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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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  • Samba!

    Published 02/07/21, by Chris Woolf

    This week Year 7 had a brilliant activity evening on Thursday, and Year 9 were able to get back to their enrichment programme. It is great to get the buzz of Head’s Challenge to all year groups.

    Year 9 were working in their houses; Ali House were on the field doing Samba! The drums came out and the dance moves began with an amazing drumming / capoeira workshop. Competitive rounders was in full swing with Bannister House and our year-wide art project inspired some amazing images from Malala House. The students rotate each week so that every house will get their opportunity to try something new. It’s brilliant to see them out of the classroom and displaying the Pinner High School Values. The Values were certainly exhibited by Year 7 too who had an evening of games, activities, tent building and pizza. Huge thanks to all the colleagues involved in making all these events happen.

    The Year 8s who chose Philosophy Religion and Ethics (PRE) as a GCSE option for next year took part in an inter-faith conference this week. This was run virtually via zoom by Northwood College for Girls and gave students the opportunity to hear from and speak to members of world religions as well as hearing from a Humanist speaker for a non-religious viewpoint. They engaged in the debate really effectively.

    There is plenty more to come before the end of term, with each year group having a sports afternoon, and Year 10 having their team building activities now that they have successfully finished their examinations. We had a Duke of Edinburgh expedition last weekend and Year 12 even had their initial induction to Sixth Form life last week too. Well done everyone!

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  • Walk to school!

    Published 25/06/21, by Chris Woolf

    We are so proud of the diligence and commitment shown by our Year 7 and 8 students on the Mandarin Excellence Programme as they participate in a series of national Chinese exams. Only 76 schools across the country take part in this prestigious programme, and we are so impressed at the levels our students are reaching. We wish them all the best of luck as they show off what they have learned.  These tests present a fantastic opportunity for our students to familiarise themselves with the format and experience of taking GCSE in a lower stakes setting 3-4 years early!

    A few green fingered Year 10s volunteered to help improve the environmental quality of the school this week. Under the guidance of their teachers they learnt how to plant new flowers, construct a new flower bed and even clean up the school pond.  Mr. Smith commented that “The teamwork and positive attitude of the students was magnificent and the transformation in such a short time was nothing short of remarkable.“

    Next week is 'Walk to school week'. Please encourage your child to walk to school.  If they would usually travel by car, please encourage them to be dropped further from school to reduce congestion and pollution around the school.

    ‘Solutions not Sides’ came into school yesterday and hosted a workshop with some Year 9 students on the Israel/Palestine conflict. They hosted a Zoom call where students could speak to and ask questions of both Israeli and Palestinian people. The programme that they offer gives a critical approach to education on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, aiming to tackle Antisemitism, Islamophobia and polarisation around the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the UK. The programme has been formulated with the input of both Israelis and Palestinians as well as senior members of Jewish and Muslim communities, and is designed to prepare students to make a positive, solutions-focused contribution to debates on Israel-Palestine. More info is on their website:

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  • Stand Up

    Published 18/06/21, by Chris Woolf


    Another very positive week at Pinner High School, with highlights including Mandarin Excellence, refugee week activities, anti-discrimination workshops and a Careers Talk series.

    We are so proud of the diligence and commitment shown by our Year 7 and 8 students on the Mandarin Excellence Programme as they participate in a series of national Chinese exams. We wish our students all the best of luck as they show off what they have learned.  These tests present a fantastic opportunity for our students to familiarise themselves with the format and experience of taking GCSE, in a lower stakes setting. Last year, the hurdle tests were cancelled due to distance learning in the summer term, so this is the first time that our students have been able to benefit from this valuable experience. We are so proud of all that the students are achieving, and look forward to celebrating with them! 

    National Refugee Week activities focused on learning about isolation, highlighting inclusion and making connections on the theme of ‘we cannot walk alone’. It leads in really well to Diversity week, the theme of assemblies next week. The anti-discrimination charity ‘Stand Up’ have been at Pinner High in the last few days leading anti-discrimination workshops with all of Year 9 in their Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) classes. Their website is if you would like to find out more.

