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Mr Woolf's Blog

Here is a round up of our blog posts, keeping you informed about the life and times of Pinner High School.

 

Page 1

  • First XV

    Published 09/11/18, by David Groves

    Victory in our first rugby fixture, Remembrance Day commemorations, and ‘Hairspray’ auditions: a normal week at Pinner High School!

     

    Our First 1st XV rugby team made a successful debut this week, running out winners 8 tries to 4. Coaches from Pinner Rugby Club have been working with our students as part of the Head’s Challenge Club programme, and I am delighted so many are taking part in rugby and enjoying such success. The next round of the competition will be even tougher!

     

    Following the recent student and staff visit to the First World War battlefields as part of the national commemoration of the centenary of the end to hostilities, poppies and other British Legion products have been on sale all week. We will be laying wreaths at the services on Sunday in Eastcote and Pinner, and I’d like to thank all the students and colleagues involved in this important activity.

     

    Black History Month came to a conclusion in assembly this week, celebrated through the theme of music. Student led assemblies that celebrate our community are amongst my favourite, and this was certainly one of those. An annual student favourite is our musical production, which is ‘Hairspray’. Auditions are next week!

     

    Students are today engaged in leadership activities to help select the next group of House Captains and Student Government. These posts are always hotly contested, with speeches to the students respective year groups to follow in the final part of the selection task.

     

    On the theme of selection, recruitment for September’s teaching posts are on the website now. We are lucky to know already the posts we will need for our growing school, so if you know anyone who may be interested in joining our first class team, please do pass this on to them. We are looking for a Head of Year, Head of Geography, Head of MFL as well as teachers of English, Maths and Science. We achieved the Investors in People Health and Wellbeing Award at the end of our first year, and in our end of year staff surveys this summer 100% of colleagues said they were proud or very proud to work at Pinner High School. I’d love to hear from people who can make us even better.

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  • Record Numbers

    Published 02/11/18, by Chris Woolf

    Our Artsmark Silver Award certificate arrived this week, alongside a clean sweep in our football round up: Year 7 boys defeated Hatch End 7-2, Year 8 boys beat Harrow High by the same score, and the Year 9 boys scored a last minute winner to come out 5-4 ahead at Whitmore. Well played all! Girls and boys badminton teams play their first matches next week, alongside the boys rugby team. This is our first rugby fixture, and we are delighted to be playing William Perkins School.

     

    I enjoyed our first meeting this week with Bowmer and Kirkland, who will be completing the final phase of our refurbishment over the coming year. We will be developing designs over the coming months for the refurbishment of the site; students, staff and parents have already had a chance to express their views and share their priorities. If anyone would like to add to this, please do contact the school.

     

    UK Parliament Week takes place 12th-16th November. Our Parliamentary Ambassadors are busy coordinating activities and assemblies, with lunch time seminars planned too. Our Black History Month assemblies take place just before this, building on the success of the Black History House Event before half term.

     

    Applications closed this week for applications to join us in September 2019; a record 959 families expressed a preference for us. We are thrilled to have such a show of support from the community, and continue to find ways to live up to this in the months ahead.

     

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  • Governors Guest blog

    Published 19/10/18, by Chris Woolf

    I am delighted that our Chair of Governors, Dr. Ahmed, is the guest writer of the blog this week. News of our recent sporting success will have to wait until after half term!

     

    "I am delighted to share with you what the Governing Body have been doing so far this year. I am excited to have the privilege of being elected as chair for another year and Nav Kullar as my deputy.

     

    The Governing Body is responsible for the strategic direction of the school, and for providing challenge to Mr. Woolf and his senior team. The Governors have been involved with the school since before it opened, and we have added parents and staff to our number over the last two years. This year we have evolved a new committee structure to ensure our support and challenge for the school is even more effective. We have an Achievement and Standards committee and a Finance and Risk Committee, alongside the Full Governing Body. Mr. Woolf and his team provide us with detailed reports on all aspects of school life, and we cross reference these with the numerous inspection reports we receive, as well as our own findings. Scrutiny of these reports take time, but we have a skilled team of Governors who have a range of skills that ensure we can interpret them accurately. We also visit the school to meet with our school links, observe learning walks, sit on interview panels, review data and policies, take part in internal and external inspections and I run student voice. This enables me to hear directly from the students. I feel we have an excellent working relationship with the school and at the foundation of all we do is: how does what we do impact student outcomes. Our Governors reflect the culture, vision and ethos of the school and we are always looking for ways to improve. We have been accepted onto the Department of Education ‘Governor Space’ programme to enhance our own training and evaluation to ensure we can keep the school at the ‘leading edge’, as our inspection report says.

