15th January 2021
How are you doing?
The following extract is taken from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackery:
“Do you have a favourite saying?” asked the boy.
“Yes,” said the mole.
“What is it?”
“If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake.”
“I see, does it work?”
As a school, we continue to appreciate the huge efforts that you as parents are putting into your children’s home learning. We understand that home is not school, and that your sole purpose is not to just teach your children. As parents you are juggling many different things, including family and work. If no-one has said, ‘Well done’ to you, we are saying it now. Remember, as the above book starts by saying:
“What do you think success is?”
“To love,” said the mole.
As well as paying tribute to you, I would also like to praise my staff for having gone above and beyond all reasonable expectations to produce home learning that is second to none. This week has seen them trialling Google Classrooms to ensure that children in their class have the opportunity to ‘meet up’ and chat with their peers and class teacher. To enable this to be a success, we are starting small, with the intention of growing later. Classes have initially been organised into three groups of ten to support families with logging on and accessing the new technology successfully. Times for these ‘Meets’ have been staggered throughout the day and week to ensure that families with only one device and several children can still all participate. Two videos explaining how to access Google Classrooms and join a Google Meet have been placed on the Class Pages of the school website for all year groups. Please have a look at these well before your child’s allocated meeting time.
In addition to this, next week will see the official launch of recorded lessons for all year groups – one a day in either English or Maths. This approach places an extra burden on staff, but has been chosen as it gives families the opportunity to tackle their children’s home learning at a time that is convenient to you, especially when there may be more than one child in your household who needs support with their
20th November 2020
It’s no good complaining about the dark
if you haven’t lit any candles!
I heard the above this morning and it made me stop and think. Then, as I was about to enter the Junior building, I looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow. All of a sudden, things began to feel better. I hope that you and your family are also well, whether you are currently self-isolating at home (we miss you) or are in school as usual? Thank you to all of you for putting the needs of the school community before those of your own.Life at school, despite Covid, is pretty much the same as usual for most of us. Children still need to be ‘shushed’ when eating their lunch and laughter is regularly heard coming down the corridors.
25th September 2020
A slice of Burleigh life
Working together for the good of the children As always, one of the best parts of the day for Miss Maxwell and me, is standing at the gate in the morning greeting everyone as they arrive. Your cheerfulness lifts us and sets us on the right path for the rest of the day – thank you! Today was a bit chilly, but overall, we’ve had a good summer, so we can’t complain. Last night, we recorded today’s ‘Awards Assembly’ for the children. It’s filmed on one of the school’s I-pads and is then put onto the IT system for teachers to show their classes on Friday morning. Pupils receive awards for all sorts of different things. If they have 15 stars for good work or behaviour in the Infants, they receive a ‘Rainbow’ award. In the Juniors, it’s a little more challenging as children need 25 stars to receive a ‘Planet’ certificate. But that’s not all. To inspire the children further, they have the chance of winning one of the weekly trophies for Reading, Writing and Maths. These can be given for a whole range of reasons from a one-off excellent piece of work to consistent motivation over a much longer period of time. Our filmed assembly is topped off by the distribution of our ‘Hot Chocolate with the Head’ awards. These certificates, followed by the drink itself - with a few marshmallows thrown in for good measure - are given out to those children who come to school every day to work hard, be kind to each other and then return home. The next day, they do it all again!
11th September 2020
Nice to see you, to see you nice!
Welcome back everyone! We’ve managed it at last! We’re all back together again! It was so good to see everyone smiling and laughing as we greeted each other once again after such a long time away. If we had been apprehensive about returning, we needn’t have been. The children have been absolutely amazing all week. On Monday, they were delighted to be reunited with their friends and knuckled down to work straight away, quickly bonding with their new teachers. The warmth of relationships in the place was almost tangible. Thank you parents, too, for supporting the school in its measures to ensure that the children in different year groups come into contact with each other as little as possible. Arriving on time for your drop-off and collection times has a huge impact on overall safety, despite the parking on Blindman’s Lane being as tricky as ever. Just a couple of requests to make the system even better: please keep moving along the Junior pedestrian path at all times, as stopping on it to talk causes a blockage for other people. Also, even though we love chatting together and sharing stories, please continue to leave the premises as promptly as possible once you have dropped off your child in the morning or picked them up in the evening – it makes the world of difference. Thank you.
