Almost end of term…so much to say!

So. here we are approaching the end of another wonderful year at Westwood with Iford School. It’s hard to believe that it has gone so quickly and this newsletter is always bittersweet for me as it is a real mixture of emotion.

On the one hand it is a great opportunity to reflect on all that we have achieved, the amazing learning that has taken place and, particularly, a celebration of our fabulous Year 6 children who have worked so hard. They will, of course now continue their journey in to the next phase of their education so to Josh, Isaac, Oscar, Jay, James, Ruby, Lily, Eleanor, Georgie, Izzie, Kieron, Dougie, Charlie, Archie, Alfie, Fred, Ellie, Daniel and Eli we say a HUGE well done and thank you for everything that you have given to our school in the time that you have been here. We will miss you all tremendously and I hope that you will come back and visit us sometime soon.

As is always the case in the summer term there are so many exciting things taking place and so much report back on. Once again I really would like to say an enormous thank you to every one of our Friends of Westwood School (FoWs) who worked so hard to plan and put on a truly amazing summer fair. Led by Gemi and Lee, our Friends are an incredible group of parents who give so much time and commitment to providing and organising fantastic activities throughout the year and the Summer Fair, was another super community event that typified the beautiful village in which we live and workl. Once again we were treated to dancing, country dancing and the ever popular tug of war – that was just in the arena!! From sponging Mrs Tyler in the stocks to the hugely popular silent auction and a vast array of inflatables and fun, there was something for all ages to enjoy and we all did. Raising an enormous amount of profit, can I thank everyone involved once again this year for supporting our school and for providing us with the opportunities to improve our school, including the expansion of our successful radio provision, improving our EYFS outdoor area, outdoor storage, a whole school activity day and a contribution to our upcoming Simonsbath residential. Thankyou all, it makes such a difference!

This past couple of weeks our children from Lotus and Orchid classes put on the most incredible and humorous performance of Rock Bottom. With professional delivery, tremendous one liners and impeccable timing, the hall was full of so many laughs and a relaxed and inspiring atmosphere. I was so proud of our children for the confidence they showed. With each performance they got better and better and it was a shame it all had to end. Thank you to Mrs Tyler, Mr Bennett, Mrs Robertson and Mrs Wyartt for their hard work in bringing together such a wonderful spectacle for us all and to you for joining us each evening, making it so special.

This week most of our school enjoyed a visit to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and were, as you would expect, impeccably behaved, receiving comments of high praise from members of the public for the way in which they conducted themselves. As always, I am so proud of all of our children when they go off site to extend their learning. We have also been able to visit Westwood Manor this week and I must thank Emily Azis for welcoming us so warmly and giving us all the most fascinating and informative tour. We are lucky to have such a historic building within our community. With just a few days left, we have our activity day on Monday to look forward to before rounding the year up in our end of term assemblies on Wednesday.

I cannot finish this last edition of our newsletter without mentioning our incredible broadcasters who, each week, have written and produced their own scripts, broadcasting live online to the community and beyond. Gaining confidence, resilience and beautiful oracy skills, I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of people who have now accompanied me on two wonderful outside broadcasts at Wiltshire Heights residential care home where they showed respect and care, making their visit the highlight of the resident’s week! We have also held an open mic night at The New Inn for our Oral History Project which was a super evening and enabled us to gain an insight into even more of the history of the Westwood community.

The success of Westwood Radio this year has been enormous and we will be looking to grow even more next year. Do check out all of our live show recordings on https://soundcloud.com/westwoodradio and a HUGE thank you from me to all of our children for the commitment and energy they have shown behind the microphone, particularly our talented Year 6 broadcasters who are now leaving us. They have been with the project from the beginning and have helped to make it hte success that it has become. Our radio website is radio.westwoodwithiford.org and if you know of a business who may like to sponsor what we do in return for advertising on our station, please let me know.

final show 20718 2 final show 20718

Our blogs have continued to grow this year, promoting fantastic writing skills and confidence in our children. Some really outstanding pieces of work have been posted and I am so proud of the fact that all of our children’s work has been read by an international audience. Please visit westwoodblogs.org and have a look at what we have achieved this year. We have even become noted for our Ocarina playing throughout the local authority this year and I am looking forward to carrying that on again in the new academic year.

