Author Archives: Mr Rockey

100wc magic continues to inspire

This first post of the new term comes with a high level of excitement. Many of you will know that I very much enjoy teaching every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon as it gives me a chance to keep in touch with what is going on in the classroom and enjoy being a part of the children’s learning.

Today was a real treat as, not only did the children write some amazing stories for their 100 word challenge blog posts, but we also got to record a number of them as a well. This is something that we haven’t tried before and i was so impressed with the level of expression and how much the children enjoyed presenting their writing. Once again, the 100 word challenge inspired, engaged and excited children in their learning and it was lovely to see.

You can head to both lotus.westwoodblogs.org and orchid.westwoodblogs.org to read some stunning stories and below you will find these stories presented to you by the children in their own unique way.

Well done everyone, Mrs Skinner would be proud!

Simonsbath Day 5

What a week we have had at Simonsbath this week on our residential and we have to finish it as we have been all week and that is with some photos of our fabulous children enjoying themselves on their last morning.

After some swift packing and lunch making, everyone had their dorms looking in fine shape, to ensure that we had maximum time for orienteering before lunch. Emily briefed us on some essential map skills before the children were able to head off out around the entire Simonsbath House site to try to find the clues to enable them to answer a puzzle. As you can imagine, with so much experience of orienteering from their school activities, the children all found this fairly straight forward and impressed the instructors with their skills! With glorious sunshine on a beautiful Autumn day, it was the perfect end to a magical week, with everyone enjoying their last bit of Exmoor fresh air and scenery before a brief lunch and trip to the shop and on the coach to head home.

This week has been just wonderful and everyone has had the best time together, with so many special memories made through activities, experiences and time spent in the great outdoors. I have been immensely proud of Orchid class this week – their behaviour, have a go attitude, humour, sense of fun and above all, manners and respect have been a credit to everyone. They have been super company and the week seemed to fairly fly by, as we were all so immersed in having a fantastic time. Thank you to you all for such a lovely week.

I really must take this opportunity, also, to thank our amazing staff. Mrs Hannam, Mrs Tyler, Mrs Robertson and Miss Bartlett have worked exceptionally hard this week, showing great care, nurture, fun, enthusiasm, humour and of course outstanding organisation to ensure that every single person has the best possible week they can. I am so proud and thankful that we have an incredible team who all work together so seamlessly for our children and it has been an absolute pleasure to share their company this week. Thank you all so much.

On that note, here is the last day in photos and the children’s own words as they describe what they have enjoyed most about their week. Thank you for your kind comments and I am delighted that you have felt a part of our week as we missed you all and wanted to share it with you.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Sensational Science Week!

The weeks are fairly flying by here at Westwood School and with only four weeks left until half term there is so much to both reflect on and look forward to.

This week we had THE most exciting science week, with the children being given all manner of wonderful opportunities to experiment and investigate with science. With a whole trolley of amazing hands-on science experiments from We the Curious to take into classrooms, along with carefully planned lessons from the teachers, it was a pleasure to wander around school each day, talking to children and listening to them enthuse about their learning. You will probably have heard from your children already about our Explorer Dome day which excited, enthralled and totally engaged every single child!

I would like to give a huge thank you to Mrs Tyler who organised, resourced and planned a completely brilliant and fascinating week for us all, including lunchtime and after school club experiences. Once again, science week was one to remember!  I would also like to thank the teaching staff for planning wonderful lessons and also the children who were a pleasure to work with. Here are some photos of the week’s experiments and our radio club recorded a special science week show, highlighting what they enjoyed:

In other news…thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time to comment on your children’s work on their class blog, giving them the audience that they so richly deserve for their efforts. I am delighted that our blogs are constantly filled with so much quality content. Please do visit them, subscribe to them and continue to comment. An audience provides the very best inspiration and motivation for the children and a few minutes to leave a comment does make such a difference. To help you with this I have created a page on our website for parents and children to use, including how-to videos, which I hope will help you get started. Please visit http://www.westwoodwithiford.org/blogging which is under the Parent Info tab of our website.  With an international readership of thousands, literally, we are well known for our blogging, so join the fun!

I am also delighted to announce that, through the work we have been doing with a class at Georgetown Elementary School in the USA, as well as our many international projects, we have been awarded a British Council International Award at Intermediate level! I am so pleased as this highlights the way in which we have been developing children’s internationalism so widely in recent years.

