What a last week!

So. here we are at 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. This week we have had the most incredible FoWs Fun Day and British day – a true celebration of the Queen’s 90th and all things British and a really lovely end to our term and academic year. 

On the one hand it is a great opportunity to reflect on all that we have achieved, the amazing learning that has taken place, our successful Ofsted inspection 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 Mia, Flo, Izzy, Ruby, Tilly, Felix, Isaac, Theo, Edward, Wilf, Tom, Honor, Bella and Lily 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 and I hope that you will come back and visit us sometime soon.

Of course we also have to say a very fond and emotional farewell to two much loved and long standing members of our staff team. Mrs Cook has been with us for 18 years this year and during that time has taught and worked with, literally, hundreds of young children. With her care, understanding, patience and dedication she has shaped and inspired so many children to go on to great things. Always teaching with such dedication and commitment, Mrs Cook has nurtured children through the door on their first days at school and has ensured that every need has been met, allowing them to blossom.

Mrs Purkiss has been with us for an equally substantial 16 years as a teaching assistant but has been associated with our school for longer than that. Helping with swimming, listening to readers and volunteering, she has given so much time to our school which has always been so very much appreciated. Of course, Mrs Purkiss has worked closely with many children in class, in groups and on a 1:1 basis, taking time to support, understand and listen, always bringing the very best out in children with her warmth and humour.

We often speak of our school community as a family, particularly our staff team and today we will be sadly saying goodbye to two of our key members. Thank you Mrs Cook and Mrs Purkiss for everything you have contributed over the many years to our school. You both leave a tremendous legacy that will be appreciated by so many for years to come. I am sure that you will join me in wishing them both a restful and thoroughly enjoyable retirement with their families.

I would very much like to thank our amazing Friends of Westwood school who, led by Ann as Chair and Elaine as Secretary have raised an incredible £7500 this year for us. This is a truly staggering achievement and a testament to everyone’s commitment and generosity in the time that they give. Ann and Elaine are stepping down this year and they have worked incredibly hard so I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their organisation and dynamism.

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.

To end our year together, here are some photos of the Fun Day, our British Day and a special edition of our podcast, followed by interviews with staff members both retiring and joining us in September.

Mystery Skype – where in the world?

Today we took another step into Mystery Skype, a brilliant way to practice geography and map skills by live skyping someone from somewhere in the world, but not knowing where they are. Intrigued? We were too, but the children in Clover and Lotus class, who I was working with today, turned super sleuths. More information on #MysterySkype can be found on our website

Armed with atlases, Chromebooks and Laptops to access Google maps and a good level of questioning skill were able to narrow down our new acquaintance and Microsoft Innovative Expert, Ms Chaba to Gurgaon in India. What a fun time we had, along with some fabulous international learning and a good sharing of knowledge and facts as Ms Chaba kindly allowed us to ask her some questions in order to learn more about her home country. Our huge thanks to Ms Chaba for hosting and for a fun and enjoyable afternoon. Here we are in action today:

Another incredible Summer Fair!

I felt compelled this evening to blog about our Summer Fair, which took place yesterday afternoon in glorious sunshine (the fingers crossed clearly worked!) in and around the school grounds. Our committed and incredibly well organised Friends of Westwood School arrived early to ensure that the field looked spectacular, colourful and full of fun things to do, all of which surrounded the arena which, this year had grown both in live events on show and in size. From the perennially popular crockery smash to the hugely successful blind auction, with inflatables, stocks, flower stalls, ice creams and everything in between, there really was something for everyone and a three and half hours of pure fun and enjoyment that it was a joy  and a pleasure to be a part of.

We had more people through the gates yesterday than ever before and once again, the incredible community spirit and support that Westwood has was in abundance, with the field full of laughter and people having a good time in a relaxed atmosphere – what a village event is all about.  I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Ann, Elaine and all of our Friends of Westwood School who give so much of their time, effort and commitment to our school. Months and months of planning and hard work resulted in a perfect afternoon yesterday. Thank you everyone, I was so proud to be a part of it and for school to be the centre of a fantastic village community event.

