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Headteacher update 21st September

Update - Monday September 21st

Dear all,

We trust you had an enjoyable weekend in the sun ! I can't do updates every day as I am teaching quite a lot of the week so we will try to manage a couple a week (probably Monday and Thursday). There is likely to be a lot of  'news'  this week and we will try to interpret that for school (I am back to watching the BBC news channel whilst working on other things !).

Please act on 'fact not fiction' and we will keep you informed of the facts regarding school (and things can change quickly for us as we are often given information late at night). 

The next few weeks are likely to be worrying, confusing, overwhelming and every other emotion going ! Our aim is to be calm, rational and try to find our best way ahead. We know that there are people struggling to get tests, some people are isolating and lots of runny noses etc in school. At some point we are expecting a positive test either at school or via someone's immediate family, we will have a calm, sensible approach when it does and will communicate with you after advice from the appropriate authorities. 

Thank you all for your sensible, calm and measured approach at this difficult time.

This week -

1. Weather - it is meant to change during the week so the correct forest school clothes are essential. Children must have a coat in school and wellies/correct footwear (with a change for indoors). Classes are going to be using the field for the foreseeable future so wellies are really important. 

2. Communication - thank you for communicating with school about tests, Calpol and everything else. The information you share is vital. 

3. Reading - we are getting to grips with how lots of systems will work and the best way to manage homework/home school reading etc to minimise books etc coming in from home. It will take time and there will be some hiccups (please e-mail the class teacher through if there is an on-going issue. Homework - we are trying to keep to the systems we used during lockdown with Spelling Shed, TT Rock Stars etc as it is consistent, works and we know where we are. 

4. School life - school is calm, ordered and the children are learning with the same enthusiasm as they did before lockdown. Although their are some different systems in place the culture of our school is still the same, like an 'oasis' in a time of change ! You help this in the manner that you drop off and pick up in the same ordered and calm manner. We are 'making the best of it.'

Underpinning principles of our school and learning

I thought it would be a relevant time to communicate the principles that underpin our school, our culture and how we operate on a daily basis. These have been developed over many years and represent the 'core' of our culture. Nothing happens by accident ! 

Legacy principles

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to work with several successful multi national businesses looking at culture, operating principles and leadership. I was invited to listen to James Kerr (author of 'Legacy' about the All Black rugby team culture, the most successful sports team on the planet). All of the staff at Madley had a copy of the book and we still use the underlying principles in everyday school life. 

Year 6 leavers always leave a 'Legacy' for the rest of the school to use (our outdoor restaurant, Legacy Lounge for reading etc). All of the principles are age appropriate but the principles start in Reception and then get built on as children progress through the school. The principles also apply to all adults who work at Madley, we never stop learning and developing (that is humility). 

'Sweep the sheds' - the principle of everyone pulling together and doing what needs to be done (we use the saying 'leave it better than you found it').

'Follow the spearhead' (we talk about geese) and how different people can lead and take it in turns. 

'Champions do extra' - push yourself to go beyond your own expectations. 

'Know thyself' -  self reflection is a large part of what we do. Feedback/marking and discussions are always about what went well/even better if and then reflecting on how children/adults managed that. 

There are more principles that we use in school.

Connected Curriculum

We try to connect the curriculum together using first hand experience as our key driver and give children a range of skills, knowledge and understanding to take them forward in life and inspire a love of all learning. There is a  saying 'plant a tree you never see grow' and we see our part in that coming to fruition when ex Madley pupils go off to university, start apprenticeships, begin work or do something they love. We have had a hand in establishing the foundations for that. 

At the moment we are establishing our themes for this term (and the year) with a focus on real life skills, basic skills, knowledge and understanding. Not all children learn at the same rate and comparisons with others are unhelpful, we always try to establish learning opportunities for all and our ambition is for every child to 'exceed their potential' as potential is undefined and a bit of a 'buzz' saying. 


Our values underpin how we are, as human beings, and how we interact with others as well as our own drivers. It is a core foundation of our school and is always 'real' and not twee. We talk about values on a daily basis and 'respect, responsibility, trust and awareness' are some of the core elements of our culture as a school (adults and children). We hope that you share all of the values that we discuss and build on them at home (whilst understanding that school is not home, children do act differently in school to home). As a school we always talk to the children with respect and nobody shouts, we want self reflection, honesty and a solution based approach (what are you doing to do next time ?). We expect children to keep their hands to themselves and to treat everyone with respect, to respond to adults correctly and to be honest, safe and have good awareness. 

It is really pleasing to report that all of our children are capable of this and most days all of the children behave in a responsible, safe and sensible manner. Incidents of fighting (only once in 15 years, children not me), swearing and unruly behaviour are extremely rare. We always expect an honest approach, even if we have done something wrong, and a solution to the issue so it never happens again. If there was a serious incident then we would contact parents/carers directly. 

More to follow I am sure this week as national announcements are made, we will see what happens. Thank you all for your continued support, communication and common sense, it is appreciated. 

Kind regards

Mr Batstone