Our Behaviour for Learning Code: RESPECT, CHALLENGE, REFLECTION, RESILIENCE, ENCOURAGEMENT and GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP because... At Hurdsfield: only our best will do!
Whatever is happening in the world, there is always HOPE! (3)
That’s another week of learning from home completed and what another great week it has been. This week, every class had a visit from Miss Smith, our Reading Leader, to remind our children about the reading at home requirements during this period. I know that Miss Smith has really enjoyed taking part in these sessions and speaking to you all. Alongside our daily live lessons, we are really excited to further support families and children in ensuring that they are reading regularly at home and guaranteeing that all of our children have access to age-appropriate texts so that they can practice reading independently. More information about this is contained in this newsletter.
As the school closure period continues and we settle more into the new routine, I am very mindful of the enormous efforts parents and children are putting into learning from home. I am also aware of the increasing emotional impact this may have on both our children and their parents who are trying to juggle supporting learning and also working from home themselves. As mentioned last week, I attended our weekly ‘Coronacast’ meeting this week with over 200 primary Headteachers from across the North West and one thing I can say is that you are not alone. However, it is becoming a tradition for each meeting to start with an inspirational speaker as a means of offering salient advice and support at this time. This week, we were ‘visited’ by Dame Alison Peacock, who is the leader of the Chartered College for Teaching. Dame Peacock mentioned a Tweet she saw at the beginning of the meeting and I felt that the message was very pertinent and will become even more important to remember as we head through the next few weeks:
“We are here to hold your hand through this!”
Although ‘holding hands’ is not recommended within government guidance due to the virus, that doesn’t stop us/you from reaching out your metaphorical hand for support and guidance. Please remember that we are here to help and support you through this in any way we can. All you need to do is reach out and ask for help and we are also reaching out and asking families how we can support them at this time too. We are working incredibly closely, even though we’re not all in the same building, to identify and support families who may need some help at this time but please don’t suffer in silence, email, call or message your teachers via Seesaw and we will help. We are here for you and your children as we always have been even though we are not altogether in school.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… we’re nearly there!
We are nearly at the end of our first term and what a term it has been. I have been and remain incredibly proud of our entire school community for how well we have managed to continue to improve our school and live up to our motto “only our best will do”, whilst managing to keep everyone safe at school. However, it is fair to say that, as we approach the end of term, I am becoming more nervous about the possibility of needing to close a class bubble, which would result in the children and staff within that bubble having to self-isolate for two weeks. In order to make sure we do everything we can to ensure that we can all have a great Christmas break, far from winding down we have ramped up our control measures in school to allow us all to continue to be together at this special time of year whilst, at the same time, reducing the risk of class closures just before Christmas. Here are a few reminders of the processes we have in place and what we need to do to ensure we all remain safe: please maintain two metres distance between others on the playground; only one adult over 18 can pick up or drop off children at school; please do not gather in groups outside of school at drop off and pick up times and adhere to the ‘rule of 6’.
Let’s work together to ensure we all have a great Christmas break!
Reading Rocks – Well done Year 2!
I would like to share with you all the achievements of our wonderful Year 2 children who, despite being out of school during lockdown, have wowed us once again and secured exceptional results in their recent phonics screening test. Their results are nearly 10% above the 2019 National Average and a testament to both the hard work of our wonderful children as well as their families and their teachers.
As you know, we have been working closely with the DfE Funded English Hub at Lacey Green Academy, who, upon hearing about our learners results, felt that this result is ”down to [your] staff taking [our new approach] on board and believing that having high expectations and delivering the programme with consistency and a rigorous pace all children can achieve” and I couldn’t agree more.
This result solidifies our commitment and drive towards ensuring that every single learner in our school is able to become a fluent, enthusiastic and lifelong reader but we cannot do it alone. Our learners amazing attitudes to learning, coupled with the support of families at home in making sure their children read their decodable books daily to practice the skills they have learnt, as well as having adults read books to them, contributes to these outcomes. This is a team effort and something that we should take pride in. At Hurdsfield, we believe that all children can, do and will learn… and it’s our job to ensure that this happens and we will stop at nothing to ensure that it does. J
We are UNITED AGAINST BULLYING in our HAPPY School!
Last week was the National Anti-Bullying Week and this year’s theme was ‘United Against Bullying’. I am proud to say that EVERY week in our school is Anti-Bullying week and that bullying of any form is not tolerated however, it is always helpful to have an extra special focus on the issue and remind ourselves about how it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that Hurdsfield remains a bully-free and happy school environment.
During our launch assembly, I shared the ‘United against Bullying’ introduction video in which we were asked a very simple question:
What part will you play?
To answer that question, every child and adult in school designed a jigsaw piece with their pledge stating how they would play their part in ensuring we remain united against bullying. I think a simple message came out of this exercise from multiple children and adults and the message was… BE KIND! Kindness costs nothing and it's free to give and wonderful to receive. So “in a world where you can be anything... be kind".
In support of our ongoing pledge to be a truly happy school… inside and out, our school is a proud adopter of ‘No Outsiders’ which embeds our commitment to teaching our children about the Equality Act 2010 and to accept that no one is the same but everyone is equal and welcome in our school!
We are UNITED in ensuring that ‘Reading ALWAYS Rocks’ at Hurdsfield…
I would like to express our sincere gratitude to our wonderful families for donating so many books to school following our plea for donations to develop our class reading areas in school. The response has been overwhelming in both the quantity and quality of the books donated. I have had to keep our staff off the piles of books until the quarantine period is over as they eagerly eye up the books they feel would be great for their class reading areas. Please keep the donations coming into school. The more donations we have, the more books our children can read across a range of genres and subjects.
In addition to the donations made by families, our school has also recently bought into the Education Library Service too which means we can order even more books into school to support reading across the curriculum.
In January, we are looking forward to re-launching our new Reading Rocks incentive scheme across the school in order to promote the regular reading of books at home and school and as a means of reading for pleasure as well as developing knowledge in a range of subjects. In the meantime, please keep reading at home daily and signing your child’s reading records. Every child should bring home a book every night to read… please check.
What have you done today to make you feel PROUD?
The half-term holiday seems like a distant memory as we have all come back to school with a BANG and settled into really positive learning routines. It is wonderful to see so many children begin their school day with a huge smile on their faces and showing genuine excitement about being in school and continuing their learning journeys and developing rich skills and knowledge across the entire curriculum.
This week, I would like to share with you a moment of personal pride that occurred when some of our fabulous learners showing me their learning. This is a regular occurrence at Hurdsfield… as I walk around our school and visit lessons, I am greeted with happy children who are eager to show me their learning.
This week, I was presented learning by one particular child who, when they were in Year 2, would say “I can’t write” however, the genuine pride in their achievements was overwhelming. Not only could they confidently share their learning; explaining their learning journey and the outcomes they were expected to achieve, the pieces of learning themselves, were extremely well presented and the learner was able to confidently explain why they had changed certain aspects and improved their writing. This showed a deep self-awareness of what is needed to make a truly fabulous learner. This is not just a one-off occurrence in our school, this is happening daily and in all classes and I am so proud to see all of our learners believing in themselves and reaching for the stars. It is not about where we come from, it’s about our desire to achieve more to reach our dreams; that is what makes a wonderful learner and that is what makes our school such a special and wonderful place to work and learn in.
Our learners are incredibly proud of their learning across all areas of the curriculum… LOOK! Here are two of our super Year 3 learners sharing their POP ART creations as part of their enquiry “Do you have to have superpowers to be a superhero?” Not only were they able to confidently explain what onomatopoeia is, but they could also explain the origins of pop art, famous ‘pop’ artists including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein as well as the artistic techniques involved in creating their own POP ART inspired masterpiece. WOW! When your child comes home from school, next week why don’t you try asking them this simple question (as inspired by Heather Small and M People)?
What have YOU done today to make you feel proud?
We are PROUD of our Awesome Attendance!
I would also like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of our parents and carers who have supported their children to be in school every day and enabled us to have an overall attendance percentage of over 95% despite the fact we are working through a pandemic. Last Wednesday, we were visited by the Local Authority Attendance Team who conducted an attendance review with Mrs Brownhill, our Assistant Headteacher who is responsible for attendance. The feedback was unbelievable. Not only was the officer impressed with our attendance figures overall, she mentioned how these figures are favourable not only compared to national figures but also attendance statistics across Cheshire East. She was also impressed with the systems we have in place to both promote and monitor attendance.
Please be assured that this great attendance is having a big impact on our learners who are quickly getting back into the routines of school life which is giving them the best chance to make at least good progress across the curriculum. THANK YOU! Let’s keep this up!
We are PROUD to say that ‘Reading ALWAYS Rocks’ at Hurdsfield!