4th September 2020
I hope you have had a good summer and are looking forward to returning to school on Monday. As a staff, we have tried to keep everything as normal as possible for the children, whilst still ensuring that government guidelines are carefully followed. Much of the newsletter reiterates what was sent out at the end of last term, but begins with some extra information.
3rd July 2020
Children saying ‘Good-bye’
All of a sudden, term is starting to rush towards the summer holidays and everyone is beginning to wonder if all the things they have to do between now and then will ever get done. Monday 6th July marks the start of our two-hour sessions in which staff and children are able to round off the year together and have some form of ‘closure’ on what must rank as one of the most unusual end of terms ever! By now, teachers should have contacted you and shared when your child is due to come into school. We’re hoping that this will be a very simple process. Children should arrive at school at 9.30am. Please do not arrive any earlier than this and remember to keep a social distance of at least 2m between yourself and others. Teachers / TAs will collect your children and move inside from 9.35am onwards. Children should wear their own clothes and need only bring a water bottle with them.…and a plastic bag for taking home work from the year. Junior children should enter the grounds via the Junior path and Infant children via the Infant path. Children will be returned to parents at 11.30am at the same place where they were originally dropped off.
From 6th – 10th July, it is the turn of children in 2SC, 3DW, 4AH and 5CH to say goodbye. Other classes are the following week.
26th June 2020
We’re sorry and we want to listen
Over the last few weeks, no-one could have failed to have been moved by the tragic way in which George Floyd died. This was then followed by an outpouring of equally deeply moving stories from members of the BAME community as they shared their experiences of how they had been treated. At Burleigh, we do not want to ignore such events and apologise if we have appeared to be silent on the matter.
As a school community, we would like to play our part in making a difference and want to affirm our commitment to you. We would like to begin by asking you all, especially the members of our BAME community, to share your experiences with us, including your experiences of Burleigh School. The current Covid-19 situation does not make this process particularly easy, so we are happy for you to write to us or email. Similarly, we would be keen to meet with you in person if you would prefer.
The Burleigh School community is one community. The Burleigh School community is a diverse community. The Burleigh School community is made up of many different communities – and we are proud of that.
5th June 2020
After the storm…came a rainbow
"I can't see a way through," said the boy.
"Can you see your next step?"
"Just take that," said the horse.
The above quote comes from a wonderful children’s book entitled, ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’ by Charlie Mackesy, and beautifully sums up how many people feel during these current times. The quote also reminds us that when times seem hard, if we are prepared to take just one step at a time, we can usually make it through.
Monday morning felt like the first step in a new adventure for many as the first group of children for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 Bubble ‘A’ returned to school. It was lovely to see so many smiling faces at the gate, and even better to know that the children were still smiling at the end of the day when they met up again with their parents. This pattern was repeated on Thursday with Bubble B children. The Bubble system appears to be working well as the different Bubbles have not come into contact with each other at any point during the day. Funnily enough, many children usually say that lunchtime and playtime are the best parts of their day. Under our new Bubble system, they are now saying the opposite: lesson time is great; playtime is boring!
18th May 2020
Return to school for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children
Even though it seems like a long time ago now, it is hard to believe that it has only been a week since the Prime Minister informed the nation that from 1st June, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children would be allowed to return to school. Since then, my staff and I have spent many hours trying to create a plan that meets government guidelines and which is as humane as possible for the children and staff returning. Several parents, quite understandably, would like additional information before finally deciding on whether or not to allow their child to return to school. Hopefully, the information in the newsletter will help you decide on the right course of action for you and your child.
