Mother’s Monday 2019

One of my favourite days in our school calendar is when we  invite our mums and special people in for Mother’s Monday. It takes place the Monday immediately after Mothering Sunday and is an extension of the celebration where we open the school to mums and special people for the day so that they can come into school and share the learning and enjoyment of a school day with their children.

Once again It was a real delight to see how many people had taken time out of their busy schedules to come into school and be a part of another magical day. Linked with an international day, each class focused on a country and learnt all about that country as part of their activities.  We visited France, Rome and even Bhutan, each class learning so much about their country and all with extra special visitors. Plus, I got the chance to dress in a traditional Bhutanese Gho to lead our assembly – not something you do every day!

With everyone joining in at playtime, eating lunch with the children and spending as much time as they could in class, it was wonderful to see the school so full and buzzing with excitement.

Thank you so much to everyone who made arrangements to be here yesterday, it was a pleasure to welcome you into school. Next stop, Father’s Friday!

Here are some photos of our fabulous day together:

Catching up!

Please forgive the lack of posts recently – I’ve been busy teaching and doing lots of other exciting things with the children – more on that later….

This term there has been so much to celebrate so far, with some fabulous learning taking place.

Clover and Lotus classes both recently enjoyed a wonderful, informative trip to the Roman Baths as part of their Romans topic, allowing them to extend their knowledge and ask some superb questions. Once again, our diverse and exciting curriculum provides so many opportunities for the children. Just this week I have enjoyed seeing children in Orchid class learning vast amounts of fascinating knowledge about Bhutan and our youngest learners in Sunflower class have enjoyed discussing the difference between some very old and new toys. It is always such a pleasure to walk around our school and to see how everyone is immersed in their learning. Plus, of course, I get the chance to teach every class each week and enjoy for myself the enthusiasm and commitment that everyone brings to every day.

Thank you all for your donations that you gave to Comic relief last week. As always, the day was a success, with over £80 raised for this worthwhile cause.

Next week, and for the following 10 days, our school is taking part in the Sustrans Big Pedal 2019. This will be an opportunity for as many of us as possible to cycle, walk or scoot to school. Each day a record will be made by the teachers at registration of those who have travelled to school in a healthy way and we will then enter our school’s overall data to the challenge. This is a great opportunity for us to reinforce our school’s Healthy Schools values and principles and to get out in the fresh air on our journeys to school. I will be taking part by cycling to school as many of the 10 days as I can and I’m looking forward to it very much! For more information, please see the posters that will be up around school or head to https://bigpedal.org.uk/

Monday 1st April is, of course, our hugely anticipated Mother’s Monday and International Day 2019, which has become a real favourite in our school’s calendar year. This is a fantastic opportunity to invite all of our mums and significant females into school for as little or as much as you would like and to take part in the learning with your children, which is always such good fun. We will, of course, begin the day with an assembly,  before heading back to class and enjoying a day in school. I always look forward to this day very much and can’t wait to see as many of you there as possible.

As a staff we are continually striving to maximise every child’s progress and attainment and we work hard to look for as many exciting learning opportunities as possible. Two of those key skills are reading and writing and we are continuing to encourage a real love of English amongst our children. However, we do need you to continue to support your child at home, so that the homework and reading they are given to consolidate their learning in class will enable them to embed these skills. We have noticed that a number of children have very few comments in their reading logs and are not practising their spellings, writing or times tables; simple activities which take little time but support the amazing work being done by our staff to teach the children in school. Can I ask, please, that when your child reads at home, that you comment in their log to let us know, as we do in school, and to say what they enjoyed. Also, please support your children by encouraging them to do their brief homework activities as it really does make such a difference and will further their progress.