     

    I am sure you will agree that the school is in excellent health. We are delighted to have reached almost 500 students and we know the school is becoming a destination of choice for teachers. Our recent Open Evening was a great success!

     

    Whilst we are delighted with all of this, and the most recent report from the Department for Education, there is no sense of complacency in the Governing Body about the task ahead. Our opening years have certainly lived up to all we had hoped, but our Trailblazing students are now embarking on their GCSEs, our £4.2 million final phase of refurbishment will begin in the spring, and we continue to grow in size every year. We are excited about the challenges this brings, and the future of Pinner High School. I’d like to thank the dedicated staff of the school for all they do to provide opportunities for the students, and the students themselves for bringing life to the Pinner High School Values. Your support for this is crucial too. Governors’ initial vision for an ‘inclusive school for the whole community’ is one we keep central through the exciting phases of our development."

     

    Dr. Ahmed, Chair of Governors

     

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  • Round up

    Published 12/10/18, by Chris Woolf

    Students returned this week from the Battlefields of the First World War, taking part in the national commemoration of the centenary of the end of hostilities. Pinner High Students were selected to lay a wreath at Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world. Students represented the school with an impressive range of the Pinner High School Values, and I am grateful to them for doing so well. They will be speaking about their experiences to the rest of the students over the coming weeks.

     

    The House Event this week was a challenge of a different nature to the design and sports competitions of our first month of term. This time it was an origami competition, inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding. With marks for accurate folding and imaginative design, it was a hotly contested challenge. Year 9 Maths lessons this week had a similar theme, looking at the Maths of lift and flight in the design of aircraft wings; paper airplane flights in the hall were especially successful.

     

    I have had large numbers of families keen to tour the school, following the success of our open evening last week. It is lovely to have so much interest in the school, and so many families leaving such positive feedback. Given our surging student numbers, applications have just closed for an additional Assistant Headteacher. I received 40 excellent applications for this role, which is an extraordinarily large number given the recruitment issues many schools are experiencing. Although reading each application is a lengthy process, it is a great problem to have!

     

    Half term finishes on Thursday 18th October, as next Friday is an INSET day and school is closed to students. Thank you for all your support over the first half term of our third year.

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  • Open House

    Published 05/10/18, by Chris Woolf

    A brilliant evening at Pinner High last night, as 1,500 people attended our open evening. It is fabulous to have such interest in the school, and hear such positive feedback about the students and staff. Visitors heard about our inclusive ethos, academic challenge, sporting success and performance opportunity, as well as having the chance to try out new languages and new subjects. Mandarin is always a favourite, and with large numbers choosing it for GCSE it is likely to remain so. Science was particularly busy last night, and we enjoyed showing off our well-equipped laboratories, and our specialist teachers in each of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

     

    House Events are always mentioned by students amongst their highlights and this week by contrast to the sports events of last week, it was an art competition. These are always harder to judge, but with our GCSE art students at the National Portrait Gallery today, we are certainly nurturing their talents in this area.

     

    This weekend 2 students and 1 teacher are taking part in the national commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War with their visit to the battlefields of Belgium. They will return and share their experiences with the school community- stay tuned.

     

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  • Football success and Fake News?

    Published 28/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    What do a visit to HOAC, a victorious football match, fake news and a laser cutter all have in common? The answer is easy: they have all featured in our week at Pinner High School.

     

    The whole of Year 7 were at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre on Thursday, enjoying a range of team building activities. They climbed the high ropes, or built rafts, or memorised poetry or walked planks of wood in a team race. All had a great time, all came home exhausted. Crucially, they all pushed their personal boundaries, and tighten the bonds of friendship in their new school. HOAC staff were unanimous in their praise for their enthusiasm and conduct. My thanks to all involved.

