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A Litre of Light

Last week, artist Mick Stephenson and his two colleagues joined Year 5 for a day. Their task was to create part of a large ship installation for the Sunderland Illuminations. Each member of the class was asked to bring in a clean 2 litre plastic bottle then, with Sharpie felt tips, colour it in using simple patterns and finally attach a £1 torch to the top. (See photographs below) This simple but very effective idea created the most amazing kaleidoscope patterns on plain white paper and the white ceiling. It was an awesome moment, in the true meaning of the word. As they projected their glorious patterns, children's mouths were agape in delight. Our bottles will join those created by other children in Sunderland then, I believe the installation will be in Roker Park. We'll send out the details as soon as we have them.



to the members of the Running Club who entered the Junior Great North Run. I understand the course was challenging but you all showed grit and determination to "get the job done". Having spoken to a few of the runners, they seem focused on running  again next year to beat their own time. What a superb attitude.



On Wednesday this week Years 5 and 6 are spending the day at "The Centre for Life" to learn about the inner workings of animals. The workshops are centred around the rather gruesome "Animal Inside Out" exhibition. If you wish to read the trip letter please click here


Next week Years 1 and 2 are spending a day at Durham Cathedral. In the morning they will be exploring the amazing space that is the cathedral and in the afternoon the riverside natural environment. Both workshops are to be led by Durham Cathedral Education Dept.



Next week we welcome the NSPCC into school. Every two years they provide a free service to schools by running an assembly for Key Stages 1 and 2 then workshops for Years 5 and 6 on the theme of children keeping themselves safe. Letters have been given to children in Years 1 to 6.



1. Science teaching: During 2016-17 staff will be having additional training in teaching science so that we can provide outstanding science teaching throughout the school. With the Government's focus on English and maths, a recent  paper written by Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, found that nationally science is no longer a priority in schools. However, the leadership team at Seaburn Dene had already decided to have a focus on science in 2016-17 as we want to open up opportunities of every kind to our children. Our training with STEM science consultant Phil Watkins begins in 2 weeks.


2. Reading- Reading is fundamental to learning in all subjects and has always been a focus at Seaburn Dene. It is a skill that benefits hugely from parents working alongside teachers and, for many years, we have had the expectation that everybody would read at home every night which means weekends and during holidays too. Our reading awards scheme is designed to encourage this, and although many families support the school by ensuring children have read each day at home, we still have families that do not. 


To support children who need that little extra support, the school welcomes Robbie and his handler Nicky for "Bark and Read" each Friday and a team of enthusiastic helpers will listen to readers throughout the year. Thank you to the adults who offered to give up some of their free time to do this. The response to Mr. Howe's request was amazing. 


In 2016 the reading comprehension tests in both Years 2 and 6 were much more difficult than they have been in the past and results across the country were very, very low. We were expecting the papers to be challenging so Mr. Howe, who leads English in the school,  joined a Sheffield group of schools to learn how to teach reading at mastery level. This is being trialled in years 4, 5 and 6 and, if children make the progress we are expecting them to make with this new approach, will introduce it to the rest of the school in 2017-18.