You can't beat awe and wonder!¬†On Wednesday, I¬†watched children who were utterly captivated by the sound of¬†the string quartet¬†who visited us¬†from the Royal Academy of Music and yesterday the¬†excitement of the Year 3 children on seeing the Christmas tree in the hall decorated for the first time was absulutely wonderful. Some of them were nodding their heads in time with the rhythm of the flashing lights!
Well said Rhidian Brook who spoke on¬†the BBC's Thought for the Day this morning. He talked about the need for¬†a fully rounded education, not simply one that enables children to pass exams and compete in league tables. To hear what he had to say follow this link:
What a fantastic day I had yesterday.
First of all, I remembered to take my gloves to school! Then, as I stood on the gate welcoming children and chatting to parents, a child, whose family moved into the area last academic year,¬†gave me a letter that he had written. It said how well he had setttled into All Saints, how much he enjoyed school and how he never, ever wanted to leave us.
After that, we were treated to a really excellent class assembly by 6CH. They explored the current assembly theme of journeys through the story of Jonah and then by telling us about their personal learning journeys in WW1 project week. The highlight for me was when three children read out some superb writing that they had written in role as soldiers in the trenches. The funeral march from Beethoven's 5th Symphony playing quietly in the¬†background added pathos and poignancy and I discovered later that I was not the only member of staff with a tear in my eye at that moment.
My school day ended with a child whose birthday it was. She had brought in some sweets for her classmates and had saved some for me. We chatted about her day and her forthcoming party and it was really lovely.
Today¬†the children reminded me that despite the challenges that being a Headteacher sometimes brings,¬†it is actually the best job in the world!
Tomorrow I will remember to take my gloves to school.
For the past few days, I have stood on the gate welcoming the children, with my hands stuck firmly in my pockets because I have forgotten my gloves! This feels slightly hypocritical because if I see children around school with their hands in their pockets, I always ask them to take them out.
A recent visitor to the school addessed the staff with his hands in his pockets and they didn't like it very much so tomorrow I will remember to take my gloves to school.
It was lovely to see so many families at the Civic Service of Remembrance this afternoon and to watch so many of our children taking part as representatives of organisations such as brownies, cubs and scouts. Well done to Chelsea, Sophie and Maddie who laid a wreath on behalf of the school.
Today, Year 4 collected their passports, went through the airport scanner and set of for an Indian adventure. Before long, they we in the middle of a bustling market, aka the school hall, where they were able to¬†sample different foods, have 'henna' designs painted on their arms and try on saris and other local garments!
The children had a wonderful time and the event was a great conclusion to India week. Thank you to all the staff and parents who worked hard to make this project a success.
It has been a bit of a smelly week at All Saints!
On Thursday, I had the privilege of watching a lesson in which Year 3 children were learning about reversible and irreversible change by burning bran flakes and Doritos (under safe and controlled conditions I hasten to add!). It was absolutely terrific to see the awe and wonder on their faces as they all had a turn. Then, as I walked downstairs away from the smell of burning, thinking that we were lucky not to have had an impromptu fire drill, the smell of seaweed wafted down the corridor as I approached Treasure Island aka 4AD! During their project week, Year 4 have had great fun¬†on their ship (4SS) in their blockhouse (4RH) and of course on¬†Treasure island itself .
Next week, it is the turn of Year 5¬†to hold a¬†project week - I can't wait!
Revd Andreas and I have successfully abseiled down the bell tower of Guildford Cathedral. It was great fun; the initial step over the side was a bit nerve wracking but as soon as we got going we loved it!
Thank you to everyone who sponsored us and sent us their good wishes. At the time of writing, including gift aid,¬†we have raised around ¬£1500 for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.
