday to youngsters unable to go outside and celebrate properly. Such tales restore your faith in humanity.
I remain hopeful that despite how awful these events are across the world right now – some good will come out of them.
Having been in school every day last week, it was a strange feeling to be walking around a near-empty building. The sooner we can get back to working at full capacity - with over 200 smiling faces – the better for everyone. The most important part of our school is missing right now and we look forward to welcoming the children back soon. Collingham School just isn’t the same without them!
I am sure it has been an unusual week for the children who have been taking part in ‘home-learning’ for the very first time. The hub went live last Monday morning with the class pages ready for 9.00am the following day. As of today, the school website has had nearly 2500 hits in the past week so I can only assume that you’ve all been incredibly busy! The teachers have been working hard to keep the class pages maintained and to provide you with activities that you can use. These will be updated once again tomorrow and Friday before a two-week hiatus for the Easter holidays.
The teachers are reporting that the email system we set up between home and school seems to be working well. It has given you a direct link to ask any pressing questions and it has also provided an opportunity to share some of the learning that the children have been doing. In my next Headteacher Blog, I hope to be able to celebrate some of this fantastic work with you all.
We have tried hard to put the right things in place for you to support with the children’s learning at home; however, as important as this is, I also hope that you get to spend some quality time together as families.
Home-schooling will bring pressures of its own and even more so when some of you are trying to work from home. With two boys myself, I can testify to this! I can assure you that being a headteacher makes absolutely no difference at all when trying to encourage your own children to avoid the lure of the X-Box or iPad and to get out the reading books, maths worksheets and spelling lists.
Skills in English, maths and science are essential, but so too are life skills. Learning is much more than just a school curriculum so remember to enjoy the ‘simple’ activities together like baking a cake, going for a walk, writing a letter to someone, building a den, planting some vegetables, completing a puzzle, playing a board game or even washing the car.
The most important thing right now is to continue showing love to your children and to continue supporting them through what will be one of the most challenging periods of their entire lives.
You must look after yourselves too. Minimising stress is absolutely vital at a time like this for your own mental health and well-being.
However, if your legs are aching as much as mine from the ‘help’ of Joe Wicks then maybe there are alternatives to support with this as well!
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Friday 20th March 2020
Throughout the week, we have been inundated with kind messages of support and thanks at this challenging time. I apologise that it has not been possible to reply to all of these individually, but they have been hugely appreciated by everyone in school. Many of them have been shared with staff and they have certainly given an extra boost to morale. It has been a fast-moving chain of events over the past week so thank you for both your patience and understanding. It hasn't been easy for us in school, and I certainly know it hasn't been easy for you too.
It is incredibly surreal to think that school has now closed for the 'foreseeable future', but I hope that our new 'Home Learning' hub on the website will help to support you over the coming weeks and months.
As a team, we have been absolutely blown away by the resilience and courage of the amazing children at Collingham School. We are so proud of each and every one of them. They have continued to immerse themselves in their learning and ensured they have had smiles on their faces despite the turmoil on the outside world. We are certainly going to miss them and we hope that we will see them all again in school very soon. In the meantime, we will look forward to seeing what they have been doing at home as you share some of their work through the new class email addresses.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the amazing team of staff. I am humbled to work with such incredible people who continue to astound me on a daily basis with their unwavering positivity and their mindset of 'going the extra mile', They continually put others first and are always on hand to step in to support in times of need - even if it is to the detriment of themselves. Their own resolve has been tested over the past few weeks and I believe that we will be an even stronger team for having stood up to all of these recent challenges. Well done everyone and thank you for all of your hard work!
Wetherby Food Bank Donations
Today, we had a non-uniform day to mark the final day of school. Instead of the normal monetary donations for an event like this, we accepted donations for the Wetherby Food Bank. At this uncertain time, it was important that we thought about those in need and to boost the supplies of the food bank who will likely be extremely busy over the next few weeks. We ended up with an amazing collection of items that will be really gratefully received in order to support vulnerable families in our local community. Thank you for your support and generosity.
The 'Home Learning' hub will be completed over the weekend and will go live at 9.00am on Monday 23rd March.
