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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

  • 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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  • Governor Award winner!

    Published 17/05/19, by Chris Woolf

    Governance has always been a strength of the school, given the involvement of the other Headteachers in Harrow in the foundation of Pinner High School. Many of these Headteachers are still Trustees of the school, though they now delegate much of the day to day governance to the Local Governing Body. Governor and Trustee David Chappell recently won the  Outstanding Contribution to Harrow Schools Award, from the Association of Harrow Governing Bodies. It is especially pleasing that Governors’ have been formally recognised in this way, as they are all volunteers and tireless supporters of the school. Dr. Ahmed, our Chair of Governors, nominated Mr. Chappell for his contribution to the successful setting up of Pinner High School. Congratulations!

    Congratulations are also due to the students who took part in the recent borough athletics tournament. The individual success was reported last week, and we now have team news success to share as well. All the teams were placed in the top 4 out of the schools in the area, which is brilliant. Special congratulations to the Year 8 and 9 boys who tied first place with hosts Harrow School. The competition 'on the Hill' was of a very high level, and to achieve this result is a fantastic accomplishment. Our cricketers opened the season with a confident victory this week as well. My thanks to Pinner Cricket Club for hosting the match.


    The Bank of England was the venue for a group of Year 9 students yesterday, who took the day to investigate the real life mathematics of interest rates and inflation. They had an excellent day, and even held a real bar of gold!


    The curtain rises on ‘Hairspray’ this week. Students and colleagues have been rehearsing intensely, and I look forward to seeing you at the shows on Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets are available on Parentpay.


    We are hosting an Open Day on 27th June this year for prospective parents. Our usual open event on 3rd October will still go ahead, but as we will have significant refurbishment work at that time I would encourage any current Year 5 families to attend in June if they are able to do so. Booking is essential. We also have some spaces available in the current Year 8.


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  • Shake it Off!

    Published 13/05/19, by Chris Woolf

    We celebrated the life and work of Shakespeare last week with our festival ‘Shake It Off’. There was a huge range of events, from emoji quiz to Years 7 and 8 workshops during their lessons. They created the Globe during House Events, and watched the National Theatre screening of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the end of the week. Year 7 students were even heard quoting Shakespeare at each other as they went to the restaurant!


    Student Government went to the Houses of Parliament this week, where they met local MP Nick Hurd. Last year our Parliamentary Ambassadors ran workshops in Primary Schools, and it is brilliant to have so many students engaged with the political process at such an interesting time in Westminster. On the same day our Scholar’s Club in Year 9 attended their ‘graduation’ at the University of Oxford, which was a fabulous occasion. They have had aspirational mentoring from professionals through the year, and written extended essays on contemporary topics. These were graded by the Scholar’s Club as if they were degree dissertations. There were particular celebrations for those awarded First Class Honours. I was expecting to have to wait until 2026 for the first news of degree classifications!


    More sporting success to report from the Harrow Schools athletics festival, hosted at Harrow School. Pinner High students won 7 events, including the junior boys relay. All event winners will represent the district in the next stage of competition, which is brilliant. Environment week starts today: a chance to make small changes that can make a big difference to all our futures.


    As you may know, last week saw our first Ofsted inspection. The judgement has to remain confidential until the report is published. It will be available in a few weeks and I particularly look forward to sharing it with you.


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  • Cup Winners!

    Published 03/05/19, by Chris Woolf

    Sporting success steals the headlines this week: the Year 8 boys are Harrow Champions, ending their season undefeated in all matches. The final at Harrow Borough FC was a tight match against a strong Nower Hill team, with Pinner coming through 4-3 winners. Congratulations to all the players and coaches. It was a real team effort, and very tense to watch on the sidelines! The Rugby team made their 7s debut in the Middlesex competition, winning 2 matches during the afternoon. We are grateful for the support of Pinner Rugby Club in launching the sport with us. The tennis team were in action as well, and there were trials for cricket team places, which are always keenly contested with lots of interest.

    There was lots of interest in the Police Cadets, who had their introductory session this week. Almost 30 students attended, which is a brilliant response, and I know PC Peacock has some great sessions planned for the future.


    110 students took part in the Junior Maths Challenge this week, which is a very high number indeed. The Senior Maths Challenge students received their certificates at the end of the last half term, and we have high hopes for even more recognition in this version designed for the younger year groups. We also have news of our first Silver Duke of York 'Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award' winners, which is very exciting too.


    Congratulations to all involved in a particularly successful week. Plenty more to come!


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  • Another Award

    Published 26/04/19, by Chris Woolf

    Excellent news to start the term: we have been awarded the title of Stonewall School Champions! Our inclusive ethos and Pinner High School Values are part of this, and I am delighted to have been recognised in this way. We now plan to work our way through the Stonewall awards, as we have done with the Silver Artsmark, Princes Teaching Institute, EQ equalities award, Silver TfL Travel Award to name just a few.

    The holiday involved 33 students and 4 teachers on a trip to Beijing, China. Students had a fabulous time; many selected different highlights, including the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, Kung Fu lessons, calligraphy class, or visiting a Chinese school. My particular favourite was on the Great Wall after a fresh snowfall, which was magical at sunrise the next morning. Students are already asking about the next one, so we will get planning!


    The House Event this week was a rounders tournament for Year 9 and a music quiz for Years 7 and 8. The Pinner Value of enthusiasm was easy to see in both cases. The range of musical genres was brilliant, some found real challenge identifying a Beatles track, others struggled more in the musicals section, but all came out with a greater understanding as a result. My thanks to all colleagues involved.


    The start of term, as ever, had a range of sports trials, for tennis and many athletics disciplines. The Year 8 boys are undefeated all season so qualify for the Harrow football finals on Monday, so it promises to be another excellent term of sports across the school. ‘Hairspray’ tickets will be on sale soon, ‘Pinnfest’ not far behind, and a new array of Heads Challenge Clubs to pick from as well. There is so much to look forward to as summer approaches.


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