    During the last two weeks our Founding Head of Sixth Form, Mr Stump, has hosted four online Careers Q&A sessions with inspirational women working within STEM:  Dr Hannah Thompson shared her experiences of working in cancer research; Noemi Gyori gave us a taste of what its like to study for a doctorate in Computer Science; Lucy Eckersley – from the Royal Veterinary College – inspires us with how passion for animals helped her overcome social anxiety. Last but not least, Dr Ruth Faram proved that you don’t always have to get things right first time to achieve your goals.  Dr Faram failed her A Levels first time around, but her perseverance and passion for science saw her graduate from UCL before undertaking a doctorate at Oxford. Dr Faram is now the Head of Research and Development at 'Higher Steaks' and is a trailblazer in the world of laboratory-cultivated meat products. The talks were live but we will share the recordings in due course. If you or someone you know would be interested in speaking to our fabulous students, please complete the form here: Thank you in advance.

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  • A great week!

    Published 11/06/21, by Chris Woolf

    This has been the most ‘Pinner High School’ week in a long time. Team building activities, academic enrichment, Head’s Challenge events, student led initiatives and sports clubs all featured for our students, and was brilliant to see them embracing the opportunities available to them. And more new spaces open in Computer Science!

    Years 7, 8 and 9 were all out on the field for a full day each of team building activities led by ‘Wise Up’. They provide a range of different tasks that required diverse skills, and the students rose to the challenge together really successfully. One student summed their day up as ‘really tough and mind bendy, but really great!’

    I am very grateful to Bridget from the ‘Meat Like it Used to Be’ butcher in Pinner for coming to school to demonstrate how to properly joint a chicken, and donating one to each student in the Year 9 Food Technology class so they could do it themselves. This was extremely generous, and I am very grateful for her time and effort- and the chickens! Students were utterly absorbed in the process and made real progress. Thanks to Mrs Stephenson for organising it all.

    Colleagues in the English department are running a Poetry competition for Year 7 and Year 8. More details are here: Foyle Young Poets – of the Year Award The poem can be any length and any theme. The deadline is Thursday 29th July and the students can submit their poems via dedicated Google Classrooms. The winner will be announced in October! The Google Classroom codes are here: Year 7 code: lzdycd7 Year 8 code: f2zugkb

    In the last week I was pleased to be approached by two student groups hoping to launch new initiatives, Year 10 led Wellbeing Wednesdays looking at different ways of offering support for each other, and Year 9 students looking to start an Aspiring Activists group. I watch both with interest, and am grateful to my colleagues providing the support to help this happen.

    The same colleagues are able to provide 19 sports activities every week, running outside the Head’s Challenge activities which started coming back last half term, and gradually continue to do so over the next few weeks. It was brilliant to have our Silver Duke of Edinburgh participants training this week before their forthcoming adventurous journey, and plans coming together for an onsite Year 7 camp.

    And in the background, 1505 Teacher assessed GCSE grades being moderated and processed, and the Year 11 Leavers Celebration assembly on Monday. It could be a lump in the throat moment after 5 Trailblazing years!

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  • Ofsted-versary

    Published 13/05/21, by Chris Woolf

    It is our Ofsted-versary this week! 2 years ago we were judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in all categories. This was certainly a cause for celebration at the time, telling us that we were on the right track; just 7% of schools inspected in the first term of that year received that judgement. Since then we became the most oversubscribed school in the area, received our Investor in People Gold award and been shortlisted for the TES Secondary school of the year award. There is plenty more we are still working on, and we have exciting plans to continue the development of our school. The support of our community ever since we opened has been crucial to our success. Thank you.

    This week Year 11 assessments continue to dominate, and I am pleased to be able to talk to all the Year 11 families who are able to join another Zoom call on Monday evening to ensure they are as well informed as possible about GCSE grades this year. I am delighted that sports activities are back in full swing, with different sessions running every day, and 21 activities available through the week. Participation is high and growing. Please do look out for the schedule in the end of the week email. I am looking forward to bringing back more activities over the coming weeks. Years 7-9 have team building activities coming up, as we all get back to something a bit more like normal!

