Author Archives: Mr Rockey

Father’s Friday

Today saw the return of Father’s Friday to Westwood with iford School and once again I must thank all of the dads and special people from home for joining us and for making the day such tremendous fun and so successful.

Beginning the day with a jam packed celebration assembly, full of wonderful achievements from both in and out of school, our hall was buzzing with excitement and almost standing room only! From there, it was onto classes for a day of inspiring international learning with our staff, focusing on India, Hungary, The Aztecs and Russia, with everyone who came along immersing themselves in the true spirit of the day. The atmosphere was fantastic. Some of our dads even brought their lunch and joined us in the hall before all playing a game of lunchtime football at the Westwood Etihad! This afternoon the Westwood Radio broadcasters also welcomed their dads into the studio for a very special Father’s Friday broadcast full of fun, banter and good humour. 

We are so lucky to have an incredibly supportive parent community who work so well alongside our school  and it was such a delight to see so many people having fun around the building today.  Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us and make the day special. Here are some fabulous photos of the day (thank you Mrs Batten) and also our broadcast from this afternoon’s show. 

Happy Father’s day everyone.

Quality International Learning

I’ve made it one of my goals this term to blog more regularly about the fantastic things that are taking place at our school. Today was another of those days when I had the opportunity to integrate technology and innovation to make the learning fun, exciting and different for the children in Clover class.

All year we have been regularly linking up with our friends in Room 104 of Georgetown Elementary school in Hudsonville, Michigan as part of an international project to share learning, social and cultural experiences and just enjoy talking to other children from around the world. Today was the last time we linked up as our friends in the USA finish for the summer on Friday. We’ve loved talking to them and learning about what they learn, where they live and how the weather differs! Here we all are for one last time in a Google Hangout together and we also asked and answered questions through CoveritLive.

Live Blog Westwood and Georgetown Final International Learning Session 2018
 

What a way to end a term…

After a couple of days of being able to reflect on such an exciting day that was jam packed from the very start, and now having had the opportunity to process all of the media we gathered, it’s time to bring all of the last day of Term 5 together in a blog post.

My day began at 4am – early for me (!) but necessary to get up so early in order to be organised and in Westwood for 6am ready for the beginning of a once in a lifetime experience. My destination was the Batten residence, home of Jo and Russell, who had kindly agreed to host BBC Wiltshire as they presented their breakfast show from, quite literally, their kitchen, dining room and lounge! Ben Prater, the show’s presenter was already there, along with Richard his producer for the day and Ian the broadcast engineer, to ensure that everything was in place for the outside broadcast to celebrate BBC Wiltshire’s Step into Summer campaign.

Preparations for the show began months ago and we had been working closely with Emma Colman, producer at BBC Wiltshire and lead for Step into Summer, to ensure that we had a range of wonderful guests from the community to talk about their experiences of walking around the local area, as well as children from our school, who spoke so beautifully about how important it is to stay healthy. Everyone was just brilliant and it made for such a slick and impressive show. Ben was able to move around the downstairs with his wireless microphone to interview guests and he is such a professional, always commenting and questioning with such relevance, putting everyone at ease. He was joined by Marie Indge, BBC Wiltshire’s sports presenter, who delivered her 7.20am bulletin from ‘Breakfast with the Battens’!

I was involved briefly a couple of times, but was mainly asked to review the papers with Ben. We always ask the children to put themselves out of their comfort zone and this was certainly an occasion when I was out of mine. However, it was a please and a privilege to work with Ben and before we knew it, 8am was fast approaching and it was time to head round to school for phase 2.

The plan was for Ben to walk around with children and families to school from Jo and Russell’s house and to meet more parents and children on the playground, which he did so well. Once again I was so proud of everyone’s support of our school as so many people came in early to support the show, with children and parents talking to Ben live on air about where they walk and how involved they are in the village. Two of our broadcasters, Charlie and Ellie, also impressed everyone on the production team with their hugely professional reports on sports day and the Race for Life, presented live on air with Marie at 8.20am. What an opportunity and so confident and well delivered! So proud!

As the number of parents grew and the atmosphere reached it’s peak, 9am was rapidly approaching and with a ring of our school bell it was all over. What an experience, what an opportunity and what memories we have of the day BBC Wiltshire came to Westwood! I have to say the biggest thank you to Jo and Russell for being the perfect hosts. Bacon sandwiches and coffee were in plentiful supply all morning and it was a pleasure to spend time in their wonderful home in such a relaxed atmosphere. They were amazing. Also to BBC Wiltshire, to Ben, Emma, Marie, Richard and Ian for giving us the unique opportunity and insight into a live outside broadcast, it was enormous fun. But also I have to say huge thanks again to our parents and children who always support everything we do so strongly and with such commitment. On Friday our entire community came out and everyone listening would have heard how vibrant and active it is and that is something very special. I for one will remember Friday morning for a very long time and with almost 2800 miles walked by our school community during May, I just had to ask Ben to sign this for posterity…

step into summer

If you missed the show on Friday, you can listen again via the BBC iPlayer here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066s97q

Ben and Marie were also incredibly generous with their time and allowed two of our children, Luke and Daniel, to interview them after the show and talk to them about their careers in broadcasting and what advice they would give to our up and coming presenters. You can listen to their interviews below:

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Of course that was just the beginning of the day and with keeping healthy in mind we then got straight on with our school sports morning, a well orchestrated and hugely entertaining and fun carousel of activities organised by the staff. All of the children in the school worked together in mixed ability groups to complete each activity and it was the best possible way to get our sports day under way, defying the threat of rain on the field!