As we continue our journey of ensuring all of our wonderful learners are happy, confident and life-long readers, we are focused on delivering a rich ‘diet of reading’ experiences. This not only teaches our children how to read and comprehend texts but also to select books to read for pleasure and gain knowledge across a range of topics and subjects. In order to ensure all of our learners can read for pleasure as well as for gaining information, it’s important that our learners don’t just see reading as another skill to use in school but as a tool that can expand knowledge and skills. We are proud to embed reading across all areas of the curriculum, from our reading spine and book hooks to carefully chosen texts used to develop specific knowledge within all subjects of the curriculum; reading really is one of the most important life skills we can teach our children as it can open the doors to endless possibilities.
We are PROUD of our Curriculum!
We are really pleased to be continuing to develop our Music curriculum and embed high-quality CPD for our staff through working with Tytherington School and the Love Music Trust. Mr Liley, the Head of Music at Tytherington is working closely with Mrs Newton, our Music Leader, on the development of our curriculum including the re-launch and enhancement of our instrument tuition program. Extremely exciting!
We are PROUD of our School Improvement Journey
Despite COVID-19, our school improvement journey has continued in earnest as we continue to aim to provide a truly outstanding education for all our learners. Last week, we had a visit from our School Improvement Partner who is a current Ofsted Inspector, National Leader of Education and, until recently an Executive Headteacher of a multi-academy trust in Manchester. During the visit, she spoke to many members of staff at all levels with a focus on curriculum design as well as how we teach reading. The feedback we received was amazing. We are awaiting the final ‘Note of Visit’ however, the overwhelming feedback was ‘keep doing what you are doing’ with lots of advice as to how we can ‘show off’ the impact all of our hard work is having on our learners. I am so proud of our entire school community as we have worked together to continue to improve our school for our most important asset, our wonderful children. What makes me even more proud is that our school improvement is based on high-quality research, which leads to improved outcomes for all our learners! PROUD TO BE TEAM HURDSFIELD!
The end of another half term has arrived!
I just wanted to start this week’s newsletter by sharing a heartfelt thank you to the entire school community for your support in making our return to school so successful. Luckily, we have not had to close any groups/bubbles and this is down to the hard work of every person in following our rules and routines that are designed to keep everyone safe. Despite COVID, I am pleased to report that our school improvement journey has continued in earnest as we resume our joint aim of providing nothing short of the best for our most important and special asset; our children.
When we return on Tuesday 3rd November, sadly we will still need to adapt to the new ‘normal’ way we run our school to keep everyone safe. However, as we enter our half term, I hope that you are all able to have a wonderful break with your family with only one request from us… KEEP READING! J
Why do we say ‘Reading Rocks’ at Hurdsfield? (3)
As we continue our quest to ensure that every child becomes a confident, fluent, and enthusiastic reader, we are pleased to confirm that we have invested in even more resources to ensure all children have access to the highest quality texts. To further develop our purchase of a new early reading scheme we are enhancing our reading scheme for learners in Year 2 – 6 as well. Over the course of the coming half term, we will be assessing the reading material we have in school as we re-band our existing books to complement our new reading scheme. This may look, on the surface that children may have changed a book band level but we will fully share with you what any changes of colour bands means and the impact this has on your child. As part of ensuring all of our learners see are exposed to a range of reading material, every school enquiry is linked to an exciting ‘book hook’ which is used as a way of developing a love of books and ensure all of our learners are exposed to a range of texts. As the quote opposite states, it is important to read widely across a range of text types to truly empower everyone to become independent in their thinking; enabling them to reach their full potential. Reading rocks!
Keep up your reading over half term Hurdsfield… you won’t regret it!
Why do we say ‘Reading Rocks’ at Hurdsfield? (2)
I am sure you have all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect” well here at Hurdsfield, we prefer the more accurate phrase which states “practice makes better” and there is no better example of this than in the teaching and learning of reading. Whether it is through the practice of phonics or the daily reading of books for pleasure, the more we do, the better we will become.
Reading provides the bedrock; the foundations of future success in every area of our lives. A good and clear example of this relates to writing. The more we read, the better our writing will become as we are exposed to lots of examples of exciting words, creative ideas and sentence types to make our writing truly come alive. Do you think that JK Rowling just became an author overnight? No! It’s through her love of books that she was able to turn the common idea of witches, wizards and magic, which is shared in many different books, and create the magical world of Harry Potter. It was through reading books that she was able to write them and it is through reading that all of our learners can become confident writers and learners in all subjects.
Looking ahead, I feel it is also fair to say that there is not a career or profession in which our learners can join which does not require a strong reading base. Because of this, it is essential that all of our children are given as many opportunities in school and at home to read as we can. Whether that’s reading their book from school or listening to you read them a story, all reading is good reading. During our ‘Meet the Teacher’ events at the beginning of this half term, we shared with you our expectations for home reading which increased as the children progress through school.
This expectation is linked to developing children’s reading stamina alongside practicing skills and improving fluency. A summary of this is shared below however, it is our expectation that all children have the opportunity to read at home for at least the following amounts of time:
Reception: 10 – 15 minutes
Year 1 and Year 2: 20 - 25 minutes
Year 3 and Year 4: 30 minutes
Year 5 and Year 6: 40 minutes
Please also don’t be worried if the books your children bring home are ‘easy to read’ as they are carefully matched to their ability.
Why do we say ‘Reading Rocks’ at Hurdsfield?
Reading Rocks! Not just at school but in every part of our lives. Reading underpins our everyday life and determines the success we can have in any career path we choose. Did you know that the amount of reading a child does when they are young directly relates to the success they can achieve in adult life?
Reading unlocks the unknown and empowers individuals to find out, seek out and imagine what is possible. It provides everyone with a place to go when you can’t go anywhere as well as allowing us to explore the deepest oceans, far away planets and imagine what life was is and could be like in the past or future. Reading does ROCK!
We have a dedicated page of our website which shows how we teach reading at Hurdsfield. This page can be accessed by clicking here. Like anything, the more someone practices a skill, the better and more confident they become therefore, it is imperative that all of our learners have the opportunity to read, hear someone read and enjoy books every day. This cannot just be completed in school, the involvement of families is incredibly important; no… it’s essential. We have included some top tips for how reading can be encouraged and supported at home. Don’t forget that sharing your favourite story with your children and modelling good reading habits are also brilliant ways to encourage reading for pleasure!
Hurdsfield… let’s get reading!
The year has started with a BANG as we RISE UP to our goals!
I would like to extend a warm welcome to our children and families and thank them for their support; ensuring that we are able to maintain a safe environment in which all of our learners can feel safe, happy and are able to flourish. To our returning children and families, it is brilliant to welcome you all back and for those new to our school, on behalf of our staff, children and governors, I would like to welcome you to our school community.
Please remember that every two weeks, our school produces a newsletter as a means of sharing what has happened in our school as well as reminding parents/carers about upcoming events. The newsletter is sent via email and uploaded to our website. We would encourage all families to read the newsletter as a means of finding out what’s been happening at Hurdsfield as well as ensuring you have the most up to date information which is essential for all families to know. If you are not receiving this newsletter or know of someone who doesn’t receive emails from our school and should, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we advise you accordingly.
This academic year has started under very unusual circumstances as we navigate our way through a global pandemic. As a school, we are working hard to ensure we have the systems in place to keep everyone safe as well as promote our high expectations for attendance, punctuality and academic outcomes. As we are approaching the winter months, we are also heading into what would normally be the traditional cold and flu season which is adding additional complications to our efforts to promote good attendance as well as keep everyone safe from suspected COVID-19 cases. Although there are well-documented symptoms of COVID-19, unfortunately, these symptoms are not synonymous just to this virus. Government advice around this issue is constantly changing and is sometimes contradictory. We are always reading new guidance and updating our plans when it becomes available.
The overriding advice I would urge all families to do is to contact our school office team to talk through your concerns and we will work with you to agree on the best course of action moving forwards. We are all in this together and the virus does not discriminate. We are all working hard to keep everyone safe but also meet our aim of ensuring all children are able to come back to school and reach their full potential.
This year, and particularly after the school closure period caused by COVID-19, we are continuing to embed the changes we have made to the way we teach reading at Hurdsfield. This builds on the developments in our early reading and phonics schemes of learning. This term, our learners are focusing on reading and language development alongside mathematics and writing within the context of our broad and challenging curriculum. Developing a love of reading alongside providing your children with the skills they need to read fluently with stamina and comprehension skills, is a clear aim for our school as we aim to ensure that:
Every child not only becomes a reader but they are able to become a GREAT reader at Hurdsfield!
More information about this will be shared during our ‘Meet the Teacher’ meetings next week however, one way in which you can ensure that your child becomes a GREAT reader, is to ensure that they read every night for at least 20 minutes. This expectation should increase as your child gets older. Don’t forget, reading to your child is also incredibly important as a way of modelling good reading techniques as well as sharing the pleasure of reading together.
Looking towards the future!
