Thursday 12th October 2017
I cannot believe the day I've had today!
It all started when I was greeted at the gate by Rory (5W) who showed me his design for the bicycle for his Headteacher Challenge and proceeded to share it all with Jon, one of our Governors who was just passing too. As Rory left JP (3TW) came over to say that he had a great philosophical question (how did time start to exist?). We talked about whether it exists at all!
Three different Y6 girls then came and asked if they could start contributing to the Whitehawk Foodbank as we have now become an official collection point for them. During the morning several children stopped outside my office and contributed to our philosophy of the week question (Is a question an answer or is an answer a question?).
Then at lunchtime a number of children came to my office- Rory (5W) came to show me the letter he had written to Baroness Onora O’Neill who was our focus in assembly last week as she had won the Berggrum Prize for her contributions to Philosophy and wants to invite her to our school. Beth, Iona and Freddie (4P) were also in my office selecting the winners of the philosophy of the week question and setting the next one (Is there something we can all agree on? Scout 6S), Reuben and Owen (6JW) were in the office organising the 4 squares tournament, Grace (6S) was in the office editing my HT Challenge letter with friends and Lottie and Oscar (Y6) were also in the office discussing the next fundraising event for their Hoodies Fund. I then went to have lunch, walking past lots of pupil run lunchtime clubs with the children, and I sat with Charlie (Y6) who was eating his lunch whilst doing a chess square maths challenge.
Poppy (5M) came to tell me all about how she is doing with her HT four fours challenge that I set for her on Wednesday. In the afternoon I read the HT Challenge letter to all the Y6 children who helped me edit and improve it and whilst in 6P Reuben said that when doing the HT Mini-Weekend Challenge on Nobel Prize winners he discovered that his Mum actually knows one of the scientists that has been awarded one of them.
Chatting with Year 1s in the afternoon they are all still so excited about their amazing experience during the Teddy Bear Hospital experience yesterday when medical students from the Royal Sussex Medical School spent the afternoon with the children taking their teddies through lots of different medical adventures!
At the end of the day it was so special to welcome back the children who represented the school on the ‘Showing Racism the Red Card’ event at the AMEX- so proud of you all.
Sunday 8th October 2017
I am really looking forward to this week as we launch our Walking to School Week with a guest appearance at the Gate! Tuesday is the HT Meeting at the Local Authority and the JONK talk to parents in the evening before the FAB AGM. Wednesday is Full Governors and on Friday we are hosting the Annual Shoreham Air Disaster Charity Match against Patcham after school accompanied by another pupil led cake sale, this time in aid of Friends of Dementia, Saturday then is our first MASCOT game of the year for all our MASCOT certificate children- can't wait!
Friday 6th October 2017
Another truly amazing day with yet again the children doing something quite incredible-the Y6 Leavers Hoodies Committee today organised the first fundraising event in the shape of a cake sale- not only did lots and lots of really delicious cakes arrive at school but the success of their venture was extraordinary- fully packed with families for about an hour after school and they ended up with an amazing £216- considering they need £1200 for the whole year, they are well on their way- a huge well done to you all and especially the committee!
I really hope you enjoy the first Newsletter today dedicated to specific themes at school- today features Health and Safety. After half-term we are planning to publish similar ones on Science, PE and Pupil Voice.
Today we also launched the first ever mini HT Challenges - I hope you enjoy these- today's weekend challenge is to research the Nobel Prize winners being announced this week- enjoy!
Thursday 5th October 2017
Today has been one of those days that make absolutely everything worthwhile. I have never had such an exciting and productive and inspirational Learning Leaders Meeting. Today was the first meeting of the year, with 18 new representatives from Year 1 to Year 6. On the Agenda we had the CUP OF COFFEE, the new JONK Bicycle Model and the Goats and their contribution to our MASCOTs. All children were so absorbed, so respectful and contributed so much- it really did not seem like I was in a meeting with just children- what really impressed me was that everything I was saying, they were understanding and replying using the same language- it seems that our vocabulary of learning is now fully part of how we all are. The ideas with the Bicycle surpassed all my expectations and I have written the whole meeting up through formal minutes which are available on our website- please take a look! I have now also invited them all to the evening talk I’m doing to parents next week just before the FAB AGM!
Wednesday 4th October 2017
Thank you all so much for staying behind and joining in with the Linking Arms around the School initiative- great that we managed to go so far round the school- a lovely atmosphere- many thanks to Beth for organising it so well.
Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Great to have the Science Assemblies today- the children absolutely loved them and so many will be joining the new Science after school clubs being launched after half-term- I'm delighted.
Also a huge thanks to the Outdoor Project who have been inspiring our Year 3 so much with exciting outdoor activities- you are making a big difference to the topic work.
Monday 2nd October 2017
What a great turn out for Tennis before school with the Head today- doing R, Y1 and Y2 was great- so many children making so much progress after one session- we will try to do lots more mornings for you all before the weather stops us.
Great to launch Black History Month in our assemblies- we really look forward to all that’s to come- thanks so much Dawn Powell for a wonderful display already in the foyer.
Very interesting to attend the latest SOS meeting today- we are really looking forward to the holdings hands event on Wednesday.
Friday 29th September 2017
What a wonderful day at school- I really enjoyed the whole school focus on MacMillan today and the celebration assemblies and I'm delighted that the new certificates look so good- I hope that you all enjoy receiving the new style awards- such lovely things on them too and so early on in the term.
I'm also delighted that the Y6 boys football team followed the lead of the girl's team last week and did equally well in the tournament at Brighton College. So proud of you all and huge congratulations to the three children who have been scouted by Brighton and Hove!
I was also really pleased to attend the launch of the Pavilion and Downs new Teaching School Alliance. A great evening and so much to look forward to with all that the new alliance will be able to offer. Really looking forward to it all and building new avenues of partnership working.
Thursday 28th September 2017
I have just come back from such an interesting meeting- the latest of the Brighton and Hove Connected Strategic Board Meeting was fascinating as it felt that for the first time we were focusing on issues that education can have such a fabulous impact on- the focus was how can we as a society contribute to the continued success of the Brighton and Hove Living Biosphere and how can we increase the participation in and enjoyment of the arts and cultural activities- I was particularly pleased with the ability to contribute to the question of how can youngsters be equipped with all that employers require- the MASCOTs down to a t!
Wednesday 27th September 2017
I was so privileged to give the key-note speech at the East Sussex NQT Conference went today at the University of Sussex- it feels great to be able to inspire the next generations of teachers with all the philosophy and practical ideas that we are currently putting into practice at Balfour- there was so much excitement and so much interest from the audience- I now look forward to all that's to come and to leading a more extended workshop based session for the same cohort in the new year.
Tuesday 26th September 2017
We had a wonderful morning today sharing our school with Councillor Ken Norman- we spent all morning sharing with him our philosophy of learning and walking round the whole site and going into every classroom. We were so proud of all children- great to see them all so enthusiastic, so engaged and so chatty with our visitor. We look forward to his next visit very soon.
Monday 25th September 2017
A huge welcome to all the Reception children who started at school full time today for the very first time- what an amazing and momentous day for you all and also for your families- we are all so very proud of you and of the way you've enjoyed it all so much. Seeing you all leave with such great smiles was a real joy at the end of the day. Great to meet and greet so many families too afterwards at the Tea and Tissue event- thanks already for being so enthusiastic in terms of getting involved with the life of the school- I cannot wait for the next seven years- so much to look forward to.
Friday 22nd September 2017
Such a great morning today at the Headteachers Conference at the University of Sussex- such a privilege to hear both Alison Peacock and Mary Myatt speak- both truly inspirational people and speakers and I have already spent lots of time with Year 5 children telling them all about it and getting children's views in terms of how we can keep working towards developing an intrinsic motivation to learn in all of us.
Thursday 21st September 2017
I absolutely loved the before school Tennis session this morning- a huge well done to Years 6 and 3- more than twenty Year 3s- fabulous and you all did so well!
Wednesday 20th September 2017
A great day of celebrations in Year 5 today culminating in the most fantastic Greek Dance display for families- it's amazing how you can all learn a dance routine so quickly and so well- fabulous!
I really enjoyed the Laurel Trust board meeting today- supporting really exciting projects throughout the country and all having such a great impact on children's learning and outcomes.
Great Tennis before school today- with Year 2s and Year 6s- the best thing of all was the coaching of Y2s by the Y6s when they weren't playing with me- truly inspirational!
Tuesday 19th September 2017
Really looking forward to tonight's first FAB Meeting of the year and to tomorrow's early morning tennis session with Year 6 and Year 2s!
Monday 18th September 2017
Great to welcome all the Reception children today for their reverse week- we are delighted that all the morning children have had such a great first afternoon and that all the afternoon children have had such a great first morning and lunch! We are very proud of you all!
A very important day for our school too today as the Local Authority spent a day with us conducting their 'Getting to Know Your School Categorisation Visit'. I'm delighted to report that the outcome was successful and all the areas identified as strengths and as areas of improvement by us prior to the visit exactly matched the view of the Local Authority. I really look forward to all the plans we shared with the Local Authority to ensure that our school keeps being a place of continuous improvement and exciting opportunities for us all.
I am so pleased the Year 5s had such a great day launching their Greek Topic- costumes looked amazing and the food looked even better!
Friday 15th September 2017
A lovely set of assemblies today celebrating so many successes from the children in their first two weeks back. It was great too to meet with all the PILL Heads and to map out such an exciting year of collaboration for our group- great to share all our priorities for this year and to use common goals as the basis of our school visits- really looking forward to visiting St. Martin's and Queens Park with Mr Bradford.
Wednesday 13th September 2017
A great highlight today with the pre-school morning Tennis- after just one week the children are showing such great improvements- I am enjoying it vastly and tomorrow we are going to expand it to Years 4 and 5 too!
I really enjoyed having lunch with Reception and seeing you all enjoying your classrooms so much today- you are all doing so well!
Tuesday 12th September 2017
Another fantastic day for our Reception children- I am so impressed by how well they are adapting to life at school and well done they are doing at lunchtimes- wonderful to see.
A big thanks to all the staff for working so hard today to analyse all our data and use the information to produce our school development plan for 2017-2018. Such exciting initiatives planned and so well tailored to ensure that all our children can maximise their potential.
A big thank you to all the Governors for tonight's meeting- great to launch the year together and with so much to look forward to.
Monday 11th September 2017
What a wonderful first ever day of school for our Reception children today- I was so proud of you all and I am delighted that you all enjoyed it so much and already have made so many new friends. I loved spending lots of time with you today and I wish you all the very best for the rest of this week, for Reception and for the rest of your educational career- a truly wonderful beginning to so much learning, enjoyment and discovery!
Also incredibly wonderful was what I received from Saskia in Year 2 today- the most wonderful poem I have ever read! Here it is for all of you to enjoy too- truly truly wonderful!!
Once I was Wren,
Singing words of phonics.
Then I was a Lark,
Soaring through the sky of maths and wisdom.
Now I am a Heron,
Pecking in the pool of knowledge, with counting frogs passing by.
Friday 8th September 2017
It was great to be able to spend such lovely times with all the children today at assemblies throughout the day- I really enjoyed sharing with all the children the words of our school anthem as they represent such a fabulous way of describing how we are, and how we strive to be- I cannot think of a better way of describing our ethos and vision:
We'll all be friendly, get on with each other
Be open and warm and polite,
Then if we get lonely or just feel unhappy
Makes it right
These things we know to be true
They will carry us
Me and you
We'll be courageous if something feels right to us
Obstacles vanish right into the blue
If we really believe it
Then we can achieve it
There's nothing, no nothing
That we can't do
These things we know to be true
They will carry us
Me and you
We value each other, we listen in wonder
We all have a story to tell
And there are no limits to things we can master
We'll all work together
And do it well
These things we know to be true
They will carry us
Me and you
The joy of not knowing means learning and growing
And sowing the seeds for the people we'll be
Friendliness, bravery, ambition, empathy
And listening respectfully
These things we know to be true
They will carry us
Me and you
Thursday 7th September 2017
A great day for our school today as we've just received our Green Flag following our recent Green Flag assessment day- we are absolutely delighted that all the environmental work we are doing has been officially recognised and we cannot wait for all the Eco leaders to launch all their new initiatives for this year under the expert guidance of Ms Witt to whom we are so incredibly grateful!
Such a fabulous pre-school tennis session- I couldn't believe that twelve Year 6 children joined in today for our new fabulous half an hour of Hit with the Head session- I will try to hold these now three times a week- such a great way to start the school day!
So lovely to have lunch in KS1 today and chat with all the children- all so enthusiastic about this term already- I think the JONK Learning to Learn Week is having a great impact on their motivation and excitement for school.
Wednesday 6th September 2017
Another wonderful day full of excitement with our JONK Learning to Learn Week - I really enjoyed the Pit assemblies with Years 3 and 4 today- such interesting ideas from the children and such creative thinking- great to be chatting about the learning process and us as learners in such depth.
The highlight of the day however was before school- I thought I would offer Tennis with the Head sessions before school- thank you so much for the Year 6 children that came to the inaugural session and also great that so many children joined us too- I really enjoyed it and we will go again tomorrow!
Tuesday 5th September 2017
It has been so wonderful welcoming everyone back today for the launch of the 2017-2018 academic year, especially all our new families. It was great to greet and chat with all the children and families today and to hear about all their exciting times during the summer break. It has also been so rewarding spending two very interesting INSET days with the staff shaping further our ethos and culture and finding lots of exciting ways in which these vital components of the JONK approach then represent themselves in the classroom and in all we do.
I am delighted that the JONK Learning to Learn Week is already enabling the children to enjoy their new classes and equipping them with the dispositions of successful lifelong learners and the skills that will enable them to thrive with their learning throughout the year. I have loved doing the Pit assemblies with Years 1 and 2 and 6- look forward to Years 3 and 4 tomorrow.
I cannot wait for all that's to come.
Tuesday 25th July 2017
What a wonderful end to a wonderful year. It's been a real privilege to see the children celebrate all their end of year activities with so much passion, so much enthusiasm and so much enjoyment. The end of year assemblies have been fabulous, the sports days full of fun, the summer fair so successful, the sharing of the learning with yourselves so enjoyable, music concerts so entertaining, trips and residentials so memorable.
Thank you all for contributing so much to all these family-designed occasions and for creating such a great and supportive atmosphere at each one. There is nothing that gives us more pleasure than seeing the school community come together as one.
I really enjoyed the KS2 assembly this morning- being outside was great and it meant we could all be together. We wish all the staff moving on to their next exciting ventures all the very best and huge thanks to you all for all you’ve contributed to the school.
I also want to say a huge thank you to Derek Betts who is marking this year as his last year of formal association with the school with the most incredibly generous gesture I have ever known; Derek is presenting every child in Year 6 with a signed copy of the book he wrote and published titled “What Happened to Brighton’s Tin School” about the history of our school. Derek was himself a pupil at Balfour and then also acted a Chair of Governors and part of the Governing Body for many years- we wish you all the best Derek and we can't thank you enough for seventy two glorious years contributing so much to our school.
Monday 24th July 2017
A fabulous day today- in the morning we had such a special EYFS-KS1 assembly with all the children and all the staff coming together to celebrate the year and to say goodbye to two members of staff. Thank you so much to the children for singing so beautifully- especially Caleb in Reception who led the whole year group with an amazing solo performance. It’s always so lovely when we are all together.
I then really enjoyed joining the Year 6 children at their traditional lunch treat at Donatello’s after they had enjoyed a morning at the cinema watching Cars 3. Great to see you all enjoying the day so much and I am sure days like these will stay with you all for a very long time.
Friday 21st July 2017
Huge thanks to Laura Gibbons for organising such an amazing KS2 Sports Day today- thank you to all the families who came to support their children so enthusiastically and a huge well done to all the children who performed so well individually and in their teams and most importantly enjoyed it all so much. Congratulations to the Yellow House who are the 2017 Sports Week Champions and to our four Balfour Alumni, now at Varndean, who presented the trophy to the Yellow Sports Captains so professionally.
I could not believe what a wonderful atmosphere was created today during our Snowdog Day - the feeling of togetherness and community spirit was so special and exactly what we wanted to create for such a moving occasion. I will never forget the sight of the children bathed in a sea of foam and bubbles- the colours, the excitement, the moment all contributed to an incredibly special way of officially welcoming Bobby to the school in memory of Niamh and saying a huge thanks to Zach, Gilli, Adam, and family for all they have contributed to our school. We will always remember Niamh and you all as a family, and the school remains your home, always.
The evening was pretty special too- our annual staff get together this year consisting of an evening of learning to dance the Argentinian Tango- a great evening, full of fun and laughter. We need a little bit more practice however before we can let anyone else watch!
Thursday 20th July 2017
Tonight’s finale of the Year 6 production of School’s Out was truly memorable and a fantastic way to celebrate this year’s production which saw the children perform the play on five occasions in the last three days. I am so incredibly impressed with the way you worked as a team to end up with one of the most enjoyable and professional productions I can remember. The scene with the parents and children coming to terms with them going on their residential was such a classic and I will remember it for a very long time- so brilliantly acted and so incredibly funny- all of you a brilliant brilliant well done. A huge thanks too to Ms Redfern who as always deserves the grandest of grandest of thanks for all her dedication, effort and skill in making performances like these come to life- these experiences are truly transformational in the lives of our children. This Year 6 has been very special for me as you were in Year 3 when I first got the school. Uniquely for a departing cohort you are also leaving the school with a number of legacies for which I am incredibly grateful:
⇒ Thank you so much Zach for Bobby the Snowdog, the best possible way to always remember Niamh
⇒ Thank you so much Daisy and friends for the Leavers Hoodies initiative- I love mine so much!
⇒ Thank you so much Imogen and friends for the Philosophy of the Week initiative
⇒ Thank you so much Betty for leaving us with so many designs for our MASCOT animals
⇒ Thank you so much to the Girls Football Team for establishing the first ever Girls Football League in Brighton and Hove alongside Matt Evans
⇒ Thank you so much Tom and friends for the Refreshments before shows initiative
⇒ Thank you so much Jess for inventing the idea of the reverse advent calendar that allowed us to donate more than 300kg of food to the Whitehawk Foodbank and the link that you've now made between the school and the Foodbank
I would like to extend a very special thank you to all of the children and families in Year 6 and I wish you all, all the very best in all that you all do in your futures. You have been a very special cohort- please keep in touch!
The whole school received their end of year reports today- I really hope you enjoy reading them and sharing all the successes together as a family. A huge well done to you all.
Wednesday 19th July 2017
I could not have enjoyed today more- I had the wonderful privilege of leading the PILL Enrichment Day for all the children from the partnership that joined today at Balfour for a day of Philosophical Thinking. This is such a great yearly event in the life of PILL and I’m delighted that everyone today at every school had such a productive and enjoyable time- we should give children these opportunities more often.
Our day started by taking the register with 28 children from seven different schools in Spanish! We then had a fabulous time thinking philosophically through Maths investigations and challenges- I loved the way you were to play intellectually so well and to enjoy it so much. The philosophical discussions that we then had surpassed all my expectations and it was so interesting to move from one subject to another as your passions and interests came through in your thinking- including a huge amount of science- it was great when Luke asked ‘Is this Science or Philosophy?’- so difficult to differentiate between the two! It would be great to keep in touch with you all and develop a philosophy group across the schools- I’m thinking to incorporate you all into our Philosophy Question of the Week initiative that we run at Balfour! Huge thanks to Alex, HT at St Martin’s for organising it all so well.
Two more great performances by Year 6 today- a matinee and a fabulous evening show- brilliant!
Tuesday 18th July 2017
We had a very special day at school when all the children got to meet their new teachers and spend time with their new classes and teachers in their new classrooms. I really hope you all enjoyed the experience and that you are all really looking forward to all that’s to come next year.
What a fabulous opening night for the 2017 end of year Year 6 production of School’s Out- I absolutely loved it- so professional and so well performed-great to have the refreshments and a huge well done to the front of house, backstage and lights and sound people- you were brilliant and I can’t wait now for tomorrow’s and Thursday’s performances.
Friday 14th July 2017
It’s been a very happy Bastille Day for us today as we were informed this morning that we had been successful in our application to be become a Green Flag School. We are incredibly proud of this award and achievement and we are eternally grateful to Alex Witt who has masterminded the whole application and been responsible for the majority of the Eco- related initiatives that the school is proud to offer all our children.
This morning, just like yesterday I spent a wonderful three hours with our Governors conducting the last of our KS1 SDP impact learning walks. Today we focused on Reception and we loved seeing first hand the impact that the SDP has had on everyday teaching and learning- not only did we find lots of evidence for all four priorities of the SDP and lots too from the CUP OF COFFEE, but we felt absorbed along with the children in genuine EYFSness- there is nothing I enjoy more!
Thursday 13th July 2017
This morning I spent a wonderful three hours with our Governors conducting the latest of our SDP impact learning walks. Today we focused on year 2 and we loved seeing first hand the impact that the SDP has had on everyday teaching and learning- we found evidence for all four priorities of the SDP and lots too from the CUP OF COFFEE!
This afternoon the teachers held their hand over meetings and it was great to see the detailed conversations that were being held to ensure that we start next year with as much knowledge of all our children as possible. Later on this term we will also have the last of this year’s pupil progress meetings to chat about every child in detail, their successes this year and their needs for next year.
Wednesday 12th July 2017
It is such an important day for us as we have our external assessment for the Green Flag application we submitted earlier this year. I was delighted to meet the assessor and to share with her all the work that the school is doing with regards to Eco initiatives and educating our children with how best to make our world as sustainable as possible. I am delighted that we are introducing so many things into our daily life that encourage our children to feel integral members of their family, school, local, national and global communities. I am so prod too of all the children who are meeting the inspector today and are chatting with her so eloquently and so knowledgeably. In our wrap up chat with the inspector at lunchtime, she seemed very pleased with all she saw and how the children explained all we do. We keep our fingers crossed now until we hear if we have been successful.
It was lovely to see the Year 2 families and the new families who are joining us in Year 3 come together in the hall today for a welcome briefing describing how the Juniors part of the school functions. We hope that the whole transition process we have put into place makes the transition for every child a successful and enjoyable experience.
I am also very proud of Dawn Loader and Sylvia Cooper who hosted at our school the latest session for the Global Learning Partnership initiative that we are heading for a number of other schools in the South Coast region. I am really looking forward to all that’s to come from this and to linking it all to our focus on global learning for 2017-2018.
Tuesday 11th July 2017
This morning we launched, with our Governors, the KS1 SDP impact learning walks. Today we focused on Year 1 and we loved seeing first hand the impact that the SDP has had on everyday teaching and learning- we found evidence for all four priorities of the SDP and lots too from the CUP OF COFFEE!
Monday 10th July 2017
We welcomed Simon Lackner today to the school for the annual Local Authority review of Health and Safety practice in our school. Thank you so much to Ben Marle and Lisa Collington for preparing the documentation needed for today’s inspection so well. The morning extended to the afternoon as we covered all areas in great detail. We now look forward to the report and to the action plan as we strive to always keep improving our practice to the best it can be.
Friday 7th July 2017
WOW! The Year 2 assemblies were extraordinarily wonderful today- such an emotional moment but so pleased to see you all so ready for your next step- I am so proud of each and everyone of you and I am delighted that the first cohort that I ever introduced to Balfour has become so wonderful in every way! A huge well done to you and all and thanks so much to all the families who contributed so well as part of the audience to this very special and memorable occasion.
A huge well done to our Year 4s who did so well at the inter-school Football Tournament today- the future looks very bright for the next two years! I hope that Year 6 children enjoyed their taster session at Varndean today- did you get to say hello to the Goats?
Thursday 6th July 2017
So lovely to welcome our second group of new children and their families today for their taster session- I am already so proud of you all and I’m delighted that you all enjoyed the experience so much- we can’t wait until you start in September!
I hope that Year 6 children enjoyed their taster session at Stringer today- such exciting times for you all. Tonight we had a lovely meal at Gars with all the Headteachers- lovely to meet and chat in a more relaxed setting. I hope all the end-of-terms go well for all and we really look forward to all that’s to come in 2017-2018 with you all.
Wednesday 5th July 2017
Today we are hosting the Brighton Hove School Eco Tour and it is great to see so many children from other schools spending the day with us- huge thanks Alex Witt!
Tuesday 4th July 2017
We received the SATs results for Year 6 this morning and we are very proud of them and very pleased that all their effort and dedication has been reflected in the results- most importantly we are delighted that you are also well equipped for your next step in your education- as individuals, as global citizens and as lifelong learners.
Equally special at this time of year is the welcoming to our school all the children that are starting in Reception in September and to extend a very warm welcome to all our new families- it is so exciting to see our Balfour Family grow each year. It’s been great to see all the children and families for their taster session today. We now hope that you all have a fabulous summer and we can’t wait to welcome you back for September for the start of your school career!
Monday 3rd July 2017
I am delighted that the second cohort of JONK schools in Norfolk have today celebrated their achievements this year with the most fabulous conference during which each school nominated a child for an award based on the six MASCOT characteristics and for an overall JONK award- our learning leaders will now write to them with a letter of congratulations! I’ve had one of the best days ever- to spend the morning visiting the Coastal Federation of Schools and working on an aspect of JONK with every child in all three schools was unbelievably rewarding. To then launch the awards conference in the afternoon with a key-note speech and then present every child with their JONK wards was a very special privilege indeed- I couldn't quite believe it was all happening! I’m delighted that the Norfolk School Improvement Team are so encouraged by the contribution that the JONK initiative is having on their members schools. I now really look forward to launching Cohort 3 of the JONK Schools in February 2018!
Sunday 2nd July 2017
It is not often that I write on a Saturday and on a Sunday but this weekend has been very special. After the success of the Balfour Summer Fair yesterday, today I had the wonderful privilege of attending the Youth in Action Awards following nominations form our families and to my huge surprise was named as the winner of the Headteacher of the Year Award! It is a great honour but for me the value comes from the fact that the families submitted the nomination:
Balfour Primary School headteacher Marcelo Staricoff joined the school in 2014. In charge of one of the largest primary schools in the country, Marcelo has been an energetic head championing a number of initiatives including at least 10 minutes of exercise a day for each pupil and installing new outdoor gym equipment in the playground. He has also seen the introduction of mascots reflecting the different styles of learning and set up a partnership with Whitehawk FC, which sees his pupils acts as mascots at matches. Helen Bland, Balfour PTA member, said: “Marcelo came in to the school and established a caring, thoughtful and inclusive environment. “He is 100 per cent committed to the kids and their positive education well-being.” Amanda Flint, PTA chair, also sung his praises. She said: “He is an approachable headteacher and knows near enough every child’s name – and he has 880 pupils in the school. “He created the philosophy and ethos of the school – the Joy Of Not Knowing – a model which equips each child with life-long skills of how to learn and more importantly that it’s good not to know."
Saturday 1st July 2017
I would like to start today’s blog by thanking everyone so much for all the thinking, time, effort and devotion that goes towards putting on our Annual Summer Fair. We as a school are so hugely grateful to FAB but also to everyone else involved in the process and of course to all of you for coming and making it such an enjoyable event. I love the feeling that is created when we are all together and we are so grateful for all the funds generated, which will make such a difference to all the children at school. I hope you all enjoyed it and I know the planning has already started for 2018! Please let FAB know if you have any ideas, suggestions or if you would like to be part of the process in any way.
Thursday 29th June 2017
A huge well done to all the children who took part so enthusiastically in the EYFS and KS1 Sports Morning today. I was so impressed with how many people came to watch and support all the children- greatly appreciated and you added so much to the atmosphere. I am so pleased that all the children enjoyed it so much. Huge thanks to FAB again for providing all the children with their lolly treats too- they loved them!
Wednesday 28th June 2017
We are delighted that so many of our Governors have enjoyed spending time this morning at the school celebrating the impact that the School Development Plan has had in everyday practice throughout KS2. It was great to share with you all the way that Teaching and learning has been shaped by the SDP actions this year and to chat to the children about their experience of it all.
Tuesday 27th June 2017
Many congratulations for such fabulous Trombone Concerts yesterday and today- I am always so amazed by how much the children can learn in such a short space of time and with such a difficult instrument. It was a joy to see you perform so well and to see you give the audience so much pleasure- remember that the Brighton and Hove Music Service is incredibly amazing and open to you all.
Monday 26th June 2017
I would like to say a huge thank you to the Year 5 and Year 6 Learning Leaders who represented the school so brilliantly today when we visited Varndean to work with their Year 7 Learning Leaders. Varndean are keen to embed aspects of the JONK approach into Year 7 next year. Our children inspired them to try and obtain the equivalent of our MASCOT dispositions by starting the year with the children creating their own Recipe for a Lifelong Learner! We cannot wait to see how it evolves and to keep developing the partnership work with both our Secondary Schools and with the Goats!
Friday 23rd June 2017
I was so delighted to see all the Year 6 children return safely from their Blacklands Residential. I am so proud of you all. I know that this has been a very memorable week for everyone and I hope that it lived up to all your expectations. Well done for coping so well with the extremely hot weather conditions. I hope that you all have a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend and I really look forward to chatting about it all next week.
Huge congratulations to the Year 4 football teams who played an inter-school tournament today at the University of Brighton and ended the tournament by playing the final against each other- so pleased for you all and I cannot wait to go and see play at the regional finals at Brighton’s training ground in a couple of weeks!
I think this week has represented the best Sports Week ever and I’m delighted that the experiment with KS1 and EYFS worked so well- we will definitely make this now an annual event. The opportunities you all got during these week were extraordinarily interesting and so different- circus skills, dance, tennis, cricket, baseball, archery, the list seems to be endless! I am so pleased you all enjoyed it all so much.
Wednesday 21st June 2017
I am absolutely delighted to have visited all the Year 6 children at Blacklands Farm today- I had such a great time and really enjoyed seeing you all enjoying everything so much. I loved the Olympics after dinner and so pleased that my team came third! I’m so glad you are all coping so well with the heat and that all your tents are in such good condition- a very successful tent inspection! Enjoy the rest of the week and I cannot wait to welcome you back on Friday.
Monday 19th June 2017
What a special day for Year 6- it was great to see you all off to Blacklands Farm for your very exciting residential this week- I wish you all the very best and I hope that everything contributes to a very memorable week indeed.
It is also a very special week at school as we launch into our second consecutive themed week- this time being Sports Week for the whole school- we have never done it with KS1 before so we are very excited!
Thursday 15th June 2017
I was so delighted to welcome all the prospective families that are starting in September 2017 to our school last week. It is always such a special moment when we see the Balfour Family grow with new families and with siblings of existing families. I cannot wait to meet all the children when they visit us on July 4th and 6th 2017.
We are also incredibly proud of all the children who took part in the Brighton and Hove Athletics Championships at Withdean Stadium today. We are so proud of you all and a huge well done for representing the school so well and for coming back with so many medals- a great experience for you all.
Monday 12th June 2017
We are so excited to be launching into Science Week for the whole school today. Every ear group has so many activities planned during the week and we cannot wait for all to happen- enjoy being scientists and all the excitement that comes from investigating, questioning, researching and experimenting!
Thursday 8th June 2017
Today is the General Election but there is huge excitement for our school as the article I wrote about our election has today been published in the TES- I cannot believe it!! Then an even more incredible happened- I was so impressed with the whole day and process that I wrote an article and sent it off to the Times Educational Supplement (TES) which is the main national publication in education- to my amazement the editor decided to publish it and it took centre stage on their website yesterday- such a great moment for the school- I hope that you really enjoy reading it.
“The mock election allowed us to highlight our educational philosophy so powerfully for every child, family, and goat': One headteacher reflects on his school's mock election
The announcement of the General election on 8 June has again reignited the discussion as to whether the voting age should be reduced to 16. After a mock election at Balfour Primary School, we would now like to propose that the voting age should be reduced to four. … At Balfour Primary, we have established a set of values to enable children to become successful contributors to society, a set of rights to encourage children to become successful citizens of the world and a set of lifelong learning dispositions to encourage children to develop all the qualities of successful lifelong learners. I cannot believe how, in one day, the election process enabled us to highlight these three key components of our educational philosophy so powerfully for every child, family, and goat. A perfect day in education and one so needed at a time when so much of the focus on education is on assessment, workload and the financial security of our schools.
Wednesday 7th June 2017
We are delighted to welcome to welcome all the staff from the PILL network of schools to our school today as we host the latest round of PILL Subject Leaders meetings. Enjoy reviewing this year and planning for next year!
