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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

  • 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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  • 21 teams!

    Published 23/03/18, by Chris Woolf

    173 students have represented the school in 21 teams so far this year, with rounders, athletics and cricket still to come. It was the turn of our netball teams in Years 7 and 8 this week, playing in tournaments at home and away. Both teams had some successes, and brought life to the Pinner High School Values. The Values were also alive in the non-uniform day Sports Relief donations received of £266.61. Sports Relief led to a very active lunchtime, with a total of 936 laps completed of the school field by 195 students, 7 members of staff and 1 Headteacher.

     

    Our House competition concluded Science week, where students had to build the tallest structure they could out of spaghetti and marshmallows, including the ability to hold a chocolate egg on a part of the tower. There were some impressive, and messy, designs! Q?rius students this week were utterly engaged by Rev’d Paul Hullyer, vicar of St. John’s Church, Pinner, who came to speak to them about a fascinating range of topics, including looking after a 700 year old church and his work as a Padre in the Territorial Army.

     

    Planning for next term continues apace, and I am particularly grateful to the parent volunteers who have been helping us set up the library to be ready as soon as possible in the new term. We have inherited lots of ‘stock’ for the library from Heathfield School, the previous occupiers, and we have made good inroads cataloguing these books, so they can be borrowed alongside our existing newer titles. The new library space is significantly larger, and will accommodate the school when it is at full capacity in the years ahead. As 1515 books have already been loaned this academic year, this bodes well. 30 desktop computers will be delivered over the holiday for the library, and with some redecoration taking place around the student changing rooms as well, we will be ready for the next phase of our development as Avanti House move out next week.

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  • Winners!

    Published 16/03/18, by Chris Woolf

     

    The initial proposal for Pinner High School was that it should be an excellent inclusive school for the whole community. It is especially pleasing that alongside an array of academic opportunites, this week we were recognised with the Young Carers award. This celebrates the commitment to students who take on additional responsibilities at home, and the support available to them through school.

     

    School has been alive with Science week, currently being celebrated nationally. An element hunt, liquid nitrogen and slime creation are a few highlights, alongside the bridge building engineering House Competition. Students this week took part in the TCS Oxford Computing Challenge, stretching our most able coders. Our most able writers in Year 7 enjoyed ‘Young Writers’ activities at Stanmore Library. This built on the workshop and presentation to all students from author Beverley Naidoo for World Book Day.

     

    Q?rius this week was especially good, with Kathryn Knight who has written for the Times, Marie Claire and the Daily Mail. She told Year 8 fascinating stories of her travels during her journalistic career including visits to a military base, and interviewing Simon Cowell and One Direction. She shared ways of getting into journalism, and answered lots of questions.

     

    I enjoyed answering questions from parents at our half termly Coffee and Chat this week. We talked about the development of the site through the next phases of refurbishment, as Avanti House move to their new home in a couple of weeks. We also discussed buses and traffic, catering and more.

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  • Hat Trick!

    Published 09/03/18, by Chris Woolf

    I was delighted this week to welcome families of those given offers to join us in September as our third year group. Time flies! 180 offers were made for 180 places,  and the ‘last distance offered’ was 1.4 miles. Our waiting list is growing, but there will be lots of movement, and I expect more offers will be made over the coming weeks.

     

    It is exciting to share with new families the opportunities a Pinner High School education brings. The last few weeks have seen Money Matters workshops, and the return of students from the ski trip. The arctic weather led to the cancellation of the Globe theatre trip for the whole of Year 7, which was unfortunate. The RAF were due to be our speakers in the Q?rius programme, but could not make it due to the snow!

     

    Students are busy rehearsing for the school musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’, trying out for the table tennis team, and preparing for the Science Week House competition.

     

    Before we add an extra year group we will be the sole occupants of our site, as Avanti House move to their new site in a few weeks. We are busy planning the spaces we can use straight away, and developing the next phase of the refurbishment programme. Students will help how to prioritise spending £4.2 million on our facilities: we're creating an extensive shopping list!

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  • Wall of Fame

    Published 02/02/18, by Chris Woolf

    Lots of sporting success to celebrate this week, from the boys and girls football teams, the cross-country teams, and the boys and girls indoor athletics teams. All experienced considerable success, with 4 runners qualifying for the cross-country county competition and all representing us very effectively. The boys athletics team won the borough competition, and will add their photograph to the Wall of Fame, showcasing our tournament winners. Teachers from other schools commented on the quality of performance and conduct of our students, which is always very pleasing. As we make our debuts in the different age categories of the different sporting events, it is brilliant to see the students achieve such success, and equally important, creating such a positive reputation as they continue to bring the Pinner Values to life.

