Head's Blog...  

Firstly I must apologise for not blogging earlier. This is the busiest time of year for all schools. Not only are there all the additional events and traditions that we try to timetable as much as we can in advance, there are always those extra complications. The weather has been too hot, too wet, too cold. We have 426 schools reports to write, check, copy and send, we have to prepare for the new children joining us and prepare handovers for the children leaving us.

Whilst all the above is going on we are at the end of the year, children are sad, happy, scared and excited about the next year. Staff and parents are feeling the same too. Moving classroom, new faces, unknown routines - everyone is running on their nerves.

That can sometimes manifest itself into negative feelings. No-one like feeling unsettled and therefore the easiest thing (and the worst thing) people do is start pointing fingers of blame. This week we have had numerous complaints and upsets between children, staff, parents even delivery men - all down to people being ill-tempered, quick to blame, slow to reflect and generally just 'cranky'. When you are tired and cross it is hard to be kind, it is hard to be brave, but this is the time when it is needed more than ever. It easy to be happy and kind when you have the time and the sun is shining. So we are ( well I am) making a concerted effort to breathe - smile - and to try and try to think before I speak. It will be hard and I will not get it all right but I am going to give it a go.

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend,

Mrs Campbell

It has been a difficult week. Monday 22nd May was a day that we will never forget for all the wrong reasons. What happened in Manchester was not only tragic and terrifying but just so difficult to comprehend.

We will all be forever changed as a result of Manchester. As a result of an atrocity we have been able to truly see 'British Values' in action. I have never felt so proud to be British. This morning the mum of a teenager who lost her life was on the news, she asked people not to make her daughter a victim -but to stand up and be kind and be better people because of her daughter. It was an amazing message to hear.  

After the half term holiday we will be talking to children about what happened and how it made us feel. We will share the news clip we posted on facebook from youtube (it is CBBC Newsround). It is short, to the point and just give the facts. We want children to have the correct information, not the sensationalised story or (even worse) playground version.

We have all felt scared and upset this week and although it is easy to 'jolly' children along and try to pretend that horrible things are not there. It is not true.  There are horrible things and people and actions in the world. By trying to protect children from the truth we don't show them how to deal with life, we are teaching them to hide their feelings away and pretend they are not there.

We will be talking about our thoughts, worries and feelings and teaching children how to see the good. Whilst one person did something truly horrific  - hundreds, if not thousands of others did not respond with hate, but with kindness and care - even though they must have felt scared.

A few weeks ago I did an assembly on St George and the reason why he is the patron saint of England. The story of George slaying the dragon was not about being powerful and revengeful, but being kind and brave.

I have said it before and I will keep saying it. When someone hurts you - you do not hurt them back - you are brave and kind and you to stand up against wrong. You don't beat the bully by out-bullying them. You beat them by standing up and speaking out

I will never understand why a suicide bomber did what they did, I will never understand the hate and vengeance they must have had to do what they did. I cannot explain that to a child - but | can talk to them about how we become a better person because of what happened not in spite of it.

When the time came Manchester stood up, Manchester was brave, Manchester was kind. I sincerely hope we never have to deal with such horror or fear but we will have the spirit, kindness and bravery because we will keep teaching children to be brave and kind, we will keep talking about being brave and kind. We will celebrate kindness and bravery and we will challenge hate and fear at every turn.

This half term it is important to laugh and care and have fun and be together because some people went to a concert on Monday 22nd May and they never came home.

 

Have an Ash Tree amazing half term

 

Mrs Campbell

25.5.17

 

 

Next week is SATs week for Year 6, the children have worked hard, the staff have worked hard and we are ready to shine. This lunch-time I spent my lunch time with a pupil who was telling me that they were feeling 'stressed'. We talked about what that meant, how the 'stress' was affecting them. It was after a short while I realised that understanding of the word 'stress' and the child's understanding of the word were different.

I was thinking about that feeling you have when your stomach lurches, your heart beats of out of your chest and if at all possible you would run away.

The child I was speaking to described feeling like 'butterflies' were in their tummy. They had been thinking about how well they wanted to do and trying to imagine what will be in the test. They didn't want to run away - they wanted to 'crack on' and see what questions were in the test this year.

I reflected upon this conversation and thought about all the times my daughter had told me she felt 'stressed'. I am not sure I checked out what she was feeling - I think I presumed that her 'stress' was the same as my 'stress'.

When I think about the pupil I was speaking to - actually maybe they were experiencing a 'positive stress' that really was going to help prepare and focus the mind.

Good luck Year 6, we know you are totally Ash Tree amazing!

 

5/5/17

 

Mrs Campbell   

 

 

We have come back to school and we really have noticed how the break has really helped re-focus children - they seem to have grown so much in just two weeks!

When we closed on Friday 31st March we were a Foundation school with the Brigshaw Trust. When we opened on Tuesday 18th April we had converted to being an Academy within the Brigshaw Learning Partnership Multi-Academy Trust.  

We hope you are unable to tell the difference, we are not changing the school name, we are not changing the uniform, we are not changing the way we staff our school, we are not really doing anything any differently. You may ask 'Why bother?' and to be honest we have sometimes asked that, especially when we were looking and legal documents, dealing with solicitors etc.. but ultimately we want to be able to drive our own school improvements alongside the other Brigshaw Learning Partnership (BLP) schools.

All schools have an uncertain future with significant funding cuts (around 8%) coming our way. We believe that by working collectively we can pool resources and ultimately still be able to improve our schools because working together we have more power than standing alone. We want to work with other like-minded schools and we want to make the BLP Multi-Academy Trust and all the schools within it  - the very best they can be. We want our children to have ever improving outcomes.

