What a busy half term! Looking back, we have crammed so much into a short space of time that I am not sure our feet have touched the ground!!

There have been so many events looking back over the last 7 weeks. We started with a dress up day (of course….this is Totley Primary School!) to remind children that as the nights got darker, they needed to get brighter! This was quickly followed by the whole school raising money for Children in Need by donating their coppers to fill Pudsey Bear! We raised around £300 which was fantastic! Next came the DEAR event, which went brilliantly. In KS2, the teachers all chose their favourite story to talk about and read a snippet of while FS2 and KS1 made a rather wet and windy trip to the library to see what books were on offer there.

Class trips such as the Y4 trip to Manor Lodge and the Y5 trip to Springfield School went really well and the children came back buzzing from these. Both trips really enhanced their learning in the classroom and it was great to see the work that was produced as a result of these visits. The aliens invaded in Y2 and they had a brilliant day investigating all things to do with Space. Y1 took part in a Shadow Puppet theatre where they were able to make their own puppets and perform the story that they had learnt throughout the day, linked to their topic of light and dark.  Y3 enjoyed a trip to Totley Methodist Church where they participated in the dress rehearsal for their community Christmas event, Journey to Bethlehem. Y6 worked really hard on learning their Christmas play as the focus of their topic and the result showed at the fantastic performances that we enjoyed last week. Both KS1 and KS2 performance were magnificent and I was so proud of all the children for the way they had practiced their part, sang the songs and gave every performance their all.

This week, we have so far enjoyed reaching out to the community as our Y2 and Y6 children went carol singing to two residential homes nearby. This was received well and the children really enjoyed giving something back to the local community. The pantomime trip went smoothly (once all the coaches had arrived!) and we enjoyed a good few hours of fun and laughter which really got us in a christmassy mood! The children were a credit to the school and to yourselves and it was a real pleasure, once again, to take them! For the first time in years, Mrs Noble and the FS2 staff got to see the whole performance as our youngest children were captivated from the beginning and their maturity that has grown over the term, really showed!

The cheeky Christmas elf appeared in school and took the presents from under the tree. This was a great way to get some writing from the children and the whole school enjoyed a morning of creative writing before being rewarded with a superb Christmas dinner, cooked by Amy and her team. This was delicious and left me feeling like I needed an after dinner nap!

However, in amongst all the excitement and learning opportunities this half term, came the sad news that Mr Miller had passed away. I would like to put into writing just how much the school has appreciated the support from the parents. Leading school through this time wasn’t the easiest thing I have ever had to do, and not really something that many head teachers have to deal with in their career, so for this to happen in my first term was scary, but the support shown to me, the staff and your children was amazing and I am just so privileged to be part of a school community like we have. Mrs Miller was so touched by all the thoughts, cards, drawings, letters and gifts she received and was truly grateful that we were able to close the school as a mark of respect towards her husband. Mr Miller was a wonderful caretaker and will never be forgotten. We are looking at a more permanent memorial for him on the school grounds in January, but I wanted you to know just what a difference your support has made to us all at this sad time.

In summary, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster of events and emotions; most happy, some sad, but what a great few weeks it has been – and there are still events to come!! Parties, PTA gift swap and our Christingle service to name a few (as well as hopefully finding this cheeky elf and seeing where he has hidden the presents!) Thank you for all support over the past term. I have loved being the headteacher at Totley and I am really looking forward to what the future holds. The staff have worked really hard and have ensured the children continue to get a fantastic education and a range of different learning opportunities and I am grateful for that and for the way the new staff have truly become ‘part of the team’. Mr Colton and Mrs Thorpe leave us at the end of this term and we welcome back Miss Bailey, who will be teaching in Y3, and Mrs Compton who will be supporting the team in FS2.

So, here is to a very merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all! I look forward to seeing you again in 2016 – doesn’t time fly!

Mrs Wileman