Monday 5th June 2017
A very warm welcome back to you all and I hope that you have all had a lovely and relaxing half-term. I cannot wait for all that’s to come in our final half-term, so full of exciting activities and celebrations. Over half-term something quite amazing has happened- I have been chatting with the goats at Varndean and they have now become an integral part of our MASCOT learning attributes!! In thanking the goats for coming to vote they wrote back saying that they really enjoyed the experience but felt that they and their qualities were rather unrepresented in our MASCOT characteristics- no problem I said and set them a Headteacher Challenge over half-term to think of goat qualities that then help us to also be aware of the opposite ways of being for each of our MASCOT characteristics! What happened next was quite unbelievable! They wrote back with an outstanding piece entitled GOAT JONK explaining why they are so good at modelling all the opposites- it’s a real classic and I cannot wait to share it all with our children- it is so helpful to have the opposites for each quality when we think of ourselves as successful lifelong learners. “We have been give a Headteacher’s Challenge by the inestimable Mr Staricoff of Balfour Primary School and #JONK fame. This is like proper educational research stuff and as goats, we are keen to prove our worth in the EdTwit arena. Much has been said of goats in education lately and the @TES recently asked if there was any evidence to back up claims of the positive impact of animals in education. We’re here to prove that point. “ … “The Collaborative Ant works together with his fellow ants for the good of the colony, each with their own role and purpose. The ant works entirely for the collective. The Greedy Goat, on the other hand, heads straight for the food bowl, crashing his friends, family and even his own children out of the way in a bid to fill his own belly. The goat does not collaborate, the goat has a singular purpose. Food. The rest of the article continues to describe all the others too and now we must think of a way of incorporating it all into our MASCOT concept lines! So exciting!
Friday 26th May 2017
What an amazing day today- I was so privileged to spend our INSET day visiting Harrison Primary School as part of my position as a trustee of the Laurel Trust. It is such a wonderful school and I spent a great day immersed in their school and chatting with their leadership team about the way they have introduced the lesson study approach as part of teacher CPD and school improvement, something that we are planning to introduce in 2017-2018.
Today saw the publication of a wonderful article in the Argus about our election yesterday- “SCHOOLCHILDREN went to the polls for a general election with a difference. Pupils at Balfour Primary in Brighton lined up to vote for their favourite drawings of the school’s mascots. The most popular designs will go on to represent the Balfour Primary’s school’s six animal mascots – meerkat, ant, spider, chameleon, owl and tortoise – who each represent a different quality of learning. Nearly 900 pupils excitedly queued throughout the school day to take their turn at the makeshift polling station complete with returning officer and electoral clerks – the school governors. Pupils were given instructions to mark a cross next to their favourite design for each of the six animals at the polling booth before pu2ng their ballot card in a black box. One Year 5 student said: “I think that this will be really helpful for when I’m 18 and able to vote. “But I think we should have curtains next me.” Varndean School’s five pygmy goats Alan, Ethel, Maya, Bertrand and William also got involved, chomping on their favourite designs. Hundreds of the children submitted drawings for the mascots. These were whittled down in an online poll and three drawings for each animal were put to the vote. School governor Rachel Cashman said: “The school has an ethos around the joy of not knowing, which gets children to drive their own understanding and embrace their curiosity- so we are using a creative approach like a general election with the mascots so children of every age across the school can be an active participant, both in learning about democracy and understanding what it means to them…
Thursday 25th May 2017
I cannot thank you all enough for all your engagement, enthusiasm, effort and dedication with our own General Election today. It was one of the most meaningful days I have ever experienced in education and I am delighted by how much it meant to so many people…and goats! Year 5 used their Maths Investigation sessions this week to develop a systematic way of counting all the votes cast at school and by post. We will announce the winning designs by the end of the week and we are currently also writing an article about the whole experience!
Wednesday 24th May 2017
Today I was delighted to have been invited to lead a session at Varndean with their SLT as they prepare to introduce the JONK approach to the Year 7 cohort next year- this is an incredibly exciting venture between our two schools and the first time that JONK will be seen through to Year 7- I cannot wait!
Saturday 20th May 2017-07-29
What a special day it has been today- the school as an Art Gallery is so special to see. I am amazed at how well the teachers and support staff collated and presented the works of art from every child to produce such stunning displays- it was great to hear such positive comments form the families enjoying the art. I also really enjoyed the Samba Band as always playing so professionally alongside the Varndean and Downs View bands. It was great to visit the other open houses on the campus and to host them at ours too- true campus collaboration and support in action.
Friday 19th May 2017
Huge congratulations to the Robins and Nightingales today for what turned out to be an absolutely amazing assembly- I am so proud of you all and it is so wonderful to see you all so ready for Year 1, having enjoyed Reception so much!
Thursday 18th May 2017
Today I held two talks for parents on JONK and the philosophy of education we are following and how the postcards we’ve produced are designed to help families at home have the same understanding as the children so as to be able to chat about school and learning at home. I am really pleased that the postcards are now in place having originated from an idea tat parents had at a recent Parent Forum meeting.
Wednesday 17th May 2017
Great to welcome the Year 4 children back from PGL today. I am delighted that it all went so well and that you all had such a great time- fabulous and hopefully really memorable for you all.
Tuesday 16th May 2017
I loved going to see the Year 4s at PGL today- great to see you all enjoying it all so much- the activities looked great- keep making the most of it all!
Monday 15th May 2017
Great to see the Year 4s going off to PGL today on such a lovely morning- I hope that you all have a fantastic time and I really look forward to seeing you all there tomorrow!
Friday 12th May 2017
Huge congratulations to the Wrens and Sparrows today for what turned out to be an absolutely amazing assembly- I am so proud of you all and it is so wonderful to see you all so ready for Year 1, having enjoyed Reception so much!
Huge well done to the Year 6 children who have finished their SATs today! I am very proud of you all and well done for facing this week with so much maturity and application. I am really glad you enjoyed the daily texts so much too!
Tuesday 9th May 2017
Thank you so much Jenny Barnard for leading such a fabulous session with our Governing Body- truly transformational and I really look forward to all that’s to come!
Monday 8th May 2017
I am so proud of our Year 6 children who approached the first day of their SATs with so much calmness and so much maturity. I really hope that you were able to celebrate all you know and that all your hard is paying dividends. All the very best as always for the rest of the week.
It was fabulous spending lots of time in Reception today sharing the wonderful books and writing that you were all doing after going to the Farm last week- your Farm Books are very special indeed. Great to see a little bit of the Reception rehearsals too- I can't wait to see the performances these coming Fridays.
Great to see Year 1 children enjoying their 'real' fish drawings so much- great attention to detail and observational skills!
I hope that you have all had a chance to vote for your favourite MASCOT animal designs on our website. We are now going to take the top three selections for each animal from the online vote and place them on our Ballot Paper for the General Election voting process on May 25th. I am also thinking of ways of using every design in some way as they are all so amazing!
Saturday 6th May 2017
I love it when I have the need to write the blog at weekends as it means that something special has happened in out of school time our community- one of the things that we value so much. Today I was so proud of the school's involvement in the Children's Parade- huge thanks to all the staff, children and families who worked so hard to ensure that the event was really enjoyable and a great success. Bilbo looked amazing as did all of the children and families dressed up. I could not believe how many families came to either walk with us or support us from the sidelines- a wonderful whole school feel. I hope that you all really enjoyed it too and that you then had a lovely rest of weekend.
Friday 5th May 2017
I was so proud of all the children in Reception today who enjoyed their trip to Ladyland Farm so much. I am delighted that you all got so much out of it and that you represented the school so proudly. I can't wait to hear all about it on Monday! Well done!
Wednesday 3rd May 2017
Thank you so much Janis Taylor our school improvement partner who worked with us all day to develop the leadership skills of our teams. We appreciate working in partnership with yourself enormously and you make us all feel as true lifelong learners at the end of the day- we as adults are benefit from the MASCOT dispositions as much as the children!
Tuesday 2nd May 2017
I hope that you've all had a lovely weekend and really enjoyed the Bank Holiday- as the Brighton Festival kicks off please let me know of there any events that you are organising or involved with that you would like me to publicise in our Newsletter. Great FAB Meeting tonight- thanks for all you do to help the school enrich our provision for the children and we look forward to all the events planned for the Summer Term.
Friday 28th April 2017
It was wonderful to see all the children at assembly today after the Easter break. The certificates were very special this week highlighting that the MASCOT dispositions are at the forefront of our education provision- it is very gratifying to feel that the children are developing these critical lifelong learning skills and attitudes at such an early age and as part of our daily routine. I really enjoy, during these assemblies, the opportunity to share with them exciting things that are happening in our world. Before the Easter break we discussed how amazing it was that scientists had discovered how a thin film of grapheme can be used to obtain fresh water from sea water. Today we talked about another scientific finding- scientists in Nottingham have found a correlation between creative writing and the speed at which our bodies can heal from certain skin wounds- this is truly fascinating! We also chatted about the person who has decide to sell his house by offering everyone the chance to win it through a lottery system with each ticket costing £2- we discussed how this is an example of creative thinking- the trait that JONK promotes so much. So many interesting thoughts and conversations then arose and carried on onto the playground!
Thursday 27th April 2017
I was delighted that today started with such a wonderful conversation with a parent outside of KS1- he mentioned that he had come in to talk to the children in Reception about ‘water’ as this is his area of expertise. I was so pleased that he said that he really enjoyed it and that the children were really enthusiastic, engaged, inquisitive and lovely with each other- all the things that we value so much. If any parent/carer or family member has a skill that they would like to share with our children please feel free to contact us and to fill in one of our parent skills survey questionnaires. Thanks so much!
Wednesday 26th April 2017
I am so pleased that the Philosophy of the Week initiative originally launched by Year 6 children has this week gone through a great process of succession planning- the Year 6 children have now passed it all on to a group of children in Year 4 and they have already got everything ready for Friday’s assembly- brilliant!
Tuesday 25th April 2017
It was great to see the Year 3 children enjoying their Science Dome experience so much as they launch into this term’s topic of earthquakes and volcanoes- I’m glad you all found the Dome so fascinating and learnt so much about volcanoes.
Monday 24th April 2017
It was so wonderful to welcome you all back today and to see the children all returning from their Easter Break with so much enthusiasm and with so many stories to share. I loved going into every class to say hello and to see them all so engaged in their learning already. I am really looking forward to all that's to come in the Summer Term- we have so much planned!
A fabulous start today in Year 6 with the children so realistically dressed to launch their WW2 topic- it is a fascinating topic and already I was chatting with some families who have amazing personal stories that I'm sure will enrich the experiences of all this term. It will also be a great opportunity for the classes to use the book that Derek Betts, one of our Governors, has written about the first 50 years of our school and covering the local history at the time of WW2.
Saturday 22nd April 2017
It gives me enormous satisfaction to be writing the blog not only on a weekend but also on a weekend in the holidays! There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than to see school life extended beyond the confines of our school. Today proved to be yet another of those days when lots of families took part of part in school activities in our community! I would like to say a huge thank you and a huge well done to all the children who came to the Whitehawk game as part of the Samba Band or as a MASCOT- what an incredible difference you all made to the club, the afternoon and the match- i am sure Whitehawk managed a very rare and crucial win because of the feeling you all created! I am so proud of you all and I hope that you and your families enjoyed the experience enormously and that this will be the first of many more times that you come to the matches at the Enclosed Ground!
I now really look forward to welcoming all our families back to school for the start of the Summer Term and I cannot wait to see and experience all that the term bring us. I hope that you've all had a lovely and relaxing Easter break and I look forward to seeing you all at the gate on Monday.
Friday 7th April 2017
It was so special to end the term with yet another absolutely amazing Year 1 Celebration Assembly- thank you all of Year 1 enormously for what you have given the other children, staff and families with these assemblies- truly memorable occasions indeed!
As always I really enjoyed all the assemblies today, celebrating so many great MASCOT and RRS attributes by so many of our children. Great to celebrate the Girls Football successes and the Swimming Gala triumphs too. I really enjoyed watching the Year 4’s 2-1 victory today after school- you played so well- great goalkeeping Jack!
I hope that you all have a very wonderful and relaxing Easter break and I really look forward to seeing lots of you as the Samba Band plays at Whitehawk FC on the 22nd April at their final home match of the season, which is also a MASCOT game! I cannot wait!
Thursday 6th April 2017
A very sad day today as we attended Pamela’s funeral- it was a very moving occasion and a wonderful celebration of the life of such a special person who was so loved and respected by all who knew her.
Wednesday 5th April 2017
Great to see and greet and chat with so many of you tonight at the first KS2 Parent Consultation Evening and I look forward to the same at tomorrow’s evening as well. I hope you found it useful and informative and thanks for completing our quick survey too.
Tuesday 4th April 2017
Such an interesting day today organised by Dawn Loader where the Right Respecting Champions throughout the school worked on an Equalities Flag for the school. It was fascinating to see the process develop during the day and I really look forward to seeing the finished product exhibited at the Open Houses Festival in May.
A very interesting Full Governors Meeting tonight and thank you so much for all your commitment to the school as Governors and a very warm welcome to all our new members.
Monday 3rd April 2017
I am delighted that the Year 6 group of girls have now reached their fundraising target and are able to go ahead and order their Year 6 Leavers Hoodies- this has been a great achievement on your part and I am incredibly proud of your whole attitude to seeing a project through- this involved many weeks of organising, thinking, writing, promoting, fund raising, counting and much more- I am sure all your friends will be very grateful too and I cannot wait to see you all wearing them- you are leaving quite a legacy fro the rest of the children at our school with this brand new initiative! Huge thanks to FAB too for funding half of the project and helping so much wit h the organisation.
Friday 31st March 2017
Another absolutely fabulously brilliant Year 1 Celebration Assembly this morning- so powerful to hear you all explain how the MASCOT animals are helping you all to become successful lifelong learners- truly great! I am also really pleased that £P and 3W enjoyed their trip to the seafront so much today- again huge thanks for al the adult help which is hugely appreciated.
I had a very interesting meeting of the Heads of our PILL Partnership today- there are lots of exciting initiatives being planned for our schools- great to be working in such a pro-active and vibrant partnership.
Huge thanks to FSB for organising the most fantastically successful Easter Egg Hunt- great to see hundreds of children having so much fun and helping to raise very valuable funds for our school. There was such a lovely community atmosphere throughout the school during the event and great to see all the families picnicking together on the grass. I hope that you all have a lovely weekend.
Thursday 30th March 2017
Another very enjoyable Parent Consultation Evening Session tonight and great to have met with every KS1 family this week. I hope that you have found these evenings productive in terms of chatting about your child’s progress and thank you so much for filling in so many questionnaires which we will now analyse as we strive to improve further all aspects of information sharing and communication with yourselves.
Wednesday 29th March 2017
We welcomed Lucy and Joyti from the Local Authority today who conducted a joint moderation exercise with our Senior Leadership Team- great to get reassurance of our practice and always so useful to discuss ‘even better ifs’ ideas.
In the evening Paul Eddy, Chair of Governors and myself attended an NAHT organised meeting at West Hove Infants focusing on the current funding position for schools in Brighton and Hove and Nationally. It was very interesting to hear views from various sources including from the founder of the national Fair Funding for Schools Campaign and from the founders of the Brighton and Hove Campaign- Save Our Schools (SOS). I am so pleased that the letter I sent out to all families last week contained all the information presented at this evening’s meeting. Tomorrow sees the launch of teh SOS Campaign at BHASVIC.
Tuesday 28th March 2017
A very enjoyable, productive and successful day today at school and beyond! I’m delighted that 3R and 3C had such a wonderful time at the seafront today as part of their topic outing. It all sounded so interesting- thank you so much to all the adults who helped on the trip- hugely appreciated.
It was great to welcome Maggie Sharpe from Achievement for All today who worked alongside our INCO Team to look at ways of maximising in-class support for all our children.
I had the wonderful privilege of lecturing the PGCE students this morning at the University of Brighton as they prepare to go onto their final placement. It is so interesting sharing with them the principles and philosophies that drive the Joy of Not Knowing approach at Balfour Primary. It feels very special being able to equip them with lots of practical activities and ideas that they can now try in their classrooms as part of their final placement. Lots of them expressed an interest in visiting our school to see it all in action and we look forward to welcoming them with open arms.
A fabulous beginning to our first of four Parent Consultation Evenings tonight- great to see so many of you, to chat and to share the excitement of the Family Fridge Postcards that arrived this morning just in time! I was so proud to be able to present and autograph the very first set ever given out- to the Henry family- a very special moment indeed!
Monday 27th March 2017
Such a lovely start to our week today with a big focus on National Autism Awareness Week- thank you so much Dawn Powell for creating such an interesting and interactive Autism Awareness display as we come in to KS2. Lots of information sharing activities planned across the school during the week.
Friday 24th March 2017
Another truly wonderful and emotional Year 1 Celebration Assembly today- this time by the fabulous Kingfishers- I have never seen so many adults crying at a performance before- it made my thanking at the end very difficult indeed- the singing was particularly amazing today- huge well done to you all.
Thank you all too for Supporting Red Nose Day so enthusiastically today and great to chat in assemblies with the whole school today about the significance of Red Nose Day- feeling that we are contributing to improving the lives of others is a very feeling as citizens of the world. Feeling part of the global community is one of the main drivers for us this year as a school.
Thursday 23rd March 2017
What a great great great day it has been today! It all started with a wonderful morning teaching the Kingfishers- thank you Miss Hunter for giving me the privilege- I absolutely loved it! The highlight was the odd one out thinking skills starter as they came in- I could not believe their enthusiasm for these and their free writing to explain which one was the odd one out including a justification of their thinking was incredible! The maths and story writing that followed was also so enjoyable- I will come back very soon- what a delight of a class!
This was followed by a Mathletics Professional Development Meeting- I know the children will absolutely love this new initiative.
The evening was then rounded off in a very special way indeed- thank you Mr Bradford for inviting me to the Lets Dance pre-performance drinks- very enjoyable indeed. A huge well done to all the Year 6 pupils from our school who then performed so brilliantly on stage- I loved seeing the dance, how well choreographed it was, how much you were all enjoying it and how much the audience love it- very very proud of you all and very proud of Stringer for coordinating the biggest dance event in the country over four nights at the Dome- good luck with your shows on Friday and Saturday.
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
A very productive day working with the SLT and putting in place lots of strategies for the rest of the Spring Term. We are really looking forward to welcoming you all at the parent Consultation Evenings next week for KS1 and the following week for KS2.
Tuesday 21st March 2017
I was a very proud Head today wearing my odd socks at the gate and throughout the day in celebration of World Autism Day- thank you all for joining in so enthusiastically and for ensuring that collectively we really raised awareness of such an important part of our lives as a community. The photograph with Adam I will treasure forever!
Many thanks too to the families who were able to come to the latest edition of our Parent’s Forum. It was great to be able to share with you all the latest versions of the Family Fridge Postcards and to get your views on final improvements before we send them for production in time for next week’s Parent Consultation Evenings when each family will get a set! I cannot wait!
This afternoon I attended the latest Board Meeting of the Laurel Trust as a Trustee and Representative of our School on the Board. A fascinating meeting chaired by the inspirational John West Burnham- the Trust is currently overseeing a number of national research projects that have been funded by the Trust and we have been attached to the project in Farnham- really looking forward to working with them and establishing a partnership between ourselves and them.
Monday 20th March 2017
I am delighted that the FAB Quiz Night went so well on Friday and that you all had such a lovely time whilst raising some very valuable funds for the school- congratulations to you all regardless of finishing position. I am also really pleased that our newly acquired digital projector and screen made such a difference to the evening’s entertainment. It really has transformed things in school.
Friday 17th March 2017
Today has been one of those days when everything one ever wishes for the school and for our children actually became palpable and lived by us all, in the form of the first of our Year 1 Celebration Assemblies. The Larks did an absolutely amazing job of celebrating all their learning from this term and they managed to create the most moving atmosphere in the hall. Truly wonderful to see you all working together so well and enjoying everything so much.
The evening Music Concert at Stringer was out of this world tonight. I found it quite difficult to express in words at the end how transformational these performances are in terms of your self-esteem, group work, confidence and enjoyment. The effort you have all put in to make sure that on the night the performances are very professional is to be really admired. I also hope that many of you in the audience were inspired to have a go too next year. Enormous thanks yet again to Miss Redfern for coordinating all so well and for all your energy and effort to make these concerts a reality- many thanks to Dorothy Stringer for giving us the use of their theatre- hugely appreciated and great to have such a close partnership with both of our local Secondary schools.
I hope that you all have a great weekend.
Thursday 16th March 2017
A very special day for our Year Leaders today as they spent an away day with our School Improvement Partner Janis Taylor looking at their role and discussing how this crucial level of leadership in our school can function most efficiently and productively to maximise the enjoyment and life chances of all our children. I really look forward to finding out how it all develops from now on.
Wednesday 15th March 2017
This evening marked one of the most special days ever at the school as we launched the Full Governors Meeting with all our Learning Leaders being present- considering we started at 6.30pm and we had representatives from Y1-Y6 it was an incredible moment- thank you all for attending and for presenting your CUP OF COFFEE to the Governors and for answering all their questions so maturely. I am incredibly proud of you all and I now really look forward to you presenting the Plan to your classes and the impact on teaching and learning that this will have.
Tuesday 14th March 2017
First of all I would like to say what an incredible privilege it was to be at the Music Concerts at Stringer last night. I cannot believe how professional these concerts are getting and how well you are all performing considering that you are all on stage in front of a full house in an actual theatre! It was wonderful that Jo Lyons and Peter Chivers were able to join us from the Local Authority and from the Music and Arts Service. I cannot wait until Friday’s concert and for all that’s to come with the Choir, Orchestra and Samba Band- very special indeed.
A great meeting too this afternoon with the staff who represent their year groups at the Joy of Not Knowing Core Working Party (JONK CWP). I am finding it so fulfilling being able to discuss pedagogy at great depth amongst ourselves and see our shared philosophy continuously grow in practice across the school according to the needs of the children and passions of the staff.
Monday 13th March 2017
I am really looking forward to tonight’s Music Concert at Dorothy Stringer- my favourite event of the year and I am delighted that again this year we will have more than three hundred children performing over our two nights and four concerts. Thank you all for being so supportive with your child’s rehearsing- I hope you all enjoy the concerts enormously.
Friday 10th March 2017
We have had a lovely day today celebrating so many achievements and efforts of our children throughout the school. The highlight of the day however goes to the four Year 4 girls who held the most incredibly successful cake sale in aid of Cancer Research that one could possibly imagine. I am so proud of them all, from the initial proposal to the way they then worked to organise it and publicise it, to running it and incredibly then to counting all the proceeds after school, as a group, in the school entrance- it was a wonderful sight and maths at it’s very best! Miss Geard will be so pleased that you’ve enabled her to reach her target and the money raised will make a huge difference to such a good cause. A huge well done.
Thursday 9th March 2017
I wanted to say a huge thank you to all the Learning Leaders who have worked so hard to accomplish something so special- today we met and finalised this year’s CUP OF COFFEE plan and I’m delighted that you’ve all now taken a copy of it back to your classrooms for sharing and discussing with the rest of your class. I’m also incredibly excited to see how many of you will be able to come next week to the Full Governing Body Meeting to introduce it to our Governors and to tell them all about it!
I loved leading the JONK Workshop for the Secondary Schools Partnership this afternoon at Varndean. It was fascinating sharing it all with them and trying to establish cross phase links that would enable us all to keep nurturing children’s love for learning and enthusiasm as they progress thorough their secondary schooling. I really look forward to all that’s to come and especially to working together to maximise the life chances of all children.
Monday 6th March 2017
I am delighted that the MASCOT animals voting process is now ready to go and it is online on our website for all the families to access from home and all relatives from all over the world! Every child will vote at school, just like we did with the values election and I’m really indebted to Lisa Collington for the incredible work she did in photographing each entry that came in so professionally that has enabled this voting process to be set up. I cannot wait until we have everyone’s votes in!
Saturday 4th March 2017
Such an amazingly wonderful day today at Whitehawk- I am so proud of how well you all represented the school and totally thrilled by how much you enjoyed it all- especially those families who said that it was your child’s first ever football game- so so special and great that they won too!
Friday 3rd March 2017
Such a special day today with the formal opening of our new outdoor gym. I was absolutely delighted that Javier Favarel and Ramon Marimon were able to join us for this special occasion and cut the ribbon- so wonderful to see the children representing each of their classes, the Chair of Governors, the Chair of FAB, other staff and The Argus! I am sure the gym will make a huge difference to the children and to our ability to promote a culture based on healthy living and healthy lifestyles. It was great that Javier and Ramon then stayed to present the MASCOT certificates in our assembly and that the children got the chance to ask them lots of questions and to see them as such good role models. I can’t wait until tomorrow when we have our next MASCOT game at Whitehawk when they play at home against Welling. I know that lots of you are coming!
Spring 2017 Half-Term News
I hope that you are all having a lovely half-term. It’s been great seeing so many of you around Fiveways and around town. You will have such a wonderful surprise when you come back on Monday- the outdoor gym is in and it looks absolutely amazing!! I cannot wait to see the difference this will make- thank you so much Ms Hill and FAB for making this dream come true for us all! I had a lovely lunch today with Javier Favarel and Ramon Marimon, two of the players from Whitehawk and they are very happy to come to school and cut the ribbon at our official opening of the outdoor gym- hopefully we can arrange for this to happen next Friday.
Yesterday I was in London for the inaugural launch of the new Chartered College of Teaching which is being led by Alison Peacock the ex-head of the Wroxham School that we have been working so closely with. The talks were very interesting and I hope that the College acts to promote really good practice across the profession and act as a central resource for discussion and sharing of ideas- there was a very large focus on research led schools- something that is at the heart of how we are moving forwards as a school. The teachers conduct their own action research every term and the evidence from these then informs whole school practice. There was a lot of support for a coaching culture, which again is something that we are developing more and more at the school each day.
I also feel very proud and very privileged to have been asked by the Norwich Local Authority to run an INSET Day for fourteen schools on Monday and set them up as JONK Schools as part of their Better to Best Project- this is the second cohort of JONK Schools in Norwich after the original group of last year. I am taking a huge amount of resources and stories from all our children- I cannot wait to share it all with them and then with yourselves at our next Headteacher Breakfast/Evening Talks.
Friday 20th January 2017
Assemblies were very special today- as well as celebrating the children who were awarded the citizenship and MASCOT awards, we discussed the fascinating new role that the University of Cambridge are creating- today is the closing date for applications for the Professor of Play in Education sponsored by Lego! We spoke about how much value we place on learning through play and how the whole of the JONK approach is based upon intellectual playfulness- we will definitely make contact with the new professor when they are in post! I also shared with them the obituary of Derek Parfit a British Philosopher who died earlier this week and who specialised on concepts related to personal identity- he talked about very similar things that we have been discussing these past few weeks through our philosophy question of the week- are we the same person now than when we were born- such a coincidence and also incredibly one girl put her hand up and said that they have one of his books at their house!!!! We also had the enormous privilege of listening to Edie playing the piano, two Y3 girls dancing and singing and Ahmed singing a solo in arabic- absolutely brilliant
What a wonderful end to the week. I was in my office this afternoon when I had the huge pleasure of the Year 6 boys football team running down the corridor and into my office to tell me that they had just won the school’s football competition held at Brighton and Hove Albion and would now represent the whole of Brighton and Hove at the Regional Finals in March at Brentford Football Club! Mr Evans is doing such a great job coaching them all and getting them to enjoy playing as a team. I can’t wait to join you on the trip to Brentford now!
Thursday 19th January 2017
An absolutely amazingly incredibly wonderful meeting with the Learning Leaders today- after our last meeting I asked each Learning Leader to survey their class to gather every child's ideas with regards to our four main areas of the SDP so that we could create this year's children's school development plan. Unbelievably each learning leader arrived with their filled in sheets and we then put all the ideas together and we are now very close to publishing this year's CUP OF COFFEE- great and so exciting!
Wednesday 18th January 2017
It was great to welcome our two new parent governors to our full governors meeting this evening. I hope that you enjoyed the meeting and I really look forward to the partnership working that's to come. We also had a very exciting staff meeting today looking at challenge in Maths as part of the JONK approach to teaching and learning.
Tuesday 17th January 2017
I could not believe how wonderful the samba band were sounding when I walked down the corridor. I went in to see them and it turns out today is their first rehearsal- sounded great! We will now work towards the Samba band playing at a Whitehawk game as part of the half-time entertainment!
Saturday 14th January 2017
Writing this blog on a Saturday about school things that happen on a Saturday is becoming a wonderful regular event for me. Today was incredible- I could not believe how many children turned out to be MASCOTS at the Whitehawk game- there were more than 50 or 60 children there with their families. I was delighted to meet you all there and to see you all enjoying the experience so much- especially those of you that said this was your very first time at a football match or at Whitehawk. It was funny when I said I hope you see some goals after the first half finished 0-0. What I didn’t anticipate was that four of the five goals we saw would be for Dulwich! I really hope you all come again and I can’t wait until the next Mascot game in a few weeks time.
Friday 13th January 2017
Thank you all so much for being so cooperative today with the change of plans we had to make due to the snow and ice. I am so pleased it all worked out well. Socks over shoes being a very interesting topic of health and safety conversation!
The Reception children looked amazing today all dressed up in their prince and princesses outfits- I’m so glad that you all had such a great day!
Wonderful assemblies today and so interesting to hear of the winning entries for our philosophy of the week question- children thinking so deeply in terms of being the same person or not as when we were born- lots of great ideas about whether if something changes it can ever be the same- brilliant! I am now really looking forward to the next question next week.
Huge well done to the Football Team today who played so well and in such good spirit in defeating Downs Juniors after school. I am so glad you all enjoyed it so much.
Thursday 12th January 2017
A very exciting day for the school today as two teachers are out receiving some very interesting professional training. Miss Stokes is learning all about Shangai Maths and Miss Cooper is on a residential couple of days learning to how make our school a Global Lead School. I cannot wait to hear all about both courses and start to put everything they are learning into practice.
Wednesday 11th January 2017
It was so interesting today being able to spend the morning walking around the school with our School Improvement Partner and one of our Chairs of Governors. We really enjoyed seeing the variety of learning that children were engaged in and the enthusiasm with which they were engaging in these.
Tuesday 10th January 2017
The Year 2 children looked amazing today in their explorers costumes- I loved trying to guess each one at the gate as you wear coming in and hearing all about who you were representing- it showed that you had done so much research about who you were on the day.
Friday 6th January 2017
I really enjoyed welcoming all the children back to school today in our assemblies and telling them all about the very special day which is today for all the children in South America and Spain- today is the ‘Dia de los Reyes Magos’ (Epiphany) and there is a lovely tradition of the children leaving their shoes out on the night of the 5th by their beds and then they wake up to presents on top of their shoes! It was also great to share with them all the lovely story of Brian Conaghan, the winner of this year’s Children’s Costa Award who explained that he had more than 200 rejection letters before he managed to get his first book published- and that each setback made him stronger- we related this real life scenario to exactly what we are trying to establish in our school through our learning animals- the resilient tortoise is equipping our children with the outlook in life that allowed Brian Conaghan to be so successful even after so many set-backs and difficulties.
Thursday 5th January 2017
I am so pleased that #5WaysNetball is coming to @Balfourprimary with new netball sessions for Years 5 & 6 starting on Wed 18th Jan. This is such an exciting new initiative for us and one that we have been trying to establish for long time now. Thank you so much to all of you who have worked so hard to make it happen.
It was great having lunch with KS1 today- they had so many great stories to share from their holidays. I also loved seeing the Reception really enjoying their introduction to De Bono’s Thinking Hats- brilliant!
I really enjoyed overseeing the lunchtime pupil run Football Club today- a great session and I was so pleased that two children that joined our school this week are already very keen members!
I am delighted that all the children who have started at our school this week are enjoying it all so much already. I really look forward to welcoming you all more formally at our assemblies tomorrow.
Wednesday 4th January 2017
So wonderful to see all the children and all our families again at school today. I hope you’ve all had a vey enjoyable and relaxing break and I wish you all a very happy new year and a muy feliz Año Nuevo 2017! I really enjoyed going into every class today to welcome all the children back and seeing all the great things they were engaging in already either as part of their Learning to Learn Week or as part of their new topics- the Mayan workshop for Year 6 was absolutely brilliant and the children loved it so much. Great to see so much learning taking place focusing on growth mindsets, philosophy for children, learning pits, code breakers and virtual journeys.
Tuesday 3rd January 2017
We had a very interesting and inspiring INSET day today at school focusing on our vision and values and on our school improvement plan- by fat the most exciting part of the day was when the Learning Leaders joined us for the discussion of the multi-professional teams- I could not believe how many children turned up which meant we had representatives from every year group and from each of the four priorities of the school development plan. The children were amazing when discussing their ideas of how to improve our school and the feedback from the staff was so positive. They were truly wonderful and I appreciate them coming on their last day of the holiday so much- Full Governors next on the 18th January for these wonderful Learning Leaders!
