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 & LSAs, Miss Tami & Miss Lisa.

Class Updates

Thursday 13th June

Dear Parents & Carers,

On Monday morning, the amazing Kat swept in, wowed the children with her skilled delivery of the delicate RSE curriculum and left, leaving the children unfazed and more knowledgeable – spot on.

Tuesday was the turn of Auriol from Kite Studios who ran an amazing print workshop, with a focus on the sea and the perils of pollution and climate change. In groups, the children used recycled materials to make some amazing prints which will be on display at the Arts’ Café later this term – watch out for details on ParentMail.

On Wednesday, the children joined our Scientist in Residence, Linda, to learn about evolution. After discussing what characteristics would make someone human, they dived into the human evolution, starting with the split from the common ancestor with the chimpanzee. To learn about key points in human evolution – like walking on two feet, developing tools and controlling fire – the pupils worked on a timeline starting 7 Million years ago and matching human ancestors (specific hominin and homo species) onto it. After discussing where the human evolution fits into the larger timeline of evolution of all species, they discussed the influence of humans on animal evolution. For this, the students answered questions related to 5 influences on biodiversity – habitat loss, invasive species, overexploitation, climate change and pollution – including what can be done to reverse this.

After the Dads & Lads Breakfast, on Thursday the children worked to complete their ‘Yearbook’ entries, which will be shared with one and all at the Leavers’ BBQ next month. They also finished their ukuleles, stringing them and learning how to tune them – there will be a lot of that. They will remain here at school while the children learn to play them as – spoiler alert – they will be used during the end of year performance.

And finally, tomorrow is Sports Day, so don’t come to school! We’re in the usual place – see ParentMail

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr Gane

 

 

St Stephen’s Heritage Museum

Dear Parents / Carers,

We have an exciting event planned for Friday, 21st June straight after school in the playground (weather permitting) – we are creating our very own ‘St Stephen’s Heritage Museum’! This will be a museum filled with items / artefacts which have a very important meaning to your families… Items which may tell us about a family’s cultural heritage, their family history or just something that is really special to them!

But to create a museum, we need artefacts and this is where parents / carers come in! Do you have an item that you would be happy for us to display? If the answer is ‘yes’ then please send it in on Monday 17th June, with a label offering a brief history of the item and why it is important to your family.

Together we can create our very own museum to celebrate our school community!

Mr Schumm

Friday 7th June

Dear Parents & Carers,

And so into the last half term of the year, your children’s very last here at St Stephen’s, arguably the busiest of them all, so please do keep up to speed with the ParentMails.

After being fully rested up following the amazing residential in Spain, and just four days this week too, it was back with a bump and I can safely say the children’s feet haven’t touched the ground; we’ve been sooooo busy! Dance rehearsals for the boys and girls extravaganzas continued this morning with Miss Whiting, followed by an impromptu Drama session with Mark, much to the delight of all.

In the classroom, the children’s focus in English has been on writing their entry for the Yearbook, which they will all get a copy of at the Leavers BBQ (Tuesday 23rd July). Using notes from before Spain, they added their Spanish adventures to them and began drafting a 650 text, using Google Docs, next they edited and up-levelled a print out in their books. Next step will be to amend the electronic copy and add a few poignant pics.

The lawyers were in on Monday for a great, all-new interactive workshop on the jury system. The class was divided in to three groups – the prosecution, the defence and the jury and all were given a scenario to stage a mock trial. What fun they had, so much so that the lawyers have promised to come back again soon, to hone their new workshop programme. We’re great guinea pigs in Y6 Ayres!

In Science, continuing the ‘evolution’ topic, the children looked at how plants and animals inherit advantageous characteristics that help them better adapt to their environments. It’s ‘rules and regulations’ in RE and then painting, painting, painting and finally varnishing their ukuleles in the on-going Art/DT/Music project – hopefully we’ll get them strung and ready to play by the end of next week!

Mr Faith delivered a very informative Collective Worship on Thursday to coincide with the international celebrations of the 80th Anniversary of D Day, which was the perfect opportunity for me to then give the children feedback on their quite extraordinary WWII Projects. I was blown away by the standard and quality of the work of most of the projects, which the children had the chance to share again with their friends. They undoubtedly learned lots, not only about the topic, but also about themselves and their ability in approaching a big project like this. THANK YOU once again for your huge support.

Looking forward, next week on Monday morning, the brilliant Kat is back to deliver her final RSE sessions to your children. You have all been invited to come to her 9am briefing for parents and already been sent (via ParentMail) full details of what she will be covering in these single sex sessions. The boys are up first at 9.30am and I will sit in with them. The girls’ session follows at 10.30 and Miss Williams will be with them.

After penning his very own idiosyncratic adaptation, a sun-kissed Mr Schumm freshly returned from Spain, has promised to announce the cast for the end of year Performance of Matilda following the auditions held weeks ago now. There is much anticipation.

It’s the ‘Dad’s & Lads Breakfast’ on Thursday, then Friday is Sports Day – see ParentMail for full details. If you cannot get your child to Perivale, then please contact c.howard-vyse@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk Please pray for good weather. Finally, please look out for ParentMails for Arts’ Day – the week after next – and then Swimming – email me if you would prefer your child to walk home directly from the pool at the end of the day, rather than walking back to school.

Many thanks and enjoy your weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 17th May - SATs Week

Dear Parents & Carers,

Just a few lines this week to say how brilliantly your children handled their SATs tests this week – it was a joy to see how calmly they coped with the daily demands. With the scripts duly despatched, we won’t get to hear the results until July, but I have no doubt whatsoever that all of their hard work, since September and indeed throughout all of their time here at St Stephen’s, will be paid off handsomely. Thanks must go to all who have taught them over the years.

In addition to the six SATs tests, your children also managed to squeeze in: a few Maths crammers, there was Spanish too and Gym as well as DT work on the ukuleles and a spot of RE, when we completed the new unit on Islam. After the final Maths Reasoning paper yesterday afternoon, in Music the children auditioned for parts in the end of year performance based on Matilda, while PE continued as normal with Mr S. Mr Schumm will not be confirming any character parts until both classes are back from their Spain trips: w/c 17th June.

Today, following our Stars of the Week Collective Worship, as well as a final Philosophy session with George it was off to Holland Park for a very well deserved bit of RnR.

Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to seeing you at 4.15am sharp on Monday morning!!!

Mr Gane

 

FANTASTIC FUNDRAISING

Lily arrived for the Y6 SATs breakfast on Monday morning with her hoodie hood snuggly fastened, as if she wanted to hide something… We didn’t have to wait long for the big reveal.

A long time in the planning, Lily said it was a year ago that she made the decision to donate her hair for children with cancer. She grew it looooong, had it cut on 11th May and is asking for contributions towards the £500 it takes to turn her hair into a wig. The Little Princess Trust then provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or to other conditions such as Alopecia.

The Little Princess Trust, also one of the largest funders of childhood cancer research in the UK, relies solely on the generosity of its wonderful supporters, who help the charity give ‘Hair and Hope’ to so many children and young people with cancer each year.

Please visit Lily’s JustGiving page and do what you can to help her achieve her £500 goal. https://www.justgiving.com/page/lily2024hair?utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=page%2Flily2024hair&utm_source=copyLink&utm_campaign=pfp-share

We are VERY PROUD of you Lily.

