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STEPS 17894
A beautiful morning greeted us as we opened our door this morning.
Breakfast was incredible - again. It is honestly like eating in a hotel.
The children have really enjoyed the food - those that were reluctant have been catered for one way or another. Such kind and helpful staff.
Our first session was based around The Lorax and was about sustainability. The children, to learn the books message, had to act out a section of text and show the others. After this we went to work on Flatford's gardens and conservation areas. Some were repairing a bird hotel, we all planted flowers and all helped to maintain the pathway. The children learnt how to attract many animals to their gardens - hedgehogs, stag beetles, frogs and snakes (apparently corrigated tin heats up and keeps the ground dry so grass snakes can nest under it)
The afternoon was spent following the river to Dedham, learning about its features and Dedham Vale. When we arrived in Dedham the children were split to interview members of the public about why Flatford was attractive to tourists. The data collected was used in a presentation on return to rent classroom. The children used Digimaps (free online resource) to make a map, uploading their photos to it to illustrate.
After dinner - chicken pie and lemon cake - we went stargazing. The children saw Ursa Major (big dipper to you), Orions Belt, Hercules, Seven Sisters, Scorpio, and various other constellations. We were also fortunate to see Mars - wow. It was clearly visible, almost adjacent to Orions belt and will be for a few more months. A big thank you to Luke who stayed after a 12 hour shift in the kitchen to talk the children about the stars. We heard a few myths as all constellations have a story
We have packed cases now. It's 9.30pm. The children are enjoying sweets and more sweets.
Lights will go out soon and another residential will draw to a close.
This morning we have mathematics in nature - always a favourite of mine. Then it's home.
We will be back to school by 1pm and your children will be available to collect from my classroom door. Please try to come for them at 1 as they will be so so tired.
We've had an amazing time.
There has been so much laughter and friendship and many beautiful moments that your children will cherish and remember forever.
See you at 1pm
Mr Sandford


STEPS 13798


After a peaceful night, we checked our freshly laid animal traps to discover we had captured another mouse. This one hesitated on its release, putting on quite a show of its movements. Most excellent.


Our main session this morning was comparing rivers and streams. It included a detailed revisit of the water cycle (the children needed it as they had forgotten keywords).


We started measuring the depth, width and velocity of Riber Brook, a tributary of the Stour. The children did this well, putting into practice their recent work on averages. Luke was able to solve 1 ÷ 16 in his head - the beauty of mathematical pattern.


We then moved to the Stour itself. The children couldn't stand in the river so we used weights on tape measures to achieve the same as we had at the brook.


This session was excellent and really stretched their scientific and mathematical skills. The children responded very well.


Lunch was good. Their sandwich making skills have improved considerably - some of the boys were awful!


Afterwards, we went pond dipping and learnt to classify pond animals (6 catagories) and studied them under a microscope. One or two managed to fill their wellies with water - you will see when you unpack their clothes.


We are off now to tidy rooms as they are not as they should be - their campfire depends on it!


Everyone is having a great time - this year there have been less tears than I've ever known - we must be breeding more resilient children. A credit to all you parents.


Write tomorrow.


Mr Sandford


STEPS 13457 (Miss Nice and her group 15457)


Last night was uneventful - all in bed by 11. I saw 1.30am and everything was silent.


This morning, the views were beautiful and the children rose enthusiastically ready for the day. Breakfast was substantial fayre and included cereal (four varieties); plentiful toast and preserves; and a full English. Many were groaning afterwards. I was surprised by how many children drink tea and coffee!


Providing little time for the children to wallow in their gluttony, we dashed to our classroom to find Simon waiting for us.


We checked our animal traps and discovered that Charlie and Amelia had trapped a small mouse. It was fascinating to examine it close up. Watching it run (hop) away was great; the children seeing live how an animal adapts to its surroundings.


We spent most of the day studying OS maps and learning four and six figure map references. The children learnt to read a compass and understand bearings - all essential for the orienteering challenge.


There were five groups and, in short, my team won. The children in all groups had to solve their own problems. Miss Nice and her group took a full 30 minutes longer than most - some of the boys insistent they knew best!


The afternoon was spent studying scale and developing an understanding of this.


