“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord: plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11


Teacher, Mr Gane; Teaching Assistant, Miss Williams & LSAs, Miss Tami & Miss Lisa.

Class Updates

Friday 8th December - Nice one Cyril!

SATs Practice weeks are always a bit tough and this week was even tougher, as your children sat the notorious 2023 past papers, which included the controversial Reading Comprehension paper – the one that made the Daily Mail! As tricky as it was, I am delighted to say that good progress is being made, which is wonderful news and a testament to all that weekend comprehension homework – a big THANK YOU once again for all of the trials and tribulations that you go through. It is, and will be so worth it, come May and at secondary schools next year.

With most days filled by sitting the Maths and English tests and then reviewing them, the children’s lessons this week have focused on the Foundation Subjects; the Greek Gods in History led by Misha & Micah (Stars of the Week), Carols by Candlelight practice in Music, describing their dream house in Spanish, selecting skills for the whole class to practise in Gymnastics, netball and football training in PE, while also adding buttons and pockets to their waistcoats in DT.

Along with the rest of the school, we packed into the church on Wednesday morning to watch the dress rehearsal of Reception’s ‘Wriggly Nativity’, which as you might imagine, was a delight to behold. The Y6 children, in particular, always take huge pleasure seeing their Buddy Readers perform, and reminiscing for the last time, of when they were that small!

This afternoon, Misha’s dad, delivered a presentation on STEM to Y6 as part of the ‘Cracking Careers Programme’. As the founder of a highly successful tech company, Cyril shared his own experiences while demonstrating the huge changes that advances in technology bring with the example of Henry Ford’s development of the motorcar bringing the demise of the horse drawn buggy. He spoke about the current talent shortage and inspired the children making them think about keeping open the options of a career in STEM.

And finally, letters will be going out next week to parents whose children will be involved in the SATs Booster Programme that will start after the February half term. The plan is for an hour of Maths 4-5pm on Tuesdays and then 4-5pm on Wednesdays for English.  I will be explaining to the children which classes they will be expected to attend as well as how and why they might have been selected, which Is to help ensure they reach Mr Gove’s ‘Expected’ standard and/or to assist them into the ‘Greater Depth’ band.

Have a great weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 1st December - Oh no it isn't!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… although in RE we’re very much sticking to the Church’s teaching that in fact, it is Advent – the beginning of the spiritual year – and four weeks of preparation before the ‘arrival’ or ‘visit’. The children have learned about the secular ‘takeover’ of the Christian feast of Christmas by the retail sector, which reminds me that the FOSS Christmas Fair opens here at noon tomorrow – please come along and spend, spend spend!

The children completed the lessons in the Science topic – Changing Circuits – rounded off with an assessment quiz in which everyone did very well. They also completed the factions unit in Maths to the delight of many with not one but two brief end of block assessments. The big test will come next week in our second SATs Practice.

On Wednesday, Daniel Dockery, author of newly published ‘Wendington Jones and The Missing Tree’ delivered interactive writing workshop assembly to Y4, Y5 & Y6 today. Using ideas pulled from a bag by pupils in the hall, he showed how the skeleton of ‘Adventure’ story and a ‘Mystery’ story can be put together using different plots. Afterwards, he came to Y6 to share his top tips, explaining in more detail the idea that a ‘story’ involves the development of the main character in some way, whereas the ‘plot’ is a series of things that happen to the character, which drives the ‘story’.

Daniel set the children a challenge to write a story, which he will read and give them feedback on in the New Year!!! Children can write it on their own, or with friend. It can be a whole book, or something shorter, but must be at least one page. Completed stories need to be brought in to school during the last week of term, as we will be posting them to Daniel for him to read over the Christmas period.

TOP TIPS: Use these five questions to plan your story:

Who is your main character? Protagonist

What do they want?

Why do they want it? Why are we interested / care?

What is stopping them getting it? Antagonist

What will the protagonist do to get what they want?

Is there a change in the character?

The panto this afternoon was a huge success. Your children were wide-eyed and rockin’ in their seats – so much fun was had and a huge shout out to PE Teacher Mr S, who managed to catch the eye of the dame… poor lad!

Enjoy your weekend and see you at the Christmas Fair tomorrow.