 

ARTS DAY

Arts Day on the 19th June is fast approaching! We are still looking for parents, carers, grandparents, godparents – really anyone with an interest in art, to come in to school to support the classes on the day with their art. This could be either by leading a workshop or to support the teachers in class. If you would like to volunteer please email Mrs Allen (e.allen@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk).

We are also continuing to collect found objects, especially small items such as buttons. Please donate these by placing them into the red letterbox outside the main reception.

Friday 10th May

Dear Parents & Carers,

In preparation for SATs week next week, the children worked hard on final revision in Maths and English. They had highlighted aspects of grammar that they wanted to go over as well as completing a few short comprehensions – will they be glad to see the back of those! In Maths they completed work on ‘Properties of Shape’ the highlight of which was turning 2D nets into 3D shapes, before finally brushing up on ratio.

Thanks to all who attended the final Spain briefing on Tuesday evening; Mrs Pereira send on a PDF of the slides to the class reps to share over WhatsApp, if you missed it. The example of the packed backpack always astounds and a reminder that we are asking for these in school next Friday 17th please along with a separate small see-through plastic bag of toiletries as explained for the communal ‘checked-in’ bag.

In Music this week, Miss Rachel had the children familiarising themselves with a few Matilda style songs and scenes in preparation for next Thursday, when Mr Schumm, Miss Whiting and Miss Rachel will be holding auditions for the roles in the end of year performance. So with the first Y6 Boys’ / Girls’ Dance rehearsals this morning too, children keen on a larger part, have been asked to practise, as competition for this whole school performance in July is always very, very keen. Good luck to all!

Unusually, there was a cheer when I set the homework today – there is none! So with the demise of the Monday Grammar homework too, the post-SATs era has arrived early, which means perhaps a bit less work to do at home, but certainly more interesting activities. Enjoy.

Finally, PLEASE remember also that on Monday (and each morning up to and including Thursday) the children taking the SATs tests should be at school promptly by 8.15am so that they can have breakfast with their friends and be in the right mindset for the day’s test(s). Then on Friday, we’re off to the park to celebrate = packed lunches required please.

Enjoy your first homework free weekend for a while.

Mr Gane

Friday 3rd May

Dear Parents and Carers,

As our preparation for SATs week intensifies, the children are working hard on revision in both Maths and English. They learned about the subjunctive tense, which uses the verb ‘were’ to establish the hypothetical. Listening to Justin Bieber’s, “If I was your boyfriend,” and Beyoncé’s, “If I were a boy,” the children got to grips with this most under-used element of grammar by writing some truly inspired letter to JBiebs. They also learned the grammatical difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ as well as how and when to apply each word correctly and also the correct use on ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘Myself’ – be warned of the pedantic grammar police!

The children completed their work on ‘Statistics’ and moved on to geometry, specifically ‘Properties of Shape’, focusing on angles in straight line, angles in triangles, quadrangles and polygons as well as angles around a point.

DT and the Ukulele Project rolls on with each uke having been given a base coat of paint, which has really brought them to life. There will be more, light sanding and a lot more painting before we think about adding the bridge and tuning heads…

On an exceedingly wet and overcast May day, nearly 200 grandparents, godparents, uncles, aunts and special friends, joined the whole school, squeezed into the hall for the grand finale to Grandparents’ Day. Grandads of honour, David 1 and David 2, Lily and Ethan’s Grandads respectively, popped by Y6 this morning to talk about their experiences as the CEO of the Royal Albert Hall and as a pilot with the RAF and afterwards.

We topped off the week once again with another engaging philosophy session with George, discussing whether or not they would put on a crown that made them ‘king of the world’, taking on all the responsibilities of ruling the world – there was no mention of Boris Johnson.

Finally, it would be great to see as many of you as possible at the 6pm meeting on Tuesday when we will finalise arrangements for the trip to Spain. We will be collecting in passports and GHIC cards next week.

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 26th April

Dear Parents & Carers,

Two weeks down already – this term goes soooo quickly!

With the first SATs scheduled for 9am on Monday 13th May, our focus for the final two weeks is to ensure that your child does the very best they can. Consequently, after revisiting lots of grammar last week, the impetus this week in English was on the trickier three mark Reading Comprehension questions. Meanwhile, in Maths  the children drilled down, taking a critical look at ‘Statistics’– interpreting and drawing, line graphs and pie charts, while my group yesterday worked to ensure they know the difference between the Mean, Median and Mode in a very interactive way.

Thanks for all the family photos, which are now stuck in to your children’s Science books as part of their first lesson of our new topic, ‘Evolution & Inheritance’. They looked at inherited traits and characteristics and we briefly touched on ‘nature’ / ‘nurture’ – more of that later. They learned about the coal, oil and gas fields of Europe in Geography, while on Tuesday morning in Relationship & Health Education (RHE) the children were asked to think about where they might be and what they might be doing in 5, 10 & 20 years’ time…. What an awful thought! Their learning on Islam continued in RE with their creation of a Kufic style script to highlight their own ‘value’ / ‘belief’ statement.

With the body and neck of the ukeleles firmly united, after a bit more sanding, the children primed their instruments and then sanded them again! It will be a long road before a tune is played – next stage, next week, painting a base coat, then more sanding.

After Mr Faith’s Collective Worship all about Passover also known as Pesach (22-30 April), George was back this morning, posing more philosophical conundrums for the children to mull over, which they love. Today they discussed Exodus 21:23–27 – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – under the guises of a story about Marcus, Jerry and some bricks. Some very interesting points of view!

All of the children from Reception upwards made a beeline for Y6 this afternoon to view the amazing models and presentations made by your children on display at the WWII Project Exhibition. Their three month projects focused on an aspect of WWII of their choosing culminating in some stunning sculptures and models to accompany their written work presentations. On view there were a few street scenes with Anderson shelters, Ann Franks’ hideaway, a few evacuation suitcases with examples of weekly rations, respirators (gasmasks), a war memorial, various aeroplanes and tanks, fashions of the period and even a head in a box! It was wonderful to see so many of you parents too to celebrate all of your and your children’s hard work.

Finally, I am asking the children to chase you for the completed Contact/Medical and WhatsApp permission form, there is so much to prepare that getting these in ASAP gets one box ticked. We would be most grateful for your prompt action on this. Thanks.

Enjoy your WWII-Project-free weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 19th April

Dear Parents & Carers,

The Summer term begins with typical April weather of sunshine and showers – I keep reminding the children that it just five weeks until Spain though – sadly SATs is now in only four weeks’ time (w/c 13th May).

That means that in English this week it’s been SATs Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation revision all the way – ask them about prepositional phrases or relative clauses, they are experts. In Maths, Miss Marchant’s group finished off their learning (for now) on Perimeter, Area & Volume, before starting on ‘Statistics’, which my group began the week with. So far they have explored line graphs; learning how to interpret them, draw them and use them to solve problems. We are very close to the end of the Y6 curriculum now, perfectly timed for the forth-coming SATs.

More interestingly: new term, new topics. In Geography the children have started to explore the UK’s ‘Natural Resources’; in RE it’s ‘Living as a Muslim in Britain today’; in 3D design Computing, while in RHE they began the ‘Being My Best’ topic by exploring the ‘five ways to wellbeing’. Next week in Science the children will begin exploring ‘Evolution & Inheritance’, a small part of which will include a gentle look at family traits and characteristics passed on from parents, grandparents etc. I would just like to give you the heads-up on this as one of the activities that we will be covering and also ask for a copy of a family photo that will end up stuck in to your child’s Science book. Do email me something which I can print, if that’s easier.

