Author Archives: bhall

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.

Pokémon Go – a parent’s guide

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Pokémon Go is the latest craze to sweep the internet. If your child has not yet downloaded it, or asked you to download it for them, I can guarantee they will in the very near future!

In many ways, Pokémon Go is brilliant. It encourages people to get out and about, gives people the opportunity to communicate and work together and above all it’s great fun. However, as with anything online there are risks. As a parent it’s important that you understand what Pokémon Go is, and how you can help your child use it safely and responsibly.

Please take a few minutes to read the NSPCC’s Parent’s guide to Pokémon Go, so you can help keep your child safe this summer.

Stay safe in the sun

hot weather

Now that we have some sunny weather to enjoy, please remember to send your child to school prepared for the sunshine!

Please apply sunscreen every morning before school, and make sure your child brings their sunhat and sunglasses (clearly marked with their name and class number!) every day, as well as their water bottle.

The Met Office issues the following advice for hot weather:

Stay out of the sun.
Keep your home as cool as possible, shading windows and shutting them during the day may help. Open them when it is cooler at night.
Keep drinking fluids.
If there’s anybody you know, for example an older person living on their own, who might be at special risk, make sure they know what to do.

Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/summerhealth, NHS 111 or from your local chemist.

Safer Internet Day 2016

With Safer Internet 2016 day approaching I have been talking with KS1 about the way we use computers and the internet. We discussed how we communicate with each other, what information we should keep private and who we should trust when online. We watched ‘Lee and Kim’s Adventures’ and agreed SID’s four top tips.

Next week, the children will be designing internet safety posters to re-enforce these important messages.

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Look the part in PE

At Lowerplace we all take pride in working together as a team. All successful teams have a strong identity – if everyone looks the part it shows that they are all pulling in the same direction. That is why you will now see several of our staff wearing Lowerplace track suits and t-shirts.

We are now striving to ensure that all children also wear the correct clothing for PE. All children should have a PE kit in school at all times which comprises of:

– White t-shirt or polo top (not from their school uniform – it must be a dedicated PE top)
– Black shorts or leggings
– For outside PE in the winter black jogging bottoms are permitted
– Black pumps

Children which have the existing blue t-shirt with the old logo on can continue to wear them until they need replacing. They will then be expected to wear a white t-shirt or polo top. We will not be issuing blue t-shirts with the new logo.

Model example 1 – white t-shirt, black shorts and pumps

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Model example 2 – White polo top, black leggings and pumps

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Model example 3 – White polo top, black jogging bottoms and pumps (outdoor PE kit)

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