Next week is officially the last full week of school before we break for summer and although for the majority of children it would have been nearly six months since they have been in school, it is important to remember that this equates to fourteen school weeks lost during this academic year. This figure is less than the overall six month period as it takes into account planned holiday periods but does equate to a significant amount of time out of the classroom for the majority of our pupils. This is a daunting and I understand parental anxiety and worry about what a return to school for all children in September will look and feel like. One thing is for sure, we will continue to work together to secure the best start for your children in their new year groups. This takes into account their individual starting points and we will stop at nothing to ensure every single one of our learners are not hindered either academically or emotionally due to this period of forced closure. Our staff have been working tirelessly to prepare the school for full opening in September as we prepare to provide the best start for your children in the new academic year. It is safe to say that the national lockdown has taken its toll on the whole country and every one of us has been affected by the global pandemic, however, as the country slowly returns to normal and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can look ahead with excitement for the new year as well as with confidence that the school will continue to ensure safety, happiness and success for all of our learners.
Over the summer period, the school will be closed as our staff team take time to recharge and re-group ready for September and I would encourage our families to do the same. It is safe to say that these last few months have taken their toll on every member of our community and therefore, time to relax and recharge is essential over the summer break for everyone. Please rest assured that when we welcome the children back to school in September, we will ensure that they are all supported, both academically and emotionally as they begin their new school year based on their unique starting points and personalities. However, if the recent transition events are anything to go by, it will be like the children have never been away which is great to see. Our school is looking fabulous and all of our staff are really excited about the new academic year ahead as we continue on our improvement journey and welcome back our best asset; your amazing children. In the meantime, we have a summer to enjoy!
Everyone is Awesome! #HurdsfieldGetTalking 10
As we approach the end of another week, and indeed this academic year, I am keen to reflect on our collective achievements during a year that will certainly be remembered for years to come! I foresee that questions like “Do you remember the year that our school had to close because of the lockdown?” and “What did you do when you were at home?” are going to be some of the questions in the conversations of the future and, as a school community, I feel that we can look back on this period with pride. It is safe to say that we have all had a different journey with this virus and during the lockdown, but overall our school community can and should look back on this time with pride, as we have supported each other to come through this period together and united in our determination to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, as a school community, I know that we have not been immune to the effects of this virus with some of our families seeing their loved fight the illness, and we are aware of some deaths within our community caused by COVID-19. To those families, and to everyone who has been affected by COVID-19, our school has you and your loved ones in our hearts and we stand ready to support you now and as we plan for our new academic year.
A direct message from me to our amazing children… remember… Nothing is Impossible!
This week, during our online assembly, we reflected on the word “awesome” and discussed how everyone is awesome and that nothing is impossible. We discussed the importance of having a dream and being committed to achieving this by embedding the principles of practice, patience, effort and resilience into our everyday life. To illustrate these points I shared this video – click here. To illustrate this point further, I was reminded of a video that I shared with the children (and again during our Reception 2020 welcome meeting), which I feel perfectly illustrates why we teach our children that nothing is impossible! Please watch the video which can be found by clicking here and remember:
“We are the SUPERHUMANS!” and no one will say “no you can’t” at Hurdsfield!
We have been incredibly proud of the amazing home learning which has taken place during this period. All of this quality learning will be taken into account when we plan for your children in the next academic year. You may also be aware that the government has promised schools additional monies in the form of a ‘catch-up premium’ which schools can use at their discretion to meet the needs of the pupils. More information about how this will look at Hurdsfield will be circulated to all parents in September!
Giraffes Can’t Dance – YET! #HurdsfieldGetTalking 9
Everyone has got talent and whatever it is, we should be proud of this and share it with the world. Whether it’s your amazing ‘moonwalk’ or your secret ability to sing like you have real stars in your eyes (ask your parents about this one); your talents are amazing and unique and should be celebrated as we continue to embrace our schools and country’s diversity, celebrate difference and promote equality for all during this period.
This week in assembly, I attempted to host my ‘live’ assembly using Zoom and ran three smaller class assemblies for our children and I even invited the teachers to join us too. It was so lovely to see so many happy and smiling faces beam back at me over the internet and thank you to all of the children and families that joined our assembly on Monday; it really made my day. As part of the assembly, I shared one of my favourite stories. The story is called “Giraffes Can’t Dance” and it was written by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. The story is about Gerald the giraffe and his attempts to join in with the other animals in the jungle disco. Unfortunately, the other animals laugh at Gerald as he attempts to join in with the dancing as he is unable to dance the same as the others or follow their types of dance. Upset, Gerald leaves the disco feeling that he can’t dance and that he is too big and clumsy to do anything. However, it took a special friend to support Gerald and encourage him to follow his dream. He suggested that his differences don’t limit him and that all he needs to dance is “a different song”. Needless to say that, after listening to these wise words, Gerald danced to his own tune and it was so good (and unique) that the other animals looked on in awe as he showed his talents to them all. You can listen to the story by clicking here.
This book is fabulous as it shares with everyone the following:
Celebrating Difference by realising that Gerald is different from the other animals but this should not limit the chances he has.
Embracing Diversity by encouraging Gerald to find his own tune and dance style
Encouraging you to take risks to ensure you don’t give up on your dreams
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
Remember, there is no such phrase as “I can’t…” here at Hurdsfield. Anyone can do anything as long as they have a desire to do it and be confident enough to celebrate your skills. Make sure you always aim to be and do your best!
Hurdsfield’s Got Talent #HurdsfieldGetTalking 8
I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to welcome more children into school this week. It was great to see how our plans have come together to allow us to bring more pupils back to school safely. The heart of our school is our fabulous children and to see more of them this week made us all feel a little brighter and it has given us a real sense of growing normality. It has also been great this week that we can now start to put more time into planning for September as we continue our school improvement journey. Our team is busy working on our staffing structure for September and we hope to be able to communicate with you all who your child’s teacher will next year very soon. I would like to assure you that, as always, a lot of thought has gone into the planning for next year and we have worked hard to ensure that we can both start where we left off when the school closed and also support our children as they enter their new year group. As part of our wider COVID recovery planning, we are already working on our long term recovery plans of which securing the best staffing plan for September is one of these actions. More information about how we are planning to support all children and families ahead of September as well as how we plan to support all learners to catch up and then keep up with the demands of the curriculum will be communicated in the coming weeks. As you know, promoting and securing the positive mental health and well being of our children and families has been our school’s priority throughout the closure period and this will continue to be the case as we welcome more children back and support families moving forwards. Please remember that Mrs Baxter, our Learning Mentor and qualified Mental Health First Aider now has a dedicated email address that can be used by families at any time for information, advice and support. Her email address is: email@example.com.
Hurdsfield is Different… and we are PROUD of it!
This week, we continued our theme of celebrating difference and diversity by revealing the cover of our new book. It has received rave reviews so far and the content is always changing and developing as we explore our own talents and that of our friends and family. You may have noticed that we now also have a YouTube channel. On Monday, I challenged the school community to share with us all their talents to create an online “Gallery of Differences”. I have always been impressed by the talents of all our children and staff and I am keen to celebrate the full range of talents in our school. From dancing divas to our very own karate superheroes, I encourage us all to embrace our differences and share them for others to see. Remember to always be proud of who you are and what makes you unique and special.
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
To our amazingly wonderful and uniquely brilliant children,
We have a book to write and I need your help. What can you add your own special chapter in our school’s new book? "How can I do that?" you might ask... Think hard… everyone is special and unique, and everyone has something that they can share and contribute to the world. If you are finding it hard to think of what makes you special remember to talk to your friends and family as part of #HurdsfieldGetTalking. Send you videos and chapter contents to your teachers via SeeSaw. We can’t wait to see them. 😊
Celebrating difference and diversity!
Following on from last week’s theme about being proud of our achievements, this week we developed our thinking to consider celebrating diversity and difference in all parts of our lives and within the wider community. We discussed how our differences make us all unique but our differences don’t mean that we are any less equal to those around us.
We developed this theme by discussing how treating an individual or group of people differently because they are different from ourselves is not fair or right. We developed this theme by showing a video of an audience that had been split based on their eye colour. The members with brown eyes were treated far better than those with blue eyes. It was very interesting to see people’s reactions to this and how, eventually, those people with brown eyes actually felt they were better than those with blue eyes. This message was particularly powerful given the ongoing protests around the UK following George Floyd’s death in America. The message “we are all different but we are all equal” seems particularly pertinent today. Everyone in the world is of equal importance and should be treated with respect, love and tolerance. Here is a lovely animation that I feel simply shows the theme of diversity in a child (and adult) friendly way. The video can be accessed by clicking here.
As a way of prompting discussion about our uniqueness and individuality, we looked at the titles of these books:
YOU’RE WEIRD: A Creative Journal for Misfits, Oddballs and Anyone Else who is Uniquely AWESOME!
Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Embrace Your Creativity
These book titles may seem direct or even a little harsh but they became the inspiration for this week’s theme following my son’s reaction to seeing this book title in a library (before lockdown) and saying (quite innocently) “this book is about you dad” followed by a chuckle. I looked at the title and said, “You’re right son, I am weird and I’m proud of it”. I am sure that this came as a shock to him but this led to a great discussion about how ‘being weird’ is not a bad thing and how everyone is different and, therefore everyone is uniquely AWESOME. As a way of celebrating diversity, I encouraged us all to ‘embrace our weird’ and celebrate our differences. Mr Howell also joined us for our assembly this week and shared his uniqueness with the school. Did you know that Mr Howell, as well as being a fully qualified FA coach, is also a ballet and contemporary dancer? No? Neither did we but it was amazing to find out and celebrate as a school community. As a way of celebrating all of our awesome ‘weirdness’ I challenged our school community to write their own chapter to a book called:
‘Hurdsfield is Different – A Journal for Uniquely Awesome People’ written by the children (and staff) of our AWESOME school.
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
Hurdsfield… GET TALKING and GET WRITING. Embrace your differences and let’s celebrate how uniquely awesome we all are. Next week, we will start to see more children in school. We cannot wait to welcome more of you back to school and we have made some changes to make sure that we can all stay safe when we return. For pupils in Reception… see you on Monday!
What have you done today to make you feel proud? #HurdsfieldGetTalking 6
The beginning of our new half term was marked by sending home our children’s end of year reports. These reports provide a record of your child’s progress and attainment from the start of the year until the day we closed our school due to the current pandemic. It may be a very unusual academic year, but we wanted to formally mark the end of this school year and share with you all the personal and academic successes your child achieved whilst at school.
During my assembly on Monday, we reflected on how, for over 10 weeks now, we have not been together as a whole school and that these reports do not reflect the enormous achievements and successes our children have had during this lockdown period. In the absence of our usual ‘Child’s Comments’ which are part of every normal end of year report, I set our children the challenge of recording and sharing what they are most proud of this year with their families and their teachers via letter, email or whatever creative way they wish to do this task. There are so many things we can all be proud of this year despite the current situation, and it is important that we remember and celebrate these things to help us stay happy and healthy. I look forward to receiving these notes over the coming week as the children answer Heather Small (from the band M People) when she asked “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”
Time for Reflection: EVERY LIFE MATTERS!
It has been a deeply upsetting few days seeing the shocking scenes unfold in the USA following the tragic murder of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests. During the assembly on Monday, we reflected on the events in America this week and used these events as a reminder that we are all different, but everyone is equal. We listened to the song by Mrs Greenbird who reminded us that ‘Everyone’s the Same’. The video can be accessed via our website or by clicking here.
Equality, tolerance, and respect along with individual liberty are values that we hold at the heart of our curriculum. Through circle times and open class discussions, we carefully attempt to do demonstrate these values at an age-appropriate level. We are constantly evolving our curriculum as we better understand how to celebrate diversity and promote equality as we know we can be the change we need to see in the world. However, we cannot do this alone and with our school now closed for the majority until at least September, we need our help to ensure our children understand these values. We need parents and carers to talk about diversity with their children. During this unusual time, most of you will have more opportunities than ever to talk to your children. The terrible situation in America can be turned into a positive if it becomes the catalyst for an honest and open conversation with your children. It may be uncomfortable, and they will have questions. You do not need to have all the answers, but opening the dialogue is something we can all do. It will be much more impactful than retweeting a Black Lives Matter poster on Instagram or sharing the latest Nike Video advert on Facebook. As part of our theme Hurdsfield Get Talking, please use this time to talk to your children. It is OK not to know the answers – you can find them out together. To support you in your thinking, I have added some links to this newsletter. These links are suitable for adults but will support you in sharing core messages of promoting equality, tolerance, respect and individual liberty. Thank you for your support in ensuring that Hurdsfield School remains a school in which we celebrate diversity and truly see every human being as equal. BBC News: Why US protests resonate in the UK – CLICK HERE TEDX Talk: How to deconstruct racism one headline at a time – CLICK HERE
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
I hope that you all enjoyed reading your ‘End of Year Reports’ that were sent by your teachers to your parents this week. It seems very strange to send the reports to you when we still have a full half-term to go. Please remember to concentrate on what your proud of this year. Your teachers would love to hear from you. You can send an email or a message on SeeSaw or even write your teacher a letter. Whatever you decide, remember you ALL have so much to be proud of and I am the proudest headteacher in the world thanks to you all. So… “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”
Thanks for saying “Thank you!” #HurdsfieldGetTalking 5
It’s hard to believe that we are again at the end of another half term and what a half term it has been. All I can say is that I look back on the last term with immense pride in how our school community has pulled together and embraced a new normal of learning at home. It is a true honour and a privilege to lead such an inspirational school community and thank you for your support of our school and each other throughout this time.
During this period, our school has been clear that maintaining the safety as well as the physical and mental health and happiness of our whole community during the lockdown was our highest priority. Mrs. Baxter (Learning Mentor and Mental Health First Aider) and I couldn’t believe that it was exactly a year ago when we were all together and celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week. Little would we know that one year later, the messages we shared that week (and every week) would be so pertinent today. Our whole school theme this term was about getting people talking and promoting a sense of togetherness even when we can’t be physically together. In my assembly this week, we discussed how saying the simple phrase “Thank you” can mean so much to someone; far more than expensive presents or prizes because it comes from the heart.
We discussed how we feel when we receive a card or letter from someone including: loved, happy, content, wanted, important, remembered, great! Therefore, this week's challenge was to write a letter or send a card to someone who perhaps you haven’t seen for a long time or someone who has helped you throughout this time to say thank you to them to help them feel all of the above feelings and more. As part of our assembly we listened to Olaf, from Frozen sing “I am With You” from his home. If you haven’t listened to it I would urge you to do so but have your tissues ready. The video can be accessed by clicking here.
This week also marked ‘National Thank a Teacher Day’. I set our school community a secret mission to send a free ecard to their teacher to thank them for their work. The response was overwhelming, with presents and cards being delivered to the school. Thank you so much. It really did put a huge smile on our staff's faces and made them feel all of the words above and more. Over half term, remember: #HurdsfieldGetTalking and keep spreading the happiness far and wide.
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
To all our fabulous children, I would like to extend our theme of the week by saying a huge, heartfelt and loud…
“Thank you" for being so amazing!
Thank you for adapting so well to the new way of working and embracing home learning in such a fantastic way.
Thank you for sharing your stories of lockdown with your teachers and always managing to put a smile on their faces.
Thank you for being kind! Being kind to each other, your parents and your brothers and sisters.
Thank you for not moaning about having to stay away from family members and understanding that, at the moment, we all need to do this to keep everyone safe.
Thank you for the messages that you sent to your teachers this week and spreading a little joy from your living room.
Thank you for being the best version of you throughout the last half term.
Every member of staff is so incredibly proud of each and every one of you and we want to thank you for proving yet again why we are so privileged to work at Hurdsfield. We want you to know how amazing we think you are and how we enjoy being able to teach you all. Enjoy a well deserved half term break!
“When will I see you again?” #HurdsfieldGetTalking 4
This week started with some exciting news that schools may be able to start allowing small groups of children back into school. We cannot stress enough how much our staff are looking forward to welcoming our children back to school and we have been busily planning how this can be achieved in the safest way possible. As mentioned in my communications to you this week, the safety of our children, staff, parents, families and wider community, has been and will always be at the forefront of our plans and whereas we are all very eager to see you all again, we must ensure that this is completed in the safest way possible. To help us with our planning, we surveyed our parents/carers to gauge their feelings about the re-opening our school and their thoughts and feelings. Understandably, many parents are apprehensive about a return to school in the current climate and whereas some parents will send their children back, others said they didn’t feel the time was right or were unsure at this stage. On the second page of our newsletter, I will share the next steps we will be taking in the planning process and our plans to communicate these with our parent community.
This week’s whole school theme focused on Year 6 and the idea of ‘transition’. In our assembly, we reflected on how this week would have seen our fabulous Year 6 children complete their SATs tests. We know that the cancellation of these tests would have come as a relief for some, however, we know that other children may be disappointed. It is important to note that, as much as SATs are a part of Year 6 life, they are not the only things that define our amazing pupils and their unique and varied talents. We discussed how SATs cannot measure personality, creativity, musical talent, artistic flair or your razzle, dazzle and pizazz! I promised that your chosen secondary schools will know everything they need to know about our amazing, kind, humorous (sometimes 😊) learners and just how fabulously spectacular you are. We wanted all our Year 6s to know that we are so incredibly proud of them and I want to say that:
“Year 6 you are FAB-U-LOUS and you don’t need a test to prove how SENSATIONAL you all are!”
