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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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  • 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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  • Season's Greetings

    Published 07/12/18, by Chris Woolf

    The Christmas Concert last night was a lovely evening of music and drama from some very talented students. The event showcased the way students throw themselves into school life: the Christmas tree was covered with decorations hand made by the art club (as shown in the picture) refreshments were served by students raising funds for their World Challenge trip to Costa Rica, and the programme cover was the winning design from the Year 7 school Christmas Card challenge. Such is the depth of artistic talent at the school, that the New Schools Network approached us to see if anyone was able to design their Christmas card, with a student from Year 7 winning this competition as well and having their design selected to represent the New Schools Network. Today, we had representatives at our local Primary Schools Cluster Carol Service, contributing a reading and a musical item as well. My thanks to all the colleagues involved in supporting these projects and events.


    More sporting success to report; back to back victories for the boys rugby team, who are now in the quarter finals in their first ever competition. The boys basketball team had games against Rooks Heath and Nower Hill, falling short against the former, and celebrating victory against the latter.


    Term ends next Friday, with our Christmas Jumper Day, in support of Save the Children. I look forward to sharing some photos!

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  • Double Progress

    Published 30/11/18, by Chris Woolf


    The ‘Riot Act’ were our visitors earlier this week, with a road safety presentation for Year 7. They have brought us their theatre performance before, and blended really important safety messages into a thought provoking and enjoyable session.


    The first Deep Learning Day for all year groups took place this week, with Year 7 immersed in E-safety, Year 8 exploring their futures with an emphasis on GCSE options, and Year 9 looking at the values of Diversity and Tolerance in the wider community. Year 7 took part in sessions on their digital footprint, sexting and cyber bullying, supported by PC Peacock, our schools liaison officer. Amongst their other activities, Year 8 had visits from older students at Whitmore High School, to whom I am very grateful for their support, discussing their academic pathways from a Sixth Form perspective. Year 9 had the immense privilege of hearing Holocaust survivor Lady Zahava Kohn talk so movingly about her experiences. Feedback from the day has been extremely positive; my thanks to students for engaging with such challenging material so successfully, and my colleagues for their time and efforts planning such ambitious projects and delivering them so effectively.


    Our choir was on the stage on the High Street at Pinner Panto last night, which was a brilliant event. They sang a range of festive songs to an enthusiastic audience. My thanks again to all involved in another great contribution to the community outside our gates.


    I am conscious that with some much going on outside the classroom I sometimes don’t refer to classroom practice within this blog, but some positive external data this week reminds me to talk about our core business: academic progress. Each student at the school takes a ‘Reading Age’ test on entry to the school, to help us tailor our support for their academic needs. By taking this test at the start and end of the year it enables us to see how students’ reading ages advances with their chronological age. It is externally set, assessed and processed. The result that each student makes almost two months progress for every month they are at the school provides a resounding endorsement of the all round academic progress they are making at Pinner High School. Good news to end the week!


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  • Champions!

    Published 23/11/18, by Chris Woolf


    I am delighted to report that the Year 7 boys football team were victorious in the borough football tournament last week, holding their nerve to win the final on penalties. They will take their place on our ‘Wall of Fame’ alongside the students now in Year 9 who won the same tournament two years ago. Where has the time gone? More sports success with the gymnastics team, in their first ever school competition, who came in third, and the boys badminton team who narrowly lost the final to John Lyon School. The Year 8 and 9 girls football team were in action yesterday as well. Congratulations to all who represented our school with such pride.


    Students are preparing for their third successive performance at Pinner Panto, which takes place next Thursday on Pinner High Street. Do look out for us on the Andrew Pearce stage, just after 6pm. It is a great community event, so I hope to see you there. Record numbers have signed up to audition for ‘Hairspray’ our musical this year. It is exciting to see the Arts thriving in such a short time.


    Many thanks to the Year 7 parents who attended our first formal parents evening of the year this week. Parental involvement at the school is extremely strong, and it was brilliant to see so many families here on Wednesday. Students in all year groups now have data available to families on the Sims parent app. If you need any assistance logging in, please do contact the school office.


