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A busy half term

A busy half term

  We have reached the end of the first half term of the school year. What a busy time we have had. On Thursday evening, the governing body met for their Autumn term meeting. We were able to welcome our new parent governor, Mr Cooper, and we were able to discuss the start we have made to the school year and the priorities contained in our School Development Plan. If you would like to know more about our governors and their role then you can follow the link below:   Our School Governors Earlier in the week, we held our Parents’ Progress Meetings. Three of our governors attended the sessions to ask parents their views on the progress of their child and the information on progress provided by the school. Our staff governor, Mrs Channon, also asked our new YR parents their views on our transition processes as children enter our school, during the Welcome Assembly a few weeks ago. It is our intention to issue a report on what parents think and any actions arising from those views. We have also asked two of our senior leaders, Mrs Ali and Ms Sinclair to conduct a parent survey on homework as part of a review of our approach in this area. They will communicate views on this once all the responses have been analysed. Our children have settled well into their new classes and are working hard. We continue to welcome many visitors into our school who attend the raining courses we run. When visiting teachers and school leaders visit our classrooms, they always comment on the engagement and independence of our children as learners and the outstanding behaviour they see. On a number of occasions this half term, I have had ‘learning conversations’ with individual pupils. This involves them showing me their books and talking to me about their learning challenges. I am always so impressed with the pride they show and their understanding of the learning process. This is also reflected in the comments we receive from our visitors. The children have also had the opportunity to enjoy a range of activities beyond the classroom. We have welcomed our partners, QFirst Sports into school to increase the range of sports and PE activities on offer to our children in lessons and as extra-curricular clubs; our own teaching staff have also been involved in leading extra-curricular clubs and activities such as football, netball, tag rugby and table tennis. We also had a great day playing (and exercising!) on scooters. A number of classes have also been out of school on trips and visits including our Y6 adventure holiday to Robinwood. School trips and visits to places in our locality enrich the children’s learning. First hand experiences are memorable and more meaningful to children. We are grateful to the PTA who work hard to raise funds to subsidise the costs of these trips by providing the transport, which can be costly. The parents of three of our classes have been invited to see their class assembly and we have all enjoyed seeing how all children do their best to participate in these. Across this half term, we have worked with the children to think carefully about our new ‘core values’. Last year we held a vote to select five...

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Goodbye, Y6

Goodbye, Y6

Every year, at this time, we wonder at how quickly the school year passes. For those of us who work in the school, this is a regular occurrence. For our children it can be both an exciting and a difficult time. Some children look forward to the adventure of a new class whilst others worry about the change. For our Y6 pupils this week is the start of a momentous change in their lives; the step from primary to secondary education. On Monday morning, they will be inviting their family members into school to see their final assembly. They have been working hard with their teacher, Ms Sinclair, in order to plan what they want to express as they leave our school. It is always a very emotional experience for everyone and one where all the adults in their lives, both at home and in school, feel incredible pride when they see who they have become as young people. We hope that as they leave the school this week and as they develop in the next few years into young adults, that they carry with them the values we have promoted in partnership with our families. If you speak with any one of them you notice how able they are to articulate what it means to be part of the Unsworth community. They can talk about ‘Together We Build Understanding’ and what it means to them. They can talk about our core values, recently selected through a democratic vote. They have been successful in terms of their academic achievement this year but their qualities as people and the values they hold and demonstrate every day will stay with them in their future. It is that which gives us the most satisfaction. Someone once said that to achieve excellence you should:   “Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.”   Taking safe risks, caring deeply, dreaming about possibilities and having high expectations of yourself and others is what we are all about. Our wonderful Y6 pupils are equipped to move on to the next part of their lives and we wish them well. Good luck, Y6, we will miss you! It's only fair to...

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Governors’ Learning Walk – British Values

Governors’ Learning Walk – British Values

Another interesting afternoon as a Governor of Unsworth Primary School.  Mr Cohen, Mr Howarth and I spent the afternoon carrying out a Learning Walk looking at how the school promotes British Values.  You can learn more about what this means by visiting the SMSC section of the website. We met with Mrs Ali first and she explained to us how the school sets out to promote British Values under 5 themes: Mutual Respect, Democracy, Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, Rule of Law and Individual Liberty.  We then set out to explore how this is put into practice.  We visited an RE lesson, looked at the displays in the classrooms, hall and corridors, looked at some pupils’ books from each class, checked out the website and talked to the School Council.  We found lots and lots of evidence from all these activities that showed that the school is clearly very successful at putting into practice what it sets out to achieve under each of the 5 themes. We particularly liked the fact that children are encouraged to add their own personal contributions to the many displays. For example on the display “We all have dreams” one child had written “I have a dream that I will grow up to be a lovely lady and also a caring doctor”. I also know that Mr Howarth had a great time meeting with the School Council.  We will very shortly be sharing with staff a full report of the outcomes of our Learning Walk. Thanks, once again, to all the staff and children for making us so welcome. [Sheila Gaskell, Vice Chair of Governors]     It's only fair to...

