A visit from a real poet!

Today we were all treated to a day of inspiring and engaging writing as James Carter, a professional poet and writer visited our school for the day and what a fantastic opportunity it was! Working in every class to develop the children’s poetry skills, language and creative writing, James spent time focusing on the use of detailed, immersive vocabulary and brought the very best out of each of our wonderful children, who were all so enthused by his presence in the classroom. Bringing tremendous energy and the perfect approach to bring the best from our children, everyone had a brilliant day and we closed our experience with James leading a super assembly for the school and parents, who took time to join us for the end of the day. Our thanks to James for giving us such a fantastic day and to Mrs Hannam for organising another wonderful Westwood experience.

James kindly agreed to be interviewed for Westwood Radio and you can listen to the full interview here, as well as on the live show on Friday afternoon. Plus, I just had to take some photos of our children performing their poems that they had worked so hard to write. Well done everyone!

James’ website is www.jamecarterpoet.co.uk where you can read his fantastic poems and find out more of how he inspires others.

Father’s Friday 2017

What a wonderful day we had on Friday! After the enormous success and delight of Mother’s Monday earlier in the year we welcomed our dads, grandads, uncles and special male members of our family into school on Friday to share the children’s learning and to taker part in another fun day at Westwood School for our annual, and ever popular, Father’s Friday.

Beginning with one of the most packed celebration assemblies I think I’ve ever seen, it was a real pleasure to be able to share many successes with so many parents and friends of the school. Then, as always, our visitors were invited to go into class to sit with their children to find out what a day at school involves. It was super to see everyone taking a full part in the learning, supporting their children, playing football and running around the field at playtime and even joining us for lunch in the hall.  So many dads and members of our school community were so generous in giving up their time to join us, I cannot thank you all enough for making the day so special.

For those children who are broadcasters and had their dads in school, 2.30pm was an opportunity to take them into the studio to take part in our live broadcast. A brilliant time was had by all – so much fun and even an interview with our visitors live on air made for the sort of afternoon that makes working in a school such a delight. You can listen again to the show here. I highly recommend it!

Also, here are some images that captured a wonderful day. Thank you everyone for coming.

A great first week

Here we are already at the end of our first week back into the new and final term of the year. It seems hard to believe that the calendar says June already and we will soon be saying goodbye to some dear friends in Year 6.

However, this week has got the term off to a flying start. Firstly though, I must thank and congratulate the wonderful organisers of the Westwood Scarecrow Trail who all worked tirelessly to put together the most fantastic event during half term.  People came from far and wide to take part and with 595 maps sold, the trail had its biggest turnout ever. With a pop up cafe running for two days over the bank holiday too, the funds raised from the event amount to a completely staggering £2133, which will be shared between Westwood nursery and our school. Thank you all so much for coming tot take part and an enormous thank you from us all to everyone who helped to organise such a brilliant event.

In school, or rather out of school, Orchid class have enjoyed a fascinating trip to the Royal Mint this week. They were able to see how coins were struck and even had their photograph taken standing next to £1,000,000! It was lovely to hear about their experience and they were all buzzing! Clover class, too have been learning off site, with a visit to Downside Nursery, the entry point for their new topic on plants. They loved the experience and chose and brought back some plants which have now been potted and look beautiful! Throughout the school there has been some fabulous learning taking place and I have even had the pleasure to teach all of our children this week and see it first hand. With Father’s Friday and International day, as well as the Orchid £5 challenge to look forward to next week, our term will just keep getting better and better, with so much to look forward to.

If you are able, please tune into a very special Westwood Radio show on Monday. Our broadcasters have been personally invited to collaborate on a live radio show with Russell Prue from the West of England ICT Conference in Bristol. The show will focus on online safety and we are on air from 1.30pm. You can listen in all the usual places, including a link from our website, westwoodwithiford.org and using our player on radio.westwoodwithiford.org. Please text and email in for a shout out as it is going to be such an exciting day!

Scarecrow Trail 2017

For the last few weeks on Westwood Radio we have been advertising this year’s Scarecrow Trail and the children even had the opportunity to interview Lilly Webb and Bryony Green, which we included in one of our live shows:

What we have been learning is that, once again this year, the Scarecrow Trail committee have worked incredibly hard to put together another fantastic event. Well, today I got to experience it first hand again as, along with my family, we all decided to make the most of a very pleasant afternoon and head for Westwood to have a go. After last year’s trail we were all excited as the quality and challenge of the scarecrows was high and a huge amount of fun to  guess. Plus this year we decided to get involved and make a scarecrow of our own, but no clues as to which one!!