We then discussed how, very soon, we will all be making a transition to a new year group. We have our new Reception children starting here in September and all our other children will be moving into their next year group. For any child (and particularly during this period of school closure), pupils are both excited and nervous about the transition to their new class and starting a new year. This week’s challenge focused on asking our children to record a video message to the children in the year group below and sharing their ‘top tips’ about how to succeed in their next year group. This is another part of our whole school theme of #HurdsfieldGetTalking and is another way how communication can help ease anxieties and worries. I am planning on turning these into videos and sharing with the children (once I have received enough entries). The ones I have received so far are brilliant.
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
This week, we were told by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, that we may be able to open our school again for more of our pupils. As you know, some children have been in school already, but the Prime Minister wants us to open our school so more pupils to come back. I cannot tell you how much your teachers are looking forward to seeing you all again and I know that some of you are extremely excited about the idea of coming back to school. I also know some may be a little worried. Your teachers are busy planning how we could re-open our school in the safest way possible for more pupils but regrettably, the virus has not completely gone away (yet). I want to let you know that when you are able to come back, we will have to make some changes to the way our school looks and, at the moment, you won’t be able to come back as a full class group. I know how much you all miss your friends and the teachers are working hard to make sure that we are able to create groups of children which will allow you to see your friends – safely. Before you all come back to school, I will show you all how the school has changed and what new rules we will need to follow to keep everyone safe. Most importantly, I don’t want you to worry at all. All the adults in your life are working together to find the best way forward for you and your family currently. I want you to focus on planning that VV day party for the day we are all finally allowed to come back to our wonderful school and remember that your safety is our highest priority. 😊
VE Day 2020 – 75 Years! #HurdsfieldGetTalking 3
This week started by celebrating ‘Star Wars Day’ (May the 4th be with you) and reflecting on how today, we will be celebrating the end of another war, not one that is far, far, away but one that saw the whole world at war. We discussed, as a school community, the importance of that event and how, when the end of World War Two in Europe was announced by Winston Churchill, families and communities gathered together to celebrate the end of the war by holding street parties up and down the country. Sadly, we are unable to recreate this momentous event this week as many had planned. As a school, we were very much looking forward to our 1945 Street Party and celebrating the anniversary of this great historical event. However, we are not to be beaten and, this week we shared two challenges with you all that would allow us to still mark this historic occasion.
Looking to the Future – What will you be doing on VV day?
As part of our theme this week of looking at VE day, we began to imagine what life would be like the day we are all told that we can be together again and that the threat of the Coronavirus has gone. During my assembly this week, we imagined the day and time when we could celebrate the first VV or ‘Victory over the Virus’ day and what that day would look like. We also compared the differences between our current worldwide battle with the Coronavirus and that of the war that ended 75 years ago and, unlike World War Two which saw humans fighting humans, currently, every human is united behind our fight against the Coronavirus. I encouraged the children to reflect on this for a moment as this proves what we have said for a long time, despite our differences, we are all equal; we are all human and we need each other. This also makes our theme of #HurdsfieldGetTalking even more powerful. Talking together not only helps us to remain happy, but it also gives us the strength to carry on and continue to work together until the day we can celebrate VV day. Each day that passes means that we are a day closer to the day we can all be back together again and I can guarantee that we at Hurdsfield will be having an almighty VV day party and you’re all invited. 😊
With that in mind, I set the school a further challenge…
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
Happy VE Day! Today we remember the day when the Second World War ended in Europe, soldiers returned home and families were reunited after years of war. This is a particularly special occasion as today marks 75 years since the end of WW2 in Europe and the beginning of peace. The end of the war was marked by lots of street parties across the country. Unfortunately, we can’t celebrate this event together as we had planned but you can still be together with your family and remember this important day and have some fun along the way too. Your teachers would love to see how you celebrated VE day 2020 via SeeSaw, email or even via our private Facebook page. How have you decorated your house? How was your picnic? Did you join in with the national singalong at 9pm? What are the words to the classic song “We’ll meet again…” sung by the amazing Vera Lynn? Whatever you did, please remember to keep smiling, being kind and staying safe because we WILL meet again soon! 😊
Staying together even when we’re apart #HurdsfieldGetTalking
First of all, I would like to thank all of the children and families that managed to watch my first virtual assembly on Monday morning. It was great to see you all, albeit virtually, and the feedback I received was so good that I plan to do a weekly Monday morning assembly that will be broadcast live at 10.15am on our private Facebook page. As I mentioned in this week’s assembly, our theme for this half term is ‘Hurdsfield Get Talking’. As the lockdown continues across the country, now more than ever, it is very important that we all talk to each other. As I said on Monday, it is OK not to be OK and that talking to people about your worries or problems can help make you all feel better. On the other hand, sharing with other people positive messages or your favourite joke, can spread a little happiness to you all.
As part of my assembly on Monday, our staff set you a challenge which required you to talk with each other in order to work out which ‘baby picture’ belongs to which member of staff. We then challenged you to work together to send us a message back. I have heard on the grapevine that you have taken this challenge very seriously and that WhatsApp, FaceTime and House Party have been buzzing with ideas as to who these insanely cute baby pictures could be. Remember the deadline for messages to be received back is Friday 1st May so in the meantime #HurdsfieldGetTalking.
What will happen in next week’s assembly?
Every Monday, we will be setting you all a whole school challenge with the express aim of getting Hurdsfield talking as well as having a little fun along the way. Next week, Miss Ashton and Mrs Baxter will be setting the challenge for you all live (yes LIVE) during my assembly. The contents of the challenge are top secret however I can say that it will be fun, need the whole family to join in with and you will all ‘blind’ us in the ‘light’ of your amazing skills. 😉 I cannot wait to see you all at 10.15am on our ‘Hurdsfield Home Learning Ideas’ Facebook page! You won’t want to miss it.
A direct message from me to our amazing children…
Hello Hurdsfield. How are you all doing? As I mentioned on Monday, I am very much missing you all at school, it just doesn’t feel the same without you all bringing such joy and happiness into school. However, as I said on Monday, right now it is safer for you to remain at home at the moment but, rest assured, as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be opening the doors of our school again and welcoming you all back with huge smiles. In the meantime, I am assuming that your bedrooms are immaculate, that you are doing exactly as your parents say and that you have been enjoying the sunshine from the safety of your own garden and on your daily walks. Whilst you have been at home, we have been busy cleaning the school from top to bottom and making sure that, when you come back, there are some exciting treats for you all. As I said on Monday, your parents are doing an amazing job and we want to thank them for adapting their lives to ensure that you can stay home and stay safe. Remember to be kind to yourselves and your parents and remember we are all in this together. Finally, enjoy this time. It is very rare to have so much time together as a family as we are normally so busy. This time won’t last forever so make sure it is filled with great memories of quality family time which you can look back on with fond memories in the months and years to come.
Hurdsfield Get Talking I Be Kind I We Are All In This Together
Welcome Back to a New Term at Hurdsfield
It seems strange to be writing a letter to you at the start of a term without being able to see you all in person. During this period, I am missing interacting with our children and families; hearing their stories and seeing their smiles which never fail to make me smile myself. However, I am heartened to know that our children are safer at home at the moment and that by staying home we can protect our families and our wonderful NHS as well as save lives.
I feel that it is safe to say that COVID-19 has affected all of our lives; not just in the way we live it but also knowing of or having a direct member of your family who has been affected by this outbreak. Within our school community, I am aware of the direct affects that COVID-19 has had on our families including the hospitalisation and even the passing of loved ones over this period. On behalf of the school community, I offer our thoughts to everyone who has a loved one who is currently fighting COVID-19 or has lost a member of their family during this pandemic. They are not just numbers, every person who has sadly lost their lives is a parent, sibling, spouse, child, grandparent, auntie, uncle or cousin of another person and it is important to remember this.
After this pandemic is over, I would like our school to work with other community groups to create a lasting memorial to those who have been affected by this virus to ensure that there is a place in the community for current and future generations to reflect on the ‘Lockdown of 2020’. If you have any ideas about what we could do then please email me your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org as this would be a positive challenge that the whole school community can get involved with.
This Term’s Theme
It was fantastic to see all of our children attend our first ‘virtual’ assembly this morning which was broadcast live on our school’s private Facebook page. Thank you for joining us! Remember our theme this term is ‘Get Hurdsfield Talking’ as we know that talking to each other can help maintain our happiest school in Macclesfield status. We can communicate to you all in so many ways; there have never been more ways in which we can talk to each other meaning that, even though we are apart, we can still be together. An additional challenge that was set this week was to mark Captain Thomas Moore’s birthday as he turns 100 on 30th April 2020. Our children in school have designed one themselves but I thought it would be great if we could send one from every family at Hurdsfield to say ‘thank you’ for raising over £26 million for our amazing NHS.
If you would like to send a card, here are the contact details below:
Captain Thomas Moore
C/O Post Office
67 Bedford Road
We are living through a moment in history!
