Head Teacher News Blog


Headteacher’s News Blog

Friday 20th November 2020

Something appeared a little ‘odd’ in school this week with many children happily taking part in our ‘odd sock day’, which supported our work with children around the topic of bullying.  Some common aspects of bullying behaviour have been shared with the children this week: linked to difference, diversity and disability - celebrating our individuality; learning to recognize when bullying occurs and what our response should be.  Children at Haslingfield School continue to value and care for each other while learning about their own motivation and the impact of their actions on those around them, within the safe environment we provide.  Several staff, once again, put themselves forward for training, which began this week as they passionately seek to provide the best provision possible for the children of Haslingfield.  The first signs of Christmas are beginning, with Miss Peck planning events with staff and the delivery of Christmas cards, designed earlier by our children, arriving in school.

Friday 13th November 2020

Many of our children did a great job keeping up with Joe Wicks today – for a while! It was wonderful for the children to take part and share in the experience of working effectively together to achieve something so worthwhile for Children in Need.  The first week of lockdown has provided CCC time to work with the DfE to refine and agree further details and expectations associated with the COVID risk for the running of clubs; subsequently, I was pleased to hear the recommendation that the clubs required to close a week ago, could now reopen – while continuing to follow our existing COVID risk assessed procedures.   I would like to say a big thank you to our parents for continuing to support their school during a time where several staff are absent due to COVID related issues while existing staff provide a high level of continuity for our children as they engage enthusiastically with learning every week.

Friday 6th November 2020

Many thanks to everyone for following the new arrangements in school related to this Autumn lockdown; including the request for parents to wear face masks on site.  We are continuing to review and adapt, where required, to the guidance sent to school’s on a daily basis; this week updated guidance and advice appeared several times a day.   During the week l have been engaging with a government registered tutoring agency which aims at provide targeted curriculum support to a few individuals or small groups of children; while working closely with staff to close significant learning gaps which may have occurred during the last National lockdown.  Several staff, myself included, spent several hours after school on Monday and Tuesday completing a first-aid training module which included the latest COVID-19 recommended procedures. Around the school it has been so impressive seeing how well children are working in their classrooms: continuing to engage enthusiastically and happily with staff and their learning.

Friday 23rd October 2020

The office staff have continued to do an outstanding job: not only keeping the school day to day business running smoothly but also strategically and professionally managing school systems, vital for our medium and long term success. All staff across the school have demonstrated a duty of care that far exceeds normal expectations: managing children in ways and at times not previously required to ensure they continue to experience the best possible provision. Around the school children continue to avoid travelling along corridors - where possible; they work at tables mainly positioned to face the front of the class; lunchtime and morning breaks are still staggered to allow individual classes to have their own play area; classes have their own space to eat at lunchtime while children are sat apart from each other; school assemblies are restricted to Mondays and classes attend in order, during the morning; these changes and many more have successfully been implemented to reduce risk for everyone.
At the beginning of October, our KS2 Art Lead, Katherine Woodard, was asked to speak at a training event to 79 primary teachers from all around England about the approach to art teaching at Haslingfield. She talked about our projects and showed examples of the pupils' artwork. She had really positive feedback about the quality and breadth of artwork that pupils make at Haslingfield.

Friday 16th October 2020

It has been a privilege to work with teachers during the week, alongside the Senior Management Team, as we work together through the process of ‘observations’ and ‘professional development’; supporting each other along a path which leads to personal success and ultimately wonderful outcomes for children.   It has come to my attention that a Cambridgeshire Newspaper article appeared last week which celebrated a piece of art work, created by Imogen, a year 6 pupil, during the summer term; following her success in coming first in an international competition organized by the Linneon Society.  I was pleased to see how the news article also recognized the high standard of art work at Haslingfield School and its Platinum Artsmark award.  

Friday 9th October 2020

It has been wonderful to see Y5’s back in school this week.  The SMT have been assessing and reflecting on the impact of self-isolation on individual’s to establish if provisions and expectations can be extended further, considering survey feedback, advice from external organisations; some of these organisations including the DfE and staff unions, which are themselves continuing to review successful models of remote learning.  The school’s current approach is supported and agreed with Cambridgeshire County Council and considers aspects of child protection, GDPR and the impact and demands on staff when also considering pupil wellbeing, learning and a wide range of scenarios including short term provision and sickness while self-isolating.  This week I have met our assigned County inspector who will continue to offer the school support and advice, in line with the school’s self-assessed areas for future development; this is a service the school has obtained as we seek to consider strengthening and where possible broadening our existing provision – even during COVID!   