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

 

Mrs A Campbell

21.4.17  

 

 

 

We have completed the Spring term. This last week has been a chaotic week, we started the week off with Y6 entering the schools Cycling competition. Year 4 went on a 3 day / 2 night residential to Herd Farm. Whilst the Y4 team were away Enrichment Clubs were showcasing the talents, skills and achievements from the last term. On Thursday we held Science/DT/ICT Homework Project Show and Tell sessions, then had an Easter Fair after school. On Friday it was the whole school visit to church for the Easter story and then back to school to have 100% attendance Ice cream parlour, Improved attendance Pizza Parties and just before Celebration assembly we squeezed in the Always Green ( the children who are always getting it right, always trying their hardest..) Sublime Science party - where a company called Sublime Science did wild and wacky science activities with the children.  In the staffroom we have said goodbye to Mr Skelton. Mr Skelton has worked with lot of children in his time with us and we are so sad that the funding for his post was not continued. Thank you for everything Mr Skelton.

 

After 12 years of service to Kippax Ash Tree, Mrs Sutcliffe has also said goodbye. Mrs Sutcliffe has worked at lunch times for a long time and seen lots of changes. Mrs Sutcliffe will be sorely missed by the children and staff - thank you for all your hard work.

  

This term has been a fantastic one. Has it been hard work? Yes! Has everything worked out according to plan? No! Have we laughed and cried? Yes and yes.

 

Thank you to everyone who has made this term work, the children, the staff, the families.

 

On April 1st 2017 Kippax Ash Tree finally converts to Academy status as part of the Brigshaw Learning Partnership Multi-Academy Trust. This is a new adventure for our school and we are sure that the next part of our journey is towards becoming not just Ash Tree amazing but also Brigshaw brilliant.

 

Have an Ash Tree amazing Easter holiday

 

Mrs Campbell

31/3/17

 

 

On Wednesday our year 6 children found out which high school place they were being offered. It is a huge day for children. It is the first part of the next stage life for them. It is always my hope that children are excited to move on, change is a constant and although people say ' I don't like change' really, that is never an option. The year 6 children will soon grow out of primary school and we won't be enough for them any more. At high school they will get to mix with new faces, some they will love and some they won't but our aim is to get the children ready to be able to handle high school. We are working on supporting children to be, independent, confident and brave. Some children are already there - some still have work to do but we will keep working away until we get there.

This week we have celebrated World Book Day - all week long! There were book area and book mark competitions, children have read stories and created props to re-tell the story, they have had D.E.A.R. time (Drop Everything And Read) when Buddy the Bookworm appeared, they have had book swops, the book fair was held in the hall each day, we had a guess the book quiz, story share sessions with older children reading to younger children and a poetry slam! We did all of this in addition to the usual business of teaching all the rest of curriculum, having guest speakers in school, attending athletics competitions (we won by the way) and skipping events. As I write this, we are cracking on with planning the science fair events for next week.

The staff at Ash Tree are hardworking, focussed and dead-set on making this school better every day. Some days we win - other days we don't but each time we keep on cracking on. I know that it seems like the rest of the world were dressing up and we were 'not bothering', it really was not because we didn't want to put the effort in. We wanted our  book week to be about us all enjoying reading and books together. We wanted it to be about the children. So thank you to all the parents and carers that have supported us this week, all the parents and carers that read the bedtime stories, hear their children read, take children to the library and make books a part of their lives.  

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

 

3/3/17

 

Mrs Campbell

 

We are officially a good school according to Ofsted. We are very proud of the report and feel it is a very genuine and accurate reflection of our school. In particular, we love how the children were the real stars of the show!

On 1st April we will be (finally) converting to Academy status and join Kippax Greenfields, Kippax North, Allerton Bywater, Brigshaw High School and Swillington Primary in the Multi-Academy Trust. All the schools have 'good' grading from Ofsted and that puts us in an excellent position to be able to use this strong foundation to build upon in our journey of school improvement.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the staff of Kippax Ash Tree for all their hard work to keep the school moving forward. I would also like to say thank you to our Governors, Brigshaw Trust and all our other partners that have worked so hard on behalf of the school.

We are proud of the 'good' but we want more, we believe that our children are capable of greatness and know that the future is very bright for our school.

 

Thank you to everyone

22.2.17

 

Mrs Campbell   

 

 

Blimey! This week we have had a few learning opportunities that were tough. We had been magnificent in the previous heats of the athletics competitions but this week the nerves finally got to us and we were not as victorious as we had hoped, I know Mr McAlinden and Mrs Ratcliffe were proud of the heart and effort our children gave and frustrated that we didn't come away the winners that we know we are. It was a hard lesson for us all, but it had strengthened our resolve and given us a hunger to really shine in our next competition.

On Wednesday and Friday we held our whole school Spellabration competition in the hall children from each class had been competing to be the best spellers - 2 children from each class then came to the finals in the hall for a spell-off. The children were incredible and the most amazing part was that if you made a mistake in your spelling it was in front of everyone and even though we were very supportive, we knew the children who were knocked out had the hardest job to keep watching the victors - but they did. The children on the knock-out bench showed character and understanding and were truly inspiring.

Yet again this week, the best lessons have been taught by the children!

 

Have an Ash Tree amazing half term everyone

 

10/2/17

Mrs Campbell  

                                                               Is your cup half empty or half full? 

 

This week I needed to speak to some children in year 4, it is getting to the end of a half term, tempers were in a delicate state and Miss Dignum was ill so unfortunately we needed to use supply teachers to cover the class. Whenever children don't have their regular teacher it always unsettles the children, and this week was no different. After talking to lots of children about incidents, allegations and accusations it became clear that no major crimes were being committed but lots of children were feeling annoyed and upset and it was coming out in a range of different ways. 

