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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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  • 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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  • Inspiring Learning

    Published 29/03/19, by Chris Woolf

    Somehow there is only one week left until the end of term. It has flown by in a mixture of lessons, sports, arts activities and more students than ever before! During the term we have grown past 500 students, with 150 still on our waiting list for September.


    Our guest speakers on Deep Learning Day commented on the positive reception they received from the students, and how actively they engaged in the activities. I was delighted to welcome our final Q?rius speaker in our Careers series of presentations this week, who gave a fascinating insight into starting up a business and seeing it grow into an international success over the last 10 years. Students were also challenged to see how the world of work has changed in the digital age, and how they need to be prepared for the changes this will bring to their working lives. Many thanks to all who have contributed to these presentations. It is brilliant to have such support from the community.


    We had a very well attended coffee morning for families of students who access support through our ASD provision this week, with a visiting expert to answer questions and signpost further resources. Our final coffee and chat of the term is on Wednesday 3rd April at 2pm. Please do let us know if you plan to attend so that we can have enough refreshments.


    At the end of next week I shall be on the inaugural trip to Beijing, China.  I will wish you a restful holiday now, and look forward to seeing all the student back with us on Tuesday 23rd April, ready for our final term of the year. Lots to look forward to!


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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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