Author Archives: Mr Rockey

International Christmas Around the World

This week we went global at Westwood with Iford School with an international day focused completely on Christmas around the World. After the success of Clover class link up with Room 104 of Georgetown Elementary school on Wednesday, sharing Christmas traditions and wishes face to face, Thursday was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to learn about how other countries celebrate Christmas.

All of the children throughout the school were put into groups and spent a session together with each teacher learning about how Christmas is celebrated in Germany, Scandinavia, China and Iceland. What was so lovely was that our school family worked so wonderfully together, supporting each other and enjoying the opportunity to work with friends that were both older and younger. The teachers all planned a super day for everyone that was enormous fun and so informative. My huge thanks to the staff for another brilliantly planned day and to the children for their outstanding behaviour and sense of fun. We all agreed this is something we would do again soon!

Here are some photos I was able to take of the children working together on International Day:

The most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is always such a magical time of the year in school and never more so than when our children from Thistle and Clover class perform their Christmas nativity play.  This year it was a Tale of Two Birthdays, a wonderfully traditional story of Christmas.

Having worked so hard for the past few weeks everyone gave their absolute best and put on a show that was just perfect. The hall was filled with the sound of beautiful singing as the children sang their hearts out, with fantastic performances from everyone and lines delivered superbly, ensuring that every one of us who attended a performance was able to enjoy a fabulous half hour of school production perfection.

I must thank Mrs Hannam, Miss Williams, Mrs Rosier and their teaching assistants for all working so incredibly hard to help the children to be performance ready. It takes a lot of planning and preparation and I am lucky to work with such a wonderful team – all lovely people who work together so brilliantly. Thank you also to our parent community who, once again, supported us and the children so strongly, providing a receptive and grateful audience. It was, as always, so good to have so many people there. Thank you.

Here are the photos I took from this week’s performances:

Christmas begins!

Christmas has now well and truly started at our school with the decorations adorning corridors, classrooms looking colourful and bright and the traditional Advent assembly with just me, the children and a few candles last Friday morning. Magical. It is such a special time of year to work in a school, particularly one where everyone works together so wonderfully well to make each and every occasion just brilliant.

Saturday saw just that, with our amazing Friends of Westwood School, guided by Lee and Gemi putting on yet another showcase event that brought together the entire community and village of Westwood in the most beautiful atmosphere. Having transformed the school on Friday, each area looked so festive and welcoming that it is no wonder people were queueing at the door from 2pm to get in and see the vast array of stalls, crafts  and games on offer. Father Christmas even made a special appearance for the afternoon and set up the perfect grotto in my office. I think I preferred it that way to when I walked in this morning and I might have to change it back!

From racing Santas to the ever popular Tombola, with a widely stocked Christmas Cafe in the meadow to children’s arts, face painting and lucky dip in Thistle class. The children from Orchid class even set up their own stalls again in Clover class, all planned and organised in their own time. Every corner of the school was alive with Christmas joy and it made for such an enjoyable afternoon.

Throughout the fair our fabulous broadcasters also took turns to host a full length Christmas radio show, playing everyone’s favourite songs, children’s wishes for Christmas, interviews and generally had fun taking over the studio for the afternoon! They all did the most amazing job and I am so proud of their ability to keep a show going live on air to the world for that length of time.

Of course, our enormous thanks must go to our brilliant FoWs for their hard work, commitment and dedication to putting on such a super event. I must thank, in particular, Lee and Gemi and also Francesca, who procured some truly stunning prizes for the raffles. Thank you all so very much for your efforts and for giving up so much time to support our school. We raised a staggering £1132 on Saturday and that is just tremendous.

Here are some photos I managed to take of the festivities on the day and also our Christmas Fair radio show to listen again, complete with festive tunes. Enjoy!

Westwood Radio visits BBC Wiltshire

bbc wiltshire

What a day for our young Westwood Radio broadcasters and for all of us at Westwood with Iford School! We had been invited by the head of station sound to join him in the studio to record some very special voice overs for the festive period that is almost upon us. i can’t say too much at this time but will let you know more as soon as I am able! As you can see, we were all SO excited about visiting a real radio station that broadcasts to 80,000 people a day!

On arrival we were straight into one of the actual radio studios used by the presenters and immediately behind the microphones for everyone to have a go at recording some lines that Nj, the sound engineer, had prepared for us. Without any nerves and with complete professionalism, the children were an immense credit to our school, spending well over an hour recording voice overs for BBC Wiltshire and all with complete and perfect radio etiquette.

With a quick bit of lunch it was then on to a tour of the station and what a wonderful surprise we had. Graham Seaman was live on air with his lunchtime show and invited us to join him live in the studio for a chat. Yes, live to 80,000 people! As I knew and expected, the children conducted themselves as brilliantly and confidently as they do in our studio at school and were so at ease behind the microphone I was immensely proud of all of them. Talia even got to cue up the next song after our interview before we said our huge thanks and goodbyes to Graham and continued with the tour. You can listen again to our radio apperarance at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05l5g56 from 29:01.