After lunch it was then onto the main event, with so many parents and members of our community arriving to support our wonderful children as they took part in a traditional Westwood with Iford Sports day. No trophies, no points, just everyone enjoying themselves on a Friday afternoon as they raced against each other in flat races, sack races and even egg and spoon. With a mums, dads and even a toddlers race as well, there was something for everyone. To finish the day we held our second annual Race for Life and this year so many more children and adults took part, which was a delight to see. Once again my mum made the cakes and everyone was so generous in their donations that already, before sponsorship, we have £150 on it’s way to Cancer Research UK which is amazing. Thank you all so much for your generosity.

So, as you can see, what a day it was. I hop i have given a flavour of the excitement, energy, success, celebration and community coming together that was felt on Friday. Sports day is always a highlight in the calendar but this year it was just a little bit different. Thank you all so much for the part you played in making the day perfect.

Here are some photos we took of the children enjoying their sports.

Have the best half term everyone and enjoy the scarecrow trail…

Busy times, fun times

Hello again! It seems as though the gaps between my posts are getting longer as other things take the time. However, with SATs this week and so much to celebrate and get excited about, I felt that a post was necessary.

I am so proud of our fabulous Year 6 children this week. They have approached their week with the best attitude and have all tried so hard. It has been a pleasure to be in school every day and to talk to them after each of their tests, seeing them smile and speak so positively. 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.

Elsewhere in the school there is also much to celebrate. Everyone is gearing themselves up for sports day which is next Thursday at 1.30pm on the school field and we are all very much looking forward to that! I have loved spending time in classes and seeing what the children have been enjoying learning this term. The staff have planned some amazing topics that have really inspired the children to learn and the classes are looking vibrant.

Also don’t forget our Race for Life, which is taking place on Friday 25th May at 3.15pm on the school field. I’m hoping that as many people as possible will come along and take part. We have all been fully involved in BBC Wiltshire’s Step into Summer, recording our steps and miles each day and, of course, Ben Prater will be presenting the end of his Breakfast Show from our playground on Friday 25th May, so do please join us for that and let’s all keep the healthy summer going!

I can barely believe that we are almost at May half term already, but this term has been so packed with activities that the time has just flown by!

What a week!

At the end of our first week back in Term 5 there is already so much to celebrate. Assembly yesterday morning was a real pleasure with the opportunity to share the children’s successes in their outstanding learning and also the chance to find out who has been helping and being kind around the school.  This is always a particularly difficult decision for the staff to choose between the children as our school community is so positive and everyone works together so well. I do feel proud of our school and the atmosphere that exists in every class as I walk around on a daily basis to see everyone enjoying their school experience.

This week we also had the absolute pleasure of supporting our Westwood Dance Group who, from the entire South West Region, had been one of just 6 primary schools to make it to the regional finals in Bristol. On Tuesday night we all made our way to St George’s theatre to be dazzled, enthralled, excited and simply overwhelmed by the most wonderful evening of dance as 25 schools of all ages competed against each other to try to make it through to the national final in Oxford.

Dancing ‘In the Mind’  to ‘Running with the Wolves’ by Aurora, a contemporary dance choreographed once again by our brilliant Karen Hobson, this was an opportunity to not only feel incredibly emotional but also so proud that every one of our dancers was confident, professional and so impressive in front of, literally, hundreds of people. Furthermore, our school was the only primary school to include children from Year 1 to Year 6. This makes our fantastic fourth place so very well deserved and an incredible achievement on a night when the standard of dance was so very high. I could not be more proud of every single one of our dancers. The experience of dancing at such a young age on a big stage is something  quite immeasurable and something I am sure they will remember for the rest of their lives.

My huge thanks to Karen for her enthusiasm, energy and tremendous professionalism in bringing our school to the big stage and for giving every child such a super experience. To the mums and volunteers who gave their time to paint faces, crimp hair and make the occasion extra special for everyone, thank you so much. Also to our dancers, the stars of the St George’s stage who gave us all the best Tuesday evening out and so many reasons to feel proud. Well done everyone.

Performance Poetry Afternoon

This week has been a special week to be at our school, beginning with Mother’s Monday and ending this morning with a wonderful celebration assembly. It does make me so proud to be head of such a super school community.

We have also had our reading week, with the Book Fair joining us and every opportunity to get involved in reading and enjoying books. So many children are now achieving their Bronze reading certificates, as part of our reading challenge, and it would be so good to see everyone reading regularly at home so that every child is able to achieve 25 reading sessions and achieve their Bronze certificate. It means so much to the children and helps their reading enormously. We even gave away silver and a GOLD certificate this morning!

Yesterday, as part of our reading week, we held our very first performance poetry assembly for the school. Children were asked, as part of their homework, to learn a poem that they enjoyed and to perform it in front of the school. With a stage, microphone and PA system all set up, it made the occasion truly professional and it was such a delight to see so many children exuding confidence and eloquence in their performance. Well done to everyone who took part, it was a real pleasure to listen to you all performing your poems.

I have been able to record and upload this delightful afternoon for you all to listen to, along with some photos of our children’s superb achievements. Well done everyone!

Mother’s Monday 2018

One of the stand out days in our school calendar is when we are able to 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.

It was a real delight yesterday to see how many people had given their time 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 Antarctica, Kenya, France and even took part on a Mystery Skype with a class from Ireland! 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: