The final year of primary school has arrived. N doesn’t seem that fussed about the milestone of this year. It probably impacts parents more as they can’t believe their child has already whizzed through primary. Now is the time when we’re having to decide and apply for secondary schools. It seems much harder than them starting school in reception.

Here’s our September.

Returning while Covid is still rampant

N’s school has been cautious during the last couple of years, and I’ve been glad about that. They returned to school keeping class bubbles, although they are all back eating in the hall again, and having full school assemblies. Break times are evidently better now they can play a massive class game of tag again, and they can go on the equipment when it’s their time. Their classroom is back to having normal tables of 6, rather than the pairs sitting in rows.

Drop off and pick up are still drive through style. I love that – it’s so much more efficient for parents, although it can’t be great for teachers having to be out in the rain with the children when autumn properly arrives.

There was a first case in N’s class on day 2, so all in the class did lateral flow tests before going into school that day. And so far all since have been clear. Phew.

Reading

Over the summer I made sure N read most days. He got into the habit of reading before getting up for the day, and got through 2 ½ books over the 6 weeks. He even started enjoying reading.

At school they’ve been back reading quite a lot, and he’s back reading to the teaching assistants regularly. They’re allowed to take books out of the library again, which he’s happy about. He’s found some World War 2 based stories – a girl’s diary of evacuation, air riads, and a story about U-boats. He got through those quite fast, and now has found another Tom Gates book for a change. The war books fitted in well because their topic is World War 2. It seems to have got quite a few of the children interested in reading and talking more about that type of history. Especially engaging when some of them have grandparents with stories to tell about being in the war.

After a blip forgetting to read at the start of term, he’s back in the habit of reading in the mornings. I’m trying to get him to check his spellings more than once a week too as he’s not getting the spelling test marks he was last year. So he’s checking spellings then reading for 15 minutes each morning. He’s also taking his books in the car to read if we’re going for a longer journey, so I think we’ve cracked the ‘reading can be enjoyable’ part. Hopefully school are seeing his reading has improved too.

Learner of the week

Day 2 and N was learner of the week, for getting settled back in fast and working hard.

children studying in class

Maths

N’s been getting a bit frustrated in the later part of the month. Because they have a mixed 2 year group class, he’s in the ‘revision’ year as I call it. He’s frustrated that they’re going over easy stuff again that he found easy last year too. He’s on a mixed year table, and was finding that there’s one table who get given harder and different maths to do, while he was complaining their table were having to wait for some who are younger and not as strong at maths. He wanted to be trying the new, more interesting maths.

I tried to explain that he needed to make sure he was getting all his maths correct, and then ask the teacher why he couldn’t try the harder work too. Someone else asked to do harder work, so they’ve now been given next phase problems, which he felt a bit better about. Hopefully he’ll feel more challenged now, and not that he’s missing out. Given maths is his best subject, I think N thinks he is capable of working at harder questions, and doesn’t want to miss out on what the others are doing. He had even said he’d do extra and harder homework to show he could do it, although I don’t know if he actually did.

Sports

This year there’s been a lot let sports so far compared to last year. They started off with football, but then there’d been some issues, so that was banned for their class,and they’re now onto tag rugby. Although there were then some other issues (a week where I’d pulled N out of sport due to injury) during that session, so things aren’t looking good for getting more sport in unless they start behaving and being more sporting and including with each other. I think the week N was injured, he was pleased to have beein inside reading instead of caught up in all the trouble.

They have had hockey this month too though, and N came home very pleased to have scored 5 goals.

I was surprised that N didn’t stand for sports council this year. But it appeared that not many wanted too. His reasoning was that it means going round and checking on people at breaktimes, and that means less time for playing.

Secondary schools

Yes, it’s been time to look round secondary schools before making our decision and putting in his application before the end of October. The first one was the catchment school. The school should be fine, but crikey it was a poor showing. Either they’re just really complacent and know they’ll be oversubscribed so don’t need to attract people. Or they’re just useless at knowing what parents want to see at open days.

Yes it was good to see the school during a school day. But it was 5 minutes talk by the head, then a 30 minute tour by 2 pupils in small groups. Our tour guides weren’t particularly chatty, they were history and computer geeks and couldn’t really answer anything about sports offer, or other things that were asked. There was no chance to talk to teachers, other than in a small gap between 2 different open morning slots, along with all the other parents. The school is really run down – I don’t think it’s had a lick of paint since I was there nearly 30 years ago. I know he’ll be fine there, but it was a big disappointment. I followed up with an email of questions after and the key stage 3 head/assistant head phoned me to answer my questions which was good. I didn’t get all the answers I was hoping for. But I wasn’t really expecting to on some points, but it was good to hear how some areas that N enjoys have been improved so much and are now really strong subjects.

The other was the school just over the border that lots of kids from our school go to, largely because it’s 500 kids smaller than the catchment school. It was an evening thing, and was such a big difference. There was a 15 minute talk (which was a bit dull), 2 pupils also spoke about their feelings about the school. Then we did a tour with a student, and each subject area had the head of that subject to speak to, plus other students or teachers running activities for the children looking round. It was engaging for the children, and N was very inspired by all the teachers who he thought were exciting. We could ask all the questions we wanted.

Now we have a hard decision. Whether we try for that school and hope we get a place (it’ll probably need to go to appeal, as they’re a baby boom year, and they’ll be oversubscribed). Or stick with catchment which will end up being fine. Such a hard decision, so I’m hoping the first school does come back and answer my questions.

So it’s the first month of Year 6 over already. This year is just going to go by so fast.

How’s school been going with your children?

1 Comment

  1. Good luck to N in year 6.
    I am glad school is going OK with Covid still going on. We are still lateral flow testing every day, so far all negative.
    That is so good that N is enjoying reading and it sounds like he’s doing so well at school x

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