Headteacher blog 7/10/2016
Monday morning was wonderful: sunshine and lots of Y1 children on the school farm harvesting vegetables for their soups. They took back beetroot (making a very bright soup!), big leeks, giant parsnips, beans, artichokes, swedes, onions, perfect carrots and squash. They left the pumpkins that are getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger…
It is that time of year when I spend quite a lot of time showing prospective parents around the school. They always seem impressed and surprised by the range of learning opportunities that Farfield has to offer and we always spend time looking at books and how learning develops across the school. This year, it is already evident that there is an increasing focus on reasoning and problem-solving in maths, and a wider range of presentation methods are being used. For example, rather than a Y1 child just completing a conventional left to right horizontal number line, can a child understand a vertical number line or a number line in reverse order, perhaps with missing numbers, starting at a number other than zero or with jumps of two? Whilst this isn’t all new, there is certainly a greater emphasis on this deeper learning now and it is to be welcomed.
On Wednesday, a group of Y5 girls had a wonderful time at The Depot Climbing Wall in Pudsey having a free climbing session as part of the Women’s Sport Week. Sadly, we were the only school that responded to this offer; this reflects our commitment to a broad curriculum and shows, once again, the advantages of having our own minibuses.
This week, I finally passed on the chairing of Leeds Primary Headteacher Forum to a colleague in East Leeds but then somehow got ‘press-ganged’ to chair the full Leeds Schools Forum instead! The Schools Forum brings together heads and governors of primary and high schools, along with the most senior officers of the council, to make financial decisions about school budgets. It is a very important body and it has increasingly difficult decisions to take as regards funding. Funding for schools is not keeping pace with population growth and the increasing complexity and prevalence of Special Educational Needs and Disability. These are challenging times for everyone in the public sector and schools are not immune to this. On a positive note, schools, Children’s Services and other partners are continuing to work very closely together in Leeds and we are providing a coherent city-wide provision for families at a time when other areas of the country may not.