News: Head's Blog

September 2018 

We have begun Autumn Term 2018 with a quiet determination this year. This year we are focused upon getting further, flying higher and going deeper with our learning. As adults it is important that we never stop learning, that we follow our lead from the children. Everyday children are given feedback to act upon, advice to respond to and models to emulate. Our children do that beautifully. As adults we often find it harder. So this year we will all by trying harder to be a bit braver and take feedback and advice to improve. 

Mrs Johnson is continuing her campaign to make Ash Tree love reading and books, Mrs Varley has decided really great science is the way to inspire and wow children. Miss Farrington is  still our resident Mathematician with a desire to make maths magical for all, Mr Hicks still believes Kippax should be twinned with Catalina and wants us all speaking Spanish. Miss Panther has her fountain pens at the ready to ensure Ash Tree children are true writers. Mr D has a passion for getting the whole school active and healthy. Miss Eckersley is still working with those welly warriors to get children inspired about the environment - not to mention Mr Nelson, Miss Crossley, Miss Hodgson, Miss Bowles, Mrs Harrison, Mrs Crook and Miss Stephenson all adding their own little bit of flavour to our Ash Tree cooking pot! 

We know that this academic year is shaping up to be the best yet! Thank you so much for being a part of Team Ash Tree 

 

Have an Ash Tree amazing Day!  

 

 

 

March 2018

Welcome to our new website and a new term. 

Today is 'Offer Day' for parent/carers applying for Reception places. This is where it all begins! All the excitement, all the questions, all the heartache, all the growing and all the new learning. 

We know that your child is precious and special and needs something a little different to all the rest sometimes, all the time or just for a time. 

I honestly believe that 'going to big' school is hardest for all the mums, dad and carers. There are all those worries about 'What is they don't like it?' 'What if they don't settle?' 'What if they don't make friends?' 

It is a long time until September and that gives you lots of time to think of all the worst case scenarios. It is true - there a thousands of 'What if questions' but do you remember when they were first born and you thought they would never sleep? Eventually they did. Do you remember when they couldn't crawl - and then they did and didn't stop? The baby years go so quickly and the amazing little people that come to our school have already learned a million things.

Honestly, some will learn faster, some slower, some will love reading, others will love running, some will be popular, others will be shy but everything they have learned until now is from you and that doesn't stop because they are going to school - it just increases. There is no such thing as too much learning. 

Children learn from their environment - if they live in a house excited about a new, big school adventure - the child will be excited. If they live with anxiety and worry, they will learn to be wary of school.

As a parent my youngest child is just getting ready to leave Primary School. The time has gone so quickly and we have loved the ride - it hasn't all been easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. However, she has cried with laughter, she has made friends, she has learned new things, she has practiced skills, developed talents and become her own person. Your child will do the same. 

Of course there are times when mistakes have been made. She made mistakes, I made mistakes, staff made mistakes, her friends made mistakes but between us all we have nearly made it through. 

I can promise you that we will make some mistakes, but that is because we are human, just like you. We want the first day of 'Big School' to be the beginning of an Ash Tree amazing adventure. Every adventure has its twists and turns and we cannot wait to start this journey with our new Foundation Stage classes. 

As we start this journey - our year 6 children are coming towards the end of their Primary School journey. The children are focused for the SATs testing in May but SATs are a tiny part of the journey for children. The SATs will record how the children did on a test one day in May 2018. They will not evidence a great sense of humour, or ability to have empathy and demonstrate care for others. SATs don't show anyone what an amazing dancer you are or what an fantastic eye you have for design. 

Over the next few weeks we will give the SATs our best shot, we will try our hardest but we will also keep doing art and PE and Science because our children are more than a SATs result - they are truly Ash Tree amazing. I am incredibly proud to be Head Teacher of a school full of adventurers, who roll with the twists, grapples with the turns, make mistakes and make it all count. 

Have an Ash Tree amazing Day 

 

 

January 2019 

Happy 2019. How do you describe an Autumn term that  has had  the highest of highs and the lowest of lows?

Since September we have truly, truly loved having our new members of staff join the Team. Miss Panther, Miss Bowles, Miss Squires and Mr Gayles have brought energy, knowledge, skill and enthusiasm. We were thrilled to be officially recognized for making such significant progress with our 'disadvantaged learners' in the Y6 SATs compared to all other Leeds schools. 

Miss Smithies and Mr Dickinson welcomed our first ever Ash Tree baby and Mrs King celebrated the birth of her little girl. 

We rolled out Class Dojo and have loved being able to communicate directly with families and to share so much more with you than ever before in much more cyber-safe manner. 

Our curriculum work and development of Pupil Voice work has taken off and we are loving all our new developments and have even more plans to go bigger and deeper in all aspects of learning. 

Mrs Bellas and Mr Dickinson are putting the passion into Pastoral - Mr Dickinson is now leading our Pivotal Behaviour models and Mrs Bellas is developing a Soul Kitchen. 

Lots of successes in a single term, but of course, life is never that simple. Just before Christmas, Mrs Pillinger a member of support staff team for more years than anyone cares to remember, passed away. We collected donations on behalf of St Gemma's in her name. We have a memory book in school that we are creating to pass on to her family, that anyone is welcome to add to.  

We were then further saddened to find out that a very lovely mum of 2 children in our school also passed away unexpectedly on 23rd December. Our thoughts and love are with her family. 

