This has to be one of the most emotional newsletters that I’ve ever written. The end of term is always very emotional; saying goodbye to Year 6 and any staff who are moving on to pastures new but I’ve never had to write a newsletter to say goodbye from myself too!
First of all, I’d like to thank Mrs Critchlow who has stepped in to cover my absence over the last few weeks. She had done a sterling job and has further proven that her new school are very lucky to have her at the helm. Mrs Critchlow has been a fantastic Deputy Headteacher and I have been very fortunate to have her at my side. The last few weeks of term are always incredibly busy anyway, but she has taken it all in her stride – including a heatwave which has disrupted the operations of the school. This newsletter is extra special as Mrs Critchlow will also be writing a section on all the amazing things that have happened at school in the last few weeks, as well as saying goodbye too.
On Thursday morning, we had the most beautiful assembly to say goodbye to the staff. It was incredibly emotional and something that we will all treasure. Working up through the school, we said goodbye to Mrs Bhatti, who is leaving Wooden Hill to work in a day nursery; Mrs Harris who going to work full time in another local school; Mrs Saunders who is going to lead a Nursery provision in a school closer to her home; Miss Bannister who is continuing her career in another Bracknell Forest School; Mrs Cereda who is going to work in a school closer to home: Miss Bolton was going to work within CAMHS however, she has now taken a teaching position within the private sector and then of course there is Mrs Critchlow, who is taking up her first headship from September. I am sure you all join me in thanking them for their hard work and commitment to Wooden Hill School but to also wish them all the very best in their new roles. Huge thanks to the team of staff who made the assembly so special this morning.
My final thanks goes to you, the parents and the community. It has been such a pleasure and a real honour to be the Headteacher of Wooden Hill School for the last 7 years. As the school returns to normal, following many months of disruption due to COVID it is an opportune time for Mr Garner to take the reins and take the school on the next stage of its journey.
Some of the key highlights, since being in post have been:
November 2015 – getting a GOOD from OFSTED – the first good in 11 years!
Re-decoration inside the school. Some of you may remember the ghastly dark orange pine wood ceilings, dark woodwork, peeling blue paint and red brick hall!
May 2019 – getting GOOD again from OFSTED. Mrs Critchlow and I will never forget getting the call for this one – it was day 1 of the Y6 SATs and we were packing up the first set of papers when the office said there was a call that I might want to take…
The wonderful staff team – each and every member of staff is truly fantastic and a credit to the school. Many of the experienced teachers were Newly Qualified Teachers at Wooden Hill School.
The outcomes for pupils at the end of KS2 improving year on year. Despite months of disruption due to the pandemic, this year the KS2 results are well above national and Bracknell for Reading, Maths and GPS. A credit to all of the staff who have ensured that the children have the best teaching, the best curriculum and the best opportunities, even during school closures.
The growth and development of our fabulous Nursery setting. We were ‘cutting edge’ by offering 30 hours and flexible sessions, long before the 30-hour funding came in!
Of course there is also the developments and building work inside the school – starting with the repurposing of the music studio into a wonderful classroom, but then in the summer 2020, the remodelling of the KS1 classes, a KS2 class and library and intervention area into wonderful purpose build classrooms.
I also remember fondly the fantastic fundraising day that we had a few years ago – where we raised enough money to purchase the much-loved climbing frame.
What I remember and treasure most, are watching your wonderful children grow and develop year after year. I remember some of the current Y6 on their first day in Reception, crying and clutching onto teddies and other comforters. Now they are mature, confident individuals, more than ready to move on to the next stage of their education. There are far too many wonderful memories to list them all here.
It's never without challenges though – we’ve had snow closures, burst water mains, storms and tree damage, heatwaves and red heat alerts and of course, not forgetting a global pandemic!
All of these challenges were tackled with ease and all of the amazing things have happened because of you; the school community. It is the dedication of the staff team and the support of you that Wooden Hill has grown from strength to strength, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so.
So once again, thank you. Thank you for your support, kind words and making Wooden Hill such a special place.
Dear Parents and Carers,
It has indeed been a whirlwind of a last few weeks with so much happening across the school. We have had visitors and trips, picnics and parties! The absolute highlight of this was the Year 6 production of ‘Aladdin Trouble’. I have had the pleasure of watching many productions in my sixteen years at Wooden Hill and it is no exaggeration to say that this really was the best that I have ever seen. The audience were wowed by the quality of the singing and the impressive delivery of the lines. There were even some duets and solos which raised the roof! After a disrupted few years of their education, this group of Year 6 children did themselves and Wooden Hill proud. We will be sad to see them all go but are certain that having demonstrated such resilience and determination over the past few years that they will succeed in whatever they do.
I would like to reiterate what Mrs Lagares has said about our wonderful school. I have been involved with Wooden Hill for much of my life; I attended as a child, my children both came here and I have been working here for many, many years. Leaving the wonderful Wooden Hill community is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I am certain that the school will continue to grow from strength to strength supported by you as a fantastic group of parents and carers. Your children are amazing and I will miss you, them and our committed staff team very much!