After a year with so much to celebrate, now all that remains is for me to say a HUGE thank you to everyone – the staff, children, governors and you, the parents  for making this year so much fun, so enjoyable and so successful. I am already looking ahead to next year and wish you all a restful, relaxing and enjoyable family summer together.

Please do join me for Tea with the Head after assembly on Wednesday afternoon. Mum is baking in prepararation and it would be lovely to share a cuppa and a chat before we go our separate ways for the summer.

The weeks are flying by…

Welcome to a celebration of the end of week 4 in a final term that has been so busy yet so exciting so far.

These past couple of weeks have been no exception and have seen our children in Lotus and Orchid classes practising their play, ‘Rock Bottom’ in preparation for it’s premiere, which is taking place soon. As always, everyone is working really hard to learn their lines, rehearse their best dance routines and fill the hall with song. I know that it will be another stunning performance, so please look out for dates to buy tickets.

Last Friday, our broadcasters from Westwood Radio had the unique opportunity to present a live outside broadcast from Wiltshire Heights Residfential Care Home in Bradford on Avon. Taking over the ground floor lounge, 18 residents came along to enjoy a masterclass in broadcasting professionalism and they were thoroughly entertained by our children. Some of the residents were also interviewed live on air and this will contribute to our Oral History Project. What a lovely afternoon we all had and it was a great pleasure to meet everyone. We have even been invited back already! Thank you to our Year 6 broadcasters for their respect and lovely conversation with the residents.

Keeping with the radio theme, Thistle class also produced their very own radio show this week, which they broadcast LIVE to the world! Talking about their topic, Under the Sea, everyone spoke so beautifully into the microphone and they really were quite amazing. This is a Westwood Radio first, with our very youngest children hosting and producing their own show. I was so incredibly proud, as I always am of all our broadcasters. You can listen again to both shows on soundcloud.com/westwoodradio and also on Thistle class blog thistle.westwoodblogs.org, where there are photos too of their show.

This week, once again, our athletes have been representing our school brilliantly with a festival at St Laurence. Taking part in a range of sporting activities, our children were a credit to our school and tried so very hard in the heat of a hot afternoon. Well done everyone, I know how much you enjoyed it!

There have been so many exciting activities taking place this week – Lotus class even got to visit a chocolate factory for their school trip! I remember being at school and visiting somewhere far less interesting, but our staff, as always, have planned wonderful topics that excite and engage the children and a visit for Lotus class to consolidate their learning was ideal. They came back so enthusiastic and it was clearly a lovely trip!

Clover class, too, have been learning from first hand knowledge as they were visited by a Barn Owl this week, as part of their topic on birds. It was a wonderful opportunity to get up close to a real life owl and the children loved asking the owner lots of questions. Another super learning opportunity.

Finally, we were delighted to be visited again today by Rosie Evitt, author of Hannah’s Tree and Tiny Tails. Rosie worked with Thistle and Clover class before joining us in the studio for a live interview and signing books on the playground. A perfect way to end another lovely week at our school.

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

Thistle Class on Westwood Radio

This afternoon Thistle class took to the airwaves with a live radio show on Westwood radio. Broadcasting to, literally the world, everyone had the opportunity to read some of their amazing writing from their Under the Sea topic and to step behind the microphone to have their first experience of live radio and how well they did.

With Lewis, Alice and May hosting the show, plenty of listeners – thank you everyone – and lots of texts from their audience, the children made me so proud with their confidence and professionalism. You can enjoy our fantastic afternoon again here and here are some behind the scenes photos from Thistle class studio!

Father’s Friday

Today saw the return of Father’s Friday to Westwood with iford School and once again I must thank all of the dads and special people from home for joining us and for making the day such tremendous fun and so successful.