I would like to emphasise that even though our plans are based on what we consider to be the safest option, they are not foolproof and cannot guarantee 100% safety. Every family must independently come to a decision which they feel is right for them. In the same way, my leadership team and I have planned what we feel is right for our school community – it isn’t a perfect plan, but no plan is.
Please be aware that school will inevitably be very different from what it has been in the past. The focus of the plan is very much on keeping children and staff safe.
15th May 2020
Back to school?
Before we turn to the news about the proposed reopening of schools on 1st June, I’d just like to take a moment to thank the staff at Burleigh for their dedication and hard work in creating, sustaining and delivering the home learning that all your children have greatly benefited from over the last 6 weeks. In schools where feedback is not given, pupils quickly lose motivation and down tools. I know that one of the strongest features of our home learning programme has been the emailed feedback that teachers give. This, along with the phone calls you have received, has gone a long way to ensuring that as a school community, we have stayed together (though physically apart) during the Covid-19 pandemic. So a huge ‘THANK YOU’ to our amazing staff!
8th May 2020
Standing in the doorway...
At 11.00 o’clock this morning, I stood in the doorway of my home to observe the two minutes silence to mark VE Day – the official end to the Second World War in Europe. Looking around the close was a moving experience; the elderly couple opposite, now well in their eighties, had tears in their eyes as, no doubt, memories from the decades flooded through their minds. The two primary school children next door also fell silent. As a nation, we came together today to remember those who gave their lives to bring about peace in Europe for future generations to come. I wonder if the elderly couple opposite, as ten year olds, realised that they were playing a massive part in history just by going about their daily lives, possibly as evacuees, or by staying here on the outskirts of London, running to the air raid shelter whenever the siren sounded? Similarly, I wonder if we realise the part that we are playing in history at the moment through what we are doing? I’m certainly not trying to equate our experiences today in lockdown with those of the people who went through the Second World War, but I do wonder if in years to come, Burleigh children will be telling their own grandchildren (and possibly even great grandchildren) of the time when the schools were shut as we came together as a nation to defeat Coronavirus? Even though we were not able to formally commemorate VE Day in school, some of the work you did at home to mark the occasion can be seen in the latest newsletter.
1st May 2020
Phone a friend
Hello everyone! How are you doing? We’d really like to know. Even though we’re not all together any more, we’re still one big school and would like to keep in touch with you. So, from Monday onwards, your teachers are going to start giving all your families a phone call. There are lots of you, so your call will take place at some point in the next fortnight – we’re not able to phone you all immediately. When we do ring though, we’d like your Mum or Dad (whoever answers the phone) to put it on speakerphone so that we can chat to you together.
It should be fun!
24th April 2020
Back to the grindstone? Hopefully not!
How is everyone doing? As a valued member of our school community, we hope that you and your family are doing well. On Monday (even though it didn’t necessarily feel like it) we officially started the Summer Term. It did feel strange to not have those ‘start of the new term’ feelings. After nearly 30 years in the teaching profession, my life has come to be regulated by term times and holidays – I can’t cope without them! As a result, despite entering the second phase of lockdown, I have come to appreciate the importance of routines more than ever before. Most of the best advice on ‘How to survive the Coronavirus pandemic’ centres around having a routine and keeping going, even when you don’t feel like it. So…back to last Monday… Hopefully you re-started your home-school learning, even if your children didn’t immediately thank you for it. That said, it has been really pleasing to hear of children who facetime each other and do their learning together as a group. Their mums tell of hearing them laughing and joking, but most importantly, getting the work done. One group of Year 5 girls (you know who you are!) even pencil in breaks! Well done! Why not allow yourselves to have a bit of fun along the way?
3rd April 2020
Have you found the last few weeks hard?