With so many excellent questions from the children and a wealth of knowledge shared by Nj, the time raced by and before we knew it, we were back on the bus and listening to the remainder of Graham’s show on our way home.

This was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities for us all and is such a positive reminder of the doors that  education radio broadcasting can open to our children. this was certainly yet another day to be proud of everyone and I thank them for the most wonderful day. I hope you remember it for many years to come.

Here are some photos of our day.

We also recorded a very special podcast of our experience too!

Great learning, great fun

This past week or so has been full of great learning, some of which I have had the pleasure to experience first hand.  You may be aware that I have been working with the children to develop their writing skills using the Five Sentence Challenge, for younger writers and the 100 word challenge for our older writers.

Both offer a fantastic prompt that the children write in response to, but completely independently and without limits. This provides a wonderful creative opportunity and allows children to become authors. Once again this week I have been delighted by the children’s response and the writing that they have produced. Please do head along to our class blogs from westwoodblogs.org and leave a comment for our brilliant writers. Having an audience for your writing makes such a difference. Here are some children from Clover and Thistle Class explaining what they enjoy about their writing.

Class topics are also engaging the children with fascinating learning as well as visits from sports stars, roman archaeologists and we have even started to think about our songs for Christmas. I do enjoy Term 2 – it is always so magical and a great time to be in school. You can catch up with all of our weekly news via my podcast, Westwood Talk, which I record every weekend as a round up of the week’s events. The latest episode is here for you to listen again.

Term 2 hits the ground running…

Welcome back to another exciting term at our school and, although incredibly busy, it is always so magical and the perfect time to be working in a school. I have started the term by recording another podcast episode to round up the week, as there is always so much taking place at our school. You can listen to that using the player below and if you ever miss any of the podcast episodes, you can head to  http://radio.westwoodwithiford.org/talk-archive.html I do hope that they are useful and informative and please do email me if you have any questions on westwoodtalk@westwoodwithiford.org.

Have a great week everyone!

Term 1 draws to a close…

If you prefer your news and updates in a more auditory form then this may interest you, a brand new podcast that I plan to record regularly to keep you up to date with everything that is happening at our school. Visit radio.westwoodwithiford.org/talk for more information and head to our Soundcloud Page to subscribe to the podcast or download it to listen offline.

If you prefer your news in traditional text then here’s my latest blog post…

As we arrive at the end of our first term together in this academic year, I do feel that it has been incredibly enjoyable, full of fun and with so much exciting learning having taken place.

Our Harvest assembly was, once again, so very well supported and with many, many generous donations from our fantastic community. It is always such a pleasure to lead and to watch the children perform and join in, celebrating one of our main festivals in the year. Once again, our donations have gone straight to Storehouse Foodbank in Trowbridge, who were delighted, so thank you all so much.

You will be aware that we also held a sleepover for Miranda Meldrum, an ex-pupil of ours and resident of Westwood. Miranda very sadly suffered a brain haemorrhage earlier in the year and now suffers from locked-in syndrome. I am absolutely delighted to annouce that we have so far taken over £563 which will go towards much needed support to aid Miranda’s recovery. Thank you all so much.

Recently, the children had a wonderful time dancing to the mixing and top tunes of DJ Stuart at our Autumn disco. It is always such a fun (and quite energetic!) night and makes for a very quiet Friday assembly the morning after! Thank you to everyone who helped to organise it and run it on the night, our fantastic FoWs were on top form as always!

To complete this round up of the term, it has been so wonderful to see so much fantastic learning taking place in all of our classes on a daily basis. There is evidence of the children’s hard work on the walls and also on the class blogs – westwoodblogs.org.  I would encourage you to subscribe to your child’s class blog – just an email address is required – so that you keep up to date with everything that is going on in school. Also, please do leave comments on the blog posts. Creating an audience for the children to showcase their achievements is so important and we are continuing to succeed with this on a wider scale, but your comments are so important to support children in their learning and to inspire them. You can also follow our day to day learning and activities on Twitter. We are @wwischool and a page is now on the school website to help you get started: http://www.westwoodwithiford.org/twitter.html I must also mention that for those of you who like to keep up to date with everything that is happening at our school but enjoy your news in audio form, I have been inspired by our broadcasters and will be starting a brand new Podcast called Westwood Talk. As head teacher I am extremely proud of our school and I am looking forward to sharing this with you, the community and the world. You will find me on radio.westwoodwithiford.org/talk.

So, as we approach the end of Term 1, I am thrilled that our reception children have settled so brilliantly and all of our classes are working so well together. There is, of course, much to look forward to, as Term 2 brings with it the excitement of Christmas, Performances and so much more great learning.

Can I wish you all a wonderful half term and a lovely, restful family time.