Wednesday 28th December 2016
I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the Whitehawk Foodbank today and meeting all the people who run such a great initiative and seeing first-hand the impact that our contributions have made. The organisers will now come to lead an assembly at our school to thank the children personally and to describe to them the whole process of how it all works- I cannot wait!
Saturday 17th December 2016
Today is turning out to be one of the most special days for our school ever- it is very hard to describe the impact that our collection and donation to the Foodbank is having on the Whitehawk community that we are partnering ourselves with. Please take at look at the school twitter account and website for all the information and photographs. We will ensure that this partnership with the Football Club and the Foodbank is a long lasting association that has a substantial impact on community cohesion and social well being.
Friday 16th December 2016
A lovely day to end our term and a very meaningful day indeed as all the collections from the reverse advent calendar idea that Jess in Year 6 had for our school came to my office- no one could have imagined how many contributions could have been collected- there is no space in my office at all. Tomorrow I cannot wait to come in to school with Jess' family to collect it all and take it to the Whitehawk Football Stadium as they are collecting for the Whitehawk Foodbank during the game and this is the final destination of all we have collected.
I would like to wish you all a very happy festive time over the next two weeks and I really look forward to the beginning of next term on Wednesday 4th January and to all that is to come in 2017.
Thursday 15th December 2016
I was so proud of our school choir today who performed so well at the local Care Home- the residents really appreciated it so much and you represented our school with so much pride- a huge well done to you all.
I am delighted to be able to invite all the Learning Leaders to our INSET Day on January 3rd 2017 to work with all the staff on the School Development Plan and the Children's Plan- the CUP OF COFFEE- I can't wait to see you all there!
Wednesday 14th December 2016
Another two absolutely brilliant Year 5 shows- I really forgot I was in a school hall at times-so professional and so enjoyable- so proud of each and every one of you.
A lovely day today too enjoying Christmas Lunch with all the children- it is great to see them enjoy it all so much- a lovely atmosphere in KS1 and KS2. Thank you so much to all the cooks in our school who work so hard all year round to provide such lovely meals for all our children and staff.
Tuesday 13th December 2016
Two fantastically enjoyable Year 5 Productions today in our school hall- I am so impressed with how all the rehearsing and all the effort and dedication comes together so professionally! I am incredibly proud of you all and your performance was extremely well received by the great audiences. I can't wait until the other two performances tomorrow.
Monday 12th December 2016
A truly fantastic day for our school today as we had an assessor from Achievement for All spend all day with us today looking at all the evidence we had provided in our application to obtain the Achievement for All Quality Mark. I am delighted to say that the school was awarded the Quality Mark, which is a national award, and represents a great recognition of all the work the school is doing to ensure that all children are able to enjoy their learning and reach their potential.
Saturday 10th December 2016
Such a great day today- our Christmas Fairs seem to get better and better every year! This year everyone seem to really enjoy the greater space used within the school. Thank you so much to all of FAB and to all the volunteers who put so much effort in to ensure that the day would be such an enjoyable success.
Friday 9th December 2016
Our final Nativity play today- I have enjoyed them so much. I really admire how all the children have worked together to produce such enjoyable shows for our families. Many thanks too to all the staff who worked with so much enthusiasm to inspire all our children to perform. I am now really looking forward to the Christmas Fair tomorrow.
Thursday 8th December 2016
Another fabulous Nativity performance today- a very enjoyable moment- huge well done to you all. It was great to welcome Jill winch today who starts with us in January as our Maths specialist teacher. We really look forward to being able to provide specialist input from Jill to further promote a love of Maths amongst our children.
Wednesday 7th December 2016
Another fabulous Nativity today- well done to you all. I also attended a very interesting meeting of the Full Governing Body this evening- I really appreciate these meetings that allow me to evaluate the work of the school, reflect on all that is happening and discuss interesting ways in which to keep ensuring that the school development plan keeps making a difference to the educational experiences of all our children.
Tuesday 6th December 2016
Today saw the first of four Nativity Performances by our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children- I loved the inaugural performance of Angels Express- I was so proud of all the children and so pleased that the hall was so full of family members who enjoyed it all so much.
In the afternoon I attended the Sainsbury's Sports Award Ceremony with Laura Gibbons and our two Year 6 Sports Leaders at the Sussex Cricket Ground. We were absolutely delighted to be presented with the Gold Mark award again this year in recognition of all the sports participation and competition available to our children throughout their time at the school.
Monday 5th December 2016
Two fabulous events today- first of all I was incredibly privileged to attend my first meeting of the Laurel Trust Board in London as a new Trustee. I think this new opportunity will have great repercussions for our school. I have already attached our school to a very interesting group of schools in Hastings who are beginning a project on how to develop a research led culture in their schools- exactly what we are trying to establish at Balfour.
In the evening I had the enormous pleasure of seeing our wonderful school choir perform at the Annual Schools Carol Concert at the Brighton Centre. A truly fantastic evening with so much musical talent to enjoy- the children singing, the various orchestras and the great soloists all making it such a special Brighton and Hove Music Service event.
Friday 2nd December 2016
I am really amazed at how successful the Philosophy Question of the Week initiative has turned out to be. I never imagined that three Year 6 girls could take their idea to fruition and have such an impact on the whole school. Seeing children outside my office contributing to the weekly question in their own time and throughout the day is truly amazing- it doesn't take long for the box to become full of contributions and I love the way the Year 6 children then read each one and choose some to be rewarded with a certificate at the Friday assemblies which, in their view, shows the most creative thought.
Thursday 1st December 2016
Another great session for prospective families this evening- I hope everyone found it useful and interesting and please do come back when the school is fully functional during the day if you wish to see it all in action.
Wednesday 30th November 2016
A very useful meeting of the Health and Safety Forum today where we discussed lots of aspects relating to keeping everyone safe throughout the school. Thank you Robert Bowden on your last meeting- you have contributed so much to the success of this group and the Governing Body in general.
Tuesday 29th November 2016
A very moving day today- seeing two whole year groups performing at St. John's Church with a very full audience and accompanied by our marvellous orchestra is very special indeed. I was delighted by how well and how enthusiastically all the children sang and contributed to the occasion. Thank you so much too for the very generous collections which amounted to £500 which will now be added to the bidding fund for the Snowdog- so wonderfully kind of you all. As always thank you Alison for welcoming our school so warmly to your church.
Monday 28th November 2016
Today marks the beginning of a month full of celebrations in our school building up the Christmas break. It could not have started on a better note- the Year 6 Concerts tonight were truly wonderful- so great to see so many children electing to perform- a great range of singing, dance, instrumentalists and whole cohort singing. The perfect way to start our festivities. I am now really looking forward to the Year 3 and 4 Concerts at St. John's Church tomorrow.
Friday 25th November 2016
This morning I really enjoyed giving out the MASCOT certificates in assembly and sharing in so many celebratory moments with all our children. I am so impressed by how they are all embracing and demonstrating the lifelong learning dispositions.
In the afternoon I had a very interesting meeting at Varndean with the fellow Headteachers of our PILL partnership- so good to be working together on so many projects and at so many levels, from pupils, to teachers, to senior leaders, subject coordinators, Headteachers and governors.
Thursday 24th November 2016
I spent a very fruitful day today meeting with our Chairs of Governors- Paul eddy and Tabitha Morrison. It is great to discuss the school with them from a strategic point of view and to work in close partnership with our Governing Body to ensure that we are all aligned in our thinking that leads to continued school improvement.
Wednesday 23rd November 2016
What a wonderful day today sharing our school with all the prospective families as part of our open day sessions for children due to start school in September 2017. I always enjoy meeting new families so much and helping in whatever way I can to ensure that families have all the information they need to enable them to make the best possible decision for their child. I hope you all found the visit useful and please let me know if there is anything else I can do. We will be having a catch up session in January 2017 for any families who are wishing to come again.
Tuesday 22nd November 2016
Thank you so much to Bigfoot Theatre Company today for providing our children with such fantastic Black History drama workshops. The children absolutely loved them and got so much from their interactive nature. Very valuable indeed.
I am really looking forward to our first Open day tomorrow for prospective families- it is always so exciting to meet new families, to chat about the school and to enjoy sharing the school with everyone. I really hope that all feel very welcome tomorrow and that the visit helps you to make the right decision for your child.
Monday 21st November 2016
An incredibly exciting afternoon today as we took the School Council Leaders to meet the Lord Mayor of Brighton and Hove in his offices in the town hall. I was so proud of all 24 children from Year 1 to Year 6. They asked such interesting questions and enjoyed it all so much- such a great experience to be sat in the council chamber and ask questions using the formal language and protocol. Great to expose the children to the democratic process of how the Council works to make decisions.
Friday 18th November 2016
Such a wonderful privilege today to be presenting at the Cambridge Primary Review Trust National Conference in London alongside Dawn Loader and Sandra Mulholland. Our session focused on how our JONK approach is enabling the school to create a number of different formal partnerships with the local community and how much these links are enriching the lives of our children and families. The talk was very well received and you can enjoy the presentation on our website.
Thursday 17th November 2016
I was delighted today that Juliet Fine and Sylvia Cooper attended the Philosophy for Children SAPERE Annual Conference in London and came back full of resources and so enthusiastic to keep promoting a philosophical approach to the curriculum. Our aim is for every classroom to develop as a community of enquiry where all the children feel safe and enthused to ask questions, offer opinions and question their learning and the world using their critical thinking skills.
Saturday 12th November 2016
Huge thanks to all the amazing and incredibly dedicated families and staff who worked so hard to put on the Fireworks display on tonight. I appreciate it all so much. So moving too- the light display in memory of Niamh was so special. It was great to share the event with St. Bernadette's too- great to see you all there.
Tuesday 1st November 2016
Such a lovely day today welcoming everyone back for the second half of the Autumn Term. Great to hear of all the fun and exciting things that the children did over half-term. I would like to wish you all a very Happy Diwali and New Year- great to see the children chatting about it all in classes today.
Two very special highlights today- one was to go into every classroom and announce the exciting opportunity we are able to offer all the children who have received a MASCOT certificate this term- to be a real MASCOT at the Whitehawk FC FA Cup match on Saturday against Stourbridge at the Enclosed Ground- I hope lots of you can make it- it should be a great afternoon. The other huge highlight has been the number of absolutely amazing Headteacher Challenges that have been coming in- I can't thank you enough for the amount of effort and thought that is going into these- absolutely brilliant!
I really look forward to all that's to come this half-term and to the FAB Meeting tonight.
Friday 21st October 2016
A lovely day today presenting the MASCOT certificates during our celebration assemblies and reflecting back on such an enjoyable and productive half-term. I am very proud of how engaged and enthusiastic the children have been this half-term and of the vibrant atmosphere that they are creating during the day. Thank you so much to the Year 5 boys who performed so well at all our assemblies today with their food rap and possibly inspired so many other children to perform at our assemblies too.
I wish you all a very happy, enjoyable and relaxing half-term break and I really look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday after our INSET day on Monday 31st October 2016.
Thursday 20th October 2016
A real highlight today was the launch of the latest pupil led lunchtime club- huge well done to the Year 4 boys who have worked so hard to organise this club and get it off the ground- I'm delighted to be your member of staff and I look forward to seeing lots and lots of skills as the weeks progress.
Great to see and greet so many of you today at the last of our four sessions of parent consultation evenings- I really hope that you have found them productive and informative. Thank you so much for compiling the mini survey as this will give us lots of very useful information with regards to transition for the children and communication with yourselves.
Wednesday 19th October 2016
It was great to launch our KS2 parent consultation evenings today and a huge pleasure to be able to meet and greet and chat with so many of you. These meetings are essential for us in enabling us to work in partnership with yourselves and enabling us to provide the very best personalised learning experiences for your children.
Tuesday 18th October 2016
I am so pleased that the paper making workshops are going so well- such a fabulous experience for our Year 2, Y5 and Y6 children. It looked fascinating when I came round- I hope it all dries really well. Thank you so much Alex Witt for organising such a great for the children and bringing in so much ecological awareness into our school.
Monday 17th October 2016
A very warm welcome to Walk to School Week. We are so lucky that the large majority of our families are able to enjoy a walk to school routine.
I was delighted today at lunchtime when a group of Year 6 girls approached me with a marvellous idea- they are really keen to launch a Philosophy Question of the Week initiative linked to discussion in the classrooms during the week and a certificate that they would award n our celebration assemblies on Friday- I am very excited about this and we will be launching after half-term! The group has already written down a list of more than 20 philosophical questions to get it going! Brilliant!
Friday 14th October 2016
Such a fabulous day today for Year 6 who were treated to the most fantastic whole day workshop session on Shakespeare- I have never seen the children so enthusiastic and so engaged- without doubt the highlight of Year 6 so far and such a valuable experience for you all.
Great to see the school full of children and adults wearing their sports kits today in memory of Matt and Jacob and raising so much for the children in Calais, which is exactly what Matt's and Jacob's families wanted. Very meaningful indeed.
I have loved chatting with all the children about the Nobel Prize awards during our assemblies these last two Fridays- I am delighted that the children went away and researched the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel himself and were so aware about the Bob Dylan announcement- brilliant!
I hope that the FAB Quiz night goes really well tonight and I hope that you all have a great weekend.
Thursday 13th October 2016
Huge thanks to you all for your incredibly generous donations for the children and people in Calais- I am sure that all your suitcases and blankets and sleeping bags will make a huge difference to a very large number of people. Thank you so much to FAB for yet again organising something so meaningful for our global community.
Wednesday 12th October 2016
A very special day today as we welcomed Maggie Roger from the Laurel Trust- previously known as the Southern Educational Leadership Trust. Maggie came to visit our school and to give us the very exciting news that at their AGM on Monday, they voted to elect myself onto their board as a Trustee. I am incredibly privileged to have been elected onto their board and I cannot wait to see how this new opportunity opens up many doors for all of us at school. The board is chaired by John West-Burnham who has been an inspiration in my career for many years now. Maggie thinks that our school can contribute to what the group can offer other schools in terms of curriculum innovation.
I am delighted that the school's Eco representatives had such a great time today at the Eco Conference at Cardinal Newman Secondary School. I am so pleased that you represented the school so well and that you came back to school so excited about it all.
Another very enjoyable Parents Consultation Evening today and so wonderful to meet and greet so many of you during the course of the evening.
Tuesday 11th October 2016
It was great to see so many of you today at the EYFS and KS1 Parent Consultation Evenings- if this was your first ever I hope that it was really special! I hope that you all found them useful and celebratory and I really look forward to welcoming the rest of you tomorrow. Thank you all for all your great feedback on our forms and very useful to know that I need to do more work to ensure that our families are more aware that I write this blog.
Monday 10th October 2016
I hope that you've all had a lovely weekend- this week has started really well and for the second lunchtime running I am delighted to report that my office is being used at lunchtime by a very enthusiastic group of Year 5 girls who are incredibly keen to engage in some maths challenges - I have never known so much excitement with Maths! To their sheer delight they have just worked out the solution to the magic square to 15 investigation- wonderful moment to experience- huge well done Betsy, Cissy, Paige, Evie, Milly- now for the next one!
Friday 7th October 2016
Another great morning teaching Year 5 today- our philosophical discussion centred around whether we can ever count from 1 to 2 was fascinating and made looking at decimals so interesting- great creative thinking- I loved it!
I really enjoyed telling you all about the Nobel Prize for Chemistry that was announced today in assembly- the nano robot is so incredible and I hope that you all now try and find out a little bit more about it- such a great way to get motivated with Science and Medicine! Can you also find out who will get the Nobel Peace Prize today?
Huge congratulations to Faye in Year 2 who played the piano so brilliantly at each of our three celebration assemblies today, including both of the Junior ones! So courageous and such a great role model for all the other children- brilliant!
A very emotional end to the week as we held the second of the Memorial Matches against Patcham Juniors today in memory of Matt and Jacob who tragically died at the Shoreham Air Disaster- a very moving moment with both families attending the match at Patcham Juniors. A great game saw a first half of girls from both schools playing against each other followed by the boys event in the second half. Thank you to Matt Evans for organising it all and to Patcham Juniors to hosting- great to see so many families supporting the event and well done both schools- we promise to look after the trophy for another year with great care.
Thursday 6th October 2016
I loved teaching Maths in year 5 today- so interesting to be looking at the world of decimals and solving problems involving decimals from real life scenarios- great use of RUCSAC and problem solving skills.
Wednesday 5th October 2016
A very special day today as we all wore green in aid Cerebral Palsy Day- great that the school was able to raise so much awareness during the day and raise funds for such a good cause.
Today we had one of my very favourite things that happen in our school- the Teddy Bear Hospital session for Year 1. Huge thanks to the medical students from the Royal Sussex Medical School for coming in and inspiring our children so much through your workshop- they absolutely loved every minute of it and I'm sure that now every child will feel much less anxious about going to hospital of they ever need to, as well as possibly having launched many careers in the medical world through this fabulous opportunity and experience.
Tuesday 4th October 2016
I really enjoyed doing the JONK to families this evening just before the FAB AGM. Thank you so much to all the families that were able to come and thank you enormously for the really interesting discussion about it all at the end. I will now work on your suggestion of a fridge friendly JONK Guide for families to have at home so that you can discuss all the aspects of JONK with your children using the same language and purpose that we use at school- great idea. We can do a similar one for our values and for our expectations in the playground as discussed at Parents Forum last week.
Huge thanks to FAB for all the fantastic work, commitment and dedication to the school- fascinating to listen to the year summary and great to see that so many projects have materialised for our children as a result. Great to see so many new families at the meeting. A very special thanks to Greg who has now handed over the Chair of FAB position to Amanda Flint after three incredibly successful years- we can't thank you enough for all you've done Greg!
Friday 30th September 2016
I loved teaching Year 6 Maths today- I was so impressed by your ability to think logically through some very tricky conversion problems- miles to kilometres and back is not easy- I particularly enjoyed your reasoning in the Prove It Challenges. I am really hoping this getting together on a Friday becomes a regular event in my diary!
As always I really enjoyed our assemblies today- wonderful MASCOT certificates- very proud of you all. A huge well done to all our Reception children and families for completing your first ever full week at school so successfully- extremely proud of you all. I wish everyone a very happy weekend and I look forward to seeing everyone on Monday.
Tuesday 27th September 2016
This term we are devoting our staff professional development meetings to the Foundation Subjects and it was fascinating today hearing about all the exciting things that we have planned for History and Geography. It was great building all those world maps from the jigsaw pieces! I really look forward to seeing all these ideas in action throughout the school.
Monday 26th September 2016
Muchas felicidades a todos en este dia de celebracion de lenguas europeas! Yes it's the European day of Languages today and it was so moving seeing all the families contributing to our board at the gate with lots and lots of different languages- a very special moment indeed.
Huge congratulations too to all our Reception children- I cannot believe how well you've all settled in to Reception and how much you've all enjoyed your first full day at school- I hope that you are all looking forward to the rest of the year and the next seven years at Balfour- I wish you all the very very very best and I hope that you enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Thanks so much FAB for organising the Tea and Tissues session for our families- great!
Year 6 had a great treat today with the visit of the Science Dome- it was great to see how much you all enjoyed it and to hear of all the things you learnt whilst inside it. Experiential learning at its best!
Friday 23rd September 2016
Great day celebrating all the MASCOT awards at our assemblies- I am very proud of the way you are all using the learning dispositions to make sure that you are succeeding with your learning.
I hope that you all have a lovely weekend and I really look forward to seeing you on Monday- very best wishes to all the Reception children who will start their very first full day at school on Monday!
Thursday 22nd September 2016
I really enjoyed chatting with the children in class today- so impressed by Reception children having a concept of zero and then Year 1 children telling me all about minus numbers when I asked them what happens before zero on their number line! One Year two class is currently working on a challenge I set them- they are producing a 100-square made of negative numbers- I cannot wait! Children in Year 4, 5 and 6 are also having a go at another HT challenge- that is to see what happens to the Olympic and Paralympic medal tables when we take into account the medals won by each country and compare these with the population of those countries- really looking forward to seeing what happens!
Wednesday 21st September 2016
The highlight today was definitely the Greek Dancing rehearsals and then performance shows to our families. I was so impressed by the range of dance and creativity from each class and the fun with which you performed. It was a real pleasure to see you all working so well as a class and so impressed by what you all managed to achieve in just one day! It really showed the benefits of what one can achieve when working with experts.
Tuesday 20th September 2016
One of the best things about our school is FAB- I cannot believe how lucky we are with our parent/carer group. This evening we held our first meeting of the year and I was delighted by how well attended it was, by how many new Reception families came and by the generosity of everyone's time and effort. The decision made today will be really transformational for the school. Thank you so much for agreeing to the KS1 digital projector for the hall and to the KS2 outdoor gym- both fabulous projects and I cannot wait to now order both! Thanks too for all the other bits that were agreed and I now look forward to the AGM on October 4th and to my JONK talk as a warm up for the AGM.
Monday 19th September 2016
Such a lovely start to the week with so many year groups launching their new topics with very motivational days- Year 1 had a wonderful Teddy Bear Party day, Year 3 had amazing dance workshops, Year 4 were treated to a very exciting Egyptian day and Year 5 had a most wonderful Greek day with the children in amazing ancient Greek attire- I hope you all enjoyed your days and that today has really helped to bring the topics alive for you.
A huge well done to the Reception children who switched over today and had either their first ever morning and lunch or first ever afternoon- so proud of you all and really enjoyed having lunch with you all.
We now look forward to welcoming lots of families to our first Parent/carer Forum meeting tomorrow meeting where we will be sharing and discussing the new behaviour Policy.
Friday 16th September 2016
A very special day in the life of the school today as we presented the very first ever MASCOT Certificates in our celebration assemblies throughout the school. I am so delighted that our lifelong learning dispositions are now directly linked to and the reasons for the certificates at my Friday assemblies.
I was also delighted by how much everyone has enjoyed our Learning to Learn week- walking around the school there were so many excellent examples of JONK initiates- own models of learning, mind maps, recipes of lifelong learners, learning pits, thinking skills starters, de Bono's hats, maths challenges through Fermi questions, philosophical debate, concept lines, fortune lines- all so wonderful to see throughout the school.
I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and a special well done to all the Reception children who competed such a successful first ever week at school- so proud of you all.
Thursday 15th September 2016
I loved walking around Year 2 today- just by chance I was walking round when each class was embarking on the Philosophy day as part of the Learning to Learn Week. I couldn't believe the way they were all discussing their thoughts around 'happiness and whether we can give happiness all the time'- great to experience you all thinking so creatively and so respectfully of each other.
A wonderful moment today when I was walking through the playground with our Chairs of Governors, Paul and Tabitha and a number of children came up to us as they were doing their daily mile to tell us very enthusiastically about their 'Recipe for a Lifelong Learner' - absolutely amazing!
Wednesday 14th September 2016
The biggest highlight of the year so far came today during my year 3 assembly where we focused on JONK as part of the Learning to Learn week. I could not believe the depth of comments that the children came up with when I asked them 'What does Learning actually mean?' - when Denzel said it is all about survival I could not believe it! other thoughts that it is gaining new knowledge, connecting to what we already know and the importance of digesting it to make it meaningful were also incredibly amazing and helped us so much discuss all the aspects of the JONK pit of learning.
Two other great highlights today and both involved book launches! We couldn't believe it today at school when Lauren Child came in and inspired our children so much with a love of reading and of books, We are really grateful to Booknook in Hove for organising the event and for Lauren for all her time and effort. Our children loved every second of it!
In the evening I had the huge privilege of attending another book launch event- Dame Alison Peacock, the Headteacher of the Wroxham School in Hertfordshire held a book launch event at her school to celebrate the publication of her new book - Assessment for Learning Without Limits- a fabulous evening and listening to Alison is always so inspirational- I came back with lots of ideas for us. The principles that underpin JONK are so similar to those of Learning Without Limits!
Tuesday 13th September 2016
I loved spending lots of time in Reception today getting to know all our new children and seeing how well you are settling in to the school routine is a real pleasure to observe. So much fun and so much enjoyment already! Great to have lunch with you all too- I hope you enjoyed your pizza and ice-cream!
I am so pleased that we are launching this academic year with Spanish teaching in Years 3 and 4- our staff meeting today was very exciting indeed. I cannot wait for it all to start!
I now really look forward to the visit of Lauren Child tomorrow afternoon- my own children's very favourite author!!
Monday 12th September 2016
Such a special day today for all our Reception children as they embark on their first ever day of school. The most wonderful feel ever at the gate celebrating the occasion with all the families and children. I was so proud of you all and I wish you all the very best for the rest of the year and your educational life ahead of you! Have a lovely evening and I cannot wait to see you all again tomorrow.
A huge thanks to Monica and Mirela from Ealing who spent the day with us looking at all aspects of our school and gave us the opportunity to engage in lots of professional dialogue in terms of our strengths and ideas for ways forward. We really value this partnership based on dialogue and professional challenge. We really look forward to lots more times together.
A very happy Eid to all our families, staff and members of our community who are celebrating it tonight. I hope it is a very joyous occasion for you all.
Friday 9th September 2016
Thank you all so much for making these first three days back so special- I am really enjoying seeing all the wonderful creative thinking that is emerging from the Learning to Learn and I cannot wait to see lots and lots more of it next week. Your learning models are fabulous- so inspirational!
We now really look forward to welcoming Monica and Mirela from Ealing in London on Monday as they are coming all the way to spend a whole day with us to chat about all that we do and how we are at Balfour Primary.
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday 7th September 2016
What a fabulous start to the year we've had- it has been such a pleasure to welcome you all back and really exciting to visit every classroom, chat to you all and meet in our assemblies today- so much to share and so much to look forward to- I want to wish each and every one of you all the very best for this year- I hope it is really special in many many ways. We have spent two INSET days planning really exciting things and I cannot wait to share them all with you.
Friday 22nd July 2016
A wonderful last day of term at school- full of celebrations and good wishes, especially to all Year 6s and all the staff who are moving on. I am so incredibly proud of you all and I wish you all, all the very best at secondary school or in your ventures career-wise. Thank you all for all your effort and dedication and all of you who are leaving, please remember to keep in touch.
Finally I would like to thank everyone for all the support and dedication with our school and I would like to wish you all an extremely relaxing and enjoyable summer break and I really look forward to welcoming everyone back in September for the launch of another very exciting year.
Wednesday 20th July 2016
I am so proud of Year 1- you all had such a great time at Woodsmill on your day trip- great to see you all coming back so excited about it all!
Monday 18th July 2016
Great to join the Year 6s today at their treat lunch after their morning at the cinema- so proud of you all and so pleased that this great tradition is appreciated so much by you all- a great way to end your primary school experience- well done for all of you being so appreciative and such great role models throughout the day.
Friday 15th July 2016
A great KS2 Sports morning- thank you all so much for engaging with it all with so much enthusiasm and support for each other- huge well done to you all and special congratulations to the red team who are these year's champions! Great to see so many families enjoying the morning too, many thanks for coming along and for all your support.
Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th July 2016
Two incredible evenings at Varndean School with our end of KS2 Year 6 production- each and every one of you absolutely incredible- how it all comes together so well with 128 of you is truly amazing- great credit to all the staff that make this possible, to all of you for all effort and dedication and especially to Ms Redfern for masterminding it all so well from start to finish. A great, very memorable occasion for us all and a great moment to say how proud I am of each and every one of you and how pleased I am that you are all so ready to move onto Secondary School- absolutely brilliant and keep enjoying the performing arts at secondary!!!
Tuesday 12th July 2016
Such a special day today in Norwich! The group of schools that we set as JONK schools earlier on in the term all came together as part of their Better to Best initiative at a celebration of JONK learning conference- it was an enormous privilege to be the key note speaker for this event and incredibly moving to then award the children from all the ten schools certificates and trophies for the JONK categories of resilient, collaborative, reflective, creative, curious, resourceful and JONK. These schools are all launching the new academic year like us with a JONK Learning to Learn Week and we really look forward to all that's to come with our partnership with them. Visiting the schools in the morning was very special indeed!
Friday 8th July 2016
Wow! The Year 2 moving on assemblies this morning were absolutely wonderful and moving as always- it was great to see so many families at both of the assemblies and the children made them such a wonderful and memorable occasion for us all- I am so proud of you all and you are all so well equipped to move onto the Juniors and Year 3 where I am sure you will all really thrive- well done!!
I was also delighted today as I led an INSET Day at Sheddingdean Primary School in Burgess Hill, which are the latest school to become a JONK school- great to have shared so much and I really look forward to all that is to come in our new partnership.
Wednesday 6th July 2016
A very special day for me today as it marks the 40th anniversary of arriving in England! Great to be able to celebrate it with all the children, staff and school community.
We walked around the school today with the Governors looking at evidence that this year's school development plan has had an impact on teaching and learning in the classroom- we saw some great things and so much to celebrate!
Monday 4th July 2016
I am so pleased that the families were able to meet next year's teaching and support staff today at the end of school. I hope you are now all really excited about next year and are looking forward to all that's to come.
Friday 1st July 2016
We had such an interesting day with the visit of Mirela and David who work in the Ealing Local Authority as advisors and Deputy Heads of a primary school. It was wonderful to share with the m our JONK approach and to chat so much about current educational initiatives that are making a difference to children's learning, enjoyment and life chances. I feel that one of the great strengths of our school is the range of people that we liaise with that allows us to reflect, exchange ideas and keep up to date with the latest pedagogical research. I really look forward to all that's to come with our new found link with Ealing now.
Thursday 30th June 2016
I met with the Headteachers of Downs Infants and Downs Juniors Schools today as part of our partnership triad working and mutual challenge get-togethers- great to compare successes of this year and to look forward, strategically, to plans for next year for our three schools.
Wednesday 29th June 2016
A fabulous fabulous KS1 Sports Day this morning- for the first time, we had Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 all enjoying the Sports morning together and it was great to see you all displaying such fabulous skills, team work and effort, whilst enjoying it all so much- I am very proud of you all and it was great to see so many families there cheering the children and having such a lovely time. Great parental effort in their races too!
Monday 27th June 2016
It was so interesting today as we conducted an Equalities Walk around the school with the Local Authority- we are always striving to ensure that all children feel equally valued and have equal access to all opportunities within a fully inclusive, motivational and celebratory of all environment.
Friday 24th June 2016
Another very exciting and special day today- yet again I was so incredibly proud of all the children in the Robins and Sparrows Classes who performed so wonderfully, so confidently and so entertainingly today in their celebration assembly- what a great year, full of learning, fun and memorable experiences!
It was brilliant to welcome all the Year 6s back today- what a fantastic week you've all had- I am so proud of you all and I hope that you have a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend catching up with lots of sleep!
I was delighted that Derek Betts' Book Launch went so well this evening- his book entitled 'Whatever Happened to Brighton's Tin School' is a remarkably interesting recount of our school's first fifty years of existence. A fascinating read which has taken Derek many years to research, recount and write- a real classic and a wonderful celebration tonight with family, friends, staff, governors and representatives from the Local Authority.
Thursday 23rd June 2016
So great to visit and spend the afternoon and evening with all the Year 6s today at Blacklands- great to see you all enjoying every opportunity so much despite the terrible weather- I have never seen rain like it!!
Monday 20th June 2016
It was great to have seen the Year 6s off this morning for their residential trip to Blacklands Farm- such an exciting time for you all. This does tend to be the most memorable experience of the children's time at Balfour and I hope this year really lives up to all your expectations- I will be keeping the families updated by text during the week and will also be visiting them during the week.
Friday 17th June 2016
Such an exciting and special day today- I was incredibly proud of all the children in the Wrens and Nightingales Classes who performed so wonderfully, so confidently and so entertainingly today in their celebration assembly- what a great year, full of learning, fun and memorable experiences!
It was great too to host Simon Davies, Deputy Headteacher from Varndean School today at school as Varndean are interested in incorporating the JONK Learning to Learn Week in September for Years 7 and 8- very exciting indeed!
I am delighted that today we launched the Healthy Snacks at the Gate initiative thanks to the collaboration and partnership we've developed with the Real Junk Food Project and Fuel for Schools- it was amazing to see how excited the children and families were with the opportunity of having a healthy snack on their way home and realising that this is food that would have otherwise gone to waste- we really look forward to developing many more food initiatives for our school as a result of our links.
Thursday 16th June 2016
Last night we held the latest meeting of the Full Governing Body and I am very grateful for all the work and commitment from the Governing Body and all the support and joined up thinking that is enabling the school to keep moving forwards in such exciting ways. A particular word of thanks to Vicki May who has now finished her term of office as Chair and a very warm welcome to Tabitha Morrison and Paul Eddy who have become the new joint Chairs.
Wednesday 15th June 2016
I am delighted that Year 2 had such a great time in their visit to the Herstmonceux Science Centre and Observatory- we love to promote anything related to science as much as possible and it was wonderful to see the children coming back so excited from all they experienced. Well done for being such great models for the school too.