We are taking everything day by day, we are still smiling and laughing. Never was it more important for us to keep moving forward with making our school a better place each and every day. 

 

'Sometimes is takes sadness to know happiness, 

Noise to appreciate silence and absence to value presence' 

 

 

February 2019 

We are at the half way point in the year, we have got through Janauary - a bleak, dark month with little to look forward to and entered February with a little more energy. The mornings are not as dark and we are managing to see some of the thin, wintery sunlight. That said, we have really 'grafted' this half term, we have work harder and for longer and we are incredibly proud of the progress and momentum that is building.  However, I love words and this week I hear about the 700 year old word 'forswunk'. It means to be exhausted from hard work and we all know that as we wring the final drop of learning out of this half term we will all have a sense of forswunk. That tiredness can make keeping a perspective difficult and the smallest things can feel huge. We are trying hard to keep our perspective and keep looking towards the horizon. 

 

Hope you are too! 

"Did you have a bad day or did you have a bad 5 minutes that you thought about all day?"  

 

March 2019 

Well, you know when you have an idea and it seemed a good one at the time...? In our Monday Assemblies we have been thinking about 'critical thinking' and as part of that we have talked about how charity theme days are a good way for large businesses to make some extra money - we checked out the profit and contributions that large shops make when you buy a 'charity' t-shirt and decided that we might want to go about charity events differently in the future. 

That is how this whole Comic Relief idea got started... we didn't just want to have a non-uniform day or give money to shops - we wanted to do something that everyone could get involved with. We also happened to have a spare bath in Foundation Stage garden (...I know...don't get me started about why that happened...) so the inter-class competition with the winning class dunking the teacher of choice in the slime bath was launched! 

Classes have done buns sales, sponsored dances, fruit skewers...then Year 2 got involved and last weekend the stakes were really raised! Parents and children raised a whopping £140 for year 2 - putting them in the lead for the competition. More worryingly... who do they want to dunk in the slime bath so much?  

We have then gone on to discuss whether we will be celebrating International Women Day - it is equitable? Do men get a day? Does celebrating make a difference to equality? Should we celebrate just because everyone else is? 

I love how many children are really considering the discussions and trying to be more critical - It does mean there will be children challenging some of our thinking and ways; as an adult that is not always easy to take. 

Thank you to everyone supporting the classes and their ideas, thank you for getting into the spirit and being a part of our learning journey. 

More importantly though... slime is really not a good look for me... just saying!!! 

 

April 2019 

Hello Summer Term! We have begun Summer term with aplomb, Summer Term is always the busiest term, not onlt do we have national tests for children in year 2 and year 6 but we are trialing the national timetable tests for year 4 and we have the Phonics screening for year 1. Added in to this mix it is report writing season for teachers, Summer BBQs, Transition to High School, residential to London, school trips, bank holidays , sports days and to kick it all off we have the Tour de Yorkshire coming through Kippax this week. 

In assembly we have looked at the Tour de France and then the Tour de Yorkshire and in particular the team element of the race. We know that the 4 jerseys awarded within the race mean not everyone can be a winner but everyone has to be a part of the team. 

We know that those taking part in the race have developed individual skills, worked over long periods of time to build up strength and stamina. They have to increase their capacity and keep focused. Each person takes on a responsibility within the team to lead, support or challenge .  All things we are trying to do everyday in every classroom. So as a school when we don our flat caps and make our way up to Longdyke Lane to cheer on the teams we know that the person at the front has worked hard but so have the rest of the team and we know that they need our support and cheers to motivate and encourage even more than the person at the front of the race. 

In our national testing we want all learners to be at their best, we want the team to do well and we need support, encouragement all the way. 

Over the next 2 weeks most children in Year 2 and Year 6 will be sitting the SATs tests. We know that children and staff have worked hard. We have been preparing the children for the SATs because we want them to be happy and successful and prepared for the next stages of learning, whether that is High School or Key-stage 2. Not every child in Year 2 and Year 6 will complete the SATs because some children have tests that come in different forms, equally as challenging and requiring the same amounts tenacity and engagement.

The SATs tests are designed to identify whether children are working ‘below’, at ‘expected’ or ‘above’ the national standard of an average year 2 or year 6 child in reading, writing, maths, spelling and grammar. I have never met an ‘average‘ child yet and I am pretty sure not a single member of staff came into education because we wanted to help young minds become ‘average’. We want our learners to be the best version of themselves they can be.

Whilst we want the children to do well, our children are so much more than a SATs ‘result’. The results won’t show that we have children with amazing levels of empathy, who will make a real difference to the lives of others; children who make us laugh out loud every day, they impress us with their ideas, they can make our hearts swell with pride and our eyes fill with tears. We have children with character and spirit that cannot be measured by a test carried out one day in May.

More than anything, over the next few weeks we ask that the children have the chance to rest and relax. What will really help at this point is having weekends and evenings where the focus is on having great sleep and not worrying. We have covered the curriculum. There will be nothing in the tests that we have not covered in class but is takes a well-rested and focussed brain to recall the information. Some will soar high with their results – others not so much, but we are still proud of each and every child, whether they do all the tests or none, whether they score highly or lowly as long as they have tried their best we could ask for nothing more.

We are so very proud of all our children, we love their work ethic, kindness, energy, humour, ideas and so much more.

 

 

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