The class pages will then be updated with work for you to access at 9.00am on Tuesday 24th March. Please continue to check these pages for activities that you can complete with your children every Tuesday and Friday onwards (except for school holidays).
Please take care of yourselves. On behalf of everyone at Collingham School, I wish you all the very best of health and good luck with all of the learning that you support with at home. If you need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Remember: "It's not goodbye, it's au revoir!"
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Friday 13th March 2020
This will be the third ‘Headteacher’s Blog’ of our trial period and – bar a slight technical hiccup with the hyperlink last week – it seems to be going well so far from school’s perspective.
On Friday 14th February, the website statistics show that the page had 131 individual views. Last week, Friday 6th March, there were 226 individual views. I am really pleased with these numbers and I am hopeful that this might be the right way forwards.
I will look to send out a short survey before Easter in order to gauge parental opinions. Thank you for taking the time to read the information that has been sent out so far.
Christian Vision Statement
Over the past few months, the whole school staff, school governors and a pupil panel have worked on developing a brand new Christian Vision Statement for our school. This has taken a huge amount of time and work to write something that we feel really reflects what we want to achieve at Collingham.
As a Church of England school, the vision statement sets the direction of the school and articulates our promotion of strong Christian values. It is aspirational and it aims to motivate and inspire all members of the school community.
Our new vision statement is based on the long-standing school motto of “We are family; All are welcome; You are loved”. The children say this every day at the end of the school prayer, but over time it seems to have lost its meaning and become simply just words. When I arrived at Collingham, this powerful motto really struck a chord with me and it made me realise instantly that I wanted to be the headteacher of this amazing school.
The vision statement is 50 words; it is split in to three sections to represent each element of the school motto; and it also has clear biblical literature embedded in to it. It has been structured to lead with God's love; then what we create; what we offer; and then what we do for each child. Finally, we ended with the 'result'.
This week, the children have been learning the meaning behind our vision and some of them have been trying to learn it off by heart. It has been really positively received and I am delighted to be able to share the final version with you today.
The vision statement will underpin everything we do at Collingham: through the RESPECT code; our curriculum; and all of our policies. I hope that you feel it already reflects our school community as we try to build even further on what we already have. As a result of writing the vision statement, it has led us to making some tweaks to our RESPECT code. I look forwarding to sharing this with you - and all of the children - next week.
Through God's love, we create a happy and nurturing learning community.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Valuing individuality and embracing equality, we welcome all with respect and compassion into a safe environment where everyone can flourish.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”
With love and trust, we empower each child with the confidence to be everything they dreamed of – and more.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
In the press!
We made it in to a couple of the local newspapers for the exciting events around reading last week.
Friends of Collingham School - Easter Bingo
Our annual Easter Bingo event (organised by the PTA) will be taking place on Monday 30th March. This will be split in to two separate sessions – one for Rec/KS1 children and one for KS2 children. Further details will be released shortly regarding timings and ticket sales.
On Friday 27th March, we will holding a non-uniform day in school. Rather than a monetary donation to participate, we kindly request that children donate a chocolate Easter egg that can be used as a prize at the Easter Bingo. Our aim is for every child to be able to leave the event with a chocolate treat. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.
We have set a date of Wednesday 3rd June (am) for our annual Sports Day. As always, we will be keeping everything crossed for good weather, but as we all know, this isn’t always guaranteed. A reserve date will be set very shortly also.
Have a great weekend!
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Friday 6th March 2020
Yesterday, we had a fantastic World Book Day in school and it felt like an incredibly busy day with lots happening from start to finish. The children and staff looked amazing in their costumes and this created a really exciting atmosphere in school to celebrate our passion for books.
We had a special assembly to start the day where we were all able to share our outfits and attempt to guess which book characters we were dressed as. We talked about our favourite books and I even had the opportunity to share one of mine: “Jack and The Flum-Flum Tree” by Julia Donaldson.
As last year, the children brought in books that were wrapped up in paper and that had just the blurb written on the outside. The activity created a lot of discussion amongst the children and they really enjoyed having the opportunity to select books that they might not necessarily have chosen off the shelf. This helped to reinforced the important message of 'never judge a book by its cover' and hopefully it allowed the children to discover a brand new author.