This term may have been short but certainly has been eventful. Our school community has had to adapt to an unprecedented national situation which has seen the way of life we are used to being completely turned around as we join the country’s fight against the spread of the Coronavirus and follow government guidelines to stay at home in order to save lives. It was an emotional and unexpected goodbye to our school community on Friday 20th March as we all left to retreat, where possible, to the relative safety of our homes during this time. However, as we know, key workers are unable to stay at home during this period and are working on the front line of our fight against the virus; putting themselves and their families at increased risk. To all of those key workers, I join you all in saying a huge THANK YOU for all that you are doing at this time. Bravery comes in many forms and, in this time of national emergency, people are bravely working to ensure the safety of others and putting themselves at risk and for that, we applaud you all!
Thank you to our staff team!
On that note, I would like to offer an additional thanks to our fabulous staff team who are working together to ensure our school can remain open for our most vulnerable children and children of other key workers. Our staff don’t have access to personal protection equipment (PPE) and are willing to put themselves on the front line to ensure others can do their job. They do this with only one thing in mind – the safety of our children. It is important to remember that staff also have children and wider families of their own; some of which may be vulnerable themselves. Regardless of job roles, social status or country we live in, this pandemic, I believe, highlights one important thing… we are all human beings, united in our fight against this virus. We are all living through a moment that will be taught in the history lessons of the future. Thank you for being supportive of our staff and school at this time and understanding that, at the heart of all of our decisions has been, and always will be what is securing the best for all of our amazing children and their families at this time.
Thank you to our Parents/Carers!
I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to all of our parents/carers. You are all amazing! Thank you for being so flexible and adapting your lives and routines to enable your children to stay at home during this period. Our school building remains open to care for the children of parents/carers who are critical to the country’s fightback against the Coronavirus but we have been so impressed with the genuine way in which parents have accessed this provision; ensuring that this is only used for the minimum amount of time and ensuring all children can stay at home. Since our school closure, learning has moved from our classrooms and into our families' homes but we realise that this is not learning as normal. How are you all doing? I am pleased to tell you all that we will not be conducting ‘lesson observations’ during this period or discussing pupil progress instead, we are keen to see how our families are adapting to the new routines and putting their mental and physical well- being at the forefront of your work. There have been lots of letters that have come from school about our home learning expectations. Copies are available on our website: www.hurdsfieldprimaryschool.com.
Last but not least I write directly to our children!
I say this a lot, but you are all AWESOME! You make me proud every day and none more so than now. Thank you for supporting your parents/carers during this time. Please remember that we are living through a historical event. In the future, people will be teaching about the ‘Lockdown of 2020’ and the children of the future will be asking you to describe what it was like to like. What will you tell them? Will you tell about the fun you had with your family? Will you tell them about how you all played games together or how you turned to your parents for help to find out the answers to the questions set by your teachers? How about how you learned that tidying your room actually is quite satisfying? Whatever it is please make sure they’re great memories filled with happiness and laughter. Please be kind to your brothers and sisters and your parents. We’re all in this together!
Finally please remember to talk with each other; laugh at each other's jokes and make sure you listen to each other at this time. And children, please do as you are asked the first time 😉 that will make your parents very happy!
#StayHomeStaySafeSaveLives – We can do this Hurdsfield!
Another half-term done!
What a fantastic end to a wonderful half term. Over the last two weeks, we have been working hard to achieve our goal of becoming the happiest school in Macclesfield and what better way to mark this than to celebrate ‘Children’s Mental Health Week 2020’ and holding our first INSIDE OUT day. The day began with our ‘Mental Health Mile’ completed by all of our learners and parents/carers to highlight the link between physical exercise and mental wellbeing. The children then split into mixed groups to complete a range of activities including: sports; sleep clinic in which children learnt about the importance of sleep and shared their favourite bedtime book; creating their own music video to the song ‘Firework’ by Katie Perry as well as mindfulness sessions and circle times. An amazing day was had by all as we continue to make sure we are the happiest school in both body and mind! Remember: We are enough!
The end of this half term also marks the completion of another round of reading assessments and I am pleased to confirm that the children have made amazing progress! I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our parents/carers who have supported our youngest children in reaching our aim of making every child a confident and fluent reader by the end of Year 1. Please continue to read with your child as much as you can during February half-term to build on this superb progress and get your thinking caps on for a costume for our World Book Day theme of coming dressed as your favourite word from your favourite book... be imaginative! World Book Day is held on Thursday 5th March 2020.
The end of 2019 and what a year it has been!
It is hard to believe that this is the last blog post of 2019 and what a year it has been. We would like to dedicate this edition of the newsletter to reflect on what has been a fabulous term within a great year at Hurdsfield. We continue on our improvement journey towards the aim of providing the absolute best for our most important asset, our amazing children. Here are just a FEW highlights from the last 12 months at Hurdsfield.
2019 was the year of awesome attendance…
Despite recent absences caused by the much-publicised sickness and virus outbreaks, we can look back on 2019 with pride in just how much our school community has worked on improving our overall attendance from 93% to over 96%. The number of children who have also been recorded as late has dramatically reduced and we are now averaging less than 30 minutes per week of lost learning. WOW! This dramatic improvement in such a relatively short period of time shows just what we can achieve as a school community. Thank you for your support and, as we move into a new year, our school’s new year’s resolution is to continue the good work we have started and reach our target of 97% overall attendance by the end of 2019-2020 academic year; a tall order but one that I know our community will rise to. Well done everyone!
2019 was the year of engaging enquiries…
Our new enquiry based curriculum model, which has been created with the children at the centre of its design, has seen our children posed with challenging questions which have really engaged all children in exciting and meaningful learning across the full curriculum. Our children have discussed questions such as “Can you be British and still believe in Islam?” and “Is girl power real in the 21st century?” as well as “Can tragedies from the past have happy endings?” and even “Would you rather be a troll or a goat?” Each enquiry has a book hook that runs throughout the enquiry and we provide all learners with memorable experiences which support their learning journey through our IGNITION days. In January 2020, we will be answering the following questions: EYFS: “Is there such a thing as a good dinosaur?” Year 1: “What if toys could really talk?” Year 2: “Do you need to be an artist to create a masterpiece?” Year 3: “Would it be better to be a Groovy Greek or a Rotten Roman? Year 4/5: “Why wasn’t World War one the war to end all wars?” Year 6: “What if history didn’t happen?”
2019 was the year of our fabulous PTA…
Thank you to the previous and current PTA committee for their sterling work in not only raising funds for our school but also putting Hurdsfield firmly on the map! From Hurdsfest in June to our Firework Extravaganza in November, 2019 has been a memorable and exciting year in which our school can stand proud within our local community. With a new chair and committee comes new ideas for 2020 and we cannot wait to support our PTA in their efforts to raise much-needed funds for our school and, more importantly, support us in providing unforgettable experiences for your children.
2019 was the year of exciting school improvement…
From launching our new Early Reading and Phonics program to working with the Cheshire and Wirral Maths Hubs and local maths specialists, we are proud of the work we have completed to meet our aims of providing the best level of education for your children here at Hurdsfield. The driving force for all of this improvement is ensuring that all children reach the highest standards through a framework of high expectations and challenge for all; in all areas of school life. This year has also been about ensuring consistency in the quality of delivery across the school. In our efforts to ensure sustained improvements, we have invited many experts into school to support us in embedding consistency across the school. Each visitor has been extremely complimentary about the work of the school; the commitment of our staff to driving forward improvement and the impact this is already having on our children as well as, of course, our superb children who really do make us proud to work here every day. We look forward to 2020; ready to embed the changes we have made and work with other professionals to make sure we meet our motto of “At Hurdsfield: only our best will do!” J
Mental Health matters at Hurdsfield!
We are pleased to announce that our school is one of the first in the UK to have qualified mental health first aider - yes that's right a member of staff who is trained to support children and adults with current or developing mental health problems. WOW!
Mrs. Baxter, our Learning Mentor is on hand to support children and families as we maintain our commitment to providing the best-rounded provision for our children and their families!
We are proud to be a bully-free school!
What an amazing week! We have been working hard this week to ensure that ‘Change starts with us!” As our children shared their tips about how they can change and make sure that Hurdsfield remains a bullying free zone! Here are a few snaps of our fabulous sharing assembly as each year group shared their tips with the children.
EYFS: What is kindness?
Year 1: Is a smile contagious?
Year 2: Is there a recipe for friendship?
Year 3: Can compliments make you happy?
Year 4 and 5: R.E.S.P.E.C.T what does it mean to me?
Year 6: What does tolerance mean in 2019?
Emotional health matters!
At Hurdsfield we are proud to be working hard to promote and secure positive emotional health for all of our learners as we believe that a happy school means a successful school. Last Thursday saw the launch of our Emotional Health drive at Hurdsfield which was led by our emotional health ambassadors: Tom, Khalise, Heidi and Kaylen. As well as a day of fun with our friends, we also learnt about what emotional health is and how we can work with others to make sure that we maintain a positive mental mindset. Our commitment to providing an emotionally healthy learning environment is a key part of our curriculum offer at Hurdsfield. We are proud to provide every child in school with weekly yoga sessions led by a qualified instructor, weekly circle times in which emotional health topics are discussed with our children, weekly Forest School lessons for our children to embrace learning in the outdoors. Our curriculum drivers also include a mixture of values-based drivers that explore emotional and physical health topics. We have even more exciting plans for the future too… LOOK!