Mr Gane


OUTSTANDING – a message from the Chair of Governors

The Ofsted Report is here – see ParentMail

Dear Parents/ Carers,

It is with great pride that I write to you today to share the Ofsted inspection report.  Please do take the time to read through the report – it really does encapsulate everything that makes St Stephen’s such a wonderful school.  I have read many inspection reports in my time in education, and there has been a recent trend of producing somewhat generic summaries that lack any sense of what a school is really about.  It is huge credit to St Stephen’s, therefore, that the same cannot be said of this report.  The lead inspector, David Radomsky, captures the very spirit of the school beautifully.  The sense of community shines through from the start where he refers to the school as “one big happy family”. In the feedback meeting at the end of the inspection, Mr Radomsky ran out of superlatives – so impressed was he by the pupils, the staff and the engagement of the parents and governors.

The report states that the school “has a vision and ambition for excellence in all that it does”.  We all know that the person who sits behind that vision is the extraordinary Mr Schumm, but he would be the first person to say that his vision would not be realised without the tenacity, determination and total belief of the incredibly hard-working staff, the support of you as parents, the governors and, of course, your amazing children.  So, on behalf of the governors, thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to respond to the Ofsted parent questionnaire, thank you for the time and energy you put into volunteering at the school and for all the work you do as part of FOSS, but above all thank you trusting the care and education of your children to our school.

With all best wishes.

Susan Wijeratna

Chair of Governors

Friday 24th November

Dear Parents / Carers,

First thing Monday morning, Miss Bill had the whole school join over 1,000,000 students and educators from across the UK to celebrate World Children’s Day by taking part in the Big Live Assembly. World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children, marking the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children’s rights are human rights but in too many places today, children’s rights are under attack. We spoke about the importance of making space for children and young people to raise their voices on the issues that matter to them. By prioritising children’s rights and participation, we can help to build a better future for all.

Back in the classroom, ‘The Giant’s Necklace’, Sir Michael Morpurgo’s book, based in St Ives, is the foil around which the children have been honing their English skills this week. Following the protagonist Cherry’s obsession with collecting cowrie shells to make a huge necklace, the learning focus has been on comprehension skills, particularly high level vocabulary and inference skills. The children will make their predictions on Monday and find out the truth next week – no spoilers.

In Maths this week both groups have continued to work their way through ‘fractions’ focusing on multiplying and dividing. I find if you think of multiplying as ‘lots of’, then finding half (a lot of) a quarter gives some logic to the equation ½ x ¼ =  The children learnt that the calculation is actually very straight forward and they all did very well when asked to simply ‘Times the Tops’ and then ‘Times the Bottoms’. So in our example it is 1 x 1 = 1, and 2 x 4 = 8 giving us the product ⅛. The children continued learning varying mutations of division too using Bar Models and dividing fractions by other fractions using our KFC method (keep, flip, change – so 1/5 divided by ½ is the same as 1/5 x 2). Whilst the children have seen some of this in Y5, our work in Y6 aims to instil a greater depth of learning, challenging the children with word problems that are aimed at making them use the understanding they have in order to solve more complex problems.

Relationships and Health Education lessons are very interesting with the children developing their learning, this half term, on valuing and respecting differences. I do need to say that the classroom ‘theory’ is always outstanding, however, after a couple of recent incidents, some children need more focus on the ‘practical’ side of things… Walk the talk; doing what is right, when no one is looking.

There was, as always, the ever-present Gymnastics and PE along with Spanish in which they learned prepositions of place, before including them in sentences – such great learning prior to the school journey in May after SATs.

…and speaking of SATs, the week after next (w/c 4th Dec) we will be having another practice week, when the children will sit all six of the papers over the five days. 25% additional time will be allocated to those that meet the criteria and very many of the children will be working in smaller groups, or one-to-one, as we make the children more and more accustomed to how things will be next year. Once again, we have reiterated to the children that we simply expect them to do their best, as we have not yet covered the whole Y6 syllabus and they have six months more growing up and learning to do – so the results just give us a guide as to where and on what to focus our resources. Letters will go out before the end of the year to parents whose children will be involved in the SATs Booster Programme (4-5pm Tues & Weds) that will start after the February half term.

Mr Gane



Say No to Smartphones!


It was an enlightening and impactful Outreach talk last night about the impact smartphones and other smart devices are having on children’s mental health. Due to the sensitive nature of the content, it was not recorded, so below is a summary of the main messages and more importantly what we can do.

All the popular apps for smart devices have age limits above primary school age (see the attached Summary Handout).

