When I looked at the school diary this time last week, I saw that there was nothing planned in terms of events for this week. I rubbed my hands together and thought “perfect”, a good solid week for learning and teaching without any deviation from the academic timetable and I decided to take some time to go into classrooms to see a few lessons.
I thoroughly enjoyed observing the boys’ learning – many staff had taken elements of our recent inset on phonics and added in some really fun activities to get the boys engaged in learning their sounds. In Nursery, I was pleased to see how many of the boys were enjoying reading books and could already engage with the early parts of phonics. In Reception, the teachers had set up a “pond” with sounds in them and given each child a swatter. When the sound was called out, the boys had to use the swatter to hit the sound in the pond. There were so many shouts of glee and enjoyment that the boys I am sure did not even realise they were learning and blending the sounds.
Over in Year 1, I saw the boys playing the “Obb and Bob” game which had been linked to a display. Again, this fun element of the lesson kept them engaged and interested in what they were learning. In Year 2, the boys were writing their own version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Having gone to the Roald Dahl museum at the beginning of the term, they were able to tell me how much they were enjoying the process and how this topic had inspired them to use their imagination. As the Head, I got to go between the four different year groups and see the progression, from learning their phonics to rewriting their own version of a well-known book. I was more than pleased that I had the time this week to go to these lessons and see what the boys are learning.
Whilst in the lessons I did, however, notice that there are many boys who have dark rings under their eyes which made me wonder if they are in fact getting enough sleep? I know in many households across London, bedtime is crunch-time as many children do not want to go to bed when they are asked to. I can see that many of our boys are falling into this category as they are tired. I wanted to use this forum to urge parents to really push routine and ensure their children are getting enough sleep. I know I have worked with a family before where I would check in with their son each day as to whether or not he had gone to bed when asked or not. This happened for about two weeks and a better routine was established. Sleep is so important and if the boys only knew how much we as adults long for that peaceful uninterrupted sleep now!
On a final note, I have let our parents know about an exciting new event taking place this term where we are welcoming an intrepid educational explorer called Nick Carter to the school. Nick works with many schools, teaching pupils how to face fears, deal with failure and develop resilience. We are all so looking forward to introducing Nick to the boys in a few weeks time and I have no doubt that they will be coming home full of stories about him and his new interactive adventure ‘Deep Fear’ where he will sharing his journey to the bottom of one of the world’s deepest and most dangerous cave systems. Nick will be giving a talk later this term where he will share more adult versions of his adventures! I would encourage you to look at Nick’s video to learn more about his latest project: https://vimeo.com/294455390.
Have a wonderful weekend and make sure your boys get some good sleep!!
Andrew Forbes – Head