The children at Church Langton CE (Aided) Primary School were delighted to welcome author and illustrator Steve Antony for a visit. Mr Antony, whose books include The Queen’s Hat and Please Mr Panda lead a whole assembly, reading some of his work and sharing how he became a published author.
He then spent time with the pupils in year 1 and reception, teaching them about his drawing technique and answering their questions. Mrs Manley, year two teacher who had organised the event, thought the children gained from the experience. “All the children were very excited to learn how he created his books from initial ideas through to the final book on sale. It was a wonderful experience especially when we had a sneak preview of his new book The Queen’s Handbag.
The Queen’s hat is a finalist for both the Waterstone’s Childrens’ picture book of the year and the London Evening Standards ‘Oscars first book prize’.
Steve was so impressed by the art work produced by some of the pupils that he has now added it to his own website. Click here to see.
The first day on the residential is always a busy one as we try to cram in as much as possible. After a smooth journey into Northamptonshire, the coach arrived at Frontier Centre with the children very keen to see their accommodation. Oak Lodge is located at the highest point of the site with a wonderful view across the valley.
After a welcome meeting from the staff we enjoyed our packed lunch and then got settled into the bedrooms. A tour of the site showed the children many of the activities and finished with the traditional team photo.
The class were divided into two groups, who then completed different tasks. The group with Mrs Sparkes had a go at archery first which was a lot of fun! We learnt the basics first and then played ‘Pizza’, ‘Where’s Wally?’ and ‘Archery’s Got Talent’! Our instructors, Colin and Nate, were really enthusiastic and supportive.
We then went to the new activity for the trip that has never been completed by Church Langton students or staff before called King Swing! This involved pairs of children being winched up to the top of a pole and then dropped from a great height at some speed! The children not being dropped were required to wind up the mechanism wheel and then took great delight in watching the faces of their friends as they swung past screaming! Mrs Sparkes loved this activity; Mr Williams did not love it quite as much!
Mr Roddy led his group down to the tower to take on the challenge of abseiling. The instructors went through a detailed safety talk as all of the children got prepared. This was followed by each child deciding on a target they wanted to achieve from the experience. These varied depending on the level of confidence and prior experience the children had with some very pleased to have climbed the five ladders to reach the summit and wave at their friends while other completed the abseiling wall down to the bottom.
The next task was entitled “Above and Beyond” and involved the children leaving all about Mission A F. This charity is involved in delivering medical aid and support to remote locations all around the world and this led to the children reflecting in prayer on how lucky we are to have the level of care available to us in this country. As a team, the children then had to imagine what it would be like to deliver this aid by completing an assault course carrying various items. The reward for completing this was to pretend to fly in the plane which had previously used for that kind of mission.
The children were keen to share stories of their day as we met together for a delicious dinner served by a volunteer from Brazil. We therefore learnt to safe Obrigado after the meal before heading back to the lodge. Many children commented on making their own beds to be the hardest task so far but we eventually completed the challenge ready for the evening activities.
At Church Langton we have been developing new methods for encouraging our pupils to try out new authors and developing their enthusiasm for reading. Book week was held at the beginning of March with activities held throughout the week. Each class had lessons planned linked to their focus authors for this term. Each class in our school will study six focus authors over the course the year. We have been lucky enough to have some authors visit the school while other classes have made contact using twitter.
The whole school read was a highlight for many children as they were able to choose to hear a stories read from various members of staff around the building. It was particularly enjoyable to see children from four plus and year six being able to enjoy a story together.
The book swap involved children bringing in a book from home to exchange for another they have not tried, some parents and staff got involved as well.
We marked World Book Day with the children being invited to dress up as a book character from one of the texts they have studied this year. To celebrate the wonderful costumes we held a parade in the hall. As always we received great support from parents, grandparents and toddlers who clapped each class as they paraded through the hall.
The finale to our week was for all the classes to enjoy a visit from the West End in Schools Theatre company who performed “Back to Before”. The play involved many well known stories and was a great way to end was what a very special week at Church Langton.
Having thoroughly enjoyed seeing the beaming faces of the children in four plus, year one and two as they completed the second performance of their nativity play, ‘Prickly Hay’ it seems a good time to reflect on the different ways in which our pupils perform during their time at school.
At Church Langton we believe that it all pupils deserve opportunities to perform to different audiences in a range of locations. Looking back over the last year the school has held our Easter Play, the year six leavers’ play and the nativity play. Each child will have a played a part in one of those performances, either narrating, acting or singing.
We are fortunate to have fantastic lights and sound equipment, funding by the Friends of Church Langton, which creates a terrific setting for the pupils to shine.
In addition this, pupils in each class have been involved in musical showcases where they have performed tuned or percussion instruments to parents. These events are a chance for the children to demonstrate what they have learnt with our wonderful music teacher Mr Kirkland. We are very fortunate to have a teacher who is focused solely on the development of music and each class enjoy a weekly lesson along with a focused block of six weeks of extra sessions on a Wednesday afternoon. Whole class instrumental tuition comes in the form of ukulele and recorder teaching which happen in years three and four.