The potential impact of a mobile and in particular smartphones (phones which access the internet) is varied and wide ranging, below are just a few issues raised:

  • Anxiety/addictive/distracting: has someone messaged? Why hasn’t anyone responded to my message? Constantly needing to check their phones.
  • Safeguarding: 2 ex St Stephen’s year 7s were mugged for their phones last month. Plus, the issues of interaction with unknown people online. Putting content online which you later regret.
  • Sleep Disruption: with one incident the school had to deal with, 1,200 messages were sent between midnight and 6 am.
  • Bullying/inappropriate messages: we were shown anonymised examples of messages that St Stephen’s pupils have sent each other. The message: any kid could have sent these messages, and the parents of the children who did send them where shocked.
  • Impact of Social Media Content: this was powerfully summed up by this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3qc6QjfJyc

The message was the issues aren’t because our kids are not great kids (they are!), but that smartphones are addictive and boundary-dissolving.

What Can We Do?

The school’s policy on mobile phones: smartphones are banned. A ‘brick’ mobile is allowed only from Year 5.

There were great tips given by the teachers, school counsellor, and the parent/pupil panel and some of these are covered in the attached Summary Handout. However, these are only tips for dealing with the issues.

The best piece of advice was do not give your child a smartphone. The school is finding the issue is the parents buckling under-pressure from their children that everyone has a phone, but they don’t. That there is a fear of your child missing out. The school wants the parent community to stand together on the issue of mobile phones and they are quite happy for you to blame them for not giving your child one.

A Plea from the School

  • For those who already have smartphones, the school would love us to have a moratorium on them. If we do this together, and hold strong on it, then it will be easier on the kids and the parents/carers.
  • For those pupils who do not currently have a mobile phone, put in place pact/’contract’ with the class, or if this is not possible, the pupil’s group of friends, that you won’t be getting a smartphone and won’t be getting a brick phone until ‘x’ time.

If the School Community can come together and say NO to smartphones, it will have a positive impact on our children. Others are also doing the same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZKWABpUqiM  

So, please start the ball rolling in your class…

Thank you,

Justine, Hannah and Mr Schumm

Friday 17th November

Can I really start off the blog with ‘what a busy week it’s been’ again….? Every week is a busy week here! It was great to catch up with so many of you for Parents’ Evening on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to share with you all of the super work and efforts of your children. Many were asking about the SATs Booster Programme that will start after the February half term. The plan is for an hour of Maths 4-5pm on Tuesdays and then 4-5pm on Wednesday for English. We will know who will need to take part in these sessions after the next SATs Practice Week – w/c 4th December.

In English, persuasive writing remained the order of the day with the children preparing to bombard Mr Schumm with their exquisitely crafted letters packed full of well-reasoned ideas on how to improve the school, even further! I bet he can’t wait to receive those! Then, the oral Book Reviews continued apace this week with some expert analysis followed by incisive questioning as always.

Meanwhile in Maths it was adding and subtracting; fractions, fractions, fractions, fractions, fractions, Improper Fractions, fractions, fractions, Mixed Numbers with Word Problems involving fractions. And there’s more for Homework; set on Mathletics!

The religious theme for the year in Y6 is ‘Hope’, so in preparation for the start of Advent, the children this week learned about the symbolism of the Christmas Wreath and particularly the candles, which are lit in church on each Sunday of Advent and finally on Christmas Day itself. Next week they will be examining TV adverts, so they were overjoyed when I told them that their extra homework was to watch telly, again…

There was, as always, the ever-present Gymnastics, Music, PE along with Spanish and this week two Class Assemblies –Miss Bill’s and Mr Perry’s extravaganza too. Sadly we will miss next week’s class assembly as we’re off to the panto on Thursday morning – please remember raincoats and packed lunches.

And finally, a HUGH congratulations to Emy & Daniel who were overall 2nd and 3rd in the whole borough representing St Stephen’s along with Izunna at the Hammersmith & Fulham Gymnastics Competition. We’re hoping that they will join the team to represent the borough at the London Youth Games later in the year.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 10th November - Long awaited visitors

Well, that was an interesting week. With ‘the call’ on Monday it was a pre-dawn start for us here on Tuesday with our friends from OFSTED ‘deep diving’ in to Reading, Phonics, Maths, PE and History, followed the next day by ‘shallow dives’ into Art & Music. Needless to say your children were as brilliant as ever, putting their best feet forward to show off their school in its best possible light. They were fantastic! The Report won’t be out for a while, but rest assured as soon as it’s available Mr Schumm will be letting you know.

