Thursday, 15 December 2011

The final wise man, but what a wise man

So, to my fourth and final wise man.

I hope you enjoyed and were provoked by my last piece. Here, a few days later, just like that fourth wise man, is the conclusion.

Like everyone who was forced by human compulsion to watch last summer’s diabolic riots with enormous sadness, three images stand out for me. I’d like to point out at this point that I know the run up to it, and know that our police force may not be whiter than white, but I’d rather have them there than not. Regardless of their actions, we have something difficult, cumbersome and utterly, utterly irrefutable to deal with such incidents: it’s called THE LAW. The law should have dealt with it, not the mob. Note to mob: You’re wrong, whatever you say on Twitter or Facebook, you’re wrong.

The first image was the sight of the furniture shop in Croydon totally engulfed by flames. Had it not been such a painfully sad story, the spectacle might almost have been beautiful.

Secondly, the sight of a teenager, dressed top to toe in expensive clothes (so no real social injustice there) climbing up a wall in a bookmakers to rip a television screen from a shelf, and the mindless, needless aggression that must have accompanied that act.

And the third? A father, who had lost his son, with every justification in the world to be angry, standing up to the mob and telling them to go home. It is this man, Tariq Jahan, who I would like to nominate as my fourth wise man.

We have our leader already – step forward Mr D. We have the quiet, sensitive toiler, who kickstarted (quite literally) a breakout of monumental peace. We have our social glue, our smiler. But every successful team needs an activist, and energy bringer, a spark. One who compliments the qualities of the others and still brings something new to the group. A d’Artangnan figure, if you like. I believe Mr Jahan could be this figure.

Haroon Jahan, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir were victims of this summer’s riots. Three young men who stood up to defend their community. At the news of their deaths, tensions rose even higher, and thousands took to the streets. This was transforming slowly, subtly and powerfully from a pointless act of violence to a thirst for concentrated revenge. Something had to give.

Step forward father of one of the men, Tariq Jahan, who stood and addressed the baying crowd. No-one needed an introduction to know who he was, or how he must have felt at that moment. He had more right than anyone in that city of my birth to feel grief, anger and injustice at that time.

However, with the streets at his disposal, did he call for vengeance?

No. He asked a question.

“Who here wants to lose a son or a brother tonight?”

I recall watching these images with tears in my eyes. What bravery this must have taken I can only guess. The streets around him remained silent and deferential, but the tension remained. When no answer was forthcoming, Mr Jahan stepped in.

“Then go back to your homes.”

In the following days, he stated publicly how humbled he was by the reaction of the community, especially the young people, who listened to his request for calm. Surely it is we who should be humbled. Surely, as it is us who have not experienced this unbearable loss (and, trust me, I love nothing more on this planet than being a father) who should be truly humbled.

“If I were a wise man, I would play my part”. Mr Jahan, who, as far as I’m concerned deserves a knighthood, certainly played his part. Therefore, I would humbly ask him to play the role of my fourth wise man for the 21st century. Dickens played his part. The unknown football instigator played his and then some. Noddy continues so to do. Ask yourself: have I played mine? Have I been the human I’m cracked up to be?

So my quartet of wisdom comprises men of all ages, of different faiths and of different nations. Different skills and talents representing different standpoints. But isn’t that what a successful team needs? Also, in order to face up to the challenges and demands of the 21st century, we need to appeal to the world entire.

No women? I know a thousand wise women, but that’s another blog, and some stories I shouldn’t reveal on an education-based website.

So, as we usher in 2012, let us hope that these and other wise men (and wise women) can contribute to the leading the world to a safer and happier year. 2011 has been a worrying year – the middle east and our own country just a part of a larger global antagonism, and then we must remember the poor people of Japan. Below the news, we must try and reclaim a happier, brighter world for all those on the margins: the homeless, the unwanted, the downtrodden, and even further, those people who have every material comfort imaginable, but live in fear of those near by. Don’t give something up for new year; take something up, and let that something make a small, unnoticeable difference.

To all who have read and understood, peace be with you. To those who have not understood or have taken offence, my most humble apologies, and peace also be with you. However you celebrate the impending festivities, I hope it is incredibly special for you and yours.

For 2011, that is all.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Three Wise Men

Whilst heads of other educational or world establishments may choose to utilize their December blogs for Christmas messages, this blogger feels it may be more apt to exploit the conjoining of the festive season and my technological responsibilities to greater social purpose. Therefore, I would humbly offer you the following words to ponder. I hope they bring nothing more than a smile and some warmth to you and to yours, and if they do little more than fill the void between reruns of Christmas specials, I may finally have served some purpose on this earth.

In coming up with this idea, I wish to apologise in advance for any offence my ideas may cause. I once wrote a Christmas play for children called “Rats amazing” in which the characters of the nativity each arrived with rats and other vermin, and the usual plot unraveled to end with a nativity scene. I thought it was okay. The governors at the Church of England school had sanctioned it. However, the Christians in the audience (all three of them) complained bitterly, and I therefore frontload this offering with the sincere message that no offence is intended.

Every year schools seem to have the same discussions: who will be Mary? How many camels shall we have? Where’s the baby gone from the 1970s style crib, and why did they have 1970s style school furniture 2000 years before? I was once party (again, in a Church of England school) to a discussion about how many kings we should have – 5 or 6?. Forgive me, but I always thought it was three on the day, with one arriving late.

This in turn, if you’re irritating like me, leads to the whole “well, were they kings?” discussion. Were they Magi, astrologers, the proverbial wise men? I would (once again, with no offence intended whatsoever) go further – were they diplomats, sent to represent civilization at a key turning point? Were they politicians, seeking to act on the behalf of others for good? Or, Heaven forfend, for ill? Were they simply lucky, arriving as they did at that place at that time? Were they merchants, peddling gold and precious objects around Judea?

Let’s stick with the idea of wise men. For this blog, I’d like to offer you up and alternative set of wise men, thinking about their lasting impact on a 21st century landscape. If they were truly wise men all those years ago, how did they use their immaculate experience to benefit others, and what might we learn? The enduring story still perplexes, mystifies and humbles, but a sideways think around it may present some brainfood.

For wise man number one, the leader, the spokesman, the negotiator, I would offer up a certain Mr Charles Dickens. “A Christmas Carol!” I hear you all cry. Well, no, not entirely. In fact, that only serves as the literary representation of why I’m electing to imbue old Charlie with Wisdom status.

So why is he here if not for the Carol? Allow me to point out one or two things. Dickens, who spent time in his childhood in a Union workhouse, was determined to be successful. He worked laboriously on his writing, acting and public speaking. He was an advocate of the poor and needy, and a champion of justice. Furthermore, he was a believer in redemption. He thought that with hard work, dedication, a bit of luck, a man could become leader of his own destiny. Many of his characters have to overcome adversity to fulfill their recognized potential – think it through, you’ve all seen Oliver. That is what the carol is all about, and some of his lesser known works; The Chimes is also a ghost story just like Christmas Carol, which takes place during the midnight bells of New Year’s Eve, and sees a horrible character becoming good.

Above all, Dickens believed in the power of light and kindness as a human power for good. He believed that tenderness, compassion, love and joy were the key triggers to success for the human race, and he tried to tell everyone. Imagine how powerful that message would have been in the 1800s, or 2000 years ago, or even in Brussels this week.

And that’s where we get to the Christmas Carol. Whether you fall down on the side of Alistair Sim, or the side of Kermit the frog, everyone knows at least one catchphrase from this story – usually “Bah, humbug!” The point is this: A Christmas Carol is simply a moral tale on how the human race can change for the better. It’s about having the courage to stand up and say “I was wrong!” and then having the courage to put it right. It’s about accepting that there are things on this planet which are unacceptable, and stepping up to the plate which reads “Making a difference”. Yes, it’s got the ghosts, and the graveyards, and the tears, and the jokes, but then, every Dickens book has them (except Great Expectations – graveyards galore but short on the gags). Dickens was using these, as ever, as his vehicle to tell a ripping yarn laden with moral values.

If you really want to drill down into the Christmas in the Carol, look at the little speeches, such as his nephew saying “…although it’s never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I say Christmas has done me good and will do me good…”. If Dickens thought that his legacy was as the pensmith of a jolly old Christmas cartoon, he would have gone mental. Well, even more mental.

So that’s our leader of wise men: a champion of social justice, a fierce advocate of the poor and downtrodden, and the author of one of the world’s largest and finest collections of “How it should be done”s.

So, to our second wise man. Only a young man, and I only wish I could tell you his name. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, no-one actually knows it. Nor can I tell you his nationality. All we can guess is that he was a young man, a long way from home, serving people he would never have met. If Dickens was our leader, this wise man is our worker, our humility, our water carrier. This is the one you never notice, the one who cleans up after himself, the one who would never have brought anything showy like gold; he’d always bring something practical yet impressive, something thoughtful and kind, such as myrrh.

For my second wise man is courageous young man who made a decision that would change his life and the life of many more. My second wise man is the young soldier who decided, on Christmas day in 1914, that he wasn’t staying in his trench, and, in the midst of what would be the most terrible conflict ever, decided to go and offer the gift of friendship in the form of kicking a ball around.

