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In Day

After a brilliantly long, hot summer, we returned to school this week to start the new academic year.

One of the features of late August is the publication of GCSE and A level results. I always think that, rather than SATs results, a much better measure for the success of primary schools, is how well their alumni do at the end of secondary school. After all, it’s the attitudes to learning and mastery of key skills acquired at primary that enable pupils to excel throughout their future education.

I spoke to children in assembly last week about when might be the best time to start preparing for A levels. One younger sibling suggested that a few weeks before seemed to work quite well for his brother, however the consensus was that now might be a good time.

So, with that in mind, we set about inspiring our children to return to their new teachers, new classrooms and new topics with activities that would really get them thinking.

Our Year 2s started the topic ‘Who do you think you are?’ with an archaeological dig for historical artefacts that would give them clues into the past. Who would have known that the Reception sandpit would hold so many hidden secrets from the past?

Our children in Year 4 began their topic, ‘The Terrible Tudors’ with preparation for battle. Longbows, swords, shields and daggers were carefully prepared in advance of a re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth Field. Legions of soldiers were seen marching with cardboard weapons to Highgate woods, where, once again, Henry emerged triumphant and the Tudor dynasty was created.

Year 5s started their investigation into Victorian childhood by considering the inequality of the time with an activity called ‘the haves and the have nots’. The ‘have nots’ enviously watched the ‘haves’ enjoying the trappings of their wealth (including ginger beer from silver goblets), however the tables were turned when ‘the haves’ had to watch the fun the ‘have nots’ had playing with their home-made Tudor toys.

Our ‘in-day’ activities are really enjoyed by our children and help to promote an interest and enthusiasm for learning. They help to motivate and inspire, and ensure that our children’s attitudes to learning go much deeper than preparing for SATs. And it’s these attitudes that prepare our children for future success. Hence it has been particularly pleasing to hear reports of exam success from our past pupils, including one from the class of 2013 – one of only a handful of children nationally – who achieved 9s across the board. Go Highgate Primary – it’s where it all started!

William