Ayres

“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 & LSA, Miss Alice.

Class Updates

Friday 27th January

Lunar New Year, SATs Practice Week, Debating Competition, Ri Maths Masterclasses, Netball Tournament, St Paul’s Cathedral & Pam Ayres too – what a week!

I’ll begin with our third SATs Practice Week, which is now done and dusted – just two more to go… The children worked their socks off over the course of the six papers with such a huge improvement in the overall standard, they should be super proud of themselves; I certainly am. We will be back to normal next week in Maths and English and after half term the SATs Booster Programme begins; all ‘invited’ to the classes have now received letters – the final push to help your children do the very best they can in May.  If you have not yet returned the slip, these need to be in by the end of next week.

Despite our assessment heavy week, we have managed to continue learning about Japan in Geography, research different elements of the Liturgy in RE and in Science, learnt about how surfaces can reflect light differently. In Art today, inspired by Mayan culture and the work of US muralist, Dan Fenelon, the children combined their chosen Mayan ‘way’ with symbols that represent their own character traits to create a modern piece of abstract art filled with patterns and emblems. To finish the week it was in to the Main Hall as a whole Y6 cohort for some meditative Tai chi, short for Tai chi ch’üan, or “shadowboxing” – the internal Chinese martial art practiced for defence training, health benefits and meditation.

Pam Ayres replied to a Tweet, with a long message to the children of Y6 Ayres, which prompted an in depth exploration of her anthology. Having already learned her most famous work by heart, the children listened to other amusing odes including ‘Clive the Fearless Birdman’, ‘You Should Have Asked My Husband’, ‘The Dog Who Bit A Ball’ as well as one entitles ‘Seagull!’. We looked at the everyday themes she writes about and the children explored the various rhyming patterns and colloquial, idiosyncratic and slang vocabulary that she uses. It was a lot of fun. Then they tried writing their own poem, in her style. Homework: to illustrate it.

As if all of the above was not enough, a few children have been doing some extra-curricular work with: the Y6 Debating Squad winning their way through to the finals of the Cicero Cup; The Netball team winning the borough tournament to now go onto represent Hammersmith & Fulham at the London Youth Games; the House Captains took part in the diocesan ‘Schools Together’ service of celebration at St Paul’s Cathedral and a few top mathematicians attending the first of a series of Ri Maths Masterclasses. It’s been busy – see Twitter for more details.

Finally, thanks to all of you who made it along to our Zoom meeting about SATs yesterday, I hope you found it informative. If you were unable to make it, a message has been sent out on ParentMail which explains what we discussed as well as giving you more information about the upcoming SATs Booster Programme.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 20th January

The children’s English learning continues as they explored the features of a non-chronological report; analysing the structure, identifying formal writing, factual information and mostly written in the present tense. They looked at who might write these types of reports, how, why and for whom. By the end of the week, the children had begun researching details for their own non-chronological report on their chosen/allocated sport.

Decimals remained the focus in Maths this week specifically how fractions can be converted in to decimals. There was an end of unit assessment this morning, which will help focus their minds on the ‘big one’ next week – the third round of SATs Practice papers.

The children learned more about light in Science this week specifically that the light they see travels in a straight lines. They discussed how light can be reflected using mirrors and, after a bit of theory on the law for reflection (the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection) they had lots of fun ‘investigating’ (in a darkened classroom) shining torches on to mirrors, testing their predictions.

On Tuesday afternoon, we gathered together in our church to speak with our parish priest Rev Denis; Fr Richard, the Anglo-Catholic priest at St Luke’s CE and Jamie Sewell, a Curate in his final year of training for the priesthood. The children asked them all the questions that we had prepared in the last lesson about different things to do with the church’s liturgy, taking notes of their answers. With some ‘stinkers’ such as ‘what is your favourite Liturgy and why?’ our visitors responded well to the grilling. The children really enjoyed this Q&A session and learned loads.

There is a big crossover in RHE & Computing this half term, which means that the children are doing lots of learning about social media and the internet, in particular on how to be critical of what they see on there, what they believe and take on board, as well as what they might share. Remembering the issues that they had covered in previous lessons on body image and pressure on buying products/ following a lifestyle, the children  explored ‘avatars’ that people choose to use when online. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using an avatar, looking at a fake avatar, asking the question, how would you feel using of being fooled by an avatar that doesn’t represent what the person looks like? We talked about the reasons why someone might hide behind an avatar (not always suspicious reasons – they might be shy, or body conscious, or need to hide true identity). Finally, they created their own avatars using the website http://photos-share.com/ – the brief was to produce one that they would be happy to use to represent themselves to teachers and friends at their high schools in September. They were asked to think about the impression that their avatar would give to people who don’t know them. At the end of the lesson we looked at their work and tried to guess who was who!

The new RHE unit is ‘Keeping Safe’ and in today’s lesson the focus was on staying safe online. As I have mentioned before, this is particularly useful at the moment as, when the children move on to secondary school in the autumn, the amount of time they spend online will undoubtedly increase (more homework online, joining social media). We started our lesson by discussing all the different social media platforms we know, before moving on to thinking about the age restrictions some of the sites might have (and why). We decided that some social media websites, for example WhatsApp where you have to be 16 to use it, have these restrictions because some of the content may not be appropriate for younger users and people are able to chat to strangers online.

Next up, the children listened to a story about a small incident that soon this spread around school and, whilst not the worst thing that could have happened, it highlighted just how quickly something can be spread through word of mouth. If shared on any platform, the spreading of it is even faster. They recognised that they should always think carefully about what they post online. Thinking about their safety and whether what they share could hurt or embarrass anyone else. They learned that it is almost impossible to remove something once it is online and something that may seem funny in the moment, might not seem like such a good idea later on. They are encouraged to remember to always, ‘Think before we click’.