No-one knows the truth about this apocryphal tale; it is right up there with the Angel of Mons in the “Woh, did that really happen?” stakes but the general consensus is that the football match on Christmas day 1914 actually happened. Stanley Weintraub’s excellent book Silent Night offers more insight than I might. However, think about this: someone had to start it. One person had to have the courage, or simply even the idea, to break out of the shackles of warfare.

It still makes me stop and think. In the middle of the most catastrophic act of man to hit the planet, men of many nations simply … stopped. Now that is a wise act.

Finally, our joker in the pack. Our mouthpiece. Our social animal. The one everyone will remember at parties. The one everyone will say “Wasn’t he funny?”. Every group needs its social manipulator, and here we have ours.

On a regular 1970s July Thursday, in the middle of an unseasonable heatwave, a man from Wolverhampton couldn’t believe his luck. There he was, having enjoyed very minor glam rock success in the UK and the US, suddenly meeting his idol. Not only that, he was in the apartment of his idol, playing a famous white piano synonymous with the idol.

When placed in this situation, many people might go to pieces. I met one of my heroes and became a jibbering wreck. Some may resort to silliness, some to shyness. Not our wise man, oh no, no, no. Whilst playing John Lennon’s white “Imagine” piano, our third wise man did none of these. He simply sat there, with one of his mates, and penned a now world famous anthem. Later that day, he recorded it. Yes, I offer as our third wise man Norbert Holder, better known as Noddy.

Are you having a laugh? You may cry. No, I’m not. For a very simple reason: every single year, Noddy Holder goes out of his way to remind people that he knows how lucky he was and is. He makes it no secret that he thought the record would be a flash in the pan, and that he would really rather remember playing John Lennon’s piano a little more fondly. He donates proceeds from re-releases to charity, time and time again, and makes it clear that his work of art is for everyone to share and enjoy, and that no-one should take it too seriously. When our world is becoming a serious and dark place, someone with a social conscience, and a little humour, will save the day.

There you have them. Our leader, our intellectual and our talker. Our water carrier and labourer who ensures the unpleasant things get done. Our social glue, the person who knows what it is to give, and what it is to laugh. Wisdom? A very special kind of it, yes, I think so…

I hope this little piece of self indulgence has made you think, or at least smile, once. I hope you will consider it merely a new reflection of an old theme. I hope it reveals how seriously I take the subject, and I sincerely pray it has caused no offence. I hope your Christmas is amazingly special, and that you and your loved ones enjoy it together. Above all, I hope that the wisdom of someone will relieve the world of its current struggles, but I think that’s a big hope.

Thank you all. That is all.

PS Next week I will reveal my fourth wise man. Simply, a brave father.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Who kicked a whole in the sky...

Why are we teaching these wonderful children Status Quo? Why oh why oh why oh why... Surely there are other three chord monkeys more deserving of our tonal derision. What next, Christmas songs by septegenarian legends? No, no and thrice no.

So anyway, what have we learned since last we blogged? (One thing we've definitely learned is that is you press the publish button too quickly, your entire blog is wiped out. Very interesting that was...) We have learned that, no, we have re-learned that our community are incredibly generous, once again showing their kindness for Children in Need. Once again, I have been reminded that, when asked to show a little respect, our children will always show a lot - the silence at remembrance was deeply, deeply moving and humbling.

So what else have we learned?

- Year 6 can really, really write.
- Year 5 love a puppet.
- Year 4 have to be asked, politely, at clockhand point, to stop working ... no stop ... no please stop ... no, please, we really mean it ... Oh okay, we'll stay in and work through playtime, again.
- Year 3 know how to look after new friends, if not older ones;
- Year 2 can write in the most amazing paragraphs;
- Year 1's phonics are incredible;
- Reception and nursery have the most amazing set of learning skills, and amaze me just about every day.

And, as we hurtle tinsel-laden towards "festive" activity, let us all take a step back and consider the sensitivities of slightly chubby skinheads the world over, but from Birmingham in particular, and acknowledge that singing "Wizzard" repeatedly from the 23rd November is not, necessarily, a good idea (Ruben). December 23rd, well then they join in...

Well done on a super November friends. That is all.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A black and white flag denotes ...?

So, having once again forgotten my kit for running club, I am forced at biscuit point to get on with the blog. Not that I want people to think that being this witty, erudite, badinage is a chore, no, no, no, no. It's just that there are more difficult ways of securing a biscuit.

Anyway, into term 2 and what do we find. Attendance is slipping (doh!), displays are amazing (yeah!) and work, as ever, continues onwards and upwards. I have had the pleasure (and colleagues, I use that word deliberately) of enjoying and joining in with several lessons in the course of the last two weeks, and I have seen some amazing stuff. History, PE, art, garage building, skeleton making, firework impersonating (I kid you not), it has all been nothing short of brilliant.

