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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

  • Chair of Governors guest blog

    Published 17/10/19, by Chris Woolf

    Our new mini-bus arrived this week, but news of this will have to wait until after the half term break, as our blog this week features a guest entry by our Chair of Governors. Dr. Ahmed writes:

    ‘It has been another excellent half term of the year for the students at Pinner High School. There are now over 700 students, and they have settled in well to all aspects of school life. A growing school has unique rewards and challenges, and the strategic oversight Governors have of this ensures our continuing success.


    Every half term I run a ‘student voice’ meeting, where I chat to a group of students about their experiences at school. I spoke to a very articulate group of Year 10 students last week, who told me about their growing school with so much pride. They talked warmly about the opportunities they have had ‘so much better than our friends in other schools’ (they said) and the support they feel from their teachers. They also talked about how well supported they are in their GCSE courses, and the high standards expected of them. They also made a point of telling me how friendly they still find the school. The same theme came from visitors to our open day a couple of weeks ago. Over a thousand visitors were here on the day, who filled the main hall four times during the day. When we were a brand new school we expected there to be lots of interest from all sorts of quarters. We also expected the number of visitors to decrease over time as so many families have been to see us already. However, our positive Ofsted inspection only seems to have increased the numbers for our fifth annual open event. My only regret is that they won’t all be able to come here in September.


    We all celebrated our ‘Outstanding’ judgement of the summer, but are keen to build further on this success. There is no shred of complacency in the Development Plans the Leadership team present to the Governors. They firmly have their sights set on the forthcoming GCSE examinations, and securing the Sixth Form with the same success that the whole school is founded on. The staff team have grown to nearly a hundred, and the extremely high quality of applicants the school has had to choose from is one of the main reasons for our success. Our Governing Body has also grown in size recently, and I am very grateful to them for the time they put in as volunteers to provide challenge to the school. We take this very seriously, and review a range of student data in detail.


    We all await further news of our refurbishment plans. I know the community has been very patient with this, and there is an immense amount of work going on behind the scenes to secure this key aspect of our next development. Whenever I visit the school I am reminded that it is never the buildings that make a school special, it is the people within them. Nonetheless, I will ensure you are kept up to date with developments.


    Student successes this half term have been wide ranging; more sports teams than ever before, greater numbers on the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, and a vibrancy to school life that has always been the hallmark of a Pinner High School education. There are always new experiences too: the school is now on the Mandarin Excellence Programme, a prestigious opportunity supported by the British Council and the Institute of Education to develop Mandarin across the UK. Following the successful World Challenge trip to Costa Rica this summer, another trip was launched this week, this time to Tanzania. All of these opportunities require dedicated teachers to make them happen, and I would like to ensure all members of staff at the school know how much everything they do is appreciated by the Governing Body.


    Students at Pinner High School have broad horizons. As well as the Chair of Governors and a Trustee, I am also a Pinner High School parent. The PTA continue to flourish; we are lucky to have such a supportive community, and it has been a pleasure to work with the school since before it opened. Thank you for your continuing support for our school. We have lots to look forward to!’


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  • Full House

    Published 04/10/19, by Chris Woolf

    Particular thanks to the large numbers of students who volunteered to support our Open Day yesterday. Over 200 students were involved showing round well over a thousand visitors during the day. A snapshot of their feedback is shown above. Our students are brilliant ambassadors for Pinner High School, and I am delighted there continues to be such interest in the school. Visitors commented on the knowledgable and enthusiastic guides, and their obvious pride in their school. 'Inspiring teachers' was another comment on the feedback forms, which is an accurate reflection of my colleagues. This was our fifth open event, and we have come along way over the last five years. There are now over 700 students, nearly 100 members of staff, and a real community around the school.

    Elsewhere in the school this week, more sports teams took to the field, with competitive matches against our local schools. Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award certificates have started to arrive for our Trailblazers who started this last year. 60 members of Year 9 have signed up for the programme for the year, and Year 10 will have the opportunity to step up a level and start their Silver Award. Exciting times!


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  • Deep Learning

    Published 27/09/19, by Chris Woolf

    Our first Deep Learning Day of the year took place this week. Year 7 spent the day at HOAC, where they had a brilliant time climbing, rafting and other team building activities. It is the fourth year in a row we have run this trip, and this one lived up to the high bar that has been set. The rest of the school had a range of activities around current issues; fake news and other personal, social, cultural and health education topics. It is days like these that led Ofsted to conclude: " ...tolerance, respect and democracy, is a integral and powerful force underpinning the culture and daily life of the school. As a result, the development of pupils' spiritual, moral and cultural skills is outstanding." My thanks to the guest speakers who visited us, and the members of staff who planned the day so carefully.

    We have been busy filming the third version of our school film, coming to our school Youtube channel very soon. I have enjoyed spending the day guiding our cameraman around the school. It means I have seen bread being baked, mobile phone holders constructed, clay being sculptured, the deconstruction of a CPU, diffusion, some fine footwork in the sportshall; and all that before lunch today!

    Next week is our open day, with presentations on Thursday 3rd October at 10am, 4.00, 5.30 and 7pm. We anticipate a busy evening, so please do use public transport if at all possible.

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  • Interstellar

    Published 20/09/19, by Chris Woolf

    Congratulations to the 19 members of Year 10 who are now fully trained Student Wellbeing Ambassadors. They came to school for a series of workshops on the last day of their holiday, which speaks volumes for their commitment to the programme and the school. Sessions included role playing different scenarios that they may be faced with, and how to listen, provide support, and guide the person talking to them to their next steps. The trainer from the Teach Well Alliance was effusive in his praise for the students as role models for younger students.

    Today the whole of Year 10 are working with My Bnk, looking at aspects of personal finance. Students looked at personal budgeting and the practical application of their mathematical skills. My thanks to the Maths team for running the day, and to My Bnk for coming to see us again.

    The Year 7 welcome event was well attended on Tuesday, thanks to all those who were able to attend. The presentation is on the News and Events tab of the website, alongside details of the Mandarin Excellence Programme: The Year 8 and 9 event is on Tuesday, starting at 6pm, finishing at 7pm.

    Sports fixtures this week were extremely successful, the Year 10 boys footballers winning 10-0 against Nower Hill, and the Year 10 girls netball team defeating Whitmore 18-8. A brilliant start to the year!

    And finally, brilliance on a different level, as Pinner High School has an opportunity to name an exoplanet and it's host star. It is currently named WASP-13 and WASP-13a. Students can give their suggestions to Dr. Munir. Entries need to be made before October 11th. For more information on the planets and rules see,

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  • Welcome back!

    Published 13/09/19, by Chris Woolf

    The first week back at school has been a full and exciting one. Students have quickly got back in the swing of our high expectations. Everyone took part in our first House Event of the Year, the Tug of War. Honours were shared between Malala, Ali and Bannister Houses across the year groups, getting the House Competition off to a great start.

    Students also chose their Head's Challenge activities this week, from a list that is getting longer and longer. This year it includes 34 choices for Key Stage 3 and 38 for Key Stage 4. Golf makes a popular return, and for the first time we have Irish Dancing, Hypnotic Drawing, Young Engineers and Public Speaking. An exciting list from which to choose.

    The students from our trip to Costa Rica have come back with amazing stories of crocodiles, turtles and rainforests. I look forward to their assembly, and their ideas for our next World Challenge adventure.

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  • Celebrations

    Published 12/07/19, by Chris Woolf

    A brilliant week, combining all that is special about a Pinner High School education: community, charity, sports and the arts. Today is our student led Wear Yellow Day for Stutter Awareness, a non-uniform day to raise funds to support the Michael Palin Centre. Toby in year 8 had the idea, pitched it to me a few weeks ago, and has organised the whole event. Seeing the students arrive this morning in a bright sea of yellow is a great end to the week. Even more impressively, as a young person with a stutter, Toby delivered an assembly yesterday about the topic. Applause from students rang long and loud, and most members of staff needed tissues by the end. He talked about the Pinner High School Value of ‘Resilience’ and is a brilliant role model in this regard.


