Executive Headteacher News BloG
Dear Parents, Carers and Pupils,
Our second Yoimojis of the new year, Whirl and Bubbletum, are associated with resilience and how we can all try and build our resilience. The children listened to the story ‘Giraffes can’t Dance’ which was all about jungle animals coming together to help the giraffe learn to dance. It showed the children the importance of being resilient when they find things difficult. The children came up with lots of examples of when they had shown resilience, such as learning a musical instrument or how to ride a bike. Our children are already very good at being resilient and they knew that the important things to remember are; to not be afraid to try something different, to stay positive, to ask for help and above all know that the best way to learn is from the mistakes we make. The KS2 children were also very good at understanding resilience at a different level – in the relationships they build with each other. We talked about being resilient to the little things and learning about how to ignore and walk away and remain positive, but we also discussed that it is important not to be too resilient and allow other people to really affect your happiness and well-being and that this could even turn in to bullying.
Year 5 Visit from Ufton Court
On Monday Year 5 were transported back to Tudor Times as they enjoyed a historical visit from Ufton Court. The children were very enthusiastic and learnt a lot about the living in this time.
"My favourite part was playing the games especially balancing the stick on the end of your finger." Lauren Burden.
"We all enjoyed dancing the Pavane. Also, looking at the portraits of the Tudors." Lola Osborn.
This week (and continuing next week), the Senior Leadership Team and teachers from each year group have been shut away for an afternoon per year group, to look at the progress each child is making and if they are not making progress, what we are doing about it! The staff prepare for these by putting all their class data together and combining the test outcomes with the work in books and the children’s performance in class; it really does show how well they know their children – talking confidently and knowingly about each one. These meetings take a really long time – particularly for SLT who attend all of them and do a lot of preparation with the data in advance, but they are a really crucial element of what we do at school. These meetings are always at the start of the new term – reflecting on the assessments taken and work completed and teacher judgements from the previous term – very worthwhile time spent!
Notes from the most recent parent council meeting will be posted on the website next week, please do have a look and ask any of the parent council reps if you have any questions. The next meeting has been scheduled for Thursday 31 January in the happy hub after school drop-off. If you have any topics you would like to raise in this forum, please join the meeting, or let any of the parent reps know. You can also drop a note in the suggestion boxes in the school offices, these boxes are checked regularly. Please note that the meetings are for all parents, not just parent reps, but parent reps can help you take feedback to the discussions if you are unable to be there.
Reading at Home
At the next Parent Council meeting, I will be discussing the latest report from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) about ‘Working with Parents to Support Children’s Learning’. This report is based on research about the best ways to support parents in supporting their children at home;
‘Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children’s learning, and levels of parental engagement are consistently associated with children’s academic outcomes.’
‘Schools and parents have a shared priority to deliver the best outcomes for their children.’
‘For young children, promoting shared book reading should be a central component of any parental engagement approach. Home learning activities, such as playing with letters and numbers, are also linked to improved outcomes.’
We will be beginning with a real push on all children reading at home – particularly the youngest children who are still learning to read – it is vital that the children read every day at home in order for them to improve – we will shortly be sending guidance and reminders about this.
PS – thank you to all of you who have supported our drive on ensuring all children have their PE kit in school – I have noticed an improvement! Apologies to those of you who have had letters when your child’s kit is actually in school – hopefully it will help them to remember to find it and wear it in future.....!
NDCS Listening Bus
On Thursday, the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) Listening bus came to visit Westwood Farm. All the hearing impaired children had chance to visit the bus for a workshop. The workshops were led by Mark and Steven who are both hearing impaired themselves and provided positive deaf role models for our children. Some children found out about different technology that can help them at home in their workshop, such as vibrating alarm clocks, doorbells with flashing lights and headphones that connect to their hearing aids or cochlear implants. The older children had a workshop focussed on developing their positive self image and providing them with aspirations for the future. The NDCS organise weekends away for hearing impaired children, which was of great interest to some of our children. At the end of the day there was a session for parents to enable them to see what technology is available for their children to use at home. A great day was had by all; hopefully the Listening Bus will be able to visit Westwood Farm again in the future.
Dahl Class Parents’ Evening
Please note that Dahl class will have their Parents’ Evening on Tuesday 5th March.
Advance Information about Snow School Closures
With our tiny, little flurry of a few snowflakes this week, it would seem appropriate to remind everyone of the procedures in place, and where you can find up to date information, should the school need to close during the day or in advance for the next day, in the event of bad weather.
Wherever possible we will always try to keep the school open. However, there may be occasions when it is not possible to do so. The decision to close the school is always a difficult one and is based on many different factors; the most important being the safety of our pupils, and if we do have to close – this will be the reason (other than a breakdown in heating, which is effectively a safety matter too!)
Should the weather become really bad again this winter, and I am unable to ensure the safety and adequate supervision (through staffing ratios) of the pupils on the school site, or if travelling to or from school becomes particularly dangerous, I will have no option other than to close the school.
As soon as the decision to close the school has been made, we will inform parents/carers by text message and email (it is therefore vital that we have your up to date contact details). We will endeavour this year (if it happens), to ensure the texts for both Infant and Junior parents are sent at the same time – we had a technical hitch last year 🙁. In addition to sending a text message to parents, a notification will be placed on the front page of the schools’ website, which will be updated each day of the closure. We will also notify WBC, BBC Radio Berkshire and Heart FM that the school is closed and will continue to do so on each successive day that the school remains closed.
Hopefully this will not be a situation that we will face this winter, but if it is, we will ensure that parents/carers are fully informed as early as possible.
Thank you for your support
Executive Headteacher Westwood Farm Schools