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Buddies and Blossoming

Buddies and Blossoming

Well each of our Year Six children have met their buddies, made them a special welcome card ( containing  their own personal message) and presented them in assembly on Thursday, where Reception were officially welcomed into the ‘Unsworth Family’ – our school community.  Sometime is spent carefully matching each Y6 and Reception pupil.  This is definitely a highlight of the school year for our Year 6 pupils and it always a delight to see the care they show towards our youngest pupils.  It is also a very responsible job, which always has a positive effect on our older pupils, who relish the challenge and seem to blossom in both maturity and confidence.  There will be a number of opportunities for the buddies to meet throughout the year.  All of Y6 made us very proud on Thursday, especially when they introduced themselves to parents and carers after the assembly as well.  Our first piece of homework was returned this week and I was impressed with the quality of homework that was produced.  They will use the information gathered to create their own biographies, which will be published and shared at parent’s evening, later in the month.  I know the children are eager to impress and show off their writing skills!  The children have been set a new piece of homework this week, linked to our History enquiry ‘The Battle of Britain’ and they have the opportunity to decide which area they would like to focus on. Each member of class has also been allocated maths games in their Bug Club and Maths Abacus account, which they may like to visit to practise reading larger numbers.  We are still awaiting delivery of our homework books and these should be here hopefully for next week. This week, we will:   find out more about Dunkirk and using historical sources; as well as learning the differences and similarities between viruses, fungi and bacteria; develop our ability to write in a formal biographical style and build on our understanding of place value including rounding and some decimal work. The following are just a few of the pictures from our recent DT topic ‘ War Time Inspired Cooking’.  The children created their own potato scones and various mashed potato spreads for sandwiches as well as some rather delightful salads. This was all shared at our ‘War Time Tea Party’!   It was agreed that most of the foods, smelt or looked better than they tasted.  Our DT floor book showing all the learning that took place in this unit will again be available for viewing at Parents Evening. It's only fair to...

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Musical Opportunities

Musical Opportunities

Welcome back to the new academic year where at Unsworth we want to offer your children the very best opportunities for music. I will continue to visit school every Tuesday working with individual Year groups and leading full school ‘Big Sing’ assemblies. Today Year 2 had their first Ocarina lesson! The Ocarina is a small plastic instrument with 4 holes, and is an ideal instrument for KS1 children to learn.  Children will also learn about musical notation and elements of music such as ‘Pitch’ and ‘Rhythm.’ Year 3 had their second recorder lesson this morning. The children are already making amazing progress, as they are able to build on the Ocarina skills they developed in Year 2. We are delighted to have on board exciting instrumental teachers offering a super range of instruments from children in Y1-6. In our assembly today we welcomed Dave from ‘Fidler Music’ who gave a fantastic demonstration to the children on learning the Ukulele and Guitar.  The children were spellbound when he started playing ‘ Despacito’ and other popular songs.  I can highly recommend ‘Fidler Music’ as they visit some of the other schools in our Music Collaborative and are very reasonably priced.  Each child in Y1 and Y2 has a letter about how they can sign up for lessons with this organisation.  Interested children in Key Stage 2 chose to take a letter home. Year 5 had their Brass session today. We welcome back Mr Watkins, who is a Brass specialist and will be working with Y5 all year as part of the Wider Opportunities Programme.  Parents will have received a letter asking permission for children to take their instruments home, so please return the reply slip to school as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so. Choral group will recommence at lunchtime on Tuesdays for any children in Years 5 and 6 that wish to come and sing. We do request that children who sign up for choir remain in it until the end of term, as we have already been invited to participate in numerous events, particularly in the run up to Christmas.  You may like to ‘Save the date’ Monday 11th December, as our choir will be performing at Bury Parish Church in the ‘Bury Hospice’ annual Carol Service.  This is always a wonderful event, and I know from experience, children do get very disappointed if they rehearse all the songs and carols, and are then unable to sing at the actual event. If you wish to speak to me about any musical matters please call in between 8 and 9 am any Tuesday. We truly value music education at  School and strive once again this year to give your child the very best opportunities to shine. Mrs Geelan   It's only fair to...

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If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.