So what have we learned?

- Year 5 and 6 know their flags (and, thanks to them, so do years 3 and 4);
- Years 1 and 2 know a thing or two about bones, and not all entirely human ...
- EYFS know plenty about construction, and about treasure hunting;
- Year 3 appear to know a lot about pizza;
- Year 1 can do the most amazing graphs and charts;
- Year 5can as well;
- Year 4 are, quite simply, mesmerising at a front straddle. (Honest.)

In between we've learned a lot about cake, soup, and, at the risk of repeating oneself, (skeleton) biscuits. And it's not even Children in Need day...

That is all.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

That is all for term 1

Well done on a fantastic term 1 everyone.

Work - excellent.

Attendance - getting there, but still some way to go.

Behaviour - years 1, 2, 3 and 4, nurseyr and reception, simply marvellous. Years 5 and 6 ...

Smiling - top drawer.

Have a well deserved break everyone.

That is all.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Jockey Wilson said ...

Some truths are irrefutable. You play well, you win. You play badly, you lose. Act like an idiot, people call you one. As the Olympics near, shall we make "not behaving like a toenail" our national sport?

So, as we hurtle at considerable speed towards the final week of term 1, what have we learned, and what should we celebrate?

We have learned that:

- Mr Davies doesn't like an art project unless its massive;
- Year 1 like numicon. A lot. Really, really a lot;
- Crickets' ears are on their legs (at least, that's what I think I overheard);
- Some adults don't listen to important messages;
- Nacny D'ell Olio is as daft as she appears;
- Miss Dark and Miss Norman have hidden talents;
- Year 6 can write extremely well when they put their mind to it;
- Year 4 can write for Britain, and write well;
- Year 2 can use 4 digit numbers, dead easy, without taking off their shoes and socks.

That and much besides. So, what should we hold up as exemplary? What should we hail as the true way? What is truly praise worthy?

- Key Stage 2 attendance - 96.9% for September;
- All our category A behaviour pupils, e.g., Holly Hulin, Emily Rustill, Logan Prince, Kessie Jones, Callum Searle, and a thousand others (well, about 180);
- The work I got to show off to our visitor on Wednesday (now that was awesome);
- (Never thought I'd type these words) Wales' performance;
- How cool our new reception class are;
- How amazing our Polish gang have become in a very short space of time.

A successful term 1? Why yes, in all the obvious important ways, such as the progress, the leaching and learning, the environment, and the 100 un-noticable but extremely important ways, such as how helpful people have been, how much people have been smiling, how much energy and effort people have put in to good habits, such as turning up on time, saying sorry, working at home. Let me count the ways...

Let's keep it going.

(Again, never thought I'd type the words, but here we go) COME ON WALES! No irony intended, I would very much like to see you in the final. Go for it.

That is all.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

We're not convinced ...

"What shall I play?" said the one we call the 'new Scaiff'.

"The right the right the right time," we chorused. "And none of that free-form jazz." A B-minor chord progression impresses no-one. No-one.

The Indian Summer (which, if the meteorologists are to be believed, came from the Med, not India) has raised the temperatures of everyone concerned, and quadrupled the water consumption during science lessons. I dare say it has in other academic subjects, but I've only taught science this week, and therefore cannot comment.

Our latest accolade:

Best Attendance For 10 years!

That's what she said: attendance for 2010-11 was the best in a decade. And this year's, so far, is awesome.

So, the end of September approaches, and what have we learned, other than the fact that we still do not have an international rugby team worthy of a mention?

- Some of our new reception friends are really rather clever, including rather numerate;
- Year 6 really can excel - when they try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try...
- Year 5 is full of scientists;
- Key Stage 1 is packed full of writers, by all accounts;
- Year 3 are happier without a carpet;
- Year 4 are just amazing people. But I suppose we knew that already. They've merely confirmed it.

A great September, with all sorts of exciting projects, at all levels, kicking off. I have been delighted to watch displays appearing showing off our wonderful work, and very impressed with the books I have had the pleasure of seeing.

So, we lurch unceremoniously and unco-ordinatedly towards October and (so they say, but they think India is near Istanbul) cooler skies, let us continue all the good things: the good uniform, the good attendance, the good humour, the good work, the good ... stuff kind of thing. Well done everyone.

That is all.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pixie magic?

"And now ladies and gentleman, live, all the way from sunny Yatton, please give a warm Badock's Wood welcome, as he heads into another year of pointless and, frankly, odd electronic meanderinds; its the one, the only, the thankfully unique Mr Zak Willis!"


