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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.


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  • Visiting speakers

    Published 22/03/19, by Chris Woolf

    Inspiring Learning this week with a brilliant range of guest speakers: The Year 8 'Q?rius' careers event featuring a chef, civil servant, optometrist, advertiser, and an entrepreneur who set up their own business. Year 9 had a road safety session from the SAME academy. Many thanks to all those involved in such successful events.


    Year 8 had a very strong week in sport: girls netball 2nd in the Harrow Schools tournament, with six victories in the groups stages and a narrow loss to North London Collegiate in the final. The boys footballers are now in the semi-finals of the borough tournament, after a 7-2 defeat of Whitmore. They are undefeated all season and have a positive goal difference of 23!


    A reminder of our new Hairspray dates of 22 and 23rd May. I hear the rehearsals from my office, and the music is sounding particularly good. I look forward to seeing you there.


    Deep Learning Day takes place next week, where all students take part in workshops through the day outside their normal lessons looking at different aspects of growing up, particularly how their bodies and relationships change during this time. We have a range of outside experts joining us for the day. We run a range of session like this through the year, and they are always highly rated and thought provoking.


    Particular thanks to our fabulous new Parents Association. The quiz last week was a storming success. The first of many!


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  • Elementary

    Published 15/03/19, by Chris Woolf

    Science week has been a mixture of activities; perfume making, rocket film canisters and a chemical symbols hunt. I enjoyed being the element Praseodymium, which it has taken me most of the week to be able to say fluently.

    Our World Challenge expedition group going to Costa Rica in the summer have more training this week, in the rather less exotic Kent countryside, where they will be learning camp craft skills that will be essential in the rainforest of Central America.

    Our first Parents Association Event takes place this evening; a Quiz night with fish and chips. My immense thanks to those involved in the planning of it. They have been extremely proactive. Over 100 tickets have been sold, and we are all looking forward to an entertaining evening.

    Year 7 were entertained this week by children’s author Cath Cassidy (pictured) who read from her latest book and talked about the writing process. Students said their highlights were seeing the sketches of her characters, and the process she goes through when planning a book. They also said they enjoyed her stories about day dreaming- but there will be no daydreaming in the quiz tonight!


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  • Sporting success

    Published 08/03/19, by Chris Woolf

    Lots of sporting success to report this week: Table tennis champions, and football and netball teams coming out on top in multiple fixtures as well. Congratulations to all involved.


    This week we welcomed our new families to our school community as those joining the school in September were offered their places. It was great to see so many excited faces on Wednesday as students came to see what is now their new school. The current Year 7 were brilliant ambassadors, and enthused about their favourite parts of the school. All our new families live within a mile, and we have a waiting list of 150. This is remarkable, especially as we have only been open two and a half years.


    Fresh from the most recent Ski trip during the February half term, information letters went out this week for the 2020 trip. Do return the form and deposit as soon as possible, as places are limited.


    Cathy Cassidy will be visiting the school next week, as part of our World Book Day celebration. A chapter of her new book is on Show My Homework for Year 7 to read in advance of her visit!


    My thanks to all the parents who attended the Year 7 Assessment Evening this week. The presentation is now on our website with a narration of each slide for those who were not able to attend.


    I hope to see lots of you at our first Quiz Night on Friday next week. 


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  • Full House

    Published 01/03/19, by Chris Woolf

    Our Year 9 Economists had expert insights from the Bank of England yesterday, with a guest speaker giving real life examples from the financial world. At the same time, Year 8s were hearing from this week’s Q?rius speaker, a parent kindly coming to talk about her work with an international NGO within the humanitarian and development sector. I am very grateful to both visitors for giving up their time.


    Today is ‘National Offer Day’ when students in Year 6 find our which secondary school they will be attending in September. I am delighted for the 180 families who will have the chance to join our community and experience all that a Pinner High School education has to offer. You are invited to visit us on Wednesday 6th March at 4pm to share our excitement that you will soon be Pinner High School students! Inducting our fourth year group is very exciting. This week our Trailblazers in Year 9 reached the milestone of being nearer the end of Year 11 than they are to the start of Year 7; a date that captured their attention!


    Our community keeps getting stronger, and planning continues for our first Parents Association Event, our Quiz night on 15th March. Do book your tickets soon!


    Another date for your diary is our school musical, ‘Hairspray’ with performances on 2nd and 3rd  April. I look forward to seeing you there!


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  • Half term break

    Published 15/02/19, by Chris Woolf


    The week has been a full one, especially for Year 9, with their Midterm Examinations. It is their first experience of an exam in every subject, and they have risen to the challenge admirably. One new invigilator for the exams remarked that they were ‘delightful young people’ which is certainly true, and lovely to hear!