At All Saints we are always looking for new approaches that will motivate our children and engage them in their learning. This term we are trialling a series of project based learning weeks in which children derive all their learning from a central theme. This week the first of these took place with Year 3 undertaking 'gardening week'. They spent much of their time outside in the school grounds using them as a stimulus for their work across the curriculum. When I went out, one group was working out the perimeter and area of a vegetable patch, another was looking at symmetry in leaves and a third was welly wanging and working out how to measure distances accurately. All the children were thoroughly enjoying their learning and setting it in a real life¬† context.
Thank you to the Year 3 teachers and Teaching Assistants for all their hard work and to the volunteer parents whose assistance helped to make the week such a success.
This morning I read a flier for the forthcoming Fleet and Church Crookham Environment and Faith Festival and I noticed that on 20th September, there will be a bat walk around Fleet Pond. This reminded me that one of the conditions of our planning permission is that we have to undertake a bat survey at school and one evening towards the end of the holiday, I opened up the site at dusk so that this could take place.
I¬†arrived before the surveyors and whilst I was waiting I received an email containing the following clip on my phone:
I am very pleased to tell you that despite this, when the two gentlemen arrived, I resisted all temptations to make Batman and Robin jokes and enjoyed finding out where bats might roost and if we do have them, what type they could be.
We don‚Äôt have the results of the survey yet and if we do have bats, it will slow us down a little but I‚Äôm sure we can use the process of removing and rehousing them as a basis for an interesting project for the children. I will keep you posted, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the clip!
Information about the Fleet Pond bat walk can be found at www.eaffestival.moonfruit.com
Reports of the Notting Hill Carnival on television always signal the end of the summer holidays in my mind. This brings a mixture of regret that the holiday is almost over, and excitement about the new term and all the challenges that it will bring.
This year will be a particularly exciting one as, not for the first time in its history, our school embarks on an expansion project in order to provide school places for its growing community. Ever since the first Fleet Church School was established by the Rev. W.H. Plummer in a cottage behind the church in the 1860s, its story has been one of expansion and relocation in response to the needs of an expanding population.
¬†I am sure that the construction work will bring its challenges but I am confident that we can manage them and that at the end of the project we will be able to celebrate 150 years of our school and the completion of a wonderful building fit for the purpose of educating the children of Fleet in the twenty first century.
The fact that I haven‚Äôt written anything on here for so long is indicative of just how busy we have been over the last few weeks!
Back in June, we held our annual summer concert at the church. It was a magnificent evening of music making and I was so proud of all the children and amazed at the standards that they reached. The church also hosted an exhibition of our children‚Äôs African inspired art. This included work in a variety of media and I will endeavour to get some pictures on the school gallery soon.
We also had a really successful ASSA disco evening. It was lovely to see the children all dressed up in their disco clothes and the excitement on their faces as they arrived.
At the end of June, we said goodbye to Reverend Roy in a special assembly at school and at his farewell concert at the church. He has been such a valuable member of our community as our vicar, our Chair of Governors and through his music making. We will miss him very much indeed.
Then, at the beginning of this month, our Soma Stomp group and the Chamber Choir both performed brilliantly in the National Festival of Music for Youth and I think we had the best feedback that we have ever received.
Of course, this week we have had our absolutely wonderful production of Beauty and the Beast. I have always been passionate about giving children the opportunity to take part in this kind of thing as I think it teaches them transferable life skills. Therefore I was delighted to read in the Year 6 exit survey that many children feel that they have grown in independence and confidence through performing in drama and music activities whilst at All Saints.
We have had two leavers services, one at the Cathedral in Guildford and one at All Saints Church and Soma Stomp has performed at the Baptist Church.
Then, today was our ASSA summer fair ‚Äď phew what a scorcher! The orchestra and Soma Stomp gave superb performances and Year 6 put on a tremendous range of games for everyone involving lots of gloop and gunge!
In the last week of term, we have Internet Safety day, the children get a chance to work with their new teachers, there is a mini-Olympics event for Years 5 & 6, we have the school baptism and finally the chamber concert.
Thank you to everyone, staff, children and parents for making this such an exciting, enjoyable, varied¬†and successful term.