The children were introduced to the BIG Question for this half term in RE:  How do Muslims live and embrace their faith in a diverse world? As part of the National Curriculum, they began by recalling prior learning about Islam, remembering: that there are Five Pillars of Islam; Ramadan, fasting & Eid; Mosques; the Qur’an, before looking at the Shahadah (one of the Five Pillars) and Greeting. Examining two examples of Kufic script – one ancient and one modern, they discussed the impact that creating the artworks might have had on the artists as well as their intentions in making them. They learned that as Islamic art is ‘non-representative’ (no living things are ever shown), the ancient script highlighted the words of the Shahadah while the modern image by Australian artist, Peter Gould shows the Greeting.

  • The Shahadah: “God is great, there is no God but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Come to prayer.”
  • Greeting:Assalamu alaikum’ (peace be upon you) to which the response is ‘wa alaikum salaam’ (and unto you peace).

It was then interesting to see a father whispering the words of the Shahadah (Declaration of Faith) into a new-born the baby’s ear, as the ‘first’ thing they ever hear. The children wondered, if they were going to whisper words into a new born baby’s ear, what would they be and why?  Finally, they calculated how many times the Shahadah would be said over a lifetime if a devout Muslim repeated it 5 times a day for 70 years – 127,750. Or 127 838 if you include the leap years!

Thanks to those of you who contributed to the FOSS Just Giving page to raise funds for our Ukulele Project, which the children began on Wednesday and seems to be a big hit so far. They learned that the Uke as we know it today, evolved from the Portuguese Brinquinho brought to Hawaii by sailors in the late eighteenth century, as the sound and finger movements reminded Hawaiians of ʽuku’ – ‘flea’ and ‘lele’ – ‘jumping’.  They did lots of sanding of the two main parts – the body and the neck – learning to use 100 grit sandpaper first moving on to the finer 150 grit and then 240, sanding with the grain! They will be experts on sanding by the end.

George, a student training with The Philosophy Foundation, held the first of his five weekly sessions on this afternoon. He told them the story of ‘The ship of Theseus’, also known as Theseus’ paradox, which is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The children thoroughly enjoyed pondering this paradox with their thoughts and ideas bouncing backwards and forwards during a lively discussion.

‘Philosophers are adults who persist in asking childish questions’

Isaiah Berlin

The WWII Project is nearly over! There’s no weekend homework set to enable any final touches that need to be made to the children’s WWII Projects. I have asked them to start bringing them in from Wednesday for the not-to-be-missed Great Y6 WWII Exhibition here, next Friday 26th April. YOU are all invited at 3.15pm to take a look at all of the children’s endeavours over the last three months. Every child in the school will have had a look and a chance to chat about the projects on display. I hope to see as many of you here as possible.

Spain – If you haven’t already, please do delve into your child’s school bag to retrieve the two forms that we need you to complete – one Contact/Medical the other for permission for us to share photos within the Y6 Ayres parental community. There’s also a letter with loads of information from Mrs Pereira, which I have copied below. Please do try to come to the meeting on 7th May, when more questions can be answered.

Finally is was a belated ‘Eid Mubarak’ here today, with a hugely informative Assembly this morning led by Mrs Ghoul’s husband who spoke to the children all about Eid. They learned that Eid is centred on celebrating the end of a month of fasting and spending time with family, friends and people within the community. Muslims dress up on Eid morning in their best, often brand-new clothes and many decorate their houses for the occasion They greet one another on Eid day by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’ which means ‘blessed Eid’ and also exchange hugs. This is to create a feeling of good will and unity. People also visit relatives throughout the day, enjoying food at every stop. Even when celebrating, Muslims must be mindful of families within the wider community who may be struggling, so no one is left out. So various Muslim parents put on a fabulous lunchtime spread for the children of typical foods enjoyed at Eid to aid the children’s learning further!!!

Have a great weekend,

Mr Gane

 

 

SPAIN RESIDENTIAL – A letter from Mrs Pereira

 

Dear Parents/ Carers,

Just a final letter to remind you of the details of our Y6 trip to Spain in May. Y6A (Gane) will be chaperoned by Mr Gane, Miss Williams, Miss Natalie and Miss Tami.

Travel

We will leave school very early on Monday 20th May so the children will need to be at school very early. Your child can bring only 1 rucksack (cabin bag) it can be a maximum size of 45 x 36 x 20 cm (no city-break wheelie suitcases) and needs to fit under the seat in front of your child on the aeroplane. The children will also use these bags for daily excursions in Spain so no wheelie bags please.  The St Stephen’s school bag meets the correct dimensions so the children could/should use it to travel. Alternatively, you could purchase one meeting the correct dimensions. Fully Packed Rucksack and toiletries (these should be in bottles of 100ml max in a labelled clear plastic bag) will be brought to school on Friday 17th May so that we can rest assured that all is in order.

Children will be escorted back to school by tube for early evening. (flight lands at Heathrow late afternoon) on Friday 24th May. On the return journey, we will regularly notify class reps if there is any change to the estimated time of arrival.

Accommodation and Food

The language school will provide the children with lunches, dinners and breakfasts. We will be the only group staying at the school and the children will be sleeping in single-sex rooms. Rooms sleep between 4-8 children and the rooms are en-suite.

Activities

Upon arrival at Gibraltar Airport we will be collected by coach and taken to sightsee and have lunch. We will then continue to Spark school where the children will be set a timetable for our stay. Activities include a tour of the castle and cathedral at Puerto Santa Maria, a ferry and day out in Cádiz, churros, paella making, flamenco dancing lessons, endless trips to the local beach and Spanish language lessons.

Passports, GHIC cards (formerly EHIC) & Medical

Please hand in your child’s passport (original not copy) & GHIC card to their class teacher by Friday 10th May. Also, if your child requires any medication, please ensure this is handed in to their class teacher together with details of the dosage required and a letter giving permission for us to administer the medication to your child by Friday 10th May.

GHIC cards can be easily ordered from http://www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/Healthcareabroad/pages/Healthcareabroad.aspx

Contact details, Spending money & WhatsApp Consent Form

Please complete the Data Collection Form together with 15 Euro (10 euros for souvenirs and 5 euros for tapas tasting/ice-creams) spending money (in the envelope provided and clearly marked with your child’s name) and return to the school office by Friday 10th May.

Also the WhatsApp Consent Form should be completed and handed in at the same time.

Packing – all bedding and a bathroom towel are provided by Spark School

In their cabin bag they can bring:

  • 3 t-shirts
  • 3 pairs shorts
  • Light pyjamas (it will average 28 degrees)
  • Enough underwear for 5 days
  • Thin beach towel & swimming costume
  • Sun cream (sun caps will be provided for each child on the morning of departure)
  • Walking shoes (wear travelling) and beach shoes (flipflops/crocs)
  • A thin rain jacket (just in case)
  • A book and a notepad & pen
  • Your child will also need an empty refillable water bottle which we will allow the children to fill once we have been through security.
  • Toileteries (max of 100 ml bottles) in a labelled, clear plastic bag (to be handed in with rucksack on the Friday before departure)
  • NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES / SMARTWATCHES OR AIRTAG TRACKING DEVICES ARE PERMITTED

Please note that we will be providing the children with a snack for the plane on the morning of the trip.