I sat down with the class and we discussed the number of complaints and the issues. The children were thoughtful and we realised that within one class we have 5 children who had never, ever made a complaint, never ever had complaints made against them, we talked about how that could be? Did they play different games? Did they go to a different playground? Did no-one ever accidentally bump into them? Did they never come across other people who were in a bad mood? Why didn't misunderstandings happen when they were around? 

We just could not find the answer. We named them the fabulous 5. We started, instead look at what the fabulous 5 had in common with each other since we could find what was different. All 5 said they LOVED school, all 5 said that if something went wrong they knew it was ok and didn't really worry them too much??? This was revelation to the rest of us! Why didn't it worry them? It worries me, it certainly worries other children and parents. Oliver (Founding member of the Fabulous 5) reassured me and said 'You know most of the time when people do things wrong, it is a mistake. They didn't mean to do it. If they meant it, I would come and tell you but we all learn from our mistakes'.

It was then that it hit me that what the Fabulous 5 had in common was not that they were teflon coated and trouble didn't happen to them, but they all had a real 'cup half full' attitude. They don't take everything personally, they look for the good and fun and exciting in school...and they always find it. The forgave easily and focus upon the positive. 

Yet again I have been lucky enough to have the children of Kippax Ash Tree teach me this week. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend 

5/2/17

Mrs Campbell 

 

This week was the week I have been thinking about since the day I joined Kippax Ash Tree. Each and every morning on my way to school I have planned the ' ...if we  get the phone call from Ofsted today, I will...' approach. On Tuesday the Ofsted phone call arrived. Typically it was the  day when the rest of the senior leadership team were at training, as were Year 6, Year 3 and Miss Crossley. Mrs Ratcliffe and the mighty Ash Tree Athletics team were heading out the door to reign supreme at the Sports Hall Athletics competition.  As I spoke to the Inspector on the phone, giving information, downloading documents and ensuring due process was followed.

I had always presumed that when the phone call arrived I would gather the staff together and share the planned approach. As ever - it didn't turn out that way. By 1.00pm most staff were back in school, preparations were in hand. We considered some of the advice given to schools having an Inspection such as having a big assembly to prepare the children and ensure they give the right answers,  making alternative arrangements for children who may not 'perform' etc... but in the end we didn't take on any of the suggestions. We decided that we trusted the children to just be themselves. After all, that is what is most impressive about our school. We didn't do the assembly, we didn't stay at school until midnight, we didn't hide any thing. Instead we were just Kippax Ash Tree (well, maybe a little bit tidier).

The Inspection went quickly. Our Inspector really know his stuff but we really, really knew our stuff too. We are unable to share the outcomes of the Inspection until they are published on the Ofsted website in 2 weeks time. What we can say is that we didn't pretend to be any thing we were not. The children were truly, truly magnificent, being their Ash Tree amazing selves. They were confident and proud and very honest.  

I would like to thank all of those parent/cares who took time to share their views on Parent View, even the less positive ones were helpful. Thank you to all the staff who quite literally just 'cracked on with it'. Thank you to all those people who took time to send supportive e-mails and messages, but ultimately I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the children. They were articulate, thoughtful, engaged and completely and utterly - Ash Tree amazing.

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

27.1.17

Mrs Campbell  

We are hurtling towards February half term at an incredible speed and the February half term in the mid point in the school year. This academic year is just flying by. Over the next few weeks we will be launching into the development of science. We have spent the first half of the year focussing upon reading, writing and maths. Mrs Varley takes the lead on Science and she has a whole range of exciting plans in place. We are hoping to have parent / carer talks on the science and maths they use in their work roles, we will be having a whole school cookery cook-off and also holding our first ever science fair. 

We try to involve parent/carers where possible. If you can make it - great, if not don't worry, you can follow our escapades on the website, twitter or Facebook. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing day 

19.1.17

Mrs Campbell

Today has not been the day we were expecting. The weather reports had warned of snow and winds and floods and thunder snow. We made plans, decided who would do what, where and how...and none of it happened. It was cold and wet but none of the worst case scenarios occurred. That is the the trouble with trying to predict the future - it never quite works out that way.

On Wednesday the high winds meant that we to let children out from the hall as it would be safer - the reality was that we disagreed. We will take our chances against the wind next time as the anxiety in the hall on Wednesday was palpable. Children were worried they couldn't find people who were collecting them. Staff were confused but trying to make it work and although we were able to manage the risk of injury from the wind, we felt that there was more risk in the leaving from the hall approach. If we were able to predict the future we would not have done it that way, but we can't. Sometime the only way we learn is to fail at something first. That is the only way to find things out sometimes. 

Thank you to those parent, staff and children who stuck with the process, and did so with good grace. Thank you for giving it a go. We won't be doing it that way again - we promise, because now we know better. To quote Maya Angelou "When you know better you do better".

Next week we will start the week with a little bit more knowledge and understanding that we had the week before and we will have a week of failing and learning and succeeding - I cannot wait!!!!

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

13.1.17

Mrs Campbell

  

Happy New Year! We are back in the swing of school life and we are looking forward to an incredible 2017. Today, the Enrichment Club letters go out - to start Enrichment Clubs next week. As Enrichment Officer, Mr Dickinson has allocated the spaces where possible but as ever, there are limited places available and more requests than places so there will be some disappointment unfortunately.

The allocation of places is a complex process and based upon a wide range of factors such as positive attendance at other clubs, how many places children have previously had, in addition to other aspects such a personal and social issues and academic need. We have hoped to be able to offer Gymnastics by an outside provider, however they are no longer able to honour the contract and so we are looking for other private providers.

Although we have only been back at school 3 days we have already had a swimming gala and next week we have Young Voices Singing Event and Sports Hall Athletics Final Competition. We had St Johns Ambulance teaching first aid skills to Y5 pupils today and we have RSPB coming in next week to work with children in Little Gems Phase on aspects of wildlife and conservation.