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  • 'Shake it off' 2021

    Published 07/05/21, by Chris Woolf

    ‘Shake it Off’, our annual Shakespeare festival took place this week. Last year this took place virtually, so I am delighted we have been able to be celebrate this together this year. The theme was ‘Women in Shakespeare’ and as an English teacher it has been lovely to see the school covered in quotations from Shakespeare’s plays. Such activities bring life back to the school. Managing this in a Covid safe way, with the additional pressure of Year 11 assessments, is not straightforward and something I am particularly grateful for. My thanks to all colleagues involved.

    We are gradually bringing assemblies back as well. Since the start of term Years 10 and 11 have had presentations from our Safer Schools Officer on issues raised nationally on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website. This is such an important topic in all schools, and we will share a school wide proactive approach to this in the weeks ahead.

    In lessons this week Year 8 have impressed in Spanish lessons by preparing scripts and rehearsing waiters taking orders from customers in a restaurant. I am sure we are all looking forward to more of this happening outside school as restrictions are lifted!

    We were pleased to play our first sporting fixture in over a year last week- a 14 run victory for the Year 11 boys cricket team against Avanti House. When the school first opened in 2016 we shared our site with Avanti whilst their permanent home was built, so these students know each other well. It is always a close game between our schools, and since Year 7 the four matches between the teams had been evenly split 2-2. With just 3 weeks left until Year 11 complete their studies they were particularly pleased to edge ahead in this fixture!

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  • Welcome Back!

    Published 23/04/21, by Chris Woolf

    It has been fabulous to have students back with us this week. With the good weather all year groups have been able to use our school field and enjoy spending time together again. Year 7 Head’s Challenge activities started this week, and it was great to see the range of opportunities straight away, from coding club to golf club and everything in between. Year 10 and 11 have extensive intervention programmes too, and they are responding really well to this.

    Students have settled really well into their stunning new spaces following the completion of the latest phase of refurbishment. We moved into over 30 new spaces during the holidays and they really are looking excellent. I am particularly pleased to be based back in my office again! The refurbishment programme has a total price tag in excess of £17 million, and should finally be completed on schedule during the summer, ready for September. My particular thanks to colleagues who have worked tirelessly over the holiday to ensure everything was ready for the start of term.

    Today I shared with Year 11 our plans for them over the next few weeks and months leading up to their GCSE results in August. I enjoyed sharing photos of our first assembly together from 6th September 2016, the day we opened for the first time. At Pinner High we spend a great deal of time looking forwards, but as Year 11 look towards the next phase of their education it provides an opportunity to look back and celebrate all that is involved in being a Pinner High School Trailblazer. With dates shared for their Leavers Assembly and Prom, the first final pieces of the school’s development start to come together. It is going to be an emotional moment!

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  • 中 国 新 年

    Published 11/02/21, by Chris Woolf

    Firstly, I’d like to congratulate all our students for their dedication and resilience over the last half term. They have logged on to well over 100 live lessons each, and their teachers report extremely impressive outcomes. We celebrate with the students who achieve the most stars of the lesson each week, and are very pleased to do so. This week over 90 students in Years 9 and 10 took part in the UKMY Intermediate Maths Challenge. Students achieve great success with this every year, and I am delighted that this year will not be the exception. Congratulations to our team of Year 8 girls who have progressed to the semi-finals of the Cyber First competition this week. Great news!

    This week marks the Chinese New Year celebrations, and students in Years 7 and 8 had a morning to celebrate this important festival. We shared the activities with our local primary schools, Cannon Lane and West Lodge, who our Mandarin teachers collaborate with every week. You may recall the Mandarin team were awarded the Certificate of Excellence for Innovative Partnerships for this collaboration in the Pearson Teaching Awards last summer.

    There will be more activities to enhance Distance Learning after half term, supporting World Book Day and other events, as we look forward to having more students in our classrooms as soon as we safely can.

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  • Star of the week

    Published 08/01/21, by Chris Woolf

    A whirlwind of a week, in which I must start by congratulating students and staff for the flexibility, resilience and dedication to which they have approached their first week of live Distance Learning. These are all Pinner High School Values, of course. It is a huge undertaking at home and at school, and my immense thanks to everyone involved in the project. I know we still have adjustments to make, but the exceptionally high levels of attendance in lessons and the engagement with these sessions is a testament to the students and the skills of my colleagues. I know I am biased, but the whole community deserves a ‘star of the lesson’ award for the week. We know we can improve the experience further, so parents have been sent a survey today. I would be very grateful if you could complete this by the end of Tuesday so we can make any changes to support everyone involved.