I have. Three weeks ago we were struggling to keep the school open and I thought I would have to send some classes home. Then, on the Wednesday, the Prime Minister told us that we were closing in two days time. This led to further challenges as we suddenly had to put a system into place without any rules or guidance. Then, two weeks ago, we went from having a school of 420 children to a school of 20; from 60 staff to 6! The corridors are eerily quiet at the moment, but like you, we’ve had to readjust. I hope that you and those close to you are keeping safe and well during this difficult time. Once again, I want to thank you for your support and the way in which, despite the challenges (and they are very real), you have tackled the home learning on the website. Today, I asked the teachers to email me just some of the excellent work they have received. There was far too much to display it all, so I’ve just chosen a snapshot for the newsletter. The work is stunning!
27th March 2020
Working together for the good of the children
As we come to the end of the first week of school closure, Burleigh’s strapline takes on greater significance than ever before. Our teaching is now being done by you, so thank you for pinning your children down each morning, logging onto the school website and downloading the day’s work. Monday saw a blip in the system for some, but things seem to have settled down as the week has progressed. On average, teachers are receiving work for marking from about 18 pupils in their class. They are enjoying commenting on the work; and, from the few parents I’ve spoken to this week, it seems that the children are greatly enjoying the communication with their teacher, too. Some Reception children in particular have had some excellent conversations with their class teachers!
Please do be kind to yourselves and be as flexible as you need to be in terms of when you find time to sit down and do the work. We are all too aware that surviving being cooped up together is a skill in itself. Reading as much as you can will always remain a top priority, but so does getting out once a day for exercise – even I’ve had to start jogging again (aching limbs are us!).
One important thing to keep focusing on and remembering is that there is still much good in the world.
14th February 2020
Coming soon to a school near you!
When we come back from half term, our Infant children will be able to step into a magical masterpiece where imaginations can be set free and dreams become a reality…
Many of you may have noticed a magnificent sculpture just the other side of the Infant fence before you arrive at the Year 1 classrooms. Mrs Dell and Miss Harvey have worked tirelessly with an international artist, Ian Freemantle, to provide an awe-inspiring sculpture for our KS1 playground. We intend to officially open the sculpted reading area in March, but will be allowing children to use it from after half term. I would like to thank the teachers involved in this project for their commitment and enthusiasm to make Burleigh an even better place.
Science Week: This week has seen the school focusing on science. As subject leader, Miss Fox has led the way, supporting teachers with their planning and ideas. Take a look at some of the things we got up to:
Internet safety: On Monday, the Y6 children and CHEXS delivered a brilliant assembly to raise awareness of safer internet use. Please check out the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1n9Jly3CQ8
NB This was only shown to Years 5 and 6, but worth discussing with your children if you feel it is appropriate.
24th January 2020
‘When I were a lad…’
…..mobile phones hadn’t been invented! Therefore, when you left school at 3.30pm and said ‘Good-bye’ to your friends, that was it until the next day. Things are much more complicated now. Children of all ages often have phones; and, of course, if they are used correctly, there’s no problem. However, from time to time, this is not the case. Thank you to all those parents who are completely on top of their child’s mobile phone usage and carefully monitor their texts and messages to other pupils. To support parents better in this very challenging area of online safety, we have a helpful page on our school website. Please take some time to have a look at it. The following link will take you straight there: https://www.burleighschool.co.uk/e-safety/ The parents’ guides to ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Snapchat’ are particularly useful. It’s no accident that since May 2018, the minimum age for legally using ‘WhatsApp’ has been raised to 16.
A date for your diary: On Monday 10th February 2020, some children from Years 5 and 6 will be opening a special ‘Safer Internet’ assembly delivered by CHEXS. This event is for all Junior parents. Please make every effort to attend; you are warmly invited.
Read all about it!
Have you noticed the new telephone box in the main entrance? We have created a
brand-new free book swap area to encourage even more children to read for pleasure.
There are two ways to use the telephone box: 1) Families can either choose a book
together, share it at home and then return it so that other families can enjoy it too, or,
2) Bring in a good quality, second hand book to leave in the telephone box and swap it
for a book you have yet to enjoy. It couldn’t be easier – happy reading!
Inside Out Day
Thursday 6th February is ‘Inside Out Day’. All you have to do is to come to school on that day wearing a piece of clothing ‘inside out’. This is to help everyone stop and think about how someone else is feeling. As the slogan for the campaign says, ‘Always be kind, as you don’t know how your friend is feeling on the inside.’