We have jumped into 2017 with both feet and we are determined to make this year our best year so far.

On this website under the parents tab in ' letters and information' we have uploaded the parent / carer survey outcomes from the last Parent/Carer evening.

...and finally, I would just like to say a huge thank you for the lovely gifts and cards given to staff at Christmas. We have so many thoughtful and kind parents and carers it really does mean so much to us when we hear we have got it right. Thank you to those parents and carers that have taken time to e-mail staff and thank them for Enrichment Clubs, thank you for the great messages In cards and thank you for the smiles and support and encouragement.

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

6/1/17

Mrs Campbell

    

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! It is Friday evening on the last day of term. The corridors are still awash with glitter and the classrooms are silent, the holidays have begun. I am enjoying the quiet time to reflect upon the last term. 

This term we have done a lot. We have implemented the new PSHE (personal, social, health & emotional) curriculum - with the Pastoral Team delivering lesson to all year groups. We have embarked upon the SRE curriculum (Sex and Relationship Education ) fully and even though it has not all been plain sailing - we have done it.

We have launched Homework Projects and we have new members of staff who are working effectively with existing staff to improve outcomes for children. Our Enrichment Clubs have grown and grown in their success. 

We held H.E.R.O week and The Pupil Parliament have been in their elected posts for a full half term. Kippax Ash Tree has so many facets to it. I can honestly say that no two days are ever the same.

The last week of term can be difficult for children, the structure and routine that provides support is often replaced with excitement and anxiety for some. 

I was in our lunchtime support session (Keep Calm Club) this week when a child was referred to me for using inappropriate language. The discussion turned to who and why other children had complained about something that had not been said to them. The child said ' this school is full of grasses'. I had to agree. If the child meant that this is a school where we are willing to stand up and speak out when something is not right - that is true. If other had reported bad language because they knew it was wrong and they knew better - that is true then.

I would not say we have school full of 'grasses' but I would say we have children who are brave enough to stand up and speak out. We have children being braver and braver everyday. I am incredibly proud of that quality developing and increasing in our school.

In recent weeks there have been numerous news stories about children being abused in the world of football. Those children are now men and only now feel brave enough to stand up and speak out. To tell children not to 'grass' is to tell children to keep secrets about things that are wrong. The concept of 'grass' protects wrong doers and abusers of power and position. I want our children to be safe and if they are ever in an unsafe situation, to know how to be brave, stand up and speak out. Not to keep the secret in case they get called a 'grass'.

H.E.R.O. Week was all about us launching that idea with children. Whilst I wasn't thrilled that a child in school felt ' it was full of grasses' it gave me the opportunity to have the discussion with child about why we need to be brave, why we want children to be a hero and not a victim. It takes time to change ideas and views and I hope that change comes quickly for Kippax Ash Tree.

Over the last week we have held a range of performances for parents and carers in all year groups, we have invited parents and carers in to homework presentation mornings and as one parent commented to me  this week ' I am never away from this place'. I know it is not always easy to attend things and we never expected everyone to attend everything, but we do want you to have the opportunity to be a part of what we do at whatever level you are comfortable with.

I have to be honest and say some performances were magnificent and others were plagued with problems but staff and children had put as much effort in to all of them. Thank you for standing in the cold to listen to carols, thank you for sitting in the awkward silence of the hall without a sound track, thank you for clapping and cheering and encouraging. Thank you for making this term work.

2017 has lots of challenges for us, some are unknown and some will need a plan of attack but together we will meet them all because after all... the children, families and staff of this school (in my opinion) are truly Ash Tree amazing.

Have an Ash Tree amazing Christmas, a wonderful New Year and we will see you on Wednesday 4th January to start the adventure of Spring Term together.

With love,

 

Mrs Campbell xxx

  

This week I saw meme saying 'Whenever possible; be kind, remember it is always possible'. We have spent the vast, vast majority of our assemblies this year and last year talking about anti-bullying. Talking about what to do, sharing stories, reviewing processes, developing ever more complex systems to try and work out when and where something can be stopped before it has begun. Trying to turn back time, trying to find a way to clarify, mediate, justify, explain, make amends for behaviour that is not kind. 

I hear about the torrent of accusations of social media, I listen and make notes and respond to each and every concern I receive. Sometimes that is enough, sometimes others don't agree. It is an every-day focus for both me and my leadership team and the staff team. 

Whilst we are busy doing this, listening to the parents and carers who shout loudest and longest - investigating allegations, trying to find out who said what, to who, in what way - our attention is not on those who are kind. We do not have hour long meetings, Governor reviews, daily homeschool diaries, written up chronologies, eye witness statements, policy adaptations for the kind children. Their actions go un-noticed in the running of the school. 

The kind children come into school, share their kindness without getting stickers or attention. Kind children have empathy and see when others are hurt or upset and try to make things better with kindness not more hurt and upset. 

We don't do assemblies about their kindness. We don't have 'whole class circle time' to discuss their actions at playtime. Their daily acts of kindness are not marked and celebrated. 

Maybe our focus is wrong. We have tried hard to do everything advised and more. We have been focussing on what is going wrong when what is going right is happening in front of our eyes - but without acknowledgment. 

So, this week I decided to start looking for the kindness is school. I saw Mr Nelson covering Miss Rolls assembly for her. I saw parent volunteers churning through a mountain of reading books with children, teachers running clubs for children without pay, staff organising lifts home for children when parents were struggling. I saw parents come together and create a cavalcade to get children to the athletics competition without getting washed down Butt Hill. I saw staff giving children a hug and a high 5 because they did well in their spellings, I saw staff covering children in stickers to motivate and encourage - buying the stickers from their own pocket. Kindness is everywhere is Ash Tree.