He comes in, stage left, wearing an immaculate three piece suit and some pink / purple combo that belongs on a cruise liner rep, and gives the crowd a wave, for which they go wild.

More applause.

He waves to the crowd at the back, then cups his hand to his ears to hear them scream. He waves his appreciation. This boy sure can work a crowd.

Applause looks like it will continue, therefore with a final flourish he begs for calm. The crowd calms, awaiting the next utterances of idiocy. A hush desends, as mass acknowledgement is realised. They have indeed, irrevocably, entered

the blog...

Friends, parents, carers, colleagues, governors, wellwishers and stakeholders, welcome back to another school year. Summer, which seemed to last for a year, is now a distant memory, and few of us fear we will ever be warm again. However, let that not detract from a start - a fine, fine start - to a year of great promise. Books are already bursting with work, displays appear mysteriously almost on the hour, uniform is the best I have ever seen, and ... there's a certain something else.


Erm ...

Can't ... quite ... put me finger on it...

GADZOOKS! That's it! I knew I'd see it again some time soon.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is smiling. I have been in work every morning this week early, partially because the mother-in-law has taken up residence of the spare room, but mostly because it is a pleasure at the moment to be here and see people smiling. I arrive early - but still after the other staff - and watch them working and joking together. I go onto the playground and see people of all ages sharing jokes and fun - in some cases this week in the most appalling weather conditions - and then I walk around each day watching, with enormous joy and pride, classes enjoying their work.

If I were a clever bloke, I'd try to put it into words.

It would be something like... aspire... achieve...enjoy.

Fitting. I like it.

Have a brilliant year everyone.

That is all.

It's good to be back.

All. Completely. Honestly.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

And now, the end is near, ...

I am astounded that an academic year has passed. It is a cliche, but where has the time gone?

Last year, on Friday 24th July, I stood in front of the entire school community and bade a fond farewell to those leavers, and made the bold and daring claim that, come this year's leavers' service, I wanted to stand in front of the assembled community with a positive OfSTED report in one hand and a letter recategorising the school in the other. Will I be able to make good?

More of this later. First, we must, surely, wax lyrical about this year's band of leavers.

What an amazing bunch of young people. What a thoroughly, thoroughly pleasant and decent set of individuals. And what amazing friendships. Quietly, almost stoically, some of these guys have had to face the most unbearable personal circumstances. Yet they have managed it. And they have managed it together.

It has been nothing but a privilege and a joy to watch these young people blossom and grow. As I said last night, I'm really going to miss the fun. Stay young - stay children - as long as you possibly can.

But let us not be sad. No, no. We shall not shed a tear. Let us instead cheer and shout from the rooftops the plain and simple facts:


In case you missed it, I said best SATs results ever, including reaching the national average in mathematics.
- First cohort to leave the school with 27 APS (technical, but let me assure you, very very important).
- Not a single, not one solitary exclusion. Not even an hour.
- Books shared with other schools to demonstrate what "Good" year 6 learners should be doing.
- Attendance above the national average, including a 100% SATs week.
- Performed not once but twice at the Colston Hall, and in Wales during St David's Week.
- An utterly nice bunch of people.

What of the rest of the school? did we neglect them? To quote a famous dog, "Oh no no no no". What did the rest of the school get up to this year.

- Reception outcomes were above the Local average for the second year running;
- Key Stage 1 results were up in every indicator by an average of 25%;
- Progress in reading in every year group;
- Progress in writing in every year group;
- Progress in maths in (you guessed it) every year group;
- APS = 4.17 (trust me, that's good).

Overall, not bad you would suppose. Yet wait, there is more.

- Not one but two successful OfSTED visits;
- Three consecutive "good" grades at progress review;
- Investors in People award;
- Financial Management Standards award;
- Every Child a Reader award;
- Best attendance since records began.

A year, as I said earlier, a fast disappearing year of amazing and significant improvement and achievement. I am extremely proud and pleased to be the head of such an organisation, and my intention is to kick on to the next phase.

So will I be able to make good on my claim from last year? Now, there's a story.

I most certainly will have the OfSTED report I sought in one hand. And in the other? There will be a number of documents which I will share with the school community. But that's for tomorrow.

Let me conclude a year of furious blogging by simply stating thus: thank you all; for your effort; your determination; your commitment; your enthusiasm; your passion; your kindness; your resilience; your smile; your shoulder; your heart. Thank you. Thank you. Simply...thank you.

For one year of amazing achievement, whilst we look forward to another, that is all.

Have a great holiday. Stay safe.

That really is all.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Happy, happy campers

Although we have been in constant communication with school, and I am delighted with how well the trips have gone, and of course, we all screamed at the brilliant news on Tuesday (more of this later), allow me if you will to concentrate this blog on our Exmouth camp this week.