Championes, championes ole, ole, ole!
Congratulations to our hockey team who have won the junior section of the all Hampshire hockey tournament. They won 4-1 in the final game to become the county¬†champions.
A huge thank you to Angie our coach and Mrs. Mulcahy for organising the team and getting them to matches.
This morning in assembly I was thrilled that we had the debut of our new boys choir. Although there were only 11 of them, they sang¬†really well¬†and held the attention of the audience superbly. The membership of our other school choirs is dominated by girls¬†but, as was demonstrated this morning,¬†there is no reason why¬†boys shouldn't enjoy singing too. Well done boys you were¬†a credit to us!
Sometimes in my job, you have to make very difficult decisions such as do I cancel sports day or not? If you remember, last year we had to postpone several times and¬† in the end held a slightly squashed up event on the playgrounds rather than cancel altogether.¬† So when I woke up on Friday morning to discover that the sunshine of the early part of the week had disappeared and it had been raining my heart sank and I had a decision to make.
When it rained mid morning, I took the view that as long as it didn't go on too long, everything would be okay. At 11:00 Mr. Lewis and I went up to the top field and¬† decided that because the ground wasn't too slippery, sports day could go ahead as long as there was no further rain. Things were going well until 12:30 when to our dismay it happened - the rain came down. We went¬† to the field and inspected the ground and¬† still felt that as long as the shower was short lived we could carry on. By 12:45 we were losing confidence and I think that if it wasn't for the fact that we knew that most parents would already be on their way, we would probably have cancelled. However, thankfully, the shower gradually came to a faltering stop and in the end, we had a super afternoon of sports.
¬†On this occasion we got the decision right but it is impossible to second guess the weather and we could just have easily got it wrong. I am really grateful to all those parents who turned up during the initial shower and were positive and optimistic. It makes such a difference when you know that, in this kind of situation, whatever decision you make, you will be supported.
We are the champions - again! This time it is our hockey team who have earned this title as¬†they are the winners of the local inter-school hockey league. This is the second year in a row that we have won this league and the team will now go on to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Games - watch this space!
Well done to all the children, our coach Angie Cottee and our PE Manager Mrs. Mulcahy.
Our Reading Garden is officially open! This afternoon, in the middle of hail and torrential rain, the author Guy Bass cut the ribbon and declared the garden open. Guy also entertained the children with workshops in the hall during the day. Judging by the amount of laughter coming out of the hall, I would say that a good time was had by all!
¬†Year 3¬†have been busy designing¬†all kinds of weird and wonderful sandwiches as part of their DT work and today the moment of truth arrived as they had to make and taste their creations! As I walked through the hall this afternoon, chocolate spread seemed to be playing a big part in the proceedings, sometimes in unusual¬†recipes with other ingredients such as ham and tomato, chicken and apple, cheese and raisins¬†and so on! The children seemed to be having a great time and really enjoying trying out new flavours as well as more conventional¬†combinations such as egg and cress or ham and cheese.
Thank you to all the parent helpers who gave up their time to make this such a successful and enjoyable event for the children.
Excitement is mounting over the annual school production. Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Daniels have been busy buying fabric and making costumes and yesterday after school,¬†it was lovely to see so many teachers involved in rehearsing the different scenes. One of the things that struck me was how much laughter was going on - from children and staff. I think we are in for another superb production.
I often talk to the children about how we sometimes do things at school that are great fun and sometimes do things that are very serious and that there is a time and a place for both. Yesterday, the serious business of SATs in the morning contrasting with the enjoyment of rehearsing a production illustrated the point beautifully.
Following our parent and pupil poll, we have devided not to change the colour of the Year 6 jumpers. There was a small majority in favour but we felt that it was not conclusive enough to make the change.
It seems that we have some budding Oscar winners in our midst! Yesterday we found out that a team of Year 4 children have won a Hart District Council Fairtrade film making competition.¬†All the children enjoyed watching¬†the short animation in assembly and it made us all laugh. Well done the Year 4 team.