We will be holding a meeting at school on 7th May at 6pm in the Library to go over any final details about the trip and to answer any questions,

Yours sincerely,

Lia Pereira

Friday 22nd March

Dear Parents & Carers,

It was great to catch up with so many of you this week online again for Parents’ Evening to share with you just some of the wonderful achievements of your children. If we missed each other, do drop me an email and we can arrange something for next week. With their final, or maybe penultimate, SATs practice dominating the week, there’s a little less to report than normal, so I will keep this brief.

The children may have mentioned the manner in which we organised these mock SATs which worked well for all concerned and will be how we run things come May. Results have been outstanding – a wonderful testament to your children’s diligence since September, but it’s not over yet. Things will be back to normal next week – noses to the grindstones and sadly SATs papers for Easter Homework as well as the WWII Project – the end is in sight, I promise.

Cow heel, sheep’s head and bones were just a few of the delights that the Ministry of Food suggested the housewife might like to serve up or use in her cooking, much to the disgust of the class as we learned about rationing during WWII. The children learned both why and how rationing was implemented and the impact that it had on the population of Britain. They looked at replica artefacts and watched a Path News report to get a truly authentic feel, in order to fully understand just how meagre these rations were – especially the sweets!

On Wednesday morning we took a trip to Fulham FC where this year’s Junior Citizens programme was held. Run by TfL, the Police, London Fire Brigade, Fulham FC Foundation as well as other organisations and charities, each delivered highly relevant session aimed at Y6 pupils transitioning to high school. The instructors were friendly yet firm and hit the right level to ensure the children were fully engaged, fully informed and learning essential citizenship skills. Pictures on Instagram.

Did You Know…

  • Parents can apply to TfL for a Zip Card, two months prior to your child’s 11th birthday – do it early.
  • Secondary school age children cannot travel without a Zip Card – buses are free; tube cost is much reduced.
  • To hire and ride an electric (Lime) bike, you must be aged 18+ Children are an obvious for target for Police to stop.
  • The law states you must be over 14 years of age to ride a privately owned e-bike on public roads.
  • Using privately owned e-scooters on public roads and pavements is against the law – maximum fine £3,000.
  • Accessing to a friend or anyone’s device or online account without their permission is against the law – all devices in the household can be seized by police.

Quinn came in on Wednesday afternoon for the final session on Climate Change. The children showcased their quite detailed knowledge of the make-up of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (co2) and methane (ch4) – as well as their understanding of how our actions continue to cause them. The call is for the children to initiate changes in lifestyle that will reduce greenhouse gases, so they acted out scenarios where making private car journeys in SUVs were decried and shunned, where lentils were ordered instead of burgers and fewer clothes and/or unnecessary things were bought. Their role-play was outstanding as ever…. it’s the putting it in to practice, as I explained, that is most challenging.

Next week is Holy Week and everyone is invited to attend our Easter Service at 9am on Maundy Thursday in the church. The following day, Good Friday is a bank holiday and the start of the Easter break.

Finally, if you are in the area tomorrow, do pop in to the FOSS Car Boot Sale, you never know what you might find.

Have a great weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 15th March - Ides of March

Dear Parents & Carers,

I scared the children earlier in the week by telling them that the actual – for real – SATs are now in just 28 school days’ time… which made them think! However, on the positive side of things, that does mean that they will be sunning themselves in Spain 33 school days’ time! I told them not to work out how days they have left at St Stephen’s…

Our uber busy weeks continue with as much Maths and English as we can squeeze in, between visitors and visits. Making up for last week, Quinn delivered two sessions this week on Climate Change – I hope the children might have been talking about eating more lentils and bananas rather than steaks! Then there was the outing on Wednesday to Bute House, where the children had some hands on learning about civil engineering through an excellent bridge building (literally) – see the pictures on our Instagram account courtesy of Miss Williams. Then finally today we had ten visitors from the award winning Dishoom restaurant who spoke to the children about their careers and jobs in a quick fire, speed-dating style workshop. The children loved prying into the visitors’ working lives asking some very precise and pertinent questions.

In Maths the children recapped on their previous learning of Perimeter, Area & Volume, before taking that learning further to understand that rectilinear shapes with the same area, might have a different perimeter and vice versa. They also learned how to calculate the areas of compound rectilinear shapes as well as triangles – see Mathletics for more, but not 154 activities this week! Yesterday, March 14th we celebrated Pi Day… For some reason, when they write the short date in the USA, it is not written 14.3.24 but instead 3.14 followed by the year, which gives us π and hence Pi Day (Pi Greek letter “π”) – it was also Einstein’s birthday. The children in my maths group did some investigation by measuring various circular objects, recording their circumference and diameter, before then trying to calculate the ratio between them – with varying success!

RE on Monday saw the children learning about the 14 ‘Stations of the Cross’ which was a bit of an epic as we prepare during Lent for Holy Week the week after next, and Easter. They looked at each one in turn reflecting on what part of Jesus’ route to His crucifixion the ‘station’ depicted and what thought or prayer it might provoke.

In the following History lesson, the children learned about the government’s Evacuee Programme during WWII. Watching interviews of Evacuees (primary source) recounting their experiences, the children learned about the way the evacuees had to live their lives out of their suitcases. Many children were taken to train stations by their teachers, going to live with complete strangers in the countryside. The children then discussed how they would feel if they had to be suddenly taken away from their families. The second part of the lesson had an Art/DT focus which saw the children crafting their own gas masks, which they had noticed that every evacuee in the photos was carrying along with their suitcases or knapsacks.

A reminder – children have been asked to bring in evidence (on Monday 18th) of the work they have done so for on their WWII Project. The date on the form is not correct.

Our topic in Science continued – looking at the human body. We learned about the three different muscle types (Smooth, Cardiac and Skeletal); investigated how our muscles work (Flexors and Extensors) and explored how different forms of exercise develop particular groups of muscles. Working as ‘Personal Trainers’, the children then put together a cardio workout programme for an imaginary client who wanted also to maximise muscle development too. David Lloyd, here they come!

Next week there are Parents’ Evening meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. Thank you to those that have signed up already, there are still some slots left if you haven’t booked in yet. I look forward to catching up with all of you and if you have any questions, please do email me.

Finally, our final half-termly mock SATs week begins on Monday. The children have been working really hard and we are hoping to see their best results yet, please do email me again if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the final Six Nations encounters – will it be the white or green shirt for me this weekend?

Mr Gane

Friday 8th March - International Women's Day

Dear Parents & Carers,

Children were clambering out of their sick beds this week to make it to their last ever World Book Day Parade here on Thursday morning, which let’s face it, might have given some of you very mixed emotions – plenty more of that to come as the end of Y6 draws closer. Costumes, once again this year, were spectacular and eclectic, we had: a couple of Katnisses of Hunger Games fame as well as a Prim and a Rue; the Dinosaur from Peppa Pig; Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece; the more traditional Three Musketeers; a Chinese dragon, the omnipresent Jeff from the pages of Diary of a Wimpy Kid; a Midnight Giant; Jim Hawkins bereft of Long John Silver from Treasure Island (he was in Y6Z); one Ninja Turtle – Raphael; a generic mermaid; Super Mario and many, many more. The judges selected our Midnight Giant (Micah) along with Little Red Riding Hood and her Wolf friend (Peggy & Lilly) as the most impressive this year, but for me, everyone was a winner!

