Category Archives: School News

News about our school

A week of excitement

Already we are two weeks into the final term of this academic year and I can barely believe we are half way through June already! This year seems to have fairly raced by and coupled with the vast array of exciting activities and learning opportunities that have been taking place throughout the school we have had lots to celebrate and enjoy.

On Monday of this week we were delighted to welcome Ms Helean Hughes, the Wiltshire Director of Education and Skills, to our fabulous school. Helean spent considerable time with me walking around school and talking to children about their learning, which made me very proud indeed. Helean also kindly gave some of her time to be interviewed by our radio team, an interview that you can hear on today’s show. It was lovely to hear Helean speak so positively about our school and she clearly enjoyed her visit, so thank you everyone for giving another very special visitor a Westwood welcome.

In the past week Orchid class have been off site on a fantastic educational visit to Stowford Farm. Getting involved with the wildlife, riding in a tractor trailer and helping on the farm all made for a perfect day in the country. Plus there was an opportunity to play an inter-school football match, which the children won. It was yet another super learning experience outside the classroom and a lovely part of their curriculum.

This term I have been running a lunchtime maths club on a Wednesday for children to consolidate their interest in maths and learning through the use of Doodlemaths, Mathletics and TT Rockstars. I have been delighted with the number of children that have been attending and can see what a difference just a few minutes each week is making to their mental calculations and maths skills. Don’t forget that you can access these fantastic resources from home and the children do love to challenge themselves!

We do love our sport at Westwood and this week the Chance to Shine Cricket coaches began a 6 week course in which everyone in Lotus and Orchid class will be honing their skills. So much fun was had in the hall on a very wet afternoon with everyone making the most of this PE opportunity. I’m really looking forward to seeing some games outside in the coming weeks and I hope all of our children have a great time.

You may have heard about our incredibly exciting new innovation in music project that we started just this week. Tim Gilvin, renowned local lyricist, composer and musician will be working with the entire school community, staff included, over the next year to develop our performance and composition and what a day we had to begin this journey! With all staff and children joining Tim for a special assembly to start the day, in half an hour we learnt vocal warm-up techniques and three songs, one in four parts! Each class was then treated to a full session with Tim throughout the day and it is just brilliant to listen to how enthusiastic and engaged everyone has been. I was very excited to begin this and I can see it going from strength to strength. You can hear our very first recording together by heading to soundcloud.com/westwoodradio I can’t wait for the next session!

Today of course saw the return of our Father’s Friday event. Once again I must thank you all for joining us and for making the day such tremendous fun and so successful. With a vast array of international learning taking place, everyone who came along immersed themselves in the true spirit of the day and the atmosphere was fantastic. We are so lucky to have an incredibly supportive parent community who work so well alongside our school. We have all thoroughly enjoyed welcoming you to school today and it was such a delight to see so many people having fun around the building. We even welcomed some our visitors into the Westwood Radio studio for a live show.

With so much still to come this term, it proves to be another exciting and busy few weeks, as the Summer term often races by through all the fun and excitement. I hope to see you at many of our forthcoming events  and thank you all for your continued and valued support. Please remember our Summer Fair on Saturday 22nd June from 2-4.30 where there will be another opportunity to enjoy another fantastic Westwood community event which really is one of the highlights of my year!

 

Another term ends…

Once again we have reached the end of another term, albeit a short one, but one in which there was so much to enjoy and celebrate.

As I blogged about recently, our young, talented broadcasters had the best day at The Young Aria awards and whilst we didn’t win, it was such an achievement to have made the award ceremony at Broadcasting House in London.

Last week, our magnificent Westwood swimming team represented us at the Cluster Schools Swimming Gala. Whilst we didn’t win every race, all of the children gave a tremendous effort and competed with commitment and determination. Well done everyone, I know that you had a great time and we can look forward to next year! My thanks to Mrs Hannam for organising the event and for giving our children another wonderful opportunity.

For the first time in many a year, we invited a touring theatre company into school to perform for us. The fabulous M&M theatre company put on the most brilliant performance of The Railway Children, which everyone loved. We hope to be able to bring them back again in the future!

Sports day was another memorable occasion, full of fun and celebration in the Westwood sun. In the morning the children worked in mixed age groups to enjoy a sports carousel with the staff. In the afternoon and wonderfully supported as always by our parent community, there was the full range of traditional races, from flat races, to hoop races, egg and spoon and even a relay; it had it all. There was even a chance for the adults to shine, with a mum’s race, dad’s race and we all finished with an ice cream sale, hosted by Mr Bennett and the digital leaders.