That’s it from me, have a super weekend,

Mr Gane

 

Red Card to Racism Creative Competition

Miss Hall talked to the children about the Red Card to Racism Creative Competition which is happening this month. Y6 children are invited to create a design for a T-shirt design and/or a piece of creative writing. For full details on what to do, the template for the T-shirt designs and how to enter see:  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/574451fe37013bd0515647ac/t/6388d1793e498f0edcead03d/1669910910116/School+COmpetition+2023+Flyer.pdf

Friday 13th January

The children kicked off the week with their very last ‘trip’ on the LifeBus, a wonderful opportunity for honing their life skills, run by Coram Life Education. In preparation for life after the safety here at St Stephen’s the children discussed good decision making in a few hypothetical scenarios that they may be faced with at secondary school. Dare I say that children with older siblings seemed the most ‘streetwise’.

The children had great fun this week working towards writing a prequel to music video ‘Titanium’ that we have be watching in English. Using their knowledge of superheroes, they built a back story for the main character, before planning then writing a simile and metaphor, ‘show, not tell’ packed, final piece of figurative writing. Finally they took a red pen (green actually) to their narratives to edit and up-level them – from what I have read and marked so far, they are very creative writers indeed.

Both Maths groups are working on Decimals to three places, looking at all four maths operations – see the Mathletics homework for more of the same, and not a lot more to say tbh! In Geography the children continued their learning using atlases to scour latitude and longitude co-ordinates to firstly find Japan and then a host of other countries dotted all over the world. It was hugely gratifying to see children linking these man-made lines criss-crossing the globe to their recent learning on Position & Direction (X and Y grids) in Maths.

Meanwhile in Science we took a closer look at the eye – a cross-section in fact – with the children learning the various parts; iris, cornea, optic nerve etc. and drawing it. They learned too we humans only see the ‘visible’ part of the electromagnetic spectrum as our eyes don’t pick up the ultra-violet, infra-red, x-ray and gamma ray wave frequencies.

Yesterday the children dusted off their paint brushes as they began our new topic in Art; Making My Voice Heard. They learned about Mexican artist Diego Rivera – who was more famous than his now uber-famous wife Frida Kahlo during their lives – and how he was inspired by the imagery, pattern and colour of Mayan art. Having collected and sketched ideas in their books, next week they will be creating their own implements to make their own abstract ‘marks’.

In preparation for some guests who will be joining us in the church next week, today in RE in small groups, the children came up with a series of incisive questions that they will put to them. With the premise that Christians believe taking part in the liturgy can bring them closer to God, the questions aim to help our visitors explain the role of the liturgy in the church and how they believe it helps the congregation develop their relationship with God.

In Computing we spoke about social media and how pictures that people post can make us feel sad or inadequate, for example if someone looks ‘flawless’ in a selfie, we might compare that to ourselves. However, we discussed how these photos that look ‘perfect’ can be edited, taken in certain lights to make us look better, are one of about fifty photos taken to try and get the best one. This ‘perfect’ photo is then posted on social media. The children then created a ‘blog’ about a ‘perfect’ car/holiday/look then wrote a script to ‘sell’ how great it is but then also adding what lays behind it… and what the influencer is quietly promoting. To end the lesson, Miss Williams took pictures of the children pulling funny faces and uploaded it straight to our blurb sheet without ‘checking’ what we looked like. The message is: You’re Perfect, Just the Way You Are.

…and on that note, we have continued to learn about online safety in Relationship and Health Education, talking about what we should and should not be sharing online. For example, it is not safe to be sharing our personal information online as you never know where it can end up.

With this in mind, as the children in Y6 turn 11 and it is right after Christmas, it might not be unusual for them to be the proud new owners of shiny, very inviting smartphones especially now so many are walking home alone, so with the help of SaferInternet I thought I would share a few snippets of information, beginning with the age limits set for users by various social media platforms. It wasn’t until I checked the SaferInternet website that I realised that WhatsApp announced a change to their terms and conditions for users based in Europe and that users of its App now need to be over 16.

Nearly all other social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age to access and use their services. This includes Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Toc and Skype. Whilst there is no age restriction for watching videos on YouTube, users need to be 13 or older to have their own YouTube account (enabling them to subscribe to other channels, like videos, post comments, share their own content and flag inappropriate content).

So, keep an eye on what they are doing online – you are the adult – so should have total access to their devices at this time. They should not be worried about letting you see or talking with you about what they do online. Get that relationship sorted now, so you are in an ‘easy’ position to talk with them about these things as your children move through their teens. Good luck!

Have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

 

CALLING ALL ARTISTS

​As part of enriching our Art learning, we are looking for any parents, carers or even grandparents who are Artists or work in an artistic career, such as architecture, who would be willing to run an Art workshop with the classes. It can be linked to the curriculum or a stand-alone lesson in the year group of your choice. If you would be interested in volunteering your time with us, please get in touch with Mrs Allen (e.allen@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk).

 

RHE KNOWLEDGE PAGE – KEEPING SAFE

This half term our Relationships and Health Education topic is ‘Keeping Safe’. You will find a breakdown of the upcoming lessons and key vocabulary on our ‘Knowledge Page’ which is saved alongside our Curriculum Map on the blog. This will give you a greater understanding of what conversations we are having with your children and when. If you would like to discuss the content of these lessons further, please get in touch.

Friday 6th January 2023 - Happy New Year

Happy 2023, can you believe it!

It was only three days, but felt like five, as we got off to another flying start here. ‘Titanium’ has proved a big hit in English helping the children to enthusiastically explore the use of: figurative writing through ‘show, not tell’; metaphors and similies; character analysis as well as higher level vocabulary and punctuation. They watched the start of this music video by French DJ and music producer David Guetta that we will be using for this unit of work inferring what might happen next and making predictions, before watching the rest of the video to see whether they were correct. Then, using their honed inference skills, they recorded, on iPads, what they thought the boy would be saying at different parts of the film, to show how he would be feeling. There was also a written comprehension to ensure they are fully au fait with what’s going on, before we take it to the next level, next week.