Dinner was fabulous - pizza, chips and the most delicious chocolate cake anyone has ever tasted (sorry would-be bakers, but we've voted!)


We are about to undertake our evening tasks - 'Green Artist'


Will write more 'on the morrow' - as Constable would have said.


Mr Sandford



STEPS 16782
The bus arrived on time and was expertly driven, meaning we arrived at around 11.30 - plenty of time to settle in.
The 600m walk to Willy Lotts Cottage was almost uneventful. Usually, a child or two manages to drop their case or say they cannot manage - not this year...Miss Nice dropped her bags. Oh dear. We all laughed.
After lunch, which was taken on Edwards Field, we met our tutor - Simon. He is 26 and very enthusiastic. The children will learn a lot from him this week.
All children managed to make their beds without incident - unusual.
Our classroom for the week is aptly called Constable. Simon introduced our first session - Disappearing Mammals. This included classification and the setting of animal traps. The children are excited about seeing what creatures they have 'trapped' in the morning.
Dinner was amazing. Almost everyone ate sausages and mash (not your cheap sausages either!) and rice pudding and peaches for pudding. Some had three helpings of rice pudding!
Our evening walk was fun. In complete darkness, we walked through a woods using our senses to guide us. A few were scared, but were quickly reassured.
We are back in our rooms at the moment - but there is a hot chocolate party to look forward to at 9pm.

We will have lights off at 11pm (10pm the rest of the week) as I will wake them at 7!

Will write again tomorrow.

Mr Sandford

Yr6 SATs Presentation

Elders Newsletter 3


Hello everyone.


The children are working phenomenally hard as we move towards the Christmas holidays. Their industry is a credit to all concerned.

December has really flown by.   Pantomimes, school productions, Christmas dinners and regular singing practices have taken up a good share of the time.


On the 13th of December, 13 of us went to TGS to compete in a basketball tournament. As predicted from the PE lessons I have taught, we won.


We are looking forward to the area finals in January which should be more challenging.

We started with an unfortunate 6-6 draw with Wells Hall A, this was followed by beating their B team 14-4, Bures 18-4 and Pot Kiln (who had 2 amazing players) 12-6.


Alfie, our sports captain, deserves particular mention for the excellent marking job he did on those aforementioned players – well done.


I can guarantee that all players from the first tournament will play in the second – we will resist the temptation to strengthen the team for the next competition as I do not believe this to be fair.


I am trying to give as many people in Year 6 (and 5 in some cases) experience of competitive sport this year so it is unlikely that any one person will play everything.


All that remains is for me to wish everyone a quite magnificent Christmas and New Year.


Mr Sandford

Elders Newsletter 2


Time seems to have flown by since I last wrote to you all.


I remain impressed at your children’s work ethic and application to tasks. All parents have been issued (post parents evening) with a copy of the standards in reading and writing for the end of year 6. I have highlighted areas that need work and parents are able to enforce these at home – particularly the reading. I place a great deal of faith in the partnership we have – your child as the recipient, myself as the driver and yourselves as supporters and significant contributors of/to your child’s education. This year is all about preparing them for the next stage of their educational journeys – ‘teachers are but lamp-posts in a life’s journey’ – and beyond.


We have had many exciting things happen since the end of September.



We have attended 2 days at BT in Martlesham to study computer programming. Our children worked very, very hard and met with considerable success. They were asked to program robots and sprites from a computer game that was played against opponents (as I said on the report on the website (which includes photographs)…Crumblebots make excellent gifts at around £40 for children excited by computers or programming.)



8 of the class represented the school at the tag rugby festival held at OSA. While there was not a tournament (English rugby does not allow competitive rugby at primary ages), the children enjoyed the activities and were given clear opportunities to improve their skillsets. It is a shame only 8 children could access this though as it was pitched at a level that the best players may have found easy – perhaps next year a different range of children will be taken. We have pulled out of the indoor athletics as it required us to be out of class from 10.30am onwards and we, as a class, cannot afford to spend almost 5 hours on PE in one week. Instead, I have entered us for the basketball – a tournament we have never played in before - which will take place in December at TGS (we are practicing in PE). I have also arranged, through Mrs Embery (thank you!), for a tennis coach to come to school to give hour long lessons to each class. The package will also include inset for staff at a future staff meeting to skill all staff in the teaching of the sport. This type of activity, above all, goes a long way to securing a sporting legacy at Great Waldingfield.