To end the term we concluded with our now annual Race for Life for Cancer Research. Thank you all so much for your tremendous support and for joining in this event to ensure that we raise as much money as possible for this vital charity work. It really was another super afternoon at our school and a lovely village occasion. With cakes alone, we are already up to £146 raised, which is brilliant!

Finally, some of our wonderful broadcasters joined me for a special radio show live from the Westwood Scarecrow trail on Bank Holiday Monday. Interviewing trailgoers as they passed through our school grounds, presenting reports and features, as well as off script chat and a very fluid 2 hour show, the children were just amazing and I must thank Matthew, Emily, Lucy and Benedict for giving up their time to join me. To the Westwood Scarecrow trail committee, also, huge thanks and congratulations on such a fantastic community event – it looks as if this year will be even more successful than last.

Can I take this opportunity to  thank you all so much for your support again this term and I wish you a wonderful half term with your families.  We are back on Tuesday 4th June for another term of fun…

SATs Superstars

This past week across the country thousands of children in Year 6 were taking their end of year SATs. At Westwood we always try to make SATs as low key, relaxed and even as fun as possible and I am so proud of our fabulous Year 6 children this week.

They have approached their week with the best possible attitude and have all tried so hard. It has been a pleasure to be in school every day and to see them smiling, laughing together and taking everything in their stride, showing tremendous resilience and commitment. 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 and one which makes me incredibly proud.

Time to catch up!

It seems like a long time since I’ve been able to write a blog post and catch up with everything that has been happening at our fabulous school this term and already we are in week 4!

In the very first week of term, some of our amazing broadcasters had the opportunity to join our friends at BBC Wiltshire for their breakfast show from Wiltshire Heights, which we visit regularly, to broadcast from with the residents. Joining Ben Prater live on air throughout the show as part of their 30th birthday tour, the children were, once again, model professionals and made me so proud. You can still catch the show on BBC Sounds at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p075y868 Here are some photos of us with the team on the day too:

You may also have noticed our wonderful new play equipment and all weather path that has been installed on our school field. This will broaden the children’s healthy outdoor play opportunities and will also enable the equipment to be used all year round. Huge thanks to our amazing Friends of Westwood School for again donating some of their funds towards the resurfacing of the path. It will make such a difference.

Speaking of our incredible FoWs team, we have already seen three brilliant events this term  which have raised an outstanding £1000! Our Smartie challenge, where children took an Easter tube of Smarties, ate them (of course!) and then returned the tube full of 20p coins raised a staggering £200, as did our very first jumble sale. Also, just last weekend we held our annual and extremely popular quiz night. Once again I would like to say an enormous thank you to Becky and Jeremy, who always put on such an enjoyable and entertaining quiz where there is something for everyone.  The news from our FoWs team is that the quiz night raised a staggering £600, so thank you so much to everyone involved and to everyone who came to make the evening such a success. It really was another wonderful Westwood community occasion.

So to this week and I must say a huge well done to our brilliant Year 6 children who are taking their SATs and are such a credit to the school. As always they work incredibly hard and we could not be more proud of them or the dedicated and simply amazing staff who work so hard to ensure that SATs week is a success and as stress-free as possible.

Finally, thank you if you have taken the time to listen in to our radio station, Westwood Radio. Our listener figures are booming and we have also been nominated for a Young Arias award! We will be heading to BBC Broadcasting House this week to a special awards ceremony, so watch this space!

Mother’s Monday 2019

One of my favourite days in our school calendar is when we  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.

Once again It was a real delight to see how many people had taken time out of their busy schedules 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 France, Rome and even Bhutan, each class learning so much about their country and all with extra special visitors. Plus, I got the chance to dress in a traditional Bhutanese Gho to lead our assembly – not something you do every day!

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:

Catching up!

Please forgive the lack of posts recently – I’ve been busy teaching and doing lots of other exciting things with the children – more on that later….

This term there has been so much to celebrate so far, with some fabulous learning taking place.

Clover and Lotus classes both recently enjoyed a wonderful, informative trip to the Roman Baths as part of their Romans topic, allowing them to extend their knowledge and ask some superb questions. Once again, our diverse and exciting curriculum provides so many opportunities for the children. Just this week I have enjoyed seeing children in Orchid class learning vast amounts of fascinating knowledge about Bhutan and our youngest learners in Sunflower class have enjoyed discussing the difference between some very old and new toys. It is always such a pleasure to walk around our school and to see how everyone is immersed in their learning. Plus, of course, I get the chance to teach every class each week and enjoy for myself the enthusiasm and commitment that everyone brings to every day.