Their faces were a joy to behold as they belatedly completed the Maths assessment for our last topic on ‘Position & Direction’ translating and mirroring shapes on a four quadrant grid. Most remembered the handy aide memoire – ‘aXross the corridor and (Y)up the stairs’ – for plotting of co-ordinates, which was embedded by a treeeemendous amount of festive work before the break. Today my group kicked off with ‘Decimals’, our next topic for a few weeks.

It’s a big one in RE, as we start finding out about the ‘Liturgy of the Church of England’.  We explored the children’s knowledge of the various objects used at a typical Sunday service, before they then examined a couple of ‘Order of Service’ pamphlets and finally discussed as a class the key elements of Sunday Mass. This is an interesting topic, which will see the whole year group ending up in church later in the month interrogating Rev Denis and friends…

‘Fake News’ led the Computing lesson this week, with the children drilling down into online Adverts for a dubious ‘get-toned-in-three-weeks’ products. After learning ‘You cannot believe everything you see online’ they had a great time creating fake advertisements of their own. No PE sessions this week as Alastair is away training to do what he does, even better, , but Miss Rachel opened up the new Music topic and Mrs Pereira began teaching the children the countries and continents of the world in Spanish.

Science was enlightening with the children identifying sources of light and how shadows are formed in their new topic: ‘Seeing the Light’, which gets a bit more exciting in the coming weeks, with some interesting investigations. On this day of the Epiphany, the last day of Christmas, we were looking to the east in Geography, beginning a new focus on Japan. In this afternoon’s first lesson the children used atlases (no Google Maps here) to locate the country before exploring the various regions within this country of islands.

Finally, letters will be going out next week with details on the SATs Booster Class Programme, which will commence after the Half Term (w/c 20 Feb). As explained previously, the aim of these are two-fold: Firstly we want to ensure that children on the Expected/Not Expected boundary will ‘pass’ well, but also that those at the Expected/Greater Depth border do themselves justice, showing off their strengths. Most children will be involved in this programme which will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the start of May, from 4-5pm. Thanks once again for your support.

Have a great weekend,

Mr Gane

 

How Maths is Taught – a Workshop for Parents & Carers

9am Friday 20th January – Music Hall

Come and join us for 45 minutes of Maths, what else would you want to do on a Friday morning!?

This very brief workshop aims to give parents & carers an overview of how we teach Maths from Early Years to Year 6. You will see the structured stages of how mathematical concepts are developed year on year in a progressive way that lead your children’s learning in a comprehensive and systematic manner. With much focus on reasoning, we’ll also have learners on hand to help you have a go at some reasoning challenges.

No sign up needed, just come along promptly and enjoy!

Looking forward to seeing you – add it to your diary today.

Mr Gane & Miss Whiting

Friday 16th December - Enjoy your Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… well it’s certainly cold enough, especially in the church as I’m sure all of you who managed to make it along would agree.

The seasonal theme continued as the children began and completed their final – and briefest – unit of English this week based on Charles Dickens’ yuletide favourite, ‘A Christmas Carol’. With the focus on comprehension, to really understand this classic, they revisited learning from Y5, the Victorian era, when it was first serialised, in order to get in to the mindset of the author and his characters. They discovered they knew other of his many famous novels – ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectations’ – spotting that a key theme is very often the contrast between the lives of the rich and the poor. Inspired by images from various books and movies of the story, the children came up with descriptive words and phrases that they might use if writing, before answering questions based on the text. From the author to the protagonist, so next up for scrutiny was Mr Ebenezer Scrooge himself. The children really enjoyed drilling down in to his character analysing Scrooge through two different versions of the story; one, the original Dickens from 1843; the other a modern interpretation by Tony Mitton – a picture book presented in verse. Their mind maps dissecting his persona precisely.

A super short, new unit in Maths this week too, as the children got to grips with a mini Geometry unit on ‘Position & Direction’ developing their learning on translation and reflection of shapes using coordinates in all four quadrants of a grid – exciting stuff! Computing too, this week, gave the children something very new to ponder, as they took a first look at HTML coding – Oh, yes! Following on from work on how to search the internet, they followed some fairly detailed instructions to programme their very own, simple search engine. They had done nothing like this before and, “It was so much fun!” according to one.

Thursday’s focus was very much on the ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service, with the children starting the day brushing up on the finale with Miss Rachael during Hymn Practice in Collective Worship. They remained in the hall as a full rehearsal took place in the church, each class processing in to perform their song in turn by Miss Bell, with the combined voices of Key Stage 2 coming together for the finale. Children were back at school at 5.45pm ready for the 6pm performance to a packed congregation of expectant parents and carers. They sang like angels as I am sure all of you who were able to attend will agree, with some excellent readings too led by our very own Ciara, Harly, Kanece, Lara and Lukas.

It was back into the church this morning for the traditional Christmas Service, with readings from St Luke’s Gospel by Erin and Lilia and then hotfoot to the Main Hall for the annual House Quiz led by the Quizmeister himself, Mr Faith.

Sadly in Y6, as part of their training for secondary school, homework is set over the holiday. As at Half Term, the children have a full set of SATs papers to do. We ask that they are left alone to do them (although you can read the questions to them – except in Reading Comprehension) in the allocated time. Once they have done as much as they can do, please do feel free to go over the assessments with them, but use a differently coloured pen to make any corrections so that they are obvious to us just what work was done independently, or not. We do not use scores from these as a formal assessment, they are just for the children to become more familiar with the work, the standard and the time pressure. You will be informed towards the end of January as to which Booster Classes your child may be ‘invited’ to attend, which will begin after the Spring Half Term.