Acts of kindness don't usually make it to social media - It's not salacious to 'like' acts of kindness. Parents and carers don't stand in the playground swopping stories of the 'kindness' they have seen or witnessed.

If you have seen kindness from others in our school, please share it with us. We will talk about all the other stuff too, as ever, I am in the playground every morning and afternoon, my e-mail is on the front page of the website - but just every now and then it would be lovely for us all to hear about the kindness a bit more. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend 

Mrs Campbell 

25.11.16 

It is Friday evening, I am enjoying the peace and quiet in school. It has been quite a day. Today we broughto together our work on Anti-bullying with a Hero themed day. Children and staff came to school dressed as their hero. It was a fascinating day. In addition it was also the 'Children Take Over Day' where children from Pupil Parliament took on the roles of adults in school to get an insight into different aspects of school life and jobs. On top of this 6 Mont Blanc threw down the gauntlet to other classes and filmed their own mannequin challenge. 

It really is an honour to be able to go to work and never quite know what the day will bring. That is the beauty of working with children. Although I looked at the calendar as adult and groaned thinking ' its not fair, there is too much to do!', I flirted with the idea of not dressing up - it was all lots of effort when I have a mountain of paperwork to get through, however seeing how much thought children and families had put into it, seeing the glee on childrens faces as they saw the real Mary Poppins (well we always knew Mrs Harrison was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious) underlined for me how wrong I had been to doubt it was worth it. 

Our school is not perfect, every day things go wrong, misunderstandings occur, feelings get hurt. That will always happen when you have 400 people together for 6 hours a day. Being a HERO is about not always worrying about being right but always being kind. It is knowing that sometimes other people need to hear a 'I'm sorry' - regardless of what is fair. Sometimes we need to be able to have a bad day and the people around us still be our friend anyway. 

We have children (and adults) all over school who are great at being a friend, they forgive, they support, they empathise, they understand. 

From next week onwards we will be encouraging children in all classes to nominate those children to recieve the HERO award for kindness and friendship.

A few years ago I read a book that talked about life not being fair, bad people win the lottery sometimes and good people are knocked down by buses - trying to make sense of it will only lead to you becoming bitter and angry, because you cannot make life fair - it just doesn't work that way. We can try and be fair - but we will never manage it, others will always be able to find a reason to see the unfair-ness in an action. It took me a long time to understand the idea but this week the children have amazed me with their views and understanding. Being a great friend is not about fair-ness it is about kindness. 

...and so we have got to the end of another busy week in school and yet again I am learning my lessons from the children. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to take part in HERO day today. Photos are on twitter @AshTreeKATPS. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend everyone 

18/11/16

Mrs Campbell 

Next week (wk beg 14/11/16) will be H.E.R.O. week in school. H.E.R.O. is Helping Everyone Respect Others. This is our Anti-Bullying approach. We want to empower children to be brave and stand-up for both themselves and others. Over the week we will be learning about our 'heroes' and the people and stories that inspire us. On Friday it is Children in Need Day and so to celebrate H.E.R.O week and raise money for Children in Need we will be dressing up day as either Super Heroes or our heroes. Our aim is to to support children to not feel like a victim, to be able to respond to difficult situations and manage relationships with others in respectful ways. 

Part of growing up is managing relationships and friendships. In life we will always come across people who we do not like or people that do not like us. We want children to know how to manage such situations successfully without feeling like a 'victim'. That is not easy skill to develop. Over the next week we will be starting to explore this idea in a variety of ways. 

We are looking forward to seeing Ash Tree heroes develop in front of our eyes. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing week. 

Mrs Campbell 

14.11.16

Welcome back, it has been a frenetic start to the half term. We had a fantastic Sport hall Athletics session on Monday, we have toasted marshmallows, launched rockets, celebrated learning and done oh so much more! I think the loveliest part of the week has been launching the Pupil Parliament.

Last half term children in year 5 and 6 put themselves forward to be Members of Parliament representing each year group in school. The separate year groups listened to the candidates manifestos and then voted.

The successful MPs were announced on Monday is assembly and awarded their MP badges. Their first job has been to develop an MP's code of conduct. So far they have been to visit their constituents and next week they will begin their work representing their constituents. MPs will do this by checking the voice boxes  ( there is one in every class - they belong to the children)in their year group and meeting with the children to hear their ideas, concerns and thoughts.  

MPs will take a role in the Friday Celebration Assembly - supporting their constituents. If you would like to see more please look on our Pupil Parliament Page of the website to see what they are doing, who they are and how they are making a real difference to the children of Kippax Ash Tree.

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend.

4.11.16

Mrs A Campbell

It has been a whirlwind of a week so far. We have had trips to Lotherton Hall, Pro-Bike cycle proficiency sessions, Dance workshops, Viking Weaver in school, a visiting postman, two lots of school disco. Homework project show and tell and a Wild West day... It has been a fabulous half term of learning. It was a genuine pleasure to see so many parents / carers supporting learning by attending our first show and tell morning. We will be holding one each half term on the last Thursday morning before the holidays. Each half term will have a different theme. This half term was Health and Wellbeing, but next half term is 'Music, Art, Dance & Drama'. There is no right or wrong - it is as big or as small as children would like to make it. It is about enjoying the project, working together, developing presentation skills and learning from each other. 

Thank you to everyone for the support and if you didn't manage it this time - don't worry there is alway next half term! 

On Wednesday 2nd October 2016 we are holding our first parent / carer consultation evening of this academic year. Appointments are available from 2pm-7pm but if you can't make that date please speak to class teachers who are more than happy to see you at an other time. At the parent / carer meetings we will have a range of information for you such as individual learning and progress assessment information, attendance information, parent / carer questionnaires and some other ideas on how we can support children in moving forward academically. 

