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Governors' blog

13/07/2017

 

On Wednesday 5th July I visited the school and after looking in on Year 6, which was a hive of activity, I went into Year 5 and watched as pupils were presenting their work on the Second World War.  They had been making posters illustrating a wide variety of information about the war.  Each pupil brought their poster to the front of the class and spoke a little about the aspects of the war they had included.  It was fascinating listening to all the different things they had discovered.  I could have stayed all afternoon listening to them.  They showed great skill in gathering a wealth of information, presenting it visually and being able to talk about it.

 

I then went into year 1 and was immediately approached by two boys who wanted me to read the stories they had written.  I was very impressed both with their writing and the enthusiasm to share their work.  Finally I popped into the Library where one to one reading support was going on and again I was impressed by the method and the real progress that had obviously been made by the pupil I saw.

 

Tuesday 12 July was a busy day.  In the morning all Northwood Governors attended a meeting at Trinity School for the governing boards of all the schools in Trinitas Academy Trust.  Led by Brendan Hollyer, who is a National Leader of Governance and who has been supporting the governors at Northwood for a long time, we were able to share the model of governance which we use at Northwood with the other schools.  We are delighted that Trinitas are adopting our model across the Trust.  In the afternoon we had our termly governors meeting at which we received a report from the Headteacher on the progress and achievement of our pupils.  We are very proud of the achievement of Northwood pupils over this past year.  The data we received shows that Northwood pupils are achieving well above national standards and we are particularly pleased with the KS2 SATs results.  The strength of the Maths results was commented upon and governors felt that the 'Master of Tables' initiative was very successful and were pleased to hear that plans were afoot to develop it even more.

Well done, Northwood!

 

Governors want to congratulate both pupils and staff for their consistent hard work and commitment to the school aims - "Proud of Achievement - Determined to Improve". Not only are the aims being met but the calm atmosphere and friendly welcome extended by pupils to all visitors is particularly notable.  The Rights Respecting School initiative has played an important role in developing this atmosphere and the governors are very grateful for the work of the pupil ambassadors which helps to underpin the scheme.

 

In the evening of 12 July I was present at the Year 6 production, "The Keymaster". Year 6 pupils gave a stunning performance, which involved all of them, and was both entertaining and funny.  It went through a number of historical scenarios in a very lively and enjoyable way.  The singing was especially good, with several pupils having solo spots.  The audience of parents, staff and governors were very appreciative of such a high standard of performance.  Well done, year 6 and a big thanks to year 6 staff who supported them.

 

We want to send our good wishes to all year 6 pupils as they move on to their secondary schools at the end of term and to thank them for being such good ambassadors for Northwood.

 

Rev Mike Leader

26/05/2017

 

Congratulations to Year 6 on their hard work and commitment leading up to SATS a couple of weeks ago.  I was in school for the last breakfast club on Friday 12 May and joined Year 6 pupils in a celebratory breakfast of sausages.  SATS are always a challenge and I was pleased to be able to conclude, after chatting with the youngsters, how well they had taken them in their stride.  On Tuesday 23 May I was again in school and saw Year 6 going off to Danson Park for some Orienteering with other schools. They had a very enjoyable time.

 

Meanwhile, back at school, there was a visit by teachers and the chair of governors from a school in Arundel, Sussex, who came to look around and see how things work at Northwood.  As usual Northwood pupils were great ambassadors for the school and were very polite, friendly and welcoming to the visitors.  Our visitors really enjoyed their time at Northwood and went away with lots of ideas to help them in their own school.  They were very impressed with Northwood pupils and the standards of work they saw.  The Chair of Governors emailed me to thank us for hosting them and I am sure he won't mind me quoting him.  He wrote, "Northwood is a great school, with a wonderful atmosphere. The children are a delight.  I sat with three Year 3 girls over lunch. One told me that Charles Dickens was her favourite author, and another gave me the best explanation of how a thermometer works I have ever heard!  We all learned a great deal from our visit, which has given us much food for thought."   The governors are very proud of the way both staff and pupils welcome visitors and represent the school so well.  Well done everyone!