Beginning the day with a jam packed celebration assembly, full of wonderful achievements from both in and out of school, our hall was buzzing with excitement and almost standing room only! From there, it was onto classes for a day of inspiring international learning with our staff, focusing on India, Hungary, The Aztecs and Russia, with everyone who came along immersing themselves in the true spirit of the day. The atmosphere was fantastic. Some of our dads even brought their lunch and joined us in the hall before all playing a game of lunchtime football at the Westwood Etihad! This afternoon the Westwood Radio broadcasters also welcomed their dads into the studio for a very special Father’s Friday broadcast full of fun, banter and good humour. 

We are so lucky to have an incredibly supportive parent community who work so well alongside our school  and it was such a delight to see so many people having fun around the building today.  Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us and make the day special. Here are some fabulous photos of the day (thank you Mrs Batten) and also our broadcast from this afternoon’s show. 

Happy Father’s day everyone.

Quality International Learning

I’ve made it one of my goals this term to blog more regularly about the fantastic things that are taking place at our school. Today was another of those days when I had the opportunity to integrate technology and innovation to make the learning fun, exciting and different for the children in Clover class.

All year we have been regularly linking up with our friends in Room 104 of Georgetown Elementary school in Hudsonville, Michigan as part of an international project to share learning, social and cultural experiences and just enjoy talking to other children from around the world. Today was the last time we linked up as our friends in the USA finish for the summer on Friday. We’ve loved talking to them and learning about what they learn, where they live and how the weather differs! Here we all are for one last time in a Google Hangout together and we also asked and answered questions through CoveritLive.

Live Blog Westwood and Georgetown Final International Learning Session 2018
 

What a way to end a term…

After a couple of days of being able to reflect on such an exciting day that was jam packed from the very start, and now having had the opportunity to process all of the media we gathered, it’s time to bring all of the last day of Term 5 together in a blog post.

My day began at 4am – early for me (!) but necessary to get up so early in order to be organised and in Westwood for 6am ready for the beginning of a once in a lifetime experience. My destination was the Batten residence, home of Jo and Russell, who had kindly agreed to host BBC Wiltshire as they presented their breakfast show from, quite literally, their kitchen, dining room and lounge! Ben Prater, the show’s presenter was already there, along with Richard his producer for the day and Ian the broadcast engineer, to ensure that everything was in place for the outside broadcast to celebrate BBC Wiltshire’s Step into Summer campaign.

Preparations for the show began months ago and we had been working closely with Emma Colman, producer at BBC Wiltshire and lead for Step into Summer, to ensure that we had a range of wonderful guests from the community to talk about their experiences of walking around the local area, as well as children from our school, who spoke so beautifully about how important it is to stay healthy. Everyone was just brilliant and it made for such a slick and impressive show. Ben was able to move around the downstairs with his wireless microphone to interview guests and he is such a professional, always commenting and questioning with such relevance, putting everyone at ease. He was joined by Marie Indge, BBC Wiltshire’s sports presenter, who delivered her 7.20am bulletin from ‘Breakfast with the Battens’!

I was involved briefly a couple of times, but was mainly asked to review the papers with Ben. We always ask the children to put themselves out of their comfort zone and this was certainly an occasion when I was out of mine. However, it was a please and a privilege to work with Ben and before we knew it, 8am was fast approaching and it was time to head round to school for phase 2.

The plan was for Ben to walk around with children and families to school from Jo and Russell’s house and to meet more parents and children on the playground, which he did so well. Once again I was so proud of everyone’s support of our school as so many people came in early to support the show, with children and parents talking to Ben live on air about where they walk and how involved they are in the village. Two of our broadcasters, Charlie and Ellie, also impressed everyone on the production team with their hugely professional reports on sports day and the Race for Life, presented live on air with Marie at 8.20am. What an opportunity and so confident and well delivered! So proud!