Friday 2nd October 2020

Many of our staff deserve congratulating for passing their accredited Mental Health training this week – having volunteered to a course that required a considerable amount of their own time to complete the assignments; my training update for Mental Health First Aid also took place on Wednesday.   Being equipped to recognise and respond to assist children - negatively affected by COVID-19, remains a priority for the school.  The SMT completed another phase of the school’s COVID recovery plan, identifying next steps and assessing effectiveness of the provisions already introduced.    The school has begun the process of transferring to a new child protection system for the benefit of improved data and time management, while retaining the effectiveness of reporting; training for staff began this week and will continue until half term.  

Y5’s, we miss you - and are looking forward to seeing you again, on your planned return next week.

Graeme McLeod

Friday 25th September 2020

The school is continuing to monitor and review its COVID-19 safety systems; every day assessing and when necessary adjusting its effectiveness in line with the latest government guidance – while other school business; including, the management of learning opportunities continues unabated.   Following the closure of a class bubble we have continued to be thorough in ensuring risks continue to be minimised for everyone while implementing communication and containment procedures.  Thank you to our parents for the understanding and supportive approach, demonstrated in many ways: helping to motivate and encourage staff as they carry out their duties passionately for the good of our children.

Graeme McLeod

Friday September 18th 2020

As part of the school’s continuing review of our COVID procedures we have made several more adjustments this week to reduce risk
and improve effectiveness. Thank you to all those who completed our Post COVID Lockdown Survey which has helped inform our
planning for creating new Temporary Lockdown Packs in the event that a ‘bubble’ your child is in, has a positive case of COVID reported,
subsequently ‘closing’ for two weeks – this includes ‘club bubbles’. Miss Peck and Mrs Chapman have managed the preparation process
of these packs, incorporating two weeks of activities, giving children the opportunity to apply and reinforce aspects of their previous
learning, which are primarily designed to facilitate independent working.
Graeme McLeod

Head teacher

Friday 11th September 2020

Welcome back everyone! It has been so good to see our parents and children again, after what has been a very long time away for some.
Staff have been busy preparing for the children’s return over the summer, aiming to create the high level learning environment both children and parents are familiar with at Haslingfield School; while the changing COVID safety arrangements continue to require our adjustments to the norm! Thank you for your patience with this, as I know many of you will have expectations and demands related to your own work; potentially conflicting with the flexibility the school requires to maximise safety for our families and minimise disruption to learning.  I am pleased to inform you that we will continue to monitor and assess the places and times around the school that make social distancing difficult and that we will act swiftly, giving notice of change when possible - proportionate to risk, to protect all of our stakeholders and their wider family networks. Hopefully, we will not need to make ‘big’ changes to school routines, as was required with our  arrival and departure’ arrangements this week, as a result of higher than predicted numbers of people on the school site at key times. The new arrangement for ‘arrival and departure’, while supporting Little Owls staff as a feeder to this school, does not otherwise allow for routine individual adjustments to your daily start and end times; at the present time we are hopeful that the organisational impact on the school related to this arrangement will decrease.

The main aim and benefit of this change is to help our parents reduce the number of repeated visits at the beginning and end of each day; the change also provides all children with the opportunity to be in lessons during the day for their full educational entitlement.
Thank you to our parents for arriving in school during their designated time, particularly for avoiding early arrival – it really helps. As everyone gets used to the routine we hope for children to be ready for parents as they arrive in the Parents Collection Area on the main playground. Children are asked not to enter this area,again to reduce congestion; parents can then move towards the Leaving Zone to meet their child, once released by their teacher, on their way from the school playground.
Together we can aim to maintain, separate, consistent bubble groups’, as we have been instructed; it is believed that if or when, a case of COVID occurs we can limit the impact on both children and adults.
I believe this will be a wonderful year for the children: the staff are enthusiastic and positive about the terms ahead – as am I!
Graeme McLeod

Friday 10th July 2020

Being with children as they return, is enabling staff to start identifying the best ways to assist each individual child feel safe back in school and to consider how they can develop and re-establish strong relationships.  As most children’s experiences will have been different since 20/3/20, staff will be reconsidering, as they go forward, the best ways to encourage interest in learning and heighten their levels of curiosity.   Staff have completed producing this year’s report, which predominately covers their time in school until 20/3/20; subsequent progress will be reflected in future reports but I would like to say once more - a ‘big thank you’ to parents for their part in their child(ren)’s development and happiness this year.   Following the promotional leaflet sent out at the beginning of this week, you may already be aware that Haslingfield School has worked in collaboration with JS Sports to provide a Summer Holiday Sport Camp on our site: while it has limited capacity we hope this will help many families and children during the summer break.