 

I was in school again on the following day, Wednesday 24 May, for a Governors Resources Committee Meeting.  This meeting had to set the budget for the year.  One of the important roles of the governors is to be involved in making strategic decisions about how the school spends the limited resources we receive.  A budget is proposed by the school and the governors get the opportunity to ask questions about it and discuss any issues they feel relevant.  Items that are particularly expensive need governor approval.  A key part of this is to ensure that overall the school gets good value for money.  Northwood is financially very stable and has always operated extremely efficiently and effectively, getting the maximum value from the money spent.  This is in no small way due to the very hard work put in by Mrs Allen, who prepares the budget and oversees finance throughout the year.  In setting the budget the governors were very pleased to able to approve some spending to improve and enhance the school site, including improvements to the school hall, fencing, security and communications.  Most of the improvements will be completed for the start of the new school year in September.  The governors are very grateful for the hard work put in by our Site Manager, Mr Toker, to maintain the high standards of the building and grounds.

 

As I was leaving my way out was blocked by a large fire engine, with blue lights flashing and its hose reel spraying water over cars in the car park.  For a moment I thought we might have a major emergency on our hands but I was soon reassured that this was only the annual visit of fire-fighters from Erith Fire Station.  Pupils from Class R were having a wonderful time sitting in the fire engine, trying on a helmet and helping to operate a hose reel.  There was a also a safety talk and I noticed that a smoke alarm was being shown.  Class R were very excited and completely engaged with all the events. Before the fire engine left, the siren was sounded and pictures taken with the children.

 

All this reminds me that Northwood is very well served by a very dedicated community of both teaching and learning staff and support staff who work tirelessly to make sure that children at Northwood School get the very best experience of education that we can possibly give.  For their part, the children respond magnificently and make the most of their opportunities.  This is the mixture that makes Northwood School a real community and such a great place to be.  The governors are very grateful and are proud of the commitment and loyalty which is the hallmark of Northwood Primary School.

 

Rev Mike Leader

Chair of Governors

27/04/2017

Yesterday governors came together at the school for a Governors’ Day.

The day began with governors attending the school’s weekly Rights Respecting assembly. The ambassadors read a story of a young boy whose happy life is thrown into turmoil by war and he and his siblings flee with their mother, leaving their father behind. The reading of the ambassadors was excellent and the audience listened attentively and obviously enjoyed the tale. The final part of the assembly was a celebration of those children who have been invited to be RRS Ambassadors, those joining the school dinner forum and those being recognised for sustained good behaviour at lunchtimes.

 

Governors then looked at a wide selection of children’s books, seeing how the school’s feedback policy is being followed consistently and how this is helping the children to progress. There were very many examples of rapid progress being made and the instances of peer assessment show how children help each other with what is being done well and next steps.

 

Following this, governors carried out a reflective review of what they do to support the school and ensure that all children make progress. We identified many good things that we do , as well as some things we will look to do even better.

 

After lunch we held our governing body meeting and welcomed a new governor. Mark Andrews is an Assistant Principal at North West Kent College and governors agreed that the skills he brings will strengthen us even further.

 

The day was highly successful and we remain focused on working to make the school the very best it can be, for the benefit of the children.

Master of Tables

 

I was fortunate enough to be in school for the termly Kings and Queens of Tables competition yesterday. I was very impressed at the speed the children calculated and wrote down the answers to some very difficult questions. They all did very well indeed and speaking with the teachers we know that they use this ability to improve their maths work, as seen in their assessments.

We'll done to everybody.

 

Mike Leader - Chair of Governors

30th March 2017

NSPCC - Childline Assemblies and Workshops

 

On 17 January 2017 I spent the morning in school attending assemblies and workshops presented by NSPCC Childline.  Two assemblies were held, one for KS1 and one for KS2.  he visual presentation introduced the children to "Buddy" the speech bubble and carried the message, "Speak out and stay safe".  They were encouraged to think about who the "trusted adults" were in their lives that they could speak to if worried about anything. They were also encouraged by using actions to memorise the Childline Phone Number: 0800 1111.