In Maths we began by reviewing the children’s previous learning of Fractions looking at equivalent fractions, improper fractions as well as mixed numbers. This was followed by comparing fractions finding the Lowest Common Multiple for the denominator and then a bit more unusually, comparing fractions using the numerator…

Miss Bell and Mr Perry stepped in while I was speaking with our friends from OFSTED to kick off our next unit in English – Persuasive Writing, which began with the children identifying the features and techniques used. They have also been thoroughly enjoying Reading & Listening in English, which is sparked each day by a child’s oral Book Review. It has been really interesting to see each of them stand up and deliver their verdict on a favourite book and then answer some fairly incisive questions on the matter. A discussion often ensues about similar books and authors with the children recommending books to each other.

The darker nights of the autumn term make the Science unit on Electricity more interesting – this week the children trawled their memories from Y4 to recall circuits before actually getting their hands-on the various components required to create and evaluate how the brightness of bulbs vary according to the input of power.

This morning we finished ‘Parliament Week’ with a visit by local MP, Andy Slaughter who spoke to the whole school about the role of Parliament and Members of Parliament in our democracy. Y6 were lucky to take more of his time afterwards in a classroom Q&A when they asked a variety of probing questions which sparked a healthy debate.

Feet up now, have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 3rd November

Back from half term with a Halloween bump and it’s been a week of finishing off topics, which means in Maths the children were assessed on their last learning on the four mathematical operations and in English the wrote a poem inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ‘The Kraken’. In RHE this half term, the children will be focused on the new theme of ‘Valuing Difference’, which they started on Monday by playing a game that highlighted the positives of being different to other people. Before we move on to Advent in a few weeks’ time, we started RE this half term with a timely investigation of Remembrance. The children learned about what it is, why we do it and how it is done. They listened to the famous poem by John McCrae…

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

…before then writing one of their own.

It was overcast and wet underfoot as the children made their way on Tuesday morning to the start of the annual Cross Country on Wormwood Scrubs. The Y6 girls led the way around the 1k course, closely followed by the boys’ race – both inspired the Y5 and Y4 children who were to follow. Then with the autumn sun shining and absolutely everyone having completed the challenge, there were wonderfully wide smiles of contended achievement on faces as we walked (slowly) back to school.

It’s Design Technology in place of Art this half term which meant that on Wednesday the children took a look at the BBC’s ‘Sewing Bee’ which links perfectly with their DT project this half term – making waistcoats. They began by devising a ‘Design Brief’ detailing who the garment is for; when and where it might be worn; what type of fabric might be best; how it might be ‘cut’; what decoration and fixings it will have etc etc. They then sketched out their individual designs. So next Wednesday afternoon the classroom will be turned in to a veritable sweatshop as the children toil away to, first cut out their patterns, then pin the three pieces to their fabric before finally cutting out their material. Fingers crossed for no blood!

Starting our new Computing topic this afternoon, the children are using Scratch for the coding part of the curriculum. To begin, they discussed what ‘problem solving’ was and how it needs to be logical. In terms of coding, problem solving can be used to ‘debug’ programmes and make sure they are working properly. So to begin, the children created a ‘sprite’ and a ‘stage’ and then coded movements controlled by the up, down, left and right arrow keys for a race car game. Some went on to add colour sensing, which forced a restart. They will continue in this vein next week, looking at spotting errors to ‘debug’ a given code.

Do make sure you have booked up a Parents’ Evening slot for Wednesday or Thursday next week when I look forward to speaking with you all. Enjoy Bonfire Night and be safe.

Mr Gane

Friday 20th October - Half Term

We’ve made it to Half Term, hurrah!

There was a big celebration here of Black Voices Week with a focus on women who were ‘first’. The children heard from Mr Faith during Monday’s Assembly talking about trailblazers from Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Diane Abbot to Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, from Lashana Lynch to Christine Ohuruogu. In Y6 the children went in to more detail learning about Nicola Adam, one of the stars of London 2012 when she lit up the ring to become the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal.

The children hugely enjoyed the English topic on poetry this week by first analysing a brilliantly inspiring poem by Benjamin Zephaniah.  His ‘No Problem’ poem confronts his experiences of racism and how he is now able to not let it affect him in his day to day life. As a result, the children planned and wrote their own poems based on issues that are important to them. Once they were written, the class performed them with some powerful messages hitting home on majors issues including bullying, climate change, equality, sexism and racism – each spoke really passionately about their subject.