Thank you all for your donations that you gave to Comic relief last week. As always, the day was a success, with over £80 raised for this worthwhile cause.

Next week, and for the following 10 days, our school is taking part in the Sustrans Big Pedal 2019. This will be an opportunity for as many of us as possible to cycle, walk or scoot to school. Each day a record will be made by the teachers at registration of those who have travelled to school in a healthy way and we will then enter our school’s overall data to the challenge. This is a great opportunity for us to reinforce our school’s Healthy Schools values and principles and to get out in the fresh air on our journeys to school. I will be taking part by cycling to school as many of the 10 days as I can and I’m looking forward to it very much! For more information, please see the posters that will be up around school or head to https://bigpedal.org.uk/

Monday 1st April is, of course, our hugely anticipated Mother’s Monday and International Day 2019, which has become a real favourite in our school’s calendar year. This is a fantastic opportunity to invite all of our mums and significant females into school for as little or as much as you would like and to take part in the learning with your children, which is always such good fun. We will, of course, begin the day with an assembly,  before heading back to class and enjoying a day in school. I always look forward to this day very much and can’t wait to see as many of you there as possible.

As a staff we are continually striving to maximise every child’s progress and attainment and we work hard to look for as many exciting learning opportunities as possible. Two of those key skills are reading and writing and we are continuing to encourage a real love of English amongst our children. However, we do need you to continue to support your child at home, so that the homework and reading they are given to consolidate their learning in class will enable them to embed these skills. We have noticed that a number of children have very few comments in their reading logs and are not practising their spellings, writing or times tables; simple activities which take little time but support the amazing work being done by our staff to teach the children in school. Can I ask, please, that when your child reads at home, that you comment in their log to let us know, as we do in school, and to say what they enjoyed. Also, please support your children by encouraging them to do their brief homework activities as it really does make such a difference and will further their progress.

Finally, don’t forget our radio station apps for Westwood Radio are free to download to your smartphone or tablet from radio.westwoodwithiford.org. We would love to expand our listening audience even further, so please tell everyone you know that we are on air on a Monday at 8.15am for our Breakfast Show, Thursday at 2.15pm for our boys ‘Word on the Street’ show and our Friday Show at 2.15pm. We love texts and emails, too and with our app it is easy to listen in and enjoy the incredible talents of our broadcasters. Please let them know by texting 078600 17404 and emailing radio@westwoodwithiford.org. We are also on air 24 hours a day, so you can listen any time. People around the world already do, at all times of the day and night!

So, as a final footnote, last week, our good friend Freda Ferne, who has been working extensively with Orchid class recently, came in once again to share her wealth of experience on Bhutan. Freda has given so much of her time to work with the children and immerse them in the sights and traditions of Bhutan and last Thursday I had the opportunity to dress up in authentic Bhutanese male costume and what an experience that was! I think I’ll let the photos tell the story, but my thanks, once again to Freda, for coming into to give the children a fantastic experience.

The end of another fantastic term…

Hello again and welcome to the final newsletter of this term. What a busy term we have had with so much amazing learning having taken place and many diverse opportunities for our children to enjoy.

Last night I was so proud to be able to attend the West Wilts Dance Festival at the Forum in Bath. Once again the children had been expertly trained and choreographed by Karen Hobson, who had put together a  breathtaking routine that told the most wonderful story. The children dominated the stage once again and the performance was inspirational, drawing an enormous cheer from the audience, which was so very well deserved, yet complete silence and awe during the song! My sincere thanks go to Karen for organising, resourcing and planning a spectacular routine that brought the house down and to the children for entertaining; showing such confidence and for representing our school so brilliantly. I was proud of every one of you. Such lovely comments were made about you all afterwards.

This term has been packed with excitement too – a hugely successful Story Day, FoWs disco, trip to BETT, drama workshop, Ocarina day and author visit from Joe Berger, which was so much fun and engaged the children so beautifully. Last week, of course, we recognised and celebrated Safer Internet Day with a fabulous assembly  from our digital leaders. As a school we have been having many purposeful discussions around online safety and being kind to each other using the fantastic GoBubble resource, which the children love. It really has helped us to appreciate our online and digital footprint and how to be a good digital citizen.

Just a couple of housekeeping notes. Please can everyone ensure that they have the correct school uniform and shoes in school at all times and that it is named. It is always a bit of a challenge to play match the uniform to the child at the end of a PE session!

Can I wish you a wonderful half term together and I look forward to seeing you again in Term 4 when the fun, excitement and wealth of opportunity continues for us all!