As the number of parents grew and the atmosphere reached it’s peak, 9am was rapidly approaching and with a ring of our school bell it was all over. What an experience, what an opportunity and what memories we have of the day BBC Wiltshire came to Westwood! I have to say the biggest thank you to Jo and Russell for being the perfect hosts. Bacon sandwiches and coffee were in plentiful supply all morning and it was a pleasure to spend time in their wonderful home in such a relaxed atmosphere. They were amazing. Also to BBC Wiltshire, to Ben, Emma, Marie, Richard and Ian for giving us the unique opportunity and insight into a live outside broadcast, it was enormous fun. But also I have to say huge thanks again to our parents and children who always support everything we do so strongly and with such commitment. On Friday our entire community came out and everyone listening would have heard how vibrant and active it is and that is something very special. I for one will remember Friday morning for a very long time and with almost 2800 miles walked by our school community during May, I just had to ask Ben to sign this for posterity…

step into summer

If you missed the show on Friday, you can listen again via the BBC iPlayer here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066s97q

Ben and Marie were also incredibly generous with their time and allowed two of our children, Luke and Daniel, to interview them after the show and talk to them about their careers in broadcasting and what advice they would give to our up and coming presenters. You can listen to their interviews below:

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Of course that was just the beginning of the day and with keeping healthy in mind we then got straight on with our school sports morning, a well orchestrated and hugely entertaining and fun carousel of activities organised by the staff. All of the children in the school worked together in mixed ability groups to complete each activity and it was the best possible way to get our sports day under way, defying the threat of rain on the field!

After lunch it was then onto the main event, with so many parents and members of our community arriving to support our wonderful children as they took part in a traditional Westwood with Iford Sports day. No trophies, no points, just everyone enjoying themselves on a Friday afternoon as they raced against each other in flat races, sack races and even egg and spoon. With a mums, dads and even a toddlers race as well, there was something for everyone. To finish the day we held our second annual Race for Life and this year so many more children and adults took part, which was a delight to see. Once again my mum made the cakes and everyone was so generous in their donations that already, before sponsorship, we have £150 on it’s way to Cancer Research UK which is amazing. Thank you all so much for your generosity.

So, as you can see, what a day it was. I hop i have given a flavour of the excitement, energy, success, celebration and community coming together that was felt on Friday. Sports day is always a highlight in the calendar but this year it was just a little bit different. Thank you all so much for the part you played in making the day perfect.

Here are some photos we took of the children enjoying their sports.

Have the best half term everyone and enjoy the scarecrow trail…

Busy times, fun times

Hello again! It seems as though the gaps between my posts are getting longer as other things take the time. However, with SATs this week and so much to celebrate and get excited about, I felt that a post was necessary.

I am so proud of our fabulous Year 6 children this week. They have approached their week with the best attitude and have all tried so hard. It has been a pleasure to be in school every day and to talk to them after each of their tests, seeing them smile and speak so positively. As I said to them in their letter last week, the tests only measure a small amount of what they can do as individuals and every single one of them is so incredibly talented in so many ways. I am also so very proud of our staff at the school. Once again they have prepared the children in the best way possible, ensuring that they are confident, settled and ready. Thank you all so much for your commitment, hard work, empathy and professionalism. Another stunning team effort.

Elsewhere in the school there is also much to celebrate. Everyone is gearing themselves up for sports day which is next Thursday at 1.30pm on the school field and we are all very much looking forward to that! I have loved spending time in classes and seeing what the children have been enjoying learning this term. The staff have planned some amazing topics that have really inspired the children to learn and the classes are looking vibrant.

Also don’t forget our Race for Life, which is taking place on Friday 25th May at 3.15pm on the school field. I’m hoping that as many people as possible will come along and take part. We have all been fully involved in BBC Wiltshire’s Step into Summer, recording our steps and miles each day and, of course, Ben Prater will be presenting the end of his Breakfast Show from our playground on Friday 25th May, so do please join us for that and let’s all keep the healthy summer going!

I can barely believe that we are almost at May half term already, but this term has been so packed with activities that the time has just flown by!