Another fantastic Christmas Fair!

This afternoon the school was once again filled with the smells, sounds and atmosphere of the magic of Christmas time as we held our Christmas fair. Superbly organised by our dedicated and simply brilliant Friends of Westwood School, there was something for everyone, from hand made crafts to a feast of festive treats and even FC himself dropped by, taking time out from his busy preparations to talk to our children.

It is always lovely to see the school buzzing with excitement and I always feel proud that so many members of our community join us as we kick off the countdown to Christmas in style. My enormous thanks go to everyone involved in making this event such a tremendous success. We are so lucky to have the unwavering support of our FoWs who always give up so much of their time and energy to put on such fantastic fundraising events. Thank you everyone for such an enjoyable afternoon. Here are some photos (thanks Jo!) of the fun we had:

Christmas Stories at Bedtime

Once again last night our brilliant Friends of Westwood School organised another fantastic and very magical event in our first Christmas Stories at bedtime. With children invited to return to school at bedtime in their pyjamas (teddies and soft toys optional), everyone settled down to an hour of gentle Christmas stories, all with a VERY festive theme,  many of them brought in by the children themselves for us all to enjoy.

In total, 68 of our school community and some parents came to share a very festive evening, made all the more special by the addition of a mug of warm hot chocolate and marshmallows with a biscuit part way through – what more could you ask for? The children were so well behaved and it was such fun to sit and read to so many for so long – a rare treat that I am not often able to do. With Christmas candles burning to infuse the hall and tealights to set the mood, I think everyone had a good time and went away feeling, I hope, just a little bit more christmassy.

My thanks, as always to our wonderful FoWs who all work so hard to put on these really super events for the children – we are very lucky to have you. With our Christmas Fair tomorrow to look forward to as well, this is going to be a fun festive week at Westwood School and I always think this is such a fantastic time of year to be in school with the children.

Here are some photos of our magical evening last night:

Storybox Theatre

Once again we started our festive period in style with a visit and performance from the Storybox Theatre this morning. I have a long association with Rod and the Storybox that stretches back to the early days of my teaching career and I can honestly say that year on year, Rod’s energy and performance is always at the highest level. With the ability to captivate the audience, from reception children to adults with his beautifully crafted story, humorous asides and spectacular puppets – all of which he made himself – we were, once again treated to a magical hour of story telling in the comfort of our own school hall and no matter how old you were, you always feel as if you are totally immersed in the performance.

As you can imagine, everyone loved today’s tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The children all sat superbly, listened intently and joined in with enthusiasm and enjoyment. It really was a fantastic morning at the theatre. Once again, can I thank our Friends of Westwood school for funding this event again. It is such a treat for the children and provides them with opportunities to write creatively in their follow up, but also to watch a traditional performance away from the fast pace and digital age in which we live and I think that is crucial. Thank you also to Rod for, once again giving us a magical start to our Christmas.

Here is what we were able to enjoy:

Another lovely week – and they are racing by!

This term seems to be racing by already, with the end of November almost upon us and the beginning of Advent just around the corner. A timely reminder is always the sound of Christmas production songs drifting through the school and we have also started practising our school Christmas songs as well.

Last week it was lovely to see so many of you at the parent consultations and thank you for completing your parent questionnaires. I am aware that communication between school and home is still something that some people find could be improved so from now on we will be sending an email on alternate Fridays to the newsletter with upcoming dates and activities. I do hope that this will help in your forward planning as I know that so many of you are busy working parents.

With advent starting next week, there is so much to look forward to and our visit from the Storybox Theatre on Tuesday will start us off in style – we can’t wait! Of course we also have stories at bedtime, a mufti day next Friday with donations for the Christmas Fair and the school council hot chocolate sale on Tuesday after school with the school council.

Yesterday our fantastic broadcasters put out yet another excellent performance, so do please have a listen on our radio website if you missed it yesterday. It is incredible to see how, each week ,their confidence and professionalism grows with every show. I am so proud of them. Some of us are also doing a Christmas Fair show on Saturday 3rd December during the Christmas Fair! Listen out for that both online and in the fair itself to keep you going all afternoon. 