It was a great privilege to have had a visit from Peter Chivers today who is the Head of the Brighton and Hove Music and Arts Service. Peter is very interested to see how our JONK approach can be incorporated into the current planning of the music service's aim to increase as creativity opportunities for young people in the city as much as possible. The school's involvement in the Future City Project of Brighton and Hove s very exciting indeed.
Monday 13th June 2016
I came into school this morning and found that one of my biggest dreams for the school had come true- over the weekend the digital projector and new screen had been installed in our KS2 Hall- it looks absolutely amazing and it will really transform all that we can do as a school- I am incredibly grateful to FAB for funding half of the cost and I really look forward to all the benefits that we are going to get from it- it has already made a huge difference to the sports assemblies we delivered today!
I am so delighted that we had a visit from the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher from Sheddingdean Primary today and so pleased that they were so thrilled with embarking on JONK partnership working- I really look forward to all that is to come now that we have made contact.
I continue to be amazed by the incredible creativity of the Headteacher Challenges that are coming in- Lottie and her band recorded a fantastic song today about the Olympics and Toby created a swimming pool model using excellence as his value and Rosie produced the most incredible model of handshakes using friendship as the value- all truly fabulous!!!
Sunday 12th June 2016
Such a wonderful day for us and for the school today- it was a great privilege and honour to attend the Youth in Action Awards today after we had been nominated in the shortlist for Community School of the Year 2016 Award. The event was held at the AMEX and it was so wonderful that Vicki May, our Chair of Governors and three Y6 children (Edie, Laura and Bea) were able to also join us. I was so proud of the children, such great role models for our school. Our nomination has got a lot to do with the wonderful work that Matt Evans did following the Shoreham Airshow disaster and it was in recognition of the memorial match we held at our school against Patcham Juniors to commemorate the lives of Matt and Jacob- such a special moment with both families being present. The Y6 girls did a magnificent job fundraising for the event. Congratulations to PACA who won the award- we are very proud of your school and your students. Also a huge well done to Sue Middleton and Dorothy Stringer who were awarded the Teacher of the Year and School of the Year Awards and to Mr Bradford for being nominated in the Headteacher of the Year Award- we are delighted for Stringer.
Friday 10th June 2016
All days are special but today became one of those very special days as the children started to bring in the latest Headteacher Challenge productions! Incredibly wonderful!! Lois in Reception created a fabulous game of skittles with the Olympic rings and also wrote to Tanni Grey-Thompson as part of her project and Tanni wrote back to the school- reading the letter out in front of all the children in Reception from Tanni was truly extraordinary- an amazing classic of a project- I cannot wait to see and enjoy all of them in the next few weeks.
Thursday 9th June 2016
Such a great day today, welcoming all our new families to the school- so sorry I couldn't be there for the afternoon session- I cannot wait to meet and get to know all the children who are starting in September and all of you as families too- I hope you all have a truly wonderful time at Balfour Primary!
Monday 6th June 2016
A very warm welcome back to school for the second half of the Summer Term. I hope that you have all had a very enjoyable, relaxing and productive half-term break. I can't wait to see you all tomorrow and hear all about your break and about our latest Headteacher Challenge- so looking forward to seeing all your amazing ideas of how to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Values!
I am delighted to announce that our school has been nominated as a finalist in the Youth in Action Argus Awards for 2016 in the category of Community School of the Year- this is a wonderful thing to have happened and I am so grateful to all the people who wrote in to the Awards Panel and nominated the school- it came as a complete surprise- I really feel that in recent months the school has become involved in so many wonderful projects with our community- I am really looking to representing the school at the Awards Ceremony at the AMEX on Sunday 12th June 2016.
I was a very proud HT today leading a JONK INSET Day at Godalming Sixth Form College for all their staff- it was so interesting sharing across a different phase the principles and philosophies that underpin the JONK approach at Balfour and to hear such enthusiastic comments about our school and JONK afterwards- I am sure we will now develop a very close working partnership with both Godalming, BHASVIC and Varndean College- today they were particularly impressed with our Lunchtime Pupil Run Clubs and the Pi Challenge where some of our Year 4 children have been writing in the sequence of Pi!!
I would like to wish our Tag RugbyTeam all the very best for tomorrow as they take part in the Sussex Finals and to the Year 3 children who start their trips to Preston Manor tomorrow too.
Today is a very special day as well with the beginning of Ramadan and I wanted to wish everyone celebrating Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak or Happy Ramadan.
Sunday 22nd May 2016
Another amazing weekend in the life of our school. I wanted to thank everyone that came to our Art Exhibition on Saturday enormously- it was great to see so many families enjoying the works of art so much. I am so grateful to all the incredible effort from so many people that enabled the partnership with the Aldrich Collection to become such a fabulous success. Seeing the real works of art in school and working with artists has been so inspirational for our children. Thank you so much Philippa and Molly Aldrich, all the artist and Ms Hunt and Ms Russell especially, but all the staff, who have been tremendous in mounting the exhibition and Mr Marle on the day!
Today also marked the last session of the Davis Cup Legacy Project at the Preston Lawn Tennis Club- I'm so pleased that so many children and families have enjoyed the six weekends of free lessons and activities. I will try and see if we can repeat this very soon! Huge thanks to Richard at the Club!
Friday 20th May 2016
Thank you so much Kingfishers for such a wonderful assembly and thank you all four Year 1 classes who for the past four Fridays have given our families and children and staff so much joy with your class celebration assemblies. I absolutely loved them all and found them all very moving- I know the families did too!
Thursday 19th May 2016
Huge well done to all the children in Year 4 who represented our school and had so much fun playing in the Tri-Golf Event at Hollingbury Golf Club- I am incredibly proud that you got awarded the Respect Award.
Wednesday 18th May 2016
Huge congratulations to all the children who took part in the Withdean Athletics special invitation tournament today- so proud of you all and it has been great seeing so many medals at school on your return. Also huge congratulations to the Tag Rugby Teams who competed so well and got through to the Sussex Finals on June 7th at Waterhall- I can't wait!
Tuesday 17th May 2016
I am so proud of our Eco- Representatives who enjoyed their visit to four other schools so much and I was especially pleased to hear from Ms Witt that you were fabulous role models representing our school- I am fascinated by the ideas you brought back having visited St. Lukes and Coldean.
Thursday 12th May 2016
A huge well done to all our Year 6s who have now finished their SATs- I could not be more proud of each and every one of you- the way you approached them was truly magnificent- with so much composure, so much maturity and so much enjoyment- these qualities will mean a very successful transition to your next steps in education.
Saturday 7th May 2016
Thank you so much to all the families and staff that took part or came to support the Children's Parade today- I was so proud of our school and incredibly impressed by the costumes, the amazing build, the number of people who paraded and the incredible wonderful Samba Band! A very special moment indeed and thank you to all the staff that put so much effort in to make this such a success.
Monday 3rd May 2016
It's Art Week this week at school and I cannot wait to see and experience all the things that have been planned to take place- we are incredibly excited that the whole week will be inspired by the link we have made as a school with the Aldrich Foundation based at the University of Brighton- including hosting real works of art in our school on Wednesday! We are also going to be inspired by the actual artists themselves- incredibly special and a fantastic opportunity for all our children as they each create a work of art for our Open House Exhibition on May 21st.
Sunday 1st May 2016
I wanted to wish everyone associated with our school- past, present and future a very Happy 111th Birthday today!!!! The school opened on 1st May 1905 and if you are interested in finding out a bit more about the history- especially the first fifty years since its foundation I really recommend the book that has just been published by Derek Betts, one of our Governors, 'Whatever Happened to the Tin Hut?'- a fascinating read indeed.
Friday 29th April 2016
What an amazing start to our KS1 celebration assemblies' season we've had today-a huge well done to the Larks who put on such an entertaining, informative and very moving assembly to celebrate all their learning from this term. I absolutely loved it- great acting, very funny, very informative, beautiful singing and a fabulous section on our learning animals- I loved the way you described how each one helps us to learn!
Tuesday 26th April 2016
I was so proud to represent the Learning, Skills and Employment Partnership today at the Brighton and Hove Connected Meeting of the Council and sharing with the group how in education in Brighton and Hove we are preparing children for the future- to be ready for their next step in education and to be equipped with the skills that higher education and employers look for- very proud to be able to draw upon so many examples from the initiatives we are putting into place at Balfour- such as our Lifelong Learning Dispositions, School Values and the Rights Respecting School Charter.
Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th April 2016
I wanted to say the most enormous well done to all the children, which this year amounted to more than 350, for the most incredibly amazing Music Concerts ever- the two evenings, with four unbelievably amazing concerts at the Dorothy Stringer Theatre will remain with me for a very long time and I am sure with all the children and their families too. I have rarely enjoyed a set of performances so much and I am so impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm and courage and determination and confidence that all the children showed- truly truly memorable. We are very grateful to Dorothy Stringer for all their help in enabling us to put these on.
Saturday 23rd April 2016
This is becoming yet another very special weekend for our school as a result of the links with we are creating with our local community:
Monday 18th April 2016
It's Science Week this week at school and I cannot wait to see and experience all the things that take place- we have so much planned- I am sure it will be very exciting indeed!
Sunday 17th April 2016
I don't often blog on a Sunday but this weekend has become very special in so many ways for our school- all to do with community links, partnerships and sporting activities. A huge well done to all the children who took part in the Brighton Marathon mini-mile- so proud of you all and great to see so many of our children on the podiums too! I really enjoyed going down and cheering all our families in the Brighton Marathon today- a huge well done and I really look forward to seeing all your medals and to hear about all the stories tomorrow at the gate.
I then loved going down to Preston Lawn tennis Club to see how much the Year 1 and Year 2 children were enjoying their first of six free Tennis sessions being offered to us as a school by the Tennis Club as part of our partnership that we've developed- I hope that Tennis really becomes your thing now- there's nothing better!
I am also absolutely delighted that the school's Basketball Team are enjoying playing at a Tournament at the University of Brighton- great to see the pictures and really looking forward to hearing all about it!
I have also just had a very nice chat with John Summers, one of the Directors at Whitehawk Football Club- with whom we have developed a formal link similar to the Albion in the Community initiative. As a way of launching this exciting new venture, the club will allow all adults to come to the last home match of the season on Saturday for a concessionary rate and all children for free and hopefully get the football teams to have a play before the match starts- very exciting indeed and I will write you all a letter with all the details during the week.
Friday 15th April 2016
Such a lovely day at school today and such a privilege for our school that we had Sue Webb visiting us from Deborah Eyre's wonderful organisation 'High Performance Learning'. Sue came to see JONK in action in our school and just by chance chose a very good day for it! Sue loved spending the morning in Reception celebrating '100 day' with them. Thank you so much Reception children for being so creative and imaginative with your ideas for 100- brilliant! Thank you too to the Year 5 children who showed Sue round and made her feel so at home.
A huge well done too to Year 5 who were commended for their dedication, attitude and values during their Roman Day- the organiser made a special point of saying how impressed he was at the end of the day- I am very proud of you all!
Great too to celebrate such learner focused attributes during our celebration assemblies- well done to all our stars of the week. I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend and very best of luck to all the children and families taking part in the mini-mile and the Brighton Marathon- we are all very proud of you all.
Thursday 14th April 2016
I was so pleased today that we were able to spend the day working as an SLT with Patricia from Raiseonline on all things to do with our school. We were able to reflect and think of so many exciting ways forwards and like I always say 'at our school everything is possible'. I really look forward to sharing it all with the children, staff and yourselves.
Wednesday 13th April 2016
It was a great privilege for us today to host Stephen, a Photography Lecturer from Esher 6th Form College- Stephen is embarking on a Masters looking at ways of making students more resilient, enthusiastic and ready for life when they leave college- it is great that he has decided to use JONK as his starting point for his work and we really look forward to developing a partnership with Esher College along the same lines as our current JONK partnerships with BHASVIC and Godalming Colleges.
Such a fantastic staff meeting today where all the year groups reported back on the outcomes of their research projects that they have carried out in the Spring Term. The focus was on Maths and all the findings from the action research are so exciting! We really look forward to making these findings part of our whole school approach to teaching and learning.
I was so proud of the Year 6 representatives today who attended the 'Be the Change' initiative at the Amex- they were all treated to a very inspirational speaker who spoke about how one can really succeed in life regardless of what one wishes to do. I can't wait to hear all about it!
Tuesday 12th April 2016
Such fabulous harmonica concerts in school today- so proud of you all and thank you for inspiring so many others in the audience to take it up!
Great to attend the FAB Meeting today and thank you so much for approving so many bits of outdoors equipment for KS1- hugely appreciated.
SUMMER TERM! Monday 11th April 2016
A very warm welcome back to you all and I hope that you've all had a very relaxing and enjoyable break. It has been wonderful seeing, greeting and chatting to all the children today. They all had so much to share and seemed so enthusiastic to be back at school. I share their enthusiasm too and I really look forward to all that's to come this term. Looking at the diary there are so many exciting things planned- I can't wait for them all!
Such a great start to the term for Year 6- you all looked amazing in your WW2 costumes and I am delighted that you had such a great introduction to your topic. The book that Derek Betts wrote about our school 'Whatever Happened to Brighton's Tin School' will be an invaluable resource for you all!
Shorty I will be writing to you all with details of all the exciting things ahead! I wish you all a very enjoyable and productive Summer Term.
Wednesday 2nd March 2016
I was so proud of all the children!! They were magnificent in the Channel 4 news feature last night and spoke so eloquently and clearly to express their thoughts and points of views- you were a real credit to the school!
I have really enjoyed leading a staff meeting today on Philosophy and Maths- we were all discussing such interesting things and looking for ways in which we can introduce the learning to the children from a philosophical starting point- for example asking them if 2-D shapes exist when we are about to learn about shapes! Keep a look out for lots of philosophical discussions that the children may want to engage with at home!
I am really looking forward to celebrating World Book Day tomorrow and welcoming Guy Parker Rees to our school who will be inspiring our children during the day.
Tuesday 1st March 2016
Such excitement this morning at school with Channel 4 News paying us a visit to film in our assembly- they are doing a feature tonight on the Sugarsmart Campaign and apparently approached our school after googling the campaign- the work that we did earlier in the year to help launch the Brighton and Hove campaign has definitely paid off! The crew were so friendly and professional and I was so pleased that Louisa Scanlon from the public health team and Lyn from the Dental service were able to come and lead the assembly and set all the children the Sugarsmart Challenge- of swapping for a week all their drinks for water and milk, except for one other drink being allowed each day. We learnt so much in the assembly about hidden sugars, added and natural sugars, recommended amounts to have each day, and how much sugar there is in everyday products, including in some that we normally think of as being really healthy! We really look forward to seeing it all on Channel 4 tonight!
Monday 29th February 2016
Such an exciting start to the week today- we found out when we got in that five members of staff took part in the Brighton Half Marathon yesterday and lots of others were there cheering them on- such a lovely thing to do, to run and to support each other- so proud of you all and huge congratulations to the runners!
We then had a phone call from Channel 4 News- they were looking for a school to film in tomorrow morning for a Sugarsmart feature to be broadcast later on in the evening- I was delighted to be able to say yes, mainly because Louisa Scanlon from the Local Authority immediately agreed to come and lead her Sugarsmart Assembly and introduce the Sugarsmart Challenge to the children again- I know lots of you have already taken the challenge!
I also had a meeting with Ms Redfern, Ms Ettinger and Mr Davison from Dorothy Stringer to start to organise this year's Balfour Music and Instrumentalist Concert at Dorothy Stringer which I am very excited about and that will take place again as four separate sessions during the evenings of 25th and 26th April 2016. I cannot wait as last year was such an incredible moment for us all.
Thursday 25th February 2016
A very very special moment in the life of the school today- the Learning Leaders met and decided on the animals that will now accompany each of the learning dispositions that we introduced in January- the most incredible thing of all was that when they had finished choosing all the animals using all the ideas from the Headteacher Challenge and class discussions in the Learning to Learn Week, we looked at the first letter of each animal and Mr Haywood worked out that we could spell MASCOT- total genius!! So these will now be known as our lifelong learning mascots!! They are:
Meerkat - Curious
Ant - Collaborative
Spider - Creative
Chameleon - Resourceful
Owl - Reflective
Tortoise - Resilient
I could not believe the coincidence of MASCOT- just one of those things!! We will now incorporate the animals into all we do to really help the children become and feel that they are all successful lifelong learners!!
Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Year 3 had such a lovely treat today thanks to FAB- they had the Science Dome all day and really enjoyed it- such a wonderful experience for them all.
Monday 22nd February 2016
So lovely to see all the children back today, I really enjoyed visiting every classroom this morning to greet them all back. Great to hear of all their stories from half-term.
I had the most fantastic time in Santander over half-term talking about the Joy of Not Knowing in Spanish- El Placer de No Saber! We could not believe that more than 250 teachers and lecturers from the University of Cantabria came to the talk!! It's so exciting to think that we can now work alongside lots of practitioners in Spain, share ideas, visits and lots of collaborations! I will keep you informed about how it all develops. One of the most exciting things about the trip was the fact that the book I wrote a few years ago called Start Thinking has now been published in Spanish- it's called Empezar Pensando and everyone in Spain seemed very excited about it. I'm delighted that our school has gained such a high profile in Spain!
Huge well done today to the Indoor Athletics Team who competed and did so well in the Sussex Finals- we are all very proud of you individually and as a group.
Sunday 21st February 2016
I hope that you have all had a really lovely and relaxing half-term and that like me you are really looking forward to the start of the second half of the Spring term tomorrow.
My half-term was very eventful with a trip to Santander with Sara Bragg from the University of Brighton as part of a grant we received from the Santander Fellowships. It was fascinating visiting primary schools in Santander and making lots of links for our school. It was incredibly wonderful to lead a session at the University of Cantabria on JONK and our school but in Spanish- I called it El Placer de No Saber and to everyone's amazement, just a flyer that had gone round to schools resulted in about 200 teachers attending the talk- it was great to share all that we are doing with them and to be able to discuss lots of different ideas with primary practitioners and with people working at the University of Cantabria's Department of Education. I am very hopeful that the contacts we made will now lead to lots of interesting opportunities for us all at Balfour Primary.
Monday 8th February 2016
We are having a lovely time today celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Monkey. This week we are also really looking forward to the Year 5 trip to Varndean School to watch their 'Little Shop of Horrors Production' and to Wednesday being our Colours for Calais fundraising day in conjunction with Dorothy Stringer.
We also wish Dorothy Stringer a very happy 60th Anniversary Week and we hope that all your celebrations on Friday go very well- it should be such a special day for you all. The production at Stringer on Saturday of Tristan and Yesult was extraordinarily brilliant and great to see so many ex-Balfour students in the cast- fabulous and thank you so much for inviting us to be part of the show.
Sunday 7th February 2016
I hope you're all having a lovely weekend- I wanted to wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year. We will be entering the year of the monkey tomorrow and there is a wonderful display at the entrance to the school, please feel free to take a look if you have a minute.
Friday 5th February 2016
It was a wonderful pleasure to welcome Pinaki Ghoshal, the Director of Children's Services for Brighton & Hove to our school today. We really enjoyed walking around the school together and chatting with the children and the staff.
In the afternoon I had the great privilege of attending a focus group called 'OUR FUTURE CITY' which has been set up to discuss how best to develop our city as a Creative and Learning Hub- so exciting to be able to share with the group so many of the things that we are doing at Balfour. I will keep you updated as to the progress of the group.
Thursday 4th February 2016
I had such a lovely time this morning immersing myself in the learning at Downs Juniors as part of our very close partnership with Downs Juniors and Infants. It is great to share ideas and act as critical friends for each other- next week it is our turn to host and I really look forward to sharing our school with them.
Friday 29th January 2016
We had the enormous privilege and honour today of hosting Carol Robinson from the University of Brighton and Dr. Fujita from the University of Osaka in Japan in relation to our school being a United Nations Rights Respecting School. We now hope to develop lots of links with schools in Japan!
Monday 25th January 2016
Such a special day today as we welcomed Maria Eugenia to our school all the way from our partner school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was such a privilege being able to share our school with Maria Eugenia and it was great to see Maria Eugenia interact so well with our children in 5S and Wrens, where Sofia and Anna are, who created the contact between the two schools when they were in Buenos Aires last year. We are very excited about all that is to come with this new and exciting global link between the two schools- un abrazo a todos en Buenos Aires!
Wednesday 20th January 2016
I am so pleased that we finally have two defibrillators at school- it's something we have been trying to obtain for a very long time and they finally arrived today- we will have one in each building and we will now receive some training on how to use them from the company. Many thanks to all of you who helped us achieve this.
Tuesday 19th January 2016
A huge thank you to the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton for providing us with such an interesting day today on how to become skilled at conducting educational research and adding so much to our current work towards becoming a research led school. The session led by Julia Sutherland from the University of Sussex was really fascinating- all about the process of research interviews!
Monday 18th January 2016
The BBC Radio 4 programme that has been broadcast 'Is Ignorance Bliss' is absolutely fantastic for us as a school as it discussed very similar themes to the principles which underpin the Joy of Not Knowing- please listen to it on listen again if you get a chance!
Thursday 14th January 2016
I am really pleased that the Let's Dance 2016 rehearsals have started so successfully and so enthusiastically. I cannot wait for this year's festival to take place. The school has now also been invited to form part of the newly formed Future City Creativity Design Group to think about the best ways to promote music, drama and the arts in the city and in schools. Please let me know if you have any ideas for me to take to the first meeting on 5th February 2016.
I am really looking forward to presenting all the learning leaders with their class' copy of the CUP OF COFFEE Plan at the whole school assemblies tomorrow, for them to then introduce it to their class- very exciting times!
Wednesday 13th January 2016
A great day in the life of the school today as our children written version of the school development plan- the CUP OF COFFEE- was finally published today- please refer to it on our website and I would love to know what you think as families- every class also has a copy as it is intended to be very much a working document of thoughts and ideas for school improvement- thank you so much Learning Leaders for this incredibly amazing piece of work and I hope you all enjoy your CUP OF COFFEE!
Tuesday 12th January 2016
What an amazing treat the whole school has had today- the children were treated to the most wonderful performance of 'The Headteacher is A troll' by the fabulous Drama Students from Varndean College. The children loved it all so much and the students were magnificent all day long- three performances and all so professionally done- with light, sound and acting at the highest level. Thank you so much for this treat and thank you for being such great role models for all our children.
Monday 11th January 2016
Such a lovely start to the week with the school been joined by 27 students from the University of Brighton spending the morning amongst our Year 1 and Reception classrooms. It is great to have this partnership with the University which is so mutually beneficial.
A huge thanks to the Year 6 children who today went round the school completely voluntarily collecting each class' selection of their animals linked to our new lifelong learning dimensions and then proceeded to create a huge chart of all the results on the whiteboard in my office- excellent work! We should be ready to announce our final animals very soon after we have also taken into account all the magnificent ideas that have come in through the latest Headteacher Challenge.
Huge congratulations to the Year 6 Football Team who played so well to finish runners-up in the whole of Brighton and Hove- we are all very proud of you all and of the way you are playing as well as a team.
Thank you so much Varndean for inviting our Year 5s to your latest production- very kind of you and we really look forward to it all.
Thursday and Friday 7th and 8th January 2016
I cannot thank you all enough for the incredible way in which you have all embraced the latest HT Challenge! It was absolutely amazing that every child and family I met during the Christmas Break without fail were telling me about the discussions and thoughts you were all having at home about the new lifelong learning dispositions and the animals which may best represent each of one of these. The things and thoughts that have come in and the depth of discussion in every class this week about the lifelong learning dimensions during our Learning to Learn Week have all been beyond all my expectations. All the children are chatting about being reflective, resourceful, resilient, creative, curious and collaborative- six attributes that they will now be immersed in throughout their time at Balfour and that will equip them as successful lifelong learners for ever! Our task now is to settle on one animal for each one taking into account everyone’s thoughts and ideas- incredibly exciting!
Wednesday 6th January 2016
There was such an incredible feeling created on the INSET Day when in the afternoon the staff were joined by the children who are currently representing their classes in their role as ‘Learning Leaders’. It was incredibly amazing that for the first time ever we had children and staff working together on school improvement at an INSET Day! The children were absolutely fantastic and the staff could not have been more impressed! Their presence has meant that we have now been able to complete and publish both the School Development Plan (SDP) and the children’s version of this year’s SDP, the Children Upgrade Plan or ‘CUP OF COFFEE’ as it is now referred to. Both of these documents are now up on our website and it would be absolutely fantastic if you could have a look at them, share the CUP OF COFFEE with your child and see what you think about the things we are focusing on this year as a whole school- as it is the first time we have created both versions of the plans so I would love to get your thoughts and feelings about the whole process.
Monday 4th January 2016
I would like to welcome you all very warmly back to school for the start of the Spring Term and I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope you have all had a lovely and relaxing and enjoyable break.
The Monday before our INSET Day I was invited up to Norwich to lead an INSET Day for Mulbarton Junior and Infant Schools- the Headteacher of the Junior School had read about JONK and approach to teaching and learning and was interested in embarking on similar lines and also become a JONK school! The day went very well and both schools then devoted the rest of the week to a ‘Learning to Learn Week’ to put everything into practice. I was so proud of being able to describe all the exciting things that we are doing at Balfour and how JONK is providing us with the infrastructure to develop a very exciting way of being and a very motivational way of learning. I never imagined that the feedback would be so wonderful to read- David the Headteacher of the Junior School wrote:
‘Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know we’ve had the most amazing learning to learn week. The children have come up with some wonderful ideas about how they see their learning, all talk about being in the pit when struggling in lessons, homework books have been replaced with family home learning journals, we have been using De Bono’s hats, are planning maths calculation videos (the children love these!) for the website and in form time this afternoon every group are going to be having a philosophy session. Staff have been telling me how much they have enjoyed it and how it has reminded them why we do this job in the first place! I know the infant school have enjoyed it also’.
I now really look forward to a very strong partnership and collaborative approach between our school and both Mulbarton Schools in the future.
Monday 21st December 2015
After quite an extraordinary last week of term, full of celebration and great performances, I would now like to wish you all a very enjoyable, relaxing and fun Christmas break and all my very best wishes to you all for 2016.
Huge congratulations to all of Year 5 for the most incredibly wonderful, professional, entertaining and enjoyable Christmas productions last week at Varndean School- such an amazing experience for you all and I am still so puzzled as to how 128 children can all work together to put on such a great show- I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you and I hope that this experience acts as the beginning of lots more involvement of yourselves in the performing arts! Remember both Stringer and Varndean are excellent at providing you with opportunities to be involved in productions, drama and dance.
Monday 14th December 2015
So great to see the Year 5s so excited with their full day of rehearsals today- I am so proud of you all and I cannot wait to see the production tomorrow and Wednesday. I really wish you all, all the very best!!
I am also so pleased today that the letters went out inviting our Learning Leaders to the January INSET Day! I really hope lots of you can join us and create a first for our school, where children and staff work together on each of the school development priorities or as it is now known by the children, the CUP OF COFFEE Plan (Children's Upgrade Plan).
I am also delighted that we are joining up with St. Luke's and facilitating the training of five more of our staff on the Level 1 Philosophy for Children Course. The school is becoming a real community of enquiry in classrooms, in the playground and in the corridors and in the lunch hall- great to walk around the school with this continual feeling of curiosity amongst all our children.
I hope that you are starting to enjoy engaging in the Headteacher Challenge- I cannot wait to receive all your ideas of which animals we should associate with each lifelong disposition!
Friday 11th December 2015
A very exciting day today at school as we launched the latest of our Headteacher Challenges! The new lifelong learning dispositions now need an animal associated to each one of them! I can't wait to see all your amazing ideas- already so many children were thinking of the animals at school today only a few moments after I explained the whole concept in assemblies and in the classrooms- which animal do you think best represents being resilient, reflective, resourceful, creative, curious and collaborative? I hope you really enjoy this challenge- the learning Leaders will have a very difficult choosing from all your ideas, I am sure!
Also a huge well done to all the performers today in the final EYFS/KS1 show- you were all fabulous and I can't believe that was the last one! I am now really looking to the Year 5 performances at Varndean on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
I hope you all have a very enjoyable weekend.
Thursday 10th December 2015
Another absolutely fantastic performance today- well done he Robins, Kingfishers and Swans- you were all terrific!! You gave the audience so much pleasure- absolutely brilliant!!!!
I really enjoyed the lecture today at the University of Brighton sharing with the students how schools use data and how at Balfour we have taken on the principles of assessment without levels- I was really impressed with the Year 2 students and I hope that many of them now make the link with our school.
Wednesday 9th December 2015
I am so pleased that the Year 2 children had such a fantastic time at their pantomime in Worthing today. well done for your exemplary behaviour and for being so helpful and calm when the bus broke down!
It was a very proud day for our school as we received the Sainsbury's Gold Award for Sports Participation at the Sussex Cricket Ground. I am so impressed by the breadth and quantity of sporting activity that you all engage in both in school and outside of school. It is a great recognition for the school- gold for the first time- huge well done to all the staff but specially to Miss Gibbons who is so amazing at organising so many things for you all. Well done too Edie and Finn for representing our school so well today at the ceremony.
Tuesday 8th December 2015
Another fantastic performance from the Reception and Year1/2 team- how you all work together to make such a great show is really admirable. I hope all the families enjoyed it and thank you again for coming and being such a great audience.
Today I met with the Learning to Learn Learning Leaders of the Children's SDP- it could not have been better- we are so excited to be introducing the learning dispositions in January through this term's Headteacher Challenge- please look out for all the information coming out on Friday!
Monday 7th December 2015
What a great way to start the week! The Reception/Y1/Y2 Christmas Performance of 'It's a Baby' was tremendous! I am so proud of all of you and I am delighted that the there were so many family members from all generations enjoying it all so much. I am now really looking to the rest of them during this week.
A huge well done to the Balfour Choir who performed so incredibly well at the School's Christmas Carol Concert at the Brighton Centre. I was so proud of you all and I hope you all enjoyed this great experience.
Saturday 5th December 2015
Huge huge thanks to all the people who worked so incredibly hard and put so much time and effort into making the Christmas Fair such a wonderful success today. I really truly appreciate all the thought and dedication that goes into these whole school events- the feeling today was so special! The fair was so full of people at all times and there were so many interesting and well organised things to do, to buy and to eat! I thought the atmosphere with the food outside was incredible- it felt like a real Christmas Market and the food was absolutely delicious. Many thanks too to all the very generous people and businesses who donated such great prizes for the raffle- huge thanks too to our premises team who worked so hard to ensure the day went ahead smoothly and that the school is now ready for Monday. Also very big thanks to all the staff and Governors for running the stalls and contributing so much to the event. A very special well done to our Year 6 children who made their wish come true and ran a stall to raise funds for Cancer Research UK- an amazing effort and I am so proud of what you did and how you did it- to raise over £65 is fantastic!!!
Friday 4th December 2015
It was great to see the Year 6s today still so full of enjoyment after their concert yesterday evening- it was great that you could do a little encore in assembly! Huge well done to all the stars of the week and sorry I couldn't be there today- I was at a really interesting meeting with lots of other Headteachers to see how we can work in partnerships more closely- our school has developed a very close link with Downs Infants and Downs Juniors.
I now really look forward to tomorrow's Christmas Fair and then to all the KS1 performances next week- the best of luck to you all!
Thursday 3rd December 2015
Such an amazing evening- thank you so much Year 6 for performing your Christmas Concert to the families so well, so professionally and so entertainingly! Such a wonderful range of talent and such a fabulous atmosphere in the hall throughout both of your performances. A real treat for us all.
Tuesday 1st December 2015
Such a fabulous start to December and the festive period- the Year 3 and 4 Concerts at St. John's Church today were truly wonderful- huge thanks to the families for coming in such numbers and creating such a lovely atmosphere- great singing, recorder playing, reading and a fantastic performance from the School Orchestra. Really really great all round and thanks so much to Miss Redfern for organising it all so brilliantly.
Monday 23rd November 2015
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend- a great start to the week today as I met with the Learning Leaders to go through their CUP OF COFFEE school improvement plan. It is very exciting that all the children are now in their priorities and that the plan is very nearly ready to launch!
Friday 20th November 2015
I could not have asked for a better start to my day today- just before assembly four Year 6 boys came to me with a letter- not just any letter but that had been written by them to me in the most wonderful way imaginable- I will post it on my blog next week once I have their permission! The emotional literacy within the letter was beyond anything I could have imagined! The sentiment of wanting to raise money for cancer research is also very touching and very meaningful. I then shared the letter with Years 5 and 6 in assembly and I used it as an example of the great impact that the children are having in our school in terms of contributing to school improvement. The other quite incredible thing currently providing a lot of children a lot of enjoyment are the number of children-led clubs that are running at lunchtimes- I think the current list includes: chess, science, art, dance, football, learning to learn, architecture, geography, computing, film, book-club, Eco and gardening club and some that I am sure I am forgetting! Truly wonderful!
