School News

This time of year is a very busy time for our school.

Both my children are in Sats years so the pressure is on there. Lot’s of homework clubs, meetings, parent evenings and suchlike.

And the school has just had its latest OFSTED inspection. The results will be issued in the next few days. Ofsted inspections have become much better these days in that they only give a week or two of notice before an inspection is to take place. Sounds mortifying but in my view it’s much better this way. Teachers might not agree with me but I think it has two advantages: firstly, it gives the staff and pupils less time to get all worked up and nervous so stress levels aren’t sky high for months on end with the kids receiving the main brunt. And secondly, it also provides the inspectors with a more natural and true-to-everyday-life environment in which to observe things because the teachers won’t have had the time to “create” a temporary atmosphere of excellence that may be misleading.

And…the best part of this time of year – the kids start preparing for their Christmas productions. The infants perform the Christmas nativity on the last day of term and the juniors give a pantomime-type performance over two evenings and one afternoon.

Both junior and infant shows include all the children and that’s one thing I love about the school – it’s totally inclusive on all levels. I remember my Christmas nativities at school and I was never chosen to play a part. I would wistfully stare at the angels and long to be one. They wore long white robes, silver wings and silver tinsel in their hair. And, strangely or not, they all had long, blonde hair.  So with my dark brown locks, maybe I never stood a chance if that was the criteria. I think, in retrospect, it was probably more to do with the fact that I was so shy and timid that the teachers probably assumed I would dread the thought of being chosen to play a part. But I would have happily played a non-speaking angel part.

Anyway, my daughter has been given the part of Cinderella in this years production and she has to speak in a strong Northern dialect. Easy. All she does is exaggerate her own Lancashire accent. She is really funny when she does this. One of her lines is…”Eh, What’s up wi you, Princey?” I keep getting her to practise her lines because she cracks me up when she speaks like this.

The junior productions are always superb. Costumes, make-up, stage-props etc….always so well made and lot’s of hard work and effort put into it all. The kids just love being involved and taking part. It’s far better than an expensive evening at the theatre and worth much more.

Talking of my daughter on stage…it’s amazing that she can set foot on stage and even more amazing that she actually loves it. I say this because when she was a little four year old in reception class, she got chosen to play the main part of Mary in the nativity.  She looked so sweet and cute in her little blue and white head covering and her long blue dress.  The stage was a home-made effort of wooden boxes and chairs. Joseph and Mary had to sit on the chairs which were placed on the boxes and the shepherds and the Wise Men were placed around them. Below them, at their feet, sat the angels coo-ing over the manger. My Mary did really well and she tenderly carried her baby throughout the hymns and the narration. The Holy couple had to stand on the chairs for the singing and at the end of the very last hymn, Mary was getting down from her chair when her foot got caught in her dress and she came tumbling down from her chair, knocking the angels away like skittles and ended up, head first in the manger.

Sounds funny but it wasn’t at the time. It looked quite nasty.  There was a huge collective gasp from the audience, then this tiny little cry emerged from the manger.  The school nursery nurse was there in an instant and swept her up into her arms and off the stage.

You’ll be glad to know that apart from a bump to her head, she wasn’t hurt and after being cuddled by the nursery nurse for a while, she got right back on stage and received her very own round of applause.

We have the whole thing on video and people said I should have sent it off to “You’ve Been Framed” but my daughter said she wouldn’t like that so I never did.  But it is funny to watch now. 


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