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The kindness boomerang

The kindness boomerang

At the end of our whole school assembly on Monday morning we held a moment of quiet reflection whilst we listened to ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.’ The theme for our assemblies was ‘contributing to the lives of others through kindness.’ I spoke to the children briefly about the fact that terrible things had happened in Paris over the weekend and we related this back to the values we cover in our assemblies. We talked about how over the last two months we have been thinking about respect, effort, democracy and peace. We talked about our school community and how we value each other and our differences and are ‘brothers and sisters’ of sorts. When I asked the children why we do this one of our Y6 pupils simply said, ‘We do this so that we grow up to be nice people.’ We then started to think about our kindness theme. We talked about the way we can offer each other little acts of kindness across the day and how this can make us feel good whilst helping others. I introduced the children to the idea of a ‘kindness boomerang.’ I had a fridge magnet in the shape of a boomerang which had been given to me as a gift from Australia. Earlier in the day, I had greeted a member of the Y6 class as she came into school and held open the doors for her. We reflected that this was a simple act of kindness. I then challenged her to pass on the boomerang to one of her classmates across the course of the morning and for Y6 to pass it on to Y5 by the afternoon. During the course of the week, the children passed the boomerang from class to class. If they had the boomerang in their possession and passed it on they were asked to write their name on our assembly board in the hall. By Friday the board was filled with names and the boomerang had arrived in YR after travelling through every class. It was a delight to see the efforts the children made to be kind-even if it did cause a little bit of disruption in lessons from time to time! My final challenge was that the boomerang should be returned to me by the end of the week via an act of kindness..in assembly on Monday morning I will let the children know if that happened! “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is every wasted.” Aesop It's only fair to...

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What is democracy?

What is democracy?

To read a tweet that talked about one of our five year olds spending Friday tea time explaining democracy was the icing on the cake this week! That happened because of the success of our School Council election and our assembly theme of ‘democracy’. It also happened because our children are thinkers and love to join in with a discussion, particularly one about big ideas! At the start of the week, I introduced the theme in our whole school assembly. I asked the children to explain democracy. Some talked about voting and putting a cross on a ballot paper – they knew they had done this themselves when we held our vote last term to select a quote for our hall wall. As the discussion deepened, some children talked about different groups of people thinking different things and how democracy is about compromise and fairness and accepting that you might not always get what you want. It was lovely to hear one child say, ‘It has to be fair and you might not win but you have to be proud of that’. Amazing! Following the assembly, the children were asked to nominate themselves to be a school councillor. A boy and a girl from each class is elected by their peers to represent the class. If you would like to know more about the things the council does and how it operates, take a look at our School Council page under the ‘children’ tab. In order to put themselves forward, the children complete a nomination form and stand up in class and say why they would make a good councillor. It is a lovely experience to read these forms and see the ways the children are able to recognise the qualities they have. On Friday, the whole school came together to hear the results of the election. We were so proud to hear that 89 children had put themselves forward as candidates. That is 47% of the electorate! We started by talking about how it was not possible for all 89 to be elected and that it was natural to feel disappointed if you were not successful this time. We asked all the candidates to stand up and receive a clap and they were all given a well done sticker. When the winning candidates were announced there was great excitement in the hall and everyone was pleased for the new school councillors. They received a special certificate and a badge to wear on their school jumper! Very soon, the councillors will have their first meeting. They will be supported in these by Mrs Channon who will be helping the children to organise their meetings, hold discussions, take minutes,survey opinions and make decisions. They will also be asked to report back to their classmates and to the whole school. What a lot of responsibility. Hopefully, at some point in the year they will also visit Bury Town Hall and have the opportunity to sit in the council chamber! It has been a really positive week and the children have truly had the opportunity to experience ‘democracy in action’! It's only fair to...

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