Friday 3rd July 2020

Careful preparations have taken place across the school to make provision for those children and staff returning onsite this week. It was great to see, during their sessions, the children enjoying taking part; the staff were also delighted to meet up with the children and begin the processes of reintegration, a process that will begin again for those returning from isolation, in September. Teachers have been busy over the last few weeks preparing reports, which mainly reflect their attainment up until 20/3/20, plus a section for general reporting: these will be emailed to parents before the end of term; attainment since 20/3/20 will be reflected in subsequent reports. During the lockdown, while providing home support, school leaders, led by Miss Peck, have been busily preparing a new and exciting curriculum – ready to begin next year alongside the support children may require on their return to school. Some of our staff have already begun the first stages of preparing resources for September while the management team continue to evaluate our recovery procedure and strategic priorities for the year ahead.

Friday 26th June 2020

Thank you to all of our parents for showing their appreciation for the ‘above and beyond’ efforts of staff; particularly over the last few months and in recognition for the high level of provision we are providing to support our families – while staying within the guidance provided to manage risk safely. The recent groups/bubbles that have been created; including, Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 are primarily aimed at helping children who have been at home since the 20th of March; gently beginning the process of readjustment, while reassuring them and building confidences but also to ‘conclude the year together’ and prepare them for the Summer break. We appreciate, for some children, the process of returning from months away could be an anxious time but our staff will be prepared and appreciate how difficult this will be for some! This week seven staff volunteered to take part in an intensive online training course for ‘understanding children and young people’s mental health’, which most will continue to study over the Summer break ready to provide additional support to children in September. The SMT have concluded the planning arrangements of classes and staff structure for the next academic year, having given careful consideration to the well-being of children. I am pleased to inform you that Haslingfield School will continue with its seven class structure for next year; children remaining together in their existing year groups – letters informing you of their new class teacher we be sent out next week. We have managed to organise a transition session, for each year group, beginning the week after next, where the children will have the opportunity to meet both their current teacher and their next teacher; this will be part of children’s transition process – dates and times to follow. We appreciate that some parents may not be in a position to bring their child into school this term; for these children staff will provide transition support on their return. Thank you ‘PTFA’ for providing an ‘ice lolly surprise’ today – it went down very well and appreciated by all!

Friday 19th June 2020

This week the school has continued to review its capacity, for accommodating children’s learning on the school site whilst considering DfE and Local Authority guidance.   Schools are being asked, once more, to firstly consider requests from key worker families and families of children from Year R, 1 and 6, that do not currently attend school but may wish to do so now.  Once the school has met its obligations regarding this requirement, which involve deploying a reduced work force to support smaller groups, it will then be in a position to consider whether it has capacity for further change.  We would like to be in the position to offer all children the opportunity to come together with other children before the end of the year, all be it briefly – but at this stage we are unable to confirm if this will be possible. 

Friday 12th June 2020

Staff in school are becoming increasing familiar with the daily routines and adapting teaching approaches within the framework of the guidance we are given – as are the children!   The children have managed so well this week and continue to amaze us all with the speed with which they have become used to the new expectations; teachers, also, increasingly confident about how well the children can independently maintain social distancing while also playing and having fun together.  Staff at home and school are constantly reviewing how to maintain interest and learning, all working in new ways - each with their own restrictions but also ready to find new approaches where ever they exist.

Friday 8th June 2020

The school was delighted to be able to offer a place to parents who had requested their child return to school  in either Reception, Year 1, Year 6 or within the Key Worker group.   We were so pleased to have staff available to continue with ‘home learning’ and to provide a full time teaching facility at school from the beginning of the week.   Staff pulled out all the stops to get the school ready for Monday, many of them volunteering to give up their half term break to make the school as welcoming and as safe as feasibly possible – though it was a bit of a surprise to find BBC Look East filming outside the gate!  The school has carried out many lengthy risk assessments and updated school procedures accordingly; meeting both Local Authority requirements and those of Government – the next phase of school reopening, when decided upon, should be interesting!  

Friday 15th may 2020

Like many schools the process of planning to meet  recommended government guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak, while seeking clarification on the details, has required a considerable adjustment of school systems and expectations which the school Management Team continue to keep abreast of. Thank you to parents with children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, for completing the ‘attendance’ survey which has helped inform our planning of how we might manage a ‘phased’ return, beginning with children in these year groups.  Subsequently, following further government guidance we are now planning to accommodate the ‘full time’ return of some, preferably all,  of our Year R, 1 and 6 classes; endeavouring to achieve this, soon after half-term, if possible and with government consent.    As part of our school ‘return plan’, initially, we still currently intend to provide some ‘home learning’ provision for most other children working from home when the first cohorts return.  