Thursday 19th November 2015
Huge congratulations to all the Year 4 children who created such a fabulous display of your Egypt projects in the hall for all your families to enjoy- such a great turn-out, thank you very much for supporting the school events in such numbers.
Wednesday 18th November 2015
I could not believe the two e-mails I received today- both from families who are wanting to express how much the Philosophy for Children and JONK approach at Balfour is transforming their lives at home- it is so wonderful to hear that the children are spontaneously engaging their families in philosophical discussions at home- we cannot ask more! We will very soon host a Philosophy for Children workshops for families in KS1 and KS2 following the very positive comments of the workshop for the Reception families. One of the boys from these families, jack in Swans has now set me a Philosophical Question to ponder- 'When did numbers first start?' I cannot wait to compile my answer!
Tuesday 17th November 2015
Enormous thanks to all the families from Reception that came to our Philosophy for Children Workshop yesterday- I could not believe how many of you came and a very big thanks to Ms Fine, Ms Cooper and Denzel from Year 2 who led the workshop brilliantly- we really look forward to all that's to come with P4C and with Fermi Questions as Denzel so brilliantly explained! P4C is a very big part of JONK! The Year 3 2-D lessons today started with a philosophical discussion of whether 2D shapes actually exist!
Monday 16th November 2015
A very warm welcome to the start of this week which is National Anti-Bullying Week and we will be having a big focus in school to raise our awareness of how awful and unacceptable any type of bullying is.
I loved going to the Science Lunchtime Club as your special guest! Thank you for being so interested in my previous work as a scientist- I really enjoyed telling you all about liver cells and red blood cells- I think I will join your club a lot from now on- thank you so much Ms Moore for being so inspirational with the club for our children- I am sure for many this could be the beginning of scientific career!
I hope that all the lucky winners of the tickets to go and see the England Under-21 game against Switzerland tonight have an amazing time- enjoy it lots!
I am very excited about the Lunchtime Film Club that is launching this Friday- thank you so much Year 5 children for your enthusiasm- I can't wait!
Saturday 14th November 2015
A huge thanks to all the amazing people from FAB, friends and staff who put so much time and effort in these past few weeks and especially today to ensure that the Annual Fireworks Display could go ahead and be so successful and so meaningful- the lit heart of the bank for Niamh was incredibly beautiful. Thank you all so much for supporting the event in such great numbers and not letting the weather get in the way of such a lovely evening with our whole community and friends. The funds raised will make a huge difference to all our children.
Friday 13th November 2015
A very emotional day at school, dedicated to the wonderful Niamh- thank you all so much for making the day so special and for all of you writing your pledges of kindness for World Kindness Day and for also raising such valuable funds for Children in Need.
I am delighted that the Lunchtime Chess Club Launch today went so well- thank you very much Mr Turi for running this- I really look forward to all that's to come in the club and in the curriculum with chess!
Thursday 12th November 2015
I have just seen an amazing display by the Year 5 boys and girls football team who played incredibly well and put so much effort in to produce an outstanding performance! The 4-1 win over Whitehawk contained a fabulous hat-trick from Frederik! Well done to all of you- I am very proud of you all and I cannot wait until your next match.
This evening's Prospective Parent's Evening was very enjoyable- I hope you all found it useful and please get in touch of you would like a visit during school time or anything else at all.
Wednesday 11th November 2015
Remembrance Day has been very special today at school- thank you all for being so respectful in our celebration, especially during our minute silence at eleven o'clock. I really enjoyed sharing the Remembrance day poems with Year 5 that my Year 5 class wrote this day in 2004 at Westbury Park Primary in Bristol- a wonderful moment.
A very happy Diwali to all of you who are celebrating this wonderful festival and please come and enjoy our display in the school entrance- it is really fascinating. Thank you so much to Ruby for doing such fabulous research on Diwali following our chat at the gate in the afternoon- hugely appreciated!
It was great to welcome the first set of prospective families to our school today- I really hope you enjoyed your visit and I now look forward to our next two open evenings tomorrow and next week.
Monday 9th November 2015
It was so interesting spending the morning today working with the Headteachers of Downs Infants and Downs Junior Schools- we have developed a very close triad that helps us share all practice and helps us develop ways forwards for our schools- I came back with lots of ideas!
I also loved sharing some very powerful poetry that the children in my Year 5 class wrote in 2004 for Remembrance Day with the our children in assembly today- the book of poetry is in my office and already several children have come in to have a look- please keep visiting- they are very moving indeed.
Enormous thanks to the children who went home after our philosophy session and discussed 'How many trees are there in Brighton?' as a Fermi question at home and shared their answers at assembly!! Truly brilliant!!!
Friday 6th November 2015
Today was a very meaningful day in the life of our school and in the way the school feels so much part of the local community. All day the children and staff had a football themed non-uniform day as a way of remembering the lives of Matthew opportunities and Jacob Schilt who died so tragically at the Shoreham Air Disaster- both players at Worthing United and Matthew a previous pupil at Balfour. Mr Evans who is a member of staff at our school and who also plays for Worthing United organised the first of an annual event- a fundraising memorial match between Balfour and Patcham Juniors, where Jacob was a pupil. A very special moment indeed for all of and it was so moving that both Matthew’s and Jacob's families were present- the event was also featured in The Argus and here is the article:
THE FAMILIES of two footballers who tragically lost their lives in the Shoreham Airshow disaster were on the sidelines to watch the first annual memorial match between the pair’s former schools. Balfour Primary School hosted Patcham Junior School in a charity fixture to raise money and pay tribute to Matt Grimstone and Jacob Schilt. Mr Grimstone’s former school, Balfour, won the bragging rights on the day as they beat Mr Schilt’s former school 5-1. But the score on the day was irrelevant as a strong crowd braved the weather and dipped into their pockets for charity. Mum Caroline Schilt, who was watching with husband Bob, said: “It’s lovely because it’s the local community and we’ve seen that by the way Shoreham people have reacted as well. It’s just touched everybody really. “It’s lovely that people are finding ways to do positive things as well after such a tragedy and a heart-breaking incident. “The event was a lovely occasion in memory of Matt and Jacob and it was just a wonderful way to remember them. “It’s been very comforting to us.” Among the crowd was former Albion captain Paul Rogers. Also watching was Mr Grimstone’s father and auntie Philip and Pauline, and the proud dad praised the way the sport has united people. He said: “It has been immense the way the football community has come together and it seems to be growing.” The match will be hosted at Patcham next year as both schools hope to make it a big annual event in the poignant shadow of Varndean School, where both Worthing United players went. Marcelo Staricoff, Headteacher at Balfour Primary School, said: “It felt very emotional and very special and it’s the beginning of a long term link with the community and the families. “It brings it home [that Matt and Jacob were former pupils] and that once you go through the schools, be that as a teacher, student or parent, then you are part of the school family forever.”
Thursday 5th November 2015
Thank you so much to all the family members who attended the latest Headteacher Breakfast Talk on the Joy of Not Knowing at Balfour Primary School- I loved sharing the philosophy behind JONK and the excitement that is driving our vision forward- I really enjoyed the discussion afterwards and the way that these chats always move things forward- I completely agree that getting the families much more informed about what makes up a 'JONK school' is the next step- practical workshops coming up very soon!
Wednesday 4th November 2015
The Year 2 children are unbelievably amazing! I went in to their class today and did some Philosophy with them- we talked about whether 2-D exist or not- a perfect thing to wonder about as they are currently studying them- yet we feel they may not exist! What do you think? Even more powerful was the fact that we talked about questions that have answers, questions that do not have answers (philosophical ones) and ones that you think do not have an answer at first but actually do- Fermi Questions! Fascinating that a child then left school explaining Fermi questions to his Mum at the gate!!
Tuesday 3rd November 2015
It has been so lovely welcoming all the children back today and hearing about all the lovely things they had done over half-term- walking around the school was a real pleasure.
Monday 2nd November 2015
We had a wonderful INSET Day today thinking of lots of exciting ways forwards for our school- we looked at first aid, restorative mindsets, our school development plan multi-professional teams and very excitingly Science in the Primary Curriculum! The day got even better at 12.32 when we heard that Miss Mulholland had given birth to her baby, the absolutely beautiful Ernie! We wish Miss Mulholland and Sean all the very best and we cannot wait to meet Ernie very soon!!
Tuesday 20th October 2015
I am so delighted that the Year 5 children had such a good time today at the Fishing Museum and at the Pavilion- it was great to see you all come back to school with so much to say and so much enthusiasm! I hope that the rest of Year 5 have an equally great time when they go on Thursday.
I hope that FAB goes really well tonight and that all the planning for the fireworks evening goes well.
I am delighted to find out that on the 6th November we will be holding a benefit football match for the families of the Shoreham Air Disaster- Worthing United, Patcham Junior School and Varndean will join us too.
Monday 19th October 2015
Such a fabulous start to our week- the children led assemblies today with Louisa Scanlon from the Local Authority all about the Sugar Safety Campaign- it was great to see the film that our school made for the launch of the campaign and also to learn so much from the presentation that the children made- such as the fact that there 24 spoons of sugar in a single large milkshake!
Also today I came in to my office and saw that Rory had posted through my door a wonderfully written note that said 'What would life be like without philosophy?'- I don't need much more to launch the week!
Saturday 17th October 2915
It feels strange to be writing on a Saturday but I have just enjoyed a wonderful moment in Dublin all about our school! I was asked to do the key-note speech to launch the Annual Conference at the Centre for Talented Youth in Dublin- chatting about the Joy of Not Knowing at our school was fabulous and the talk was very well received by a very receptive international audience- I really hope that we can now develop lots of links with others around the world.
Thursday 15th October 2015
A real treat today to be able to watch the Football Team play Downs Juniors during the second of parent consultation evenings- I cannot believe the determination that you showed- to come back from 3-0 and win 5-3 is quite extraordinary! Well done for showing so much resilience and great team work!
Tuesday 13th October 2015
It was great to see so many of you tonight at the first of this year's parent consultation evenings- it always a real privilege to be able to welcome you to this occasions and I hope that the meetings were very celebratory and very productive.
Monday 12th October 2015
A huge well done to the Balfour Football team who won their first league match of the season 9-1 against St. Luke's- it was great that you all enjoyed it all so much and I really look forward to all that's to come this season.
Friday 9th October 2015
I have been so incredibly impressed by the way the Y6 children have embraced their Shakespeare Week. It has been so wonderful to see the children so enthusiastic and enjoying it all so much. The workshop sessions were incredibly well performed by the professional theatre company and the children were so immersed in it all. I really loved seeing the children rehearse their Romeo and Juliet pieces in the outdoor area outside the year 6 block- in the lovely sunshine it was a real treat for them all.
I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.
Thursday 8th October 2015
One of the best personal highlights if the year so far- celebrating National Poetry Day as a school, I loved reading poetry at the gate and enjoying it all so much with all the children and their families as they arrived for school and then as they all went home. So so special- especially the children that brought their own poems in, written especially for this morning, the children that brought their favourite poems to share with me and their favourite poetry books, the grownups that came in with their favourite poems and the Mum that recited a wonderful poem to us all! We must do this more often, it creates such a special feeling at the gate!
Wednesday 7th October 2015
I was so proud of our tag rugby team today who took part in the Brighton and Hove Rugby World Cup Extravaganza- amazingly and by those incredibly coincidences Balfour Primary got given Argentina to represent! The school won all three matches they played and they all enjoyed it enormously- a huge well done to you all.
Today we had the most extraordinary staff meeting where several teachers across the school presented the work they are doing with regards to Philosophy for Children- truly inspirational and I cannot wait for philosophy and a philosophical approach to the curriculum to become fully embedded in all we do!
Tuesday 6th October 2015
It's fantastic that our school was chosen for the filming of the feature that was used to launch the Sugar Safe campaign in Brighton and Hove- the children were brilliant and the clip was shown on the ITV news! We are working very closely with the Local Authority's Public Health Department to highlight as many factors that promote healthy living and healthy lifestyles as possible within our school and community.
Tuesday 29th September 2015
Thank you all so much for coming to the first of the Headteacher Talk Sessions of this year. I absolutely loved sharing the school's vision and philosophy of education with you all and chatting about the excitement that we are experiencing as a school with the introduction of the Balfour Primary School Joy of Not Knowing Excellence and Enjoyment Model. The children are being introduced to so many initiatives and equipped with so many tools that I am sure that throughout this year they will all begin to see themselves as very effective lifelong learners with a high level of self-esteem and a deep love for learning. The model is currently work in progress for us too and we are adapting it as we try different things out. I will try and do several other talks during the year at different times to try and catch as many of you of you as possible.
Huge thanks too FAB to for the great AGM and for providing the school with so many exciting and fun events during the year and with so many funds that make such a difference to all the children at the school. Thank you to all the new volunteers n the committee- it is very exciting to have you all on board.
Monday 28th September 2015
I was so proud to be representing our school at the Policy meet Event hosted at Middle Street Primary School and organised by the Education Foundation this evening. It was real joy to share with the audience all the principles behind the Joy of Not Knowing Model and illustrating how it is working so well now that our values and children's rights are such a prominent part of the way we all we are at school.
Friday 25th September 2015
What a wonderful International Day today- so great to see the whole school in colours representative of the countries taking part in the Rugby World Cup- you were all so imaginative and creative with you what you wore. I really appreciate all your efforts with this and I hope the day really helped us all to feel very much part of the global community.
I hope that you enjoyed the Newsletter that went out today and I hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy the lovely weather that has been forecast!
Next week we are launching with a very exciting event on Monday- Chris Riddell is coming back for a visit and to do some work with Years and 6- such a treat!
On Monday evening I will be representing the school when I speak at the latest Policy meet that is being hosted by the Education Foundation at Middle Street Primary 5-7 pm. I also really look forward to my HT Talk on Tuesday 7-8 pm for all our families just before the FAB AGM- all very welcome to come along.
Thursday 24th September 2015
I know lots of our families are celebrating Eid today- we send you all our very best wishes on this very special day.
It has also been a very special for our school as we had the enormous privilege of being the first children allowed on the pitch as part of the opening ceremony celebrations that have been taken place during the day today. It was great to represent the school together with Robert Bowden, one of our school Governors at the formal opening ceremony- we wish Dorothy Stringer all the very best with this very exciting venture and we are so grateful to them for letting us have so many regular sessions on the pitch for our children. The school is also benefiting from the kind gesture of Dr Dan Danahar who is organising for our school to obtain a butterfly haven later on this term - so exciting!
Year 6 had a very exciting day with the visit of the Science Dome and Year 3 really enjoyed their History day! Thank you so much Reception families for attending the phonics workshops in such numbers today- I hope you found it really useful.
Wednesday 17th September 2015
I cannot believe how wonderful our children are- today several different groups of children approached me with ideas for pupil-run and led lunchtime clubs!! We now have an amazing range including Architecture, Dance, Science, and Learning to Learn outside! Absolutely brilliant and huge thanks too to all the staff who give up their lunchtimes to supervise these clubs so enthusiastically.
Monday 15th September 2015
Such a special day for all Reception children and their families- it was wonderful to see them all so at home in the classes on their very first full day at school even after a few minutes! It was great too that so many families were able to stay for a chat in the morning and I really look forward to all that's to come in the next seven years!
Friday 18th September 2015
I wanted to say the most enormous thank you for the incredibly generous and thoughtful response to our Refugee Plight appeal this morning. I could not believe how much we managed to collect as a school and I am sure it will all make a huge difference to so many people. Thank you again for being such an amazing group of families. A very special thank you to FAB for coordinating it all so well.
Also a huge well done to all the Reception children who completed their first two weeks at school so successfully. I hope that you are now all looking forward to your first full day on Monday! Also many congratulations to all the stars of the week- I really enjoyed presenting you all with the certificates today.
I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend and that you enjoy the start of the Rugby World Cup!
Thursday 17th September 2015
It was great to spend so much time with our School Improvement Partner discussing all the exciting plans for our school. I really look forward to sharing it all with yourselves at my HT Talk on the evening of September 29th just before the FAB AGM.
I am also looking forward to the launch of the Rugby World Cup tomorrow and to collecting the donations for the refugee plight- thank you in advance for all your kind comments and gestures of good will.
Wednesday 16th September 2015
I was delighted with our staff meeting today- it feels like we have really launched into our new phase of being in great style- with every year group planning their action research for this term. It feels very special that we are on the way to becoming a research led school and I hope that all that comes out of our research projects begins to inform the way we teach and transform the way children learn.
I was also delighted to receive an e-mail from David Oldham, the Headteacher of Mulbarton Junior School on the outskirts of Norwich saying that he is really interested in implementing the JONK model in his school- we cannot wait to now starting to work together to achieve this! I immediately shared my enthusiasm with Year 6 and they are all already planning their train journey to Norwich!
Tuesday 15th September 2015
What a wonderful Friends at Balfour (FAB) association we have! Tonight's meeting was great and the children will now benefit so much from all the decisions that were made- so many priceless funds given to the school to enrich our outdoor learning areas and resources for playtime. We can now also invest in Netball posts and equipment and hopefully launch a Netball Club and School Teams. Funds for each group will also make a huge difference to enable year groups to subsidise trips or work with experts. we are so lucky to have such a devoted and friendly team at FAB- great to hear too of all the forthcoming events planned for this year- the AGM is next on the 29th September which, as last year, will be preceded by a talk by myself for all families on the philosophy behind the Joy of Not Knowing (JONK) Model of Learning that drives all we do at school. I really hope you are all able to come and then stay for the FAB AGM.
Monday 14th September 2015
Walking around the school I was delighted to see the fruits of the Learning to Learn Week and to also see that all the initiatives and excitement around teaching our children how to learn is continuing- the approach is becoming very much part of how we offer the curriculum at all times!
I loved the new initiative from Year 1- a Question of the Week: Is it good to play?
I was so proud again today of all the Reception children who experienced the other half of the day and managed it all so well- well done!!
It was great to meet the editor of the Brighton and Hove Independent Newspaper today and I really look forward to lots of features on Balfour this year!
Friday 11th September 2015
I could not believe what happened today! A child in Reception on his fifth afternoon at school came in holding a philosophical question for me!! He was wondering about 'What is Maths?' I was so pleased!!! I am now going to try and write back to him- all suggestions very warmly welcomed! This combined with another Reception child's discussion at the gate on his first ever morning on whether water is actually 'wet' itself or is it that it merely wets other things, all points to a very exciting year ahead!!
I particularly enjoyed all our assemblies today as it was so special reading out all the wonderful things the children had been recognised for during our Learning to Learn week!
Another very special moment today- a child in Year 5 came in with a sum of £35 that she had raised herself and was now donating it to the Shoreham Air Disaster Fund- so moving.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
Thursday 10th September 2015
Walking round the school is such a joy at the moment! There are so many amazing things going on- mind maps, De Bono's hats, recipes for lifelong learners, thinking skills starters, philosophy, concept lines and fortune lines, neurons- the list is endless! I am absolutely delighted!!!
the highlight today were the Year 5 children coming to my office and showing me their Recipes for a Lifelong Learner! I couldn't believe their creative thinking, intellectual playfulness at it's very best!
Wednesday 9th September 2015
Thank you Year 5 this time for another fabulous Pit assembly!! I was so impressed by your thinking and your collaborative approach to solving problems- I hope that all that we discussed today will help you enormously with the way that you feel as a learner from now on!!!
The real highlight today was a child in Year 3 teaching the children in another Year 3 class all about factorials! Brilliantly explained, I can see a future teacher in the making!
Tuesday 8th September 2015
It has been so exciting today meeting with the SLT and SMT and discussing our new Model of Learning at school- the Joy of Not Knowing Model of Excellence and Enjoyment! I really look forward to sharing it all with the children and families very soon and to seeing it all as part of our daily routine!
It was so lovely to stand at the gate today at the end of the school day and hear a group of children leaving school singing our new anthem, very special indeed!
Monday 7th September 2015
Welcome to the Reception children and families!!!!! I could not believe how wonderful you all were today on your very first day at school!!!! I am so incredibly proud of you all and I cannot wait to get to know you and all your families really well- it is a pleasure to have you on board!!!
We also launched our whole school Learning to Learn Week today- I am so looking forward to all that's to come with this!
The highlight today was the Year 3 assembly when we talked about the Learning Model of the Pit! It was amazing how creative the children were with their thinking and how many amazing connections in our learning we made just by asking a question that no one knew the answer to- 'How many trees are there in the world?'. It really helped us realise how enjoyable not knowing is and how with the right tools and dispositions how exciting it is then to find out- and when finding out how much more you learn along the way! Brilliant!
Friday 4th September 2015
We had such a great day! It was really wonderful welcoming all the children and the families back to school. Great to hear of all their adventures and exciting happenings over the summer holidays.
It is always very special and a huge privilege being able to launch a new academic year- I had assemblies throughout the day with all the children and we talked so much about all the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us in 2015-2016. I said that the most important thing to remember is how much we value their opinions of how to keep making our school more and more special and more and more meaningful- we discussed that just grownups having thoughts and ideas is really not enough! I cannot wait until the first meeting of the Learning Leaders when we start the process of creating the pupil version of the School Development Plan- our School Getting Better Plan.
I am also really looking forward to the first Headteacher Coffee morning. I equally cannot wait to share with you all our new whole school model of learning, which we termed the 'Balfour Primary School Model of Excellence of Enjoyment'. I will let you know of the date very soon.
Also please look out for next week's excitement at school as we launch the academic year with a Learning to Learn Week throughout the school- we will immerse the children on all the initiatives and strategies and dispositions that underpin the Joy of Not Knowing approach which aims to help them become really effective lifelong learners with a deep love of learning. They will also be equipped after this week with lots of thinking skills strategies that will enable them to access and enjoy the curriculum throughout the year. We are hoping to have family workshops this term to demonstrate all this to you all too. We will put lots of this information on our website as well.
I am so looking forward to welcoming all the new Reception children and families to our school on Monday and I really hope that their first day is a very special and memorable day indeed for them all.
Thursday 3rd September 2015
We have had two really enjoyable and productive days doing lots and lots of thinking and chatting about the year ahead. I really look forward to sharing all our thinking with you all- I will plan a very early Headteacher coffee morning so that we can all chat about the exciting plans for our school for 2015-2016 and for the future!
I am so looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow and to hearing all about your summer break- I hope you all have a lovely evening.
With my very best wishes to you all for 2015-2016 and a particular special wish to all the children in Reception who will be starting school for the very first time!
Tuesday 1st September 2015
It seems incredible that we are about to start our new academic year! I hope that you have all enjoyed the summer break and that you've had really wonderful times, relaxing and enjoying all that was on offer. I cannot wait to see you all again on Friday and to hear all about your adventures and experiences. I am also really looking forward to seeing all the staff again tomorrow as we launch all the plans for the new year. There are so many exciting and wonderful things planned for this coming year- I cannot wait to share them all with you and also get your fabulous thoughts about how we can keep making the school more and more exciting all the time.
I am especially looking forward to seeing and getting to know all the new children and their families who are starting in Reception- such a special time in your lives!
I hope that you all enjoy your the days of holidays left and I really look forward to welcoming you all back on Friday 4th September 2015!
Tuesday 21st July 2015
It's turning out to be a very special last week. Today the children were incredibly amazing in Mrs Harrison's leaving assembly- they all sang so enthusiastically and so warmly which made the occasion very moving indeed. We are so grateful for all that Mrs Harrison has done for the school in the past thirteen years and we wish her all the very best as she takes on the headship of Peter Gladwin Primary school in September, we know AT&T you will be a great head!
We had great fun today during our annual staff vs Y6 pupils football and tag rugby matches, and incredibly whilst I was in goal one of the Y6 pupils scored a goal against me straight from a corner!! Incredible!! In Argentina we call this an Olympic Goal!!
Monday 20th July 2015
What a fabulous day for Year 6 with their cinema and restaurant treat! I really enjoyed joining you all at Donatello's fir lunch, so proud of you all. I hope you enjoyed it all and that it becomes a very memorable experience.
Monday 13th July 2015
It has been a real delight to have our school so full of students from Year 10 at Dorothy Stringer and Varndean. We hope that their work experience time with us will be very productive and enjoyable- it could also be the beginning of something special and may launch a few careers in education! That is how I started - at Muswell Hill Infants! Also a huge thanks to the Theatre in Education students from Dorothy Stringer who worked with and inspired our Year 6 children- we really look forward to the performance on Friday!
Wednesday 8th July 2015
A huge satisfaction this morning, having the Governors joining the SLT for a learning walk round the school looking at the impact that the SDP this year has had on everyday practice. it was wonderful to be able to share so many wonderful things with them and to see the children so enthusiastic about their learning and about chatting with all of us. I was so impressed with the amount and quality of Philosophy for Children enquiries that we saw and experienced- fabulous!
Tuesday 7th July 2015
Today will live with for a very long time- the Year 6 end of year production of Grease at Varndean was absolutely incredibly brilliant- a very memorable evening for us all. Thank you all of Year 6 and Ms Redfern so much, staff team and children for working so hard for so long and with so much dedication to put this on- the end product that you all achieved really went beyond all my expectations. I am hoping that this experience will give lots of you the confidence to pursue drama and singing at your secondary schools- a huge amount of talent on show.
Today was also very special because we had the enormous privilege of hosting our friends from Ghana at the school. It was wonderful meeting the students and teachers that have come over to England from Ghana as part of the link with Dorothy Stringer- we now hope to extend the link that Dorothy Stringer to include Balfour too- so exciting!
Monday 6th July 2015
A huge well done to the Year 4 Football team who competed so well against lots of other schools- a great experience for you all.
Saturday 4th July 2015
I wanted to say a huge thank you to FAB, all the volunteers and the staff for all your help and support and organisational skills that allowed us to put together such a successful and enjoyable Summer Fair- thanks also to the weather that enabled everyone to enjoy it all so much- the performers were all fabulous and added so much to the day, including all the amazing acts at the Balfour's Got Talent Show. The stalls were so well managed and there was a lovely variety for everyone to enjoy- a really wonderful atmosphere form start to finish!
Friday 3rd July 2015
What a special day it's been today with the Year 2 moving on assemblies!!! Thank you all so much for putting on such wonderful shows, singing and acting so beautifully- you are a very special year indeed and you left the audiences with very wonderful memories forever! I wish you all, all the very best as you make the move to Year 3- I can't wait for all that's to come with yourselves in Year 3.
Thursday 2nd July 2015
Today was a very meaningful and emotional day for the school as we celebrated the life of the wonderful Ms Lopez as a whole school community- thank you all for being so supportive of the coffee morning, so lovely with Chris and Megan and so appreciative of all we were doing on the day. The children loved the Flamenco shows and were really enjoying immersing themselves in a Spanish themed afternoon- all the classes I visited were learning so much Spanish and learning so much about Spain. I am sure Ms Lopez would have loved the day very much indeed.
Wednesday 1st July 2015
A huge well done to Year 1 who were so fabulous in their Sports Morning today- I am so proud of you all, engaging with all the activities with so much enthusiasm, so much teamwork and having so much fun!! A great morning and I hope all the families also enjoyed sharing all this term's learning with your children.
Friday 26th June 2015
We have now come to the end of a fantastically brilliant Sports Week for KS2- I have been so impressed by the range and quality of activities on offer and thinking that this is the week following Blackland's the Year 6s have had a tremendous amount of activity. This week I really enjoyed seeing KS2 relishing the new opportunities that were on offer- the golf, fencing, flamenco, trampolining, table-tennis, horse-management, skill games- a really rich week and I am hoping to see if lots of these activities can become activities that we offer all year round, either as part of the curriculum or as enrichment clubs.
Today was a very special day too as we had the great privilege of a special visit from the children from Growing Up Green- they came to celebrate their recent Outstanding Ofsted Report and to say thank you for our close partnership that we are developing. It was great to see them all enjoy their visit and my office so much! Huge well done on your great Ofsted outcome from all of us at Balfour Primary- we are so proud of you all!
Thursday 25th June 2015
There is quite a buzz in the school today amongst the staff- I think that yesterday's teacher led staff meeting on Philosophy for Children has really inspired and motivated us all with the wonders of what can be achieved from a philosophical approach to the curriculum- I am absolutely delighted that the staff are embracing P4C with such enthusiasm and I cannot wait for all that is to come- yesterday we were discussing as a staff the question centred around happiness 'is happiness the most important emotion?' It was quite extraordinary to hear everyone's points of views and to see the teachers enjoying sharing their thoughts at quite a deep level was a real treat for us all!
I've just come back from seeing a great performance from all the children representing our school at the Annual Withdean Inter-schools Athletics Event- thank you so much to the Local Authority for organising this event which always proves so enjoyable for all the children taking part. There is a wonderful atmosphere as the schools get together and I am very proud to report that Balfour has just won the Big School's Division! Fantastic!
Wednesday 24th June 2015
Huge well done to all the Year 2 children who did so well at their Sports Day today- it was a real pleasure seeing them all enjoying it all so much and being so well supported by all the families and friends that came along. It was also really lovely seeing all the families enjoying being with their children and sharing their learning in the morning- such a special time for us all. I am delighted that so many teachers are already trying out P4C enquiries with their classes!! Fantastic!!!
After Chris Riddell's visit the other week, it was great to have Tor Freeman visit our school and inspire our children with a love of reading today- I know the children enjoyed meeting you so much Tor and they all love your books! Thanks too to Booknook who organised the event so well.
Monday 22nd June 2015
It has been an incredibly meaningful day today as Mike Reinstein joined us for the KS1 assembly where we introduced the children to our new Values School Song for the very first time- a very emotional moment hearing all the children learning the song for the first time and enjoying it all so much. The song and lyrics are now available on the school website for all you enjoy at your leisure. We will now ensure that the rest of the school gets a chance before listen to it and learn the tune and words before the end of term.
Saturday 20th June 2015
It is very rare for me to blog on a Saturday but today has become incredibly necessary! I have just received something very very special indeed- Mike Reinstein, the creator of all our RRS songs at school has just recorded and sent me his latest production for the school, which is a song about all our school values and educational philosophy- I love it so much and I cannot stop listening to it! I am so looking forward to introducing it to the children tomorrow, with Mike at the assemblies!
Friday 19th June 2015
Incredibly wonderful today to welcome all the children and staff back from Blackland's Farm. I am so thrilled that everyone had such a great time and I am incredibly grateful to all the staff who put so much effort in before and during the week to ensure that the whole experience was a really memorable for all the children- well done Year 6, you are all amazing! Next up now is your end of year production- I cannot wait for Grease!!!
Huge well done to the cricket teams today who competed so well and enjoyed it all so much at Preston Park- excellent news that you are now through to the County Finals- I am really looking forward to it!
I really enjoyed hosting Collette from a school in Guernsey today- sharing all that both our schools doing in terms of developing a love of learning and a learning to learn culture in our schools was fascinating and I really look forward to keeping in touch and building a very exciting partnership between the two schools.
Thursday 18th June 2015
A very exciting day for the school as we have been invited to become a partner school to the Cambridge Primary Review Regional Partnership. I am very excited about the prospect of being involved with the CPR and I am sure this new formal association will lead to so many interesting offshoots for all our children. I will keep you regularly updated with how all this progresses.
Tuesday 16th June 2015
I have had the most unforgettable day with the Year 6s at Blackland's Farm today. I arrived at the farm just before the first morning activity and I launched straight into the canoeing with one of the groups. It was such fun and the children loved it, including the ending when we all had to jump in to the lake and swim to the shore! This was followed by Archery, which I really enjoyed too and it was great to see all the children hitting the target with so much accuracy! A lovely lunch then followed and lots of time playing with them in the middle space- rugby, cricket, throwing and catching- all great fun. In the afternoon I set off to the watch the abseiling and I was so proud of how brave everyone was being and then onto the zip wire- which thanks to the wonderful encouragement of the children I did too- I think there are some photos with the evidence coming soon! I then really enjoyed seeing them all enjoy their swim before going to base camp and doing a tent inspection- vey impressive overall! Dinner was delicious too and then driving home, I could not have been more pleased or more proud of them all- an excellent day!!!
Monday 15th June 2015
It's Blackland's Week! After quite a lot of unfortunate waiting the Year 6s finally set off on their residential trip to Blackland Farm this morning- it's going to be such a great week for them all and I can't wait for them to all experience it- all ex Balfour children say it is by far the most memorable week of school!
Huge excitement as well in school today with Philosophy Professor and school grandfather Douglas Pitt coming in to school and spending time philosophising with Year 4 and Year 1. The children were so thrilled and they were all chatting about 'whether we exist' at lunchtime! This combined with the SAPERE Level 1 Course that ended today means that philosophy will now feature very highly in our curriculum provision.
