Science week with the children

This past week the children have been having a huge amount of fun with wonderful science. My thanks to Mrs Tyler who has organised some fantastic events and resources and to the staff for planning some fun and informative days, everyone has been able to immerse themselves in experiments, activities and plenty of hands-on learning that has stimulated both questioning and a thirst for learning.

From visualising sound with bungee cord to air flow to having fun with temperature and experiments that build pressure and then release with real force – everything was brilliantly interesting and perfect for everyone to keep them engaged and full of great learning.

To increase the level of excitement, on Wednesday every child in the school was able to experience the Science dome, an inflatable domed resource with two brilliant presenters who made science come to life with colour, light, sound and pure atmosphere. All carried out in darkness, not one of our school community was less than enthralled and it was a joy to hear the children talk about their experiences. Here are some of the responses we managed to record from the children:

And to finish, we have a fabulous collection of photos from the entire science week which show how much fun the children had.

It’s great to be back!

After two really super weeks, I thought it was time to get back onto the blog and update you on some of the wonderful things that have been taking place in school.

Our new reception children have all come into school brilliantly over the past two weeks, with everyone settling so quickly and happily.  It really is such a pleasure to walk around school and see so many happy faces and children engaged and inspired in their learning.

This was apparent in the very first week when Orchid class were lucky enough to be visited by an Antarctic explorer who enthralled them with his adventures – perfect for their topic this term. Orchid class have also taken part in a Mystery Skype with a class in the North of England. With some fantastic questioning, both classes enjoyed finding out where each other was located in the country. I think they will take part in even more as the year progresses! Dropping into every class in the school it is lovely to see how topics are well under way, with entry points hooking the children’s interest from the very start. I know that we are going to have another wonderful year.

Here are some photos of the first week in school:

With learning in mind and a focus for this year being quality  and interesting writing, we were very lucky to be visited last week by Julia Skinner, an ex Head teacher who tours the world inspiring children with writing challenges. For the younger children this might be a 5 sentence challenge, where children are asked to write their very best 5 sentences based on a prompt. For the older children this would be a 100 word challenge and could be based on a picture prompt, a sentence or even a range of words. Mrs Skinner spent the day working and inspiring children in every class and the children were able to post their work on their class blogs where it has already received a global audience! Furthermore, the official 100 Word Challenge website 100wc.net and the 5 sentence challenge website fivesc.net  are where you will already find our children’s brilliant writing! This will be commented on by people from around the world and even has a chance to make the showcase of all pieces for the week! Please check out this amazing writing on our class blogs. You can get there from westwoodblogs.org and by following the link to your child’s blog. Do leave a comment, it really does make a difference to the children’s confidence.

Here are some photos of the children’s day with Mrs Skinner

I also have some very exciting news about developments in school! During the summer I submitted a bid to the National Lottery Awards for All scheme to develop a project within school for the community.  I am delighted to announce that we were awarded a grant and very soon we will have the equipment in school to establish Westwood Radio – a station run by the children for, and including, the community. Building on the success of last year’s broadcasting experiences with Russell Prue, where the children showed such confidence and resilience, we have now developed a multi purpose room in our library and will have the ability to begin broadcasting live within the near future.  Russell will be working closely with our children to train them and prepare them for going ‘mic live’! It is a very exciting prospect.

We have also been lucky enough to have been entered into a draw for a grant from Tesco to develop our school field for healthy and purposeful play. Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 416 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 26 September to 9 October on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards. In total, there is over £12.5 million up for grabs.

Our project has been shortlisted for a public vote in Tesco’s #BagsofHelp initiative! Vote for us to win the top prize in store!

For more information, please visit the Bags of Help website www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp.

Finally, this week is going to be very exciting as it is our Science week. Look out for photos and write-ups all over our blogs as I know it is going to be a lot of fun!

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.