Summer Sports and Reading Club
April 25, 2017, 12:19 pm
Filed under: Headteacher


We are trialling a Summer Sports and Reading Programme for (next year’s) Years Four to Six pupils in conjunction with Oldham Athletic. If it proves to be a success, we shall continue and develop it, perhaps for younger pupils too over subsequent holidays.

On Friday 21st July 2017 and Friday 1st September 2017 (the first and last days of the school holidays) OAFC staff will deliver sports, e.g. hockey, football, handball, cricket, rounders etc and at some point in the day I shall listen to each child read and ensure the reading books are appropriate for the coming weeks. The days will last from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Every child who attends on 21st July will be given a free parent-and-child ticket to an Oldham Athletic match.

To attend the programme, parents should complete the slip attached to the letter coming home shortly, with payment of £20 (£10 per day).


The Daily Mile
April 25, 2017, 9:45 am
Filed under: Headteacher

We are starting our own adaptation of the Daily Mile this week.

In a  nutshell, we are promoting children’s physical health (acknowledging it also has an associated beneficial impact on mental health), by encouraging them to run (or walk) up to ten laps of a 160m circuit in a fifteen minute period three times a week.

The rationale is simple: a 2015 study of 10,000 primary school children across the UK found that two thirds of them lacked basic fitness. We are trying to educate them to enjoy a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives. Fit For Sport Ltd. May 2015.

1   It takes place over within 15 minutes, with children averaging a mile each day.

2   Children run (or walk)  outside in the fresh air – and the weather is a benefit, not a barrier.

3   We want the children to look upon it as something to be enjoyed, not a burden.

4   Children run in their uniforms so no kit or changing time is needed.

5   It’s social, non-competitive and fun.

6   It’s fully inclusive; every child, whatever their circumstances, age or ability, succeeds at The Daily Mile.

Many thanks to the Y6 sports leaders who have assisted Mr. Thompson in putting this together.


Manchester Evening News Real School Guide
April 24, 2017, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

Art exhibition sneak preview
April 19, 2017, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

Art Exhibition
April 18, 2017, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

Hey with Zion’s art exhibition will be held in the school hall immediately after school tomorrow. Masterpieces by your children will be available for £6.

Oldham Athletic v Rochdale tickets
April 11, 2017, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

We have some free tickets promised for the last home game of the season on 22nd April. Please let me know if you would like me to reserve you some.

Parents’ questionnaire- headteacher’s response
April 10, 2017, 1:54 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

Thank you to all of you who responded to the parental questionnaire before Easter. Thank you in particular for the many very kind words written. The school is so much the stronger for the fantastic support and encouragement that our parents provide. The percentages are below, then a selection of comments made and my responses. Thank you.

“My child is happy at this school.” 100%
“My child feels safe at this school.” 100%
“My child makes good progress at this school.” 100%
“My child is well looked after at this school.” 100%
“My child is taught well at this school.”100%
“My child receives appropriate homework for their age.” 98%
“This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved.” 100%
“This school deals effectively with bullying.” 95%
“This school is well led and managed.” 98%
“This school responds well to any concerns I raise.” 93%
“I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress.” 99%
“My child feels safe travelling to school.” 95%

With regard to the open ended questions, I asked parents to write down a) what they saw as the best things about Hey with Zion, b) what they would like to see improved and c) what they thought about the teaching and learning of reading at Hey with Zion.

The best things about Hey with Zion:

There were many positive comments as below- I think they can be grouped in terms of sustained high standards, improved extra curricular provision, staff who care and improved and improving communication.


“Quality of teaching

Tapestry; the sense of community and ongoing communication

Termly reports; the teachers make the learning fun; the teachers are fantastic; high standards

Availability for parents; my son feels safe; my son is happy and learning fast; homework is well set and appropriate to current learning; lots of fundraising/ special events which my children enjoy; good choice of extra curricular activities;

Friendly and approachable staff; the variety of different visitors and activities; friendly teachers and well behaved students; a close knit school

Extra curricular activities; continuous improvement and development of my son’s knowledge;

Happy children; experimenting used to aid learning

Good communication; fantastic school; the teachings of multi cultures; the blog is good to read and look at; events and dress up days

Teachers push the children to individual expectations

They encourage children in all areas

All the staff are friendly and approachable. It’s really nice to see parents getting involved in the school.

Miss Power is an asset to the school. My daughter idolises her and carries out role play at home.

Continuous improvement in facilities and teaching techniques.

My daughter is always happy with school dinners; parents meetings in day time as well as evening

Flexibility offering after school pupil award events so full time working parents can celebrate their children’s achievements.

