Head Teacher’s Blog July 2022
The 2021/22 school year has presented many challenges, but it has also been hugely rewarding. I am proud of all the hard work that our pupils, supported by a dedicated team of staff, have put into catching up on their missed learning. I give thanks to our pupils’ parents and carers who have also supported the school and their children to get back on track following the school closures of the previous school year due to the pandemic. I know that many of our pupils were delighted with their end of year school reports, which reflect the positive outcomes of all this hard work.
I am delighted with the results of this year’s Phonics Screening Check. Our year 1 pupils performed extremely well, which validates our decision to introduce the Little Wandle Letter and Sounds Scheme for teaching phonics. Since we commenced using the scheme, we have seen positive results throughout the school pupil population, particularly in reading.
This year was the first year that our year 4 children took part in the National Times Table Check, which they performed online. The results were very positive and demonstrated all of the hard work that year 4 pupils, encouraged by class staff and their families at home, engaged in the lead up to the tests.
The school kitchen has received a lot of positive feedback since we took the decision to manage the school catering in-house. New chef Mr. Naleer is a very welcome addition to our kitchen staff and he produces healthy, delicious meals which are enjoyed by children and adults alike. There has been an increase in the uptake of school dinners and the menu is varied and reflective of the school’s diverse cultural population. The meals are fresh and pleasing to the eye, our dining room is a bright and comfortable environment in which to enjoy school dinners.
Since returning from the half term break, our year 6 pupils attended a residential stay at the Kingswood Centre in Norfolk. The centre is situated in 45 acres of stunning countryside overlooking the coast and offers over 20 exciting activities. Our pupils participated in abseiling, various obstacle and challenge courses, three trapeses, a giant swing, a motorsports track and a huge multi-activity tower. The children enjoyed their time away developing essential team building skills in addition to the promotion of independence. They also created memories that will stay with them for many years to come, I’m sure.
During the week of Monday 13th to Friday 17th June, Park Lane Primary School celebrated Wellness Week. Mrs Valeri of Place2Be launched Wellness Week during Monday’s Head Teacher’s Assembly and for the remainder of the week, children from all year levels participated in a range of activities highlighting the importance of physical and mental health. Every morning, our KS2 pupils participated in the Daily Mile fun run around the school playground, and in the afternoon, it was the turn of pupils in KS1. Rounders’ competitions were also held for KS2 pupils throughout the week, and on Wednesday, EYFS and KS1 took part in an obstacle course in the school hall. The benefits of exercise to our physical and mental wellbeing are well documented and Wellness Week was all about raising awareness of the importance of both.
The Brent Youth Theatre also delivered a drama workshop to our year 6 pupils on Wednesday 15th June. The workshop, in line with the Wellbeing theme, involved critical thinking and empathy.
Sports Days for both KS1 on Friday 17th June, and for KS2 on Wednesday 22nd June, took place in King Edward VII Park. Bathed in glorious sunshine, the children dressed in their house colours, participated in various sporting challenges including: the obstacle course, sprints, javelin, egg and spoon race, and of course, everyone’s favourite – the tug of war! Both days were well organised by our P.E. teacher, Miss Bevis-Smith, and well attended by parents and carers showing support for their children. The children competed for house points, the winning team enjoying a party in the school hall in the last days before the end of the school year.
The Annual Park Lane Primary School Summer Fair took place on Thursday 7th July. Organised by the PSA, led by Ms. Panayi, the day was a whole lot of fun! The PSA supports our school to enhance the children’s education and enrichment experiences. As part of their brief, the PSA organise school fundraising activities, social events and trips, and on this occasion they raised over £900 for the school. Each class managed their own stall and children sold items such as bracelets, photo frames, ice creams, drinks and snacks. We had a bouncy castle; nail polish and henna pamper stalls; goal scoring and ‘hit the coconut’ games that were organised by the older children in the school.
On Wednesday 13th July, the Park Lane Choir took part in the Brent Makes Music 2022 There’s A Place For Us Concert. The concert, held at Wembley Arena, was a celebration of Brent’s community and diversity. The children loved the event and were amazed by some of their highly talented peers; they also had the opportunity to listen to and sing along with the amazing musicians of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Park Lane Choir also performed at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party in King Edward VII Park on Saturday 4th June. The children had a wonderful time performing for their parents/carers, along with other members of the local community who were in attendance on the day.
It is the first time in several years, due to the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid, that many of our pupils have been able to attend external trips. The weather over the last few months has been fantastic and the trips well planned so our pupils have really enjoyed them. Year 1 visited Kew Gardens as they have been learning all about plants and how they propagate; Nursery attended a trip to Bekonscot Model Village as they have been learning about different forms of transport. During their visit, they saw model trains, buses and bikes, and even got to ride on a miniature train. Years 4 and 5 have been learning about living things, including animals and humans and so visited the ZSL London Zoo. Year 5 also visited the Welsh Harp where they conducted a study of plants and later bought some samples of different kinds of plants, from the Birchwood Grove Garden Centre. For their end of year fun trip, Year 5 had an adventure in the treetop canopies of Go Ape at Black Park. Our nursery, KS1 pupils and years 3 and 4 enjoyed a visit to the cinema for their end of year fun trip.
As part of the 50 things to accomplish before leaving Park Lane, our year 6 pupils visited the London Eye. They were able to get a bird’s eye view of London’s skyline both from the London Eye, and during a boat trip along the Thames, when they spotted many buildings of historical significance.
The class assemblies delivered by our pupils and staff have been entertaining and informative. Ladybird re-enacted popular children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Nursery chose The Rainbow Fish as the theme of their class assembly and Butterfly class educated us all on the subject of mini beasts, which they have been learning about in class.
The year 6 end of year production was one of the highlights of this half term. After completing their SATs, year 6 pupils and staff have been hard at work rehearsing for the production and their take on Charles Dickens’ class tale Oliver, was breathe-taking. I am now looking forward to the year 6 graduation both with excitement and a little sadness as we say goodbye to the graduating class, many of whom have attended Park Lane since nursery. I am also looking forward to meeting our keynote speaker at the event, Mr. Michael DeSouza.
International Evening also a highlight of the school calendar took place on Friday 15th July. The school was abuzz with excitement and colour as children and staff dressed in traditional attire reflecting the many diverse cultures and backgrounds of our school community. Following the concert with performances of singing, poetry, dance, music and fashion, we made our way to the school dinner hall where we sampled the delights of different foods from all across the globe. Pupils, parents and staff alike enjoyed this evening celebrating the cultural diversity of our school population.
During the Summer School Holidays, Park Lane Primary School continues to support many of our pupils who are in receipt of Free School Meals. The purpose of the School Holiday and Food Activity Programme is to provide activities and balanced meals to these pupils, during the holiday periods. Children, who are invited to attend, engage in physical activities daily, including: cooking, art, dance and sport. Additionally, we have organised a range of external trips over the four weeks of the summer programme where the children will visit the cinema, the Science Museum, Woburn Safari Park, the London Transport Museum and Paradise Wildlife Park.
For all of our year 6 pupils who are commencing secondary school in September, I would like wish you the best of luck. I know that your time here at Park Lane Primary School has placed you in the best position to make the most of your natural abilities and talents, and I look forward to hearing all about your many accomplishments in the future. To all of our pupils who are re-joining us for the 2022/23 school year, I would like to wish you a safe and happy summer; visit your local library, enjoy some exercise in the park, spend some time with family and friends, and return to school enthusiastic about the new school year. I look forward to my first Head Teacher’s Assembly of the year when our pupils let me know all about what they got up to over the summer break!