16 weeks and counting…
As I mentioned last week, the government has published its plan for getting all children back to school in September. This was a very welcome document, if somewhat lacking in specifics. We have started work on our plan to ensure the safe return to Woodlands of all of our pupils. I have held meetings with the other primary headteachers in Formby [FLiP: Formby Learning in Partnership], consulted with Sefton LA (via our FLiP representative), met with the chair & vice-chair of Woodlands governors & talked to staff at Woodlands. I should be in a position to share this plan with you next week. As I’ve stated previously, the main impact on families will be slight changes to the arrival & departure routines/times at/from school. It will be lovely to once again have school with classrooms full of enthusiastic children.
We will be delivering the children’s end of year reports next week. The reports will obviously be based on the academic year up until 20th March, when lockdown began. Your child’s class teachers will include a judgement on whether your child was on track to be working at national expectations for their age when school was suspended. They will not be able to make a definitive judgement as to whether your child would have achieved ‘working at national expectations’, only a prediction based on how they had been working during the first half of the year. Details of children’s new classes & teachers for the next academic year will also be included along with the reports.
I’d like to share which classes our teachers will be taking next year:
Nursery Class: Mrs L Jones & Mrs Simpson
Blue Class [Reception]: Mrs Fortune
Red Class [Reception]: Mrs Chadwick & Mrs Riding
Green Class [Year 1]: Ms Dollery (maternity cover)*
Purple Class [Year 1 & Year 2]: Miss Morgan
Yellow Class [Year 2]: Mrs Chapman
3A [Year 3]: Miss Abbott (maternity cover)*
3/4M [Year 3 & Year 4]: Mrs Mowatt
4G [Year 4]: Mr Grant
5D [Year 5]: Miss Dale
5/6P [Year 5 & Year 6]: Miss Pickford
6R [Year 6]: Mrs Rimmer
*Miss O’Neill & Mrs Dempster will both be on maternity leave in September 2020.
You may have noticed that there is one significant name missing from the teachers listed above. Mrs Stark. After teaching at Woodlands since 1st September 1993 (yes, that’s 27 years!), Mrs Stark has made the difficult decision to retire from teaching. She’s decided it is time to hang up her whistle, unplug her SmartBoard (previously, it would have been ‘pack away her chalk’) & fold up her Infant Music Club music stand. We will miss Mrs Stark desperately – we’ll be lost without her. She is well-respected not only within Woodlands but across Sefton too where she has held various roles for the local authority over the years: member of the School Readiness Team; Parent Coordinator; Good Practice Lead; Associate School Readiness Officer (to name but a few). Mrs Stark has also been one of Sefton’s lead moderators for the Early Years Profile since 1807. Mrs Stark was instrumental in setting up our school nursery in 2017 (she’d long hankered after one) &, alongside Mrs Jones & Mr Anderson, has ensured it’s been a wonderful addition to Woodlands. She has seen many changes in the teaching of Early Years in her time at Woodlands. She’s had to roll with the punches thrown by a myriad of government initiatives introduced over the years but has always managed to steer Woodlands safely through the storms of increasing educational legislation. Throughout it all she has ensured that the children begin their schooling at Woodlands in a happy, caring, secure & stimulating environment which sets our pupils up brilliantly for the rest of their time in school. Mrs Stark has always wanted the best for the children in her care. As I’ve already stated, we will miss Mrs Stark, not only her expertise in Early Years, but her legendary organisational skills [Exhibit A: our triannual visit to Southport pantomime – ensuring 300+ children get safely to Southport Theatre & back] & her wicked sense of humour (it’s a good job our staffroom is well soundproofed). Most of all we will miss Mrs Stark’s friendship, she is such a kind, caring, considerate human being. We can’t be too sad though, we know she is going to be able to spend more time with her family & more time in the shed at the bottom of her garden (don’t ask!). I could write reams telling you how wonderful Mrs Stark is but you already know that. Mrs Stark, being Mrs Stark, does not want “a fuss” to be made about her departure – however, anyone is wanting to make a wee bit of fuss, please feel free to drop off a donation in an envelope to the school office (marked ‘Mrs Stark’) before the end of the school year. We will be arranging a get together for staff to say a proper goodbye to Mrs Stark, but this will have to wait until after the summer holidays. It’s the end of an era, though I do have a suspicion that we will find Mrs Stark sneaking back into school at some stage in the not too distant future to be “an extra pair of hands” or to “hear a few readers”.
From Wednesday 15 July, our key worker & priority children group need to access the school building via the “School’s Out” entrance (to the right of our reception classes). Drop off & pick up will be from here until the end of term on Wednesday 22 July.
We are looking forward to welcoming our Y6 pupils back to school from Thursday 16 July for 5 days. We feel it is important they are given the opportunity to return to Woodlands for a whole range of reasons. As well as getting them used to tackling school work in a classroom setting, they will be able to complete transition activities to help them prepare for their move to Y7, have contact with their high schools, say goodbye to their friends who will be attending different educational settings, & bring their time at Woodlands to some sort of close.
During the summer break, Woodlands will be closed to both pupils & staff. The junior end of the building is getting a much-needed complete electrical rewire & & the infant end is having remedial building works carried out throughout.
When my wife said she was leaving because of my obsession with The Monkees
I thought she was joking…
And then I saw her face