Please continue to listen to our fabulous broadcasters on Westwood Radio, it really is going from strength to strength. We would love you to join in our shows too, so if you are able, please listen every Thursday at 2.15pm and Friday at 2.15pm and get in touch with the show via email: radio@westwoodwithiford.org, text: 078600 17404 or tweet us on Twitter @wwipradio. You can include #westwoodradio in any tweet, too and we will see it.

To listen, you can click on the link on the homepage of our website, press play on the player on our radio website, radio.westwoodwithiford.org or listen via the Android app from Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.radio.m285e9b0b3 or on the Apple App from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ww-radio/id1437625739?ls=1&mt=8, so if you are out and about you can still listen in!

Have a super weekend everyone

Welcome Back

Can I begin by both welcoming you back and welcoming you, if you are a new parent, to the new school year. I hope that this week your children have settled well and are enjoying the many exciting learning opportunities that they are experiencing. The school seems so settled, calm and full of fun as I walk around and catch up with everyone on how they enjoyed their holidays.

Even though we are just over a week into the new term, already the children are finding out about their new topics and entry points for their International Primary Curriculum learning. If you are unfamiliar with this, as a school we teach the IPC as a way of engaging children effectively and enabling them to enjoy using a skills based approach, where a broad range of learning styles are catered for. Furthermore, the opportunity to extend their international mindedness and to learn about other cultures has been fascinating and with every class looking to establish a range of international link for the year, I can see this developing into a very exciting prospect. Watch this space and look out for a letter coming home soon with details of the new unit of work in your class and what the children will be learning!

A few dates are already booked in to look out for and you will also be receiving a list of school dates for the year to enable you to plan ahead as we aware that you are all very busy people. Having listened to parental feedback we will always try to give at least a week’s notice with communications of upcoming events from now on to allow you to attend our many school events. In the meantime, on Thursday 20th September we will be holding our  Meet the Teacher session. This will take place in two short sessions, from 2.20 – 2.40 and from 2.40 – 3pm, so that anyone with more than one child in the school has the opportunity to visit both class teacher sessions. It will be an opportunity for you to find out what you can expect from us as a school this year and what you can do to help your child in the Home-School Learning Partnership. Teachers will be happy to answer any questions you may have so that we start the year effectively.

Also, if you know anyone who has children starting school next year or may be looking to move their children at some point, we will be holding our Open Morning on Tuesday 25th September from 9.15am-12pm. This will be a chance to drop in and see the school on a normal working day, whilst asking any questions that you may have to find out more about us. We will look forward to welcoming many new faces!

As a reminder and an introduction, we are continuing to hold our Celebration Assembly every Friday from 9.10am in the school hall. This is open to everyone each week, so please come along when you can, you are always welcome. As a school, our ethos is firmly built on the celebration of skills, talents and achievements and we will be enjoying finding out what the children have achieved both within school and out of school, so if your child takes part in an out of school activity, sporting or otherwise and they have an award , certificate or something of recognition to share, then please bring it along and we will look forward to sharing it with them.

Tea with the Head is back again! On Friday 28th September, in conjunction with Macmillan Coffee Morning, I will be holding our first Tea with the Head in our Meadow after celebration assembly. Please come along and share a drink and a cake and an informal chat. It is always a pleasant occasion and very well supported.

Westwood Radio is back again and bigger than ever! With three live shows every week planned for this year and new broadcasters joining the team, do please listen in on a Monday at 8.15am, Thursday at 2.15pm and every Friday at 2.15pm. The children write their own scripts and completely control the content and broadcast of every show. We are proud of our innovative, groundbreaking radio station and hope that many more of you will listen in and interact via text and email. Head to our website, radio.westwoodwithiford.org for more information and you can listen from the homepage. PLUS, you can now download the Android App from the Google Play store to listen to us 24 hours a day. The download link is on the radio website homepage. The iOS app will be coming soon, so watch this space!

You also may be aware of my podcast that I record every week, Westwood Talk. Very much like a digital newsletter, it is a round up of all of the exciting news from every week at our wonderful school. Click play to listen below, or head to soundcloud.com/westwoodradio for lots more!

I am very much looking forward to another successful, happy and productive year. I do believe that we have such a fantastic school community and I very much look forward to catching up with you all in and around the playground.

And finally…

Hello for the final time this academic year and what a year it has been. If you attended one or even both of our assemblies yesterday, thank you so much. I am very proud of the fact that, as we reflect on the year that has just passed we think of so many things to celebrate. We have a school community that is bursting with talent, from fantastic writers to talented mathematicians to inspiring artists.

