Mrs Bickersteth’s Week in Review 7th July 2017

The Junior Department has felt rather empty this week due to the residential PGL trip taking place with a large number of Year 5 and 6 children off enjoying themselves, with Ms Banks, Mrs Hazell, Mr Jamieson and Miss Wiggins making sure that everything runs smoothly. I am sure that when they all return on Friday there will be many happy memories brought back to share but also many tired individuals. Thank you to everyone who has made this trip possible. A residential trip is extremely demanding for staff, but staff who attend always say how much they enjoy seeing another side to the children as they all face challenges and have time out of the usual school environment. On Monday there were no Year 5 or 6 children in school at all, as the rest of these two year groups went off to Mersea Outdoors for an action–packed day with Miss Courcha, Mrs Rogojan-Rush , Mrs Dell and  Mrs Whitlam. On Wednesday Year 4 all spent some of their morning at Lexden Country Reserve where they continued their cross-curricular work inspired by the work of the artist Andy Goldsworthy  .  Mrs Smith, Mrs Rogojan-Rush, Mrs Whitlam and I enjoyed seeing how the children worked on creating nature sculptures in this outdoor learning experience. I was impressed with the sensible attitude and cooperation shown by the children. I hope that the children will have been encouraged by this visit to get outside over the summer  and try some activities which do not involve any electronic devices . The ability to recognise wild plants – “what does a stinging nettle look like ? ”  or identify some birds ( we saw geese, ducks and cormorants on the pond) is something which  my generation probably takes for granted but it is not so often the case for all children now. I have added a link here which has a list of suggestions for outdoor learning homework which might be of use during the long summer holidays.

Cross curricular work has been a feature of many lessons this week, with Year 5 working on a cross-curricular “chocolate” project whilst the Year 6 children have been collaborating on “theme park” work, including presenting their work to  Year 4 for  a lesson. Year 4’s Andy Goldsworthy  inspired week has been fascinating. I enjoyed working with Mrs Smith in an outdoors lesson which involved using oyster shells to create artwork but also had some drama communication skills building  activities included. The children also have created literacy work inspired by their study of Andy Goldsworthy as well as practical lessons this week. Year 3 were hands on cooking this week, learning how to shape perfect patties to take home and share.

I loved seeing the Year 2 children visit the Reception and Year 1 classes this week, to showcase their learning about life during the Second World War. A highlight was seeing the children’s energetic and impressive lindy hop inspired dances which they had created themselves, having previously watched archive footage  of the dancing. The Reception children got up and were shown how to dance by the Year 2 children too ! Year 2 had also been baking Second World War food using recipes of that era and also presented facts about evacuees, air raid shelters and VE Day to Year 1 and Reception. Miss Door dressed in 1940s style all day, and impressed everyone with her superbly styled look. This week Nursery have been continuing practising for their end of year play which will be a lovely way to end the term with families attending next Wednesday.

This has indeed been a week full of preparation for end of year events. I have been at the Prep Prize Day rehearsal today at the Eld Lane Baptist church, which is kindly hosting this  Prep end of year celebration again. As I am writing this in advance of Friday’s Prep Prize Giving and end of year performance, I look forward to seeing many of you at the church  and  at the Junior Prize Giving at the Moot Hall, in Colchester Town Hall, next Tuesday.

The end of term marks a time of change for all the children as they will return to new year groups and, for some, new schools. As I write my final blog for Colchester High School before I too move on, I would like to thank every child for their part in making the school a place of joy in learning and pride in individual personal growth. I thank all of you for entrusting your children to the care of the school and for the support that has been shown for the school staff who work so well to look after and educate your children. I will miss all the children and I really hope that they all have happy memories of their time at Colchester High School.

Summer is truly here and as the end of term approaches, I wish you all a happy and restful break over the summer.