New challenges have been faced by all, from managing personal hygiene, to flinging oneself from a bridge. My fellow campers - the princess of Darkness, Tall lad and Messa Sims - and I have been repeatedly impressed, amazed and proud of the successes and achievements of the gang this week. Some of our highlights have been:

- Holly Hulin (allegedly) attacking anything that moved, before annihilating all at musical statues;

- Lewis' quite monumental bedwear;

- Vic and Bob's appearance on the camp, disguised as Jessica and Kelsey;

- The intestinal fortitude of Miss Sims, who dislocated her own shoulder, then popped it back in Mel Gibson stylee;

- Finlay's dancing - see it to believe it;

- Mr Scaiff refusing to abseil down a bridge, until coerced by orchestrated chicken clucking from the year 6 gallery;

- Jess' myriad verbal attacks on Mr W;

- The Scaiffmeister in a wetsuit - step back ladies, he's taken;

- George's pull on the rest of the planet;

- Inker's skimboarding, and the way he has sensitively and beautifully managed some difficult situations for other people;

- Blake and Jake's matching pjs and blossoming friendship;

- Luke "Legend", Harrison "Nobody", Jess and Kelsey "Vic and Bob" for all surfing, yes I mean proper surfing a la Point Break;

- Maid Macy Marion's archery, and Summer's double archery / rifle bullseyes;

- Elisha's skill at being someone as amazing as Elisha;

- Everyone who had the courage to climb over and then abseil down that horrible, horrible bridge in that horrible, horrible weather;

- Princess's ability to lay an ostrich egg;

- Ellie and Jodie taking on responsibility for caring for someone who desperately needed it, but did not know;

- Bethany for being a proper mentalist, including barking at the fatboy for not dancing correctly;

- Lewis Ramsey repeatedly being an ambassador for our school;

- The way Ethan Prince has responded to challenge, and for his amazing one liners;

- Blake's world record trampolining, all in his own lunchtime;

- The fact we have had an entire week without a single fallout, disappointment or let down.

Everyone has contributed to the quality of this camp, without a shadow of doubt the best I have ever been involved in, and it is a testament to the calibre of these fine individuals from years 5 and 6. We cannot thank you all enough.

But I'll try.

Thank you. All. Very, very much. From the bottom of my very proud heart.

That is all.

PS Colston Hall was awesome. Well done people.

PPS Exceedingly good news announced next week. Watch this space...

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Did I mention I was in the Evening Post?

Alex McLeish? I mean, Alex McLeish? Yes, I know what you're thinking, but allow me just to pose one question: Alex McLeish? The only thing he could win is points at Scrabble with that X. (Naturally, Scottish trophies do not count south of Durham.) Hmmm. In the words of an infamous tractor daredevil "I am not, I am Not, Happy".

Anyway, rant over, allow me to continue, for there is joyful news in the world with the release of a new Bon Iver album, and, of course in the Evening Post where our school is spoken of very highly. My wife has, apparently, 'facebooked' it. Charming, but I have no idea what that actually means, so, bless.

But, even better than that, the school has not stopped since the inspection, oh no no no. EYFS (yes, those clever little ones) have recorded results far above and beyond what we expected. And key stage 1( those clever medium sized ones) have done, so I hear, remarkably well in their key satge 1 SATs. Furthermore, the displays and the books in key stage 2 were very impressive this evening. So, it looks as if we will continue to strive to meet our own ambitious goals by the end of the year. Sounds familiar.

Please weather people, be nice to us tomorrow.

Not Alex McLeish mind.

That is all.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Well, that was a wierd week or two...

Morning bloghoppers. Apologies for the blogoshpere silence these past weeks, but we've just been a tad on the busy side.

Our visitors (yes, those visitors) left us last week very impressed with what they saw, and we are awaiting their report to share with the community, the Evening Post, and , indeed, the world. Since their departure, the energy levels in the school seem to have dipped, and I think one or two adults are VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD to a looming holiday, but we have an academic year to complete, challenges still to meet, and targets waiting to be met.

So, what have we learned after this fornight of introspection?

No-one, and I mean no-one, except for a bloke from the Times, is interested in caving. No-one.

Key Stage 1 have some very odd, Sendak inspired dreams.

Nursery and reception get better at writing all the time.

A 2l pop bottle is never ever just a 2l pop bottle. Simply add some food colouring, a swoosh (technical term; those who need to know know) of ribbons, ...

The rainforest, as depicted in pastels, is a beautiful place indeed.

Our attendance figures strive through adversity (100% for SATs week. Awesome. Let's all go caving....)