    We have recently been developing our website to help parents stay informed and look at ways they can keep children safe when they are out of school. Here is a link to that section of the website, which is well worth a read. You may have seen me outside school talking to PC Peacock, our new schools liaison officer. He has already led assemblies to raise awareness around personal safety in the wider community, and we are grateful for his support. We are exploring a Junior Police Cadets programme at Pinner High, of which we hope to share more details soon.


    The photo this week is of Year 7 food technology show stopping cheesecake!


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  • First XV

    Published 09/11/18, by David Groves

    Victory in our first rugby fixture, Remembrance Day commemorations, and ‘Hairspray’ auditions: a normal week at Pinner High School!


    Our First 1st XV rugby team made a successful debut this week, running out winners 8 tries to 4. Coaches from Pinner Rugby Club have been working with our students as part of the Head’s Challenge Club programme, and I am delighted so many are taking part in rugby and enjoying such success. The next round of the competition will be even tougher!


    Following the recent student and staff visit to the First World War battlefields as part of the national commemoration of the centenary of the end to hostilities, poppies and other British Legion products have been on sale all week. We will be laying wreaths at the services on Sunday in Eastcote and Pinner, and I’d like to thank all the students and colleagues involved in this important activity.


    Black History Month came to a conclusion in assembly this week, celebrated through the theme of music. Student led assemblies that celebrate our community are amongst my favourite, and this was certainly one of those. An annual student favourite is our musical production, which is ‘Hairspray’. Auditions are next week!


    Students are today engaged in leadership activities to help select the next group of House Captains and Student Government. These posts are always hotly contested, with speeches to the students respective year groups to follow in the final part of the selection task.


    On the theme of selection, recruitment for September’s teaching posts are on the website now. We are lucky to know already the posts we will need for our growing school, so if you know anyone who may be interested in joining our first class team, please do pass this on to them. We are looking for a Head of Year, Head of Geography, Head of MFL as well as teachers of English, Maths and Science. We achieved the Investors in People Health and Wellbeing Award at the end of our first year, and in our end of year staff surveys this summer 100% of colleagues said they were proud or very proud to work at Pinner High School. I’d love to hear from people who can make us even better.

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  • Record Numbers

    Published 02/11/18, by Chris Woolf

    Our Artsmark Silver Award certificate arrived this week, alongside a clean sweep in our football round up: Year 7 boys defeated Hatch End 7-2, Year 8 boys beat Harrow High by the same score, and the Year 9 boys scored a last minute winner to come out 5-4 ahead at Whitmore. Well played all! Girls and boys badminton teams play their first matches next week, alongside the boys rugby team. This is our first rugby fixture, and we are delighted to be playing William Perkins School.


    I enjoyed our first meeting this week with Bowmer and Kirkland, who will be completing the final phase of our refurbishment over the coming year. We will be developing designs over the coming months for the refurbishment of the site; students, staff and parents have already had a chance to express their views and share their priorities. If anyone would like to add to this, please do contact the school.


    UK Parliament Week takes place 12th-16th November. Our Parliamentary Ambassadors are busy coordinating activities and assemblies, with lunch time seminars planned too. Our Black History Month assemblies take place just before this, building on the success of the Black History House Event before half term.


    Applications closed this week for applications to join us in September 2019; a record 959 families expressed a preference for us. We are thrilled to have such a show of support from the community, and continue to find ways to live up to this in the months ahead.


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  • Governors Guest blog

    Published 19/10/18, by Chris Woolf

    I am delighted that our Chair of Governors, Dr. Ahmed, is the guest writer of the blog this week. News of our recent sporting success will have to wait until after half term!


    "I am delighted to share with you what the Governing Body have been doing so far this year. I am excited to have the privilege of being elected as chair for another year and Nav Kullar as my deputy.