Dr Marl’ene Edwin from Goldsmith’s University popped in on Thursday to lead a brilliant workshop on Caribbean Creoles. She began by explaining how the language(s) evolved and explored the geography of the islands with the children. Next she taught then the numbers to 20 in French creole before playing a game of Bingo. Finally, with a translation sheet of key words in front of them, she read them a traditional Anansi story. We’ve asked her back for next year!

In RE the children completed their Slide Show Presentations about the different faith communities that they have been researching: St Stephen’s & St Thomas CE Church; Central Gurdwara (Khalsa Jatha); Shepherds Bush Mosque; St Paul’s CE Church, Serbian Orthodox Church and the St Andrew Bobola RC Polish Church. In their small groups they then gave their presentations to their classmates who took notes on how the community worships, whether their place of worship has changed over the years, as well as what they say and do about helping those less fortunate within their community and outside. Interestingly, the children noticed that all of these communities were involved in assisting the less fortunate to varying degrees.

Less to write in Maths but just as much learning as both groups continued work on the four mathematical operations by developing learning on factors and multiples – we will finish this unit of work in the first week back and then….  Fractions.

Mercedes, our Scientist-in-Residence, took the children for an immersive longer lesson on Wednesday. They began by learning about micro-organisms; what they are, and how they are defined, noting the structure of bacteria, virus, fungi, and how they differ. Looking at some of the different bacteria/virus/fungi that they knew, they also explored what algae and protists look like, what they are, and what they do. Then they played micro-organisms top trumps! Next up, they reviewed their learning on the different classifications for animals and plants – Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species and then made up their own do classification keys with sweets! These were based on ingredients, flavour, colour etc. For ‘homework’ they learned the chorus to the Classification Song.

In Art this afternoon, the children learned about the work of Toyin Odutola, a Nigerian-American contemporary visual artist, known for her vivid multimedia drawings and works on paper. Odutola’s artwork often investigates a variety of themes from socio-economic inequality, the legacy of colonialism, gender theory, notions of blackness as a visual and social symbol, as well as experiences of migration and dislocation. Some amazing silhouette self-portraits were created by your children using oil pastels.

We’ve had a few visits from Y7s who left St Stephen’s in the summer and have started their secondary education at a variety of different schools. They had not lost their ‘Schumminess’. It’s always wonderful to welcome back these children again and chat to them about the realities of high school, which I always try to do in front of my current class; it gives them a chance to hear what it’s like from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The children are intrigued to hear what things are like from people they know and will fire lots of questions at them, which the visitors are delighted to answer. One of the shocks is often the sheer amount of homework that is expected to be completed by the Y7s – all subjects, every day – from one local school! Anyway, as part of our preparation in helping your children with a smooth transition to Y7 is to slightly ramp up the homework, so from now until the SATs in May, there will be homework set during the holidays; half terms, Christmas and Easter, which I have told the children – delighted, they were not.. However, the bit that they will remember though is that after the SATs there will be no more written homework!

Perhaps more excitingly, the most excellent BBC 500 Words story writing competition is back, so anyone wanting a break from SATs, who might want to let their imagination flow, take a look at the website and go for it. Have fun!

Finally, please with the weather so changeable and winter upon us when we are back, would you ensure that your children have a COAT. At St Stephen’s it has to be torrential rain for indoor ‘wet play’ to kick in, which means that your children are outside when it is raining. They do therefore, need a coat. And while I’m on housekeeping, thanks for emailing to let me know of any changes to your end of day/collection arrangements, but could I ask you to copy in the Office as well, as I am not guaranteed to see your messages while teaching in the afternoons.

Enjoy the break, see you back here on Halloween!

Mr Gane

Friday 13th October - Schummi

SATs Practice, Hispanic Day and your children’s last Class Assembly – what a week!

Well, there can be no doubt as to the highlight of the week, it just has to be your children’s magnificent Class Assembly – Schummi! What talent they have to produce the perfect performance to be proud of as a final assembly. What stars they all are!

However, there’s never any rest here at St Stephen’s, so in addition to all of the intensive practising this week, the children also managed to experience their first run of practice SATs. As explained previously, there are six papers which they sit over the week: Grammar; Reading Comprehension; Spelling; Maths Paper 1 – Arithmetic; Maths Paper 2 – Reasoning 1 and finally Maths Paper 3 – Reasoning 2. I have been gentle with them – they have sat the tests in the classroom as a class and as I have told the children, the whole idea of these assessments are for them to begin to get an idea of what they will be confronted with come the week of 13th May 2024 and for me to identify which parts of the curriculum I need to focus on moving forward. I will speak with you about these results and how the children have progressed since then, at Parents Evening in November.