Finally, don’t forget our radio station apps for Westwood Radio are free to download to your smartphone or tablet from radio.westwoodwithiford.org. We would love to expand our listening audience even further, so please tell everyone you know that we are on air on a Monday at 8.15am for our Breakfast Show, Thursday at 2.15pm for our boys ‘Word on the Street’ show and our Friday Show at 2.15pm. We love texts and emails, too and with our app it is easy to listen in and enjoy the incredible talents of our broadcasters. Please let them know by texting 078600 17404 and emailing radio@westwoodwithiford.org. We are also on air 24 hours a day, so you can listen any time. People around the world already do, at all times of the day and night!

So, as a final footnote, last week, our good friend Freda Ferne, who has been working extensively with Orchid class recently, came in once again to share her wealth of experience on Bhutan. Freda has given so much of her time to work with the children and immerse them in the sights and traditions of Bhutan and last Thursday I had the opportunity to dress up in authentic Bhutanese male costume and what an experience that was! I think I’ll let the photos tell the story, but my thanks, once again to Freda, for coming into to give the children a fantastic experience.

World Book Day

Today was another wonderful day at our school as we celebrated World Book Day together. With huge amounts of effort made by everyone, staff included, to dress as their favourite book character, assembly this morning was a pure delight of colour and fun.

Of course, the teachers had planned a really wonderful day for everyone and, once again, the school was immersed in reading, words and the enjoyment of language. Walking around the school was a pleasure and I thoroughly enjoyed taking the opportunity to talk to the children and enjoy the writing they were producing.

I managed to take some photos so that everyone could share in our World Book Day. I hope yours was equally fun and inspiring.

The end of another fantastic term…

Hello again and welcome to the final newsletter of this term. What a busy term we have had with so much amazing learning having taken place and many diverse opportunities for our children to enjoy.

Last night I was so proud to be able to attend the West Wilts Dance Festival at the Forum in Bath. Once again the children had been expertly trained and choreographed by Karen Hobson, who had put together a  breathtaking routine that told the most wonderful story. The children dominated the stage once again and the performance was inspirational, drawing an enormous cheer from the audience, which was so very well deserved, yet complete silence and awe during the song! My sincere thanks go to Karen for organising, resourcing and planning a spectacular routine that brought the house down and to the children for entertaining; showing such confidence and for representing our school so brilliantly. I was proud of every one of you. Such lovely comments were made about you all afterwards.

This term has been packed with excitement too – a hugely successful Story Day, FoWs disco, trip to BETT, drama workshop, Ocarina day and author visit from Joe Berger, which was so much fun and engaged the children so beautifully. Last week, of course, we recognised and celebrated Safer Internet Day with a fabulous assembly  from our digital leaders. As a school we have been having many purposeful discussions around online safety and being kind to each other using the fantastic GoBubble resource, which the children love. It really has helped us to appreciate our online and digital footprint and how to be a good digital citizen.

Just a couple of housekeeping notes. Please can everyone ensure that they have the correct school uniform and shoes in school at all times and that it is named. It is always a bit of a challenge to play match the uniform to the child at the end of a PE session!

Can I wish you a wonderful half term together and I look forward to seeing you again in Term 4 when the fun, excitement and wealth of opportunity continues for us all!

A visit to BETT 2019

Every once in a while we get to do something just a little bit different but VERY exciting. Another of those opportunities came around last Friday when I was invited to take a group of broadcasters to the largest education technology show in Europe, BETT, at the ExCeL centre in London’s docklands.

We had been lucky enough to have been invited to present a live radio show on the NetSupport stand with our very good friend Russell Prue of Anderton Tiger Broadcasting, at the invitation of NetSupport CEO Al Kingsley and what a day we had.

From the very off, excitement levels were at their peak as we travelled by GWR from Chippenham to Paddington, stopping prior to joining the Tube at Paddington for a quick snap with Paddington Bear, of course! I cannot praise the children highly enough, as for many this was a new experience and travelling on London public transport is never easy. However, everyone was so sensible and stayed as a group to ensure that we were safe at all times.

