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22nd December 2017 – Merry Christmas Everyone

Whilst the children enjoy their well-deserved Christmas parties, all dressed up and dancing away, I have found a moment to reflect upon my first term as Headteacher.

It has been an amazing term and I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge that this position has afforded. At the centre of all of this are the children, who amaze and stun me every day with their kind hearts, great attitude and hard work. Since starting in September, we have said goodbye to nineteen John Clifford friends who have either moved school or returned to their home country. The children cope with this loss incredibly well, wishing children well and good luck for their futures. They also welcome new arrivals with open hearts and minds. This term alone, we have greeted fifty new children to the school and it’s amazing to see how the children support new arrivals in settling into their new environment, some of whom come with no spoken English.

The staff work so well with the children and each other to ensure the best for our children and they really do go above and beyond to ensure that our children have the richest opportunities. I often show prospective parents around and I always comment upon the commitment of the staff and the relationships they have with the children. There is such a sense of family within the school day and its really quite touching to be part of.

Being part of the school community has been such a privilege. Parents and carers have supported me and provided feedback about some of the little changes that they have noticed around school. We have tried our best to think at all times about the inclusion of our families in the work that we do and hope that you have enjoyed being able to come into school pre and post Christmas performance and to sing with us on the playground.

Together, we have managed to support others outside of our immediate community by donating food to Hope and to The Arches, continuing to raise money for When You Wish upon a Star and the donation of the shoe boxes to the Beeston women’s refuge. We’ve joined in song with people at Falcon House, entertained at the Memory Café and spread Christmas cheer in Tesco.

All of the softer elements of the school, the unmeasurable measures are the things that we as a community feel and see. We know that being part of John Clifford School is something to be proud of and that the hard work around the children culminates in success. The icing on the cake, comes this term, with the publication of performance data which validates what we know to be true and is testament to all that we have achieved. Well done to everyone. Merry Christmas to you all.

1st October 2017 – Four School Weeks, One Headteacher and a Marriage Proposal

I’ve been a Headteacher for one whole month today. The time has flown so quickly and the fact that four weeks have passed is quite hard to believe. It’s been a great month though, getting to know all of the families and the staff from the perspective of the Headteacher rather than the Deputy. I didn’t think the role of Headteacher would feel much different to last year but it certainly does.  I sometimes stand on the playground, in the corner by the steps to the field, looking up at the majestic JC building. I look at the Victorian tiles on the roof, at the mortar crumbling from between the bricks, at the windows, and at the leaky cast iron guttering and ponder upon my responsibility for all of what I see, even before the building is filled with little blue sweatshirts and JC Promises.  It’s a huge role and I could feel quite daunted, but I don’t. When the playground is filled with families in the morning and later with children screaming in the wind at playtimes, being at school is a joy. I’ve spent much of this month, working with people and their progress and leaving the paperwork and policy for when the school falls silent. This feels like a comfortable balance for now but in a month’s time I’ll think about this again.

It’s the 1st October and I’ve been a Headteacher for one whole month today. To celebrate, I’m going to watch the Attenborough Colts, do my weekly shop and pop into Nottingham to see a very talented local singer. On the 1st September, having been a Headteacher for about 10 hours, I was proposed to by a gentleman in Birds bakery. I explained that I was already married and couldn’t take him up on his very kind offer. I wonder what might happen today?

6th-8th September – The First Days of Term


The children and families were greeted on the playground by the staff as the children joined their new class lines. Due to our three transition days in the summer term, most children knew where they should line up and they did so beautifully. The children all looked so smart with their school uniforms on. Many children started the day slowly with learning activities designed to welcome the children back gently and to bond the classes after the summer break.


It was a lovely day back and everyone was happy to be back at school with their friends. We had a whole school assembly, singing the John Clifford School song and introducing new staff to the children.


The Foundation children started full time on Thursday and had a great day as Ladybirds and Butterflies. They played together after their lunch, staying for the first day, a little distance from the rest of the school. A big step for lots of children and their parents.


Friday saw the arrival of the Busy Bees and the full complement of the school.

We have had a great first week and you can see some of what your children have been doing on the class pages on this website.


I’m going to finish this entry by thanking everyone for their involvement in this week. As a parent and teacher, I know that getting back into the routine of ‘school days’ is a change and a challenge. I look forward to our first full week. Have a lovely weekend.


5th September – INSET Day


The first week back is complete and all has been fantastic. We started the term with an INSET day which we used to establish our new team. The day began with breakfast, as all good days do, and then we embarked upon a morning of professional dialogue and reflection. The first focus of the morning was to consider the continuing successful vision of the school. As the new Headteacher, it was important for me to talk about my hopes and intentions for the school and establish amongst staff how I believe our future success can be achieved and celebrated.


The morning progressed to talk about the John Clifford Promises and what they mean to the various staff teams in school. We talked about professional conduct and the practices pertinent to each of our roles. We then moved on to talk about high expectations and how memories should be created for our children. Mr Hayward-Mitchell then walked us through the new Reading Diaries and his expectations for all involved.


In the afternoon, Phase Teams met to reflect upon the messages delivered from the morning and discuss consistency within their year groups. Afterwards, staff dispersed to their classrooms to make ready for the children’s first day of term.

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