Category Archives: Newsletter

The Friday Round Up

This is probably one of my favourite terms of the year as we have the joy of the festive season to look forward to with our fabulous Christmas performances and so much fascinating learning taking place, which has already begun in the first few days!

You will probably have heard from your children that our PlayPod is now open on the playground every lunchtime for them to use and enjoy. Funded through a lottery grant, the concept behind it is that the Wiltshire Scrapstore fill it with quality, clean and safe scrap materials that the children can use for exploratory and engaging play – den making, office work (!) with old keyboards, the possibilities are endless, truly. I managed to get out on to the playground on Tuesday and it was just so lovely to see everyone involved and loving their play. If you get the chance, there is a photo slideshow on my Head’s blog head.westwoodblogs.org for you to see what we do at lunchtimes. The formal opening of our Playpod will be next Friday 13th November at 2.30pm – just before the end of school –  and you are invited to come along and see what is inside the mysterious blue box and have a play yourself! We would love to see you. Here are the children enjoying some more PlayPod fun!

We are also very excited because our brand new play equipment is being installed next to the playground this week. With the money raised from our wonderful FoWs, we were able to purchase some really lovely pieces of equipment for all ages of children and I am very much looking forward to opening it up to the school as soon as possible. Thank you so much to everyone who has worked hard to raise money to make this possible for our school community.

Please don’t forget that we are holding our Parent Consultations on Monday and Thursday of next week, so book your slot if you haven’t done so already. Also, if you are able to come along, I will be running a parent eSafety update meeting on Tuesday 17th November at 6.30pm in the school hall. It will be a useful opportunity to find out how to keep your children safe online. Can I please ask that any Healthy Lunchbox questionnaires are also returned as i am formulating the next stage of our Healthy Schools Plan. Thank you.

All that remains is to wish you a very enjoyable weekend and if you are going to watch fireworks I do hope you have fun!

 

Lots to report!

It’s been a while since I sat down to write a lengthy post, so here goes…

I would like to thank those of you who took the time to attend our Parent meetings this month. As a school ,we are constantly listening to feedback and always try to provide events which will enhance the Home-School learning Partnership that we are excited to be collaborating with you on. From now on, I will also be adding all of our notes, handouts and presentations to the website, so please check back regularly as the website is constantly updated. We will also be using Home-School Contact to share important information that you may have missed through being unable to attend.

I am thrilled to share that some of our children in Orchid class have volunteered to produce a school newspaper for the children in the school. Entirely from their own initiative, they are working hard to produce a copy every other week, to fit in with our school newsletter issues. I have also arranged for them to visit the Wiltshire Times offices to see how a professional newspaper is created and they will be running an article on our newspaper girls, so look out for that in the coming weeks. It is very exciting to have this as one of many new developments this year and I thank them for their commitment and hard work.

Within school, elections have now been held for School Councillors, Librarians and Digital Leaders. With two children representing each class, these children will now take on responsible roles, supporting their peers, learning new skills and helping me to make decisions about how we can improve the school. I very much enjoy working with these groups of children and their enthusiasm for their roles is a real asset to the school. Already, our Librarians are working to a timetable, staffing the library at lunchtimes and allowing children to borrow and return books. Well done everyone!

I am very excited to report that our blogs have taken off quite dramatically. The children have been working extremely hard, both in school and at home, to write posts and comment on each others work, which is enriching the quality of their writing and that of others. Furthermore, however, we have spread our audience far beyond Westwood now, with visits from schools and teachers in Australia, USA, Cumbria and Rugby. They have taken the time to comment on our children’s writing and a broad network is starting to develop which will, undoubtedly, encourage our children even further. I would ask that, if you have a few moments, to stop by your child’s class blog – the link to all our blogs is from the drop down tab on the website homepage and to leave a comment. It needn’t be lengthy, but will inspire them to write. Guidance for leaving comments can be found on each blog and on the website. This promises to be an exciting way forward for us as a school and your involvement would improve it even further.

Finally, you may have noticed that we are now on Twitter from the feed on our home page. Our first venture into the world of social media is via our school account – @wwischool. If you have the facility, please follow us and keep up to date with all that is happening in school – we do like to keep you informed. Watch out for class accounts run by the teachers in the near future!

Don’t forget the Well Done Blog – celebrating all that happens on a regular basis in the children’s learning. With so much to share, our blogs are becoming very full!

 

The last newsletter of the year!

Well, what a year we have had and I find it truly hard to believe that we have arrived at this, the final edition of our Newsletter for the academic year. My first year as Head teacher of Westwood with Iford School could not have been made more welcoming or enjoyable and I am thankful for such a committed, involved and supportive parent community that we have at our school. I have quickly learnt that Westwood is all about community and working together and I feel that, as a school, we have done that very successfully this year and have moved forward significantly in many ways. Your questionnaires have been well received and will form the basis for our discussions as we move into next year. I believe that any school should always be striving to improve and provide the most engaging and stimulating environment in which children can learn and that its relationship with parents is fundamental to its success.