As always, thank you all so much for the fabulous way in which you support our school. I always enjoy this time of year so much when we all come together as a community to celebrate a magical time of the year. Have a great weekend everyone.

Westwood Radio visits the BBC

This week I had to get a blog post down as it has been incredibly exciting for us in school. On Monday our incredible broadcasting team we’re invited to visit BBC Wiltshire and to take part live in Marie Lennon’s morning show, which was just brilliant!

Emma Colman, who works for the Marie Lennon show on BBC Wiltshire 9am – 12pm weekdays, learned of our children’s success with their radio broadcasting and visited us in October to interview some of the children. Emma was even interviewed for one of their shows whilst she was here! Having had their piece played out live on air following Emma’s visit, the children were then invited to the BBC Wiltshire studios in Swindon on Monday where they took part in a live show with Marie, explaining what they enjoy about their radio station and how they are able to connect with their audience in the community and beyond. Of course, we all had to ask how Marie plays the jingles and fades the microphones in to see how it compared with our studio back at school. What was fascinating to watch was how the children were so engaged and interested in the technicalities and running of a professional radio station and Emma and Marie were just so lovely, answering all of our questions and making us so welcome.

Showing the same level of confidence, respect and professionalism that they do every week on air, the children were superb and a real credit to the school. They also got to meet some of the other presenters and the brilliant team behind every BBC Wiltshire programme. It was certainly an experience and a day to remember for our budding presenters and our huge thanks to Emma, Marie and the team at BBC Wiltshire for giving us such a wonderful day.

Here are some photos and clips of our magical day:

The end of another fantastic week

I really enjoy my job and one of the things that I find most fun is the diversity that each day brings. This week was a really good example of how we can cram so much exciting and engaging learning into five days. Combine that with visits from members of our local community and a sprinkling of innovation and there we have a great week.

Straight off the blocks on Monday morning, Clover and Thistle class were lucky enough to be visited by Jayne Gibbons, a practicing vet, as part of their ‘People who help us topic’ With really super listening and some great questioning, the children learnt so much from the session and were able to leave with a real understanding of what Jayne’s job involves and how hard she works to look after animals each day. Then on Wednesday Steve Riddle from Wiltshire Air Ambulance visited us to give us a brilliant insight into his job and how he spends his days up in the Air Ambulance, speeding to casualties to help them. As a paramedic he enthralled the children with his presentation and discussion and it was another fascinating and wonderful opportunity for the children to learn about people who help us. Here are some photos of Steve with the children:

This week also saw a fabulous cake sale by our brilliant School Council, which raised nearly £70. Thank you all so much for coming along and for your generosity in supporting the children who worked hard to make cakes and put on the event. The first school disco of the year was also held this week by our amazing FoWs and raised over £270 for our school, which is tremendous. With such a large turnout from our children and Stuart on top form once again on the decks, it was another evening to remember at Westwood school! I must also say an enormous thank you to you all for you kindness and generosity in supporting our Harvest celebrations this week. You donated in your bag loads, all of which will be going straight to Storehouse Foodbank in Trowbridge to provide short term help for families who are less fortunate. It is such a strong reminder of what a thoughtful and supportive community you are and we belong to as a school, thank you.

So finally to the innovation side of the week, with a live broadcast to the school from our team at Westwood Radio. I am incredibly proud of this innovative project we have embarked on to connect with the community and from next Friday we will be live online, bringing school, community and local news to you via our online radio station. You can already listen to our previous shows on radio.westwoodwithiford.org but if you are around at 2.30pm next Friday, please join in the fun of our first online live broadcast. You can email the show on radio@westwoodwithiford.org and you can even text us on 078600 17404. We will include shout outs and emails during the show, so please get involved – the children would love to hear from you. This will take place every week from now on during term time and we will be looking to involve as many people as we can in our broadcasts, providing content that will appeal to all. Here are some photos of last Friday’s show:

With one more week until half term, I can hardly believe where this term has gone. Tea with the Head is on Friday with the usual fun and beverages, so please join me for a cuppa and a chat. See you there!