Learning Mentor: We are also excited to be developing our pastoral team here at Hurdsfield who will complement our Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for the success of vulnerable learners, Mrs Brownhill. We plan to appoint a Learning Mentor to our staff team who will be non-classed based but assigned to work with individual and groups of children and their families to secure the best possible provision for our learners outside of the classroom environment. As soon as this person is appointed, we will share more plans with you. #excitingtimes
Our new playground has arrived… The long wait is over and the installation has finally begun this week. We are so pleased that we can finally create an outdoor space we can be proud of! This is phase one of our longer-term plans to provide the very best outdoor learning environment for your amazing children! Our children will have the opportunity to learn about the skills needed to build our new playground too.
Where have our children been taken to in their learning this week?
This week saw the second of our IGNITION days to mark the start of our new three-week enquiry blocks. Our IGNITION days are a firm favourite with our children, teachers and parents and, as well as being a fun and memorable experience for all, they are fundamental to our curriculum delivery model which focuses on providing memorable, real-life experiences to base wider learning experiences on. Under our new model, each three-week enquiry block starts with a question linked to our whole school themes. We are proud that our curriculum themes are a mixture of subject and values-based drivers which base the development of the best human being at the centre of our school curriculum.
Our whole school themes are summarised below:
This week, our children really enjoyed their IGNITION into the following enquiries:
Monday, I had the privilege to accompany our Year 6 children to Chester Zoo in their quest to become ‘Trainee Conservationists’. We learnt about how human actions can cause serious problems and discussed how doing the easy things, in relation to achieving human desires, can have a detrimental effect on wildlife and the natural world. We took inspiration from the current crisis in the Amazon rainforest. Year 1 enjoyed a ‘right royal knees’ up as they found out about arguably one of the most famous Brits in modern times, Queen Elizabeth II. The afternoon was topped off with a royal banquet to mark the coronation of King Henry IV – long live the king! Year 3 spent the day living as Stone Age dwellers and enjoyed their time in our Forest School, using traditional methods to experience life in Stone Age Britain. Year 4 and 5 decided to experiment with healthy food to see if it really is boring. Pictures of our IGNITION days are always collated and shared in the children books which can be viewed each Friday in our weekly Feedback Friday sessions.
Promoting an Emotionally Healthy School!
Hurdsfield School is pleased to be part of the Emotionally Healthy Schools Partnership with other local schools who are dedicated to supporting and promoting positive mental health and happiness amongst our children.
To mark ‘World Mental Health Day’, we will be holding an emotional health awareness day on Thursday 10th October 2019. Children are welcome to come into school wearing their home clothes for a £1 donation to the ‘Young minds’ charity. As you know, Hurdsfield is committed to promoting positive emotional health within our school and, alongside our already planned weekly yoga sessions, your children will complete a range of workshops about how to maintain an emotionally healthy lifestyle. Activities will include:
We are looking forward to our day, led by our child Emotional Health Ambassadors, dedicated to promoting emotionally healthy young minds.
WE NEED YOUR HELP - PLEASE SAVE THE DATE - SATURDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2019 from 10am!
With the installation of the new fencing around the school field, we feel it is about time we have it a spruce up with a particular focus on our Forest School which we have aptly named 'Hurdsfield Hollow'. Following the success of our 'Ground Force' day in 2017, this event would be focused on our Forest School but will rely on the kindness and generosity of our friends and families to achieve our goals. There will be a task for all ages and abilities including general tidying and creation of specific areas which will link with making our Forest School classroom the absolute best!
FREE refreshments will be on offer for all volunteers and every little bit of help (even for one hour) really will help. Keep an eye out for more information but, in the meantime... here's a poster which we would like you to share!
Come on... We can do it. Our school and community are AMAZING!
Come along to our Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
Hurdsfield Primary School is planning to build on the success of last year's event and host another Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on Friday 27th September 2019 between 9 and 11am. Everyone is invited as we aim to host Hurdsfield Community's BIGGEST Coffee Morning! Please spread the word and let's make a difference together!
They can do no more…
That’s it! The countdown is now over and the Year 6s are about to embark on their SATs week starting on Monday 13th May. As a school, we are incredibly proud of the effort and determination our children have put into preparing for these assessments and know that, whatever happens, every child will do their absolute best and that is all we can ask for. At this time of year, it is becoming a growing custom for school’s to remind children of all of the things that these assessments cannot measure: creativity, flare, imagination, happiness and potential to name but a few but it is also correct that these assessments do not showcase the range of unique talents our children possess.
However, at Hurdsfield, our children have shown many of the qualities that we would expect them to show as they prepared for these assessments including: resilience, reflection, determination and amazing encouragement of their peers.
Our children are ready to tackle these tests and understand that they are expected to do their best and believe that they can achieve – as Mrs Brownhill said, “its mind-set and not ability-set that’s important” and we couldn’t agree with her more! During the coming months, other Year groups will be taking part in statutory assessments too. Year 2 have started their “Show off Quizzes” this week too and Year 1 will be sharing their phonic knowledge later in the term too!
Their teachers are incredibly proud of them and so are we! As a reward and in recognition of all of their hard work, the whole school are off to Formby on Monday 20th May as our IGNITION into HURDSFEST 2019 which has a beach theme! We are also trialling our new, bespoke curriculum model and each class will be investigating their own enquiry questions.
I don’t want to give too much away but our class teachers have planned a range of exciting and unique activities to support the children’s’ enquiry into the following questions:
- EYFS: What do we find on the beach?
- KS1: Is it just humans who like to be beside the seaside?
- Year 3/4: Is sand useful?
- Year 4/5: Is plastic still fantastic?
- Year 6: What would the beach be like if humans didn’t exist?
We are really looking forward to what promises to be a fantastic day for ‘Team Hurdsfield!’
Welcome Back... Summer is here at Hurdsfield!
It may have only been a short week here at Hurdsfield but that doesn’t mean that it has been uneventful and full of fabulous learning and fun for all of our children. The term started with our children’s IGNITION into their new topics! Year 1 and 2 used their feet to explore the local area and created story sticks to aid in their writing. Miss Ashton’s class began their topic by designing a giant IRON MAN… their creations are amazing; come and take a look. Miss Smith’s class were finding out if any mountain could be high enough to… taking inspiration from the famous song ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye!
Year 6 pupils also had their IGNITION into their ‘Survivors’ topic by reading and exploring texts from the book SURVIVORS full of amazing, real-life tales and stories! In addition to their new topic Year 6 have been working hard towards their most important week of the year – SHOW OFF WEEK aka SATs week which is scheduled for WB 13th May 2019. I cannot tell you how proud EVERY member of staff is of our Year 6 pupils and we know that they will do their absolute best during this week. Well done to you all!
Due to our expanding school numbers, this week, we have agreed plans for the development of our current ICT space into a completely new and fully refurbished classroom space which will become our Year 6 classroom in September! This is a really exciting project and promises to turn what was once on an outdoor area with a roof on into an integral, fully functional and completely refurbished classroom space for up to 30 pupils. In addition, as the ICT suite is effectively being removed, we have secured funding for new mobile technology and an updated WiFi network! All of the works will be completed over the Summer holiday ready for the new academic year!
Finally, we can also update you on the Playground redevelopment works. We are planning for these to start in the Summer holiday and these works will happen alongside the classroom redevelopment. This has been long overdue and, following the ground survey report issued just before Easter, we now have the go-ahead to start these much-needed developments. This is great news and further evidence that we are working hard to meet our joint aim of making sure Hurdsfield provides the best for our amazing children!
The end of another term at Hurdsfield!
It is hard to believe that we are at the end of another term at Hurdsfield and what a term it has been!
Our school continues to go from strength the strength; united behind our shared vision of ensuring that we provide nothing short of the best for your children.
A summary of this terms highlights include:
Awesome Attendance: The school has achieved the best ever overall attendance rates it has ever seen showing an overall increase of 3.05% compared to this time last year! With a target from CE set at a 0.5% increase per academic year, our increase is phenomenal and shows what the power of high expectations, community cohesion and consistency can do. Thank you for ensuring your children attend school every day and on time!
Safeguarding Success: Last week, we had a visit from a member of the ‘Safeguarding Children in Education Settings’ (SCiES) team from Cheshire East to complete a ‘Policy in Practise Review’ at the request of the school to assess the improvements we had made since September 2017. As well as being the council officers “favourite school to visit” it was noted that there has been “significant and amazing” improvement in the all things safeguarding at Hurdsfield and the school is physically and operationally a very different place from when they first visited in 2017. They heaped praise on the hard work of the staff in securing these improvements and our dedication to ensuring that all of our children are safe and happy.