    More awards this week: The first Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award Bronze winners; Duke of Edinburgh Award Assessor training for staff; and our Jack Petchey Award winners attended the regional presentation ceremony with the Mayor of Harrow this week, which was a very positive occasion. The Jack Petchey scheme recognises young people who go ‘above and beyond’. At Pinner High students nominate each other, with the winners deciding how to spend £250 on a school project.


    Our Travel ambassadors are at TfL Head Office today, competing against local schools for £250 to spend on a travel initiative for our school. I hope it is going well!


    30 students are off on our third ski trip, this time to Italy. Fingers crossed for lots of snow when they get there, and smooth travelling tomorrow.


    Lots to look forward to in the new term, including the musical ‘Hairspray’ taking place in the first week of April. See you there!


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  • 新年快乐!

    Published 08/02/19, by Chris Woolf

    Chinese New Year celebrations took place this week. With our first trip to China taking place at the end of this term, there is lots of excitement about the year of the Pig. Students will learn about the importance of this festival in Chinese culture in their lessons over the next week.

    This week saw large numbers of Year 9 students sit the UK Maths Challenge papers. They have their Midterm examinations in all subjects next week. This is a great opportunity to show how much they have learnt already in their GCSE courses, and identify any gaps in their knowledge before they move on in their courses. Good luck!


    Badminton, Netball and Football teams were all in action this week at home and away. Results were mixed; badminton triumph against John Lyon, less success in netball at Nower Hill and in the football tournament. All students represent the school admirably, with the Pinner High School Values central to participation whatever the result.


    The result of our PTA meeting last night was brilliant: our first Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, and our first big event in the diary. I hope to see lots of you on 15th March at 7pm for our Inaugural Quiz night. Details of tickets, food, drinks, prizes will be circulated shortly. It was lovely to have such support in our first meeting. Exciting times ahead.


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  • Fruit salad

    Published 01/02/19, by Chris Woolf

    Fruit salads in Year 7 are looking increasingly creative, as are the cakes in Year 8! Food Technology is a popular GCSE option, and it is great to see students developing their culinary, nutrition and healthy eating skills.


    It has been a busy couple of weeks in Science, where we had visitors from Cannon Lane, as well as from University College London. Both undergraduates and primary school students had enjoyable days, one looking at the chemical reactions of household items, and the other looking at careers in education settings. I was delighted to welcome them all.


    This week I was also pleased to do a learning walk around the school with Dr Howkins, Chair of the Harrow Academies Trust and Headteacher of Bentley Wood School. We saw some creative and engaging lessons. This week we also had very positive feedback from the external audit we had commissioned into the provision for our most able students. Both of these confirmed our judgements, and gave us ideas to drive standards even higher.


    Today’s wintry weather is good acclimatisation for the ski trip group going to Italy during the half term break. We’ll have details of the 2020 ski trip in the next few weeks as well.


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  • Student Takeover!

    Published 25/01/19, by Chris Woolf

    I am delighted to have a student guest blog this week, reflecting on the student leadership experience at Pinner High School:

    "My name is Afeefa, I’m part of 8BW and I recently joined student government at Pinner High School after being one of the house captains of Bannister last year. The application process for both house captain and student government included submitting an application form as well as an interview for house captain. Last year, I enjoyed having a role that advanced my ability as a leader, and this year I’m looking forward to having a role which allows me to discuss matters and make changes to the other aspects of school life at Pinner High.

    So far this year, all members of student government have become Youth Travel Ambassadors for Pinner High School which gives us the opportunity to deliver behaviour-change campaigns to our peers regarding travelling to and from school, particularly when it comes to public transport. We decided on focusing our campaign around active travel and encouraging pupils to walk more on their journey to and from school; this will cut down on traffic around the school whilst making our local area healthier by decreasing the damage on the environment. Later this year, we are going to present our campaign to members of Transport for London for a chance to win £250 to promote our active travel campaign within the school. I believe that this opportunity has already allowed me to discuss matters that affect me on a day-to-day basis and to begin to make effective changes. This experience will not only benefit the school, but also the members of student government as we develop the way in which we present to others, promote ideas and discuss issues.

    From the beginning of my time at Pinner High School, I have benefited from the welcoming and inclusive environment that constantly surrounds me here. This has not only contributed to the learning that takes place in the classroom but has also developed my learning further outside of the classroom especially in my Period 7 clubs. The variety of choices shows how many opportunities are available at Pinner High and that, no matter what time of day or what activity you are doing, something can be gained from it.

