This is the column I wrote in week 6 last year and it is worth repeating this year.
It’s the time of year when we are all thinking ahead to the new year. There are two topics I want to touch on this week.
The first is about the way councillors and house captains are chosen. The following is a letter that will be sent to all parents of Year 5 children today.
It is important that children and parents understand the democratic process of nominating and voting for these positions. The process is as follows:
Year 5 children are given a list of all Year 5 students. They are asked to circle one girl and one boy whom they would like to be a councillor. This process is not public, children do it privately in class. Teachers and senior managers are also given the list of names and they also nominate one boy and one girl. Jane Cameron tallies the results and the six girls and six boys with the highest number of votes become councillors.
The same process is followed for house captains, except that lists of Year 5 students in each house are given to all the children in Year 5 in that house. The votes are then tallied as above.
It is important that children and parents understand that no member of staff can influence the results or has the power of veto. The process is fair and transparent.
The second topic is about parent’s anxieties as to how their child will cope next year and more importantly, who their teacher will be.
It is the time of the year when parents can become a little anxious about how their child is going to cope next year. Have they learnt enough to be able to move seamlessly into the next year level? Are they socially ready or mature enough for being in a higher year level? Will next year’s teacher understand them? Are they ready to move on?
We know that every child has areas of strength as well as areas of weakness. If ‘being ready’ for something meant that every child had to be strong in every aspect, then many of us would never have moved forward. As they move forward children mature to a point where suddenly they gain understanding. The supports the child has been getting and will continue to get will help them learn and grow. A new teacher may be the one to unlock the learning.
Parents can be anxious about who the new teacher is likely to be. Remember that children want to like their teacher whoever they are. Teachers want all of their children to have the best possible year. None of us can confidently predict whether a particular child is going to hit it off with their new teacher, because these are new relationships that are being forged. What we do, is think very carefully about every child and together decide on which teacher we believe we should place them with.
We have found that children are less worried about who their teacher is, but can be more anxious about whether they will be in a class with their friend or whether they are going to be in a class with someone they really don’t get on with. We ask the children to nominate friends and we guarantee that they will all be in a class with at least one of their friends.
Leavers’ assembly is on 8 December at 2pm (note the later start time) and is combined with the announcement of councillors and house captains. Reports and class placements sent home on 8 December. Children will visit their new classrooms on 8 December.
Carol service is on 11 December and prizegiving at Baradene at 1.30pm on 12 December. School finishes on Friday 15 December at 12.30.