I have so many thank yous and also some goodbyes to include in this edition, which is always sad. After 11 years, Rachel Heard will be leaving us to undertake the next stage of her professional career, a PGCE. Rachel has given so much to the school, often going above and beyond her role and I am sure that everyone will join me in wishing her all the very best. Rachel will, undoubtedly, make an excellent teacher and will all miss her presence at our school. Thank you, Rachel, for all you have done for us. Rachel has kindly donated a beautiful hand made sign and arch for the entrance to our wild area, a place where she has often spent time with groups of children. I think it is a wonderful way to be able to remember her and we will be able to enjoy it for many years to come. Thank you Rachel, that was so kind of you.

I would also like to thank Phillippa Lowton and Jo Batten, our outgoing chair and secretary of the Friends of Westwood. I know that between them they have given many, many hours to raising funds for the school through a broad spectrum of events, in order for our children to benefit. In my first year I have worked very closely with FoWs and I have seen how committed they all our to giving our children the best, so thank you Philly and Jo for your commitment to our cause! This of course, culminated in the final event last Saturday, when the Friends all joined together to paint our school hall. It looks really super and a lot of hard work clearly went into the day. Thank you to everyone who was involved, we all appreciate your efforts very much.

Finally in our goodbyes, I would like to congratulate our Year 6 leavers, Issy Armstrong, Leah Bennett, Tom Caston, Flo Cooke, Lauren Fear, Sophie Fear, Jasmine Green, Harry Hazell, Alfie Neathey, Thomas Scott, Ekin Seet and Rumi Wijesena, not only for their brilliant success in their SATs this year, but also for the hard work, commitment and personality they have given to our school. We will miss you all and I know that you will go on to become excellent students at St Laurence. Good luck everyone and please come back to see us sometime! Just as a reminder, our leaver’s assembly is next Wednesday 23rd July at 9.15am. Everyone is, of course, welcome. After the success of our induction day, I also know that the rest of our children are now excited about moving up to their new class, or indeed moving year group and staying with their teacher. I would like to wish everyone all the very best as they move forward in their educational journey.

This week we have been thrilled, excited and entertained with Lotus and Orchid classes performances of Pirates of the Curry Bean.  So much hard work, time and commitment has gone into producing these shows and I was incredibly proud of the children and the staff for what they have been able to put together and achieve. We all laughed, clapped, cheered and had such a good time. Thank you everyone!

With entertainment in mind, tomorrow is the Westwood Church Fete, so if you are available, our choir and dancers will be performing at the event. Thank you for giving up some of your Saturday afternoon to perform and represent the school and thank you to Karen Hobson for, once again, organising the choir and dance group.

You may have seen the letter I sent out earlier in the week about a meeting I will be hoolding on Monday 21st July at 6.30pm in the school hall. From September, the children will have the opportunity to develop their digital literacy skills and creative writing through computing and  blogging and Monday’s meeting will be a chance to find out what it is, how we approach it and how you can help at home. It would be lovely to see as many of you there as possible, as blogging offers an excellent window into the learning that takes place at school and you can encourage the children’s writing by being the wider audience. More will be revealed on Monday! If you would like to have a look at our class blogs, they can be found from the school home page by navigating to the School Blogs page or going to www.westwoodwithiford.org/school-blogs. I will be adding videos shortly, explaining how to add comments and how you can take part.

Next week, please look out for a letter about our Westwood Summer Reading Challenge and our Mathletics Challenge. For our reading challenge, the children will all be able to borrow up to 5 books each for the summer holiday and certificates will be awarded for those children who write a review about their book or books, either online, on a blog or written and returned to their teacher. More on this and the mathletics challenge next week. Can I please ask, though, that overdue books are returned asap. There are a number outstanding and if you receive a reminder, could you please bring it back so that others may borrow it. Thank you.

All that remains is for me to say a HUGE thank you to everyone – the staff, children, governors and 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.

 

And here is the news…

It gives me great pleasure to write to you on Father’s Friday for this extra newsletter and what a tremendous response we have had. A packed celebration assembly to start the day with so many dads and important people in our children’s lives, which is, once again, testament to the terrific support that you as a parent community give our school. I do hope that you all had a super day being back at school, enjoyed your learning, ran around maybe just a bit and took in the whole Westwood experience. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us and I will look forward to the next one!