Impressive Improvement: This term, we have also had visits from lead professionals from a range of settings to review and support the work of the school. As mentioned in previous newsletters, the overriding message is one of “keep doing what you are doing”. This is a huge compliment and something that, as a school community, we should be very proud of. Hurdsfield Primary School and Nursery are making a name for itself as a centre of innovation and excellence. We are proud that we are able to demonstrate to the local and wider community our impressive school, awesome children and superb staff and share our journey of development with the wider community.
I really couldn’t be prouder of the school and its amazing children! We really are putting Hurdsfield on the map and we are being noticed as a school which is innovative, successful and dedicated to ensuring our children receive the best! Thank you for your support of our school – we really couldn’t do it without you all! ☺
Comic Relief does Readathon at Hurdsfield
It's our 'Comic Relief does Readathon' next week and we are really excited.
We have joined with Usborne books to enable our school to receive FREE (yes FREE) books for school by match funding all that we raise. Just £5 per child raise over £1500 for us to spend on books.
The rules of the Readathon are simple: you choose your own challenge. Perhaps you might challenge yourself to read a full novel in a week (or even a series of stories), perhaps you will challenge yourself to read a certain number of pages or words a day or even make sure that you read for 30 minutes each day - the choice of your reading challenge is yours! Please make every effort to get as much sponsorship money as possible - it will DIRECTLY help your children
On Friday 15th March, we are celebrating comic relief and comedy writing by inviting all children (and staff) to come into school dressed as their favourite comical character. Could you be Mr or Mrs Twit, The 'Gangsta Granny' or even an Alien who 'loves underpants', the choice is yours.
Sporting Developments at Hurdsfield!
We are really excited about the Sporting Developments here at Hurdsfield.
Our school has:
Joined the Macclesfield Sports Partnership and is entered into a range of new tournaments.
Purchased a NEW and amazingly smart sports kit so that our children can enter and represent our amazing school in these tournaments. We have been promised that this will arrive by Monday (very excited).
Employed Professional Sports Specialists to work alongside our teachers during their classes PE sessions in preparation for these tournaments. This half term we have entered a Tri-Golf tournament for Year 6 who will be coached by a PGA Qualified Coach every Thursday and a Gymnastics Competition for Year 3 and 4 who are being coached by Sallie from Stage Invaders every Tuesday!
We have Tennis, Football, Athletics and others in the pipe line!
We cannot wait to fill our trophy cabinet! Go TEAM HURDSFIELD!
Comic Relief does Reading at Hurdsfield this year!
With World Book Day and Comic Relief approaching soon after half term, we have decided to combine the two events into a week filled with fun reading activities (this will also mean that that our children only need to dress up once!)
We will be visited by Steve Webb the comedy author behind ‘Spangles McNasty’ who will be taking the children on a comedy book writing adventure!
Book Week will be WB 11th March 2019. During the week, the children will be completing a sponsored ‘Readathon’. All money raised will be split between Comic Relief and buying books for our school library! The more money we raise; the more books we can buy.
On Friday 15th March, we are inviting children and staff to come into school dressed as their favourite comical book character (or they could make up their own).
We are really excited. It’s time to get your comedy character outfit ready! Could you be a David Walliams Gangsta Granny or a character from Rat Burger? The choice is yours!
We wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
As we approach the end of another full year here at Hurdsfield, it is hard not to reflect on all we have achieved as a school community. As mentioned on Monday, Hurdsfield is a unique school, full of character, spirit, happiness and fun and I truly believe that your children are very fortunate to be pupils at our school. Our school is all about the children, all children and nothing but the children and nothing shows that more than the dedicated staff we have here at school. On behalf of the whole school community, I would like to wish our amazing staff a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Our school is also at the heart of a very special community; one which has come together to make a real difference to the children in school as well as the lives of others. Nothing shows this more than the staggering amounts of money we have raised for school and local charities during this festive period.
Our ‘Snowman Sprint’ in aid of East Cheshire Hospice raised a staggering £1340 for this essential local charity. This was a real community effort and special thanks must go to the following who raised the most money in their respective classes:
Nursery: Phoebe - £87
Reception: Zak - £45
Year 1: Dylan - £58.20
Year 2: Mia - £59
Year 3/4: Lexi - £25
Year 4/5: Jack - £110 - WOW!
Year 6: Chloe - £40
Thank you for your donations! We are sure that these donations will go a long way in supporting the work of the hospice in the New Year. In addition to this, your support of our fabulous PTA’s events has raised a staggering £1732.90 which will be invested back into school in the coming months. The monies raised are already having an impact in school; from our new stage to our new defibrillator and associated training – they are allowing us to provide even more for your children. The PTA are an essential part of our school and your support of them and their ideas is greatly needed and received. As we say goodbye to 2018, we look forward to 2019 with a clear vision for continued improvement as we continue to aim to provide nothing short of the best for your children.
On behalf of all of the governors, staff and children, I would like to wish all of our families and friends, a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!
A Christmas Message
At Christmas, we are mindful of the need to give thanks; give thanks for what makes ourselves, our families and our community special!
As I am sure you are all aware, our school has a motto “At Hurdsfield: only our best will do!” Our school aims to provide nothing short of the best for your children in all aspects of their education.
We are a unique school, full of character, spirit, happiness and fun and I truly believe that your children are very fortunate to be pupils at our school.
This thought got me thinking… by changing only a few words in our motto, we can share why we feel, this Christmas time, we should all be thankful to be associated with our great school.
Only at Hurdsfield… do we have a strong and everlasting connection with the local church who support our children and wider school community in so many ways. From running our breakfast club to providing inspirational assemblies to the children, we are truly blessed to be associated the amazing church community here at Holy Trinity Church.
Only at Hurdsfield… do we have a dedicated group of Parents and Carers who share our desire to become the best! Thank you for your support in rehearsing for this performance and making/providing these costumes. However, nothing symbolises how amazing our parents/carers are more than the work of our newly formed PTA who has led what can only be described as stunning events that are designed to enrich your child’s education and raise much-needed funds for the school. From a much-needed stage to Hurdsfield’s first community defibrillator, your support has already helped enrich the lives of the pupils at Hurdsfield.
Only at Hurdsfield… do your children have access to the most talented, dedicated and professional staff team I have ever had the privilege to work with. Many members of staff refer to Hurdsfield as ‘infectious’ (no I don’t mean some form of deadly disease) but as a school that resonates the core principle of what I feel a school should be about – the children, all children and nothing but the children. The performance you see in front of you is just one small example of the time and dedication the staff at school put into your children which is above and beyond what they are paid for. I wish all of the staff at Hurdsfield a restful Christmas break.
AND FINALLY: Only at Hurdsfield… do we have the ultimate privilege of teaching your amazing children each and every day. They really do brighten up our days with their boundless enthusiasm and bubbly personalities. In all of the schools I have worked in, I have never seen such a loving, caring, enthusiastic and friendly group of children. They remind us every day why we do this job – it’s not for the pay, the holidays or even the biscuits in the staffroom at Christmas… it’s for them and we will never lose sight of this at Hurdsfield now or in the future.
On behalf of all of the children, staff and governors of Hurdsfield Primary School and Nursery, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year as
“At Hurdsfield: only the best (Christmas) will do!”
What a week for our AMAZING Year 6 Children!
We are at the end of another ACTION PACKED week here at Hurdsfield and what a week it has been; especially for our Year 6 children who started and ended the week singing Christmas Carols in the local community!
On Tuesday, our amazing Year 6 children sang at Holy Trinity Church and were the stars of their annual retirement Carol Service. Solos from Jaco, Charlie, Leon and Lexi brought tears of happiness to the audience’s eyes. I am sure you will agree – nothing says Christmas quite like the sound of children singing and especially children as polite and good-humoured as our Year 6 children!
On Wednesday, our Year 6 children visited Tesco and provided festive cheer to shoppers as they packed bags and took a tour of the store to raise money for their residential visit to Whitby next summer. Thanks to their superb manners and good humour, I was inundated with compliments from shoppers about how brilliant our children are who also stood out from the crowd in their amazingly smart uniforms! They really were a credit to the school and their parents. We are really pleased to report that the children raised over £260 towards their visit thanks to the generosity of the shoppers at Tesco. On behalf of the children and staff, I would like to say thank you to the community for supporting Hurdsfield School.
Year 6 also enjoyed a sleepover in school on Thursday as a reward for their amazing learning and effort in their lessons. They enjoyed a ‘midnight’ session of Forest Schools with Mrs Baxter as well as festive fun as they slept in the school hall. The week ended with Year 6 returning to Tesco to entertain shoppers with their fabulous singing. I am happy to report that their performance was not hampered by their sleepover at school! J
At Hurdsfield: only our best will do!