Friday 12th June 2015
It was great to welcome Lisa Evans from the Local Authority today to chat about all the wonderful things at our school- it was lovely showing Lisa around and the children were great interacting with us as we walked around.
I want o wish the Year 6s all the very best this weekend as they get themselves all prepared for their Blackland's Farm residential adventure next week!
Thursday 11th June 2015
A lovely day today full of sunshine and wonderful singing and acting from the Year 6 rehearsals. It is so wonderful to be in my office and to hear the lovely singing coming from the hall- I cannot wait until the real thing- I am sure the performances will be very special indeed. I am also so impressed with the number of children who are now coming in with a drawing after the visit from Chris Riddell- the Balfour Dragon Theo is fantastic!!!
Wednesday 10th June 2015
I am so delighted to hear that Year 3 and 4 have started doing so much Philosophy! We are currently running a Philosophy for Children Training Course for our teachers and I am so pleased that this is already having such a great impact in the classrooms! I am really looking forward to all that is to come with Philosophy for Children in our school as it is such a fantastic way to get the children to enjoy thinking! I am also thinking that this could be the focus for my next Headteacher Coffee morning!
Tuesday 9th June 2015
What an amazingly exciting and proud day for our school today- the feature on the BBC News celebrating the great news that Chris Riddell has become the new Children's Laureate was absolutely wonderful- the children all did so well before, during and after the filming, on both days! A great experience for you all- I am very proud of the Year 4 and 5 Learning Leaders and School Councillors.
Also today at the school we had the wonderful privilege of a visit form Philippa Aldrich and her daughter Molly Aldrich and Dr June Crown from the Aldrich Foundation. We are hoping that as a school we can develop a partnership with the Aldrich Foundation and make use of the works of art in the Aldrich Collection to inspire our children and families.
Monday 8th June 2015
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. I was really proud of the Year 4s today who went to play Tennis at the Withdean Tennis Centre- your excitement before going was a real treat to see! Also a huge well done to all the children who competed in the School's National Chess Championships this weekend- a huge achievement and I am very proud of you all.
Friday 5th June 2015
A very happy World Environment Day to you all! The school has felt great today and so lovely to see you all dressed in green and thinking about how we can all make a difference to our world and our environment. The theme carries on Monday as it is World Ocean Day!
I am so pleased that the Year 2 children had such a great at the Herstmonceux Science Centre, I can't wait to hear all about it. Also so good to see all the Insects from Year 1 and all the world costumes from Reception! You all looked amazing!
Thursday 4th June 2015
It's been such an incredibly meaningful day today, welcoming our new set of families to our school was so special! My very first set of recruits! It was wonderful to meet you all and I really look forward now to meeting all the children- wish you all, all the very best at Balfour Primary School and I hope you have a fantastic start to your school career! Please let me know if there's anything we can do in preparation for your start.
A huge well done to them. Year 3 children who took part in their history workshop today, it looked fantastic and I really hope you enjoyed the role play and the dressing up.
Wednesday 3rd June 2015
I cannot believe what I experienced this morning! The collection of Ancient Egypt Projects from the Year 4 children was quite extraordinary. I am incredibly impressed by the effort that went into these and by the creativity with which each one was created. Thank you so much Year 4 and thank you so much too to all the families who came in and enjoyed the exhibition.
Today all our teachers went to different schools in our partnership for our staff meetings. It is such a good idea to visit other schools and work together with other teachers.
Tuesday 2nd June 2015
WOW Year 4 your Egyptian projects look absolutely amazing- I can't believe how much effort has gone into these. I am really looking forward to seeing and appreciating each one over the next few days-BRILLIANT!
Also a huge well done to Year 6 who have now started their rehearsals for Grease- it is already sounding great and I cannot wait until July 6th and 7th at Varndean!!!
Monday 1st June 2015
A very warm welcome back to you all and I hope you've all had a very enjoyable and relaxing half-term. It has been so wonderful welcoming all the children and families back today and hearing all the exciting things that they had done over the break. I am very excited about what's to come in the last half-term of the year. I really hope you all enjoy it all!
I had the huge privilege today of being invited to speak at the Haberdasher's Askes School for Girls and Boys in Hertfordshire about JONK. It was great to be able to share with real examples from the children how our approach is leading to such fantastic pieces of work! A very proud moment and I also think that we have made some very good new friends- I'm sure we will collaborate and share ideas between the two schools from now on.
Monday 11th May 2015
I am so proud of the Year 6s, today they were all so mature and so philosophical as they launched into their SATs week. There was a real sense of wanting to enjoy these next few days and to use the tests as a way of celebrating on paper all their knowledge, understanding and creative thinking that makes them such a special year group.
This week is also Walk to School Week this week and we are also busy preparing for the Art Exhibition on Saturday and the Music Concerts at Stringer next Monday and Tuesday.
It was wonderful to see Mrs Walker's beautiful baby Millie today at school!
Friday 8th May 2015
A very momentous day today as we celebrated our new UNCRC Champions from across the school. I'm so proud of you all for having been elected and I really look forward to all that's to come with yourselves as representatives. Already today you contributed so much by organising the Fundraising event in benefit of the Nepal Earthquake. We will count the donations on Monday and we will join up with Dorothy Stringer's Campaign as Ms Ettinger is actually flying over there during half term.
I hope you all have a great weekend. Our second car boot sale is on tomorrow and all the best for Year 6 SATs next week!
Thursday 7th May 2015
On General Election Day I am absolutely delighted that so many children accompanied you all to the polling station! It feels great that our election has prompted so much enthusiasm with the children. Devoting this week to Democracy Week at school has also been very special and I know that the children have enjoyed all their discussions in class.
Huge thank you to the Year 3,4,5 Learning Leaders for being so amazing with your ideas for the School Getting Better Plan. I really look forward to writing up the minutes and sharing all your ideas with the rest of the school.
Enjoy the election!
Friday 24th April 2015
I wanted to say that today, yet again, I am totally totally overwhelmed by the Headteacher 110 Challenge productions that have come in- I cannot believe how creative, original and meaningful they all are- and incredibly enjoyable to have shared them with the children. Enormous thanks for your effort and dedication with these- we will continue to celebrate them all over the course of the next week and in the lead up to our actual 110th Anniversary next Friday- don't forget the picnic for all of you after school!
Monday 20th April 2015
What a wonderful day today sharing the results of our values election with all the children, families and staff. The election returned friendly, caring, enthusiastic, respectful, courageous and ambitious as our school values. It was great to see the enthusiasm with which everyone greeted these and we now really look forward to embedding them in all we do and how we are. I have already set up a meeting with Mr R to talk about commissioning a song from him all about our values!
I will report in great detail all the statistics behind the election process in our Newsletter this Friday. The statistics are absolutely fascinating- we had 1391 votes in total, 870 of those from children, 65 from staff and 75 postal ones by e-mail, facebook and twitter, with rest being from family members of all ages and the Surrenden campus, Local Authority and University! Thank you all so much for engaging with the whole process so enthusiastically and for being so involved with it all.
Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th April 2015
Such a lovely weekend for our school- with the first ever car boot sale on Saturday morning and the fabulous Open Day at the Preston Lawn Tennis Club on Sunday. I enjoyed both events enormously and thank you to everyone who put so much effort in to make these happen. I could not believe how many children and how many families there were at the Tennis Club! It was great to see all ages, all abilities and even the grown-ups were playing and having fun- brilliant day and I am so pleased this has now become an annual event for our school. I am very pleased that we have managed to develop such a strong partnership with our local tennis club. A great finale at the club watching an exhibition match between two youngsters ranked nationally!
Friday 17th April 2015
The children today were really amazing- all of them so enthusiastic about counting the votes from yesterday's values election. It is very special seeing them all so engaged in the democratic process of voting and I really look forward to counting all the votes and announcing the results during our assemblies on Monday. I then really look forward to seeing how the values become embedded in all that we do and how we are with each other, with the school and with our environment.
I proposed an interesting question to the children today and we now need to see if it worked out as we envisaged! After getting the counts of the polling from one just one class, I proposed to them that we already knew the overall winning values even though 27 classes still hadn't counted- on the basis that the votes were distributed between all the classes completely at random! I will let you know if we live in a perfect mathematical world or not on Monday!
Thursday 16th April 2015
I cannot believe what an incredibly meaningful day it has been in our school with the whole school community and local community voting in our Values General Election. Seeing the children all vote, the families, the different generations, the Local Authority, the Governors, the other schools on the Surrenden Campus, the University of Brighton as our partners, even one from Spain via twitter! An incredible turn out and the children were all so involved and so passionate about the one they were voting for. Tomorrow all the children will be involved in counting them and we will announce the results as soon as we have them. Thank you all so incredibly much for being so supportive and so enthusiastic about it all.
Wednesday 15th April 2015
It has been so so wonderful today seeing all the children enjoy their time on the field so much. We are so incredibly lucky to be able to go out at lunchtime and make such great use of the fields. It's great to see the children enjoying it all so much! Please ensure that your child is wearing sun protection and a hat please in this very sunny weather.
I cannot believe the excitement that tomorrow's values election is generating! The hall tonight looks absolutely amazing- with the private polling booths, the ballot papers and ballot boxes and the registers for the returning officers all out! It could not look more realistic! Thank you so much to the children in year 2 who made a fantastic video about which value to vote for and for all the fabulous posters which are now displayed throughout our front entrance and hall. I am so looking forward to seeing how it all materialises tomorrow- it should be an incredibly exciting day for us all. Remember that all e-mail votes count as well, if you are not able to vote in person- we have already had three of those- one from Mary Ellinger, our school improvement partner from the local authority!
Enormous thanks to you all for being so supportive of our election process, FAB for publicising it all so well and for engaging with it all with so much enthusiasm and for acting as returning officers during the day- all greatly appreciated!
Tuesday 14th April 2015
It was great to chat with so many of you this morning and afternoon about our forthcoming election- please feel free to e-mail your preferred value of you are not able to come and vote in person.
I was so pleased that Richard from the Preston Lawn Tennis Club led the assemblies today in preparation for the open Sunday event at the Club for all the children and their families, please feel free to join us from 12.00-2.00- last year was great fun!
I am also really pleased that the children in Year 3 are enjoying their cricket coaching so much, there is nothing better than being out in the fields at this time of year. Lunchtimes are now also on the fields- we are so lucky as a school to have such amazing grounds for all our children.
We have also started planning our music concerts at Dorothy Stringer, a letter will be coming out soon inviting any child who plays an instrument to be part of the first of what we hope will become an annual event.
Monday 13th April 2015
I would like to welcome you all back very warmly to school. The start of the Summer Term is always such a special moment, with so many exciting things to look forward to. It was great to see all the children today coming in to school so enthusiastically and with so much to share. I really enjoyed going round to every class and seeing KS1 in Assembly.
We are all really looking forward to the General Values election on Thursday, and please remember that we are hoping that as many family members can come in and vote on the day too, or send in their wishes, so that the final values chosen are a true representation of the thoughts of all our school community. Please also let the school know if you are able to volunteer as a returning officer during any time of the day. We will be open as a polling station from 7.00 to 7.00 pm.
I couldn't believe the other day when I found out that the really famous football club from Argentina, Boca Juniors, where Maradona started his career, is also celebrating its 110 birthday this month! Feel free to use this for your Headteacher's Challenge, I think I will!
I hope you all have a fantastic Summer Term.
Friday 26th March 2015
Such a fantastic and emotional end to term. Today we said goodbye to Nigel Wooton our wonderful KS1 caretaker for the last 23 years! We will really miss you and can't thank you enough for all you have done for the school, the children and staff. We all hope that you have the most wonderful time as you start a new phase in your life.
It has been great seeing every child today at assembly and sharing such lovely and warm messages with them. This term has been very special and I am so proud of every one of them! A special well done to the Linnets today who performed so brilliantly in their class assembly today. The feeling you created in the hall was one of total joy! I also really enjoyed seeing 3GJ at Preston Manor today and thank you for being such a credit to the school, I felt very proud to see you all so in role and enjoying it all so much!
I hope you all have a very enjoyable and relaxing Easter break and thank you all so much for all your continued support. I now really look forward to all that's to come in the Summer Term.
Thursday 26th March 2015
Today's highlight is the absolutely amazing Stomp concert performance by the Year 5 children. The children worked with Stomp performers and attended workshops with them and then worked incredibly creatively to construct a whole class piece for today's performance. It was so enjoyable and so professional and the way the children collaborated to make it so powerful for the audience was truly outstanding. I am so pleased that the school provides the children with so many of these enrichment opportunities and that the children are so enthusiastic about what is on offer to them.
Good luck tonight to our tag-rugby team who are playing a friendly at Carden- this is the first match for many of our Year 5s!
Wednesday 25th March 2015
The sporting participation in whole city events just keep coming! Today I was so pleased and impressed by the number of children who took part on the annual swimming gala at the Prince Regent swimming pool, Huge well done to you all, coming first out of all the state schools was a huge achievement and is a reflection of all the effort and dedication with which you approached it- fabulous, and many thanks to Ms Giddings for organising it all so well.
Great to meet so many more of you tonight at parents evening and thank you so much for all those family members who have volunteered to act as returning officers at our values general election taking place on Thursday 16th April 2015. We can still do with some more volunteers if you are able to spare one hour on that day between 7 am and 7 pm!
Tuesday 24th March 2015
I wanted to say huge congratulations to our Indoor Cricket Team who did so well this season and finished as runners up to Mile Oak today. You have played with so much passion and enthusiasm and your teamwork and representation of our school has been exemplary.
I also wanted to say how much I am enjoying meeting and greeting all the families in KS2 during our parent consultation evenings. I hope you are finding them useful and productive and celebratory.
Huge well done to 3K for enjoying Preston Manor so much and looking so realistic!
Monday 23rd March 2015
I hope you've had a lovely weekend. Today we had the wonderful privilege of having Ian Longshaw visit our school for the whole day. Ian is the Headteacher of Marown School in the Isle of Man and he flew all the way over to see us and chat about our approach to learning which is very similar to his. Ian also places a huge emphasis on the learning to learn approach and on developing thinking skills with all his pupils. They also do a lot of philosophy and we are now very excited as we will ensure that our two schools start to develop a close partnership between all our staff and our pupils. Ian also left us two Gruffalo books written in Manx, the language of the Isle of Man!
I was so pleased that Year 3 started their trips to Preston Manor today, well done 3H! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it so much and good luck to all the other classes going during the week. You all looked amazing!
Friday 20th March 2015
Today has been one of the most wonderful and memorable days I can remember at our school. Thank you all so so much for all your effort and dedication with coming in dressed as scientists- truly extraordinary to see you all dressed up and celebrating the wonders of science and of famous scientists. The buzz and excitement and discussion and enthusiasm that the children had throughout the day was great to see. It was such a coincidence that the day coincided with the solar eclipse- the children loved watching it all progress on the whiteboards.
Huge well done to the Swallows today for the most fabulous assembly, so full of special sentiments and values, great performing, so proud of you all!
A huge thank you to all the children, families, governors, staff and ex-pupils that joined us at 3pm for the official opening of the Balfour Primary School Science Laboratory. Such a special moment and I really look forward to all that is to come now that we have a science lab. It feels great that yet another child led idea from the Headteacher Challenge has now come to fruition.
Thank you so much to FAB for organising and running such a successful Easter Egg Hunt, such a wonderful atmosphere created with the whole school coming together in such a joyous way.
Finally I want to wish Amelie and Scarlett (5H), Amelia and Emily (5N) all the very best as they compete in the British Gymnastics National Competition for Group Ribbon in Stoke-on-Trent. We are very proud of you and I hope all enjoy the experience.
Thursday 19th March 2015
I would like to start today by congratulating all of 4JM on their absolutely brilliant trombone concert- such an achievement, after only ten weeks of taking up the trombone completely from new, you all managed to play so confidently and so musically. The Soundmakers project that makes all this possible is fabulous and I am so grateful to the Brighton and Hove Music service for providing our school with such a great opportunity for our children.
It was great to see the children enjoying their Science workshops so much today and I really can't wait to see you all dressed as Scientists tomorrow. I am also really looking forward to the opening of the Balfour Science Laboratory and I am so grateful that so many parents and ex pupils are joining us at 3pm to mark the official opening and cut the ribbon!
Tomorrow is also the Easter Egg hunt, so lots to look forward to!
Wednesday 18th March 2015
Incredibly I found out today that Jack in Linnets is related to Isaac Newton! His grandfather, Jack Swallow, who is 8th in line to Isaac Newton came and spoke to the year one children about this famous British scientist. He brought an apple for them all- thank you so much and I hope you can join us for the opening of the lab on Friday.
Tuesday 17th March 2015
Science Week continues to provide great excitement in the school and we now await all our workshops during the rest of the week. I am so pleased that Year 2 had such a good time at Woods Mill yesterday, a lovely treat for you all!
Monday 16th March 2015
It's Science Week! The week has started so well and I am so pleased that already the children are feeling so excited and so enthusiastic with all the science experiments they are doing this week. Years 3 and 5 had their day today and from what I saw and heard it was absolutely fabulous! The children telling me all about acid and alkali, changing colours, astronomy, so much science talk today- I really look forward to all that is to come during the rest of the week. Incredibly during Science Week we have had the first chicks hatching live on our webcam- such a special moment!
It was great also to talk to you all about the eclipse on Friday and about Pi Day, as on Saturday, if we wrote the day as they write it in America, it was 3.14.15, the starting sequence of Pi!! How much can you find out about Pi, it is a really fascinating concept!
The day also ended on a amazing note with the most wonderful performance of the school at Let's Dance. It was also a great privilege for our school to open the whole festival. The whole evening was so enjoyable and I was so proud of all the children, who performed with so much confidence and enjoyment- brilliant!
Friday 13th March 2015
A great end to the week, with another fabulous class assembly, this time from the Kingfishers, I was so proud of you all and I really liked the music and the acting- especially the silent Charlie Chaplin type sketch- brilliant!
Today was also very special because the idea that Clara (6S) had a few weeks ago finally came true. The Art and Cake sale that Clara organised with the help of three friends and Mr Stanbridge and Mr Semple went so well that it raised an incredible £470 for Comic Relief. Milly in Kingfishers raised £18 by giving her Mum a funny makeover- very very proud of all of you!
A huge well done too to the Girls Football Teams today who won both of their competitions at the tournament in Westdene. I can't wait to hear all about it. It was great too to have Amelie (5H), Scarlett (5H), Amelia and Emily (5N) showing us all the skills they will be using at the National British Rhythmic Competition in Stoke-on-Trent next week- we wish you all the very best!
I really look forward to Let's dance on Monday and Science Week all of next week!
Thursday 12th March 2015
I was so pleased today that the children involved in the enrichment day as part of our Partnership in Learning and Leadership group of schools (PILL) did so well and enjoyed it so much. I heard so many interesting things that you did on the day and I am very proud of how you all represented our school.
It was great to see so many of you at Parent Consultation Evening today, I hope you found them useful and enjoyable.
Wednesday 11th March 2015
A huge thank you to you all for making my very special day so memorable and so enjoyable. I was very touched indeed by all the good wishes expressed the children and yourselves, all so full of warmth. I was also delighted that 4A and 4C had such a great day out during their trip to the Cuckmere Valley- thank you very much to all our volunteers. Good luck to 4JM and 4M who are going on Friday.
Tuesday 10th March 2015
It was great to see so many of you at our first Parent Consultation Evenings of the Spring Term today, I hope you found them useful and enjoyable.
Friday 6th March 2015
Our class assemblies have started and what a way to start! The Larks were absolutely incredible today- I loved it so much, even if I featured in it quite a lot! I hope that being dressed as a rat today did not disturb the concentration of the audience too much! Thank you all for making such a great effort with the dressing up today, there were some brilliant rats and cheeses!!
Thursday 5th March 2015
It was great to see so many of you at the Year 4 Maths Workshop for Parents. Huge thanks to Miss Mulholland for masterminding it all so well. I hope you found it useful- these workshops are intended to help us all to work in partnership to support your child's learning equally at school and at home.
Wednesday 4th March 2015
We had a very interesting staff meeting today when we were all introduced to Mindfulness- we are really looking to launch it all with our children as part of our daily diet of teaching and learning!
Friday 27th February 2015
Such a lovely end to the week. As always the star of the week assemblies were so full of joy, wonderful values, celebration of effort and of positive learning dispositions. I am very proud of them all- including the one in Reception who got his for his philosophical thinking about whether zero is a number! Equally philosophical was the Year 3 and 4 assembly when a child got hers for doing the right thing- we then wondered if it's always right to do the right thing- Betty said that when it's right to not do the right thing then that becomes the right thing to do- such fabulous thinking!
I was also really pleased today when Tom, Luca, Archie, Joe, Sam R and Danny (Year 5) visited my office to celebrate their maths investigations they had done on factors- their challenge now is to have a go at the four fours challenge! I can't wait to see how far they get.
A huge thank you as well to all the children who contributed such creative photographs to the Get Caught Reading Competition- they are all now displayed outside our library and are fantastic! Well done to the winners and enjoy spending your token at the book fair next week.
Many congratulations also to Harry, Harvey, Charlie, Robbie, Jaya and Ennico who are representing our school tomorrow at a Chess Tournament in London- I hope it goes really well- I'm so proud of you all!
Finally I hope that the Preston Park Cycling Track slow cycle protest goes well tomorrow at 11.00, it is such a great resource for our community and it would be such a shame if it were not longer maintained to competition standard.
Thursday 26th February 2015
I was so proud of the Year 3s today who braved the awful weather to go on their trip to Fiveways. I am sure you enjoyed it anyway and well done for taking it all in your stride!
It was great to see the Year 5s enjoying their Stomp workshops so much today- I keep being so impressed by the range and diversity of opportunities that the children are able to experience at the school- thank you all as families for your support with all these.
Wednesday 25th February 2015
Something incredibly special has happened today in the life of our school! For the first time ever we had the Learning Leaders at a Governors Meeting- we had more than 20 children joining us for our Teaching and Learning Governors Committee Meeting which started at 6pm! I was so incredible proud of them all and so incredibly impressed by their confidence, enthusiasm and willingness to be at the meeting and to contribute. Truly extraordinary and hopefully this will be the first of many more opportunities for children to join staff meetings or Governors meetings at our school.
A huge well done to our indoor cricket team- two wins in two days against Hertford Juniors and St. Josephs. I am very proud of you all, it seemed like you were having great fun with it all.
Tuesday 24th February 2015
I loved the Tennis sessions with Year 4 today- thank you so much Richard for coming in and for offering our school so much- we love the partnership with the Preston Lawn Tennis Club and we really look forward to this year's open morning at the club coming up very shortly! Also huge congratulations to Jess (4M) who won a Tennis tournament this weekend and to Wilf (3T) who has been selected to play at the National Tennis Championships for Deaf Children at Roehampton- such a great achievement!
It's so lovely to see how well 3T are doing with Mr Turi, who has just joined our school and is already feeling so at home. A very warm welcome to you.
I am so pleased that 3GJ enjoyed their trip to Fiveways so much even if it meant braving the hailstorm on their way back!
It was great today inviting all the Learning Leaders to tomorrow's Governor's Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting at 6pm. I hope they can all join us for what I'm hoping will be the first of many occasions when children join us at Governor Meetings.
Monday 23rd February 2015
It was so lovely to welcome all the children back today and it was so wonderful to see them all launching into the second half of our academic year with so much enthusiasm. We have so much to look forward to and I am very excited about it all.
Today we shared the results of the wellbeing at school survey with the children and talked about all the aspects that came up as a result of what they all said. The idea is to make them all feel safe and secure at school even when things don't go quite to plan. The KS1 children really enjoyed listening to what the older ones had said.
We also focused on the Chinese New Year celebrations from last week, and as a school we would like to wish you all a very happy year for the sheep/goat. We also talked about Lent and Shrove Tuesday- it sounds as though many delicious pancakes were enjoyed last week!
Have a great second half of the Spring Term!
Friday 13th February 2015
Such a lovely day to mark the end of our half-term and the half-way point of our academic year! I enjoyed the stars of the week assemblies enormously, especially the Year 3 and 4 one when we said a very special goodbye to Mr Holmes who leaves us for a new position at Carden Primary School. We wish him all the very best and thank him enormously for all he has contributed in the last 9 years at school.
Also I would like to say a huge thank you to Liam and Spike from 5G who came to my office with the most fantastic maths challenge they had just done- they had to use the numbers 1,2,3,4 and the four mathematical operations to make every number- amazingly they did all the numbers up to 30, so brilliant!!! They will now keep going over half-term!!! This is very similar to my favourite challenge of the 4 Fours, where you have to use all four fours each time to make all the numbers- see if you can have a go at either of these!
I hope you all have a very enjoyable and relaxing half-term and I really look forward to welcoming you all back on Monday 23rd February 2015.
Thursday 12th February 2015
I felt so proud and so honoured to have been invited to the Varndean School's production of Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat performance today. The school was absolutely fantastic, so professional, so well put together and so enjoyable for the audience. Thank you too for the hospitality at the break in Mr Deighan's office, the link between our schools is very special indeed. I am also delighted that there about forty ex Balfour children on stage!
Wednesday 11th February 2015
A huge well done to our Hockey Team who represented the school so well at a local tournament and enjoyed it all so much. I am really looking forward to presenting you all with your certificates in our assembly on Friday.
Tuesday 10th February 2015
It was great to see the children rehearsing for their Harmonica concerts today- I can't wait for the performances! Thank you so much to Varndean School today for inviting Year 5 and 6 to see your production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. The children loved it so much and I am really looking forward to seeing it on Thursday evening! This follows a huge treat on Saturday when I got to see the Dorothy Stringer production of the Caucasian Chalk Circle which was absolutely amazing!
Also huge thanks to Jim today who brought 54 Spanish students to our school for the morning, we love this partnership and our children get so much out of meeting and interacting with our European friends.
Monday 9th February 2015
So lovely to see all the children back today and to focus on Chinese New Year throughout all our assemblies. Thank you so much to Dawn Powell for such a great Chinese New Year display in the entrance- absolutely fabulous and so informative and interactive. It was to great share with the children all the traditions that accompany the Chinese New Year and to set them all researching which animal we are going into in 2015 and which animal they all are. Enjoy!
Friday 6th February 2015
Today could not have started any better! I was greeted at the gate by Clara (6S) who presented me with a letter. As soon as I opened it I could tell it would be something very special. The day before Clara was chatting with me over lunch about her idea of setting up a whole school fundraising event for Comic Relief based on an Art Sale, rather than the usual cake sale. I thought this was great and suggested to Clara to write it all up as a formal proposal- incredibly Clara did this overnight and the proposal letter was so well written, structured and presented that I immediately took it with me into all the assemblies to share with the children. In reading it to everyone we also used it as a model of persuasive writing which I know many of the classes are doing at the moment. Even more incredible, two hours later a group of Year 3 children came to my office with very well thought out and written ideas of what they would love to do at Clara's event- drawings, knitting, jewellery! I took the Year 3s straight away to see Clara and now Clara is collecting everyone's ideas. This way of being and this enthusiasm all coming from children is creating a very special feeling in our school!
As always the Friday's assemblies were a joy to do with the children. I must say an incredibly huge thank you to Edie (4M)! After presenting her with her Grade 3 Piano (distinction) certificate, I just asked her on the spot if she would play us out! Incredibly Edie immediately said yes and incredibly all the children immediately turned round to listen to Edie and it made the end of our assembly so incredibly wonderful and very moving! Thank you so so so much!!!
Thursday 5th February 2015
Its National Voter Registration Day! I will be definitely telling all the children about this tomorrow during our assemblies. I've just got back from enjoying the Balfour Football team triumph 2-1 against Hertford Juniors, it was a great match and I really enjoyed watching them and the two goals by Kit and Tom were brilliant This was on the back of 6-1 victory over Stanford Juniors on Tuesday!
It was great attending the School Council Meeting this afternoon, where the representatives were all conducting themselves so professionally. The discussion today was around making play times enjoyable. Really good ideas and I look forward to what all the classes now say when you feed back.
Thank you so much Edie (4M) for coming to share with me the amazing news of passing your grade 3 piano exam with distinction! And carrying on with the musical theme I was so privileged today to be at the trombone teaching session, there were more than 30 children learning the trombone and playing so well! So proud of you all! I then walked down the corridor and was treated to the choir rehearsing their La Bamba singing today totally in Spanish! Brilliant!
Monday 2nd February 2015
It was so wonderful to welcome the children back today and I really enjoyed sharing the wonders of a democratic society with them during our assemblies today. The children were so perceptive and we talked a lot about the forthcoming national election, how Parliament works, how MPs are elected and how we are going to replicate the whole process at our school as a way of choosing our values- Tom (Year 4) said that democracy is having a say in all we do- brilliant!
Huge well done to Archie (6S) today who launched his remote control car club at lunchtime! I was so impressed by how well it all went and by the ideas that the children expressed at the end to now making it even more successful! Also huge well done to our chess champions in KS1 and to Wilf (3K) for doing so well in his Tennis trials in Birmingham over the weekend- he has now been invited to the Roehamptom National Tennis Centre!
Huge thanks to the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Learning Leaders, who met for the first time today and came up with such fantastic ideas for our school development plan- they are calling it the School Amazing Incredible Great Brilliant Plan!! The contributions from all the children were a real joy to see.
Friday 30th January 2015
A great day to finish a fabulous week at school. Such lovely words in the children's stars of the week certificates and great to be able to present the children with so many trophies and medals for football, athletics and chess. We wish Wilf (3K) loads of luck for his tennis experience at a centre of excellence in Birmingham this weekend alongside the world's top two deaf tennis players in the world! Also huge well done to Elka (4JM) who is going to launch an outdoor maths club for the school.
Today's precept comes from Eleanor Roosevelt:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday 29th January 2015
This week continues to bring a huge amount of joy, especially from the children! I could not believe this morning when Jools in 6B came in with a present! He presented me with the a book of precepts called '365 Days of Wonder' which could not be more perfect- each day of the year has a really meaningful quote or philosophical saying. It's what I love so much! I am going to start to share the one for the day on which I write the blog with you all- today's is:
'Laughter is sunshine; it chases winter from the human face' by Victor Hugo.
The one I can't believe is January 23rd:
'There is no shame in not knowing. The shame lies in not finding out' An Assyrian proverb, so closely related to our Joy of Not Knowing!
Thank you too 4A for my magnificent poster of your personification poetry, it's up on my wall already and I was so impressed by your 'models of learning' you made up today- truly amazing! Huge congratulations to the Year 6 Athletics Team who won their Inter school Championship Heat yesterday at BACA.
Also our Science laboratory is well on its way- thank you so much to the Year 5 girls who started to paint the walls today with Art and Science symbols- brilliant! Well done Archie (6S) for finishing writing your letter on my computer! It will go out tomorrow to the Year 6s. Just by chance I popped in to the Robins today and saw some amazing writing, whole books being written independently!
Wednesday 28th January 2015
What an exciting and momentous day today for the school!! We had the first ever meetings of the Learning Leaders- these are representatives from every class who are working towards writing a child's version of the School Improvement Plan! I could not believe how wonderful the children were and how fabulous their ideas were! We already have lots of potential names for the Plan and each priority has now been written by them. Amazingly they have also now chosen which team to join, to work alongside the staff! Tomorrow I will be meeting with the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Leaders! I can't wait!
I was also amazed today by other children too! One child in Year 3 has prepared single-handedly a whole proposal for a Geography Society at school- absolutely amazing, how it has all been thought out and presented to me- we will now launch very soon! Similarly a child in Year 6 has written a proposal for a remote control car club for Year 6 at lunchtimes- so well written, and again this will be happening very soon. Our children are so incredible!
Tuesday 27th January 2015
Today we had an incredibly exciting meeting with all the Headteachers on the Surrenden Campus, the University of Brighton and the Education Foundation to see if we could all work together towards putting a bid for funding for the Department of Education Character Education Grant. It was great to all chat together and think of ways in which we can make really strong links on the campus and improve the education and outcomes for all our learners and for all ages from 2 to 99!
Monday 26th January 2015
Today I led the KS2 assemblies with the focus of the Holocaust Memorial Day, which is tomorrow. It was a very special moment for us all to hear of survivors and their stories and also of young people today who are doing so much to ensure that the events are never forgotten.
Friday 23rd January 2015
It has been such a lovely week, so full of exciting learning throughout the school. I love the Philosophy board in the Year 2 corridor! The class displays are so stimulating and thought provoking for the children.
Huge congratulations to the Balfour Football Teams, I was so proud to present your Brighton League Winners Trophy in assembly and so proud that today you returned to school as runners up in the Excellence Academy tournament. I am also very proud to have received a trophy to present to a Year 6 child for being our school's chess champion!
As always I really enjoyed the celebration assemblies today and I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend.