Last week’s newsletter was sent just before the extravaganza that is Westwood’s Got Talent and what a wonderful evening we all had. The children all performed with charisma and confidence and it was so good to see the many talents that they all have. From comedy to song, acting to martial arts, there was something for everyone and all of it received by a welcoming and enthusiastic audience. Again, the event was sold out and I must thank our Friends of westwood School for their hard work, commitment and dedication to providing us with such fantastic events that bring our community together. I can fully understand why it is such a popular event and I was so proud of everyone for being able to stand in front of a large group and perform as brilliantly as they did.

I am very excited to report back on the success of our Westwood Community Library. It is now fully open as a lending library and has been used extensively already by our children, who are enjoying their reading and the opportunity to borrow new and engaging books, both fiction and non fiction. Everyone has a borrowing card which entitles them to two books, which they can borrow for up to 2 weeks at a time. If you, or friends from the village would also like to join our library then you are most welcome. If you pop in when the library is open, either on a Tuesday or Friday from 3.15-4pm and give us your name, we can very quickly make you a card for your next visit. I am so grateful to Jane Caston and our Friends for making Westwood Community Library such a wonderful and unique resource. The children are very lucky and I know it will be so well used. Can I point you to our school website, where, with your lender number, you will be able to log in and write a review of the book you have read and search for the books we have in our library. It would be great to see you using the library in this way. Please point your mouse to the Community section and then Westwood Community Library.

Congratulations must be given to our talented athletes who took part in the Bradford on Avon Cluster Athletics tournament earlier in the week. These children volunteered to be part of a small team who went up against other schools and represented our school proudly. Well done everyone, you deserved your second place and thank you for taking part. Can I also take this opportunity, on a sporting theme, to say a very big well done to everyone who has taken part in an after school sports club this year. Recently our golfers won a tournament against very stiff competition, our footballers and hockey players have developed some excellent skills and our dancers, as we know, have had such a successful year. Not to mention, of course, our martial artists, who continue to work their way up their gradings with commitment and focus.

Lastly, our ICT in the Community club is now well under way and has space for more members. So far we have had fun with word processing and some programming, so if you would like to come along, the next one will be on Thursday 3rd July in the school hall straight after school.  No experience necessary!

Can I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend indeed.

Today’s news

I had a brainwave on the way to school this morning and wondered whether you read this blog, as so many of you clearly do, but do not have time to read the newsletter. So, I thought I’d post my newsletter piece here this week. Please feedback, if you can as to whether this is useful.

Newsletter No. 11

Welcome to the final edition of the newsletter for this term, hasn’t it gone quickly! I would like to begin by sharing my excitement and enthusiasm for the fact that we are now able to bring hot school meals back to Westwood school after this half term holiday.

After lengthy investigation and with the full support of the Governing Body, I believe that we have found a great solution to something that I know many of you have been asking for. We have worked closely with Mrs B’s catering of Frome to ensure that the service that will be provided is high quality, reliable and, most importantly, one which the children will enjoy. With the facilities to now sit everyone together, lunchtimes, I am sure, will be even more sociable. I’m looking forward to not having to make sandwiches again!

I would like to add a couple of reminders to my section this week, please. With the severely inclement weather of late, there have still been one or two children not wearing their coats to school. Please can I ask that everyone brings suitable clothing and footwear, as even on the playground the conditions are quite wet, so covered shoes are essential. I’ve needed my hat and gloves on duty too, so if you have any, it’s really worth sending your child in with some.

Can I also mention the importance of being in school on time each day. When I first started, attendance improved greatly, but I have been noticing a higher level of lateness and currently 23% of the children on roll are below 95% attendance. Therefore, we need to work at bringing our attendance back up again, particularly in light of government guidelines.

I have been talking to the children recently about ways in which we can develop and enjoy our reading. Children from Y2-6 already have the opportunity to Read for my School: http://www.readformyschool.co.uk/ This is an ideal opportunity to sign up, read free new books and even write a review if they were particualrly enjoyable. For the younger (and older) readers, can I also suggest Oxford Owl: http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/find-a-book/library-page.

Again, there is a very user friendly sign up procedure, but children will have access to 250 free ebooks, many of which we use in school. With the development of our school library and World Book day approaching, it would be good to encourage your children to read and enjoy books as often as possible.

For the writer in you, there is also westwoodwriters.schoolblogs.org, a blog full of prompts and opportunities to develop the children’s writing skills. Just click on reply to a post and leave your piece of writing, which I will moderate and allow for the world to see. It would be lovely to see more people taking part and there are some really good examples from children already on there. I look forward to reading them!

I hope the rest of the term goes well for you and I wish you a restful half term break. One future date for your diary is Easter tea and cake with the Head, which I have moved from Friday 24th February to Friday 4th April, the last day of term 4. I look forward to seeing you there, it is always an enjoyable afternoon.