Learning Journals and Creative Curriculum
The children have taken their learning journals home for you to admire, share and keep as a record of their learning journey this year. The introduction of the new curriculum has certainly been a highlight for us here at Grimsdell. Watching the motivation levels of the children soar and their engagement bring about deep and meaningful learning has been both inspiring and fulfilling. The London topic in particular captured all of our imaginations and the children’s sheer excitement over the theme has given it great momentum.
We recently appointed one of our school governors, Mr Jamie Hornshaw, who is also the Head of Berkhamsted Preparatory School, to help us conduct an initial review of the curriculum – one year in. His findings endorse that even at this early stage the impact on learning and outcomes is significant. Informally, he also shared that the quality of writing at the end of Year 2 was at least a year ahead of what he would normally expect to see. We therefore look forward to continuing our curriculum and enhancing it further. We have also developed and reorganised our timetables for September to enable longer learning sessions for each subject in order to maximise the opportunities for depth and coverage within that time. We appreciate the support that so many parents have given us over this year with a relentless stream of feedback about the impact you too have seen on your children’s motivation levels and outcomes. We are excited to build on this next year.
The House System
The house system has also been a huge success, enabling us to reward positive behaviour and generate positive attitudes to learning. The children have been motivated to succeed and have learned about team spirit and graciousness. They have learned to win and lose and experience the feelings of disappointment alongside how you cope and move on from these – in addition to experiencing ecstatic joy and how that also gently fades and life carries on.
We had our final assembly on Thursday on the playground! It was a beautiful day to be outside and the hall happened to be out of use, and it made it rather special to gather as a community outside. During the assembly we announced the winning House was Beech, but was gave huge congratulations to the other two houses because each house had earned over 900 smileys! What an achievement! I did make time to offer specific recognition to Oak House, who were a close second on this occasion. They have shown fantastic effort over the course of the year and great resilience. They were also particularly gracious and I noticed Oak members congratulating the winners afterwards which really warmed my heart. Their time will come!
We also said goodbye to Miss Bea and Mrs Bowden, both of whom have made such a positive contribution in their time here. And finally we said a last goodbye to Year 2 and presented them with their Grimsdell ties. I have been giving out Grimsdell ties for four years now and have to say that this year I have never seen such an excited and proud response from the children! imagine that seeing their peers receive these over the years has given them a moment in time to aspire to, but it also made me very proud. Our emotional yet celebratory Leaver’s Ceremony on Monday was another opportunity to say goodbye to Year 2 and congratulate them on their many achievements at Grimsdell. They were joined by parents and staff and it was a very touching occasion. Thank you to Year 2 parents for attending this and marking the end of an era for your child’s education at Grimsdell. I do wish all of your families the very best for the future, although I know many of you remain at Grimsdell with little siblings for us to nurture.
Toffee Bear Choir success
On Tuesday 3rd of July The Toffee Bear Choir performed at The Town Hall in Birmingham, which is a sensational building and concert hall, as part of the National Music for Youth Festival. It was an honour to be invited for the fourth year in a row. Mrs Jo Golden led the choir in their performance and also arranged for an enriching choral workshop to take place. The performance was breath taking (their best yet by all accounts!) and our children were by far the youngest performing. The entire trip was in fact an outstanding success. The children were impeccably well behaved and not a single person complained about the 3 and a half hour journey home on the coach. The staff on the trip were also exceptional and made the whole trip so smooth and enjoyable. I am so grateful to Mrs Golden for taking on the choir and building on their already high standards. She has given her time and effort to working with them and the children have benefitted from her expertise and passion.
I am delighted to be welcoming our new Music teacher, Mrs Sarah Wakefield and Miss Hannah Deamer, our new Reception teacher in September. We have also appointed a new lunchtime supervisor, Nakira Downes, to replace Mrs Justyna Assuncao. Mrs Assuncao is going to be one of our Reception Teaching Assistants and Nakira joins us from Belmont where she is currently a sports coach.
GPA and Fundraising News
Over the course of the year the GPA have enhanced the school community by bringing us altogether through a variety of events and initiatives. They have also raised a huge amount of money and involved the children in charity work that not only benefits others but also contributes to the children’s education by learning about difference, showing gratitude for their privilege and developing a social conscience through giving.
In total we have raised £667.00 for Children in Need, £4240 for Sport Relief and £4141 for Auditory Verbal UK. In addition to this I am hugely grateful to the GPA and all parents for donating £4500 to Grimsdell and we will utilise this money by continuing to invest in our library, which has become the hub of the school and the vehicle through which we promote a love of reading across the school. The funds will be hugely appreciated by Mrs Harvey our dedicated Librarian, and well used by the children now and in years to come. Thanks to everyone, and in particular Carolyn Crampton, Ellie Shah, Monica Jina and Carly Novick, for their leadership of the GPA.Finally I would like to thank parents, children and staff for all their support and efforts this year. I feel so very proud to be the Head of Grimsdell and, together with my dedicated team, remain ever commited to our ongoing school improvement within a culture of joy and kindness.
Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you all in September.