Mr Phelan’s Weekly Round Up 4th February 2022

We celebrated Chinese New Year at the start of the week with an assembly and the catering team pulled out all the stops for a wonderful feast marking the Year of the Tiger! Our sister school, SAS Hong Kong, had created a very enjoyable video with dancing, drums, dragon dances and lanterns. The children greatly enjoyed this and are building a growing sense of global citizenship and our connection with children around the globe as part of Cognita Schools.

The challenges of Covid isolation have been at their most acute this week at Duncombe with a number of staff absent. This meant that our planned Choral and Music Concerts had to be postponed and will now be running on Thursday next week, when hopefully all pupils involved and staff will be back and fighting fit. It is fair to say that the staff have worked tirelessly yet again, and the wonderful feedback sent to the Year 3 Team who have been particularly challenged over the past fortnight was such a tonic – “Thank you for all the home schooling and in class teaching this week. It really has been incredible how you have juggled the children online, in class and at home!” I know that when speaking with the team, such a lovely and considerate email really did encourage, build up and energise them.

I have been enjoying reading through reports this week which will be sent out across next week, they confirm the data tracking and lesson observations of pupils who are engaged, willing to be challenged and have clear next steps to move forward in their learning. I observed only this week how well the Year 1 pupils were progressing in Maths. With a focus on measurement and the merging of practical application with their growing knowledge, I was extremely pleased to see the accuracy, correct terminology, collaborative skills and the openness to challenge and stretch. These are the building blocks for success and progress.

Our Future Schools Evening for Year 4 and 5 parents was well attended and a very useful evening, pulling together the expertise of our staff, former pupils and senior school representatives with a focus on the process of moving on from Duncombe to Year 7. Materials linked to the event have been made available in the Hub area on Cognita Connect.

Next week sees us engaged in Internet Safety Day on Tuesday 8th February. There are a number of activities planned to include special assemblies, Gripping Yarns Theatre Group for Years 4 and 5, ‘Cognita Calling’ creating top 5 tips for Internet Safety with Year 6 pupils at Salcombe Prep, a design your own video game and special Safer Internet Day lessons for Treetops, Lower School and Year 3!

In addition, we will be offering a series of parental information guides which are designed to address the safe use of the internet for the different stages of our children as they grow. Mrs Micele-Jones, Ms Cartwright and Senor Torres will be leading the way with the support of our Digital Captains and pupils.

The role of digital learning and digital communications are exceptionally important parts of everyone’s day to day existence and I am delighted that events such as these help us all to get the very best of all that communication technology has to offer, whilst learning the best ways to navigate to keep us all safe and well.

On Monday 4JT will be putting on their class assembly with parents attending. I am sure this will be yet another wonderful opportunity for the children to showcase all many skills and learning.

As we head in to the final 4 days of term, a reminder that this half term ends on Thursday 10th February and pupils return on Monday 21st February.

Have a wonderful weekend. Mr Phelan.

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