Tuesday 20th January 2015
My first ever snow experience at Balfour- I hope you found the text useful and that you found that all our arrangements worked well. Many thanks to Mr Marle and Mr Wootton this morning for all their hard work. Please let me know if there is anything that we could do to make things even better.
Monday 19th January 2015
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. Today has been one of the most moving and meaningful days for me at our school. The whole of the school has been celebrating and talking about Martin Luther King as it is his national day. Such powerful messages and thoughtful ideas shared in assemblies, but what made it so incredibly special was Mike Reinstein (Mr R.) joining me for the KS1 assembly and leading the most amazing singing session with children after teaching them the words to 'We Shall Overcome'. I wish you could all have been there!!
two children in Year 3 also made me very pleased indeed- they created a Mind map at home completely out of their enthusiasm describing all their ideas of how we can develop our partnership with Denton Primary after Guy Walsh's visit to their class on Thursday- truly incredible enthusiasm for wanting to make our school better and better! Thank you so much!!
It all carried on into the evening when at 6.00pm I was interviewed on radio BBC Sussex to talk about our Pupil Premium Award from the DFE. Sarah Gorral was so wonderful and so knowledgeable- I really enjoyed celebrating the school. I will try and place a link to it on the website, but it's here too: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02grwwk
Thursday 14th January 2015
It has been a very special day today as the school had the pleasure of welcoming Guy Walsh to our school. Mr Walsh is the Deputy Headteacher at Denton Primary School in Newhaven and he is currently doing his Headteacher training course (NPQH). As part of this course he has to do a research project with another school and he has chosen us! We spent such a lovely morning going into every class and seeing all the lovely learning the children were so engaged in! I will keep you updated as to how the project develops.
Another huge success today in Maths, a child in Year 6 worked out a formula for successfully completing Magic Squares, quite incredible creative thinking!
Wednesday 13th January 2015
I was so pleased today that so many Year 3 children came to my office to show me their amazing maths! I really enjoyed seeing how you are adding using the expanded method, it really shows that you have an excellent understanding of number and place value. I am also delighted by how much the poem of The Highwayman is inspiring creative writing in Year 5!
I was also really pleased that we had such a good meeting today with Ruth England from the fabulous Brighton Peace and Environment Centre (BPEC). We discussed lots of potential projects for the school on themes relating to Global Citizenship, Sustainability, Rights Respecting Schools and Philosophy for Children. I really look forward to our partnership with BPEC.
Monday 12th January 2015
I hope you have all had a lovely weekend and that you are all really looking forward to everything that is to come this week! I am really looking forward to the first FAB meeting of 2015 tomorrow night and to seeing how we can keep invested the fund raised sums to benefit the provision, enjoyment and experiences of all our children.
I am so delighted that the Football Academy got off to such a successful start today and that the weather did not impact on them at all. Seeing them coming in after the session was a great delight, they were all so thrilled! On a similar enrichment theme, I was so pleased today to see first-hand the wonderful work that our ne peripatetic singing teacher is doing with KS2 children on Mondays- what a great thing to offer!
I also want to celebrate the work that Dawn Powell is doing at our school. dawn is one of our Teaching Assistants who has a passion for displays and I am so delighted that this passion keeps producing such interesting, interactive and informative displays throughout the school . Please take at look at both Reception areas and just inside both of our buildings if you have a few spare minutes.
Friday 9th January 2015
Our first week back has ended on such an exciting note. Yesterday a few of our staff attended a fabulous lecture at the University of Brighton by Alison Peacock, the wonderful Headteacher of the Wroxham School in Hertfordshire, with whom we are developing a very interesting and close working relationship. Alison was speaking about her philosophy of education based on her Learning without Limits approach to teaching and learning. The Learning to Learn Culture we are establishing at our school through the Joy of Not Knowing approach is so similar and I am very excited about the partnership with the Wroxham School as this will be very influential in our wish to create a school learning environment where all the children develop a love of learning and are able to fulfil their potential without ever feeling that there are any limits to what they can achieve! As I always say, anything and everything is possible in our school!
I then shared Alison's lecture with all the children in assembly today and it was great to see how incisive, interested and enthusiastic they all are about it all! This week the children in Reception made me feel so proud as they devoted the whole week to Learning to Learn! They learnt about the wonders of The Pit as a way of enjoying not knowing, learnt about De Bono's Hats to learn to problem solve and structure their thinking, they engaged in thinking skills starters, philosophy, image of the week, concept lines and fortune lines- truly amazing and so great to celebrate it all with them at their assembly today!
Tuesday 6th January 2015
It was so so wonderful to welcome all the children back today and to see them all so full of enthusiasm for being back at school. It was great to share in all their stories and good times over the Christmas break and to enthuse them all with all the exciting adventures and initiatives that we have planned for 2015!
We are feeling very well poised to start implementing quite a lot of the ideas that the children suggested to improve our school during the Headteacher's challenge- for example we think that the creation of the Balfour Science Laboratory is now about to happen and also new dance and geography clubs run by children will soon be on our menu. We are also about to introduce learning leaders from each class so that they can write a child friendly version of our School Development Plan!
It was great also to share with the children that today is a very special day for the children in the Hispanic and Latin American communities, as it is the Dia de los Reyes Magos (12th Day of Christmas) when children receive presents from the Magic Kings, which are placed on their shoes by their beds.
It was also so wonderful to share our school and talk about our philosophy of learning with prospective families. I was so delighted that they were able to see the Reception children at their best as today they have launched into a Learning to Learn Week, full of exciting initiatives designed to promote a love of learning in all the children!
Monday 5th January 2015
It was so good to be back at school today for our latest INSET day. I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year and I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas break.
Today we focused on a number of initiatives that will become major drivers for our school , all intended to develop a values inspired curriculum and way of life at our school. We are trying to think of a motto for the school and to embed our values, lifelong learning dispositions, problem solving skills and creative thinking processes into all our learning and for all these to be underpinned by the principles that accompany the Rights Respecting School's Charter and Principles. It was great focusing on the articles that make up the UNICEF Convention of the Rights of the Child and seeing how as a school we can all promote these articles within the life of our school.
I am so looking forward to welcoming the children back tomorrow and I hope that 2015 is full of learning, enjoyment and friendships.
Friday 7th November 2014
What an amazing day it's been today- yet again I'm totally overwhelmed by the response to the latest Headteacher's challenge, thank you all so much for all your effort and dedication and creative thinking with bringing an idea to school! Just by chance we had the privilege of the challenge day coinciding with the visit of Sue Shanks to our school. Sue is the Chair of the Children & Young People Committee of Brighton and Hove and it was so apt for Sue to share first-hand the excitement of the children coming to my office with their challenges, some of which were also edible and very delicious! Also thank you so much to our Brighton University Students who joined us today as they are researching the Headteacher's challenges as part of their degree, it was great to have you with us!
We will now collect all the ideas and try and launch as many of these as possible in two weeks time, on the 21st November 2014, which has been designated International Children's Take Over Day!
Thursday 5th November 2014
Huge congratulations to the Football players today who played so well and skilfully to win two of their three matches in this season's Brighton and Hove league. I am so proud of you all and so proud of the teamwork that you display and support for each other.
Tuesday 4th November
It was so wonderful welcoming all the children back to school today and seeing their enthusiasm with being back and hearing all about their wonderful adventures over half-term. I really hope you all have a fantastic start to the second half of the Autumn half-term and that you all enjoy all the learning and activities planned from now until the Christmas break.
It was great to see and greet so many families at the parents consultation evening today, and a special warm welcome to all the families in Reception to what is a very momentous event-your first ever one!
Also huge thanks to FAB who tonight agreed to fund the table-tennis table, the climbing wall, new netball posts and lots of new climbing equipment for KS1. We are very grateful indeed for your generosity, time and effort with all you do.
Monday 3rd November 2014
Today we had a really exciting and productive day at a school, looking at all the ideas you all contributed as part of our values survey and trying to distil them all so that we end up with six words that become our values and define how we want to be with each other, with our school and resources and with our world. We also looked at the learning dispositions that we feel all our children should acquire to make them successful lifelong learners with a high level of self esteem. In the afternoon all the staff got into 'multi-professional' teams, each one now driving one of the priorities of our school development plan. Very exciting times, especially as pupil involvement and pupil voice are both so central to all we are planning for the school. With this in mind I'm really looking forward to all the ideas that will come in from the children as part of our current Headteacher challenge!
I'm really looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow and I hope you've all had a really enjoyable and relaxing half-term.
I'm delighted that we are starting this half term with Ellen our new crossing patrol officer, a very warm welcome to Balfour Primary School!
Tuesday 21st October 2014
I was so pleased to hear today of all the exciting plans that have now been put into place for our school in terms of music and performance next half-term. The school choir has been asked to perform at the Amex and at the Brighton Centre and at a local community centre. There also lots of concerts and performances coming up- I cannot wait for them all, there is nothing more wonderful than seeing our children engaging in the arts and performing in public and for our families. I am very proud of them all.
Monday 20th October 2014
I could not believe it this morning when I was presented with the first entry to this term's Headteacher challenge at the gate, considering I only set the challenge on Friday, this was quite spectacular! The challenge for all the families this time is to bring an idea to school and present it in any way at all- this morning a pupil from Year 6 presented me with the most amazing poem, beautifully written all about getting dog poo scoops and bins for our field, such a great idea! I now look forward to lots of the other great ideas and I hope you enjoy thinking of lots of things to make our school even more special and fun.
Huge congratulations to the girl's football teams that did so well at their tournament on Friday at Carden. Well done for playing so well and for coming 2nd and 5th!
I really enjoyed the KS1 assembly with Mr R. today, such wonderful singing focusing on treating each other kindly, feeling that the school is a big family and highlighting the UNCRC The Right to be Safe of our school charter.
Friday 17th October 2014
I was so impressed today with the incredible opportunity that the Year 6s got- they were treated to a whole day of Shakespeare by the Young Shakespeare Company, who engaged all the children in interactive Hamlet workshops in the morning and who then put on an incredibly realistic performance of Hamlet in the hall in the afternoon. I have rarely seen a theatre company perform so professionally and so enthusiastically before- it was a joy to see it all during the day. The children were without exception all so thrilled to have been part of a day like this, enriching their experiences at school so much.
Today was also a fascinating day for the school as we had thirty students visiting our school from the University of Brighton. These students have all opted to do an extra optional year within their teaching training degree and this year the school have teamed up with the University of Brighton to offer the students our school to them as their laboratory in which they can conduct their research project for one of their modules. I am very excited about the prospect of the students undertaking really interesting research with us and also very excited to keep developing and strengthening the links between our school and the University.
I really hope the Girls' football tournament went well today after school, so proud of you all and I cannot wait to hear all about it next week!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy reading the Parliamentary transcript in the newsletter!
Thursday 16th October 2014
What a special day it's been for our school. It started with finding out that yesterday the school got a very special mention in Parliament in a discussion between Caroline Lucas and the Secretary of State for Education, Nick Gibb, highlighting the fact that last year our school managed to get 100% of the children to level 2 in KS1 in reading, writing and maths.
It then ended with Balfour beating Downs Juniors 6-1 in our first football match of the season, with a truly fantastic performance, full of teamwork, flair, skill, enthusiasm and great finishing, including a hat-trick from Isaac!!!! I'm so proud of you all! Huge thanks to Mr Gottel too for being such a great coach and motivator.
Wednesday 15th October 2014
Such a joy today to read such wonderful poetry produced by the children in Year 4 inspired by the Rainforest topic, great creative thought and very adventurous vocabulary!
I also really enjoyed philosophy with Year 3 today- we were wondering about time and what it is and whether it exists and whether the concept of now can ever exist! Fascinating thinking from all the pupils!
Tuesday 14th October 2014
A huge well done to the wonderful violinists who played in assembly today. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing so many of you enjoying playing your instruments or singing in the choir, and so much of it you do during your own free time- fabulous! It was the main talking point in the lunchtime hall today by your fellow pupils!
The articles and copy of my presentation are now up on our website and accessible through a link. I hope you enjoy these and that they generate really interesting discussion.
Monday 13th October 2014
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. It was great to welcome the children back today and to see them so enthusiastic and engaged with their learning. Thank you so much to all the children who are visiting my office to celebrate their learning, it adds so much to my day! I hope you all enjoy the postcards too.
it was great to focus on pupil led school improvement and our school lunchtime charter in our assemblies today. You all have such great ideas and I am really looking forward to incorporating them to keep making lots and lots of improvements to our school.
A brilliant well done to everyone in Baseball Club today, you were all truly amazing- your fielding, throwing, catching and batting are all getting so good!
Friday 10th October 2014
I really enjoyed celebrating the Harvest Festival with all the children today and thank you so much for all your very kind donations which will make a huge difference to the Stopover Charity we are supporting this year. Thank you Mr Holmes for organising for a member of staff and a resident of the Stopover Charity to come and do a talk to our children during the Harvest Festival Assembly. It was so interesting to meet in person the people we are helping and it was very moving to hear the story of the resident whose life has been totally transformed by the Stopover Charity. The children asked our visitors such interesting and thoughtful questions- it made the atmosphere in the hall very special indeed. I also really enjoyed the children's singing so much- a real treat! The children in Reception enjoyed the most wonderful Harvest Soup too today!
It was also very interesting sharing with the children the news of the Nobel Prize for Medicine announced this week, and chatting with them about John O'Keefe's discovery of the GPS type system that our brains construct and use! One child put his hand up and said that his Mum works with Harry Kroto who also won the Nobel Prize, and I said wow he was my teacher at Sussex in 1984!
Following on from our meeting with the Public Health Team, I have now organised for all our staff and Governors to be given the opportunity of having a free flu jab at school next week in our aim to make the well being of all our school community a real priority for us all. If you have any idea of what else we could be doing or offering lease let me know.
Thank you so much for all your thoughts so far in the Values Survey that is currently open and accessible through a link on our website, there are still two weeks left so if you have a moments to fill in your preferred six values for our school, I would be incredibly grateful.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and I really look forward to seeing you all on Monday.
Thursday 9th October 2014
I was at the University today introducing a very interest initiative to the BA students who have opted to take an optional year as part of their teaching training degree. In partnership with the University, we thought it would be good idea to make our school act as the 'Laboratory' for these students this year. It was such a privilege to be able to introduce them to how our school functions, our values and vision and our philosophy of education. I then presented them with 15 different projects for them to engage in alongside our pupils and staff, all related to our school development plan for 14-15 and our aim to develop a learning to learn culture throughout the school. The students are visiting the school for the first time next Friday 17th, and I will keep you updated as to the progress and impact of each the projects they engage in, maybe we can create an area on our website as a home for all the projects.
Wednesday 8th October 2014
We had such an interesting meeting today with the Public Health Department of the Local Authority, it is fascinating to try and do all we can as a school community to ensure that the well being of all of us is as good as it can be at all times. I will update you on specific projects the school will be involved in as soon as we finalise these.
Tuesday 7th October 2014
I am so pleased that the Year 1s had such a lovely time at the Hove Museum today and that they came back so excited about their trip. It's great to feel that the children are having such enriching experiences outside of school. I am also delighted that the children are having enriching experiences in school too, with the Year 3s today being treated to the Volcano Experience in the inflatable planetarium in the morning and then to a Brightonshed drama workshop in the afternoon!
I thoroughly enjoyed my first Headteacher's talk to parents and carers of this academic year, this evening and it was great to be able to combine it with the FAB AGM, who also very kindly provided a great assortment of cheese and wine. Thank you so much if you were able to come, I really enjoyed sharing the philosophy behind the educational provision that we are embarking on at Balfour Primary and the plans that we have for the school for this academic year. I will place all the articles and the presentation on our website for your reference and I will also schedule the next talk for soon after half-term to keep the momentum of discussion and of sharing of ideas as vibrant as possible.
Great that so many of you were able to stay for the FAB AGM and so wonderful that FAB have now recruited so many new members onto its committee. I am so grateful to FAB for all they do and for the enthusiasm with which they do everything. Seeing the list of things that they contributed to last year makes incredible reading! I now really look forward to all that's to come this year in terms of events and FAB funded projects for the school.
Please keep logging on to our values survey on our website, the sentiments of the contributions so far are very special indeed!
Monday 6th October 2014
I hope you've all had a lovely and relaxing weekend and enjoyed the wonderful sunshine. I think the winter arrived this morning! It's been such a lovely day at school despite the weather, with so many things that I find so rewarding as they add so much to the richness of experiences that our children are able to enjoy at our school.
The Year 6s were all treated to the inflatable planetarium in the hall, it was amazing! Great to see the children enjoying it and appreciating it all so much. The Year 4s all went to Dorothy Stringer's Environmental Centre and they came back so inspired, and I have already seen the impact of this visit on the quality of learning and recording in their books this afternoon.
The Year 2s were treated to the amazing Mr R and experiencing their singing in the classroom was very special indeed for me. Also incredible special was then having Mr R. leading the KS1 assembly with me and getting the children so inspired with the song he has written linked to the Right to be Heard of the Children's Rights Charter- truly magical!
I now really look forward to my talk at the FAB meeting tomorrow evening and the AGM afterwards. We also welcomed our final year BA students from the University of Brighton today for their final placement, we hope you all have a fantastic time at Balfour Primary School.
Friday 3rd October 2014
Such a lovely day today, celebrating the great effort and successes of our boys and girls football teams this week, so good to see that so many children are representing the school in so many different sporting activities. It was great to have Alistair joining us in assembly too, telling us all about the charity event Pedal in the Park at Preston Park later this month. It is great that we are supporting such good causes as a whole school.
My biggest satisfaction yesterday however was spending lots of time in the Infants in the afternoon seeing the richness of provision that our outdoor areas offer our children, we are so incredibly lucky and the children were absolutely loving all the outdoor spaces. Learning in the outdoors is a real priority for us this year and we are always discussing how to make the outdoors even better and more exciting for our children, please let us know if you have any ideas.
Thursday 2nd October 2014
It's National Poetry Day and I can't believe how wonderful it was to welcome all the children today by reading poems to them at the gate. I really enjoyed it and it may have to become a much more regular feature of what we do in the mornings! So great also to see so many children and grown-ups bringing in their favourite poems too! The playgrounds were also buzzing with poetry with the staff and children sharing them before school started and then in the classrooms- thank you so much for engaging with it all with so much enthusiasm- a child came in with a poem about potatoes, as it also happens to be National Potato Day!
I hope that all the photographs went well today and I really look forward to our stars of the week assemblies tomorrow.
Wednesday 1st October 2014
I was so proud of all the children in KS2 today who did so brilliantly in the Run the World event at Preston Park, and a huge thank you as well to all the family members who came along as volunteers- greatly appreciated. Today I was using the Run the World event to do some Maths with Year 3- if there are about 1000 of us at Balfour, counting children and grown-ups at school and the circumference of the Earth is 40 075 km, how many times would we all have to run the 1km you ran today, just for our school to run the world?
It was great being in 3GJ for the afternoon, I enjoyed it enormously and I really liked your thoughts about grandma and the jumper in our philosophy session!
So exciting too that in our staff meeting after school we were all learning how to use our new iPads!! Each class is getting one and the things we can do with them are incredible. I cannot wait to see them all in action and I really look forward to seeing how the iPads can help to enrich the provision for all our children.
I am also really looking forward to celebrating two National Days tomorrow- it's National Potato Day and National Poetry Day. The staff will be reading poems to the children as they come into school, at the gate and in the classrooms. Please feel free to bring in your favourite poems too, to share with all your friends. This month we are also focusing on October being National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Tuesday 30th September 2014
Today was such an incredibly special day in the life of the school! We had the privilege of being visited by the wonderful Mamie Grover, who turned 100 years old in August and chose a visit to her old primary school as her special birthday treat! Mamie was at the school the first year it opened! It was so wonderful that Derek Betts was also able to join us today, one of our school Governors, who is currently writing a book about the history of the first 50 years of the school. It was also a great honour for Mamie to meet so many of our children and to see them chatting with each other was so special. I'm delighted that Mamie also got to hear the children sing so beautifully in preparation for the Christmas production. We are hoping that Mamie will be able to join us again next year when we are hoping to celebrate the 110th anniversary of our school! Thank you so much for visiting us today Mamie and we send you our warmest best wishes from all at Balfour Primary School.
I'm so pleased that the Year 1 children had such a great time at the Hove Museum today and that you all enjoyed it so much. I'm very proud of you all.
I enjoyed my afternoon enormously today- going round to each of the Year 3, 4 and 5 classes and chatting with all the children about the proposed values- getting their ideas and thoughts was tremendously powerful and I have written them all down so that these ideas can all contribute to our thinking and final choices. Thank you so much for already interacting with the online survey so enthusiastically!
Monday 29th September 2014
From today until the end of term we have set up an online survey for all families and governors with the aim of trying to altogether revisit and re-launch our school values. We are asking everyone to think of six values that for you represent how we want our children to feel and how we want them to interact with each other, the school and the environment. We are looking for the values to become a way of life for us all- thank you so much in advance for contributing all your thoughts and ideas.
I am also really looking to the first Headteacher Cheese and Wine evening next week in conjunction with the FAB AGM, it should be a really interesting evening with the opportunity to share lots of ideas for the school. I will be sending you a separate invitation for the evening giving you details of what I'm planning to cover in the talk- the new school development plan, the learning to learn initiatives, the school infrastructure, pupil involvement and the school partnerships locally, nationally and internationally. I really hope that you are all able to come.
Friday 26th September 2014
Another wonderful day at school, thank you all so much for your amazing generosity in donating cakes and then buying them all back again in aid of Macmillan's World's Largest Coffee Morning. Such excellent organisation of it all from Linda Weatherill, thank you so much for having the idea and the enthusiasm to drive it all through! We will let you know the total as soon as we know it.
We also celebrated the European day of Languages today, with lots of fun activities in the classrooms, and had wonderful stars of the week assemblies, the words in those certificates are so special.
We also would like to wish all the very best in his future career as he leaves Balfour Primary school today after having prepared, cooked and served over 70000 meals whilst with the school, we have really appreciated it enormously and we will really miss you!
I really hope you all have a great weekend and I look forward to all that's to come next week. Remember 2nd October 2014 is National Down's Syndrome Day.
Thursday 25th September 2014
I am so impressed by all the activities that the children engage in outside of school, county badminton, swimming events, tennis tournaments, chess tournaments, the list is endless, and chatting about it all with the children at lunch, I really liked their suggestion of having a celebratory board in our school where all children can bring in and put up news of their achievements outside of school. Great idea, let's do it!
Wednesday 24th September 2014
A very interesting meeting of the Full Governing Body this evening and such thoughtful and well prepared presentations from the staff team to the Governors, explaining the areas that we have chosen to focus on for this year's school development plan- I was very proud of them all!
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
I am delighted that next week we will have a very special visitor in our school- we had a call from an ex pupil who is celebrating her 100th birthday this year and wanted to come and visit Balfour, where she was a pupil in the first year that the school opened! I can't wait to meet her!
Monday 22nd September 2014
Such a special day, when we finally welcomed all our new families and children to their first ever full day at school! I was so so proud of them all, settling in so well and all laughing so much even at 9.05 when I went round each of the four classes! Great to meet so many families at the Tea and Tissues event that followed drop off and thanks so much to you all for already being so enthusiastic about life at Balfour Primary. We hope this school will be very special for you all.
Today we focused on our school charter values that accompany the rights respecting school philosophy. We focused in particular on the idea that we all have the right to be listened to, and we discussed in assembly what this actually means for us as individuals and for us as a school. As always the children provided insights into how we should be with each other.
I am so proud of all the children, staff and families who took part in this weekend's Colour Run. It was an amazing event and all for such a good cause too. Maybe next year we can make this a whole school event?
Friday 19th September 2014
Such a proud day for our school today- being asked to be present at the launch of the 1 year to go launch event of the Rugby World Cup today was so special. I was so proud of the Year 5 tag rugby team who accompanied us to the Pavilion Gardens, they were such a credit to the school, being so wonderfully enthusiastic about it all. We couldn't believe that we were actually standing next to the actual real rugby world cup trophy, it was so shiny! The children were brilliant, as they had lots of press attention, with photo shoots, interviews, action shots and many conversations with the other guests. It was quite a memorable day for the children and for the school and if you can have a look, there are photos of the event on the Argus website and there is a link on the school twitter account. Latest TV also have a video of the feature which features our school on their website.
Well done for another fabulous week and have a fantastic weekend.
Monday 15th September 2014
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. So great to hear that so many of you managed to get a glimpse of the Tour of Britain, so many children with such exciting stories about it today and huge congratulations to all the children who actually took part in the children's version of the tour and won gold medals, so proud of you all!
Today in assemblies we focused on values, respecting each other and living through our school's rights respecting school charter, I was so impressed with KS1's ability to explain how each of the charter articles applies to us as a school, the rights to be listened to, to be healthy, to an education, to be the. East we can be, to play and relax and to feel safe. Such wonderful words underpinning our way of being at school.
I'm also delighted with the fabulous start to Baseball Club, a huge well done to you all. I can't wait to see you all getting better and better at it!
Friday 12th September 2014
It's been a great first week back, I'm so proud of all the children. The new Reception children have had a wonderful start and they have shown amazing resilience and adaptability to their new routine. I really hope you now all enjoy your morning and afternoon switch over and that you all have another fabulous week.
I really enjoyed celebrating all children at the stars of the week's assemblies today and I'm incredibly pleased that the Learning to Learn Week has enabled the school to start on such an enjoyable note. I really hope all the initiatives we looked at this week will enable you all to enjoy your learning throughout the year.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and that you get a chance to see the Tour of Britain cycling past! I really look forward to the start of baseball club on Monday!
Thursday 11th September 2014
It was a huge pleasure to welcome Rosie Moore today from the University of Brighton's education department who came to experience all the things that we are doing during our Learning to Learn Week, we saw so much going round the school- amazing mind pas, models of learning, six hats thinking, philosophy, concept lines, fortune lines, starters, brain cells, it was amazing!!
My highlight then was to spend the rest of the morning and then the afternoon with Year 3 and 4 doing some fantastic Philosophy for Children sessions, I have come away completely amazed at your thinking and ideas and respect for each other and enthusiasm for wanting to keep discussing all philosophical questions, I can't wait to do more and more!!
Wednesday 10th September 2014
Another wonderfully sunny day at school, I'm so pleased you're all enjoying the field so much and great to see so many year 7s coming to our boundary to say hello. I continue to be amazed by how well the new Re caption children are settling in, so proud of you all.
I really enjoyed the Year 5 Learning Pit assembly today and also loved the way you're starting to create your own models of learning, such an exciting time!
Tuesday 9th September 2014
I was so delighted to see so many classes enjoying their learning to learn week initiatives today. So impressed with Year 6 learning all about De Bono's Hats, making them, wearing them, and using them to think through philosophical questions, absolutely fantastic!!!
So great to walk into Year 3's discussion mind focus on the brain, how it all works, the brain cells facts were amazing!!!
I really enjoyed seeing Year 4's Minds Maps about the school and about yourselves! Truly brilliant!
I also really enjoyed doing the Learning Pit assembly with Years 3 and 6, such great thinking and comments during our time together. Another huge well done reception for having had a second fantastic day!
Monday 8th September 2014
What an amazing day it's been today- welcoming all the new Reception children into school for their first day was so incredibly special. I was so proud of you all, so proud of how enthusiastic and cheerful you all were coming in, chatting at the gate, and then in your classrooms, in the playground and even at lunch in the canteen- absolutely brilliant! A real memorable day for you and for us all. I can't wait to see you all again tomorrow!
I was also delighted with the fabulous start to our Learning to Learn Week! I really enjoyed the Year 1, 2 and 4 assemblies where we introduced the wonders of the Learning Pit and how great it is to develop of love of not knowing! It is so exciting that we are focusing on how we can all be really good as learners and how together we can build the best possible learning environments for us all.
I now really look forward to sharing the Pit with rest of the Year groups and to see all the other learning to learn initiatives flourish in classrooms throughout the school.
Friday 5th September 2014
A very warm welcome back to you all. I hope you've all had a really enjoyable and relaxing summer break. It was so wonderful meeting and greeting you all today and I could not be more excited about the start of the new academic year at Balfour Primary School.
We have had the most wonderful day with the children today, welcoming them to 2014-2015 was a great privilege for me. They have all had the most fantastic day, full of fun and excitement and left for the weekend full enthusiasm for all that's to come.
I am now really looking forward to next week, which we have dedicated as a whole school to what we call a Learning to Learn Week, during which we will be equipping all the children with a love of learning and a high level of self esteem in terms of how they feel about themselves as learners and as members of our school community. I will be blogging about all the Learning to Learn initiatives all next week and maybe we could also make this the focus of our first Headteacher coffee morning later on this half term!
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Saturday 5th July 2014
It is very rare to for me to do a Saturday entry, but I could not let the weekend pass without mentioning the fantastically brilliant school summer fair today. Such a great turn out and so many things to enjoy, to do, to taste, to win and to discover. There was such a wonderful community feel to it all and I wanted to say the most enormous thank you to all of FAB and everyone else who helped and gave up their time so generously to ensure that the fair was such a great success. I am also delighted that the weather accompanied us and very impressed by the number and range of raffle prizes, I hope you enjoy them if you were one of the lucky winners. A very special thanks to Ben and Nigel, for being so accommodating and working so hard on the day.
Friday 4th July 2014
What a day today turned out to be. I cannot believe how wonderful the Year 2 moving on assemblies were this morning, so beautifully produced and performed, so moving and meaningful and so full of joy and enthusiasm for their next steps and life in Year 3. I could not have been more proud of you all, every single child performed with so much joy, creating a wonderful atmosphere of mutual friendship and respect. Absolutely fabulous and a great celebration of the year you've had. Huge credit too to all the staff and all the families for working together to make all this possible.
Wednesday 2nd July
Thank you so much to the Year 1 children, staff and families for making this morning’s sports day so incredibly enjoyable. You all showed so many skills, great effort and enormous enjoyment. Well done to you all!
I am also absolutely delighted that the school has done so well in two other sporting events. Balfour won the chess tournament this weekend and today the school came first in the inter-school swimming gala. I am so proud of you all for taking part and for doing it all so enthusiastically and for experiencing so much success.
I am really looking forward to the first series of the Year 2 moving on assemblies this Friday, rehearsals have looked great and I'm sure the assemblies will prove very special for us all.
Tuesday 1st July
Another gorgeous day at school today, the children enjoying the outdoors so much, and so fabulous to see the group of gardeners at lunchtime, such a special sight and they enjoy it so much. I loved my strawberry! Great to see the Year 6 children rehearsing for the play so professionally. I really look forward to the performance with great anticipation.
I also really look forward to the Year 2 moving on assemblies, the rehearsals looked fantastic! Very well done to you all! Best of luck too to the Year 1s for their Sports Day tomorrow, I'm sure it will be another fun filled event.
Monday 30th June 2014
What an amazing week it was last week! The opportunities for the children on offer during sports week were truly outstanding, such variety and such different things for them to experience. I am so grateful to all the staff and families that helped so much to make it all happen so successfully. I am sure the children are so much richer for all these experiences. Many thanks too to all the children for engaging in sports week with so much enthusiasm.
A very well done to all our PGCE students who completed their placements with us on Friday. It has been wonderful to have you all at school this year and we wish you all the very best as you launch your careers.
I really enjoyed sharing the story of the Brighton Waste House with the children in KS1 today and chatting about our world and its future in terms of sustainability. The Waste House project has as its theme the quote 'there is no such thing as rubbish, just things in the wrong place. It would be great if you could all find out a little bit more about it or even pay the house a visit!
Great baseball club today, you are all getting so good!
Wednesday 18th June 2014
I experienced something very special today and quite unique! The Foundation Stage Sports Morning and Topic share was such a treat, wonderfully organised by all the staff, fantastically performed by all the children, wonderful teas and coffees and croissants and a great finale with the parents and carers race. There was such a lovely celebratory feeling throughout, well done to you all. I now really look forward to the Year 1 and Year 2 sports mornings too!
Tuesday 17th June 2014
We had an absolutely amazing treat this morning when the Year 2 and 3 violinists treated all their families and the children in Year 1 to a fabulous concert! I enjoyed it enormously and I thought they all performed so professionally, giving the audience so much pleasure. Well done and I hope the year 1 children were really inspired to now take up the violin next year!
It was a real pleasure and privilege to welcome half do the new Reception cohort and their families to our school today. What a wonderful set of children and I'm so pleased you all enjoyed meeting your teachers and support staff in your classes. Have a super holiday if I don't see at the summer fair.
Wednesday 11th June 2014
French really seems to be taking off at the moment, what a joy to be treated to a number of French songs over lunch in KS1!! It made the roast dinner very enjoyable indeed today. Another fabulous day on the field too and seeing the level of skill on show today in the Year 5 football games, the future for next year is very bright indeed. I think the World Cup focus currently at school is really inspiring a lot of enthusiasm on the pitch! Great World Cup maths too in Year 6 today!
I have rarely enjoyed eating strawberries as much as this week when the gardening club came with an offering of heir produce on Monday, they are absolutely delicious and best of all have zero food miles, so tasty!
Tuesday 10th June 2014
An enormous privilege today for the school as we had a visit from Ty Goddard, the founder of the Education Endowment National Think Tank. It was great to discuss all that we are doing at school with him, and to think of ways forward in partnership with his organisation. I was so pleased that Ty enjoyed our lunch with Year 5 and 6 so much and that he loved walking round the school and interacting with so many of you in class. As a local Brightonian I now look forward to so much more together.
Monday 9th June 2014
Something very special happened today in the KS1 assembly. I was celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day with the children and the amazing story of Bernard who went to the celebration on his own from Hove, when the idea came up that we should invite him to our school as he lives so near, and he is such a great example to us all in so many ways. I couldn't believe it when at lunchtime I already had a beautifully written from a child on letter headed paper ready to send! I really hope he accepts, and I will keep you updated!
I am still being amazed by the outcome of the Brighton Challenge as I discover more and more incredible productions! The joy with which the children share it all is quite unique.
I was also so impressed by the Year 6 Maths session I experienced this morning, such ambition and such creativity of thought. I really look forward to the results of your investigation into what is the best and most affordable school residential we could offer!
Friday 6th June 2014
Yet again I have been left totally speechless by the incredible response to the latest Headteacher challenge today. The children are incredible! Their ideas, their creative thinking, their enthusiasm are all absolutely amazing and I will treasure the feeling the children created with the Brighton challenge in the school today for a very long time! We have taken photos of them all and we really look forward to compiling it all very soon. Going round the classes today and doing the assemblies were incredibly special moments. Well done and thank you all again for all your effort. I appreciate it all enormously.
Huge congratulations too to ten Year 6 Cricket Team who won the competition at Preston Park today and are now through to the county finals on 24th June, a brilliant effort by you all!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Wednesday 4th June 2014
What a fabulous full of exciting things today has been! It was a great honour and privilege to meet all the families whose children are starting school in September, what a wonderful set of parents! I hope that today was informative and enjoyable but please get in touch at any time should you require anything else at all. I now really look forward to meeting all the new children when they come for their visits in the next few weeks.
A fantastic piece of news then reached us at the end of the day when we found that Balfour had won the County Tag Rugby Championship at Waterhall! This is an incredible achievement and it means that for the second year running the school will now take part in the national finals- a huge well done to you all, I am so proud of you all!
Tuesday 3rd June 2014
My highlight today was seeing a very enthusiastic group of children and staff devoting most of their lunchtime to doing the most fabulous gardening work within the growing plots in the KS2 playground. Chatting with the children, it was clear that they were enjoying it all so much, and they were so knowledgeable about all the plants and the crops that we have growing, so impressed with the variety and quality of what is being grown including potatoes, artichokes, strawberries and garlic! Alex Witt said that she inspires the KS1 children in a similar way too on Fridays!
I was also delighted with the commitment and organisational skills of FAB, the meeting last night was so productive in preparing for a very exciting Summer Fair and it is very clear that the committee and others are putting a huge amount of time and effort into ensuring the Fair is yet again a great success- thank you so much!
Monday 2nd June 2014
A very warm welcome back as we launch into the second half of the summer term. It was so lovely to see you all again and to hear of all the lovely and interesting things the children engaged in over the half-term.
I was so pleased today to hear the children sharing such fantastic ideas they've had for the current Headteacher challenge and I cannot wait to see them on Friday and to share them all as a whole school. Enormous, enormous thanks to you all for the effort and dedication that goes into these! I met one family who thought they would combine both challenges set so far and do 100 things about Brighton- pure genius thinking!
I really enjoyed the KS1 assembly today, and it felt so special that we celebrated the life of Maya Angelou with the children, whilst seeing her on the big screen and reading one of her most famous poems, The Caged Bird. A very meaningful moment for all of us and we are hoping to follow this up by sharing with the children video footage of Maya Angelou talking about the importance of children in the world and reading a poem she wrote as a tribute to Nelson Mandela.
We also talked about World Environment Day (WED) which is being celebrated this year on June 5th, and the main theme this year is the problem that may arise around the world from a rise in sea level. The WED website is really worth a visit!
We are all very excited about the half-term ahead and I hope you all enjoy all that the school has planned to offer the children and families over the next seven weeks.
Friday 23rd May 2014
The school seems so empty without you all, and I hope you are all enjoying your first day of the half term holiday. Huge congratulations to you all for all your effort, dedication and achievements this half term, and for showing so much enthusiasm for learning and so much friendliness with each other. Today we are learning about how to make the school even better at providing a nurturing environment for you all with the assistance of real experts from our Achievement for All project.
I am also hugely porous of our Tag Rugby Team!!! I couldn't believe it when I came in today and on my desk was the enormous trophy with Tag Rugby Brighton and Hove Champions Balfour 2014 written on it!!! It's so fantastic that the tradition in Tag Rugby continues to bring the school so much success! Good luck now in the county semi-finals on June 4th!!!
Wednesday 21st May 2104
Another very special day for our school today with the Athletics Team being crowned Brighton and Hove Schools Athletics Champions after their fantastic participation in various races at Withdean Stadium. I am so proud of you all! A tremendous achievement! I really look forward tom presenting the trophy to you all at our next assembly.
Tuesday 20th May 2014
I am so thrilled that today you all revived the details of the second Headteacher's Challenge, thank you so much to all the Office staff who copied it and placed it in bags for you all. I cannot wait to see the amazing things that you will all treat us to! I am sure that we will all develop a completely different way of thinking about and appreciating Brighton, once you have all celebrated it in your own way. Enormous enormous thanks in advance to you all for all your effort and dedication that is to come with this!
Monday 19th May 2014
It was great to see all the children enjoying looking at the whole school Open House exhibition today. A tremendous achievement to think every child in the school contributed something towards it. On a very similar theme I now await the outcome of the next Headteacher challenge with great anticipation, I will announce it tomorrow when all families will receive a note describing what it's all about. I really hope you enjoy it.
Great baseball again, a very well done to you all, playing so well, great batting, including a grand slam today! Also fantastic fielding and work on the bases and as catchers behind the batter!
Sunday 18th May 2014
This weekend really has been very special indeed for our school. I could not believe how many children and families were able to enjoy the tennis this morning at the Preston Lawn Tennis Club. I loved seeing so many you taking part and enjoying it so much in the beautiful sunshine. I really enjoyed rallying with you all and I really look forward to making this sort of event a more frequent occurrence. A huge thanks to Richard and all the coaches at the club who organised the day so well, and provided all the equipment and prizes. I am very proud of the schools link to the club!
Saturday 17th May 2014
What an amazingly wonderful Art exhibition we were treated to today! I loved it so much and I also loved the Samba band and the fabulous Kit and Leon singing performance. A huge well done to you all! Thank you so much to all the people who worked so hard to ensure the day was such a success. Thank you too for all the cake donations and to FAB for organising and running the stall so well.
Friday 16th May 2014
Fridays are great! Fabulously wonderful assembly by Robins and Wrens this morning, what a great treat for us all. You really gave a very special performance indeed. I was very proud of you all.
Well done too to all the stars of the week, I love the fact that Maths was celebrated so much today.
Fabulous Year 6 picnic, what an amazing group of children they are, I really enjoyed joining in with the four square game and the cricket! It was great to see you all enjoying the afternoon so much, richly deserved.
Thursday 15th May 2014
A huge well done to all the Year 6s for completing their SATs! You've all done so well and now you can enjoy a great Friday and a fantastic picnic! I really look forward to joining you on the field tomorrow.
I am really pleased to announce that today at a meeting with the University of Brighton, we agreed to include the University within our school Partnership in Leadership and Learning. I think this will be a very exciting venture for the school and. I will keep you updated as to the opportunities that will arise from this.
Wednesday 14th May 2014
Today is 14.5.14! Thank you very much to all the families who replied with the Open Houses you're all hosting, I will now include all these in Friday's newsletter.
Tuesday 13th May 2014
Well done Year 3 at Woods Mill today, I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it so much, especially with all the Maths! I'm also delighted with all the fantastic Maths I've been seeing in Year 3 and by the way you're all so excited to take on special challenges, I hope you enjoy the magic square to 15! Year 1 have been having a go at the Magic Square to 9, absolutely brilliant, and I love the way you all come up for more and more challenges!
More congratulations to Year 6, half way through now and just Maths to go, very well done!
Thank you so much too to Dawn Powell who is creating a fabulous World Cup display in our entrance hall, come and have a look and feel free to contribute some memorabilia if you have any!
Monday 12th May 2014
Welcome back for another week and a very special one for our Year 6s who start their SATS week today. It's great to hear it all went so well today and I hope you're able to enjoy them as much as possible as see them as a way of demonstrating all your wonderful learning and understanding and creative thinking. I am very proud of you all.
I loved sharing the image of the washed up footballs in the KS1 assembly, and your thinking and questions were truly extraordinary!! I really hope you've managed to Google it and share it with your families at home!
So sorry baseball was cancelled, next week we can play a little bit longer!
Friday 9th May 2014
I still can't believe how brilliant the Sparrows and Nightingales were this morning in their summer term performance. I really enjoyed it so much and I thought every child performed with so much confidence and so much enjoyment. I loved your singing, dancing, storytelling, videos and narrating, you gave an all round fantastic experience for the audience. I now really look forward to the Wrens and Robins next week!
Well done to all the fabulous stars of the week today, such an enjoyable time with you all, great words on your certificates!
I would like to wish all the Year 6 children all the very best during their SATs week next week, I'm sure you will all be wonderful, you've worked so hard for them, enjoy them as much as possible!
Have a great weekend and enjoy the Brighton Festival!
Thursday 8th May 2014
Wow, what an extraordinary session the teachers led at the University today, I was so proud of them! So professional and so ground breaking for the university students to experience a live pupil progress meeting! It's so exciting that our school is having such an impact within the wider community. Incredibly grateful to Mrs Biggs, Mrs Geard and Miss Mulholland.
Wednesday 7th May 2014
I am really looking forward to featuring our school very prominently at the University of Brighton tomorrow, where Mrs Biggs, Mrs Geard and Miss Mulholland will join me in front of all the students to do a demo of how a pupil tracking meeting is held! I am very proud of them for offering to do it, and agreeing for it to be recorded on video!
Tuesday 6th May 2014
Today we very proud to welcome a group of French teachers to our school from a local Language School. It was great to be able to show you round our school and to share with you with how our education system works. I hope we can keep in touch and that we can keep learning from each other.
Many thanks too to Richard, the coach from the Preston Lawn Tennis Club who came in today and this time inspired all the KS2 children with the wonders of Tennis- a great exhibition and now we all look forward to the whole school event on Sunday 18th at the tennis club when we call go and play for free!
Saturday 3rd May 2014
Today was the most idyllic Children's Parade one could have wished for. There was such a tremendous atmosphere as a result of fabulous school turn out and the weather could not have been better. Enormous enormous thanks to all the people, staff and families involved since the beginning of the process in preparing for and putting so much effort into making this event such an enjoyable success. I hope you all now have a great rest of bank holiday weekend
Friday 2nd May 2014
Huge congratulations to all the wonderful stars of the week today, I really enjoyed reading out your celebratory comments, so many recognitions of your success in an effort with your learning and so many mentions too of how you are as learners and as role models for each other!
Also huge congratulation to the Year 6 Girls Football Team, I really enjoyed watching your matches at Carden and a great well done for coming third- a great achievement and I am so pleased so enjoyed it all so much- as always huge thanks to Mr Gotell for organising it all so well.
What an amazing day Reception had at Ladyland Farm- I am so proud of all of you- a great trip and a fantastic experience!
Wednesday 30th April 2014
Today I was absolutely amazed at how wonderful lunchtimes on the field are for the children. It was quite a unique experience to see the whole school enjoying and playing so nicely in the fabulous expanse of green. What a fantastic privilege the school is able to offer the children, and best of all the children respond to this so well- so many different activities, so many matches and games, so much activity and team work- regular baseball may be next!
I was absolutely delighted to welcome the Year 4 children from Alfriston. I am so pleased all four classes had such a fantastic time on their residential and I look forward to hearing lots and lots about it all. A huge thank you to all the staff whose enormous effort and dedication made it all possible and so enjoyable for the children.
Tuesday 29th April 2014
Today I went to see the Year 4s at their residential trip in Alfriston, and what an amazingly unbelievable experience!! The weather was absolutely perfect for all our walks today and the children are enjoying themselves so much!! It was great to see them in such a wonderful setting, so healthy in the countryside and being treated to such interesting activities and talks by the National Trust Guides. Talking to the children, they couldn't be enjoying it more and I'm so proud of them. Huge thanks to the staff too, who are looking after them so well.
Monday 28th April 2014
What a wonderful start to the week we've had! I really enjoyed our KS1 assembly and your great contributions during our celebration of World Health Day, I'm so pleased by how deeply you think and how insightful you are when discussing children's rights across the world.
I was then delighted to have lunch with Year 3 today and so pleased to hear how much you enjoyed your visit to Fiveways today as part of your learning about our local community.
It was a great feeling waving the Year 4s off as they left for Alfriston on their residential trip. What a joy to see the children so enthusiastic and so excited about their trip. I really hope it all goes really well for all four classes and I can't wait to see you all in Alfriston tomorrow! I've already got my packed lunch ready!!
I would like to send the most enormous congratulations to the Year 6 football team who became league champions today, beating Westdene 5-4 on penalties in a very close and exciting final!!! I really look forward to hearing all about it! The trophy is amazing!
Also huge congratulations to the baseball club, we had our first ever session after school today and I could not have been more impressed! Such wonderful talent and skill and teamwork! We had every child hitting great shots, fielding brilliantly, a run out, an amazing catch, fabulous home runs and even a grand slam! I can't wait for the next session. Well done all of you and keep watching clips of the Boston Red Sox for inspiration!
Friday 25th April 2014
It was great doing the first stars of the week of the summer term today, I so enjoy reading and celebrating all the wonderful words that the teachers write about each of the children. A real highlight today was a child from Year 2 presenting her Nocturnal Animals project so brilliantly in front of the whole assembly!! I am so proud of how many children were celebrated for being role models to the rest of the class.
I am also delighted that the Year 3 enjoyed their visits to the Dorothy Stringer Environmental Centre so much, great to have those links on the Surrenden Campus. Also well done to all the Reception children for enjoying the visit from Zoolab so much, it sounds as though you were all very brave with what you touched and held!
I hope you all have a great weekend and thank you so much to all of you who are thinking of attending the Children's Parade workshop on Saturday morning. Hugely appreciated! What a fantastic turn out! Huge thanks to all the children, families and staff who worked so enthusiastically to produce such wonderful things for the parade next weekend.
Tuesday 22nd April 2014
It's always a great day when a baby visits us and today we had the lovely pleasure of lots of cuddles with 3 month old Megan, Mrs Lopez' lovely daughter. The children were very entertained with her through the window!
Well done to the Year 3s today who enjoyed their visit to the Dorothy Stringer nature site so much. It's great to work so closely with all the schools on the Surrenden campus.
I am really looking forward to the celebration assemblies on Friday as I will have the honour of presenting not just all the stars of the week but also the achievements of children in out of school activities, golf and swimming so far! I really value celebrating all your out schools activities so do bring things in for me to present, it adds so much!
Monday 22nd April 2014
Good evening everyone and a very warm welcome back!
I really hope that you've all had a wonderfully enjoyable and relaxing Easter break. From all the plans that I have been looking at and thinking about, the Summer Term should be full of excitement and full of great opportunities for all the children.
I really look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow afternoon as I'm away in the morning leading a workshop on Philosophy for Children for the Portslade Cluster of schools who are having an inset day.
What a fabulous first day back, it was great to see all the children so engaged in all their new topics! Great too to hear of all the exciting things they have all been doing over the holidays!
Friday 4th April 2014
Another fabulous week to end a great term. Thank you all so much for all your energy, commitment, engagement and support. Fantastic assembly by Swallow Class today, brilliantly performed, so engaging and entertaining.
I would like to wish you all a very enjoyable and relaxing Easter break and I look forward to all the wonderful activities and plans already in place for the summer term.
Wednesday 2nd April 2014
A very proud day for the school today as we celebrate Janice Brook's 25th anniversary of working at the school, such an incredible achievement, and on behalf of the whole school we thank you for all you've done and you all still do as our business manager.
Tuesday 1st April 2014
I was delighted by the number of parents who were able to attend the first HT coffee morning today. It was great to see so many of you, the atmosphere that you created was so special. I hope you enjoyed hearing about the Joy of Not Knowing and I hope you enjoy reading the articles. Very soon, I will now repeat the session one evening so as to cater for as many families as possible in terms of availability. I also really enjoyed all your comments and questions and thoughts about the possible focus for the next Coffee mornings.
I was so proud of the Year 6 girls rugby team, I got to see them playing so well against secondary school opponents at Dorothy Stringer. Fantastic!!
I now really look forward to meeting and greeting you all at the KS2 parent consultation evenings. Thank you very much for taking the time to come and chat with your class teacher.
Well done to the Year 6 Bugle reporters who have produced a fabulously interesting and well written Spring edition!
Also I was so impressed with the Victorian day the Year 3 experienced today and the great work the Year 5s were doing whilst compiling their Roman film, I can't wait until the premiere!
Friday 28th March 2014
What a fabulous event the Easter Egg Hunt turned out to be after school today. There was such a lovely community feel throughout the event, with so much fun and so much enjoyment from the children and families. Thank you so so much FAB and all the fabulous parents who helped so much to enable the event to run so smoothly and enjoyably.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend and don't forget the HT coffee morning next Tuesday at 9.00, you are all very welcome to come.
Tuesday 25th March 2014
It has been great seeing the children taking part in Bikeability this week, such an important skill and one that promotes the great benefits of cycling and healthy lifestyles. I also hope that you enjoy Bug Club as an additional way of promoting a love of reading.
Thank you so much too for all your great responses to the Family Skills Survey, there are so many exciting ventures that we can follow now to enrich the educational provision for all our children.
I am now really looking forward to the Easter Egg hunt on Friday! Thank you FAB for organising it all.
Monday 24th March 2014
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend, the teachers are still trying to work out what happened to us during the 3-0 defeat to the Year 6s at the football on Friday! Well done to everyone on Friday for being so enthusiastic to take part and enjoy Sports Relief so much and help the school raise funds for such a worthwhile charity. We were also very proud to be supporting the National Downs Syndrome event throughout the school on Friday.
Today I really enjoyed the KS1 assembly where we looked into the ins and outs go the Budget and workings of it all. I was so proud of the children who came up with brilliant ideas as to how the money should be distributed across the country.
Friday 21st March 2014
This is a live post to say a huge thank you for supporting Sports Relief with so much enthusiasm, the children all look great and they are all enjoying themselves enormously already, so much activity, it's great. I've already enjoyed playing table tennis with Year 6 and netball with Year 4. I really look forward to Football and tag Rugby this afternoon playing for the Teachers against Year 6!
What a fantastic assembly by Kingfishers this morning, you all performed with so much confidence and so much enjoyment, it was such a joy to host my first ever class assembly! I am very proud of you all.
Thursday 20th Match 2014
Another great evening meeting and greeting so many of you at Parents Evening, thank you too for all the lovely comments you left in our new book, they are all greatly appreciated.
Wednesday 19th March 2014
I was so pleased so many parents at building resilience workshop, I am delighted that these opportunities are being offered and are proving productive. Please let me know if there are any other workshop type activities you would like the school to be offering.
It was great discussing the budget with Year 6 today, the children showed a lot of insight into the mechanics of the budget and a lot of wonderful thoughts with regards to how they think the money from the budget should be spent. Have you looked up more of the details announced? Have you noticed anything related to education? Enjoy researching it all.
I also enjoyed my first SOC Governors meeting tonight, such interesting discussions, and thank you committee members for all your time and effort with all that it takes to prepare for these meetings.
I was so pleased and so proud of the Swimming Gala participants, what a great success for the school, winning the Community Trophy, well done to all those involved. I am also delighted that the Football Team keeps going from strength to strength and I cannot wait until the finals now- well done for another two wonderful performances.
It was such a pleasure to meet and greet the parents in the Infants this evening at my first ever Parent Consultation evening, I really hope that you enjoyed the new set up of all being together in the hall and I really hope that you found the meetings with the teachers productive and celebratory.
Tuesday 18th March 2014
Another great day in classes today, this time in Year 3 and Year 6, I'm so impressed with your thinking skills starters Year 3- brilliant! Also your ability to work out problems using a systematic approach was a joy to see.
I also loved the Philosophy with Year 2, such great thinking around the question of whether it is ever right to do something wrong and the fascinating concept of risk in our everyday lives, well done, I was so impressed!
Monday 17th March 2014
I hope you've had a lovely weekend and that Quiz night was enjoyable and fun for all. Thank you so much FAB for organising such a successful evening and for all the of fort that went into putting this event on.
Happy St.Patrick's Day! Today I really enjoyed spending lots of time in Year 6 and Year 4, such fabulous enthusiasm for number and such great problem solving skills being displayed.
I am really looking forward to meeting and greeting you all at this week's parent consultation evenings for Reception and KS1 and I really hope you enjoy our new set up of all of us being in the hall.
Wednesday 12th March 2014
What a wonderful sunny day it has been at school, I am really enjoying spending lots of time in the classrooms this week and seeing the children being so enthusiastic with their learning and being so positive about extra challenge is so satisfying and rewarding. I'm also so impressed by how well the children play at lunch time, the weather is certainly helping. Lunch with the infants was great today, thank you for our lovely chats!
I am really looking forward to meeting you all at the forthcoming parent consultation evenings over the next couple of weeks.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Thank you all for making my day so special today- lovely singing Year 5! Huge congratulations to the Cricket Team who were successful in their match away at Stanford Juniors. I am so proud of you all and I can't wait to hear all about it. Well done too to the Year 3 classes who are going to Preston Manor this week, it's great to hear how much you are enjoying it all and well done for dressing up so realistically!
Monday 10th March 2014
I'm sitting here at the Dome having experienced the most wonderfully amazing performance from Balfour at Let's Dance. Such a proud moment as the school was given the huge honour of opening the whole Festival for 2014!!! A huge well done to you all Year 6 performers, you were truly fabulous and thanks so much to Jules for such brilliant choreographing and Laura Gibbons for all you did too and to the amazing support in the audience from families and staff!!
Friday 7th March 2014
It has been a lovely day, celebrating all the stars of the week in the morning and reading out such lovely things that the children were being celebrated for. I am so pleased that the children are being rewarded not only for the quality of their work but also for their positive attitude to learning and for their qualities as a person.
I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend and I am really looking forward to the Let's Dance performance on Monday evening.
Wednesday 5th March 2014
I wanted to say that I enjoyed the Teaching and Learning Governors Meeting yesterday enormously and thank you all for the enthusiasm shown. It was so interesting discussing so many aspects of pedagogy that can be used to drive to our curriculum that are designed to maximise each child's potential and self-esteem. I now look forward to the other Governor meetings that are to come.
Tuesday 4th March 2014
I am very proud of all the Larks today who enjoyed their trip to Pizza Express so much, you all did so well and were a real credit to the school.
I am also really pleased that Book Week is going so well and that there is so much reading at school everywhere we go. I was so impressed in KS1 assembly that the children were so knowledgeable about the processes involved in writing and publishing books, fantastic! It's great to see so many children enjoying our book fair and going away so excitedly with their new books.
I really enjoyed having lunch in the Infants today, where we all had 100 spaghettis and 100 sweet corns and 100 spoonfuls of jelly and ice-cream!
I now really look forward to my first Teaching and Learning Governors Sub-Committee tomorrow evening.
Monday 3rd March 2014
Thank you all so so much for your incredible commitment and enthusiasm and your unbelievable originality and creativity to think of such amazing things for 100 day. I felt incredibly moved by your response today and I will really treasure all the amazing things that were shared.
I visited every class to celebrate the challenge and to thank all the children so much! The whole school was so vibrant today with the excitement of 100. We now need to think of how to capture all this as a film, an article, an exhibit, etc, any ideas greatly welcomed! I hope you enjoy my 100 contribution below!
I am also delighted that Year 5 had such a good time at Fishbourne today, well done for being such a credit to the school and for enjoying it all so much.
100 Words for 100 Day
Writing a hundred word poem
Is my contribution
To this very special day
Everyone's enthusiasm for the challenge
Has been truly extraordinary!
What an amazing school
Balfour Primary is
Such dedication, creativity and originality
And all done with so much enthusiasm and love for learning!
An enormous thanks to you all
One hundred is such a special number
It's cien in Spanish
And this explains so many of our common words:
One hundred cents in a dollar,
One hundred centimetres in a metre
One hundred years in a century,
And most importantly of all
Hundreds of friends for us all
Thursday 27th February 2014
I hope you've all had a lovely day, I really missed you all whilst at the University but sharing lots of wonderful things from our school with the students.
Huge well done to the second Year 1 Pizza trip, I heard it all went extremely well. I really hope you enjoyed the experience.
I am really looking to stars of the week tomorrow and to the theatre workshops for reception, Year 1 and Year 2, not to mention the 100 day challenge celebration on Monday and the start of book week! I think on Monday my blog entry will be made up of exactly 100 words!
Wednesday 26th February 2014
Huge congratulations to all the Year 5 and 6 children who participated so well at the cross country event at Waterhall today, I am so proud of you all and so proud of you all representing our school. I am so impressed with all the sporting opportunities on offer at the school, within clubs and at events.
Such a lovely roast chicken lunch today, chatting with the Year 5's and 6's, such interesting conversations.
Tuesday 25th February 2014
I was delighted today that the Year 1 trip to Pizza Express went so well and that all the children enjoyed it so much, it was great to hear your stories and experiences. I think we may be discovering some chefs of the future!
I am also absolutely delighted with the buzz that the 100 Challenge is creating amongst children and adults- the most wonderful comment from a Year 1 child today as we aware having lunch together- his idea for the challenge 'I want to make 100 new friends on Monday'. I could not be more pleased with these sentiments.
Huge congratulations too to the Year 6 Football team who defeated Brighton College 4-1 in the quarter finals of the Cup. What a treat it is to watch you play- the first goal was truly amazing, such a well constructed move, great passes and a superb finish, all starting on the half-way line. I can't wait for the semis!
Good luck to all the cross-country runners tomorrow at Waterhall, I am very proud of you all!
Monday 24th February 2014
A very warm welcome back to all of you today, I have really enjoyed seeing you all today and hearing about all the lovely things that the children did over half-term.
We have already had a fabulous day at school, with the Year 3 Victorian Day and Rainbow Theatre workshops, it was such a treat to see the children enjoying it all so much. Thank you also to the wonderful Year 6 children who led such an interesting and well prepared assembly for Years 1 and 2 on the very important topic of Fairtrade and sustainability.
I hope you also all enjoy my very special '100 challenge', which was set to all the children and families today on the 100th day of the academic year! Next Monday we will celebrate it all by having a whole school 100 day- I can't wait to see all the fantastic ideas!
Thursday 13th February 2014
The last day of this half-term! I can't quite believe it! It has been filled with so much of enjoyment for us all and, I hope with lots of memorable experiences for the children. I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter, and I hope you all have a fantastic half-term, full of fun.
I am so proud of all the Reception children, the staff and the wonderful volunteers who worked so hard as a team today to ensure that all the children were able to enjoy their trip to the Bluebell Railway enormously. I am so pleased you all had so much fun an represented the school so beautifully.
I really look forward to welcoming you all back on Monday 24th February,
Warmest best wishes from us all.
Wednesday 12th February 2014
A great day discussing so many exciting prospects for after half-term with both the senior leadership, senior management and staff teams. I am very excited by all the plans and I am really looking to sharing these with yourselves and with the children.
Great to see the Year 5s building such amazing catapults! Their enthusiasm was a joy to see!
Tuesday 11th February 2014
Welcome to International e-safety day today, it has been great seeing how the whole school has been focusing on this increasingly important part of our everyday lives. Please let us know if there is anything else we can be doing in school to ensure that all the children learn how to remain safe online.
I am now really looking to our next FAB meeting tonight and to chat about lots of exciting projects for the school.
Monday 10th February 2014
I hope you've all had a great weekend. It was lovely to welcome all the children this morning to our last week of the half-term. I really enjoyed sharing the Winter Olympics and Paralympics with KS1 in their assembly. It was so interesting to focus on the town of Sochi, and taking the children through a virtual tour of the city and the Olympic Park. We also discussed what each of the Olympic values means and how they can all help us to achieve our dreams- determination, equality, respect, excellence, inspiration, courage and friendship.
I really enjoyed doing Philosophy with Year 6 yesterday, we were wondering if it is ever right to do something wrong! What do you think?
It was great to see that the Year 6 Football Team used these values to great effect today too, during their very impressive victory away at Coldean, winning 6-1, including a hat-trick!
Friday 7th February 2014
Such a lovely end to the week, I enjoyed the stars of the week enormously today, celebrating with the children so many wonderful successes, effort, dedication and enthusiasm.
I am also really impressed by the range of clubs and extra-curricular activities available at the school. It's great that so many children take up these opportunities.
I hope you all have a great weekend, full of fun and relaxation.
Thursday 6th February 2014
Wow I love the thinking blackboard in the Infant Playground- absolutely fantastic and I hope you all enjoy contributing your thoughts with your children in the mornings!
I was also so impressed today in Year 5, when I experienced a debating session, it felt so professionally conducted, so well researched and so willing for participants to formulate for and against points of views, all mediated by the judges. I was incredibly thrilled to then find that they finished their debate by watching a replay of yesterday's Prime Minister's Question Time from the House of Commons, thank you so much for being so enthusiastic!
Wouldn't it be great if we started a debating society at school- what do you think?
Wednesday 5th February 2014
What a great time I had today in Eagles doing Philosophy!! We were wondering whether 2-D shapes actually exist! The thinking that ensued was quite extraordinary, I was so impressed by the contributions that all the children were making, so deep and so creative! The chat took us to so many other interesting concepts including images in mirrors and whether they exist, things that go on forever, so great! I can't wait to have the same philosophical enquiry with all the Year 2s now, and to start including these questions in our newsletters too!
Well done too to the Year 6 children who engaged in the four fours challenge so well, with one child going all the way up to 90! Brilliant!
Tuesday 4th February 2014
I was delighted to represent the school and lead a morning session for teachers across the local authority today on the Joy of Not Knowing or JONK and how this can be used to inspire all learners and challenge all children to achieve their potential. I was delighted that Balfour had a such big representation at the course!
It was also great to see all the teachers starting to get their ideas ready for this year's Art Exhibition as part of the Open Houses celebration in May. I am also really enjoying seeing the Lets Dance dancers getting ready for their performance!
Monday 3rd February 2014
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. The week has started with huge excitement for Year 5s! I could not believe what an amazing day they all had, being treated to a Roman Day! It was so well run and organised and combined a huge number of different activities, experiential learning at it's very best- plays, costumes, resources, games, so much and I'm sure they will remember it all for a very long time!
Friday 31st January 2014
What a wonderful day it's been for our school. I am so grateful to John West Burnham for dedicating a day of his very precious time to being with us, meeting and sharing his words of wisdom with our Governors, staff, children and Headteachers from our partnership. His way of looking at and analysing learning and school systems is quite unique and he has already inspired me to think of so many ways in which we can all enrich what we already have at the school. John and I were particularly impressed by the mature and respectful way in which the children engaged with John, especially over lunch!
I really hope that our new texting system will improve the efficiency with which the school is able to communicate with yourselves. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Thursday 30th January 2014
I was treated to an amazing piece of creativity today, with the most stupendous video animation by a child in Year 3 created as part of his home learning and charting the timeline of his life, a real classic!
I would like to wish you all a very happy new Chinese New Year of the Horse tomorrow! Enjoy! We are also very excited to be welcoming John West Burnham to our school tomorrow, a real inspiration in all aspects to do with learning!
Wednesday 29th January 2014
it was lovely to welcome so many children this morning who were coming to a variety of clubs before school. I am so impressed by the range of extra curricular opportunities available to the children, before school, at lunchtime and after school. These clubs make such a difference to the way we are able to enrich children's experiences of their time at school.
I am now really looking forward to welcoming a very special visitor to our school on Friday- John West Burnham a world renowned expert on leadership will spend the day with staff, children, Governors and partnership head teachers. It should be very exciting indeed.
Tuesday 28th January 2014
A huge thank you to Mrs Kelsey for leading such an informative professional development meeting for all the staff on the very important subject of e-safety.