After the obligatory ice cream and maps purchase from the village shop we were off and running with a couple of quick scarecrows in the bag. Again, the signposting from the scarecrow team was superb with clear numbering and a range of truly fantastic scarecrows to make up the family film theme. Plus, the entries allowed something for everyone to guess – from 5 years old to 65 years old and made for an extremely pleasant walk through the beautiful village of Westwood, taking in some breathtaking countryside and meeting so many lovely people. The scarecrow team had established a pop-up cafe in the park next to the nursery too, so a stop off there for a drink, cake and a chat whilst we guessed our next scarecrow made for a lovely addition to our stroll.

After just under three hours we were finished with map submitted and a thoroughly enjoyable and wonderful family afternoon of fun in Westwood Village. Huge thanks to the entire scarecrow team for another fantastic trail and wonderfully organised event. With over 100 maps sold in just one day, this looks to be a busy week ahead and rightly so as so much work from the scarecrow team and the scarecrow builders has gone into making the event such a well established success and one which many people will hopefully come to Westwood to take part in. Looking forward to next year’s already!

Without spoilers, here are a couple of views you may see along the way…

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School Race for Life 2017

Today, for the first time ever, we held a school Race for Life in aid of the fantastic charity Cancer Research UK, to support the wonderful work that it does. With an open invitation for anyone to join in, have fun and see out the term together for a good cause, it was the most perfect afternoon with so many children and adults taking to the field to run the 1km or 2km course that we had set out.

The amazing thing about our school is the sense of community. Combining my termly Tea with the Head with the Race for Life and a brilliantly timed and organised ice cream sale from our FoWs, made a warm afternoon in idyllic surroundings even more special with so many people taking time to stop by, join in and chat over drinks and cakes. I must thank my wonderful mum who, once again, put in an enormous amount of effort to bake cakes for every single runner and adult who came along with even some left over. I am lucky to be supported in so many ways by my family and the success of today’s Race for Life meant a lot to all of us. With a whopping £61 raised from donations for cakes alone and another £118 online already before sponsor forms are returned, I would like to thank the generosity, kindness and fabulous support of the parents and community of Westwood. Another super afternoon spent in the best company. Thank you.

If you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause, our fundraising page is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/wwipschool

Here are some photos of the event, which I know we will hold again next year:

Sports Day 2017

In glorious sunshine and with a fantastic atmosphere we all enjoyed our annual sports day again this afternoon. Our choice of a May date didn’t let us down, with warm temperatures and just enough cloud to keep the children covered whilst they took part in a day full of sporting fun. This morning was all about working as a team, with our professional sports coach Mr Kiely leading a wonderful carousel of activities for the children to enjoy. Our fabulous staff ensured that the children remained in the shade when not taking part and with plenty of jugs of water on hand, everyone was able to enjoy their time outside safely.

After an indoor lunch to cool down it was down to the business of the track races. We always look forward to this day as it gives everyone the opportunity to have a go and enjoy themselves without the need for competitive pressure; just plenty of traditional, old fashioned sports day races with plenty of cheering and a sticker at the end to say a huge well done. There really was plenty of cheering today too, as we had a record turnout from our amazing parent community, with so many people having given up their time to come along and support their children. We are always so incredibly grateful for this and it is testament, once again, to the superb communtiy spirit that exists in Westwood.

Thank you all so much for a perfect afternoon full of fun, laughter and the opportunity to watch our wonderful children enjoying themselves and making memories.

Here are some photos of our afternoon together. Please enjoy:

Ocarina Progress

As you well know from the ocarina playing that is taking place in the households of Westwood and the surrounding area on a regular basis (!), the children have been so keen to learn their new instruments since we gave them out.

I have been so impressed by their commitment to practising in their own time and their willingness to have a go at learning new songs and developing their technique. Therefore, after yesterday’s ocarina assembly – which we have every Tuesday – I thought I would share with you our whole school recording of London’s Burning, including a fantastic rendition ‘in the round’! Some really wonderful playing, but most of all, so much fun and enjoyment was had by everyone!