We also have a wide range of peripatetic teachers who deliver lessons in piano, guitar, brass and stringed instruments. Mr Kirkland also runs our school choir and the Friday morning club, Music Makers, who enjoy the imaginative experiences he provides.
Mr Kirkland also leads music across our partnership of schools, organising the joint concerts which have been held at Leicester Grammar School and Welland Park Academy. These concerts involve year five pupils performing from each of the five schools as well as collaborative performances between the pupils.
The year four pupils enjoy an annual opportunity to join a different group of schools in the joint schools concert organised by the Leicestershire Music Hub. The weeks of rehearsal, for both pupils and staff, culminates in an evening of performing to an audience of hundreds at DeMontfort Hall in Leicester.
The largest audience our pupils perform to is at the Birmingham arena where every two years the children in year five and six take part in Young Voices. The children join schools from all across the midlands to perform alongside professional performers during a fantastic evening of music. The reaction from both the pupils and the parents to this opportunity is always wonderful and provides them all with terrific memories of performing.
So as the parents, grandparents and toddlers reflect on their pride at seeing our youngest pupils perform this year’s nativity play I take great pleasure in looking ahead to all the further opportunities those children will have in the years to come.
As we come to the end of November, it seems a good opportunity to reflect on how our school marked the centenary of the end of the First World War. The whole school started the week by joining school’s from around the world in the Remembrance Assembly live from the Tower of London via a webcast. The pupils in 4+ had made their own poppies in preparation and these were displayed in class.
The older children had been busy writing poetry and prayers as they considered the experiences of the soldiers and the impact their actions have had on our lives today. Year five studied a short film entitled ‘The piano’ which features an elderly man reflecting on the friends he left behind in battle.
On Tuesday 11th November the whole school visited St Peter’s Church for our Remembrance Service and were joined by parents and governors. At 11.00am our brass teacher, Mr Haigh, played the last post to mark the two minutes silence. The service was led by Rev Janet Gaspar who shared with the children the experience of her grandfather who fought in the war. Children in year five and six shared prayers and all of the children were reminded of the importance of wearing a poppy. The year six children had been selling poppies and a few other items as well raising money for a very important cause.
The year three and four football team took part in a football tournament at Fleckney Primary School to commemorate the Christmas truce match. The event included six school and our team emerged as worthy winners.
To finish the events, the year five children went on a trip to London to see Warhorse. The class have been studying Michael Morpurgo and found the performance at the National Theatre a wonderful way to consider the impact the war had on people’s lives.
I am very proud of the way in which our pupils remembered those who gave their lives for our country, both during World War One and subsequent conflicts. Through lessons, trips and collective worship, they have understood why 11thNovember should always be a very important date and why this year was of particular significance.
We have enjoyed an exciting start to the academic year for the teaching of PE and competitive sport at Church Langton. The arrival of our sports coach, Mr Williams has had a big impact. He assists in the teaching of PE for all classes as well as organising games at break and lunchtimes. The extra-curricular clubs have also been enhanced by his arrival with the addition of extra tag-rugby sessions and a breakfast badminton club.
The sports teams have been busy with pupils representing the school in boys and girls football, netball, uni-hoc, indoor athletics, table tennis and cross country running. Each team have represented the school demonstrating excellent sporting values and our pupils are often praised by event organisers for their conduct.
Success has also been achieved in many of these events. The year 5 and 6 netball team won the Robert Smyth Academy tournament and the Leicester High School High five tournament. Both the boys and girls table tennis teams were runners up for the Harborough and Blaby competition, while the year 3 and 4 uni-hoc team won the Robert Smyth Tournament which was contested by fifteen teams.
The league competitions have also started well with the netball teams, girls football and boys football teams all enjoying success in their opening rounds of matches.
Our growing list of extra-curricular clubs has also benefited more pupils with gymnastics, cheerleading and badminton added to the opportunities on offer. Mrs Sparkes is now busy planning the clubs for next term.
The opening weeks of term has been as busy as ever with the children returning to school to meet their new teachers and see the improvements we have made over the summer. The pupils moving into year three and year four have been delighted with their newly decorated classrooms, our yellow group room is a welcome addition as well.
Year one have been making the most of the good weather and enjoying their courtyard outdoor area. Fortunately for them the covered area means they have a space to learn and play that will be available all year round thanks to the new flooring.
All of the children have been thrilled to see the new school library. After closing for the final weeks of the summer term the pupils had been anticipating what it would look like. The arrival of Sir Langton, our reading Knight, has been met with great excitement, as have the new books and furniture.
We have also been thrilled to invest in laptops which are available for the pupils to use during their computing lessons as well as other areas of the curriculum. These, along with our ipads and netbooks mean we are extremely well resourced for the new curriculum.
This is a time of change in primary education and we have been busy preparing for the new curriculum while also developing adjustments to our assessment methods. The introduction of free school meals for pupils in foundation stage and key stage one has also been another new challenge for the start of term.
Our parent welcome evenings gave parents the chance to hear about the year ahead from the class teachers and were very well attended.
Going into my third year as Headteacher I am often reminded how lucky we are at Church Langton and feel very proud of the school, its staff and pupils who contribute so much to continue to help our school to develop and progress.
