As I write, the afternoon light is dim and the weather damp and chilly but I am glowing in the memory of a beautiful end of term celebration at Holy Trinity Church. The quality of each performance and the enthusiasm from staff, parents and pupils typified the whole term and I am grateful to all who attended or took part directly in this memorable event.
I started the school year by stating that standards needed to improve in all academic areas across the school, particularly in writing. The October interim reports showed the levels of your children very clearly and how they could improve. As a result of your support and the efforts of teachers and support staff, I am confident you will see in the latest reports how that effort has been rewarded with real progress in writing. The older children are now producing sustained pieces of prose with more accurate punctuation, while their younger peers are enjoying targeted daily phonics sessions which have produced impressive results. In mathematics, the children are attempting regular and rigorous mental mathematics tests which are helping with speed and accuracy. Their knowledge of each mathematical topic is being strengthened through problem solving and reasoning activities on a regular basis. Across all areas of the curriculum, I am pleased to see the children using higher-order thinking skills in a more independent learning style.
My belief in providing a well-rounded education has been abundantly evident at BJAB this term. The number of children involved in our numerous activities continues to impress. Notable features of our enriched curriculum included an art week, during which each class studied a prominent artist’s work; forest trips; a Pizza and Pyjama Party; a visit from a Scottish music group (complete with bagpipes); a healthy week, expertly organised by Miss Cowx and with our very own Jane Fonda; a mud run; and some lively and entertaining assemblies.
Events for parents have been particularly well attended this term. Miss Bird’s clear and professional presentations of the Early Years curriculum and our new phonics programme were most informative. On the lighter side, the PTA’s sushi making and Diwali evening, together with the mud run, show what a talented and enthusiastic parent body we have. I am also indebted to all those who come in on a voluntary basis to help with reading, assisting in the library and accompanying us on school trips.
None of the activities this term could have happened without the support and commitment of the BJAB teaching, administrative and support staff; Mme De Maertelaere and Justine; the Governing body and the PTA. I am grateful to everyone for their hard work and desire to aim for the highest standards possible.
My final remarks are for two members of staff who, sadly, are leaving us this term. Mr McPherson has taught at BJAB for three years and his gentle approach has resulted in happy and enthusiastic children. We wish him well as he devotes more time to his young family and we hope he will remain in contact with us. Mrs Choules has also worked at BJAB for the last three years. Most recently, as Deputy Head, she has worked tirelessly ‘behind-the-scenes’ to help to make the school run efficiently and professionally. She has been an invaluable source of advice to me and our colleagues on many subjects. I am grateful for all she has contributed to BJAB on a personal as well as professional level.
All that remains is for me to thank those of you who have given me gifts and to wish you all a relaxing holiday in the company of those whom you love and I look forward to seeing you in 2018!