The Tinku festival in Bolivia was our focus for Hispanic Day on Wednesday. The word “Tinku” means “meeting-encounter” in the language of this indigenous group and the festival sees the usually peaceful peoples of the Bolivian Andes go mad! The Aymara and Quechua leave their work to engage in frantic street fights that highlight the Tinku festivals. The children learned it is an age-old tradition ceremonial fight practiced in honour of the mother earth: the pachamama. The origin stems from the Potosi region, and dates back to the Spanish conquest when the indigenous population of Potosi met the uninvited guests with fists and stones and hence comes the name ‘Tinku’ meaning, ‘the violent encounter.’

In two tribes or ‘pueblos’ your children designed and made a headdress each that represented their pueblo’s ethos, next up they choreographed a ceremonial dance as well as a repeating ‘chant’ designed to strike fear into the opposing tribe, while also promoting their own aspirations and/or frustrations. The final element of the competition was a mini boxing bout – just for those who wanted to – in the centre of the circle with our Martial Arts teacher, Kyp. Padded up, I was delighted that every single child decided to have a go and enjoyed throwing a few punches at Kyp, while their costumed tribe danced and sung around them. We did get a few strange looks from the other classes!!! The winning tribe made up of all those in Crummell and Liddell Houses were delighted to learn that the prize was a Homework amnesty this weekend.

That’s it, have a great weekend – COYBIG!

Mr Gane


Friday 6th October

Dear Parents & Carers,

In a fully focused week of learning, the children rattled through a unit on narrative writing using Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel, ‘Wolves in the Walls’ as their foil. They analysed the text to identify how the author used lots of different techniques to help to build tension and suspense, before using these to plan their own work. They wrote then edited to up-level their story openings, which included this week’s grammar focus relative clauses, to make their writing more interesting to read and… ‘cohesive’.

Maths had a twist this week with a very interesting, short assessment that had more to do with reading comprehension than the continued learning on division – do ask your child about the test, if they haven’t already tried it on you! It was the classification of plants this week in Science, with the children’s prime learning on the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants – that’s another to ask them about! In Humanities, meanwhile, the focus was on the different forms of government that were employed by the ancient Greeks ; the children explored the pros and cons of Monarchies, Oligarchies and Democracy, before deciding for themselves which they thought was the best.

The whole school was shoehorned into church on Wednesday for our annual Harvest Festival service organised and led by Mr Perry and by Rev Denis… on guitar! In front of tables overflowing with generously donated food, Denis with the help of three pairs of unsuspecting adult helpers, demonstrated the inequalities in our world, telling the children that while there is enough food in the world, many of the poorest don’t receive their fair share. De’Sharn brilliantly read the reading from Genesis which Filip read the Y6 prayer.

A heads up for next week when the children will experience their first run of practice SATs. There are six papers which they sit over the week: Grammar; Reading Comprehension; Spelling; Maths Paper 1 – Arithmetic; Maths Paper 2 – Reasoning 1 and finally Maths Paper 3 – Reasoning 2. We will be very gentle with them, sitting the tests in the classroom as a class and as I have told the children, the whole idea of these assessments are for them to begin to get an idea of what they will be confronted with come May 2024 and for me to identify which parts of the curriculum I need to focus on moving forward. My assessment of their work in lessons coupled with how they do with the practice SATs, will mean that there will be some movement between the two Maths groups. Rest assured I will speak with you about any changes that affect your child beforehand.

We also have to squeeze Hispanic Day in to next week’s busy schedule, which is on Wednesday, when the children should come in dressed in the colours of the Bolivian flag – red, yellow and green. I have told the children NOT to wear football shirts.

And finally, if you haven’t heard already, Y6 Ayres kick off the class assemblies once again this year, so DO book time off for your children’s last ever assembly at St Stephen’s. They have worked so hard over the last couple of weeks to make it what it is – AMAZZZZING. Don’t miss it: 9am Thursday 12th October.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 29th September

It was back to reality with a bump on Monday as the intrepid pupils of Y6 Ayres (well most of them) returned to class fully rested after a hard week’s fun and games at PGL.