Thursday 7th May 2020

We all need a little help from time to time and I am pleased to announce that Haslingfield School in collaboration with Haslingfield Support Team have set up a Food Cupboard!  The cupboard is situated next to the kitchen window in the school car park and is for ‘anyone’ who may need a bit of additional help with essential shopping during these difficult times.  We hope that people who temporarily require this kind of support will make good use of this facility; while others may find they wish to drop items, excess to requirements, either under the table or in the cupboard.  Haslingfield Support Team, with the school, have also looked at several other family initiatives; it is wonderful how the whole community has responded with compassion, generosity and sensitivity.  Along with Haslingfield Support Group I would like to thank Haslingfield United Charities and the Parish Council.

Friday 1st May 2020

The teachers at Haslingfield School have been considering the best way they can provide children with a themed context to some of the work they are providing for the children; this can help children develop an interest and commitment towards the tasks they are provided with.  Staff are continuing to work during lockdown, mostly from their own homes – perhaps, like yourselves, many managing the challenge of supporting their own families while providing a high standard of support to others.  I have so much respect for them and high regard for the personal commitment they continue to make; ensuring that children come first, often before their personal needs, making a priority of every child’s well being.   I hope you are all well and managing to access the support you need: Some support material and contact numbers are available on our website should they be needed.

Friday 24th April 2020

Haslingfield School has continued to evaluate and promote information that parents and children may find useful when considering how to promote mental health and wellbeing in families: several emails have been sent out regarding these issues.  Information that supports safeguarding around online learning has also been sent to you; which is particularly relevant when many children currently have regular access to online devices.  This week the issue of child exercise has been discussed among schools; the weather we are having lately certainly lends its self well to children having fresh air and sunshine.  Staff from Haslingfield School have put together a special ‘thinking of you’ presentation which should be heading your way soon; many thanks to Miss Peck and Miss Houghton for coordinating this thoughtful and heartfelt message.

Friday 17th April 2020

I hope our families have all found or experienced something positive during their time spent together over Easter.   The impact of the lockdown on children is one hard to measure but the care, love and support Haslingfield parents provide their children continues to be outstanding and I expect our children will overcome the challenges ahead!   While staff work to provide continuity and learning opportunities,  for their wellbeing and continued development; staff also recognise their role in working with families in partnership.  This is something we prioritise and value as it is part of our approach to helping children as individuals – it goes to the heart of what our school stands for.  During lockdown, while you are  prioritising the wellbeing of your families immediate and future needs; staff are there for you as well - purposefully seeking ways to help you overcome the difficulties you face as parents.  If you wish to agree individual work expectations for your child that best meets your ‘family’s’ needs, your child’s class teacher will be happy to discuss this with you.

Communications with your child’s class teacher during lockdown should be sent via email to the class account.

Mr McLeod

Wednesday 1st April 2020

I want to thank all of our parents for their incredibly positive approach to help their children continue with a learning routine from home. While these are early days for the school to establish its own planning for learning opportunities, assessment and technological based expectations the progress in school has been remarkable, evident in the overwhelming responses from children – supported wonderfully by parents!

For many of our families these are not easy times and the staff are working incredibly hard to provide the best support possible for you and your children.

A belief at Haslingfield School is that work should be matched to the child: if your child is finding the work challenging we would encourage you to intervene and break the task down into manageable pieces. Teachers are available via class e-mail’s to help you with this process if required.

During these challenging times, as we ‘stay inside’, you might find this link , of interest, designed to help children’s wellbeing.https://www.cambslearntogether.co.uk/home-learning/wellbeing

Friday 27th March 2020

I want to thank all of our parents for their incredibly positive approach to help their children continue with a learning routine from home. While these are early days for the school to establish its own planning for learning opportunities, assessment and technological based expectations the progress in school has been remarkable, evident in the overwhelming responses from children – supported wonderfully by parents!

For many of our families these are not easy times and the staff are working incredibly hard to provide the best support possible for you and your children.

A belief at Haslingfield School is that work should be matched to the child: if your child is finding the work challenging we would encourage you to intervene and break the task down into manageable pieces. Teachers are available via class e-mail’s to help you with this process if required.

During these challenging times, as we ‘stay inside’, you might find this link , of interest, designed to help children’s wellbeing.https://www.cambslearntogether.co.uk/home-learning/wellbeing

The  resources could be used to support the wellbeing of children and adults.

The school Thought Board provides opportunities for children to develop constructive opinions and debate; while the children are not currently able to post their ideas on the board you may still wish to explore their views – some children are particularly fond of this. Current Question: Should smiling become an Olympic event?

Mr McLeod