Author Archives: Mr Rockey

Westwood Radio at The Young Aria Awards

Westwood Radio continues to grow, both in listeners and also in profile. With three live shows every week and top teams of broadcasters producing outstanding content and radio, education radio has a large place in our curriculum for developing confidence, resilience and literacy skills.

This week, the hard work of our children was recognised nationally as, having entered our broadcasters for a national radio competition – The Young Arias – our Word on the Street boys radio team were nominated and shortlisted to just three for a prestigious award. On Friday we made the journey to London via GWR to experience something that none of us, myself included, had dreamed we would have the pleasure of attending.

Held at THE BBC Broadcasting House, we were made so welcome from the minute we arrived and it was an absolute delight to see the boys faces as they came face to face with a building that they had only ever seen on TV. A further treat for us all, was that our good friend Russell Prue of Anderton Tiger Broadcasting, who has supported us from the very beginning with his radio station,  joined us for the day.

With the sort of military precision you would expect from such a well oiled machine, we were security checked and given the obligatory gold wristbands, which all made us feel very important. The awards ceremony itself took place in the BBC Radio Theatre, home to so many live performances and famous broadcasts over the years. Our hosts were the super talented Matt Edmondson from Radio 1 and Daisy Maskell from Kiss FM whose professionalism and personality made for a wonderful afternoon.

In true awards ceremony style, each category had it’s own celebrity to read out the nominations and we even had the added comedy factor of gold envelopes to open that were stuck so tight they added to the suspense! It’s a mixture of both excitement and nerves when your category comes up and although we didn’t win, we were all very pleased for Newington Primary School and congratulate them on their well deserved award. To have actually made the final three and be able to attend the award ceremony, for me, is a massive achievement in itself and I could not be more proud of our broadcasters and our school. From the hundreds who entered, we, a school of less than 100 pupils made it there and the experience is something what we will all hopefully remember for a very long time. We saw celebrities such as Sara Cox from Radio 2, Mollie King from Radio 1, Alex Baker from Magic and a host of stars, executives, CEOs and major players in the radio industry.

To everyone at Radiocentre and the BBC who made us feel so special, so welcome and so inspired, I cannot thank you enough. You gave us the most magical experience possible and we are now all looking forward to making more outstanding radio in the hope that maybe we can come back again one day for another amazing awards experience.

Our broadcasting team were a pleasure to take and made me so proud all day long. Thank you for such a lovely day. Thank you also to Russell, as without his inspiration, guidance and support, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Here are some photos of our experience:

SATs Superstars

This past week across the country thousands of children in Year 6 were taking their end of year SATs. At Westwood we always try to make SATs as low key, relaxed and even as fun as possible and I am so proud of our fabulous Year 6 children this week.

They have approached their week with the best possible attitude and have all tried so hard. It has been a pleasure to be in school every day and to see them smiling, laughing together and taking everything in their stride, showing tremendous resilience and commitment. 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 and one which makes me incredibly proud.

Time to catch up!

It seems like a long time since I’ve been able to write a blog post and catch up with everything that has been happening at our fabulous school this term and already we are in week 4!

In the very first week of term, some of our amazing broadcasters had the opportunity to join our friends at BBC Wiltshire for their breakfast show from Wiltshire Heights, which we visit regularly, to broadcast from with the residents. Joining Ben Prater live on air throughout the show as part of their 30th birthday tour, the children were, once again, model professionals and made me so proud. You can still catch the show on BBC Sounds at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p075y868 Here are some photos of us with the team on the day too:

You may also have noticed our wonderful new play equipment and all weather path that has been installed on our school field. This will broaden the children’s healthy outdoor play opportunities and will also enable the equipment to be used all year round. Huge thanks to our amazing Friends of Westwood School for again donating some of their funds towards the resurfacing of the path. It will make such a difference.

Speaking of our incredible FoWs team, we have already seen three brilliant events this term  which have raised an outstanding £1000! Our Smartie challenge, where children took an Easter tube of Smarties, ate them (of course!) and then returned the tube full of 20p coins raised a staggering £200, as did our very first jumble sale. Also, just last weekend we held our annual and extremely popular quiz night. Once again I would like to say an enormous thank you to Becky and Jeremy, who always put on such an enjoyable and entertaining quiz where there is something for everyone.  The news from our FoWs team is that the quiz night raised a staggering £600, so thank you so much to everyone involved and to everyone who came to make the evening such a success. It really was another wonderful Westwood community occasion.

So to this week and I must say a huge well done to our brilliant Year 6 children who are taking their SATs and are such a credit to the school. As always they work incredibly hard and we could not be more proud of them or the dedicated and simply amazing staff who work so hard to ensure that SATs week is a success and as stress-free as possible.

Finally, thank you if you have taken the time to listen in to our radio station, Westwood Radio. Our listener figures are booming and we have also been nominated for a Young Arias award! We will be heading to BBC Broadcasting House this week to a special awards ceremony, so watch this space!

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!