Many thanks indeed for your on-going support during what is always a very formative year for both pupils and you parents and carers too. I must also put on record the huge part that Miss Williams plays in helping and educating your children, her work is unprecedented, making a massive difference to their learning.

God bless and best wishes for a restful Christmas and a peaceful 2023!

Mr Gane

Friday 9th December

…and relax! What a week, and it ain’t over yet, as we hope to see you all back here tomorrow for the Christmas Fair, doors open at noon. Your children will most definitely want to come along to buy their top-end, hand-crafted, not-so-healthy candy canes a snip at £2 a pop – all proceeds to FOSS. Miss Williams spent all afternoon yesterday sporting her Willy Wonka hat, as she oversaw a veritable production line; plunging candy canes into marshmallows, dipping them into chocolate before rolling them on crushed canes… What a sweet job!

Meanwhile back at the sharp end, in Maths this week the children saw the back of fractions, for a while at least, learning how to find fractions of amounts as well as original amounts from fractions, and how to convert fractions in to decimals too. Today the reviewed and tested their learning over the last few weeks with a wonderful (well two actually) end of unit assessments, which they all loved!

The Polar Express, proved the most suitable text possible – given the current state of the weather – which consequently saw the children giving full immersive descriptive vent in their retelling of the start of the story. Employing SMARPOPS, ISPACED and the ‘Power of Three’ (ask them) they crafted some quite remarkable narratives, bringing the scene to life. They really worked hard planning, writing and editing throughout the week with lots of comings and goings, so well done to each and every one who put in 100% effort.

History this week had a Computing twist, as the children resurrected the old laptops to access Microsoft PowerPoint to devise a quiz all about their learning on the Ancient Greeks. Their  first lesson was more computing focused as they learned how to create ‘hyperlinks’ from clicked answers on a slide that then ‘jumped’ to the corresponding Correct/Incorrect slide – all very complex. With their new learning, in next week’s lesson two, the children will put together their quizzes and trial them against each other in a battle of the quizzes! Who says history is boring!

In between assessments in Spanish and Science, we found time for the children to finish off their waistcoats too and also enjoy two Nativity rehearsals; the all singing, all dancing KS1 spectacular as well as the Reception dress rehearsal starring their Buddy Readers. Hard to say which as the best…. Many of the children took a trip to Westfield on Wednesday lunchtime as they took part in the annual Christmas Carol competition, which meant an early Cookie Christmas lunch!!! How do we fit it all in??

Just one week to go! Enjoy the Christmas Fair tomorrow and the football in the evening. Will we win?

Mr Gane

 

STORY COMPETITION

Mrs Pereira writes: It may make for nice Christmas project? The local story competition run by Daunt Books is back again, with every child who enters getting a £5 book voucher. Most years, we have a winner at St Stephen’s who receive a voucher and the glory of seeing their stories published – so a good success rate. Click on the link https://www.ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk/teaching-and-learning/library-corner/ and check out the info in the sidebar.

Friday 2nd December

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, especially in our two week English unit, where we are using The Polar Express as our inspiration. So far the children have; scoured a text for descriptive features, re-visited the ISPACED mnemonic  aid that helps make sentence starters a bit more funky and tapped into the feelings and emotions of the protagonist, debating whether or not he should get on the train. The magical story has prompted some wonderful oral and written work. I’m looking for fairy dust for next week!

We have finished the class book, “A Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom”, a great tale set in 1980s America by the author Louis Sachar, about a fifth-grade bully named Bradley whose behaviour improves after intervention from a school counsellor. The children hugely enjoyed my reading this to them. Next up as the class reader, after reading other books by the author, Essya suggested “The Boy Who Met a Whale” by the Sri Lankan born writer, Nizrana Farook. After the first few chapters, the children have met Razi and the ship-wrecked Zheng as well as the baddies (can I say that) Marco and Cookie…. No relation (I hope).

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.

Surprisingly, not all of the children completed their RE homework (part of) which was to watch some Christmas adverts on TV. To much joy, therefore, we were able to watch some in class, which then enabled the children to ‘analyse’ the ads to find their messages. Of course there was lots of generic ‘goodness’, ‘kindness’ and anticipation of gifts, with – after Black Friday and now Cyber Monday too – a big message to buy, but not a lot, or indeed anything at all, about the main man himself: Jesus. We used this to talk about the difference between a secular or consumer/commercial Christmas and a religious one, which we will continue working on over the next two weeks.

With three hours a week of Curriculum PE this half term – Tag Rugby with Alastair; Gymnastics with Fiona and Shannon and Cricket with Jonathan – some have also fitted in Basketball and Tennis Clubs, with others representing the school at the Mayor’s Cup fixture this afternoon as well. For the record, the Boys drew 0-0 while the Girls won 5-0 against Ark Conway. They are all a fit as fiddles…. and speaking of Music, it’s full steam ahead with loads of traditional practice for this time of year in preparataions for the various carol services in school and out.

This afternoon in RHE the children looked at and discussed all of the different types of relationships we can have e.g. with parents, extended family members, with teachers as well as aquaintences although focusing mainly on friendships. It was lots of fun, especially when in groups, the children created a TV advert, ‘Looking for a good friend’. These were performed to the rest of the class and were all… interesting!

Finally, the children ended this week’s Science investigation by building one massive electrical circuit using just one battery and one bulb, but with both connected using lots and lots of wires. They observed the brightness of the bulb in this circuit, comparing it with their first circuit using only one set of wires, concluding that the ‘resistance’ of the longer wires, sapped the energy from the circuit, causing a dulling in the bulb – all good stuff!

For the Christmas Fair next Saturday 10th December, the children will be recycling glass jars to create a festive present to be sold (to themselves) on the day. Would you please therefore look for an old jam jar or similar to bring in by Monday, thank you. As We are looking forward, please also note the all for the children are expected to take part in our ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service in the church on Thursday 15th at 6pm, when the children are required to be back here at 5.30pm prompt, please. They are currently practising their hymn ‘Winter Carol’ with a few children also preparing readings. Do make sure to come along, need I remind you that it will be their last one here at St Stephen’s.

