21 Nov Mr Choueke’s Newsletter – November 2022
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you are all well. it has been lovely seeing so many of you back in school over the last few weeks, visiting your children’s classrooms and also attending parents’ evening in person. This half term, there will also be plenty of other opportunities for you to feel more involved in the school community.
The School Play – Aladdin
Each year, the whole school works together in December to produce and put on our whole school performance. All our children over the 8 weeks will have the opportunity to participate together in a very unique artistic and musical experience. The play is the cornerstone of our school year. As well as the excitement the play generates, it provides so many learning opportunities for our children. In the run up and during the performances our children learn to be empathic and supportive. They learn to listen to and learn from each other’s ideas and views. They use their creativity and imagination. They learn to work with other children they may not have worked with before and often new friendships are formed. The play also has a profound impact on developing our children’s self-esteem and confidence.
This year the play will be Aladdin. As always Year Six are the main actors; we have four casts who have already begun rehearsing. As always, all other year group are busy practising their class dances which are always a fun and integral part of the play. In their art lessons the children have started to make props for the play and are creating the backdrop for the play.
Each year we have a number of parents who also kindly volunteer their time, making costumes, supporting children to learn their lines/dances and helping us turn the west hall into a theatre for the eight performances. Thank you to all those of you who have already given up so much of your time.
We are looking forward to welcoming you all to come and watch one of our performances of Aladdin. The dates and times for all performances are listed below.
- Tuesday 6th December – Orange AM; Blue PM
- Wednesday 7th December – Red AM; Purple PM
- Thursday 8th December –Blue AM; Orange PM
- Friday 9th December – Purple AM; Red PM
Thank you to all those of you who attended our Phonics workshop last week. We had a huge turnout of over 125 parents who attended. Parents I spoke to said the session was extremely useful and informative. We will be sending out a link to a recording for those parents who missed the workshop or who could not attend.
The Coleridge Autumn Festival
This year Coleridge Families, our Parents’ Association, held a brand new and exciting event – The Autumn Festival! It was lovely to see so many of you turn out on Saturday all enjoying yourselves, eating, socialising and of course dancing at one of the three silent discos. Thank you so much to all those who organised the event and who helped out on the day. And a big thank you for everyone who tidied up the day after!
Diversity Equality and Inclusion – ‘Finding a Voice Telling a Story’
Throughout October we had visits from a couple of inspirational Black speakers who came into school to talk to and work with our children. Last week Kelvin Okafor came to talk to the children about his aspiration and journey to becoming an artist. He spoke to the children about his life and about how learning from our mistakes is a valuable part of the learning process. He also spoke to the children about how important practice is when refining a talent or new skill. Kelvin then worked with 30 of our children from across the school; he demonstrated to the children some of the tips and techniques he uses, and then the children had a go at applying these skills by drawing an eye. Feedback from the children was extremely positive and they enjoyed the experience of working with Kelvin.
We also have children currently working weekly with an organisation called Rap Therapy. They have worked with Year six as a whole and are now working with a number of our children. These children have been learning about rhyme schemes, metaphors, similes, writing development. At the end of the series of workshops children will have the opportunity to perform and record their work. We look forward to sharing some of their work with you when it is done.
We have a few more speakers in the pipeline, but would love to hear from any parents who feel brave enough or who would like to come in and talk to the children about their lives, families and jobs. If you are interested or if you know someone who is, please do get in touch with me at email@example.com
As I wrote in my previous newsletter, children in art have been learning about different black artists. You can see some of the work our children have done which has been inspired by the textile designer Althea McNish by clicking on this link – Artwork Inspired by Althea McNish.
Maths Development at Coleridge
This term, the SLT are undertaking a series of learning walks looking at the teaching and learning of Maths across the school. At the end of last academic year, our maths results were not as strong as they normally are. We knew before the results came out that due to the pandemic, there were groups of children with large gaps in their basic foundational maths knowledge identified through teacher assessments. We therefore made the decision to redesign the curriculum for them – focussing on 3 key areas (number, calculation and fraction). This decision impacted our most recent SATs results but allowed our children to leave Coleridge with more of the foundational knowledge in place.
To further support the development and understanding of our approach to Maths teaching, Louise Foulkes (Assistant Head) ran two training sessions for staff. Feedback from the sessions from all teachers was very positive; we are already seeing evidence of the training being implemented, through our on-going learning walks and observations.
On Wednesday 23rd, all our teachers will be participating in a maths moderation with other local schools, and working with other teachers. At the sessions, teachers will be exchanging observations and sharing knowledge about children’s learning. The sessions are an excellent way for teachers to share good practice from across the our local cluster of schools.
Behaviour in the Playgrounds
Following on from a listening exercise with our children in Year 3 to 6, we have made a couple of adjustments to playtimes and lunch times. Feedback from our girls was that they felt that the boys often dominated games in the playground and in particular football. We have now timetabled time for both mixed football games as well as girls only football in the MUGA.
The school council have also made a couple of suggestions to improve playtime and lunchtimes. We now have a quiet drawing zone located under the outdoor stage. School Council are also talking about having a beginner four square pitch, for those children who are new to the game or who would like to practice their skills to get better.
As well as the Coleridge Buddies (Year 6 Peer Mentors) who work both on Coleridge East and West in the playgrounds at lunchtime, we now have Year 6 helpers who have been going over to the East hall at lunch time to help the younger children with their lunches and to escort them out to the playgrounds, helping with hats and coats etc. Teaching Assistants who do lunch duties have all commented on how helpful these children have been.
Arrive on Time by Five to Nine
We have been working to improve our attendance and punctuality. Research is clear; poor attendance at school is linked to poor academic attainment. To give your children the best chance it is important that they are in school and arrive on time.
Please can you ensure that your children arrive by 8.55 am each morning to give them sufficient time to be sorted, settled and seated by 9 am ready for their day to begin.
Last term we saw an increase in parents requesting time off for their children at the end of term. We do understand that there are times where this is unavoidable, but we ask that you avoid booking time off for holidays during the school term where at all possible.
Sadly, we have had a number of complaints from the residents of the block of flats next to Coleridge West on Crouch End Hill about parents parking in their private car park. Please can you not park here. They have informed us that their car park is now going to be patrolled by parking attendants; you do run the risk of being fined if you park in their carpark.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our performances this half term, and should you wish to make time to meet or speak with me, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org