The day began early (some might say a little too early!) as the children were very excited about the activities ahead. Room inspections took place at 7.30, some passing with flying colours, others needed a bit more work. A special mention for Joel and Kai and to Freya, Isabelle and Grace, who had done a wonderful job in keeping their rooms tidy. The walk to breakfast brought the first rain of the trip but that was soon forgotten as the class undertook the challenge of eating as much toast, cereal, fruit and yoghurt as possible. The staff took on the challenge as well but could not keep up!
With full bellies and smiles on their faces, the whole class travelled down to the river where they met up with our team of instructors. The centre is run by a Christian charity and each session involves an element of prayer which is led by one of the instructors. After this, the children were kitted out in buoyancy aids, helmets and paddles before being put into groups. All of the staff also took part although it remains unclear whether those boats had an advantage or disadvantage.
Once on the river, we played a selection of games as well as learning all about brussel sprouts and ice cream! Some canoes found it easier than others to steer with some interesting collisions but fortunately nobody fell in. The session ended with a very entertaining game of canoe-ball with the red team defeating the greens. At the end of the session the importance of working as a team was reflected upon and reinforced as the children had to carry the canoes and equipment back to the base.
Mrs Sparkes’ group then went to the maze which they thoroughly enjoyed. Various challenges were set for them and they demonstrated some great problem solving skills. The second group took part in ‘Above and Beyond’ an activity that highlights the work of MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) who help to deliver medical support to people in remote locations around the world. Why not visit their website to find out more http://www.maf.org/ The children had to overcome various obstacles to discover what it would be like to travel great distances to gain medical attention and then got to sit in a real MAF plane.
After a very busy morning the whole group were ready for lunch which consisted of pizza, potato wedges, pasta and salad. Many of the children had looked forward to different elements of the trip but one reoccurring conversation had between staff and pupils (on some occasions very early in the morning!) was “when are we going to the ROCK shop?”. This was finally answered after lunch with a varied selection of items purchased for the film night to come later.
The afternoon comprised Bush skills for my group, all of whom learnt about different types of trees and how to make a den from items in the wood. The camp fire was also a highlight for some of the children. The other group took on the challenge of abseiling. There were some great individual achievements, which were celebrated by the group as a whole.
Mrs Sparkes’ group enjoyed Above and Beyond, particularly impressing with their teamwork in overcoming the obstacles. A couple of budding pilots also demonstrated their skills while the group all understood the link made to the Good Samaritan.
My group finished the afternoon with a visit to the Adventure Pit. The overall outcome was a lot of muddy children with big smiles on their faces.
As with every other meal, dinner was greatly appreciated and the children then went back to Oak Lodge to prepare for the movie night.
Photos will be uploaded later this evening.
The children have been thinking about their favourite part of day one of the residential.
Kai said “I really liked the archery because it was very fun and competitive”. Harris agreed, “I like the part when the instructor said ‘loss’ and all the arrows flew through the air”.
Fergus stated, “the abseiling was the best part of day one because the feeling of jumping off the top was exciting”.
Isabelle also enjoyed the abseiling and was proud of her achievement of completing the challenge.
Charlie W thought that bush craft was his favourite as “your could fetch things from the forest and made some shelters”. Simon, the instructor, poured water over the shelters. “Ours was the best” claims Charlie W, “it was big enough for three people”.
Grace described dinner to be “delicious, I even had seconds” and the children really enjoyed meeting the staff who were from Italy and South Korea.
After an exciting first day the children are ready for more challenges today, canoeing is up first with both groups going out on the river together.
After months of anticipation, year four have started their residential adventure at Rock UK in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire. The coach left school in glorious sunshine and before we knew we it, we had arrived at the centre. After a welcome meeting and lunch, we had a tour of the wonderful grounds and saw some of the activities that await us in the week.
The class have been split into two groups, led by Mrs Sparkes and myself.
Mrs Sparkes’ group took part in archery for their first activity, with Jamie T demonstrating some impressive skills and all of the teachers and pupils enjoying the experience. They then had a go at Bush Craft with some interesting creations emerging.
The second group started with the challenge of abseiling. I was delighted that everyone climbed to the top of the tower to see the wonderful view of the surrounding area. Most then had a go at abseiling down the wall. Freya certainly showed no fear as she bounced her way down while Alex and Oliver were delighted with their achievements. We then moved onto fencing, something many of the children had never tried before. The instructors, Tim and Steve, gave us a great beginner’s guide although Laurence and Cooper looked like old pros as they defeated many opponents, including Mrs Hudson and myself.
Following the return journey up the hill to Oak Lodge, the children unpacked their bags and made their beds (some with more help than others). Dinner was devoured with lasagne, carbonara, macaroni cheese and cake putting plenty of smiles on the faces of pupils and staff alike.
The evening brought a chance to reflect on day one by writing in diaries. The children all took part in the Nightline activity which involved working as a team to overcome obstacles along a course, using only torches to light the way. Some quiet reflection time and prayer then followed before a happy but tired group of children went to bed for the night. Photos will be uploaded later this evening.