No more international rugby (thank God), but do enjoy the footy on Sunday – getting exciting now.

Mr Gane

 

SWIMMING

Next year, the week after we come back from Spain (w/c 22 May), Y6 Ayres will be swimming each afternoon. A part from being a fantastic form of exercise for the children, being able to swim by the end of primary school is included in the Government’s National Curriculum and why the children are taught to swim in Y3. They will have lots of fun at the Janet Adegoke pool, but they will also be assessed to ensure that they can swim ‘competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres’. So this is the heads up, just in case your child needs a bit of practice, you have the best part of six months, to ensure they are up to speed. Many thanks again.

Friday 25th November

With Ofsted requiring schools to ‘promote British Values at every level including through their Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development’ the children were delighted to be able to watch the second half of England’s World Cup opener against Iran on Monday afternoon. After a morning of two SATs practice papers, it was a very well earned treat too.

The SATs Practice continued throughout the week as we continue to prepare the children for what they will face in May. This time around there were a number of smaller groups, which help some children to be less distracted and more focused on the task in hand. On the whole they all did well and absolute progress is very obvious. What can you do to help… reading. The one-hour Reading Comprehension paper is by far the most challenging, with three increasingly taxing texts and nearly 40 questions to answer, the children need to be confident in what they read in the first instance, as well as being able to ‘skim and scan’ the texts for key words and phrases when answering specific questions. The more you can help them with this now, the less of an issue it will be at high school.

Maths and English Booster Classes will begin in the spring term, to which many children will be ‘invited’. The aim of these are two-fold. Firstly we want to ensure that children on the Expected/Not Expected boundary will ‘pass’ well, but also that those at the Expected/Greater Depth border do themselves justice, showing off their strengths. Miss Marchant and I will be writing to you in January to let you know, which, if any, of the classes your child will be invited to, as well as which day and groups they will be in.

In Spanish on Wednesday morning the children designed their dream house – next week they will be describing it in Spanish! It was more Savile Row than sweat shop in the afternoon this week as the children are really getting quite handy, tailoring their waistcoats. We the three fabric panels cut to size and pinned, next week the hand sewing begins… they’ll be completed by Christmas – hopefully!

There was further light relief from their SATs assessments on Thursday when the children took their Reception Reading Buddies on a trip to Shepherds Bush Library. Pairing up at break time, they walked excitedly with their buddies to the library before listening to selecting a book and reading to them; a delightful scene.

After lots a hands on circuit making in Science, this week was a bit more bookish as the children learned to recognise and use conventional symbols for circuits – a mundane but universally important piece of learning that allows scientists around the world to accurately exchange ideas.

To round off the week, in History the children looked at how much our modern-day life has been influenced by the ancient Greeks. They discussed that even after 3,000 years, we are still use their ideas in many aspects of modern-day life, including maths, science, language, art, leisure activities and politics. As a class we then read about each of these aspects before the children wrote a short paragraph covering: how the Ancient Greek Olympics influenced our modern Olympics; how the Greek Alphabet has influenced out writing; the influence of Greek mythology on our modern life today as well as that old favourite, democracy then and now. Finally they were challenged to come up with what they believed was the most important idea or development. Not bad for a Friday afternoon.

Back to normal next week – I hope. Enjoy the England games tonight and tomorrow too!

Mr Gane

 

Art Competition

Sorry for the very late notice, but the London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS) is on the lookout for budding artists to create the image that will be used on the front of its electronic Christmas card and also used on our website during advent. They would like children to create an A4 landscape or portrait image. The image can be painted, coloured in using felt tips, colour pencils, crayons etc. or can even be a collage. The theme this year is “follow the star”, whether that is the wisemen following or Santa or angels or reindeers is completely up to the artist. Whether they are on camels, sleighs, mopeds, skateboards or roller-skates is also up to the artist.

All of the images will be featured on the LDBS website and they would ideally like to use an image of the winner in a news story on the website. All images should be sent to:

Stuart Webster
LDBS
36 Causton Street
London
SW1P 4AU

All images should be with us by Friday 9 December,

Please remember to put the name of the child, year group and the name of the school or church on the back of the image so they can return them to you.

We have two prizes of £20 book tokens as prizes £20 for the winner and £20 for the school.

Any questions please contact stuart.webster@london.anglican.org

https://ldbs.co.uk/christmas-card-competition-follow-the-star//

Friday 18th November

First thing Monday morning, Miss Hall had the whole of the school join over 1,000,000 students and educators to watch The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly 2022, in recognition of ‘Anti-bullying Week’. The assembly gave the children an opportunity to practise being positive to the child next to them and highlighted the importance of the role played by all, to call out bullying if ever they see it happening. Mrs Bouwman then introduced the ‘Playground Buddies’ – including our very own Ava, Ciara, Erin, Lilia, Louis, Sam & Stephie – to the rest of the children in the school. What great role models they are.

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 made their predictions on Monday and were dumbstruck when the story came to a surprising and dramatic conclusion today…

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 part of their homework was to watch telly, again…

They might also take a look at this episode of the BBC’s ‘Sewing Bee’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000w7rz/the-great-british-sewing-bee-series-7-episode-6 which links perfectly with the children’s DT project this half term – making waistcoats. With their designs already completed, on Wednesday afternoon the classroom was turned in to a veritable sweatshop as the children toiled to, first cut out their patterns, then pin the three pieces to their fabric before finally cutting out their material. A good start. Next week they will be hand-sewing.