Outside of the day to day curriculum we also have so many incredible dancers, a raft of sports superstars, future professional musicians and our confident and eloquent broadcasters. Every single person has their own talent and it is always a real pleasure to walk around school on a day to day basis watching the children enjoying their learning  and celebrating their many achievements on a Friday in assembly. Of course, I have also had the pleasure of teaching each class this year and I am continually impressed and excited by the learning that takes place and the wonderful atmosphere there is in which to grow and develop.

I am incredibly proud of our children and the thoughtful, kind and committed approach that they have to every day. It makes my job such a pleasure and, once again, I have so many fond memories of another year in which we involved ourselves in so many activities.   I know that I am very lucky to work with such a fantastic staff team who bring so much enthusiasm, knowledge, skill and humour to our school each and every day. The topics that the teachers plan, activities they arrange and the level of attention and detail to making sure that every single child in their class is provided with the same high quality teaching and opportunity to succeed is considerable. Supported by a wonderful non-teaching staff team and our brilliant admin staff, who make sure that everything runs smoothly, this year has been another example of how everyone works together seamlessly for the benefit of the children and for that, I thank you all.

This time of year is always a particularly emotional time for us all, particularly since we have to say goodbye to a wonderful group of people who we have all got to know so well. This was highlighted in yesterday’s assemblies and is a real indication of the huge impact that  Josh, Isaac, Oscar, Jay, James, Ruby, Lily, Eleanor, Georgie, Izzie, Kieron, Dougie, Charlie, Archie, Alfie, Fred, Ellie, Daniel and Eli have all had on our school. Many of them have been together since nursery school and over the past five years I have watched them all grow into fine young people with an amazing sense of fun, dedication, respect and togetherness. They truly deserved their assembly and send off celebrations yesterday as thy have all given so much to our school community and will be sorely missed by us all in September. Congratulations on everything you have achieved and an enormous thank you from us all for everything you have given to our school, please come back and see us sometime.

Of course, yesterday was a complete day of celebration for our Year 6 children, as once school was out for the summer they partied into the evening at the Parish Rooms and what a super occasion that was. Hawaiian themed with games, BBQ, disco and huge amounts of laughter and enjoyment, this was the perfect end to an outstanding school career at Westwood with Iford. Here is a flavour of their final day:

As we all go our separate ways for, what I hope for you all is a restful and enjoyable summer break, can I just say a huge thank you to you all. Our parent community is so strong and immensely supportive and this is what makes our school such a special place to be. I very much look forward to seeing you all again in September when we can do it all again.

Have fun everyone, happy holidays…

Almost end of term…so much to say!

So. here we are approaching 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.

On the one hand it is a great opportunity to reflect on all that we have achieved, the amazing learning that has taken place 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 Josh, Isaac, Oscar, Jay, James, Ruby, Lily, Eleanor, Georgie, Izzie, Kieron, Dougie, Charlie, Archie, Alfie, Fred, Ellie, Daniel and Eli 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 tremendously and I hope that you will come back and visit us sometime soon.

As is always the case in the summer term there are so many exciting things taking place and so much report back on. Once again I really would like to say an enormous thank you to every one of our Friends of Westwood School (FoWs) who worked so hard to plan and put on a truly amazing summer fair. Led by Gemi and Lee, our Friends are an incredible group of parents who give so much time and commitment to providing and organising fantastic activities throughout the year and the Summer Fair, was another super community event that typified the beautiful village in which we live and workl. Once again we were treated to dancing, country dancing and the ever popular tug of war – that was just in the arena!! From sponging Mrs Tyler in the stocks to the hugely popular silent auction and a vast array of inflatables and fun, there was something for all ages to enjoy and we all did. Raising an enormous amount of profit, can I thank everyone involved once again this year for supporting our school and for providing us with the opportunities to improve our school, including the expansion of our successful radio provision, improving our EYFS outdoor area, outdoor storage, a whole school activity day and a contribution to our upcoming Simonsbath residential. Thankyou all, it makes such a difference!

This past couple of weeks our children from Lotus and Orchid classes put on the most incredible and humorous performance of Rock Bottom. With professional delivery, tremendous one liners and impeccable timing, the hall was full of so many laughs and a relaxed and inspiring atmosphere. I was so proud of our children for the confidence they showed. With each performance they got better and better and it was a shame it all had to end. Thank you to Mrs Tyler, Mr Bennett, Mrs Robertson and Mrs Wyartt for their hard work in bringing together such a wonderful spectacle for us all and to you for joining us each evening, making it so special.