Newsletter #3 Round-up

The weeks are fairly flying by here at Westwood School and with only two weeks left until half term there is so much to both reflect on and look forward to.

We recently opened our doors to prospective new parents at our school open morning and, once again we were delighted to welcome some new faces to look around school and enjoying seeing our wonderful children at work. Such was its success, we are holding a second open morning in Term 2 on Tuesday 22nd November from 9am-12pm. If you know of anyone who has children starting school next September, please let them know, particularly if they missed the first open morning.

Our children have had many exciting oportunities recently to enhance their learning, both in and out of the classroom. Year 6 marvelled at their day to the Wiltshire festival of engineering and manufacturing where a very hands-on, practical and fascinating day was had by all. So many happy faces returned and with so many free resources packed into their goodie bags, including an LED torch they made themselves! For more on this wonderful day, please visit orchid.westwoodblogs.org and read about the fun they had.

Thistle and Clover class have also had the opportunity to welcome visitors and to go on an off site trip, learning more about the people who help us for their topic. Last week they were lucky enough to be visited by a Paramedic team from Great Western Ambulance Service, complete with fully stocked, all bells and whistles primed, ambulance. A morning of fun learning, great questions and fun in an ambulance ensured that everyone learnt so much from the opportunity. Both classes have also been to Trowbridge Fire Station this week to learn all about the fire service. With the opportunity to  go in a fire engine and work the actual hose, excitement was at very high levels and some real quality learning experienced by all of our children.  Furthermore, next week Thistle and Clover class will be welcoming a Vet and Wiltshire Air Ambulance to talk to them. What a fun term they are having! Thistle.westwoodblogs.org is where you will find some terrific videos of the fire station trip.

Our Friends of Westwood School are back with the same brilliant enthusiasm and commitment to our school, having held their AGM this week. With so many new members and offers of help, I know that this is going to be another fantastic year for fun activities, family and community get togethers and some super fundraising opportunities. My sincere thanks to everyone who continues to support our school in such an amazing way, we really do value your support so much.

I would also like to thank so many of you who came along last Friday to my Tea with the Head for Macmillan Cancer. As always, you were all so generous with your cake and financial donations and we raised a magnificent £61 for a worthwhile cause. This year from two of these events we have raised £125 which will allow more people to benefit from the incredible support that they provide to families. Thank you so much.

Can I please remind you that you are most welcome to join us for our Harvest assembly next Friday at 9.15am in the hall. This will be our usual seasonal celebration, with poems and sings from the children. Can I also please ask that children bring any donations in next Thursday or Friday. These will then be boxed up and delivered to Storehouse, Trowbridge who are always so grateful.

I am very excited to tell you that we now have our radio station in school and we will be broadcasting to the school this Friday for the first time! After a day’s training, our broadcasters are now ready to take over and run the show themselves, so do watch out for their recording, which will be online from Friday night. Our new Westwood Radio website is also now live at radio.westwoodwithiford.org. All of our archived shows, as well as our latest shows are there, along with photos and ways to contact the show. We will be going live to the world in the near future, so please look out for how you can interact with us and listen live at home. This is a wonderful, innovative opportunity for us and  encourages excellent speaking and listening skills and confidence building, whilst establishing strong links with our community through interviews and guests. Every single member of our school community will take part and the facility will allow us to provide fantastic cross curricular learning opportunities too.

Finally, we continue to create a large audience for our children’s brilliant work through the use of our class blogs. So much inspiring writing has been posted recently, along with reports, photos, videos and a real insight into what we are doing here at school. Please visit westwoodblogs.org as a starting point and then browse all of our blogs and their content. Do please also follow us on twitter, either at school @wwischool or our new radio twitter handle is @wwipradio. We are trying to interact, promote and celebrate as much as possible through as many channels and your support and input makes such a difference, so if you have a few minutes, please do leave a comment on some children’s work. It does mean so much to them.

I hope you all have a really lovely weekend.