All joking aside, very well done year 6. Your turn next year 2.

That is all.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Something happenign tomorrow, just can't, I'm sure it'll come to me ... no, sorry, it's gone...

So I said to the boys, after we finished playing footie in Battersea park last night, "I thought I'd wear orange, and maybe flip flops. What about you boys?".

Apparently, Aston Villa cufflinks are the order to the day. No-one told me.

So, you having a street party? We just did, and it was excellent. The key theme? Sharing. I was blown away by the kindness of our community who gave so generously - thank you all so much - and by how wonderfully behaved our learners our learners our, and how considerate they always are. (Thank you also to that gang of year 6 who "did their SATs" with me, and to all the staff for pitching in; as ever, you are great.)

So, in this very short week, what have we learned?

Reception and nursery make the most excellent hats.
Key stage 1's writing gets better and better.
Year 3 and 4 are super sleuths (although it was slightly disappointing that the reward, for catching someone in the class, was a measly £2.50!).
Year 5 are without doubt the best sharers.
Year 6 are going to break all records for maths SATs.

Even though it has been a short week, we have managed to cram in an enormous amount. Well doen everyone. have a great weekend.

That is all.

Monday, 21 March 2011

It's all getting tight down at the bottom of the table..

.. and all of a sudden every game becomes a six pointer. Didn't want it to get this close. Oh dear...

Anyway, on to more pleasant matters. Red Nose Day saw participation levels at Badock's Wood climbing yet again, with a brilliant turn out for our mad hair day. the count as of Friday night was £127.28, but we still have money coming in, which is amazing. Well done everyone. As I drove home that evening, listening to other peoples' silliness, and how they had raised money, I couldn't work out who'd done any better. Photos will be crash landing in reception very soon.

I spent some time in key stage 1 last week. WOW! The books down there are utterly amazing, and the work the children are completing, even though some of them are still only 5, is pretty awesome.

EYFS learners are also turning out some amazing work, and I was delighted to see them this morning talking about what they are most proud of in the learning journals.

And, although it might sound a little blase, when they were applying themselves last week, key stage 2 were really showing some good work. I have some writing on my desk at the moment that is amazing. Not only that, it has been brilliant marked by another child before the teacher got the chance to comment.

Very, very pleasing indeed. So, what have we learned?

Read above. That is all.

Have a great week everyone.

That is all.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Is that song really about a saucepan?

Greetings to the second half of this academic year blogonauts. I hope it finds you well, refreshed from your rest.

Today, I broke most of key stage 2's hearts by giving them all a homework book, but then made them all happy by telling them they were off the hook (yesssssssssssssss!) until next week (ohhhhhhhhhhh!).

Then, we took year 6 off to stars of a previous blogpost - Sketty Primary School in Swansea. And, my, what a welcome. Our friends were what they always are - friendly. We had loads of fun singing and dancing, eating (a lot - nice Welsh cakes) and generally enjoying a wonderful experience. I could listen to those guys sing all (St David's) week. Mr Rees and the gang, thank you so much. Even before the coach tipped us back on this side of the bridge, year 6 were talking about having you back at the wood.

So, at the start of the second half of the year, what have we learned?

Year 1 are amazing writers.
Year 2 are amazing readers.
Reception can create the most amazing story maps.
Year 4 need to be more amazing when Mr V isn't in class.
Year 5 are amazing on computers, whether its publishing slave trade era newspapers, or programming lighthouses to switch on and off, conserve energy, make toast and save the world - all whilst washing its own windows.
Nursery are amazing at creating displays for their corridor.
Year 3 can, when pushed, do some amazing pattern spotting in maths.

And of course, year 6 are amazing, and I really do mean amazing, singers. Well done gang - except for some weird coach behaviour, you really represented the school well today.

Well done Mr Scaiff.

Until next time, that is all.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

How many Villa players in the England squad?

If I were Gerard Houllier, I would've spent all of today at my desk, calling all the other premiership managers saying

"Hi, le Petite Gerard here,how's it going? ...

Cool, I was just wandering how many players you had in the internationals this week? ...

That many? Well, it's the thought that counts. At least you tried. ...

No don't feel bad. ...

No, please don't cry. ...

No, Arsene, please don't get upset ...
Sorry, I've got call waiting. Monsieur Learner is on line two. Okay, bye now, bye, bye, yeah, bye."

However, I am not Monsieur Houllier. Yet I have been sat at my desk a lot of today. And have't been overjoyed by the way some visitors have been treated today.

Yesterday, however, was a very different story. There was I, sat in the meeting room with visitors from a potentially new Bristol school, when a thud shakes the door frame asunder. Was it year 3 asking for their lunch? No. Someone trying to get me to say my three dinners were ready. Neigh. A member of year 6 with some good work to show. Non.