In case you couldn’t make it yesterday, I tried to capture as much as I could so here are some photos of the summer fair and a video of my brilliant country dancers. I am so proud of them all as they gave absolutely everything to learn some really quite difficult routines. Well done everyone, you were amazing and danced so well!

West of England ICT Conference

Today a small group of Year 6 children had the opportunity to visit the West of England ICT Conference in Bristol. This takes place at the University of the West of England every year and is one of the major technology and education shows for the South West region that includes a wealth of new technology on show and keynote speakers and seminars.

Our children went along today to work alongside Russell Prue of Anderton Tiger Radio who led our highly successful radio day at the end of term 5. Throughout the day the children had the opportunity to mingle as delegates but also to conduct some seriously professional interviews, practicing all of the brilliant skills that they had learnt from working with Russell. they were particularly excited to meet Fran Scott, a real life TV presenter from CBBC who presents highly engaging science shows and delivered a wonderful keynote to us today. Fran was lovely and spoke to us at length about what she does. You can hear all of the children’s superb interviews below as well as look at a few photos from the day.

As always, the children were impeccably behaved and a real credit to the school, showing enthusiasm and energy that many delegates commented on. Thanks everyone.

Ghana Cafe

Today after school the hall was transformed into the most colourful and delicious smelling Ghana Cafe as Mrs Robertson and children from Orchid class worked hard and sold cakes, Ghanean themed fruit kebabs and drinks in aid of the Helen Hodgkins Trust – http://www.helenhodgkinstrust.org/

As a school we always try to support organisations and charities that make a difference to people’s lives and the Helen Hodgkins Trust is doing exactly that, by funding clean water projects in Ghana, where the quality of water is often full of germs and also hard to come by.  Quite simply this would mean that with clean water lives would be saved and regular, clean water would be available, a basic need that we often take for granted. I am delighted to tell you that, thanks to your generosity once again, the children and Mrs Roberston have raised at least £100 for this brilliant charity. Thank you so much for supporting our school community, I do hope you had fun at the cafe – the atmosphere was lovely.

Here are our cafe staff in action:

Westwood Church Fair

For the first time yesterday we had the pleasure of being invited to dance at the Westwood Midsummer Church fair. With mixed weather but huge amounts of enthusiasm and energy, the children took to the arena at Westwood Manor and put on a fabulous show of set dancing and then later, some traditional maypole dancing. This was followed by a circle dance and it was so lovely to see so many people join in to round off what was, for us, a fun and exciting afternoon.

Once again it was a joy to be a part of such a thriving and vibrant community and I would like to thank everyone involved for inviting us. As a school, we are always looking to forge even stronger links with our local community and yesterday was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and share in the fun. I would also like to thank our brilliant children from Orchid and Lotus class for their hard work in learning and performing the dances and to thank them and their parents for giving up their Saturday afternoon to come along to the fair.

We managed to capture a video of the children in action performing their single plait:

Father’s Friday 2016

After another superb day in school, I wanted to summarise in a blog post  just what fun we had on Father’s Friday. As in previous years, dads, grandads and significant male members of the family were invited into school for as little or as much as they wanted to take part in and enjoy a day of learning. Once again, we were thrilled to see people turn up in such huge numbers, which made the day so special.

Beginning with our weekly celebration assembly, many dads had decided to come in for an early start and then stay on. With so much to celebrate, the day was off to a good start and then everyone filtered back to class for the beginning of lessons. From phonics to rounders, music and singing to reading and arithmetic tests, our dads took part in everything with a smile and a wonderful attitude and atmosphere, immersing themselves in everything that the day had to offer. Even at playtime and lunchtime, it was a joy to walk the grounds and to see everyone playing together on the field.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made the time in their busy schedules to be able to come to school and join us today; we loved having you and it was a pleasure to work with you for the day.

Here are some photos of our day and we managed to catch up with some dads for their reaction to Father’s Friday too. Have a great weekend everyone!