In Relationships and Health Education this afternoon the children looked at how we can respect people’s differences, by ‘putting ourselves in their shoes’. They continued the lesson by looking at cultural norms from different countries and how it can appear disrespectful to behave one way in a country, even if this is normal in our own. We then spoke about how we should react to people perhaps displaying behaviour or saying things we do not agree with. Instead of being aggressive towards this person, we can be respectful and speak calmly as we do not know what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes – maybe there is a reason for the way that they are acting.

“You never really understand a person

until you consider things from his point of view . . .

until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

There was, as always, the ever-present Gymnastics, Music and this week two sessions of 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, next week 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.

That’s it from me, enjoy the international rugby this weekend and the start of the football world cup too.

Mr Gane

Friday 11th 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 Wednesday and Thursday, and to share with you all of the super work and efforts of your children. On the whole, we are well on track for another impressive year, which does certainly seem to be picking up.

So to matters in hand. All of the children continued developing their understanding of fractions in Maths this week, as they compared different fraction using the lowest common denominator (LCD), although something new to those in my group, was comparing fractions using the numerator… ask them to explain, before we moved on to adding and subtracting fractions.

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. I bet he can’t wait to receive those! Finally, the Book Reviews continued apace this week with some expert analysis by Ciara, Erin and Lois followed by incisive questioning from their peers.

Honing their historical skills, in History this week the children renewed their learning about Primary and Secondary sources of information, before using both to gain a better understanding about the daily lives of the ancient Greeks; from clothes and entertainment to food and drink. They finished by creating a design for their own ‘ancient’ Greek vessel, in period style.

Part of our RE lesson on Remembrance included the story of Sadako Sasaki – a 12 year old from Hiroshima – and her paper cranes. Her dying wish for peace inspired your children to learn how to make her famous cranes, following the ancient Japanese legend which says that your greatest wish will come true if you fold 1,000 origami cranes. Some of those that the children made went home; some are in their RE books and others have been placed on the RE display board. More exciting perhaps, is that the School Councillors Lilia and Ciara are going to write to the Mayor of Hiroshima enclosing some cranes that we have asked to be added to others from around the world in the famous Peace Park.

Continuing the theme, this morning on Remembrance Day itself, just before 11am we joined the live BBC proceedings at The Cenotaph and around the nation for the two minutes silence as Big Ben began to chime. I must say that the solemnity of the occasion was very well observed by everyone in Y6 Ayres. I mentioned that as part of their homework they might watch some of The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance the annual commemorative event from the Royal Albert Hall at 9pm on BBC1. As an added incentive, our very own Music Teacher, Miss Rachel, will be there singing as part of the Bach Choir.

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 the learning on circuits before beginning their investigations. Itching to get their hands on the assorted wires, batteries and lightbulbs, half of the children first learned how the power in batteries measured in volts and that by adding more batteries to a circuit, the voltage is increased. They also learned that components such as bulbs are designed to work on certain voltages and will ‘blow’ if supplied with too much power! Armed with this new knowledge, the children carried out a number of investigations recording the circuits they made each time by drawing circuit diagrams in their books. Meanwhile, down in the bowels of the Science Room, the other half of the class were working with Scientist-in-Residence, Miss Mercedes.  Keeping the electrical focus, they were wiring motors to drive cars – very advance. They swapped roles in the afternoon.

Finally, lots of the class – Ciara, Erin, Harly, James, Lara, Natalie, Rehan, Ruth & Sam – were out this morning representing the school at the Hammersmith & Fulham Dodgeball Competition a very friendly vicious game that they love – they had a great time. There a late notice Girls’ Netball competition on Monday, which Miss Marchant will be emailing about.

So that’s it from me this week, have a super weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 4th November

Back from half term with a Halloween bump on Monday and it’s been a week of starting new topics, which means in Maths we began by reviewing the children’s previous learning of Fractions and in English they began by finding features and techniques used in Persuasive Writing. In RHE this half term, the children will be focused on ‘Valuing Difference’, which they started today 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 start RE 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 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.

For our new Computing topic we are using Scratch for the coding part of the curriculum. To start the children 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.

History is never new, and we are continuing this half term with the Ancient Greeks, starting on Tuesday learning about these two famous city-states. The children discovered that the main differences between Athens and Sparta were their government, economy and society, so everything really. Your children were nonplussed to learn that Spartan children were placed in a military-style education program and that from the age of 7, Spartan boys were removed from their parents’ homes and began the “agoge,” a state-sponsored training regimen designed to mould them into skilled warriors and moral citizens. Your children were slightly more at home when learning about life in Athens – boys going to school to learn to read, write, and memorize the works of philosophers, while girls stayed at home with their mothers and learned what they would need to have a house of their own. Hmmm…

Sports have hit the headlines here this week with lots of your children enjoying representing St Stephen’s  the Sports Hall Athletics competition on Monday; others battling the weather to qualify to represent the borough at Cross Country and victories for the footballers in the Mayor’s Cup this afternoon; 2-0 for the Boys’ Team and a massive 7-0 win for the Girls’ Team!! See Twitter for details.

Our BRILLIANT Teaching Assistant, Miss Williams will have the money out of your pockets in your rush to buy the Y6 Ayres FOSS Christmas Card available in a few weeks. Her concept, based on our Bolivian artist, Mamani Mamani from Hispanic Day which the children worked so hard on all week, is AMAZING. Don’t you think?

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 21st October - Half Term

We’ve made it to Half Term, hurrah! The climax of which has to be your children’s outstanding Class Assembly yesterday. I have no need to tell you, but they have been working so hard on it for weeks now, especially the ‘Letter to Self’ poem – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. They did themselves proud, learning their lines, delivering them so well, singing, dancing, learning all the time and having fun. Undoubtedly the highlight of our Black Voices Week celebration. Thanks so much for all of your support at home and to all those able to come and watch the performance too. Finally, a huge shout out to Miss Williams, who just quietly sorts EVERYTHING out in the background so as people don’t even notice…. but we do, and are massively grateful.

The children completed their English topic on poetry 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.