     

    The football season began with ten goals on the playing fields at Hatch End for the Year 8 boys. Pinner High scored seven of them, which was most impressive. Other year group matches get underway in the next few weeks.

     

    Whilst Year 7 were at HOAC, Year 8 spent the day investigating Fake News and the importance of critical decision making. They became expert and spotting fake news, and creating some themselves. They even managed to fool members of staff with the convincing approach they took to the news stories, which was very impressive.

     

    The photo this week is the first product from our new laser cutter, being put to use in Design Technology lessons. Students are really enjoying using the latest technology in class, which is great to see.

     

    You’ll be able to see all this and much more at our open event on Thursday, starting at 5.30pm. I look forward to sharing all that it means to experience a Pinner High School education.

     

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  • Silver!

    Published 21/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    News of positive inspection feedback and two silver awards this week; the Silver Artsmark from the Arts Council, and the Silver STARS Award from Transport for London

     

    The Artsmark is a prestigious award that recognises the opportunities and participation in arts related activities at the school. To reach Silver at our first assessment shows the immense commitment of students and staff to our arts programmes. Students have performed at the Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner Panto, Watford Colosseum, in our own PinnFest and musical productions in the last two years, and have a range of opportunities in lessons too. My thanks to colleagues and governors involved in the assessment process. The Silver STARS award recognises the contribution of our Travel Ambassadors and the community in making travel to and from the school as sustainable as possible.

     

    We had our scheduled Department for Education inspection this week, which was a very positive process. Feedback was extremely pleasing, and confirmed all the positive judgements that have been made about the school since we opened.

     

    Our student numbers have surged this year, so that we are full in Year 7, and very nearly full in Year 9. I have enjoyed visiting primary schools this week to talk to the current Year 6 about secondary schools. Audiences at Cannon Lane and West Lodge were both very interested, and I look forward to seeing them and other members of the community on 4th October at our Open evening. It is likely to be a very busy evening, so I'd be grateful if you can travel by public transport to minimise the impact on our neighbours. We're going for the Gold STARS Travel Award next year!

     

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  • Inspiring Learning

    Published 14/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    It is our first full week back, and already the students are in the thick of their lessons. I’ve visited lots of classrooms during the week, and have been very impressed with the quality of learning. As a new school, welcoming a large group of new colleagues and ensuring ‘Inspiring Learning’ is still a part of our every day practice is a key priority for me, and I am delighted about the rich learning opportunities and the way students are engaging with them. Our Year 9s, starting their first GCSE courses, are doing especially well.

     

    Sports have already been identified by our new students as a highlight, and they have a full range of sports to choose from in the Head’s Challenge as well as PE. Every week students are engaged in gymnastics, cricket, football, hockey, cross country, tennis and rugby clubs. The RFU have been particularly generous with support of our rugby coaches from Pinner Rugby Club, and we have our first rugby fixture coming up in October in the West London Cup. Another first, for our third year!

     

    Instrumental music lessons are also well underway, and almost double the national average number of students are learning a range of instruments. We are offering a weekly orchestra for the first time, and are excited to see where this will lead.

     

    The first House Event of the year was tug of war, with some keenly contested matches. There was a different winner of each of the three year groups, leaving the House Cup evenly poised.

     

    Plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead: Year 7 go to Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre on 27th September, when students in Years 8 and 9 have a Deep Learning Day. I look forward to seeing lots of parents at our Welcome Events, for Year 7 on 18th September at 6pm, and for Years 8 and 9 on 25th September. Our website calendar has these dates and times, and lots of other events to keep you involved in all aspects of a Pinner High School education: http://www.pinnerhighschool.org/calendar/?calid=1,3,4,5,7,8,9&pid=9&viewid=2

     

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  • Welcome Back!

    Published 07/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    We celebrated our second birthday this week, and are thrilled to have so many new students join us at Pinner High School.