    Sports day earlier this week gave further opportunity for students to bring life to the Pinner Values. There were some great results and Personal Bests, as well as great support for all athletes taking part. I was particularly delighted to congratulate the Girls’ London Youth Games shot put gold medallist in Year 8. A phenomenal result! We celebrate our outstanding year of sport with our inaugural Sports Awards on Monday night.


    Yesterday was our biggest and best PinnFest yet, with music, drama, exhibition, barbecue; a brilliant celebration of the arts. We expanded to the Courtyard this year instead of the Quad, as our school continues to welcome new members to the family. Huge thanks to organisers and performers, and the fabulous PTA for the food.

    Term finishes on Friday 19th with our annual Prizegiving. More celebrations to come!

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  • Another award!

    Published 08/07/19, by Chris Woolf

    Another award this week! Congratulations to all involved in the application to the Eco Schools Award for recognition of the schools commitment to working towards a sustainable lifestyle. This has involved students, staff, parents and governors, and I am delighted to see such success is celebrated in this way.


    The week started with an induction day for all our new staff, joining us in September. As our fourth intake, we will number over 90 staff in September. I remember well when it was just one! I now they are going to make our team stronger still, and they are looking forward to getting to know our students. Our new students were here this week too, and we had a very positive induction day on Wednesday. There were 700 students here on Wednesday, enjoying a range of activities. Year 8 had a team building day with ‘Wise Up’ an organisation who highlight communication and collaborative skills for young people. The students rose to the challenges presented to them really well, with lots of positive comments from them and their team leaders.


    The last two weeks of term are busy ones. We look forward to Pinnfest on Thursday, our first Sports Awards on Monday 15th, and our celebratory family breakfast for all those students who have 100% attendance for the whole year. All are great occasions to celebrate the year at Pinner High School.


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  • Open House

    Published 28/06/19, by Chris Woolf

    Lots of visitors to the school this week have enjoyed looking round our facilities. We were delighted to welcome the year 6 families who have places with us for September, hearing more about the exciting opportunities they can look forward to as Pinner High School students. On Thursday we had 300 visitors interested in joining us in the future. Our current Year 7 students were brilliant tour guides, and lots of visitors commented on the obvious pride they have in their school.


    STEM students in Year 8 are out of school today on an enrichment trip, seeing Science and Engineering come to life outside the classroom. Also outside the classroom, last weekend saw the first Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Participants walked almost 20km on the first day, and nearly 10km on the second day, with a night under canvas in between. They cooked meals on camp stoves, with mixed results! The final qualifying expedition is the weekend after next, where we will hope for more sunshine.


    We also hope for a sunny afternoon on Tuesday 9th July, when our sports day finals will be taking place. Families are invited from 1.30pm-3.30pm to come to watch. The same week is PinnFest, our annual summer celebration of the arts. No tickets are required to either event, and we hope to see you there.


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  • Forward planning

    Published 21/06/19, by Chris Woolf

    I enjoyed visiting the assemblies of all year groups this week to congratulate students on the ‘Outstanding’ judgement on our school from Ofsted. Visitors this week may have seen our celebratory balloons in reception!


    We enjoyed welcoming some of our new Year 7 students this week as part of our transition arrangements. Colleagues and I have visited lots of primary schools over the last few weeks, which is always an enjoyable experience. We meet our new group of parents next week, and then all our new Year 7s spend the day with us the week after. On this day Year 8 will have a day of team building activities on our field, with a group from ‘Wise Up’ to look at communication skills in different contexts.


    Year 8 exams took place this week. Students conducted themselves in a very positive manner. They find out their GCSE options this week as well, as part of our preparations for September. The current GCSE students are experiencing language oral exams this week for their own examination practice.