In a fully focused week of learning, the children completed their work on autobiographies in English preparing, then writing their own, before finally editing and up-levelling them too. They used their recent learning on co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions, as well as this week’s grammar focus on adverbs and adverbials, to make their writing more interesting to read and… ‘cohesive’ – that’s for OFSTED.

In Maths, the children have been picking up where they left off, with division recapping on ‘short’ division aka the Bus Stop method as well as how to use factors of the divisor, to breakdown more complicated calculations in to easier chunks. The much anticipated Long Division raised its ugly head in my Maths group too, with most by Friday able to work their way through a calculation and even some ‘word problems’. See the Mathletics homework for more.

In RE the children had a very special visitor, who has lived in Shepherds Bush for 69 years, who came to talk to them about the changes she has seen in the area over her life time – Mrs Connor. She spoke in general about how the shops used to be and explained that this part of London has always seen lots of different communities coming and going. She focused on places of worship close to our school some that have changed and ‘downsized’ like St Luke’s CE church on the Uxbridge Road and others that have sprung up and grown such as the Mosque and Muslim Cultural Centre just a few doors down. Also, as a past pupil of St Stephen’s herself, she told us that the whole school used to go in to the church for a service every Friday – how things have changed! The children then discussed how faith communities show and share their beliefs and faiths in the wider community, focussing on outward signs of faith; our Harvest Assembly next Wednesday being a great example.

Perhaps the highlight of the week though, was the much anticipated House Captain presentations, which took place this afternoon. Your children really did themselves proud, delivering thoughtful and inspired talks that included some zany fundraising ideas for many personally heart-warming and deserving charities. The votes were counted and Mr Schumm announced the election results just before home-time today. Really well done to everyone who took part – the children of the school voted as follows:

  • Aylward – Carter, Maude, Nina & Phoebe
  • Crummell –Bea, Enkhjin, Gabriel & Kian
  • Liddell – Ethan, Jean, Mia & Millie,
  • Wesley – Aiden, Eliza, Joseph E. & Rose

The standard of presentations was very high indeed this year and I must praise again every single person who put themselves forward for what can be a very daunting challenge; win or lose, you all did yourselves proud!

Immediately afterwards this year’s School Council representatives were also voted in by our class, so Filip, Lexi & Peggy will be working with Miss Bill Jeffrey on all sorts of children-led projects over the year.

Sports Captains have also been selected based, not primarily on their love and individual ability in sport, but mostly on their ability to encourage and motivate other team members, as well as their organisational skills and ability to help Clare and the PE Teacher to prepare for events. The ten will be announced at Monday morning’s Collective Worship.

Finally, our class ‘Stars of the Week’ actually come from last week’s endeavours at PGL. Congratulations to Lily, Charlie and De’Sharn whose empathy as well as physical and mental ability, really stood out. Check out the fantastic PGL film that Miss Williams has put together – https://youtu.be/ot-vUzHsmRE

Have a super weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 15th September

And so to the end of week two, all of the children are assimilating well in to the pace and expectations of Y6, being rewarded today with a lovely Leaver’s Hoodie.

We have already come to the end of the first, very brief Maths unit on Place Value, an essential understanding of which is key to all going forward – and explains why we no longer use Roman numerals… After an End of Unit assessment on Wednesday, the children were straight into the next topic – a review of the four Maths operations to get everyone fully back up to speed.

The children have been reading extracts of Floella Benjamin’s ‘Life in Trinidad’ autobiography as a basis for their learning in English this week, as they have learned more about the features of biographies and autobiographies and also about the acronym SMARPOPS – Simile, Metaphor, Alliteration, Rhetorical question, Personification, Onomatopoeia, Punctuation & Speech – which I have suggested the children might write in their margins to tick off to help remind them to include whatever is appropriate in their writing. Ask them about Punctuation Face, FANBOYS and ISAWAWABUB if you dare, too!

Having started RE by focusing on our Y6 word of HOPE, the theme now until half term is ‘Understanding Faith in our Community’. This week, in a cross-curricula activity, the children used their geographical map reading skills to identify locations of places of worship in the locality, before then tracing their routes to school annotating any faith centres along the way. There’s a special visitor joining us for the next lesson…

Meanwhile in Art, with our theme of ‘The Face’, the children’s portraits using sharpies on acetate with backgrounds of complementary colours are now proudly on display and look spectacular. Then, during the Art lesson on Wednesday, we looked briefly at the work of disabled, US, painter and photographer, Chuck Close beginning a multi-coloured gridded background, prior to adding a simplistic over painting in water colours of a…. face.