The children did their regular weekly spelling test today and I am very glad to say that on the whole, all are doing very well with the ‘letter order’ as well as the much more important learning of the ‘meaning’. There’s now an added dictation at the end just to add to the fun!

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, multiples and in my group today, prime numbers and prime factors. We will finish this unit of work in the first week back and then….  Fractions.

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 Simon’s CE Church, Hare Krishna Temple (Hindu) and the Holy Ghost & St Stephen’s RC 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.

Finally, 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. 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 the 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!

Enjoy the break, see you back here on Halloween!

Mr Gane

 

BREAKING NEWS

The Boys’ and Girls’ Mayor’s Cup Teams were both in action today playing Old Oak. I am glad to report that while the Girls won 1-0, the Boys managed to slot home 3 with no reply. Well played.

Friday 14th October

Following an initial grammar brush up on identifying the past, present and future progressive (continuous) tenses at the start of each lesson, we continued each day this week in English with a focus on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘The Kraken’. After analysing the Victorian language, the children recited the poem before then planning and writing a detailed description of the legendary creature. Inspired by his grot and polypi, they conjured up their very own sea beastie planned and wrote a poem – we packed it in!

It was Long Division all the way this week in Maths as the children revelled in learning this most traditional of methods. Both classes worked exceedingly well on this traditionally tricky strategy with most of the children now pretty confident in their understanding of the process of what to do, so much so that we moved on to testing their understanding of the concept with word problems – challenging them to put the theory that they have learned, into practice. At this point I should mention that following our first assessments last week, Miss Marchant and I are pleased at the current levels of Maths understanding, although there is never room for complacency. There will be some movement between our two Maths groups next week, in an effort to ensure that every child is receiving the most suitable tuition for their needs and parents have already been contacted where necessary.

On Tuesday afternoon we trooped along to Old Oak Common for the annual KS2 Cross Country, as part of the LBHF Mini Marathon. After the mile and half walk – a marathon in itself – the children then ran through the scrubs tackling the uneven ground and weaving paths – a true cross-country experience, although without the mud and the cold!. Everyone ran very well and demonstrated great sportsmanship and determination, with some pushing themselves far outside their comfort zones. Huge congratulations to each and every one of you!

Friday saw Drama with Mark for the penultimate time this morning and after a quick Class Assembly run-through in the hall, it was the Great St Stephen’s Conker Contest this afternoon. Now talking of the Class Assembly, it’s on Thursday 20th at 9am, so do please make it a date and come along to your child’s last ever assembly here at St Stephen’s…. no pressure…. bring tissues.

That’s all from me for this week, but next Friday, 21st October, the school is holding its annual ‘Red Card to Racism’ day. For those of you unfamiliar, this is an opportunity to show support and raise money for the UK’s largest anti-racism charity. On the day, children can wear their own clothes and we encourage them all to wear something red. If you are able to, we ask that children make a contribution to the charity in the buckets that will be in the playground before school that morning. https://www.theredcard.org/.

Have a super weekend,

Mr Gane

 

MATHS HOMEWORK

Mathletics is our eco-friendly homework setting system for Maths and children’s weekly work is monitored and assessed in exactly the same manner as traditional written homework.

Homework tasks set on Mathletics are expected to be completed on rough paper, with the final answers then entered in to the device – unless specifically stated, it is NOT mental Maths, so ‘workings out’ are expected/required at home, but not to be handed in. Remember that most questions have an animation that explicitly explains the method, demonstrating each step to solve the problem, if your child needs a reminder of how to complete the task.

TECHNICAL ISSUES

We have checked that your child’s login details are correct, if in doubt do ask the teacher to check again. That means that for any other issues, parents/carers should contact the Mathletics helpline, as it will be an issue with your internet set up at home, or iPad setting or browser or any other number of issues – we can’t help there. See the information below that might help.

Mathletics can be accessed by PC/Mac, iOS and Android devices as well as Windows tablets and Chromebooks – on the laptops at school we find that it works best using either the Microsoft Edge or Chrome browsers. See http://www.3plearning.com/tech/mathletics/ for more details and if you experience difficulty in loading the Mathletics website at home please contact Mathletics ‘LIVE Chat Online’ help or email via https://www.mathletics.com/in/contact/

Thank you again for your support.

Friday 7th October

In prelude to Hispanic Day today, yesterday the children were delighted that their old Y5 teacher, Mr McInroy, popped up (via zoom) on screen from his Y1 classroom in Mexico City. We sang ‘La Cucaracha’ together and asked questions in Spanish. ¡Qué bien! So with their metaphorical Mexican hats already on, the children were clapping along to the amazing folk dancers, who performed at Assembly this morning, a little in awe of what might be coming in the workshops in the afternoon perhaps… Next up though, Lara’s mum Chris, joined us in class reading ‘La luz de Lucia’ by Margarita del Mazo & Silvia Alvarez to the class in Spanish – the children’s faces were intent with concentration as they grappled to understand as much as possible. Shout outs to Ciara, Sam and Lara for helping out, translating a few of the tricky words.

The promised Mexican Folk Dance workshop kicked off this afternoon’s activities, as Ariana from the troupe had them flicking and kicking after a head, neck and shoulder rolling warm-up. Huge fun was had by all – book those breaks to Cancún, now. Or perhaps Bolivia, as the children have also learned a lot about this land-locked South American country, primarily through the indigenous Bolivian of Aymara decent, Roberto Mamani Mamani, who is widely regarded as the country’s finest painter. His vibrant and colourful artwork expertly uses Andean symbolism to tell the story of his fascinating indigenous traditions. The children created their own art in his style, telling their own stories. I am hoping that many will soon be displayed around the school. And so to the finale, the Mariachi Band… Words don’t do it justice; you had to be there!!

There were four other school days this week too and as you know, there’s never any rest here at St Stephen’s, so in addition to the various Class Assembly practices this week, the children also managed to 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. 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 May 2023 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.

