Executive Headteacher and Headteacher News Blog
Dear Parents, Carers and Pupils
Welcome back to the 2nd half of the Autumn Term - the children were all excited to return to school this week and we have enjoyed hearing about their half term activities.
I hope you all had a lovely half term and are ready to go in to the 'denial month' which is trying to pretend that 'C' (I can't say the word yet ...!) isn't really that close and you will have plenty of time to sort everything.....!! That is my approach to November anyway and I am sure some of you are like that too. (If you have already bought everything and are all organised, then don't be surprised if I don't talk to you for the next few weeks!! 🤣)
We had a very busy end to last term with a whole school review taking place on the Wednesday before we broke up. We had an independent advisor, who we know well and trust, come in to give us some honest and helpful feedback on where we are and what we need to be developing next. We had requested this with Ofsted always looming and wanting to ensure we are doing the best we can. It was a really busy and challenging day, but we were really pleased that we had already identified, and are working on the areas that need development and other areas were seen as positively as we see them. There is a lot greater focus during Inspections now on talking to other members of staff and not just leaders. All subject leaders were interviewed and all spoke extremely well about their subject across the schools and the action plans they had written. All were nervous because they care and want to get it right but all of them did a really great job of presenting the work they had been doing.
Many of the children were also interviewed - they were much less nervous about talking to adults - they love telling anyone who will listen about their work, what they find challenging and how they think we could improve! I was, as always very proud of our pupils and staff.
We would just like to extend our thanks to Mrs Martin and Mrs Davies for coming into school over half term to start the display of poppies. A number of other staff also helped to make what we think is a beautiful display and this wouldn’t have been so effective without their help. More on the design detail below!
Yoimoji Assemblies – Firework code
In both the Infant and Junior assemblies this week, we had a focus on Bonfire Night. The children shared their plans for visiting organised displays or whether they would be having fireworks at home with family and friends. Whilst we discussed the excitement of watching the displays, we also talked about how to stay safe. The children were very knowledgeable about safety matters and, in particular, they were keen to ensure that pets were kept safe from harm on the night. In KS2, the children knew all about the Gunpowder Plot and why Guy Fawkes had intended to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
Children in Need
On Friday 15th November it is BBC Children in Need. The children are able to come to school wearing spots (like Pudsey Bear) or stripes in return for a donation of £1. It would be great if we could raise £400 across the schools for this worthy cause.
Turn Tilehurst Red
The children have been working hard over the last few weeks making poppies and footprints for our display to be entered into the Turn Tilehurst Red Schools competition. This year we had been asked to include poppies and footprints into our displays so each child modelled their own poppy design, with Foundation Stage and Nursery being helped to draw around their feet whilst they were standing on the clay! Once they were all dry, the children then painted their creations and it has been lovely to see all the individual creativity that the children have used to make every poppy unique. Then for the momentous task of compiling the displays to be ready for judging. A tag team of TA's worked, often in their own time, on making the displays look amazing. We hope you have all managed to look at both of our entries; one is by the KS1 pedestrian gate and one is by the KS2 entrance. We hope you agree that the finished displays are both original and eye catching for us and the community. Thank you to the parents who have taken the time to pass on lovely comments, these are much appreciated.
Pennies for the poppy - KS2 Choir singing for remembrance
Today, our KS2 choir had the opportunity to sing at Tilehurst's 'Pennies for the poppy' event. In the morning, we walked to the Tilehurst War Memorial site and performed three songs to honour and remember those who lost their lives in service of their country. Whilst learning songs such as 'White Cliffs of Dover' and 'We'll meet again', the children have been able to consider what leaving friends and family would have been like for soldiers and those left behind. A big thank you to those friends and family members who were able to join us at the remembrance event. We didn’t let the rain put us off. A big well done to the children; we are very proud of how the choir continues to grow in confidence!
Young Shakespeare Company
On Wednesday we had a visit from the Young Shakespeare Company which was, as in previous years, a fantastic success. The company provided a brilliantly enjoyable, educational experience for the children in KS2. They were treated to an interactive performance of Romeo and Juliet featuring star-crossed lovers, bitter disputes, tragic heroes and plot twists everywhere! The performance was clear and accessible to all the children, who loved joining in by making sound effects, cheering on the heroes, booing the villains and even having a go at acting!
Year 5 Planetarium visit
This Wednesday, we launched our new topic 'Stargazers' in Year 5, with a visit from a mobile planetarium. As we travelled into virtual space, we learnt all about our solar system and its planets. We even visited the National Space Station to find out how astronauts live in space. We are all really excited about our new topic and are keen to find out more!
It was a small but select group who met with Miss Hunter this week, to go through a Year 1 lesson. She discussed the overviews of different year groups as well as the progression of different methods taught across the school. There was then a chance to see some of the equipment used to help children make connections between mathematical concepts and how they can be used in so many different ways. It was quite a jam-packed session! Look out for the date of the next session which will be just after Christmas – Miss Hunter will be looking closely at formal methods for long multiplication and long division (don’t be too scared, even if your child is in KS1 it’s handy to know for the future!), recommending Maths games to buy and play at home, and showing you how to use Purple Mash at home to support your child’s Maths.
Year 2 trip to Windsor Castle
Year 2 all had a fantastic day at Windsor Castle and it was a great learning opportunity linking to our topic ‘Towers, Tunnels and Turrets’. The weather was cold but we did get to enjoy a little bit of sunshine. The children all behaved very well, being sensible around the castle and being polite to everyone they met. A big thank you to all the parents and staff that helped on the trip.
Inconsiderate parking – again!!
Unfortunately, due to a car parked inconsiderately this morning, one of the coaches due to take Year 2 pupils to Windsor Castle was unable to make its way down Cotswold way, causing major delays to the surrounding roads around School. This incident has been reported to the police by the coach company.
Parents are reporting increased cases of head lice. Can we please ask you to check your children’s hair on a regular basis, treat if head lice are found and repeat if necessary to remove eggs.
Thank you for your continued support.
Westwood Farm Schools