14 July 2023

Atwood news for week ending Friday 14th July

Mr Veale’s Welcome

‘Spectacular, spectacular!’

What a week- how are we all keeping up?  I know that most of us are now ‘running on empty’ as there has been so much going on here in the wonderful world of Atwood, and many late nights and early starts, but after all, that’s why we chose to be part of the best job in the world, teaching.  My standouts for this week have been the Wizard of Oz, the River Wandle Trip, the Museum Day for Years 2 and 3, the First Aid training for children and then Girls’ Football competition run by SAS.  I am really hoping that I have not missed anything.  Anyway, more on all of these later and via my other news stories.

Staff leavers

I want to bid a farewell to a number of staff members and so this did not get lost in the hectic nature of our last week together, I wanted to do it in this edition.

Mrs Smith-Poppe:  Sharmila commenced teaching at Atwood the same day as me in January 2015 and since then has contributed so well to the ethos and bearing of Atwood.  Sharmila’s calm and authoritative approach to teaching and learning has very much benefited pupils that require a ‘firm and fair’ approach.  Sharmila has successfully led MFL (Spanish) across KS2 and of course has contributed to the wider school life in many different ways.  During her time at Atwood, she became married and gave birth to her first daughter.  I will very much miss Mrs Smith’s optimism and positivity and I wish her well as she relocates to Sussex.

Mr Simons:  Luke joined Atwood officially on 1st September, 2016 having completed his teaching placements with us.  Luke has successfully led English over the last few years, and has been instrumental in the development of how children are taught writing.  He is a naturally gifted teacher, who knows the children very well and can plan and adapt his teaching in order to ensure they make good progress.  Luke is not afraid to speak his mind, and his intelligent understanding of the arts, culture and politics ensure that he is able to hold his own in the many staffroom debates we have had over the years.  Luke’s easy going style will be missed.  I wish him all my best as he moves to teach closer to his home.

Miss Ellis:  Grace joined us in March 2019 as TA.  Grace proved herself to be a quiet yet determined TA who very much developed her skills in the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics.  Grace moved on to the responsibilities of ‘cover supervisor’ in KS1 and has taught various subjects and topics.  I will miss Grace’s smile and I wish her luck as she moves to another school nearer to her home.

Mr McGery:  Phil joined us during the pandemic in March 2020 and straight away had to get to grips with all things hygiene in his role as caretaker.  Phil is an easy going, calm and gentle man, with a love of bowls.  His hobby sees him take part in various tournaments during the summer months.  I will miss Phil and I thank him for all of the support he has given me and Mr O’Connor over the years.  He still does not look old enough to retire!

Mrs Phipps:  Gill has served the Atwood school community since the year 2000 and so has nearly a quarter of a century to look back on.  Gill has carried out many roles in this time including being a midday supervisor, After School Care leader and latterly, a 1 to 1 TA.  Gill is such a lovely lady and has ensured that she has asked about how I am getting on.  Always quick to lend a hand and a listening ear, Gill will be very much missed by us all.  Gill retires and looks forward to looking after her brand-new grand-daughter.

Mr Tsang:  Andy joined Atwood recently and has become adept at delivering exceptional Phonics sessions to those children who need just a little bit more input.  Calm and collected, Andy has ensured that his hard work has benefited the children.  Andy has also led Rubix’s Cube club and very much enjoys the visual and graphic arts.  I am delighted to say that Andy is leaving to commence his teacher training course in September.

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Flag of France

So, children, what on earth is Bastille Day?  Before you say, no it’s not a day to celebrate the band, Bastille!  In 1789, revolution was in the air, and the French citizens were very fed up with the King and his royal family, ruling France.  They felt that they had ‘no voice’ and were fed up with things like tax rises and high prices.

Some of the French people had had enough and decided to take matters in to their own hands, and armed only with the tools they worked with, such as rakes and hoes, they stormed a prison in Paris called the Bastille, as they wanted to find some gunpowder as well as set some prisoners free.  This happened  on 14th July, 1789.