In English the children began a two week poetry unit inspired by poets who have left their ‘mother’ country to live in the UK. The first, A. L. Hendriks was born in 1922 (died 1992) in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Jamaican father and a French mother. Hendriks was educated at Jamaica College and briefly at Ottershaw College in Surrey. After joining the family business for a few years he entered broadcasting in 1950, becoming Director of Caribbean Broadcasting in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago Television. The children analysed his poem ‘The Fringe of the Sea’ looking first at the evocative vocabulary used and then at the structure of the stanzas noting how the sea itself was ever present.

Meanwhile in Maths the children concluded the unit on ‘Converting Measures’ with an assessment yesterday, which showed their learning on the conversion of units; ‘metric’ initially so cm to m to km and g to kg to tonnes etc. Then it was on to ‘Imperial’ units… Both groups learned that 5 miles is roughly equivalent to 8 kilometres, doing some calculations, while my group continued a little further, learning that an inch is roughly 2.54cm and that there are 16 ounces (oz) to a pound (lb) etc. etc. It was tricky in the olden days, using base 12 & 20 for money (L S D), 16 & 14 for weight –  I told them that ditching these for the base 10 metric system was just one of the benefits of having joined the EU all those years ago!

A very interactive Science lesson on Wednesday saw the children learning to take their pulse so that they could then investigate what happens to the heart when they exercise. They measured their ‘resting’ heart rate in the classroom before embarking on a series of drills in the playground led by Peggy, and then took it again immediately after stopping. Finally they tried to time how long it took for their increased heart rate to return to its natural ‘resting’ state – recovery time.

During Lent the RE focus is on ‘Hope for Easter – forgiveness’. This week the children studied five Bible passages:

  • Luke 19: 1-10
  • Matthew 28: 18-20
  • Luke 5: 24
  • Matthew 9: 1-8
  • Luke 23: 34

They then described and linked the Christian belief of forgiveness with the Easter story explaining how this has an impact upon Christians. It gave them an opportunity to consider right and wrong and to reflect on what it feels like to be forgiven.

At this stage I will fill you in on an excellent workshop about gangs that the whole of Y6 took part in on Tuesday, delivered by a brilliant speaker from the St Giles Trust. The children began by identifying, who their role models are and after sharing some famous names, they discussed the importance of local, relatable role models: families, teachers, local shop workers, emergency services and religious groups. The children then discussed the legal system and if it our laws ever need to be broken. After analysing different situations, they concluded that no law ever needs to be broken to protect themselves and that by seeking advice from positive role models, you are very able to protect yourself. Four photos of groups of people popped up on screen and the children were challenged to identify which one they believed was a gang. They discussed how the wearing of Nike, a ski-hood or balaclava, does not mean you are a gang member – that it does not matter what brands you wear, what age you are, what colour your skin is or how tall you are, a gang is legally defined as a group of three or more people who are involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal activity. Next they discussed ‘Crossing the line’ and identified behaviour that would be classified as a gang or friendship group. Finally, they were introduced to what is known as the ‘grooming line’, which can happen both in real life as well as online. The grooming line details the transitional stages used by gangs to ‘recruit’ new members: targeting stage, friendship forming stage, loving relationship stage and abusive relationship stage. The classes were very interested to see how easily children can sucked in to gangs and being aware of the techniques and tactics used will be of huge benefit to them in the coming years. We concluded by reminding each other of the importance of talking to a trusted adult if they are ever concerned about something or are unsure.

Budget Day on Wednesday, gave the children’s Computing lesson this morning added interest as they began learning how to use Microsoft Excel. Introducing the delights of spreadsheets, the children set about creating a budget for a party by inserting formulae in cells that gave the ‘product’ in a total column. They learned that by using a formula, they can ‘play’ with the numbers, just like Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, to increase or decrease the final outcome. Some of them really enjoyed it – others were already trying to fiddle and fudge the system, just like…

More Visitors to top and tail the week:

On Monday, as part of the Cracking Careers series of talks, we welcomed in Emy’s parents, who shared their extensive knowledge and experience in retail, and specifically how to succeed running a ‘small’ business. They shared their valuable insights into running a business, such as finding the right location, negotiating with landlords as well as the most tricky finding and motivating staff. The children enjoyed listening to the talk about retail in Shepherd’s Bush and became really engaged when they got some hands on experience of hairdressing with real experts. Huge thanks for coming in and sharing your wisdom.

This afternoon, Jean and her dad talked about Chinese New Year and the huge variety on traditions. They showed the children eight of the different languages spoken in chain and left the children with an amazing Chinese poem, a tongue twister, about the “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den,” or “Shī shì shí shī shǐ.” The poem is solely composed of “shi” 92 times, but pronounced with different tones. Have a go!

“Shī Shì shí shī shǐ”

Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shì shì shì shì.

 

“Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den”

In a stone den was a poet called Shi Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten lions.
He often went to the market to look for lions.
At ten o’clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.
He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die.
He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den.
The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it.
After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions.
When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses.
Try to explain this matter.

And finally, as a prelude to Mothers’ Day on Sunday, it was great to see so many of you this morning at the ‘Mums & Chums Breakfast’ on International Women’s Day – let the love continue.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the big match England v Ireland tomorrow.

Mr Gane

Friday 1st March - High Schools

Dear Parents & Carers,

The next academic year suddenly seems much closer once the secondary school places have been allocated and I would ask anyone with any concerns to contact Mr Schumm or me for advice. We also spoke directly to the Y6s today to tell them that they must be kind and considerate if discussing where they are going for Y7, as others might not be so happy. We have banned any talk about high schools on social media, including the Google Classroom ‘stream’.

Back in the classroom, the children completed the planning of their own newspaper reports based on the zoo breakout from the movie Madagascar, ensuring that they tailored their writing to include formal journalistic phrases as well as structuring their report in an enticing manner to both inform and entertain, so drawing the reader deeper into the story. Not a lot to ask!! After much use of their green editing pens, they finally redrafted their stories, before ‘filing’ them online to fill the front page of the St Stephen’s Times. There are undoubtedly a good few budding journos in Y6 Ayres.

In Maths, both groups completed their work on algebra with a short assessment and pushed on with one Maths lesson extending their knowledge and understanding of ‘Converting Units of Measure’. It’s been pretty straight forward so far, but the impending ‘Imperial Measures’ will soon test the most able base tenners!

Science saw study of the circulatory system, with the children learning all about the lungs that transfer oxygen from the air we breathe in, into our circulating blood. Then it was straight on to the heart and how it pumps this oxygenated blood around our bodies to where it is needed before rerouting the deoxygenated blood back to pick up some more. They drew the heart, annotating it with all the various valves and chambers required in such a complex organ.

A brief two week module on the Contemporary Anglican Church concluded this afternoon with the assessment of learning. Having previously taken a look at the huge variety in the way people engage with the Church of England in the UK, on Monday the children gained and understanding of the Anglican Churches that exist all over the world and explored the diversity within the Worldwide Anglican Communion. After watching a few clips of congregations worshiping around the world, the children highlighted the 165 countries that have significant Anglican representation.

The Council’s ‘Beat the Street’ initiative, promoting fitness, fun and fantastic prizes, which has taken the school by storm. If you haven’t already, do take a look at this interactive game which has ‘transformed H&F into a giant game of treasure hunt!’ and sign up, NOW! Check out the Leaderboard which shows St Stephen’s currently second in the H&F Northern Schools League

Have a great weekend

Mr Gane

 

COMPETITION

Dear Parents/ Carers,

RE: Royal Academy Young Artists Competition- 1 Month to go!