 

After the assemblies the presenters led workshops in Year 5 and Year 6 when the children were able to think more about issues of safety and discuss it in their groups. They were given a colourful "Speak out. Stay safe." kit.

 

It was a very interesting and productive morning.

 

Mike Leader

Chair of Governors

Christmas Festivities

 

I was delighted to be able to attend the Christmas Performances over the past couple of weeks.  The School performance with the theme "Christmas around the World" on Tuesday 13th December was a great success.  Each year concentrated on a different country and the way that Christmas was celebrated.  Acting, singing and dancing were of a very high standard and the packed audience of parents obviously enjoyed it immensely.

 

On Monday 19th December I attended the class R Christmas Nativity Assembly.  Every child was in costume and all the usual characters appeared including Joseph and Mary, Shepherds, Animals, Angels and even the Star.  The children enjoyed singing the various songs with lots of actions.  Once again parents attended in large numbers and everyone enjoyed the performance.

 

Well done to all the pupils and staff for putting in a lot of hard work to make these performances so successful.

 

 

Governors Day

 

Members of the School Governing Board were in school all day on 14th December.

The day started with governors attending a Rights Respecting Assembly presented by the Rights Respecting Ambassadors.  The assembly celebrated achievements and fund raising for the year.  The ambassadors reminded the assembly that in April the school was awarded Level One Accreditation by UNICEF for its Rights Respecting activities.  Northwood is the only school in Bexley to hold this award.

 

The ambassadors then went through the various fund raising events held in 2016.  These were:

  • Pupil pipeline event in aid of Wateraid which raised £187.
  • Whole School day of Physical Education which raised £399 for Race for Life.
  • Poppy Day in November supporting the British Legion and special remembrance assembly.
  • Children in Need wristbands were sold throughout November and on 13th November children came to school dressed in spots for a ‘Spotacular Day’ raising a combined total of almost £300.
  • Staff and pupils  wore slippers for a day and raised £154 for Shelter.

 

The ambassadors said, "Thank you to everyone who took part in our fundraising activities and for continuously showing that we are a Level One Rights Respecting School”.

 

The governors would like to add their thanks to everyone involved and especially to the ambassadors for being such dedicated representatives of Northwood School.

 

After the assembly governors spent some time looking at pupils' books and hearing about the school marking scheme.  They also visited classrooms and were particularly reviewing the learning environment.  After a short break there was a very useful session with an external trainer to help governors understand their role and responsibilities in safeguarding.

 

After lunch governors held their formal termly meeting.  Once again this day was very helpful in giving the governors the opportunity to see the school in a normal working day and to give them the opportunity to learn how policies and systems are working.  Many thanks to Mrs McNulty and the staff for facilitating the day, and to the pupils who are always happy to engage with governors when they visit classrooms and explain what they are doing in their lessons.

 

Rev Mike Leader

Chair of Governors  20.12.2016

On behalf of the governors I want to congratulate Northwood School on the recent Ofsted report which judges that the school continues to be good and remarks on improvements in many areas.  Thanks to everyone who contributes to making Northwood such a successful and happy school.  The staff work hard to maintain high standards and the pupils have responded brilliantly.  Parents continue to be very supportive and governors have worked hard and played their part.

 

Some of the highlights of the report that struck me are:

 

"You (i.e. the Headteacher), the staff and governors are passionate about ensuring that every child achieves their best."

 

" . . .the quality of teaching is consistently strong."

 

"Children are friendly, confident and keen to talk about what they are doing and learning."

 

"Pupils take care of one another . . . They have a clear sense of right and wrong and behave well during lessons, assemblies and playtime."

 

"Attendance is monitored rigorously."

 

". . . Pupils thrive."

 

"Governors are a knowledgeable and dedicated group who know the school's context well."

 

"Parents are supportive of the school and are confident that their children are happy, enjoy their learning and make progress."

 

Congratulations and well done Northwood! 