Finally, Buddy Reading is always a big highlight of Y6 and it was great to chat to the class of their own memories from Reception about their Buddies long gone, my first class here who are now in the Sixth form!!!  Y6 Ayres have partnered with Mrs Ghoul’s Milne class and each Thursday the children will now get together in the main playground at break time for a run around, before splitting in to two groups with half of the class bringing theirs buddies to Y6 and the other taking theirs to Reception. The excitement was palpable and the joy on all of the children’s faces was a delight to see as your children so kindly, carefully and thoughtfully read to the younger ones.

I am hoping for a more straight forward week next week, but we’ll have to wait and see…

Enjoy your weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 30th 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 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’ – that’s for OFSTED.

In Maths, the children have been picking up where they left off on the four mathematical operations, 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. See the Mathletics homework for more. Next up… the much anticipated Long Division. I would also like to add that the children’s Times Table recall is improving from the first rusty week back at the start of the month, which is great news. They should continue to focus on the Tables that are slowing them down when it comes to their two minute Times Table Challenge. Have you seen their papers?

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… Yesterday, it was great to see many of you in the church celebrating Harvest Festival with us; a huge thanks for all of your kind donations, especially welcome in these straitened times.

For Relationships and Health Education (RHE) this afternoon, the children were discussing how friendships can have ups and downs, which are a completely normal thing that can happen. They spoke about the problems that can arise and how they could solve them to make sure our friendships are positive, happy and balanced. They worked through six scenarios that are very common of typical friendship problems and decided how they would deal with them to improve the situation.

In our other subjects, we have looked at classifying animals in Science, how to stay safe online in Computing and created portraits of King Charles III in Art, some of which will be put on display around the school.

Next week the children will have a go at their first ever KS2 SATs papers as we continue their preparation for the real things in May next year. Rest assured that our tried and trusted programme is gentle, with these first assessments being sat mostly in class as a whole and timings somewhat more fluid than they will be on the day. That said, we will be using the results to help to assess where the children stand and there may be some movement, particularly between the two Maths groups – parents will be advised in advance of any changes that might be required. Our aim, as always, is to ensure that the children have the best learning opportunities.

Finally, next Friday is Hispanic Day, when the whole school’s focus will be on Mexico; Mr Schumm is dusting off his sombrero in preparation for the Mariachi Band… I jest not! Here in Y6, the children will also learn about Bolivia, so they’ll need to be wearing red, yellow and green clothes that day taken from the flag.

Hasta la vista,

Mr Gane

Friday 16th September

And so to the end of week two, all of the children are assimilating well in to the pace and expectations of Y6. 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. After an End of Unit Assessment, next up after PGL next week, is a review of the four Maths operations to get everyone fully back up to speed.

‘Life in Trinidad’, the autobiography of Floella Benjamin, whose birthday it is next week (73), was examined further by  the children who investigated unfamiliar words and phrases and identified adverbials, before writing a brief summary of her early childhood. Later in the week they planned, drafted, wrote and then edited their own short autobiography.

Perhaps the highlight of the week though was the much anticipated House Captain presentations, which took place yesterday afternoon with a bumper crop of candidates. 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 overnight and Mr Schumm announced the election results just after lunch today. Really well done to everyone who took part – the children of the school voted as follows:

  • Aylward – Annebelle, Hal, Louis & Nicola
  • Crummell – Scarlett K, Lucas S, Alexa & Felix
  • Liddell – Archie, Rose, Stephanie & Thelma
  • Wesley – Essya, Albie, Sophie & Ella

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!

Sports Captains were also selected today based, not only on their love and individual ability in sport, but also on their ability to encourage and motivate other team members, as well as their organisational skills and ability to help Clare and Alastair prepare for events. So give a cheer to: Eliza, Igor, Josiah and Kanece. Well done for shining in PE over the years and enjoy the new sporting calendar as it picks up again from the last few years.

This year’s School Council representatives were also voted in by the class this afternoon, so Lilia & Ciara will be working with Miss Kelly & Mrs Jeffrey on all sorts of children-led projects over the year.

Finally, the first ‘Stars of the Week’ this year are Rehan and Lilia; really well done you guys and keep up your superb start to Y6.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Mr Gane

 

IMPORTANT

Please arrive promptly at 6.45am on Tuesday morning, we aim to leave at 7am sharp to arrive at PGL in time for breakfast at 8am. The children’s first activity is at 8:50am.

Friday 9th September

Dear Parents,

The death of HM The Queen yesterday was marked this morning by a church service led by Mr Schumm and Rev Denis, which was attended by the whole school. A celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s long life and reign, the children sang and gave thanks for her dedicated service to our country. Ciara and Ruth were amongst those who read prayers. Back in the classroom we watched BBC Newsround’s report that charted her life that lead to a very interesting discussion. At midday, lots of Y6 children took it in turns to ring the bells of St Stephen’s church, which tolled for an hour in unison with churches up and down the kingdom. There will be more information on how the school will mark this historic event from Mr Schumm in due course.

So with summer now well and truly over and those super summer ‘22 tans now on the wane, a very excited bunch turned in on Monday, 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 and read the first chapter of Floella Benjamin’s ‘Coming to England’ autobiography features of which they will use when writing theirs, next week. 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 two days 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 week indeed with lots to think about, as in addition to all mentioned above there was Computing, Gymnastics, Spanish, PE, History, RHE and Music as well as special one-off Cricket and Drama sessions too. 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 Thursday 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 less than 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 Tuesday so I can check them on Wednesday.  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 five minutes.

Finally, as it stands, we’ll be off to PGL a week on Monday (19th Sept) so if you haven’t as yet completed the two forms that the children brought home and given them their £5 pocket money to bring in, please do so. A ParentMail will be going out separately 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.

Kind regards,

Declan Gane

Homework

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