Earlier this week, the government published its latest response to the review of assessment in primary schools. The full report can be downloaded here. In primary education, we are used to constant change. We have experienced numerous changes in the assessment system since SATs were first introduced in 1990 for all seven year olds. The response paper has recommended that SATs for seven year olds be scrapped by 2023 and that the methodology for assessing writing in Y6 be changed this year. It also recommends the introduction of a times tables test in Y4. The check will be introduced in the 2019 to 2020 academic year. As we do with all changes, we will look at them and adapt our practice accordingly. We have to comply with the accountability agenda without compromising our broad and balanced curriculum offer. For some pupils in some schools, Y6 has become a ‘preparation for SATs’ year. This is not the case at our school. We do prepare the children, but it is important that their last year at primary school is full of rich experiences and opportunities. For instance, during this last week they have enjoyed our celebration of Roald Dahl day (see the picture that accompanies this blog!); they have left school to become evacuees at Stockport Air Raid Shelters and then next week they will be going to Robinwood to experience their residential adventure holiday. Professor John Hattie is a researcher in education. He is Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has conducted extensive research into what works in education and has become one of the most influential academics in education today. In his work, Hattie analyses the effects of numerous strategies and approaches on pupil achievement. His analysis has some surprising findings. What he does believe, however, is this: “What does matter is teachers having a mind frame in which they see it as their role to evaluate their effect on learning.” This seems an obvious statement but to do it successfully is not so easy. Teachers and other school staff need to see themselves as learners. Constant evaluation of their teaching and its effectiveness is key. It is too easy to collect a bank of teaching resources and approaches and stick to ‘what you know’. Those of you who have had a number of children go through our school will know that this is not our approach. We are always researching and looking for answers to that important question of how to improve children’s learning. In our School Development Plan this year, we are looking at how we can improve the range and quality of what we are calling ‘pupil products’. These are the outcomes of learning. Of course, many of these products will be in the children’s books but we also want to consider how we will use technology and the range of products of learning that are not written down. It will be an exciting challenge to develop this research with our staff and with our pupils. We will look to share this work with you on a daily and weekly basis through our twitter feed @unsworthprimary and through this website. It's only fair to...

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A huge thank you!

A huge thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who visited our Book Fair this week and who got involved in celebrating  Roald Dahl’s Birthday on Wednesday by bringing a prop, a book or wearing an entire costume!  It has been lovely to see so many children excited about buying and looking at the books on sale.  The fair and ‘Dress up for Dahl Day’ has been a fantastic success in creating a buzz around books and promoting reading for pleasure, with over £800 worth of books having been sold throughout the week.  Your generosity and support has meant that the school will receive nearly £500 worth of free books for the school library!  Our school library will be open from next Friday lunchtime and our newly appointed librarians or ‘Word Warriors’ as we like to call them will be on hand to help out!  Congratulations as well to our five raffle winners, ( from Reception, Y1, Y4  and Y6)  who all received and cashed in a £5 gift voucher today.    It's only fair to...

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That September feeling

That September feeling

The first week in September is a special time in school. The wider school staff have worked hard over the summer to make sure school is shiny and new for our children returning this week. On Wednesday morning our classrooms were ready to receive our children for another school year. It is always lovely to see everyone arrive on the playground on the first morning of the school year. Our children looked very smart in their brand new uniforms and were excited to start in their new classes. Our Reception class have settled in very well.  In our first whole-school assembly, we spoke about our school motto, our five core values and our golden rules. As usual, the children were able to talk about these things with confidence and understanding. It’s a great pleasure to listen to their wise words.  As the week progressed, the children agreed their class rules and reward systems. They also decide on the types of sanctions they think are fair if they make poor choices. They really do understand how their good behaviour contributes to their learning.  As the week ended, the children started to use their new exercise books. These have been personalised with our school motto and have shiny new covers which the children love! They take a lot of pride in producing their personal best work in their ‘learning windows’.  We are looking forward to another successful year for our children and our school.  It's only fair to...

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Reflections of the School Council

This year’s School Councillors have been fantastic! They have been so hardworking and reliable. The Councillors have listened to their classes about ideas for school and have spent a lot of time making things happen, such as Red Nose Day, the Parking Charter and discussions about the cloakrooms. Well done to all of you! Here are some reflections on their year: I enjoyed having meetings with Mrs Reynolds because it made me feel heard,it also made me feel important in helping the school. Oliver Y6 Being a school councillor has made me feel important because we got to have meetings with Mrs Reynolds and have our say in what could improve the school. I liked doing the tuck shop at break time as well as the parking safety topic we did. Layla Y6 This year my favourite part of school councilling is feeling proud that I got to give ideas to make the school better. But overall I loved everything! Laila Y5 This year my favourite thing was doing the tuck shop because we raised a lot of money and got to serve. It was all fun! Oliver  Y5 This year I have enjoyed fundraising because on Red Nose Day we made over £200. Being a school councillor makes me feel like an important person and I liked helping improve the school. Mya Y5 I liked doing Red Nose Day and having school council meetings with Mrs Reynolds . Now I feel like people would listen to me and help me. Ben Y3 I have enjoyed doing the parking charter and having meetings with the cook. Being a school councillor has made me very proud and happy. But most of all I feel like people are listening to me. Charlotte Y3 I have enjoyed fundraising for Red Nose Day but overall I’ve enjoyed everything.Also I have liked helping the school. Elvie Y3 I liked raising money with the tuck shop and helping make the school happy. Zac Y2 It's only fair to...

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