 

Rev Mike Leader

Chair of Governors  06.12.2016

The Leavers' Assembly on Friday 22nd July at Northwood School was a most inspiring and enjoyable event attended by many parents. It began with awards to children throughout the school who had attended every single day of this school year. This was followed by the Oscars awards to year 6 pupils (voted for by the pupils)  covering all aspects of school community life, including best mathematician, literary genius, best actor/actress, most helpful, best organised, most improved and many others. Each Oscar winner came down the red carpet to receive their award from Mrs Nelson to loud applause. There were special awards to two year 6 boys who had of their own volition welcomed people at the school front entrance every day. Each Year 6 pupil was presented with a class photograph and a DVD.

 

The atmosphere was wonderful. Parents and children enthusiastically clapped and celebrated all of the awards. The pupils clearly supported and encouraged each other. Mrs Nelson spoke eloquently of how she had first taught the Year 6 group when they were Year 3 and how delighted she was with their progress and achievement. The Year 6 pupils ended the assembly by singing a song to Mrs Nelson, who is also leaving to work abroad. There was time at the end for families to take photographs and many of them expressed their thanks to staff for their efforts in teaching and looking after the Year 6 pupils throughout their time at the school.

 

The whole event showed very clearly what good relationships the pupils have developed with each other and their teachers. It was a very proud moment for Northwood School.

 

I was able to meet the Year 6 pupils after break to offer best wishes for their future at new schools on behalf of the governors and also to thank them for their outstanding contribution to the school.

 

As well bidding farewell to Mrs Nelson, the school is saying goodbye to Mrs Kerr, who is moving on to a new school and Mrs House, who is retiring after 35 years of service at the school. We wish them all the very very best for their future.

 

Mike Leader

Chair of Governors  22/07/2016

I have recently attended two special events being presented by Northwood pupils which were both very enjoyable and impressive.

 

The Year 6 production of Alice in Wonderland was a great evening. It showed off the amazingly talented year 6 pupils at their best. The singing and dancing were excellent, with some very nifty foot work, and the acting connected easily with a very enthusiastic audience which appreciated the many funny 'one-liner' jokes. Congratulations to all Northwood Year 6 pupils on a stunning performance and thanks to Year 6 staff, led and inspired by Mrs Nelson for supporting them.

 

Governors would like to thank all year 6 pupils for the many ways in which they have made outstanding contributions to the community life of Northwood School and congratulate them on their excellent KS2 results. We wish every one of them success in their new schools and look forward to hearing great things about them in the future.

 

The second event was the Year 3 Wedding Fayre which was the culmination of their work studying the Sikh religion. The children had formed a company, Wonderful Weddings, and the fayre presented the services offered, which had entailed lots of study and work. The stalls reflected the wide and divesre range of work and skills, including writing, art work and the careful use IT. There were a number of dresses and other clothing on display and worn by the children. Those I spoke to were very knowledgeable and had clearly gained a good understanding of Sikhism. I guess the highlights were the food offered and also the Indian dancing. Well done to all year 3 pupils and staff who had worked so hard to make this topic so enjoyable and successful.

 

Mike Leader

(Chair of Governors)

20th July 2016

I spent a great morning in school yesterday, looking at how the school ensures that our children understand what values the school has and what is expected of them.  Some people call them British Values, but we understand that these values are not only for people living in Britain, but are common in most other tolerant countries.

 

Displays around the school in reception, the hall corridors and classrooms strongly support our values.  From the children in Reception speaking about the importance of being polite, sharing and waiting for your turn, through Year 3 children talking about their Right to Learn wall, all the way up to Years 5 and 6 children speaking knowledgeably about democracy, how the laws of the country are above those of any religion, and the equality of all individuals, it is clear that the school prepare our children very well for living in modern Britain.

 

Our children are true ambassadors of how good citizens should behave in society!