Parent / carer evening is also your opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns. Miss Stephenson, our Special Needs co-ordinator will be available to speak to. If you have any further concerns Miss Smithies (Foundation Stage / Y1, Y2 Deputy Head) and Miss Rolls (Y3,Y4,Y5,Y6 Deputy Head) will be available to speak to.

I will be (as ever) on the tea and coffee stall, handing out and collecting in the questionnaires.

We hope to see you there, we know that children do best when there is a positive partnership between home and school.  

Have an Ash Tree amazing half term. 

21.10.16 

Mrs Campbell 

It is nearly half term and the summer seems like a million years ago. This academic year we have lots of plans and so far so good. We have created a writing studio in the centre of school, we have moved the library to a quiet space ( like all good libraries should be) and gained a writer's shed along the way (don't ask - its not finished yet). We have launched the half termly homework projects and hopefully we will see a wide and varied range of projects in our 'sharing morning' next Thursday. 

We are half way through our Pupil Parliament elections and we hope to be able to introduce our new 'Members of Parliament' next week. This year we have also bought into the Leeds City Council PHSE (Personal, Health, Social, Emotional) Curriculum. 

We decided to buy into the highly recommended and comprehensive scheme of work because we believe that this curriculum is essential for all our children. 

We want our children to be emotionally literate, have great interpersonal and interpersonal skills, have empathy, character and grit. Have integrity, confidence and understanding and so much more. All those aspects can't be left to chance and need to be carefully and thoughtfully taught. 

The Health aspect of the curriculum has a very clear philosophy and approach but we really do want parents and carers to be able to view the materials and content before we introduce the children to it. In the next few weeks Miss Smithies, Miss Rolls and Pastoral Team will be inviting parents to meetings to share the curriculum. Please, please come along, ask questions and take part in this hugely important process. 

We will begin the teaching in January and therefore we are planning to spend the time between half term and Christmas preparing for this curriculum. 

Voices and Choices' is the theme for our school improvement this year. When creating the development plans for the year the intention was to develop voices and choices for children - but that starts with giving a voice to parents and carers first. 

In recent years we have held a variety of curriculum evenings and with very limited up take. We did consider giving up - but this is too important to give up on.

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

14.10.16

Mrs Campbell  

Many people may have noticed the increased staff presence on the lower playground before and after school recently, there are a few reasons for this:

 

  • The play equipment has been roped off as we are awaiting some repairs and the repairs cannot be completed until half term. In the meanwhile we have asked children not to use the equipment to keep them safe.
  • Some parent/carers have been cutting across the grassed banking with pushchairs. Our school is a PFI school, this means that an independent company called 'Pinnacle' manage the building and site. They have requested that no-one goes onto the grass, instead everyone should use the pathway - this is a result of compensation claims being made against the school. Pinnacle have the responsibility for the site safety and this is their request that school staff are expected to uphold. This request has been in place since Mr Hall was Head teacher of the school at its opening (2005) Mrs Ford also worked with the same expectations. I understand that this 'stopping of children playing on the grass' has offended some families. I completely agree that children should be able to play on the grass, however we also have to deal with the compensation claims being made against the school and therefore the risk of allowing children on the play equipment or giving any access to the grass is too high. As a school we make no profit, any successful claim has to be paid out of the budget and as staff pay and conditions are nationally agreed, heating bills etc have to be paid it means the only area the money can be taken from is the money used for school resources for children. So for the benefit of all of our children we need to support Pinnacle and their request to avoid any further claims being made against the school. 
  • We have received complaints from some parent / carers about other parent / carers in the playground. Members of staff are there to ensure that the children are safe and not witness to negative behaviours. The Community Policing Team are also supporting the school with this matter. 

Staff are available on the playground for you to ask questions if you are unsure of why something is happening. Going to social media will not give you the correct information you are looking for. However, staff e-mails are on the website (and below) for any questions, queries or comments, staff are in the playground, you can leave a message in the office, you can telephone us or you can write a letter. We are more than happy to talk to you. 

Kippax is a small community and all members of school staff are expected to screen shot any negative comments about the school or its pupils under safeguarding procedures and then share with the school Leadership Team. This is one of the most soul destroying aspects of my role in school. We run e-safety sessions for children, with assemblies and specialist teaching. We run e-safety sessions for parents about how to keep children safe on the internet. We have a full time technician who can advise and support at anytime.  'How to use social media responsibly' is a key aspect of all of the teaching. The premise being ' once you have made a comment on the internet it is public, if you wouldn't want it to be on the front page of a newspaper - don't but it on the internet'. 

I am proud to say that the children do adhere well to this.

Some adults in our community do not. 

Making untrue allegations, sharing of malicious 'gossip' on the internet or in person, about school or individual pupils is illegal and is covered by Anti-Social Behaviour legislation - although there are other more serious aspects of the law that may be triggered if the communication continues. 

I am very proud to work at Kippax Ash Tree Primary School, we have never pretended to be perfect and we repeatedly ask that if you are unhappy- speak to us - we cannot resolve problems we do not know about. 

Foundation Stage / Year 1 & 2 Deputy Head Teacher - Miss Hannah Smithies smithih01@brigshawtrust.com

Year 3,4,5,6 Deputy Head Teacher - Miss Kim Rolls rollsk01@brigshawtrust.com

Pastoral Team Leader - Mrs Carole Parkinson parkinc05@brigshawtrust.com 

Head teacher - Mrs Amanda Campbell campba01@brigshawtrust.com 

https://youtu.be/BbU-x5T5Pmw  - see video for the impact of negative social media comments 

Have an Ash tree amazing day 

Sunday 9th October 2016 

Mrs Campbell 

 

This week I went to a fabulous Safeguarding Conference about how school can teach pupil voice and British Values. I was ok with the pupil voice aspect - how we teach children to have their say, how use democracy in schools etc... but I was unsure of the British Values. 

