Category Archives: School News

News about our school

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.

final show 20718 2 final show 20718

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 🙂

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.

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.