It’s extraordinary, is it not, how we are constantly bombarded by statistics. And how large some of those figures are. Last week, beleaguered Health Minister Matt Hancock claimed that 90% of people travel less than 22 miles for a Covid test. Which meant, of course, that 10% travelled further. Because in the previous week, 199,000 tests had been processed from regional testing facilities (this did not include home tests or mobile tests). This means that as many as 20,000 people in England had been required to travel over that 22 mile distance. I quote these figures not to make a political point, but rather to illustrate how the understanding of large-number mathematics is an important feature of modern day education. Read on. You will learn how here at BCS we are preparing the children to disseminate, check and deal with all the figures and statistics that the government and the media can throw at them.

Before that, and as week two comes to a close, I would like to thank you all for the support with social distancing and procedures put into place to help us keep the children and the school community as safe as we possibly can. I also ask you to continue to adhere to the procedure set out in my address last Friday. Mrs Andrew (Head of Pre-Prep) and Mrs Palmeri (Deputy Head of Prep) have sent detailed letters reinforcing key Health and Safety information as well as key information regarding distance learning – should it be required in the weeks ahead. God willing, these procedures will not be invoked, but we want to ensure that we are on the front foot delivering live education to our children in Reception upwards.

Across the whole school I have observed some great work, but I want this week to focus on Year 2 Maths and Year 3 English. And so, back to Mr Hancock and those Test Distance Figures….During the first week of term, Year 2 studied Data Handling during their maths lessons. The children were taught how to collect and sort data into pictograms, bar charts, and tally charts or tables. They used the organised data to ask and answer questions, either by counting individual groups, comparing categories, or adding up two or more categories. This encouraged them to think methodically. It also encouraged independent investigation skills.

This week, Year 2 have also reviewed number partitioning, thinking about how many hundreds, tens or ones a number is made up of. Partitioning numbers helps children to understand the value of each individual digit. This is a useful technique that children can use to solve, with ease, maths problems that involve large numbers. Splitting numbers into smaller units is one way of preparing children to work out large sums in their heads. The children will soon be using their partitioning knowledge to solve addition, subtraction and multiplication problems. It’s amazing to think these bright minds may be solving Government issues in the years ahead!!!

Meanwhile, Year 3 has been reading and writing in a sensational style. Having studied The Dark, by Lemony Snicket, they wrote some imaginative narratives about what might happen if they were to venture into a dark basement. Their stories included gathering bits of ‘junk’ to assemble a motorbike, and one pupil even found a door to another dimension. Stories with powerful and evocative descriptions were then shared by torchlight in a dimly lit classroom. They were amazing!

This week, Year 3 also travelled way back in time: they have been studying Stone Age Boy, by Satoshi Kitamura. Having immersed themselves in the social and historical context of daily life in a Stone Age community, they have written diary entries and performed in role, by hot seating characters and inferring their thoughts and feelings. It is wonderful to see the pupils using high quality texts to inspire their writing and to induce high quality discussions with their peers in a language-rich environment. The power of reading is alive and well at BCS! I am always bowled over by the effort and endeavour of a Blue Coat Child. I look forward to sharing more stories from the classrooms in the weeks ahead.

Finally, we celebrated the announcement of the first-ever House point result. Congratulations to St Monica’s House who achieved the most house points during the first two weeks of term.  It was a close run thing. The winning house members each enjoyed a cookie, freshly baked by our Catering Team.  As we settle into life in family bubbles, I wish you a happy and restful family weekend.

Stay safe!

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster