Helen Tantouri, headteacher at Valewood Primary School
Valewood Primary School in Crosby was a winner at the 2014 Educate Awards, as it won the Outstanding Sport in a Primary School. But there is more to the school than just excellent sports teams, as we found out when we caught up with headteacher Helen Tantouri after the awards.
Monday morning assembly is led by me at 10.15am and is generally a time when we set the scene for the forthcoming week. This week, I shared some poems with the children as it was our ‘Everybody Writes Week’. I reminded the children that when we write, we write for a purpose and for an audience. The children all love listening to stories and poems and their enthusiasm for writing has shone through in their work.
This week is also our pupil progress meetings’ week. We look at pupils’ attendance, books, assessments in reading, writing and maths as well as overall in other subjects. As the reporting systems have changed this year with the implementation of the new National Curriculum, all staff are trialing a new system.
Tuesday continued with many meetings, some with parents and carers. As we are approaching the end of term, our parents who have pupils with special educational needs are invited in to school to meet with our Inclusion Manager so that we can review their progress to date and agree targets and plan ahead for them for next term.
Tuesday was our full dress rehearsal of the Infant department’s ‘Time Travelling Christmas’ production. Nowhere else would you find an acapella ‘Silent Night’ being sung alongside ‘The Turkey Jive!’ We are so proud of all our pupils at Valewood, who all take part and give 100% in all their work and play.
I started my day with Year 6, who were having their World War II Day. All the staff and pupils came in dressed in their 1940s costumes, complete with evacuation cases and homemade gas masks. It always amazes me how much trouble our pupils, parents and carers go to when we have our themed days.
Whilst in Year 6, the air raid siren sounded and bellowed us out of class and towards our very own school Anderson Shelter. The children were then evacuated and sent off to the countryside. I love days like this at Valewood!
Staff meetings at Valewood fall on a Wednesday and this week we discussed and refined our new assessment and target setting procedures. Straight after our staff meeting, we invited our families back into school for the Infants’ evening performance at 6pm.
Every year we support our local Hospice, St Joseph’s Hospice and on Thursday I walked up to Crosby Village with the children and staff to sing carols whilst the collectors were shaking their collection tins. Our School Choir sang beautifully!
Once back to school, there were more pupil progress meetings with class teachers. Teachers took great pride in showing the progress their pupils had made over the past term. After lunchtime, my senior leadership team met to discuss our training agenda for the Spring term. We always set and share our staff meeting agendas a term in advance. Of course, if things crop up they are subject to change.
Friday is Headteacher Newsletter day. Sharing with parents and carers our achievement news always gives everyone a boost and it’s a great way to end the school week on a high!
Friday was ‘Wear Your Christmas Jumper to School Day’ in aid of Save the Children. We always couple this with our annual Valewood Santa Dash! Everyone turns up in festive head gear and Wellingtons. It was also our Christmas dinner day in school with hot roast turkey and all the trimmings on offer. Once the morning is over I endeavour to post up the photos taken during the day on to our school twitter feed @ValewoodPrimary. The parents and carers love to see what the children have been up to.