We have just started our next block of work – emotional writing. As an impetus we have used The Elephant Man; a film that is certainly in my all-time top 10. The children, while finding parts hard to watch, seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and I’m sure the work they will produce will be of the highest quality. We have almost completed The White Giraffe by Lauren St John – the ending promises to be thrilling!


Outdoor Learning

Our learning day was a resounding success. I have to thank Mrs Warnock and Mrs Sparkes for their time and patience. My highlight, particularly in light of the work that has been produced, was the poetry we wrote inspired by 15 minutes silence in the graveyard. Most English books went home post parents evening and I hope you all enjoyed their efforts.


Outside achievements that I know about…

3 of Elders have had their writing published in a collection of short stories. The book is available from Sudbury Library for £5 and is an excellent read for all aspiring authors. My copy is already dog-eared. The children were Clementine and Polly and Lewis. Clementine came second overall with her story entitled Blank (I loved it!)


Millie has won an award from Sudbury Boxing Club


Clementine, Polly and Gracie (along with Mabel) have raised over £100 selling biscuits for Children In Need…a stunning effort girls.


Tommy was placed second in the Great Waldingfield Bake-Off for his chocolate ganache (I’d love to describe it to you all, but alas I never tasted it!)


Daisy (and siblings) have been making prize-winning ‘Guys’ for the bonfire at Long Melford’s Big Night Out.



Thank you to all concerned for engaging with the children when doing homework. You can look forward to a late Autumn/early Winter of cooking homework (and some writing of course…)


Here’s hoping for an eventful run-up to Christmas.


Mr Sandford





On 10th October Elders class went to Adastral Park to program Crumblebots (they make excellent Xmas presents)
We worked hard all day with 4 other schools - Nacton, St Marys, Woodbridge and Bucklesham - all from around Ipswich.
The main task was to create a robot that could travel as quickly as possible around a tight track,  recognising black lines through its sensors. It was very complex.

The Winning Team - Tommy, Chloe and Katie were the winning team, programming the best robot by miles.

We were also runners-up...and fourth.   So proud of the children and their achievements.

Esther, Polly and Millie were runners-up.

Elders Newsletter 1


It has been a very busy first month in Elders Class.

I have been very impressed by the children's desire and readiness to learn. Many children have completed extra work out of class – owning and developing their own learning. Classroom behaviour is another strength.


As a group (parents and family members, teachers and children) we need to develop their independence as we all prepare them for the next phase of their education. This is always at the forefront of my mind when planning activities and sessions.


Our writing has developed significantly and most of us now use capital letters, apostrophes and commas correctly. We will spend time consolidating these skills over the next few weeks when writing recounts and narratives.


I have completed ‘Blitz’ – an excellent book by Robert Swindells - which the children all enjoyed. I sent home a list of his other works to those that were interested. I am always available after school, not before, to give suggestions for reading material – many children are currently reading – and enjoying - books I’ve pushed onto them.


We have just started reading The White Giraffe by Lauren St John. Her use of description and sentence structure is quite magnificent and you would be hard pressed to find better.


In maths we have so far developed the children’s understanding of place value, fractions and calculation. I have been amazed at their knowledge of the multiplication table – but many need to be quicker when deriving answers and using the tables.


For example, if you know 6 x 7 = 42 can you find 0.6 x 7, or 700 x 0.06


Our residential was a resounding success and all the children learnt so much about nature and themselves.


Our other studies have included looking at our health (exercise, diet, teeth, personal hygiene) and studying Guernica (a painting by Pablo Picasso)


Our School football teams have done very well – the boys came 3rd and the girls were runners-up. The girls particularly (all Year 6 apart from Erin) learnt on the job and kept an excellent defensive line, that only 1 team could penetrate.

Excellent work everyone.


Thank you to all concerned for engaging with the children when doing homework. I understand my Thatcher quotes have caused ‘issues’ in some homes. I hope resulting discussions were controlled and involved the children.


Here’s hoping for an eventful October


Mr Sandford