     

    I have been interviewing a range of candidates keen to teach in our growing school for September. We continue to attract a range of talented individuals, both experienced colleagues and those new to the profession. UCL Physics department are currently working with us and the Institute of Education to bring undergraduate physicists into classrooms. The undergraduates have been bringing their research skills and experience to lesson planning, and will visit more lessons after half term to inspire and enthuse our students.

     

    Further inspiration will come next week with our Chinese New Year celebration, including Kung Fu sessions with a Grand Master for all students. Next week is also the Year 8 finance day, when students will be applying their mathematical skills to the world of personal finance. After the half term break the whole of Year 7 will experience a performance at the Globe theatre, we have an author visit on World Book Day, and over the half term break our annual ski trip. Exciting times!  

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  • Happy New Year

    Published 12/01/18, by Chris Woolf

     

    Happy New Year! The first full week back has seen the students straight back into action. They have chosen from a new list of thirty five clubs for the Head’s Challenge, with new options including Psychology, Salsa, Reading ambassadors, as well as the usual range of sports, art and community based activities. The clubs got underway straight away, and it is great to hear students talking about their new activities with such enjoyment.

     

    The enjoyment of students in the Politics Club was clear to visiting Councillors before the holiday, who will be profiling the group in their newest publication. This news comes alongside Miss Lowder’s successful application to the Teachers Institute at the Houses of Parliament. Teachers taking part in Teachers’ Institute become UK Parliament Teacher Ambassadors following the training, and go on to teach their students and fellow education professionals about democracy and the Houses of Parliament. Miss Lowder applied to Parliament’s open call and was selected from more than 170 applicants to attend the three-day training event in Parliament.  Fully funded by Parliament’s Education Service, Hannah will question the House of Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker, and hear from parliamentarians of all parties about their work in the Commons and Lords. Rt Hon Lord Fowler, The Lord Speaker, said: “Teachers’ Institute is exceptionally well-regarded by the participants each year, and I welcome the opportunity to explain the work of the House of Lords to such an appreciative audience.” Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “I am proud that this excellent initiative continues to provide such an invaluable service. Better engagement and dialogue with young people is of fundamental importance to our democracy, and I am sure that the UK Parliament Teacher Ambassadors attending Teachers’ Institute will find the experience both useful and enlightening.”

     

    We successfully applied to be part in the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families research project into the mental health of children and young people. Our pastoral care has consistently been very highly rated, and taking part in projects such as this ensures we are able to access the latest research to inform our school practices. The research has been approved by the UCL Ethics Research Committee, and training is provided for three members of staff at no cost to the school.

     

    Year 8 students are having their individual GCSE options interviews over the next few weeks. It is brilliant to hear their career aspirations are so broad and interesting. Talking about Sixth form options when the school has only been open for 4 terms and a week is very exciting! We are currently recruiting for lots of teaching positions, so it is not too late to join our team for September.

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  • Season's Greetings

    Published 20/12/17, by Chris Woolf

    A brilliant end to the 4th term at Pinner High School, and a festive season jam packed with events: performers at Pinner Panto, our own end of term concert, guest appearances by our students as we hosted the Cannon Lane concert, a very enjoyable charity Christmas jumper day and festive lunch.

     

    In the last week, Year 8 had a day dedicated to their GCSE options. This included a speaker from Unidays, University of Cambridge, and closer to home sixth formers visited us from Whitmore High School to talk about how they made their subject choices for GCSE and A Level. Our students also took a ‘Careers test’ on the Fast Tomato website, that suggests careers based on an individual’s interests and strengths. Year 7 had a day dedicated to Esafety, with parents invited for an evening session to help keep their children safe online.

     

    In our celebration assembly today, students received their certificates from the Bebras Challenge 2017 a national computational thinking competition.  12 students came in the top 10% across the country: many congratulations to them. We also crowned our first Chess champion, and enjoyed 7BX showcasing their salsa dance, the winning entry into the ‘MFL Got Talent’ languages House competition. Bannister are in the lead at the end of the first term, but with plenty left to play for!

     

    There continues to be much to celebrate. We received over 900 applications for entry to the school in September 2018, by which time we will have the whole site for our own use. We have already appointed some brilliant colleagues to start with us in September for our growing school, and it promises to be a very happy new year.

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