    So far, Pinner High School has provided me with an abundance of opportunities from which I have gained many skills; one of these experiences is being part of the student leadership team. As my journey progresses, I hope to broaden my knowledge and further my leadership skills and I know that Pinner High School will continue to help me do this."


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  • House of Lords

    Published 18/01/19, by Chris Woolf

    The House of Lords Grand Committee debate on Free Schools took place last week, in the course of which Pinner High School was highlighted by Lord Agnew, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and referred to as “a credit to those involved in setting them up and the teachers who work there.” This is a link to a full transcript of the entry in Hansard: There are several references to the school to those who read the full four hour debate!

    Other tests of endurance this week came in the Borough Cross Country Event at Harrow School. Those who finish in the top 10 then go on to represent Harrow, so to have 4 qualifiers from boys and girls races in different age groups is great news. Each race had around 200 competitors, and our entire team all finished in the top 40. Congratulations to them, and thanks to all the colleagues involved in the event.

    Thanks to the large numbers of parents who attended the GCSE options and Parents evening this week. Attendance was extremely high, and your support is much appreciated. For those who would like a recap, there is a recording of the presentation on our website: and an electronic copy of the booklet too: Year 8 families will today receive a short survey asking for your feedback from the event, as we are always looking for ways to improve.


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  • Next steps

    Published 11/01/19, by Chris Woolf


    Today there are students in Year 9 on a visit to The Scholar’s Club, which provides opportunity to further enhance provision for our More Able students. This will show the students even more of the activities that will be available to them in the future, and help them look at the next steps of their education. Although our oldest students are now in Year 9, our Sixth Form development is very much part of our planning.


    Planning was a big part of the House Event, focused on different aspects of Design: cityscapes and logos were the competition this week, with different Houses triumphing in different year groups.


    Students this week found out if they had qualified for the UK Maths Challenge, run by the UK Mathematics Trust. This is a nationwide challenge involving abstract questions that provide real challenge to our most able mathematicians. The next round of this takes place in early February.


    The Duke of Edinburgh taught sessions began this week, ahead of the expeditions in the summer. Students will be taught about navigation and camp craft, before being let loose in the local countryside!


    The first Cross Country event of the new year takes place at Harrow School next week. Next week is also the Year 8 Parents Evening and Options Evening. The Key Stage 4 booklet is attached to this blog.


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  • Happy New Year!

    Published 04/01/19, by Chris Woolf

    A shiny new certificate to welcome the New Year; confirmation of our Duke of Edinburgh Award license, signed by Prince Philip himself! The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme is a very prestigious one, and students have set about the work involved very effectively. Over 70 members of Year 9 have put themselves forward for this, which is a very impressive number.


    This programme links into the Head’s Challenge, and this week students made their choices for the Club activities for the term ahead: Board Games, Current Affairs, Drama, Textiles, Karaoke, Mindfulness, Stem Science, French, Music, Young Entrepreneurs, Parkour, Web design, Harry Potter, Spy Kids, Creative Writing, Sign Language, Chess, Journalism, Netball, Football, Table Tennis, Gymnastics and Cross Country. These are the choices for a Monday, with even more available on Thursday!


    As well as all these opportunities, the cast list for the musical ‘Hairspray’ was shared this morning, with record numbers of students auditioning. 2019 has got off to a rapid start, after just 2 days of school: Happy New Year!


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  • Happy Holidays!

    Published 14/12/18, by Chris Woolf

    Term always builds to a crescendo, through concerts and a series of festive events. My thanks to all involved in all these projects.


    As well as that, this week students in Years 8 and 9 enjoyed additional sessions this week run by BNK, about different aspects of Financial Maths. Seeing the application of mathematical concepts to decisions they will have to make about their personal finances was extremely engaging, and students responded to it really well.


    I updated families last week about our expanding staff team. I am fortunate that as a growing school we know well in advance how many additional teachers we will need and I can recruit for them before other schools start their recruitment to help secure the very best candidates for our school. I am delighted with the quality and quantity of applicants; 40 for a recent advertisement for an Assistant Headteacher, and such high quality applicants for Head of Year that I had to interview over two days. I have now read over 800 applications since we opened and am delighted that we continue to attract such high calibre interest. Long may it continue!


    Term ended with a Celebratory Assembly, sharing the successes of the term. We hand over to our new House Captains, following a rigorous interview process that includes speeches and selection activities. Students have been awarded BEBRAS Certificates from Computer Science with 20 of them coming in the top 10% nationally, Subject Awards, and Pinner High School Values certificates. It is these Values that the community aspire to live up to every day that are especially appropriate at this time of year.


    I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing holiday, ready for the excitement a new year brings.


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