Some schools I have visited have had displays with pictures of the Queen, corgi dogs and London red buses. I was never sure about that. I felt sure that British Values were more than just tourist imagery. At the conference I heard some incredible speakers talk about British Values were about being tolerant, working together with others, having the confidence to be an individual without  harming others. It became clear that British Values are a life long process. 

I love the idea. What an amazing aim for all our children. 

Each and every dayI know I have to work on being more tolerant, being brave enough to be an individual, working with others. Some days it is easier to do than others. Building British Values has to be done minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day. The work will never end - but as the speakers at the conference pointer out, children with great British Values will become great British citizens. We all want to live and work with tolerant, confident, individuals who can be a part of any team. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend

30.9.16

Mrs Campbell 

 

 

We have launched our half termly homework projects plan - please see book bags for the letter, or find a copy on the link from the front page of the website. This half term we would like all children in school to carry out a homework project based on 'Healthy Lifestyle' - you can paint a picture, write a book, create a model, develop a game , write a food diary, report on a rugby match - let your imagination run wild. At Ash Tree we really do try to promote health and healthy lifestyles.

Children with wider interests, who make a regular and on-going commitment to classes, teams and sports are very often great learners too - that is not a co-incidence. I believe that it is because they are developing healthy habits and also learning all those other skills that they will carry with them through the rest of their education, such as how to be a part of the team, how to work towards a common goal, how to stick at things when things get tough, how to improve your personal best, how to be a good sport (even when you really don't want to be), how to follow the rules, how to be disciplined... all life skills that can never be forgotten.

We offer enrichment opportunities because we want our children to have wider interests, we want our children to build character and stamina and principles both within and beyond the classroom.

 This week we have seen the start of Enrichment Clubs - the clubs are run by members of staff voluntarily because we want learning to be more than just what happens in the classroom with pencils and paper.

 I would like to say a huge thank you to all those members of staff who could go home earlier, could go for a cuppa in the staffroom but they don't. Instead, they work for free running choirs, pottery classes, organising team sports, making stories come alive, doing yoga, gardening - just to name a few, with the children they have been with all day. 

 To all those parents and carers sending children along to Enrichment Clubs, reinforcing what commitment means, supporting healthy habits and just generally being Team Ash Tree - thank you too.

 Have an Ash Tree amazing weekend everyone.

23.9.16

 

Mrs Campbell

 

   

 

This year our school focus is upon reading and writing development across school. Our results for the end of the year last year were not as good as we want and certainly not what our children deserve. Whether we agree with it or not the government has really increased the end of year expectations and whilst lots of schools across the country are in a similar position to us, we still need to make some dramatic improvements. I want Kippax Ash Tree pupils to have the best outcomes because it gives them the best options for their future. 

Drilling children and doing more of the same is not the answer, I honestly believe that the best learning occurs when there is fun and enjoyment, when learning is active and children are motivated. That is the reason for the homework project idea ( see the September newsletter for more details). 

What we do have in our favour is that we have incredible children, they have enthusiasm, they have energy and they have the ability to be amazing. This week we have moved the school library into the Community Room to create a quieter, more focused space for reading, we have daily library clubs available for children and we have some exciting plans to re-develop reading lessons within classes. 

We are in the process of creating a 'Writing Studio' space in the centre of school, because writing development has to be at the centre of everything we do. We want the writing process to be creative, engaging and exciting so we have an Inspiration Station, a Writing Shed and whole host of other ideas of how to make writing rock.

If you have any ideas or thoughts please let us know because we are all in this together - we approached the SATs last year as a challenge to work on together - this year the challenge has increased for us. Life is about learning from our mistakes and making things better. Together we can do it! 

Have an Ash Tree amazing day

Sunday 18th September 2016

Mrs Campbell  

 

 

t is so fantastic to see everyone back at school, looking well and rested with shiny new school uniform. Our new staff members are settling in well and we are looking forward to seeing parents and carers at the Welcome to Year.... meetings this week. 

Monday 12th September 3.15pm : Year 6 Welcome Meeting / Year 1 Welcome Meeting

Tuesday 13th September 3.15pm : Year 2 Welcome Meeting / Year 5 Welcome Meeting

Wednesday 14th September 3.15pm : Year 3 Welcome Meeting

Thursday 15th September 3.15pm : Year 4 Welcome Meeting

If you are unable to come along or you have a clash of meetings please speak to class teachers who will be more than happy to find a time to meet with you.

Our focus phrase for the year is 'no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship' and that means  that as well as getting to know children we also really want to get to know you. We know that children do better academically when the home and school work together to wrap the support around the child. 

Having a positive relationship is not all about keeping people happy. It is also about challenging and supporting each other to overcome barriers. I have to be honest and say that I found last half term challenging because of the changes we wanted to make with Year 4 moving into Year 5. It wasn't all plain sailing and at the end of the busy school year it is difficult not to take some of the feedback personally. The summer break is great for gaining perspective though. On coming back into school, seeing how settled and focused the children are, how impressed with the children the staff I felt sure and confident that we have been right to make the changes... then I got the message from the office. A parent from Year 5 has some feedback. My heart sank. Was I up to being harangued again? I girded my loins and prepared myself for the onslaught. I was floored when the phone connected and a Parent just wanted to let me know how great she felt the changes were and how she was aware of the negativity but not everyone felt the same way. 