    Our on-site provision has been busy all week, and my particular thanks to colleagues still coming to school to support our students. Our testing centre is now up and running and available to colleagues who are supervising the on-site provision. It links to NHS test and trace, so we hope this will make a contribution to keeping the whole community safer. We will start offering tests to our on-site students on Monday. We will take guidance from the Department for Education about offering this more widely when schools are able to welcome more students back through the doors.

    Some good news in the image that accompanies this blog, in that one of our students has been featured in The Economist Educational Foundation magazine. Many congratulations. More than ever we continue to celebrate success in these challenging times, and this is a particularly impressive achievement.

    I hope everyone is staying safe and well. If you need any assistance, please reach out to us. Being part of the Pinner High School community means there are a fantastic group people ready to help you in any way we can.

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  • Happy holidays

    Published 11/12/20, by Chris Woolf

    Our end of term audio concert is available on Google Classroom today; a mix of the old and the new with a radio style concert distributed on a twenty first century learning platform. I hope you enjoy it. Despite the restrictions of recording all performances in a covid secure manner, students have done a great job. Congratulations to all the staff and students involved.

    Further congratulations to our Year 8 and Year 10 writers, who recently entered the ‘Young Writers’ SOS Sagas: Trapped’ competition. A mighty 87 of them were winners, and will be published in the next anthology in the new year. Further success in our Burnet News Club, run by The Economist Magazine, with one student winning the competition for ‘obsolete jobs’ with an entry about the role of coachman in the twenty first century. Judges were impressed with the creativity and research involved.

    Festive jumper today is a very colourful end to the term, as you can see from the staff modelling their festive jumpers in the image! The photo features our school Christmas card too, designed by a member of Year 7. Our Christmas lunch, also pictured,  was very festive and very tasty! Many thanks to ISS our caterers, who managed to serve across 5 serveries, with high numbers of students and staff joining in. They do this every day and have adapted very successfully to our new way of working. Many thanks to them all.

    I wish you all a peaceful and restful holiday. Thank you for all your support this term. It has certainly had its challenges, but Pinner High School is such a positive community, and we look forward to the new year and the new term with optimism and excitement.

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  • Celebrations

    Published 04/12/20, by Chris Woolf

    Year group celebrations have started for students who have made particularly good progress this term. It has been lovely to draw a challenging term to a close by congratulating students who consistently try their best, approach their studies positively, and set a strong example to their peers. These celebrations continue next week.

    Next week we have our Christmas lunch on Wednesday- please make sure your child’s parent pay account is topped up for the occasion. Festive jumper day takes place on Friday 11th December, our last day of term. Years 7, 10, 11 finish at 12.00 and Years 8 and 9 finish at 12.25pm.

    The photos today are of the Masterchef creations in Year 8 Food Technology and weather stations in Geography. They are very creative, which is, of course, one of our Pinner High School Values.

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  • Mathmagician!

    Published 27/11/20, by Chris Woolf

    An eclectic round up in the blog this week, involving Maths, the Burnet News Club and the Royal Geographical Society.

    Year 9 have been working on complex questions involving volumes and surface areas of 3D Shapes. When I visited the class, one student did a perfect explanation for me of how to tackle this particularly demanding question in the image above. The question is beyond the expectations of GCSE, so for students to approach this, and be able to explain it so eloquently in Year 9 is staggeringly impressive!

    Also very impressive, the Burnet News Club is run by The Economist magazine Educational Foundation, which we take part in with some of our more able students. One of them won their most recent competition. Congratulations!

    And finally, the Geography department are delighted to report they have become full members of the Royal Geographical Society.  A Year 7 parent has very kindly sponsored the membership which gives the school access to a host of additional resources . The Royal Geographical Society lectures, teaching resources and up to date key cases are all now available to the school. Head of Geography Mr Smith believes, ‘This is a great extra resource and next year when the school rolls out its first A level courses, the membership will be invaluable.  The knowledge and expertise linked with the new technology will help the department to be at the cutting edge of teaching Geography’. We are very grateful for such generous support.

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