Following the book sale we held a few weeks back, the school council went to Waterstones in Leeds with Mrs Myers and Mr Elliot to spend the money that had been raised. This had also been generously topped up by some very kind grandparents connected to our school who gave the children an extra £100 to take with them. The idea was that - from the sale of all the old books - we wanted the school council to be responsible for selecting all the new ones. I understand they did a brilliant job and most importantly – they stuck to their budget! If only the same could be said for Mrs Myers and Mr Elliot!
In the afternoon, we were joined by Tom and Iain from Harrogate Town Football Club who have been running the Premier League Primary Stars reading programme with a small group of Year 3/4 children over the past four weeks. They shared what is involved in the programme to the whole school and brought some special visitors with them – including the club mascot Harry Gator - to talk to the children about reading.
Simon Weaver (Manager & Collingham parent); Josh Falkingham (Captain & Midfielder); and George Thomson (Midfielder) joined us in the hall to answer some questions from the children about their favourite books. There were some brilliant questions with the best surely being: “If you had to pick a football team of story characters, who would you pick as your goalkeeper or striker?” George took the floor for this one and had clearly given it some serious thought: “The BFG as a striker to get on the end of all the crosses in to the box!”
Afterwards, Simon, Josh and George went to three of the classes to spend some time with the children; to read them a story; and to even sign some autographs. It was a fantastic experience for the children and they really enjoyed having members of a professional football club reading to them. It was certainly a powerful image to encourage any reluctant readers. The players will continue to visit over the next two Thursdays so that all of the classes in school will have had the same experience.
In addition to Harrogate Town visiting, we were also joined by Alec Shelbrooke (Member of Parliament for Elmet and Rothwell) and Councillors Robinson, Stephenson and Firth (Harewood Ward). They came along to enjoy what the children had been doing for World Book Day and to also see how we have been spending money – including a donation from the ward councillors - on improving our book offering for the children. They were really impressed with the progress being made in the library and on the huge quantity of books that are ready to go on the classroom shelves before Easter. In wholly undemocratic fashion, Councillor Firth received the nomination from his colleagues to fill one of our last reading volunteer spaces and took time to read a story to the Reception children.
Finally, to end the day, we were joined by yet even more visitors as we welcomed some of our parent volunteers to come and read to the children. We were incredibly grateful to Mr Anderson, Mrs Audsley and Mrs Pickersgill for giving up their time to share stories in the classrooms. It was particularly special for the children to listen to stories from different adults as opposed to just from their class teachers.
I would like to thank Harrogate Town Football Club, the local Harewood ward councillors, Alec Shelbrooke, Mrs Myers, all of our staff and all of our parents for their support in helping to make it such a memorable day for everyone at Collingham. We hope that it’s another step towards encouraging all of the children to read for pleasure more often.
Have a great weekend.
Mr Cook (Headteacher)
Friday 14th February 2020
In recent weeks, I have been thinking about the role and purpose of our fortnightly newsletter. It's a brilliant way for us to pass on some key messages from school and to keep you updated about all of the exciting things that are happening in your children's classes. However, I am conscious that with so many teachers keen to share this information then it can become particularly lengthy to read from a parent's perspective.
I am therefore looking to trial a new approach by writing a fortnightly blog on the school website to ensure that you still receive some of the important updates and messages. In the short term, an email will be sent to all parents on each of these Fridays to notify that the blog has been updated.
In terms of all the updates from the classrooms and celebrations of learning, we will ensure that all of this is included on the class pages. https://www.collinghamschool.com/year-pages/ We would then send home a half-termly newsletter that is much shorter than the current format.
The aim is to continue to provide the current level of information, but in a way that cuts down on the amount of admin both in school and at home.
I accept that the school website has not been used to its full capacity in recent years and I feel that it could be used in a much better manner in order to communicate with our parents. There is still a necessity and role for emails about the most important information, but in terms of the school newsletter, it will be interesting to see if this proves more effective. Before Easter, I would be keen to seek your opinions about this and to consider whether this is the best way forward. If you have any feedback, over the next half term then I would be grateful to hear it.
The fortnightly newsletter has been sent out today as normal, but I look forward to trialing this new approach on Friday 6th March.
Have a fantastic half-term.
Mr Cook (Headteacher)