I know change is hard, I know that we all worry and want the best for our children. Sometimes we all have to be brave. Thank you to the parent brave enough to ring me, and thank you to the year 5 parents brave enough to trust us, even when they weren't convinced. Most of all thank you to the year 5 children - they have been the bravest and we are incredibly, incredibly proud of every single one them. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing day 

 

Mrs Campbell 

11.9.16

Happy Autumn term everyone! Today we held our staff training day and we are all ready to hit the new school year with energy and enthusiasm. The new staff joining Team Ash Tree are going to be fabulous. We have Mr Hicks joining Miss Eckersly and Mrs Harrison in the Launch Pad Team (Foundation) We have a whole new look Little Gems Team with Miss Crossley and Miss Farrington leading Year One and then we have Mrs Varley, Mrs Crook and Miss Reid in Year Two.

In Star Catcher Phase - Year Three has a new look with Mr Nelson and Miss Brown but Year Four will have the familiar faces of Miss Dignum and Miss Hodgson. Summit Seekers will be Year Five will be Mrs King, Mrs Birch and Miss Rolls and finally we have Miss Howlett, Mr McAlinden and Mrs McPhillips in Year Six. 

Mrs Willis had a fabulous farewell and sends everyone her love. Miss Rolls is our new Y3,Y4,Y5 & Y6 Deputy Head Teacher. Miss Smithies will be the Deputy Head Teacher with responsibility for F1, F2, Y1 & Y2 

We are looking forward to seeing all children Y1-Y6 back at school on Monday. We will holding 'Welcome to Year Group' Meetings the following week to let you all know about when homework will be set, what the children will be covering this year and answering any other questions. This is also a time for you to get to meet the Deputy Head's and put some names to faces hopefully. 

Monday 12th September 3.15pm : Year 6 Welcome Meeting / Year 1 Welcome Meeting 

Tuesday 13th September 3.15pm : Year 2 Welcome Meeting / Year 5 Welcome Meeting 

Wednesday 14th September 3.15pm : Year 3 Welcome Meeting 

Thursday 15th September 3.15pm : Year 4 Welcome Meeting 

If you cannot attend the meeting please feel free to make an appointment to meet your child's new class teacher/s. 

Enjoy the weekend and we look forward to seeing everyone on Monday morning.

Have an Ash Tree amazing day

Friday 2nd September 2016

Mrs Campbell  

Well the summer holidays are finally here. It is time to say goodbye to Year 6. This year the 43 children are going to 6 different high schools in and around Leeds. It has been a pleasure to work with this group of children, although I am the first to admit, their journey through primary school has not been plain sailing, each and every person in this year group has had their own challenges and successes. Each person is leaving Kippax Ash Tree with more confidence, more knowledge, more understanding, more skills and more resilience than they started the journey with. 

Mrs Willis and Miss Howlett have guided, supported and challenged children to do more and be more because they have un-waivering faith in these two classes. Mrs Monks, Mrs Kitching and Mrs Stone have wrapped the care and support around the children to keep everyone going when it got tough.

Tomorrow there will be tears; but not of sadness. They will be tears of joy and pride. This group of young people have outgrown us, they are ready for new adventures, new friendships, new schools. 

Year 6 - it truly has been a pleasure to have you wear the Kippax Ash Tree uniform. Thank you for all the learning. Thank you for all the humour. Thank you for everything. 

 

With love 

 

Mrs Campbell 

21st July 2016 
 

Getting ready for the new school year is always exciting and worrying at the same time. This year we have new staff joining the school, well loved staff leaving the school and some re-organsiation of year groups. This year Reception moving into year one and year four moving into year five are mixing their classes. All other classes are remaining the same this year. 

As a school we have no reason to mix the classes other than in the hope to improve the outcomes for children. We are very fortunate that we have a stable budget and we don't need to combine ages or create bigger classes. We do need to look at class relationships and dynamics. We do not wish to create any unnecessary upset, we want to have happy, learning children at school as that is the best thing for them and for us. 

Two weeks ago we shared with parent/carers via letter that we would be mixing some classes, with the hope that parents/carers would be able to support children with the possible transition. Unfortunately some parent/carer have gone straight to Facebook. We will never be able to send out letters sharing the individual reason for some decisions being made as they are sensitive to the children involved. I am happy to speak to parents/carers about the decision made but I would ask the parent and carers taking to social media before speaking to staff to reflect upon the aspects below: 

  • We spend 30 hours a week with children, do you think we would intentionally cause distress and upset to the children?
  • There is no benefit to us to making changes just for the sake of it - it is easier for us to keep things the same - but we want things to be better for the children. 
  • We know that children fall out and make up again, we also know when issues are impacting on the children in school. 
  • When children are in class, the class teachers decide upon the table places / partnerships. Friends do not get the option work together. 
  • If some friends are no longer on the same register list that will not stop them being able to play together at lunch time and playtimes
  • All trips, residentials, parties are done as year groups.

In the last blog I talked about the way staff try to go above and beyond because we want the best outcomes. It is genuinely upsetting to see that some parents think so little of the staff that work with their children day in and day out. Some parents don't see that we want to make things better and presume that we have made decisions without any thought. 

I know that we have lots of very supportive parents/carers who will reflect upon the above. 

Over the next two weeks we have arranged for the children to visit new classes much more frequently than in previous years to allow children to get used to the new classes this term and be able to spend the summer being 'worry free'. Children will spend morning in their new classes and afternoons with their old ones. 

Sunday 10th July 2016 

Mrs Campbell 

 

If you follow us on Twitter you will have seen the great photos of children and staff on the Year 6 visit to Kingswood. This was the 3rd residential visit Ash Tree staff have taken children on this year. No member of staff is paid to go on residential visits. Staff do not get time back in lieu, they just give up their own time for no other reason than they want to give the children of Ash Tree a great learning experience. Back in school, the remaining staff work hard covering for the staff on residential to maintain the status quo.  

Ash Tree staff regularly do much more than is expected of them, because they want the best for the children here are few examples:

  • Mrs King takes the choir to events on an evening and in the weekend, Mrs King also conducts Arts trips in the holidays for her Arts Club.
  •