    The Governing Body is responsible for the strategic direction of the school, and for providing challenge to Mr. Woolf and his senior team. The Governors have been involved with the school since before it opened, and we have added parents and staff to our number over the last two years. This year we have evolved a new committee structure to ensure our support and challenge for the school is even more effective. We have an Achievement and Standards committee and a Finance and Risk Committee, alongside the Full Governing Body. Mr. Woolf and his team provide us with detailed reports on all aspects of school life, and we cross reference these with the numerous inspection reports we receive, as well as our own findings. Scrutiny of these reports take time, but we have a skilled team of Governors who have a range of skills that ensure we can interpret them accurately. We also visit the school to meet with our school links, observe learning walks, sit on interview panels, review data and policies, take part in internal and external inspections and I run student voice. This enables me to hear directly from the students. I feel we have an excellent working relationship with the school and at the foundation of all we do is: how does what we do impact student outcomes. Our Governors reflect the culture, vision and ethos of the school and we are always looking for ways to improve. We have been accepted onto the Department of Education ‘Governor Space’ programme to enhance our own training and evaluation to ensure we can keep the school at the ‘leading edge’, as our inspection report says.


    I am sure you will agree that the school is in excellent health. We are delighted to have reached almost 500 students and we know the school is becoming a destination of choice for teachers. Our recent Open Evening was a great success!


    Whilst we are delighted with all of this, and the most recent report from the Department for Education, there is no sense of complacency in the Governing Body about the task ahead. Our opening years have certainly lived up to all we had hoped, but our Trailblazing students are now embarking on their GCSEs, our £4.2 million final phase of refurbishment will begin in the spring, and we continue to grow in size every year. We are excited about the challenges this brings, and the future of Pinner High School. I’d like to thank the dedicated staff of the school for all they do to provide opportunities for the students, and the students themselves for bringing life to the Pinner High School Values. Your support for this is crucial too. Governors’ initial vision for an ‘inclusive school for the whole community’ is one we keep central through the exciting phases of our development."


    Dr. Ahmed, Chair of Governors


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  • Round up

    Published 12/10/18, by Chris Woolf

    Students returned this week from the Battlefields of the First World War, taking part in the national commemoration of the centenary of the end of hostilities. Pinner High Students were selected to lay a wreath at Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world. Students represented the school with an impressive range of the Pinner High School Values, and I am grateful to them for doing so well. They will be speaking about their experiences to the rest of the students over the coming weeks.


    The House Event this week was a challenge of a different nature to the design and sports competitions of our first month of term. This time it was an origami competition, inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding. With marks for accurate folding and imaginative design, it was a hotly contested challenge. Year 9 Maths lessons this week had a similar theme, looking at the Maths of lift and flight in the design of aircraft wings; paper airplane flights in the hall were especially successful.


    I have had large numbers of families keen to tour the school, following the success of our open evening last week. It is lovely to have so much interest in the school, and so many families leaving such positive feedback. Given our surging student numbers, applications have just closed for an additional Assistant Headteacher. I received 40 excellent applications for this role, which is an extraordinarily large number given the recruitment issues many schools are experiencing. Although reading each application is a lengthy process, it is a great problem to have!


    Half term finishes on Thursday 18th October, as next Friday is an INSET day and school is closed to students. Thank you for all your support over the first half term of our third year.

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  • Open House

    Published 05/10/18, by Chris Woolf

    A brilliant evening at Pinner High last night, as 1,500 people attended our open evening. It is fabulous to have such interest in the school, and hear such positive feedback about the students and staff. Visitors heard about our inclusive ethos, academic challenge, sporting success and performance opportunity, as well as having the chance to try out new languages and new subjects. Mandarin is always a favourite, and with large numbers choosing it for GCSE it is likely to remain so. Science was particularly busy last night, and we enjoyed showing off our well-equipped laboratories, and our specialist teachers in each of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.


    House Events are always mentioned by students amongst their highlights and this week by contrast to the sports events of last week, it was an art competition. These are always harder to judge, but with our GCSE art students at the National Portrait Gallery today, we are certainly nurturing their talents in this area.


    This weekend 2 students and 1 teacher are taking part in the national commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War with their visit to the battlefields of Belgium. They will return and share their experiences with the school community- stay tuned.


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  • Football success and Fake News?

    Published 28/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    What do a visit to HOAC, a victorious football match, fake news and a laser cutter all have in common? The answer is easy: they have all featured in our week at Pinner High School.