What happened next?  This action then led to other French citizens ‘rising up’ and ‘revolting’ and this was known as the French Revolution, which ultimately saw France move away from having a royal family to be what is known as a Republic.  A Republic does not have a royal family and the country is led by its own citizens.

What is Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?  After the Revolution, the citizens wanted liberty- or freedom, equality- or to be treated equally, and finally, fraternity- a sense of ‘togetherness’.  I think these are great aspirations!

England and France

It is worth noting that England was looking on with interest and concern, in equal measure, as to what was happening during the French Revolution.  Indeed, leaders in England were very concerned that a revolution would be sparked here and that our own royal family would be over-turned.

Peterloo Massacre 

The Peterloo Massacre took place at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, Lancashire, England, on Monday 16 August 1819. Eighteen people died and 400-700 were injured when cavalry charged into a crowd of around 60,000 people who had gathered to demand the reform of how parliament was run because ordinary citizens were unhappy that their views were not being heard by MPs.

England avoided Revolution, but has a proud tradition of Protest rather than Revolution.  Of course, England and France are often seen in equal measure, as great friends and allies as well as rivals!  When push comes to shove, however, England and France have always stood shoulder to shoulder, for example during the Great War and the Second World War.  Chapeau!

Wizard of Oz

I just wanted to say, ‘wow’ and how much we all enjoyed the Wizard of Oz.  I have written a separate news story, so please do read this one!

SAS Girls’ Football Tournament

Because I was on the Year 6 River fieldtrip today, I took some photos early on this morning and I have attached some for you below.  When I returned this afternoon, I was informed that the Atwood girls’ team got to the quarter finals.  I believe Ridgeway went on to win the competition, but I will do a separate write up next week.

Years 2 and 3 Museum Day

Again, time has been against me this week BUT I very much enjoyed seeing the superb learning displayed on Thursday.  It was great to see so many parents and careers coming to take part, some even dressing up in honour of the seaside or the stone age.  More to follow next week.

Points (Pupil Reward Points)

Remember that everyone at Atwood believe in the Terrific Trio:  Kind Words, Kind Thoughts, Kind Actions and for that, the children are rewarded.  The first key milestone for a pupil is to reach 50 Pupil Reward Points because they will be awarded a £5 Book Token in Celebration Assembly, as we also wish to promote the love of reading at Atwood.  I will be taking a look at the leader board after half term.

Each pupil has been assigned to a Team or House.  These are Air, Earth, Fire and Water.  All Pupil Reward Points also contribute to the Team Points each week.

Here are the all important totals for the term so far:

776 700 707 623

Congratulations to AIR who have won the Team Points Competition for this week.  

Why not head over to the Pupil Reward Points website?  https://www.pupilrewardpoints.co.uk


The DfE continue to be concerned about attendance in the post covid world.  Indeed, governments across the world have noticed a worrying trend of children attending school less than before covid.  Atwood works on the 95% expectation and each year, we endeavour to hit our whole school community target of attending at least 95% of the time.  Most years, Atwood nearly reaches 97% which is higher than the national average.  Looking at the Year to Date percentage we have crept to the 95% mark and this is excellent news – let’s keep it up, Atwood.

Attendance is important.  After all, children only have one opportunity to go to school, don’t they?  As a rule of thumb, we expect children to attend school at least 95% of the time.  This allows for a child to be absent for a couple of days per year due to coughs, colds and medical appointments that cannot be made in holiday times.  Remember that we never authorise holidays in term time.  Often I am asked to authorise a family wedding abroad, or to visit a poorly relative abroad.  None of these are valid reasons for absence in term time.  Please bear this in mind.

Here are the attendance figures for this week:

Week Ending 7th July Week Ending 14th July 
Infants (highest) Yellow 99% Yellow and Blue 98%
Juniors (highest) 3M 97% 6SB 100%
Whole School (weekly) 93.8% 97%
Whole School (year to date) 95% 95%

From us all at Team Atwood, be careful of the wind forecast on Saturday, but this may be good for kite flying on Sunday!

Stay safe and see you all on Monday 17th July. 

Mr. Veale

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Published on 14th July, 2023

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