On Monday 20th January, Burleigh footballers took part in the prestigious ‘Premier League Primary Stars Football Tournament’ at the New River Sports Centre. Burleigh participated against the best teams in Haringey. Even though we were undefeated, we drew one game more than the overall winning team. People were overheard saying how well Burleigh did. Congratulations to all those who participated.
Thursday 19th December 2019
'Tis the season to be jolly!
Colourful costumes, tinsel, singing, dancing, frantic TAs and teachers trying to put together Christmas shows on time………. Well, judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces as the final bow was taken, we did it! Congratulations to all the children who participated so magnificently in our KS2 Christingle, our KS1 Christmas extravaganza and our Reception nativity this year. I know that, as parents, you greatly appreciate the efforts of all staff to give the children as wide a variety of experiences as possible: a wonderful example of everyone Working together for the good of the children!
Wonderful TAs: Tomorrow sees the end of an era, in that we say a fond farewell to three TAs who have served the Burleigh School community magnificently over the years – Mrs Sue Shelford (joined in 1999!!), Mrs Sharon Hook (2007) and Mrs Sally Bird (2009). All have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into school life, covering a wide range of roles from 1:1 support, class TA, medical duties, supporting school trips and journeys, concerts etc……….the list is too long! We wish them all the very best for their future happiness and thank them for all their hard work.
Uniform: This has improved greatly over the course of the term, with nearly all pupils now meeting the school’s expectations. It would be greatly appreciated if from January onwards, all those children choosing to have long hair would come to school with it tied back or held in place by a sensible, discreet hair band – no unicorn horns please. Also, if choosing to wear earrings, please ensure they are small stud ones only.
Sport: Burleigh football team continues to go from strength to strength as we participate in more and more prestigious competitions – the last one being for the best teams across all of North London in the EFL’s Kids Cup tournament run by Leighton Orient FC. Thanks go to Mr Hau for the dedicated time and effort he puts into training the team and continually setting high expectations. All those participating in the team know that footballing talent has to be coupled with a diligent attitude towards schoolwork and good behaviour to keep a place in the squad.
Governors: The unsung heroes of the school, quietly beavering away in the background, supporting the strategic direction of the school and ensuring all managerial aspects are fit for purpose. If you would like to join this dedicated team, there is still a space or two available. Please see either myself (Mr Norman) or Andy Pereira (Chair of Governors) if you think you could contribute to the school community in this way.
End of term: School finishes at 2pm tomorrow, and starts again for children on Tuesday 7th January 2020.
Parking: It really isn’t easy at the start and end of the school day on Blindmans Lane. Understandably, our neighbours are very patient and can cope with people occasionally parking across their driveways – though of course, they would prefer this not to happen at all. However, a very small minority of people are dropping their children off at school and then chatting for quite some time to their friends. Please be mindful of our neighbours in future. Many thanks.
Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a very happy New Year!
Friday 25th October 2019
What a Week!
Black History Week: Wow! What a week! On Tuesday, all children experienced a West African Sinte dance workshop, with Key Stage 1 pupils participating in Sinte drumming too. It was good to hear so much laughter and excitement coming from both school halls. Our English and topic work were also based on the various Black History themes we explored. These included: success and achievement (Reception and Year 1); immigration and culture (Year 2); discrimination and perseverance in sport (Year 3); doing the right thing even when it’s hard (Year 4); discrimination and perseverance in politics (Year 5); and, success and achievement in science (Year 6). I’m sure your children have been talking about the week at home. A special ‘thank you’ to Miss Atakora (our History subject leader) for planning the week so carefully.
Year 5 Kingswood Assembly: Year 5 children produced a thrilling assembly Wednesday morning in which they shared their experiences of their recent trip to Kingswood. As a result of the trip, all the children visibly grew and become much more independent. Again, special thanks go to Miss Maxwell, Miss Fox, Mrs Shelford and Mr Hau for organising and leading the journey.