There is 1 month to go before the deadline for the Royal Academy Young Artists Competition. We have already had some brilliant entries to the competition but it would be great to get as many as possible.

The children’s art can be any medium e.g. painting, drawing or sculpture. There is no theme for the competition so the artwork can be based on anything that inspires them. The winning artworks will be chosen to be displayed in the Royal Academy of Art.

You can enter your own child’s art directly on the Royal Academy website. Alternatively you can email me a good quality photograph of the artwork with the following information:

  • Child’s name
  • Child’s year group
  • Child’s age
  • Title of the piece
  • Medium used
  • A brief description of the artwork
  • Dimensions of the artwork

For more information on the competition please visit: https://youngartists.royalacademy.org.uk/

The deadline for entries is 27th March at 5pm.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions: e.allen@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk

Kindest regards,

Mrs Elizabeth Allen

Year 1 Teacher and Art and D.T. Co-ordinator

Friday 23rd February

Dear parents & carers,

Our delayed, whole school celebration of Lunar New Year took place today, although preparations have been on-going all week, most notably it was the special Music lesson yesterday that brought it to life. Miss Rachel has had every child involved; by playing traditional instruments, puppeteering and acting, so they were ready for the main event at this morning’s Assembly. There was also a special lunchtime menu that included the homemade dumplings prepared on the 24th day of the last lunar cycle – as is traditional – by a group of children and parents in the kitchen. Finally, to top off the day, the children had loads of fun taking part in a ‘Ribbon and long fan dance’ workshop.

Back in the classroom, after completing work on percentages at the start of the week in Maths, the end of unit assessment saw some excellent results, which cheers everyone up. We then rattled through the first few lessons in the Algebra unit which are very ‘straight forward’ and designed to debunk any myths of it being ‘hard’. “It’s not as tricky as I thought,” was one comment that I was pleased to hear as the children learned the difference between expressions and formulae, before first creating equations and then solving them. A gentle introduction with lots of pictorial aids seems to have worked wonders.

Sticking with Maths, on Wednesday afternoon the Independent Maths Group visited Bute House as part of the Ri Maths Masterclass programme, to hear from guest speaker – Andrew Jeffrey. He gave an incredibly dynamic, interactive talk on the Rubik’s Cube and all the maths involved, as it is its fiftieth birthday. We joined four other schools, learning about the 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible combinations, or 43 quintillion permutations of the original 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube, before being introduced to even more complicated tetrahedron and dodecahedron versions! Great fun was had, if you like that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, the children are loving the new English topic that we started on Monday: Journalistic Writing. Their enthusiasm might be influenced, however, by the medium through which they are learning all about it – playing seven minute clips of the DreamWorks Animation, Madagascar grabs their undivided attention every time! This week they have focused on vocabulary, exploring the use of journalistic phrases (allegedly) and specific vocabulary pertinent to the story.

We began the new WWII History topic by looking at the leaders of the countries that formed the Allies and the Axis powers. The children learned about appeasement, which led to the resignation of Neville Chamberlain and the elevation to the premiership of Winston Churchill. They learned too about Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler, who they were surprised to hear was elected to power. This led to a discussion on democracy after which they watched this great little film that Miss Williams found  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4YwdbR2fl8

Quinn from Climate Ed joined the class this afternoon to deliver the first session of a programme that will run up to Easter, which will see the children learn about climate science in detail, before then getting to grips with ‘carbon literacy’. The aim to inspire your children to take an interest in climate change and begin taking action on it! No school strikes though, says Mr Schumm! They had great fun and Quinn was very impressed by the knowledge that they already have – but she set them homework to ask you…

– If you know what the Greenhouse Effect is. If you don’t know, explain it to them.
– If you have noticed any unusual weather recently? Is this something that can be linked to climate change?

Finally, before you settle down to EastEnders tonight, you might like to flick to BBC2 to take a look at ‘Rick Stein’s Food Stories’ this evening at 6.30pm, which is from Shepherd’s Bush. Not only that, but he’s visiting Delina’s an amazing Ethiopian restaurant run by ex St Stephen’s mum, Naz. https://www.instagram.com/p/C3RlV4aIYs9/

Have a great weekend,

Mr Gane

 

IMPORTANT

FOSS has created a JustGiving campaign to help fund the proposed Y6 Ukulele Project in the summer term. Please take a look and share with family and friends – there’s still a long way to go: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/year6ukuleles

Friday 9th February

Dear Parents / Carers,

Half way through Y6… can you believe it!

In English the children completed their report on their selected sport having done lots of online research way back before last week’s SATs Practice. Having already written their introduction (telling the reader what they would read), they then continued using sub-headings, bullet points, colons, semi-colons and high level conjunctions, to ‘tell the reader’ all about their sport. Yesterday, penning their concluding paragraph they told the reader ‘what’ they had just read. It’s a lot bit more interesting than it sounds… To finish the week they reviewed their writing, editing to up-level it, before finally rewriting their most improved paragraph in their very best handwriting. What fun!

Both Maths groups continued their work on percentages, learning how to estimate then calculate percentages of amounts – we’re saving the final lesson until we’re back after half term. Will they remember anything after a week off? Then it’s Algebra!

On Tuesday, Mr Gane zoomed in from Tokyo for a Q&A session with the children on Japan. Some had expected me to be there, but actually it was my brother, who has lived then now for 30 years. He answered questions on many of the cultural differences and told them that children at Japanese school, eat their lunch in their classrooms, have an indoor pair of shoes to change into after play and have to clean the classroom each day too – 万歳 Banzai! There followed an end of unit assessment, which was mirrored in Science & RE too.

Casting shade – in the most literal sense (not to be confused with the ‘urban dictionary’ definition) was the order of the day in Science on Tuesday as the children investigated shadows. They devised an investigation to measure how the length of a shadow varied depending on its distance from a light source; lots of torches, glue sticks and scrabbling on the floor. Keeping it a ‘fair test’ was key, so they ensured that there was only one ‘variable’ and gathered some impressively consistent data. I do like Science.

The whole school assembled in the church on Wednesday for our Ash Wednesday service, a week ahead of schedule due to the half term break. Rev Denis led the service giving a ‘sweet’ homily, and despite his absence, Mr Perry’s hallmark of organisation was evident to see, and hear – thank you. There were prayers from our Prayer Group (including Filip), readings from Aiden and wonderful music from the string ensemble (including Nina & Lily) as well as some great hymns.

It was RHE week for Y6 Ayres as the children completed their learning on our topic, Keeping Safe. Amongst the themes that we discussed and debated were: social media, what to share and what not; habits and addictions – drugs, legal, illegal, medical and non-medical; the norms of consuming alcohol and the reasons for common misperceptions and well as the age of criminal liability. They were shocked to hear that it was ten! The talk in class was informed and considered and all children learned a huge amount.

For the first time ever, dancers from the Royal Opera House zoomed in to the classroom as part of their ‘Meet the Artists’ programme. Focussing on three well-loved ballets; Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet and Alice in Wonderland, the movements of the dancers were broken down and examined, with the presenter explaining how the story was interpreted through dance. A brilliant interactive session, the children were on their feet being drilled in moves, which included a balletic sword fight from Romeo & Juliet. In a final Q&A, the children learned about ‘spotting’ (how to avoid dizziness when spinning) as well as the fact that many sports professions include, or have included, dance in their training because it greatly benefits their strength, athleticism and timings. I pointed to the former Premier League footballer, Frank Vincent, who for years was in my daughter’s ballet class – he was a very, very good dancer.