Classifying Organisms is the Science topic this half term while in RHE the children continued very practical learning, exploring how friendships can have ups and downs and that this is a completely normal thing that can happen. They spoke about problems that can arise and how we could solve them to make sure our friendships are positive, happy and balanced. Finally they were given a sheet of typical friendship problems and tasked to come up with ideas on how they would deal with them to improve the situation. ‘Speaking to a trusted adult’ was a ‘go to’ answer.

The House Captain elections, scheduled for this afternoon, have been postponed for two weeks until the week after we’re back from PGL in order to drum up a few more candidates – surely working with Mr Schumm isn’t that bad.

Finally, a reminder, as if you needed that we’re off to PGL on Monday. Full details have been sent on ParentMail the last of which yesterday was to ensure that children have a packed lunch on Monday. Also do look at the weather and pack appropriately especially if it looks like rain all week.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 8th September - Welcome to Y6

Dear Parents & Carers,

So with the summer holidays now well and truly over; the sun deciding to re-emerge and the aircon kaput, it was a very hot and excited bunch who turned in on Wednesday, ready and raring for the joys and rigours that face them in Y6. We’ve hit the ground running, as ever, with ‘letters to our future selves’ and our ‘Reach for the Stars’ goals for the year already on display. The children have created some impressive portraits while in RE, they wrote a prayer of ‘Hope’ the theme for their last year at St Stephen’s, creating beautiful butterflies for the display. Just one day of Maths, focusing on Place Value – lots more next week.

Like the children, I have thoroughly enjoyed being back and getting to know lots of new faces. Y6 is a rigorous year, where the children learn to stand on their own two feet in preparation for this time next year. This leads me on nicely to the Homework Diaries which seem to be a hit (so far) and I would be most grateful for your support in asking to see them each evening and initialling or signing to confirm that work, especially some reading (recommended reading list), has been carried out. Written homework will be set on Google Classroom each Monday and Friday, but then you know that already as they had homework on day one – sorry. Knowing how to manage their work load will also set them in great stead for Y7.

The children have had a very busy three days indeed with lots to think about, as in addition to all mentioned above there was Computing, PE, RHE and Music. We have also focused on developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ – ways in which to have a positive approach to even the most dreaded of subjects while also not sitting on ones laurels. There are loads of motivational quotes around the classroom, one of which I have already had thrown back in my face!

Finally, we will be having our House Captain elections next Friday 15th September.  Each House will elect four Year 6 Captains, who will help lead their Houses in certain events and activities throughout the year. Candidates will make a presentation to their fellow House members from across the year groups in the main school hall, who then vote for their preferred captains. As the election is now just a week away, for anyone wanting to throw their hat in to the ring, they need to be preparing in earnest now… Whilst a PowerPoint/Google Slides presentation is not necessary, it might help as a prop and prompt for the nervous candidate; these can be submitted to Google Classroom or emailed to me on d.gane@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk ideally by end of the day on Wednesday so I can check them on Thursday.  Below is a job description, which the children have already seen on Google Classroom containing a few ideas that might help.

House Captain’s Job Description

  • Each House will fundraise for a specific charity. In the presentation you should put forward your recommendations for your chosen charity and ideas for fundraising.
  • Lead regular House meetings
  • Help to organise your House for certain school events i.e. Sports Day
  • Representing the school at particular school events i.e. Grandparent’s Day
  • Acting as a role model for your House/ School
  • To meet regularly with the Headteacher
  • To present House Captain Awards at the end of the year.

Any speech or talk they give should be no more than four minutes.

Finally, we’ll be off to PGL a week on Monday (18th Sept) with the coach departing the school at 11am, so if you haven’t as yet completed the two online forms sent by ParentMail in July and handed in your child’s £5 pocket money, then please do so. A final ParentMail will be going out on Monday with a recommended packing list, which DOES INCLUDE A SLEEPING BAG.

Can you believe that that little child who went fresh faced into Reception only seven years ago is now in Year 6 – how time flies! Thanks for your support and I look forward to the year ahead with you and your lovely children.

Enjoy your weenkend and the rugby,

Mr Gane


Homework is now set on the Y6 Ayres Google Classroom on;

  • Mondays due Wednesday
  • Fridays due Monday

Maths Assignments are on Mathletics

Autumn 1 Poem – Letter To Myself

Autumn 2 Poem – Oh, I wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

See Y6 Ayres Google Classroom Assignment