Uniform: Thank you to FABS for organising the uniform sale Wednesday night after school. All children are expected to return to school after the half term holiday in correct winter uniform. If you are unsure as to what this looks like, please go to the Burleigh page on the M&S website at www.mandsyourschooluniform.com
Parents’ Book Look: In response to the Parents’ Strengths and Weaknesses Evening, this week saw teachers open their classroom doors at the end of the school day to give parents an opportunity to look at their child’s work in an unhurried environment. Several parents commented on how beneficial they had found the whole process, and how they now knew which areas to support their child in. Parents’ consultations are still being held at the start of next half term in addition to this.
Football Results: On Wednesday, Burleigh took part in the ESFA Football Tournament, and finished as runners up, losing in a nail-biting penalty shootout (3-2) to Goffs Oak Primary. The children were fantastic ambassadors for the school and showed great sportsmanship throughout the competition. Well done to all the players who took part, with a special ‘thank you’ to Mr Hau for organising the event. We eagerly await the next football venture! Thank you to all the parents who helped transport their children. Onwards and upwards!
Friday 4th October 2019
Response to our Strengths and Weaknesses Evening
Working together for the good of the children
On Thursday 26th September, twenty-0ne parents and a few senior staff met to discuss the school’s strengths and weaknesses. Everyone had an opinion; everyone was heard. After much debate, the top three priorities for each category came out as:
Quality of teaching
Nurturing environment in Reception
‘Meet and greet’ at the school gates.
Areas for development:
More regular updates on children’s progress
Communication – lack of consistency, more notice of dates
Homework – too much, not set for different abilities
Senior staff found hearing these views very helpful, and discussed them in more detail at our weekly Senior Leadership Team meeting on Tuesday 1st October. Whilst we are not able to implement all ideas immediately, several changes in response to what was discussed will take place.
These will include:
A different homework system based more on English and Maths. This will allow parents to keep in touch with what has recently been taught in class, and better support their child. We aim to start this new system from half term onwards. Children in Years 1 to 3 will have either a piece of English or maths to complete each week. Children in Years 4 and 5 will be given a piece of English and maths every week. Year 6’s homework system – English, maths and science - will continue as before.
More regular updates on children’s progress. Once a half term, parents will be given the opportunity to come into school and look at their child’s books from 3.20-3.40pm. These meetings will be in addition to the termly parents’ consultations. Our first ‘book look’ will take place in the week commencing 21st October: Monday - Reception & Year 2; Tuesday - Year 1, Year 3 & Year 5; Thursday - Year 4 & Year 6. Parents are also very welcome to make appointments to see the class teacher via the school office.
More notice of important dates. We are able to tell you now that in 2020, ‘Do something different day’ will be held on Friday 19th June and Sports Day will be on Friday 3rd July (Juniors a.m. and Infants pm). This will give parents more time to prepare for these events and book a day off work in advance. All notable dates are also on the school website.
More information about the rewards system in school. Parents wanted clarity on awards such as the Rainbow and Planet certificates, along with the Headteacher’s weekly award: ‘Hot Chocolate with the Head’. Information about these has been added as a news item to the school website.
Once again, a huge ‘Thank you’ to all those who were able to attend the evening and share their views on school life.
Monday 9th September 2019
Welcome back everyone! It was good to see so many smiling faces at the gate on Wednesday morning! People seem to have had an enjoyable summer holiday and are ready for a term of work and fun. I did hear the comment, ‘It went so quickly,’ several times! As a staff, we were in school on Monday and Tuesday thinking about ways in which to make our teaching as good as it possibly can be for the children of Burleigh. Just like last term, there will also be a range of after school clubs on offer – lists will be coming out next week to enable clubs to begin the week commencing 16th September. As always, we will be having our annual ‘Meet the Teacher’ evening on Wednesday 18th September when parents have the opportunity to meet their child’s teacher and hear about the curriculum and events planned for the coming year. Do come along if you can.