 

Mike Leader, Chair of Governors 07/06/2016

Proud day for Northwood

 

Friday 15th April 2016 was a landmark day for Northwood Primary School.  On this day an assessor from the UNICEF Rights Respecting project visited the school to decide whether the school should be awarded Level 1 status.  She heard from a group of parents who spoke enthusiastically about how their children had been positively influenced by the rights respecting agenda and showed that they (the parents) had also gained an understanding of it.  Governors were able to talk about how rights respecting was underpinning the ethos of the school and was thoroughly embedded in school life.  The assessor went on to meet with Senior Leaders, Rights Respecting Pupil Ambassadors and various groups of pupils.  Some of the ambassadors took her on a tour of the school. When she was having lunch with the pupils she found herself being informally greeted by a number of pupils.  She described herself as "overwhelmed" by the response of the pupils and was very complimentary about the way rights respecting had developed in the school. She was particularly impressed with the high number of articles of the UNICEF convention that the pupils knew.  She concluded her visit by congratulating the school and all those involved, staff, pupils, parents and governors, and was pleased to award the school Level 1 status.  Particular thanks to Mrs Skinner for leading this initiative.

 

Mike Leader, Chair of Governors

15/04/2016

Governors spent a wonderful day in school yesterday!

It started with us all attending the weekly Rights Respecting whole school assembly, where the children demonstrated how knowledgeable they are about the inalienable rights of every person in the world. Using their green slips to vote on the correct answer to each of the questions asked, I didn't see any of them get one wrong...now that's what I call embedded knowledge!

 

Governors then split into two groups, one group meeting with children from key stage one, to find out about how they learn in maths and how they use it in other subjects and at home; the other group looked through maths books and saw how the marking, assessment and feedback help every child make progress. We then switched over and governors who had looked at the books met children from key stage two.

 

Following this, governors sat and worked on a short statement that sets out our vision for our school and children...more on this soon!

 

In the afternoon, we held our governing body meeting and were very pleased with the progress the children are making in every year group and we asked what additional support is being given, to ensure that all the children can improve. We were especially pleased to welcome Mrs Stone as our new parent governor. We very much value the positive contribution that our parent governors make.

 

Overall, it was a great day and the children are the best ambassadors we could possibly want!

 

Mr Brendan Hollyer - Governance Consultant

14/04/2016

What a lovely start to St Patrick's Day yesterday!  Governors in the school for a visit were invited to join the special assembly, where a girl from Year 6 treated the whole school to a stunning display of Irish Dancing. She  leapt, glided and stepped up and down the school hall, to the wonderment of the children and staff and was cheered to the rafters when she performed for a second time.  She has won competitions up and down the country for her dancing and there is no doubting it; Northwood's Got Talent!

 

Dave Davenport

Vice Chair of Governors

18/03/2016

Yesterday was our autumn term governors’ day and governors were in school for the whole day.

 

The day started with a whole school assembly, led by the school’s Rights Respecting ambassadors.  It showed off how important the rights of every child to be heard are.  Comments made by many children about how they would support a new child arriving at the school were read out and showed us how inclusive the whole school is.  We also saw how the school reacted to the wishes of the children for the Trim Trail to be available to them during playtime.  The school has now agreed and all in the hall were delighted.  Democracy in action!  We especially liked being introduced to the school and receiving their generous applause.  Later we were presented with special badges, identifying us as governors.

 

We then went on a tour of the school, to see how the school uses all the space available to encourage our children to learn.  If you haven’t seen your child’s classroom recently, do make an effort, as there are fantastic examples of bringing learning to life everywhere you look.  Speaking to some of the children, it is obvious that they understand where they are now and the next steps to move forward.  We also looked in the books of children across the school, to see how our teachers help children to progress in their work through feedback comments in the books.  Because of the consistent approach to marking, which follows the school’s marking policy, we were able to see the improvement in the work of the children.

 

After this, we did some learning ourselves, as we found out how we could further help the school to move forward by asking searching questions.

 

After lunch we had our termly governing body meeting and the agenda was very full for that meeting!  Mrs McNulty’s report to governors was very clear and we are all working on the main priorities, to ensure all our children reach their full potential.

 

Following this meeting we attended training on safeguarding, provided by an external expert.  This is an area the whole school takes incredibly seriously and it is the responsibility of everybody to protect the children and keep them safe, including governors.

 

We all learnt so much from the day and are reassured that the school is a good place for the children to learn.

 

Rev Mike Leader - Chair of Governors

05.11.2015

There have been exciting changes in the class book corners to celebrate reading. The teaching staff have created in their class rooms reading areas which reflect a class book or theme.

 

If you pop in to your child/children’s class room you will find maybe a castle, forest, an area of outer space and even a circus.

 

Some of the chosen book authors are Anthony Brown, Roddy Doyle, Angela McAllister and a poet Veronica Norris. All of these books are full of pictures and words to tickle the imagination and foster an interest in reading.

 

Jill Sims

School Governor

1st October 2015

“It’s brilliant to see how the children’s letters have improved in content over the year.”

Jill Sims (initiator of the Year 1 letter writing pen pal project)   02/07/2015

11.06.2015

Yesterday was our summer term governors' day and all governors were in school for the day.

 

We had two presentations from SLT; the first on life without levels for years 1,3,4 and 5, and the second one on staff development, performance management and the appraisal process.  Both were informative and helped us to understand more about how the school works.

 

We were able to meet with teachers, TAs, office staff and midday supervisors to find out their thoughts and views on their professional development and appraisal.  

In the first group there were two members of staff - one middle leader and one teacher in his second year of appointment. They both had a very positive view of their professional development and the support offered by the school. The middle leader was pursuing an NPQML course. The second year teacher had successfully completed his NQT year. They both referred to the way that their Professional development and Performance were related well to school priorities and felt that their targets had supported their continued development. They were also able to point to ways in which their CPD and PM has impacted the children in the classes by helping them to hone their assessment of progress. Mention was made of the CPD done with Danson School which had also supported them.

 

The staff were asked about their relationship with their TA. Again, both had very positive attitudes and felt that their TA made a strong contribution to the overall progress and achievement of pupils in their classes and felt well supported.

 

In the second group I met with three teaching assistants. One was in reception, one was supporting a special needs child and one was supporting pupil premium children. They each had a good experience of working with teaching staff. In their various situations there were lots of examples of careful planning and feedback with teachers. Some feedback was enhanced with emails. They had participated in various CPD courses to support their particular role. They were very positive about their relationships with teaching staff and one comment worth mentioning was, "No one feels silly asking". They valued their monthly meeting when issues could be discussed and experiences shared.

 

The overall sense gained was of a staff who were working well together and supporting each other in seeking to give the very best learning experience to the children.

 

The governors met formally in the afternoon to conduct the full governing board business meeting.  Sadly this was the last full governing body meeting for our outgoing Chair of Governors, Reverend Olupona, who is standing down because the success of his Mission means he will be spending a lot of his time abroad next year.  However, at the end of a fantastic Assembly from the Year 3 Samba band, he addressed all the children who could not fail to have been inspired by his words about working hard to be their best and to have a dream and to work towards it.  We are very lucky to have been led, as a governing body, by such a committed man, and we all wish him the very best for the future. He will forever be a friend of Northwood School and he leaves the school in a very strong position to continue with the improvements it has made this year.

 

Mike Leader (Vice Chair of Governors)

"Staff are very positive about the school; they feel valued and are focused strongly on the pupils' education and well being."

Dave Davenport 10.06.2015

Yesterday, 10th June 2015, we had our summer term governors’day, which allows us to increase our understanding of how the school works with the children to help them master the different areas of learning.

 

We were privileged to be in school when Samba Explosion, the year 3 samba band, were performing the results of their year’s samba drumming tuition from Mr Leveridge from Bird College.  Every member of year 3 was a member of the band, playing and singing samba tunes, playing drums and samba percussion.  There was an amazing atmosphere of Brazilian Carnival in the school hall.  The behaviour of all pupils was so impressive, both entering and leaving the hall and showing respect for the work of their year 3 peers while they were performing.

Dave Davenport (co-opted governor)

Children relate well to each other irrespective of race or colour and they truly lived out the school's maxim of RRS.

Cllr Ezenwata - Parent Governor  28.01.2015