The children have enjoyed immensely their Drama sessions this half term with Mark of TV and RAW Drama fame and, fingers crossed, they might see more of him in the summer term too. Also today, despite the inclement weather, the children had a one-off Cricket coaching session with Middlesex coaches – what an exciting and varied curriculum they have here.

Finally, please do check out the ParentMail sent on Wednesday regarding the Y6 WWII Project – it should be on a theme that will keep your child’s interest; it is entirely home based work and it will take lots of time and effort. On the positive side, it is a great achievement when completed; it can be fun and a wonderful bonding experience (visiting locations, museums, friends & relatives that can help) and it builds huge confidence for similar rigours that lay ahead at secondary school. Over half term, there is NO written homework for the WWII Project. Take a look of some previous projects to get an idea of what’s coming. https://youtu.be/GucrBd5EuVM. I have asked the children NOT to write anything – they are to chat and discuss their ideas with you, which we will discuss when we are back on Monday 19th. After that, they will be asked to outline a plan of possible chapters / headings that they will use as a guide – see the planning sheet. So atm it is only talk, talk, talk – choose well.

Enjoy your half term,

Mr Gane

 

IMPORTANT

Always ahead of the curve, St Stephen’s has already instituted a ban on smartphones for children in school, and is strongly promoting collective action by parents to not give their primary aged children smartphones at all. There is now a strong and growing movement to persuade government to take the issue of smartphone addiction and the mental health damage it can cause children, more seriously – have a listen to this very powerful, short radio discussion from earlier in the week. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h9h4nt. Let your Class Rep know that you will join the No Smartphones Moratorium, if you haven’t already.

Friday 2nd February

Dear Parents / Carers,

SATs Practice Week, Coding Day, Debating Competition, Ri Maths Masterclasses, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nipponophile Talk, Drama  & Bollywood Night too – what a week!

I’ll begin with our third SATs Practice Week, which has now been put to bed – 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, however…

The English after school SATs Booster Programme has been cancelled, as your children have done so well in the ‘mocks’, this does not mean that it’s all done and dusted, by no means, it just means that we believe that by continuing our work in lessons, the planned interventions during the school day as well as the homework, will be sufficient. So as per the ParentMail, “We understand that some of you will have made arrangements/cancelled clubs for these Wednesday Booster Classes, which were due to start after half term, so please do contact Miss Annora to see if there is availability in your chosen club. If you are having problems with club availability, please do email me and I will see what I can do.”

The Maths Booster Programme is unaffected and will take place as planned, starting on Tuesday 20th February.

In Science, the children investigated whether various different surfaces tend to reflect or absorb light. They learned that everything they see reflects some amount of light, otherwise you wouldn’t see it! They learned that white light is made up of all of the other colours (ROYGBIV) combined, so the colours of things we can see, is the reflected colour of the white light, that has not been absorbed by the object… still with us? We looked at a short video of Prof Brian Cox explaining how Sir Isaac Newton was the first to prove that the light we see is comprised of all the colours of the rainbow.  Following the chat with our visitors last week, in RE on Tuesday the children prepared for a presentation on a part of the Liturgy in groups, which they will deliver to their classmates next week.

Despite our assessment heavy week, the children also managed to continue learning about Japan with not just one, but two Geography lessons; the later this afternoon led by nipponophile, Caroline Lewis, a parent. Caroline, who lived and studied in Japan for nine years, had prepared an extravaganza of a session with seven learning zones, followed by a quiz and a Japanese snack. The children also learned how to write their names using the Japanese script having also answered the register on Tuesday morning in Greek – Kaliméra (Καλημέρα) – thank you Peggy.

As if all of the above was not enough, a few children have been doing some extra-curricular work with: the Y6 Debating Squad (Jean, Rose, Filip, Micah & Charlie) – led by Emma Kruger – hosted a heat of the Cicero Cup on Friday. Three other primary schools attended, one all the way from Liverpool – for the record, our Blue team made it through to the next round. Mr Schumm took eight House Captains to the Diocesan ‘Schools Together’ service of celebration at St Paul’s Cathedral, while four of Y6’s top mathematicians (including Lily, Filip & Emy) attended the first of a series of Ri Maths Masterclasses. It’s been busy – see the school’s new Instagram for photos and more details.

Finally, it’s part of children’s DNA to start pushing boundaries as they learn to become more independent, and a lot of this happens during the transition from primary to secondary, especially when lots of hormones are added to the mix too. I therefore draw your attention to Wednesday’s ParentMail.

Enjoy the Six Nations!

Mr Gane

Friday 26th January

Dear Parents / Carers,

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. The children began by researching details for their own non-chronological report on their chosen/allocated sport and by the end of the week had written their introductions and were off.

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

With Mrs Pereira away, it was an audio/visual lesson in Spanish on Monday, which saw the children learn a little about Flamenco; its origins emerging from the mix of peoples and cultures in southern Spain, to the beginnings of its acceptance by mainstream society a hundred years ago and propaganda promotion by Franco in the 60s to bring in badly needed foreign currency. The children enjoyed listening to the songs and watching the impromptu performers, while making comparisons to the Islamic call to prayer and experiencing the fusion of flamenco in modern popular music by artists like Rosalía.

On Tuesday afternoon, we gathered together in our church to speak with our parish priest Rev Denis, the curate Rev Cheryl, Fr Richard, the Anglo-Catholic priest at St Luke’s CE and Rev Jamie Sewell, the new vicar at St Michael’s in White City. 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.

Miss Williams led the Art lesson on Wednesday when the children learned about the drawing technique chiaroscuro – the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. They first discussed the effect of light and dark on an object and considered how they could draw it. Then with charcoal, and using masking tape to create greater contrast, they crafted some wonderful tonal drawings of the Mayan calendar. In Geography, the children continued their learning about the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, studying earthquakes their effects and how to prepare for and survive them, before exploring the world’s tectonic plates to understand why Japan is so affected by these earth tremors.

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.

Following an idea suggested at a recent meeting of the school’s Diversity & Inclusion group, the morning register was taken by Kian in Farsi, one day this week. He greeted each person saying Sobh bekheir (صبح بخير)  to which they each responded in turn saying Sobh bekheir. In Y6 Ayres the register is normally taken each day in Spanish, but from now on, we’ll be mixing it up a bit to include a different global language at least once a week. What a brilliant idea – the children loved it.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 19th January

Being signed off Jury Service on Monday, meant I’ve been here all week to teach the children as normal apart from English… The children had great fun (as they very happily told me) with Mr Schumm working towards writing a prequel to music video ‘Titanium’. 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 heard so far, they are very creative writers indeed.

Both Maths groups continued working on Decimals to three places, looking at all four operations. 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 learning at the end of last year on Position & Direction (X and Y grids) in Maths.

In preparation for some guests who will be joining us in the church next week, on Monday 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. And speaking of congregations, you are all invited to St Stephen’s church at 9.30am this Sunday to help celebrate Armani & Charlie’s Confirmation. As we are learning about the Liturgy of the Church of England, this is a great opportunity to see the boys being Confirmed in our school church, by our Vicar Rev Denis, and help them to celebrate this special occasion. See you there!