Helpful teachers; it is abundantly clear how much the staff care for their children

Making new friends and learning new things;

Helpful, friendly and approachable teachers;

Brilliant, exceptional and excellent teachers; school is perfect; standard of learning is high and I can see this constantly in my child’s progression;”

What parents would like to see improved:

There were fewer comments here than previously, which I hope is indicative of general satisfaction with what the school is trying to do.

The most frequently occurring theme was to do with traffic around school first and last thing each day. It remains a concern and I appreciate that in spite of various meetings with councillors and our M.P. nothing substantial has changed yet. I expect there will be developments over the coming months such as a barrier around the entrance to St. Edward’s and some adaptation of the pavement by the car entrance to the two schools, setting it deeper from the road. While the traffic situation is undoubtedly more congested than we would like, it at least provides a significant reason, I think, to prevent any pressure coming to bear on Hey with Zion to increase its pupil numbers on roll.

A couple of parents requested a before and after school club for children whose parents work- we do not have our own before and after school care club but we endorse “Lees Before and After School Club” (within our school grounds).

Parents may telephone them directly 07709870171  for further details.

For parents who need a little extra help first thing in the morning, such as if they are travelling some distance by bus or they have children at different schools, we do provide a free of charge early start from 8.30a.m. Parents should contact me if they would like to take advantage of this.

One parent requested that children could sit where they want for school dinner– instead of us grouping as we do those children with packed lunches separate from those eating hot meals.

I’ll explain our current practice: the reasons we generally separate the children eating school dinners from those eating packed lunches are to do with a) time efficiency and b) safety.

With regard to the former (time efficiency), Hey with Zion is pretty much full now and we need to process 319 children through the hall efficiently so that the children can still have a reasonable time in which to eat their meal- we find twenty minutes is usually enough- without extending the lunchtime period which would result in our youngest children eating earlier than we would like, and/ or our older children eating later than we would like. Spreading the children around the hall would slow down the rate at which the midday supervisors can clear, wipe and prepare the tables between sittings, and this would impact upon the timings of meals taken, in turn affecting timetables especially P.E. timetables, P.E. being a subject for which the hall is also used.

With regard to safety, there is also the matter that children carrying hot meals around the full hall would be less safe than just carrying them to the end of the hall nearer the kitchen. We do usually stagger our lunch sittings now, which reduces the numbers eating simultaneously, but there remain the unavoidable facts of the school hall is quite small and the dining tables still need to be there. From a general health and safety point of view, the less carrying of hot dinners around a highly populated room, the better.

However, we have in the past and still do make exceptions for a small number of children and we are quite happy to do this if there are particular reasons why this is necessary. If so, please discuss this with me- there are reasons why we do what we do, but we can accommodate some measure of flexibility to look after the children’s needs as best we can.

The teaching and learning of reading:

I asked for parents’ views regarding the teaching and learning of reading as I look upon this as the single most important academic thing we do and I plan to focus quite sharply over the next twelve months or so on making sure this aspect of our school is functioning at the best possible level.

Parents’ comments were generally very positive- our Foundation Stage teaching staff in particular received much praise- and I recognise the huge impact of the parents in supporting their/ our children with reading development.

We have invested heavily in a new library and in buying more books over the last twelve months than I think at any time in Hey with Zion’s past. There is still need for further investment- I would say particularly in providing a more exciting book choice for the older and more advanced pupils at our school- and I know our English leader, Miss Power, plans to launch next year as our school’s “Year Of Reading”. I am sure this will add much enthusiasm and fun to the children’s engagement with books.

Governors will come into school in June to spend a day looking at our reading provision, and as ever I invite any parents who would like to offer their time to come in to listen to children read please to approach either me or their own child’s class teacher. Some such parents (and grandparents) have been providing this support for quite some time and I would like to express here publicly how grateful our entire school is for this help.

Locally, Hey with Zion has a fantastic reputation for Maths and a good reputation for reading; I want us to have a fantastic reputation for reading, too.

Thank you all for your responses. As ever, please let us know if there are any issues which you think discussing with us will help your children.

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SATs this half term- government information
April 9, 2017, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

Parent Information KS1 and KS2 SATs

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Holidays in term time
April 6, 2017, 11:15 am
Filed under: Headteacher

Parents considering taking their children on holiday in term time may like to be aware of the Supreme Court ruling which has overturned the challenge to the law by a Mr Platt of the Isle of Wight. This will provide clarification as to whether holidays are or are not to be permitted by schools in term time.

Our school attendance policy is available on the school website and indicates holidays will not be authorised.

As ever, I shall attempt to apply the policies correctly but also reasonably. Any parents wishing to confirm how this may affect them should contact me directly.



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Year 3/4 Choral Speaking
March 31, 2017, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Headteacher

Congratulations to Miss Seton-Jones’ class for their commended performance in the inter-school choral speaking competition at St. Thomas Church today. The adjudicator’s report referred to their performance as, “an excellent collective achievement“.

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