Second prize in the competition was awarded jointly to Chruch Crookham Juniors and the All Saints Year 6 team! Well done Year 6 for a very amusing cookery show.
On my way home last night I went to buy some flowers and although they were slightly more expensive, I chose the Faritrade option - proof that although we had fun making¬†and watching the films, they succeeded in putting across a serious message!
Thank you to Mrs. Scott for helping the children with this project.
We are the champions...!
Last night our boys football team beat St. Joseph's, Aldershot by 3 goals to 2 in the final of the Standing cup. We were 3-0 up by half time but St. Joseph's came back strongly in the second half and set up a nail biting finish. However our boys showed the All Saints value of perseverance and hung on for the win!
Well done Mr. Lewis and all the boys.
I am delighted to report that all the players, on both teams,¬†(and the¬†supporters!) behaved impeccably and set a good example to some of our Premier League 'heroes' who should know better!
Happy St. George's day!
We heard at the weekend that our Chamber Choir and drumming/dance group have been invited to the National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham. The choir will¬†sing in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music whilst the drummers and dancers will perform in Symphony Hall. This is a fantastic achievement by our children as the festival is such a prestigious event and involves young musicians from all over the country.
Find out more at ¬†http://www.mfy.org.uk/coreseason/national¬†
Well done to the Chamber Choir for an excellent performance on Saturday afternoon¬†and to the boys¬†football team who were runners up in the Aldershot Town shoot out competition.
On Thursday the football team are again in action, this time in the final of the Standing Cup. Kick off is at 5.30 at the EBB Stadium (Aldershot Town's ground).
Come on All Saints!
More congratulations to our football boys who have now reached the final of the Aldershot Town half time shoot out competition. The final will be played at the Aldershot v Dagenham match on Saturday.
It is a pity that Shots, unlike the All Saints team, couldn't find the net¬†and lost the game. Mr. Lewis and I thought that if they had used Angus as a substitute it would have been a different story!
We haven't been given details of the cup final yet - watch this space!
I am looking forward to tomorrow's lunchtime club when, I am told, we will be tasting chocolate from all around the world. It's a hard life!
Congratulations to Mr. Lewis and our boys football team for getting to the cup final! As soon as I have more details I will share them with you and we will try to get as big a crowd as we can to cheer them on.
I discovered today that the staff have a Wednesday lunchtime club which has¬†been conducting a series of scientific experiments into weighty matters such as which Snickers bar is best and whether Kit Kat Chunky is more tasty than the original. Today's findings were that Marks and Spencer's hot cross buns are superior to eleven other brands! I am told that the next experiment, after Easter, will investigate¬†the merits of chocolate from different parts of the world. If anyone would like to donate chocolate for this important test, please¬†contact the chief researcher, Mrs. Roke!!!
Thank you very much to Jeremy, Bev, Natasha, Tracey and the ASSA team for a fantastic curry night last night. As a result of a lot of hard work, the hall underwent an amazing transformation from multi-purpose junior school hall to Indian restaurant! The food, from The Gulshan, was very good and the Bollywood movie, the henna artist and the traditional dancing all contributed to a really super evening.
I really do appreciate having such a dedicated, creative and enterprising PTA. What fantastic role models they are for all the children at our school.
I have just found out that on Friday we raised a staggering ¬£1,001.93 for Comic Relief!¬†We had¬†a lovely day which got off to an excellent start with a class assembly by 5MM in which they explored the serious side of Red Nose Day as well as making us all laugh.
The children then had lessons based on various aspects of global education before running their own stalls in the afternoon. I have to say that the atmosphere around the school was terrific as everyone worked together in the spirit of our Olympic legacy values. The children were mature and independent about sharing the running of the stalls so that everyone had a chance to have a go themselves.
Congratulations to all involved.
Yesterday our choirs, orchestra and drumming & dance group performed in the regional part of the National Festival of Music for Youth. All four groups were superb and got excellent comments in the feedback sessions. I will scan the comment sheets and send them to parents so that you can read them for yourselves.
A big thank you to Mrs Mabin, Revd. Roy, Mrs Evans, Mrs Brett, Mrs Porter and Miss Reece for all their hard work towards the event.
Well done everyone who took part and thank you parents for all your support.
Last night we took part in the local dance challenge. I know that the children and staff were very disappointed not to have won one of the awards however the children performed extremely well and were a credit to us.
Due to the nature of the competition and the limited seating in the auditorium, there is a lot of waiting around for all the performers at this event and they can get a bit bored. However, in a wonderful expression of our Olympic legacy values of love, joy and community, our children started a circle game and invited the dancers from other schools to join in. This gave everyone involved something to do and added to the enjoyment of the evening. The children ended by teaching their peers our Gambian song ‚ÄėI am on the rock‚Äô which, given that our dance was all about the Gambia and learning through friendship, seemed particularly fitting.
We may not have experienced success in the conventional sense of winning a prize but I am left feeling that ¬†one way and another it was a very successful evening. Congratulations to all involved.
Next¬†week sees the annual local dance challenge and this year, I am particularly excited about our entry because it is all about Soma and really encapsulates what our Learning Through Friendship project is all about.
Two years ago whilst I was at the Soma School, some children started drumming spontaneously under the shade of a huge tree in the grounds. I immediately reached for my notebook and wrote down the rhythms that I heard.
In the summer, my son Ralph, a music student and former pupil at All Saints who has himself visited Soma, wove the rhythms into a djembe (West African drum) piece.
This term, a group of our own musicians has learned the piece and Miss Reece and Mrs Porter have choreographed it using moves and ideas that they have learned from their many visits to The Gambia. The dance team has been practising hard and the result is a performance piece called ‚ÄėSoma Stomp‚Äô.
Last month whilst on our annual staff visit to Soma, Miss Reece and Mrs Scott bought fabric in the market and then employed a local tailor to make costumes for the All Saints drummers and dancers.
The result is an inspiring piece of work that underlines that our link is all about learning from each other and enriching each other's lives. On this occasion we have had great fun learning about African music and dance and have been able to give something back by supporting the local Gambian economy through the purchase of the costumes.
We often raise money for the Soma School but this is only one aspect of our work and I think it is worth reflecting on the fact that the link was ¬†set up for educational reasons and our dance project demonstrates that we really can learn from each other though friendship.
According to the Bamana people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke dj√©, anke b√©" which translates as "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. I think that in this case, it has truly done its job.
In Monday's assembly I played my horn to the children and talked to them about our Olympic legacy value of perseverance. On Saturday, I will be playing Mozart 's fourth horn concerto with the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra and I was telling them just how much practice I have had to do over the past year and how difficult that has been at times. Tonight was no exception - what I wanted to do was watch Manchester United but what I needed to do was practice the horn! In the end I have to admit I went for a compromise where I played my concerto to a CD backing whilst watching the football with the sound turned off!
It¬†sometimes occurs to me that because there is so much going on in¬†school, I haven't had the¬†chance to tell parents about¬†all of the events that have taken place. So, I thought that a blog might provide an opportunity to share my thoughts about some of the things that haven't made it into the weekly bulletin.
I am writing this having just returned from the League 2¬†Aldershot Town v Gillingham match which, in a way,¬†was a mixture of business and pleasure. I am a 'Shots' season ticket holder¬†and often spend my Saturday afternoon on the terraces¬†but today,¬†the All Saints football team were taking part in the half time shoot out competition and so I attended with them.
I have to say that the pleasure part definitely overwhelmed the business¬† side of things because not only did Shots put in a reasonable performance¬†to draw against top of the league opposition, but our boys won 4-0 to go through to the semi-final of their tournament.
Congratulations to the all the boys involved and thank you for giving me such a pleasurable busman's holiday!