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.

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’.

Finally, it was great to see lots of you on the SATs Zoom briefing on Tuesday evening and as mentioned, the children will be sitting more ‘practice papers’ the week after next.

Have a great weekend and see you at church…. maybe!

Mr Gane

 

NEW – St Stephen’s Instagram : Who has spotted the new Instagram account?

Do take a look using the links below and follow us to keep an eye on what’s been happening here from day to day.

Children whose parents have given consent will appear anonymously, unless specific permission has been obtained when pupils names will be included.

This supersedes the X / Twitter social media account, now dormant.

ststephensce_w12

https://www.instagram.com/ststephensce_w12/

Friday 12th January 2024!

Dear Parents & carers,

Welcome back to a bright and very busy new year in Y6. With my Summons for Jury Service it looked like I wouldn’t be around much to start the year, but so far it seems to have been a bit of a damp squib – of the five days this week, I was at Southwark Crown Court only on Monday! I have, however, been placed ‘On Call’, so am awaiting a pre-5.30pm email each afternoon, that would call me back to ‘serve’ the following day. As frustrating as this is, the silver lining has meant that I have been able to be at work, much to Mr Schumm’s delight.

‘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. I couldn’t wrestle this English unit back off Mr Schumm, so he started the week by showing the children the ‘Titanium’ music video by French DJ and music producer David Guetta that they will be using for this topic, 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 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.

Both Maths groups are working on Decimals to three places, looking at all four maths operations – see Mathletics for more of the same, and not a lot more to say tbh! Science was a tad more enlightening with the children identifying sources of light and how shadows are formed in their new topic: ‘Seeing the Light’. The first lesson in our focus in RE this half term is on the ‘Liturgy of the Church of England’ exploring the children’s knowledge of the various objects used at a typical Sunday service, before they then examined a couple of ‘Order of Services’ 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 Denis and friends…

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. Fake News, or more precisely learning about verifying and validating internet research is our starting point for Computing.

In Art on Wednesday, the children began a new topic: ‘Making my Voice Heard’. They looked at how Mexican Artist, Diego Rivera, was inspired by the art of the ancient Mayans and the culture of his homeland, to create huge murals expressing his beliefs. The children were then challenged to explore their own expressive drawing techniques by mark-making using a range of handmade tools that they had fashioned themselves. There are never any ‘wrong’ answers in Art, which makes each and everyone’s work unique.

It’s Geography this half term, and many children were thrilled to start their learning about Japan. In the first lesson on the physical geography, they learned that the Japanese archipelago is made up of 6,852 islands, which I will have to correct next lesson as the latest count shows there are actually 14,125 islands! How did they miss the odd 7,000 islands? Our focus in class luckily was on the four largest of the islands, their cities and the seas and oceans surrounding.

There were squeals of delight this morning when the children discovered that they would be seeing Mark from RAW Drama for a session on Communications up until half term. He has a huge talent for being able to inspire the quietest wallflower to spring to life with a lively improvised performance, which over the coming weeks will cover contemporary issues that the children might want to explore.

The children have personalised letters for you all in their Homework Folders about their attendance and punctuality – secondary schools are very big on this, so if improvements are required, do think about starting now. And finally, there will be a briefing over Zoom at 6pm sharp on Tuesday 16th next week (see ParentMail for the link) when Miss Marchant and I will go through how we are preparing the children for the government’s KS2 SATs that they will sit in May. Hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend.

Have a great weekend – as it stands I’ll be in on Monday, but…

Mr Gane

 

ONLINE SAFETY

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!

 

ROYAL ACADEMY YOUNG ARTISTS’ COMPETITION

Dear Parents/ Carers,

The Royal Academy Young Artists’ Summer Show Competition has begun!

The competition is open to all children aged 4-19 and winning entries, chosen by a panel of artists and art professionals, are chosen to be displayed in the Royal Academy of Arts itself. If children would like to take part they can enter one piece of art for consideration. This can take any form: painting, sketch, sculpture etc and there is no theme for the competition so the children can make art about anything that inspires them! The work could be something done at home or at a club.

You can submit your child’s entry to the competition by visiting the Royal Academy website (https://youngartists.royalacademy.org.uk). The school has already been registered so we are set up ready for entries as soon as possible.

Alternatively, I can enter the artwork for you. If you would like me to enter your child’s artwork please email e.allen@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk with:

  • Your child’s name
  • Your child’s date of birth and age
  • The title of the piece
  • A brief description of the piece
  • A good-quality photograph of the artwork

The deadline for submissions is 27th of March at 5pm.

If you would like to learn more about the competition, including seeing some winning entries from last year please visit the competition website: https://youngartists.royalacademy.org.uk/

Kindest regards,

Mrs Allen

Thursday 21st December - It's Chriiiiiistmaaaaas!

The Polar Express, 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. As a treat for all of their hard work, they got to watch the movie in class on Wednesday afternoon, with hot chocolate provided by the fabulous Miss Williams.

However, the main focus on Wednesday – like much the previous two days – 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 itself 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 Joseph, Aiden, Jean, Nina and Micah.

Little Maths this week, but two RE lessons, which feels apt, which saw the children using their learning and understanding about Christmas, to create advertisements aimed at delivering the true Christian meaning and concept of Christmas. They thought about what effect they wanted their adverts to have on the people who would experience them and how they could put this message across. In groups they all planned and performed video ads for TV and mobile devices, which they recorded on iPads, many using iMovies. As a class we then watched the ads to evaluate their effectiveness – there were some superb films from your budding Spielbergs.

It was back into the church this morning for the traditional Christmas Service, with readings from St Luke’s Gospel by Ethan, Lily and Marlon, which was followed by a last session of Buddy Reading with Miss Gould’s class and a mini preparation quiz in class. After lunch it was hotfoot to the Main Hall for the annual House Quiz led by the Quizmeister himself, Mr Faith – Liddell 2 won for the record – and the children finished the term with a PE lesson.

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 yet more familiar with the work, the standard and the time pressure. Finally thanks to all who have returned the Booster Class Programme confirmation slips, which will begin after the Spring Half Term.

Finally, huge thanks for your most generous gifts and kind words; they are hugely appreciated. Thanks also to you for your on-going support during what can be a tricky, and is always a very formative, year for both pupils and you parents and carers too. I must also put on record the enormous 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 2024!

Mr Gane

Friday 15th December

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, especially in our two week English unit, where we are using the yuletide classic, 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!

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. Assessment next week – no rest for the wicked!

There was an assessment in Spanish on Monday and there’s been lots of other ‘finishing off’, as we managed to find time for the children to complete their waistcoats too as well as enjoy the all singing, all dancing KS1 Nativity spectacular rehearsal. Leading nicely in to the children’s learning about the advertising of Christmas in RE when they  visited the church on Tuesday to check out just how Rev Denis ‘sells’ Christmas to the congregation and wider community. Inspired by what they had seen, this afternoon, in groups, the children planned their own Christian Christmas adverts, selecting their preferred medium, which they will bring to life next week.

Finally, it was great to see a few of you here yesterday at the FOSS Christmas get together for parents… just one week to go! Enjoy your weekend.

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 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

 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM FOSS

Say No to Smartphones!

Hello,

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

PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THE VIDEOS OR LINKS

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

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

Spring 1 – Invictus

Spring 2 – Answer To A Child’s Question

See Y6 Ayres Google Classroom Assignment