Monday morning really did feel like the beginning of Spring - it was a beautiful sunny day and excitement was certainly in the air. I don't think I have ever seen so many beaming smiles, as children and staff returned to the Gateway School community. Any anxieties and worries about coming back to school melted away within minutes as friendships were re-ignited and laughter and chatter filled the classrooms, corridors and outdoor spaces again. Throughout the week it has been a joy to watch the children - busy, engaged and enjoying their 'live' learning with their teachers. Gateway certainly is a happy school, a sentiment reflected by comments made by some of our Year 2 pupils:
'I'm feeling happy!'
'I'm feeling excited to see my friends again'.
'I'm feeling excited to learn back in the classroom.'
Over the past few weeks, Miss Cheal, one of our Year 2 teachers, has been working with children who have been in school to create a podcast, an exciting new platform which gives our children the opportunity to talk about their experiences in and out of school. Here, she talks about pupil voice and the positive effects that speaking out can have on children:
“Hearing and valuing children’s thoughts and feelings is crucial. Research indicates that students who believe they have a voice in school are seven times more likely to be academically motivated than those who do not have a voice. Not only that, but the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says that children should have a say in decisions that influence their lives.
“School Council gives children the opportunity to express their opinions and make suggestions about their environment, their routines, and their learning. Two children from each class are elected to the School Council each term, which helps to reinforce the importance of democracy. Those two class representatives discuss issues with their classmates before feeding opinions back to the Council. This means that decisions made by the School Council really do represent the viewpoints of the student body as a whole, which helps to reinforce the idea that each member of the Gateway community is valued and listened to.
“'Greetings from Gateway', the new student podcast, is run by the students of Gateway for the students of Gateway. The children themselves set the themes of the episodes and take responsibility for planning the content and asking the questions. Of course, a podcast allows listeners to hear those children’s physical voices, but it also goes deeper than that; it allows us to hear the thoughts and ideas of Gateway students about a wide range of topics. It encourages the students to believe, quite rightly, that their points of view deserve to be heard.”
I'm very much looking forward to next week's episode, an interview with Ava in Year 6, who I'm proud to announce, was awarded first place in this year's Independent Schools Association Musical Theatre Competition KS2 section. A rising star in the making! I hope you enjoy her performance:
Ava - ISA Musical Theatre Competition winner
Have a super weekend!