A Year in the Life….

A Year in the Life…  2015/16

We started the year in September, welcoming all our children and families.  Parents were invited to a series of meetings led by the class teachers, giving information about the year ahead and classroom routines to help children settle as quickly as possible into their new classes.

We celebrated Harvest during late September at St James’ Church, with Sister Anne kindly taking the service for us.  Each class performed a song, poem or reading and we enjoyed singing all of our favourite harvest hymns.  Rev Simon Cronk joined the church as our new vicar in October and we were delighted that he has been able to take one assembly every week for the children at school, which he has continued to do throughout the year.

Our Year 5/6 children began their year with a War topic and, having studied the book, they travelled to London to see the fantastic play, War Horse.  Lucky them!

Christmas came as quickly as ever and we celebrated with a lovely Christingle, nativity service, together with our whole school trip to the pantomime in Oxford and the children’s party hosted by the Friends of Little Milton.

After Christmas, it was all change on the staffing front, with Mrs Hunter leaving after fourteen wonderful years as Headteacher.  She was replaced by Mrs McLaren, who had been a teacher at Little Milton for nearly ten years.  We also welcomed Miss Burgess as a newly qualified teacher.

The new year was marked by a visit to Oxford for the whole school to a fabulous music concert at the Sheldonian.  All the orchestral instruments were demonstrated and the children were treated to a brilliant concert with many classical favourites.

We were visited by SIAMS (Statutory Inspectorate of Anglican and Methodist Schools) in January and were declared to be a “good” school, with special mentions in the report for our supportive parent community, knowledgeable governors and our attention to individual children.  SIAMS visit every five years and we have some targets to work on before the next inspection, including involving children more in worship – they have thoroughly enjoyed doing this since and have been instrumental in deciding school values and planning services throughout the school year.

In March, OFSTED arrived for a day, and, following a great deal of hard work on behalf of all staff and governors, on the day and during the previous years since our 2011 inspection, the school was judged to be good – even though the new framework made this judgement more difficult to achieve than pre 2015.  It was felt that we had achieved goals set during the previous inspection – to expand the school’s horizons and children’s world views more widely (we worked on Comenius projects with European schools and with the British Council and a South African school to help achieve this) and to stretch our more able children even more effectively.  This time, our targets are to improve children’s handwriting and bookwork and to make the best possible and consistent use of our teaching assistants. We are more than happy to embrace these targets and have already started working on them.
During the spring term, we arranged a hockey tournament for other local schools – and came second!  Later in the year we also ran a football tournament and discovered some real talent, particularly amongst girl footballers – we hope to see more of this as time goes on.  Thame tennis club ran sessions for all classes and we took part in District Sports and Top link sports festivals as well as the county gymnastic competition, again with other local schools.

The Friends’ spring fair ran in the Village Hall during March and raised a substantial amount for the new playground equipment which was installed, to great delight, after Easter.  Teachers’ Bake Off, organised by Mrs Hanger, also raised money towards this excellent cause, whilst making sure that we all had a huge amount of tea and cake to set us off on the Easter break!

Early summer term meant SATS (Standard Assessment tests) for Year 6 and Year 2 – our children worked really hard and the week was rounded off by a lovely Ascension day service in St James’ and then our traditional walk, including parents and siblings, across the fields – this time to Great Haseley, where we had a picnic lunch before trekking back.

The end of term was incredibly busy with performances from each class: The Tempest, performed at Thame Players theatre, Stone Age assembly and Busy Bee singing performance meant that every child was involved and enjoyed thoroughly the opportunities.  Our Year 4,5 and 6 children also played a wonderful selection of pieces at Leavers’ assembly for us, following their weekly lessons since January.  Each class also took trips – to Hill End outdoor centre, to Dorchester cathedral and to the John Radcliffe hospital (for injury management training).  Sports day was memorable – we almost got there, and then the weather really did come!  Maypole evening was held on a beautiful summer’s evening, however, and boosted the Friends’ coffers again, thanks to everyone’s generosity and the children’s amazing dancing.

It was a great year at Little Milton – and we look forward to 2016/17…….

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