Sunday, September 25, 2016

Messing around on the water...

As September draws to a close and the autumn nights get longer I have become increasingly aware that my morning puppy walks across the fields resplendent in shorts and T-shirt will soon become another fading memory of summer....but not quite yet.  So just as age can be a process of denial so is my autumn...if I don't stop wearing shorts then perhaps it won't stop being late summer!  

So after a genuinely fabulous week I am sitting here blogging before our afternoon tennis lesson.  

Last weekend was my daughter's 15th Birthday.  

She seemed to enjoy herself. Loved playing tennis in the drizzle, meal in town with her friends, sleepover and then asked to go into London on Sunday to catch a Top Shop event, part of London Fashion Week, at Spitalfields Market.  

If you haven't visited Spitalfields then perhaps you should, full of interesting stalls and lots of different food stalls that aptly display London's wonderful diversity and ethnic breadth.  We went for Caribbean this time, the girls grazing on patties whilst I went with Jerk Chicken Curry.

We then decamped to Oxford Street for a spot of retail as Chloe went Birthday shopping before catching the fast train home via Yo Sushi.....and a phonetically challenged Costa Coffee outlet :))))

Monday started with an early morning walk with Yinka before school called.  A glorious way to begin the week......and a wonderful sunrise.

School itself brought the long awaited arrival of our new School Business Manager, Melanie Puttock.  Melanie's appointment is another important step in creating a modern school office to help take the school forward.  A huge thank you to Mrs Reeves and Mrs Lowery for running the school office and finances with a member of staff down for so long.  

And then to the highlight...three days on the water with a group of 9-10 year olds.

As I have mentioned before on my blog, a key element of how we will raise standards is through the quality of our curriculum and the experiences we provide for the children.  Not just what they learn but how they learn.  Our aim is to create confident, independent, resilient learners who thrive on the challenges new learning presents, secure in the knowledge that they have the capacity to succeed.  Our Year 5 trip to Bewl Water is directly linked to that.  Providing children with new experiences that will enrich them, taking them out of their comfort zone and enabling them to over come the challenge and succeed.  Great for self-esteem and confidence and once you've kayaked or sailed across a reservoir an exam or new maths challenge shouldn't hold quite the same level of fear.

It was an amazing trip, probably the most enjoyable and rewarding school residential I have experienced in over twenty years of working with children and one that will have had a huge impact on the children.  They were a fabulous group of children...polite, impeccably behaved throughout, empathetic to each other, collaborated and showed determination and stamina to succeed and overcome fear when it arose and master new skills when demanded.  

We started gently with a low adventure course aimed at team building and collaborative problem solving.....building their confidence and sense of partnership prior to hitting the water!

The first afternoon and last morning they went on a solo kayak or rowed an open canoe across the water.   (photos to follow)

Every evening the children went on a night walk around the reservoir, returning each time to hot chocolate and on the last night requested a scary bedtime story...bless!

Wednesday was without doubt the day everyone enjoyed the most....a whole day sailing in the autumn sunshine.  It was wonderful to see how far some children had come in a few hours from being anxious and reluctant to go on the water in a canoe or kayak to sailing, some solo, across the water....manipulating the toppers with confidence and control and loving every moment.

We started off by collecting the boats and various bits of equipment

Then each child was shown how to assemble their own boat...which they then did.....before being checked by the instructors

And then out on the water glorious September sunshine....utter bliss

We ended with a few water games....well with 30 children not wanting to leave the water a splashiest soon ensued!

A fabulous day on a memorable trip.

I returned early on Thursday as the school had been asked at the last minute to host a meeting for head teachers from our local consortium.  Sad to leave early but in truth the meeting should prove very valuable to our School.  The other schools agreed to set up some inter-schools sports competitions and further develop collaboration between teachers including I hope more peer observations across the schools.  These activities will all bring significant benefit to our children and the day was very successful and full of lovely compliments about our children and the school environment we have created.

Friday saw the culmination of our whole school project on Roald Dahl.  Every class having chosen one of his books and spent the first few weeks of term reading it and basing their learning around it.  An exhibition of their work is on display in the main school hall for parents to view until Tuesday morning...please try to come along.


  1. Sounds and looks like you had an absolutely amazing time .. memories made the children will treasure forever !

  2. Thanks for creating such an amazing experience for the kids. Can't wait to see more pictures.


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