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Mr Hammond (Deputy Head): Welcome to the Summer Term!

Posted: 8th May 2015 | Category: Headmaster's Blog

Welcome to the Summer Term! It is a pleasure to see the children outside so much - apart from those rainy days that sadly appear to be saved solely for cricket and rounders fixtures. The children are making the most of our fantastic grounds: Kindergarten and Reception playing in their new ‘mud kitchen’; Year Three heading off into the grounds during History, pretending to be explorers in search of a new territory following plague and misery at home. It is so important to see children contextualising their classroom learning with hands-on experience, something that the teachers at Skippers value greatly and the children love completely!

As I write the polls remain open in the General Election but they have already closed in the Skippers Hill Mock Election: I can announce that the votes have been counted! Following classroom-based discussions on the political process and the main parties in the UK across year groups, pupils from Years Seven and Eight volunteered to stand for election. Manifestos and poster campaigns were launched, electioneering reached a furious pace and culminated in final speeches to rouse the mob.

Conversations could be heard in the corridors and playgrounds as children debated which way they might vote. Would they be swayed by Labour’s promise of free snacks for those without? Or the Green Party’s commitment to building a wind farm at the school? The Conservatives promised to keep tight control of the school’s budgets and act responsibly with spending. UKIP assured us of a referendum on membership of the Bellevue Group and the Liberal Democrats promised to keep us all firmly on the Yellow Brick Road of stability. Hot topics that showed the children’s connection with the process and provided great entertainment for the staff!

Following an internal investigation a number of candidates were sadly suspended after promises of free foodstuff (including sausage rolls) in exchange for votes. And the result? A hung parliament! The Conservatives have beaten the Liberal Democrats by 1 single vote and so the Liberal Democrats hold the balance of power - it is yet to be seen whether they will form a coalition with Labour or the Conservatives. A great experience for the children and I am proud of their enthusiasm and engagement with the whole event. Well done, Skippers!

Developments at the school continue and we have this week placed an order for a new set of Chromebooks for the pupils. One of my early priorities is to renew and extend the ICT provision at Skippers and plans are in motion for a new facility at the school with much broader use of ICT across the curriculum. I am hopeful that when we return in September the children will be introduced to a new way of working with technology which will enhance their expertise and create new opportunities for collaboration.

As always your children’s safety is paramount and our E-safety workshops last term were a great success. The children were very open about their online lives and learned useful strategies for keeping their personal information safe. The parents’ evening session was well-attended … the key message being that parent awareness of risk and open communication with children is the most important factor in keeping children safe. If you were unable to attend, do take a moment to look at the Childnet website: http://www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers

All the best,

Mark Hammond.

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