    Fingers crossed for a sunny weekend for our first Duke of Edinburgh expedition on Saturday and Sunday. It is the first outing with all of our new kit, so we hope it will stay dry!


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  • Outstanding!

    Published 17/06/19, by Chris Woolf

    Students last week had their final training sessions before our first Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Tent and cooking practice had to take place inside due to all the rain. We hope it holds off at the weekend! The expedition involves camping and hiking with all the equipment that is needed in the campsite. For some students it is the first time they will have done this. For others, it is excellent training for their World Challenge trip to Costa Rica, which involves time trekking through the rainforest. Huge thanks to Mr. Surridge for organising the programme. Over 60 members of Year 9 will be taking part, which is an extremely large number. Good luck to everyone!


    Congratulations this week to Mr. Fang, who presented a workshop to the Institute of Education Confucius Institute Annual Chinese Conference. This is the largest conference of its kind in the country, and it is very prestigious to have a paper submitted in this way. The theme of the conference was ‘Looking Back, Thinking Forward’ and I know Mr. Fang’s contribution was well received.


    Our swimmers did an excellent job at the borough gala last week. All teams did well, and the Year 9 boys won their category. Congratulations! Year 7 are taking part in the ‘pedometer challenge’ this week, with each form wearing a pedometer for the day before comparing notes at the end of the week.


    I was delighted to share the news of our ‘Outstanding’ inspection report last week. The response has been amazing. Here is the link to the article about the inspection report from the Harrow Times:


    Thank you so much for all of your support. It really is a community effort, and success in which we all share.



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  • Fully staffed

    Published 07/06/19, by Chris Woolf

    Good news with which to start the final half term of the year: we are fully staffed for teachers for September. I have read over 850 applications since the school opened, which is a phenomenal amount given the difficulties many schools experience with recruitment. Long may it continue! The quality of candidates continues to be extremely high, and I am delighted to work with such talented colleagues. Three of our current Teaching Assistants will be training to be teachers with us next year. It is brilliant that their school experience with us makes them want to pursue a career in teaching. Of course this means that there will be Teaching Assistant adverts on our website shortly. We are also looking for a Cover supervisor and an IT technician for our growing school. Please do get in touch if these posts are of interest. We will number over 700 students in September, and it is an exciting time to be part of our school.

    The sporting life of the school is always busy this time of year, this week the Quarter finals of the boys cricket at Harrow School and further athletics fixtures taking place. Although we have no external examinations we have internal ones in core subjects for Year 7 next week, and Year 8 the week after. Assemblies have focused on wellbeing activities as well as revision skills. Fresh from the success of ‘Hairspray’ just before the half term holiday, we are preparing for PinnFest on 11th July. This is open to the whole community, and is a chance to enjoy some performances, browse the exhibition, and have a bite to eat from our PTA run BBQ. My thanks to them for their dedication and support.

    I know many members of our community are keen to hear feedback from our Ofsted Inspection last month. I hope to have the final report to share with you next week.

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  • 'Hairspray'

    Published 24/05/19, by Chris Woolf

    ‘Hairspray’ steals the show this week, and brings the curtain down on the half term. We had two brilliant performances from our fabulous students. The cast and crew did a stunning job, and fully deserve the praise from audience, friends and teachers. As well as the stars on stage, the set design was first class and has raised the performance standard to new heights. Congratulations to all involved for a thoroughly entertaining show. The next performance date for your diaries is ‘PinnFest’ on 11th July. This is our annual summer celebration of music, drama with an exhibition of student art. This year our lovely PTA have very kindly agreed to run a BBQ during the event, which will make the event better than ever. Everyone is welcome, so I hope to see you there.


    Many thanks to the parents who came along to Coffee and Chat this morning. We had a wide ranging discussion from traffic to textbooks, with school uniform and buses in between. It is always good to hear lots of different ideas, so do pop along to the next one if you are able.


    I hope you all have a restful half term break, and return recharged and ready for the last half term of year 3 at Pinner High School!


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