If you have ever been to the ExCeL centre you will know that it is vast and the BETT show is always full of hundreds of the biggest IT companies in the world. Just the place for a wonderful experience and to gather as many freebies and merchandise as possible! Everyone at BETT was so welcoming and gave the children a super time, handing out everything from t-shirts to pens and stress balls.

But our main reason for being at BETT, other than the experience, was to broadcast a live Westwood Radio show from the Netsupport stand. Al Kingsley, their CEO, is a great supporter of our station and generously invited us to attend and present on their radio station. Once again we got the opportunity to work with the brilliant Russell Prue, who guided us through a rehearsal and gave so many top tips that when we went on air at 3pm, the children were brimming with confidence and ideas. It was amazing to see them at work, in the middle of a packed show floor and being watched by, literally,  hundreds of people passing by, all of them so impressed by the professionalism and quality of the children’s presenting. After an outstanding hour’s broadcast I could not have felt more proud of everyone’s confidence, resilience and professionalism. They were all such a credit to our school. I must also thank so many parents and friends who listened in and contributed via text and email too, which made for a fabulous experience.

With just time to pop by a VR stand – I cooed over the Back to the Future DeLorean whilst the children were immersed in virtual reality – before heading back to Paddington and home. Tired, but with so many special memories and experiences from the day, everyone was just brilliant. To everyone who came with me, an enormous thank you and also a special mention to Karen Hobson who gave her day to join me and make sure that everyone stayed so safe and had huge fun. As did we.

Here are some photos of the day and a chance to listen again to the children’s show:

Story Day

As we approach the end of week 2 already (!) there has been so much to celebrate again at our school.

Yesterday the whole school took part in a wonderful story day where each class read and enjoyed their own story and then the entire day’s teaching and learning focused on that book. Sharing stories such as ‘The Wolf that cried boy’ and ‘The day I swapped my dad for two goldfish’, all of the children were so immersed in their learning and our love of reading and literature as a school really showed.

At the end of the day we all came together for an assembly and it was a real joy to see how much the children had learnt from their day in the way that each class presented their stories. Thank you to the staff for their hard work and preparation in making days like these a success and to the children for working so hard. I think we all found out something new about a book we might go and read now…

Happy New Year!

Hello again and welcome back to another year at our school. I do hope that you had a wonderful break after, what was, such a magical and exciting term with so much to celebrate. I had time to reflect on what a special place this is to be, particularly at Christmas time, so thank you all for making it so.

So now we’re off again with renewed invigoration and already we have been so busy with our learning,  finding out about our new exciting topics. Sunflower class are learning all about Arctic explorers, Clover and Lotus Class are finding out about trains and have already produced the most brilliant 3d display on their walls and the topic in Orchid class is Earth as an Island. The IPC (International Primary Curriculum) does allow so much creativity, skills development and engagement that teaching and working with the children makes it incredibly exciting and provides a wealth of learning opportunities, led by the children.

Our broadcasters have already been live on air, with two shows broadcast last week – Word on the Street and our Friday Show. Superbly presented, there is such confidence every time the children step into the studio and they are really making a name for themselves in the way they deliver top quality education radio week on week. I am so proud of them and what they achieve. You can listen to all of our shows on soundcloud.com/westwoodradio or you can listen to our station 24 hours a day by downloading the Android or iOS apps free. Links are on our website radio.westwoodwithiford.org

Please also check out all of our class blogs at westwoodblogs.org where the children are sharing so much of their fabulous learning with the world. You are most welcome to leave them a comment and this will inspire them hugely!

As a school we are also working on a number of diverse projects, with some also being planned for the Spring and Summer terms, including a brilliant social media project using the GoBubble app – we don’t like to sit still for too long! Of course, our Westwood Oral History Project continues to gather pace and you can listen to the interviews we have carried out so far on westwoodheritage.uk

With so much to look forward to, I know that 2019 is going to be another amazing year at our school and I look forward to sharing it with you.