This week most of our school enjoyed a visit to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and were, as you would expect, impeccably behaved, receiving comments of high praise from members of the public for the way in which they conducted themselves. As always, I am so proud of all of our children when they go off site to extend their learning. We have also been able to visit Westwood Manor this week and I must thank Emily Azis for welcoming us so warmly and giving us all the most fascinating and informative tour. We are lucky to have such a historic building within our community. With just a few days left, we have our activity day on Monday to look forward to before rounding the year up in our end of term assemblies on Wednesday.

I cannot finish this last edition of our newsletter without mentioning our incredible broadcasters who, each week, have written and produced their own scripts, broadcasting live online to the community and beyond. Gaining confidence, resilience and beautiful oracy skills, I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of people who have now accompanied me on two wonderful outside broadcasts at Wiltshire Heights residential care home where they showed respect and care, making their visit the highlight of the resident’s week! We have also held an open mic night at The New Inn for our Oral History Project which was a super evening and enabled us to gain an insight into even more of the history of the Westwood community.

The success of Westwood Radio this year has been enormous and we will be looking to grow even more next year. Do check out all of our live show recordings on https://soundcloud.com/westwoodradio and a HUGE thank you from me to all of our children for the commitment and energy they have shown behind the microphone, particularly our talented Year 6 broadcasters who are now leaving us. They have been with the project from the beginning and have helped to make it hte success that it has become. Our radio website is radio.westwoodwithiford.org and if you know of a business who may like to sponsor what we do in return for advertising on our station, please let me know.

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Our blogs have continued to grow this year, promoting fantastic writing skills and confidence in our children. Some really outstanding pieces of work have been posted and I am so proud of the fact that all of our children’s work has been read by an international audience. Please visit westwoodblogs.org and have a look at what we have achieved this year. We have even become noted for our Ocarina playing throughout the local authority this year and I am looking forward to carrying that on again in the new academic year.

After a year with so much to celebrate, 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.

Please do join me for Tea with the Head after assembly on Wednesday afternoon. Mum is baking in prepararation and it would be lovely to share a cuppa and a chat before we go our separate ways for the summer.

The weeks are flying by…

Welcome to a celebration of the end of week 4 in a final term that has been so busy yet so exciting so far.

These past couple of weeks have been no exception and have seen our children in Lotus and Orchid classes practising their play, ‘Rock Bottom’ in preparation for it’s premiere, which is taking place soon. As always, everyone is working really hard to learn their lines, rehearse their best dance routines and fill the hall with song. I know that it will be another stunning performance, so please look out for dates to buy tickets.

Last Friday, our broadcasters from Westwood Radio had the unique opportunity to present a live outside broadcast from Wiltshire Heights Residfential Care Home in Bradford on Avon. Taking over the ground floor lounge, 18 residents came along to enjoy a masterclass in broadcasting professionalism and they were thoroughly entertained by our children. Some of the residents were also interviewed live on air and this will contribute to our Oral History Project. What a lovely afternoon we all had and it was a great pleasure to meet everyone. We have even been invited back already! Thank you to our Year 6 broadcasters for their respect and lovely conversation with the residents.

Keeping with the radio theme, Thistle class also produced their very own radio show this week, which they broadcast LIVE to the world! Talking about their topic, Under the Sea, everyone spoke so beautifully into the microphone and they really were quite amazing. This is a Westwood Radio first, with our very youngest children hosting and producing their own show. I was so incredibly proud, as I always am of all our broadcasters. You can listen again to both shows on soundcloud.com/westwoodradio and also on Thistle class blog thistle.westwoodblogs.org, where there are photos too of their show.

This week, once again, our athletes have been representing our school brilliantly with a festival at St Laurence. Taking part in a range of sporting activities, our children were a credit to our school and tried so very hard in the heat of a hot afternoon. Well done everyone, I know how much you enjoyed it!

There have been so many exciting activities taking place this week – Lotus class even got to visit a chocolate factory for their school trip! I remember being at school and visiting somewhere far less interesting, but our staff, as always, have planned wonderful topics that excite and engage the children and a visit for Lotus class to consolidate their learning was ideal. They came back so enthusiastic and it was clearly a lovely trip!

Clover class, too, have been learning from first hand knowledge as they were visited by a Barn Owl this week, as part of their topic on birds. It was a wonderful opportunity to get up close to a real life owl and the children loved asking the owner lots of questions. Another super learning opportunity.

Finally, we were delighted to be visited again today by Rosie Evitt, author of Hannah’s Tree and Tiny Tails. Rosie worked with Thistle and Clover class before joining us in the studio for a live interview and signing books on the playground. A perfect way to end another lovely week at our school.

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