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  • Activity week

    Published 25/05/18, by Chris Woolf

    A brilliant end to the half term with activity week: students have been engaged in a whole range of enrichment opportunities. They have taken up new challenges and brought new life to the Pinner High School Values with their positive approaches to the tasks set for them. Year 7 were engaged in art projects, Chinese calligraphy, House rounders, and a day of learning about PSHCE topics under the umbrella of 'My body, my rules'. Year 8 extended this theme by looking at aspects of the #metoo movement. They also worked with 'Wise Up team building' to improve their communication and collaboration, had their rounders tournament, and looked at film Science, yoga and poetry to do with their Houses. A varied and successful week, for which I must thank my colleagues for their inspirational work in running all these events around the school. They are a fabulous team.

    In assembly to celebrate the end of the half term we awarded another Jack Petchey prize to a student who chooses how to spend £250 on a school project, celebrated the large numbers with 100% attendance, crowned our Chess champion, and were treated to an encore of 'Beauty and the Beast' from last week's fantastic show.

    More to look forward to in our next half term: PinnFest, Sports Day, meeting our new year 7s, and preparing for three year groups at Pinner HIgh School. Where has the time gone?

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  • Cricket, Maths, Football and Spanish!

    Published 27/04/18, by Chris Woolf

    An action packed week: a visit to Lord’s Cricket Ground, a visit from a Spanish theatre company, students at Watford FC, and our neighbours Cannon Lane triumphing in our annual Primary Maths Challenge.

     

    ‘La Casa Encantada’ was performed completely in Spanish by theatre company ‘Onatti’ to the whole school this week. Students were a fantastic audience, and the play was very visual to enable students who have not been studying the language very long to understand what was happening. There was even some audience participation, which went down very well with students! Students were also very attentive to speakers from ‘Breaking the Cycle’ who spoke to Year 8 about youth violence as part of the Q?rius programme.

     

    Our Cricket team were part of a historic occasion this week: the first domestic women’s game at the Home of Cricket watching Middlesex v MCC. They were part of the biggest ever crowd at a women’s domestic game, and returned to school inspired to further develop their own cricketing skills. Our cricketing fixtures start shortly, and students are already practicing at lunchtime.

     

    Sporting visits also took place last week, this time to Watford FC. Our ‘Enterprise’ group of students learnt about the business side of the club, as well as touring their facilities.

     

    Our second annual Primary Maths Challenge, took place on Thursday when our neighbours Cannon Lane, were victorious over local rivals. We were delighted to have teams from Reddiford, Longfield, West Lodge and Cannon Lane taking part. The level of Maths was very impressive.

     

    We had our sixth term check-up from the Department for Education this week, which went extremely well. They confirmed their high level previous judgements across all aspects of the school. This is reassuring, and they set some more challenges ahead of our expected Ofsted inspection next academic year. To help us prepare for this, I’d be grateful if families had a moment to complete Ofsted’s Parent View: https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/login?destination=give-your-views This helps to build a positive picture over time, even though the inspection will be some months away. We have a waiting list of over 100 for September 2018, but we are not complacent about our reputation in our local community. If you have time to make a comment on the Good Schools Guide alongside the other positive reviews there, I would be delighted: https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/schools/pinner-high-school-ha5-1nb We shall shortly be taking bookings from Year 5 families interested in our summer open morning on 14th June.

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  • New Spaces

    Published 20/04/18, by Chris Woolf

    Students have enjoyed exploring new parts of the school this week, as over a dozen student spaces were quickly regenerated into Pinner High School areas now that Avanti House are safely moved into their building.

     

    The new library has proved a particular hit, with 30 brand new computers, work space for considerably more students than that, and the large number of books inherited from Heathfield School on their departure. I overheard a student declaring "I just love this library!" at the end of the week! Moving into the sports changing rooms has created more space for extra classrooms and a dedicated reflection/prayer room as well as additional office space for staff. More Science Labs are now operational, and the flow of students around the building is much smoother.

     

    Whilst preparing all this meant a very busy holiday, 40 students were also busy over the break on our first trip to Spain. Students had a fantastic time enhancing their language skills and learning about local culture. This was our third international trip, in our fifth term of opening, and students are thriving on the opportunities provided to them.

     

    This week students had the opportunity to help decide our priorities for the next phase of our refurbishment. Many chose the very necessary roof and heating works, alongside resurfacing the tennis courts. There were lots of requests for trampolines and 3D printers, both of which are on the list. Exciting times!

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