Archive | February, 2017

Rochdale Peregrines

Just as I was about to set off to Lowerplace this morning to get a few things ready for next week, a post popped up on my Facebook feed. It was about a webcam recently installed by Rochdale Council which is pointed at a nesting site of a pair of Peregrine Falcons just above the clock on the western face of the Town Hall’s clock tower. I was amazed to find out that they have been nesting there for the past 9 years, consistently raising chicks.

If you’ve never heard of them, Peregrines are amazing birds. They are the fastest animal in the world, reaching speeds of over 200mph when they swoop for prey, which is usually smaller birds such as pigeons. Until recently they have been mostly found in the countryside where they nest on high cliff faces. However, recently they have adapted to urban environments, where they can find similar high perches on buildings. They also have a huge source of food in urban populations of pigeons, gulls and lots of other species. As well as the pair in Rochdale, there are also nesting sites locally in Manchester, Bolton and Burnley.

Intrigued, I decided to pop down to the Town Hall on the way home. I only had about 30 minutes to spare, so I was not confident that I would see anything. Initially, I wasn’t sure where to look, however, if you look high up, just above the clock you will see tell tale signs of nesting birds – white droppings on the side of the building. Having found that, I scanned around the area looking for one of the pair, and luckily one was perching slightly higher up on the north face of the tower. Just as I found it, it took off and swooped towards a group of unsuspecting pigeons. It disappeared from view shortly afterwards, so I’m not sure if its hunt was successful. A few minutes later I saw another bird flying past the clock tower, I don’t know of this was the same one or the other of the pair.

Although populations of Peregrines have recovered in recent years (they were almost wiped out  altogether in the 1950s) there are still only about 1,500 pairs in the UK. This means we are really lucky to have such incredible predators right on our doorstep. If you’re in the town centre, look up at the clock tower and watch out for big, powerful birds swooping quickly from high perches. If you see one, leave a comment to tell me about it. If you can’t see one, look out for other birds flying off quickly, that often means that one is nearby. This is a Peregrine in flight, though it’s not one of the Rochdale birds.

I will be returning to the Town Hall with my camera in the next few weeks. I have seen Peregrines before, most notably at Martin Mere where I saw on catch a Lapwing in mid-air, but I’ve never managed to get a picture of one, so fingers crossed I can get a photo one of the Rochdale birds.

World Book Day – Thursday 2nd March 2017

We’re looking forward to World Book Day on Thursday 2nd March, and are inviting children to come to school dressed as a character from their favourite book. It would also be nice for them to share their favourite books and stories with their class, so if they would like, they can bring a copy of their favourite book into school with them.

We will be doing lots of reading on the day and discussing our favourite stories. We will also be taking part in role-play and other fun actiuvities around stories. Don’t forget to look on our class blogs to see all the fun things we have done!

I can’t wait to see which characters come to school on Thursday 2nd March!

Mrs Pearson, Reading Co-ordinator

P.S. If you’d like a few ideas, check out the list below!

Stuck for ideas? Why not think about:

* one of David Walliams’ characters, like The Boy In The Dress, or Gangsta Granny?
* someone from Roald Dahl’s magical books, such as Matilda, The BFG, or one of The Twits?
* a classic fairy tale character like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood (or the Wolf!), the Little Mermaid, or the Snow Queen?
* Dennis the Menace or Where’s Wally could be a good choice if you have a stripey jumper on hand?
* any of the crazy characters from Dr Suess’s books – could you be the Lorax? Or perhaps Thing 1 and Thing 2 with your sibling or best friend?
* Tintin, Peter Pan and Angelina Ballerina could be fairly easy to put together from clothes already in your wardrobe!
* what if Lowerplace is really Hogwarts? It would be amazing to see Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid – or maybe even Dolores Umbridge – around school.

Don’t forget, the staff will be taking part too – I wonder who we will all be? And will anyone actually be silly enough to be Captain Underpants?

Lowerplace is now a Lead School for Computing At School

Mr Hall has been working hard to get Lowerplace ready to be a Lead School in the Computing At School (CAS) programme, and he is now a Computing At School Master Teacher!

The CAS website explains that: the CAS Lead Schools are an important part of the development of local communities of practice for computing together with the CAS hubs, the CAS Regional Centres, CAS Master Teachers and university partners.

The CAS Lead Schools recognise that Computing as a subject is important, and it is part of the school development plan; will have developed a broad and balanced computing curriculum that shows clear planned progression, and offer to support other at least one other school in their community through sharing good practice.

Both school-based support for the subject and the offering of support in a local community of schools are important for maintaining the status of a CAS Lead School. At the end of each academic year Lead Schools are required to complete an activity audit in order to maintain their status as a lead School in the NoE.