    The whole of Year 7 were at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre on Thursday, enjoying a range of team building activities. They climbed the high ropes, or built rafts, or memorised poetry or walked planks of wood in a team race. All had a great time, all came home exhausted. Crucially, they all pushed their personal boundaries, and tighten the bonds of friendship in their new school. HOAC staff were unanimous in their praise for their enthusiasm and conduct. My thanks to all involved.


    The football season began with ten goals on the playing fields at Hatch End for the Year 8 boys. Pinner High scored seven of them, which was most impressive. Other year group matches get underway in the next few weeks.


    Whilst Year 7 were at HOAC, Year 8 spent the day investigating Fake News and the importance of critical decision making. They became expert and spotting fake news, and creating some themselves. They even managed to fool members of staff with the convincing approach they took to the news stories, which was very impressive.


    The photo this week is the first product from our new laser cutter, being put to use in Design Technology lessons. Students are really enjoying using the latest technology in class, which is great to see.


    You’ll be able to see all this and much more at our open event on Thursday, starting at 5.30pm. I look forward to sharing all that it means to experience a Pinner High School education.


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  • Silver!

    Published 21/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    News of positive inspection feedback and two silver awards this week; the Silver Artsmark from the Arts Council, and the Silver STARS Award from Transport for London


    The Artsmark is a prestigious award that recognises the opportunities and participation in arts related activities at the school. To reach Silver at our first assessment shows the immense commitment of students and staff to our arts programmes. Students have performed at the Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner Panto, Watford Colosseum, in our own PinnFest and musical productions in the last two years, and have a range of opportunities in lessons too. My thanks to colleagues and governors involved in the assessment process. The Silver STARS award recognises the contribution of our Travel Ambassadors and the community in making travel to and from the school as sustainable as possible.


    We had our scheduled Department for Education inspection this week, which was a very positive process. Feedback was extremely pleasing, and confirmed all the positive judgements that have been made about the school since we opened.


    Our student numbers have surged this year, so that we are full in Year 7, and very nearly full in Year 9. I have enjoyed visiting primary schools this week to talk to the current Year 6 about secondary schools. Audiences at Cannon Lane and West Lodge were both very interested, and I look forward to seeing them and other members of the community on 4th October at our Open evening. It is likely to be a very busy evening, so I'd be grateful if you can travel by public transport to minimise the impact on our neighbours. We're going for the Gold STARS Travel Award next year!


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  • Inspiring Learning

    Published 14/09/18, by Chris Woolf

    It is our first full week back, and already the students are in the thick of their lessons. I’ve visited lots of classrooms during the week, and have been very impressed with the quality of learning. As a new school, welcoming a large group of new colleagues and ensuring ‘Inspiring Learning’ is still a part of our every day practice is a key priority for me, and I am delighted about the rich learning opportunities and the way students are engaging with them. Our Year 9s, starting their first GCSE courses, are doing especially well.


    Sports have already been identified by our new students as a highlight, and they have a full range of sports to choose from in the Head’s Challenge as well as PE. Every week students are engaged in gymnastics, cricket, football, hockey, cross country, tennis and rugby clubs. The RFU have been particularly generous with support of our rugby coaches from Pinner Rugby Club, and we have our first rugby fixture coming up in October in the West London Cup. Another first, for our third year!


    Instrumental music lessons are also well underway, and almost double the national average number of students are learning a range of instruments. We are offering a weekly orchestra for the first time, and are excited to see where this will lead.


    The first House Event of the year was tug of war, with some keenly contested matches. There was a different winner of each of the three year groups, leaving the House Cup evenly poised.


    Plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead: Year 7 go to Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre on 27th September, when students in Years 8 and 9 have a Deep Learning Day. I look forward to seeing lots of parents at our Welcome Events, for Year 7 on 18th September at 6pm, and for Years 8 and 9 on 25th September. Our website calendar has these dates and times, and lots of other events to keep you involved in all aspects of a Pinner High School education:,3,4,5,7,8,9&pid=9&viewid=2


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