Headteacher blog 23/4/21
There are few better places to be than our school on a sunny day like today. The grounds look magnificent in the sunshine and the children are given lots of opportunities to enjoy them. It has been a pleasure giving tours this week to new families that have been allocated our school for next year’s Reception; they never fail to be hugely impressed by what Farfield has to offer. Surprisingly, we are projected to be not-quite-full in our new Reception cohort, so we would welcome a couple of late out-of-area applications if you know of anyone…
Attendance this week has been the best I can ever remember. Today, we have just three children off ill and a child still out of the country: 99% attendance compared to usual attendance rate of 95-96%. Children not taking holidays helps, as do the COVID-related social distancing and sanitisation routines. It would be great to see this continue post pandemic.
I had a quick look at bedtimes this week, having spoken to a child in Y4 who always looks very tired. I surveyed one Y4 class, and their self-reported bedtimes were, apparently:
I am concerned that this child, and a few others, report as not having a regular bedtime and claim to go to bed after 10pm. Children of this age need 10-12 hours of sleep. Interestingly, there seemed to be a clear correlation between those children reporting a late bedtime, and relatively poor educational progress: none of the 5 children claiming to go to bed after half past nine are making expected progress in reading (and none reached expected standards in a recent assessment), whereas almost all those that go to bed between 8 and 9 are making good progress (and almost all meet or exceed age-related expectations). There will be other factors too, and this is a small sample, but I do think that a significant number of under-achieving pupils have poor bedtime routines and lack proper sleep.
Over the holidays, we were delighted to finally complete the refurbishment of what has previously been called the ‘cafe courtyard’. This space is now a really popular alternative play and relaxation space, particularly for children that are working with our pastoral team and/or may have difficulties on the main, busy play areas of the school. We are VERY grateful to the PTA funding and to QTS group who provided workers for two days to help our site team finish the job.
Finally, the term started with two successful Parents’ Evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday. The vast majority of children have settled really well back into school – taking 6J this morning for an hour and a half was an absolute pleasure – and whilst attainment may have dipped for some over the lockdowns, we don’t feel that we are so far behind and good teaching should ensure that we are back on track quite soon.