It was infact 8 - yes, eight - members of year 6 with good work to show. And mighty fine work it was indeed. One of my visitors came to look too, and, after they had all gone, he told me how impressed he was, and that he was an ofsted inspector, and that he thought our year 6 books were of the highest quality. Put that in your peep and schmurk it!

What else is there to say except...

That is all.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Robotic manifestations surround me...

... no that isn't a witty lyric from your's truly. That is year 4, around my desk, getting even more resources to develop phase 2 of their robotic creations. Apparently, 7 Zark 7 hasn't made it... yet. (However, since it's post two weeks ago, have you noticed how the sound effects from Twiki have appeared in the jingles in the Chris Evans Breakfast show? Famous blog spotters ahoy me thinks.)

So, what have learnt this fortnight?
  • Year 6 can definitely write in an unpleasant tone;
  • Year 5 can, if motivated and in the correct mood, work with incredible dedication and diligence;
  • Year 3 and 4 can build robots, write about them, and, if the need arises, act like them;
  • Year 1 and 2 can produce the most amazing books for babies, and some pretty good displays too;
  • Reception and nursery are wonderful at welcoming visitors to our school (so is Briony Haines).

Anything else? Yes Dad, you were correct, 6 points puts a very different spin on things, and makes me feel much much better too.

Look out for the posters - "Appearing in a school near you - work from the children of Badock's Wood!".

You heard it here first.

That is all.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

When illusion spin her net...

Greetings fellow travellers round the blog of our edusphere.

Having walked around the school several times this week, and been smugly delighted at how pupils and classes have been settling down to tasks so well and so enthusiastically, and having seen the amount of work going on in some of the books, I reach (almost) the end of a very satisfying week.

The school, the leaders, and indeed myself, have worked to get a number of heavyweight tasks completed, and then some. But, above all, what have we learned?

  • Year 1 / 2 can select exactly the right time to get working, and when to get some help;
  • Year 2 can make the most amazing books for children;
  • Reception and nursery sure do know how to eat fruit;
  • Year 3 and 4 love their robots, and year 3's books are getting better and better;
  • Year 5 can draw;
  • Year 6 love symmetry... a little too much;
  • No one likes coming into assembly late;
  • Year 3 have been the best in assembly again...just;
  • Year 1 really can do some amazing maths.

For once, I could go on and on. But first of all, a question:

How bonkers are Miss Andrews and her running club? Several thousand miles of the field in the pouring rain... and they were smiling! Is this natural? Legal? You wouldn't find me in a pair of white denim cut offs and a "Frankie says..." t shirt on such an evening.

Year 3 and 4 - my entry for the robot hall of fame would have to be the one from Battle of the planets - 7 Zark 7. (and no, I did not fancy the girl from G-Force.. well, maybe just a little bit. I got a lot of use out of that "I love Princess" t-shirt in the 1980s). Might I also enter a plea for Twiki, the robot from Buck Rodgers, who could dance. Yes, that's DANCE! How about Cy from Battlestar Galactica? Or Marvin the paranoid android? For that matter, what about paranoid android by Radiohead? I always preferred "I think I'm paranoid" by Garbage myself. Oh dear, appear to have meandered a bit. Soz.

So, as I lurch into another argument with the top year 6 group about the number of interior angles in a decagon, may I wish you all a good weekend, and a happy second half of January.

That is all.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Greetings one and all and welcome to 2011 - the best year of your life, if you've a mind to make it such. I have lofty ambitions, for myself and for the school, and am looking forward to many things.

However, first of all, I'd like to invite you all to participate in the inaugural edition of the worst christmas present of the year award. My contender is a spotty oven glove, which allegedly was purchased as it "matches our mugs". Come on, beat that if you dare. Answers on a postcard to ...

So, as Mr Scaiff is walking around scratching his his head and worrying about a relegation dog fight that will never come to fruition (surely the bluenoses will go down before us?!?) and Taylor Iles and Freddie Grierson fight out a baby sumo contest, what are you looking forward to this year? What are your ambitions? Aspirations? What triumphs do you plan? If you haven't thought about it yet, shouldn't you? My friends spent all of new year planning what they're going to give up. As I said, once again, you shouldn't give something up, you should take something up. And they ignored me. Once again.

What have we learned in this very short week?
  • That year 3 do know how to behave in assembly, and they have so far done it marvellously.
  • That year 6 need to remember how to treat people, especially the adults.
  • That the whole school can whisper brilliantly in assembly.
  • That praise is........
Apparently, the snow is on its way again. Good job I never let her put the sledge back in the loft...

That is all.