What a final half term it has been in Nursery! To name just some of the events, we have celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee, enjoyed French picnics and shown off our work in an exhibition.
The theme of the half term has been ‘Water’ and the children have listened to lots of stories including ‘The Snail and the Whale’, ‘The Rainbow Fish’ and ‘Commotion in the Ocean’. As well as this they’ve learnt about lots of different sea creatures and created under the water themed art work.
Our newest starters joined us after the Easter holidays and along with the children that joined in January it has been an absolute pleasure to welcome them to Nursery. The older children have been wonderful helpers and the younger children are now settled and used to Nursery routines. We can’t wait to see them continue to learn and grow during the next academic year.
We will be saying goodbye to our older children this week as they take the next step in their school journey and join their Reception classes. All of the children have come so far and we are so proud of them. They have been so enthusiastic with their phonics and maths learning and are now ready to develop their skills in their new classes with their new teachers. Whether they are going to Reception at Wooden Hill or are joining a new school, we wish them the very best!
We have had a very busy and exciting half term in Reception. We started with a party to celebrate the queens jubilee. We all made crowns and decorations and had a lovely tea party in the playground with the rest of the school. We also focused on the book ‘the Queens Knickers’ in Literacy and had lots of fun designing our own Knickers for her majesty.
Another book we have read this term is ‘If Sharks Disappeared’, a non- fiction book all about ocean wildlife. We loved finding out information for and writing a class fact file all about sharks.
During Geography week we found out lots of information about Kenya. We read ‘Handa’s surprise’ a book based in Kenya, and made fruit salad using some of the fruits Handa took to her friend Akayo. We also made baskets of fruit on the art table. We listened to music from Kenya and other African countries and looked at where it is on our globe. Miss Leigh Hunt also brought in some fascinating artifacts from Kenya to show us.
We read ‘The Magic Balloon and made our own hot air balloons and talked and wrote about going on holidays. We learned about preparing for a holiday and how to stay safe in the sun.
We have been thinking a lot about the transition to year 1 and visiting our new classes and teachers. We read ‘Ruby’s Worry’ and talked about how to get rid of a worry by talking about it with our friends and teachers. We wrote questions for our new teachers asking things we wanted to know about year 1 and wrote sentences telling them all about us.
In Maths we have been busy consolidating all the skills we learned this year and we have learned about sharing and grouping, doubling, patterns, odd and even and spatial reasoning.
In PE we took part in sports day and despite the rain everyone enjoyed the day. It was lovely to see all our practise and teamwork paying off.
Unfortunately due to the extreme weather we were unable to go to Bockett’s Farm as we had planned but we had a teddy bear’s picnic in the Reception playground and planned a water fight to finish off the year with a fun activity for everyone.
We can't believe that we are nearing the end of Year One! It has been such fantastic year. We have played, explored, learned and achieved!
Year One, we are so proud of you. You are ALL such amazing role models for your peers, and we can't wait to see what you achieve in your time at Wooden Hill School.
This has been your first full year of schooling due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are amazed by your resilience. It has still been a little strange due to Covid-19 and chicken pox, but you have taken it all in your stride and persevered.
We would like to say a big THANK YOU to your adults for showing such kindness to the school staff this year. We feel so appreciated and loved which means the world to us. We are so glad you can see how much we care for your children and that we want the best for them.
The highlight was definitely our trip to Mudeford beach just after half term. Our day was action packed with building sandcastles, paddling in the sea, crabbing, eating ice creams and riding on the ferry. Despite getting caught in a downpour of rain, the children remained in high spirits and had so much fun. We were so proud of the way they behaved and represented our school and we are delighted that so many happy memories were made!
Over the past few weeks we have been blessed with some very warm and sunny weather. This has allowed us to make the most of lots of lovely outdoor learning opportunities. In Maths, we have been able to explore capacity, position and direction out in the playground and in English we have been able to use role play and drama to get into the role of fearsome pirates to support our report writing.
As we approach the end of the year, we would like to thank you for your continued support. It has been another challenging year in many ways, with COVID still making our lives difficult at times, however the children have coped brilliantly and we are so proud of the progress they have made. We hope you have a wonderful, relaxing summer and we wish the children all the best as they move into Year Three.
Year Three have had a busy end to their year! They have made Inca headdresses and created 3D maps of Peru during history/geography week; visited the Living Rainforest, where they experienced the climate and saw a range of plants and animals; and competed for their team during in sports day after practising hard.
In English, they have written traditional tales, based on the Magic Paintbrush by Julia Donaldson, and persuasive adverts to encourage people to buy an environmentally friendly product.
During science lessons, the children have looked at a range of flowers to complete investigations and develop their knowledge and understanding during the plants topic. They have then applied their science knowledge in geography lessons where they have found all about the biodiversity of the rainforest.
During maths lessons, the children have applied their calculation and number knowledge to solve problems relating to mass and capacity. They have had the opportunity to use different types of scales to weigh objects and have used a variety of scales when measuring capacity.
The children have made their teachers very proud with their resilience and hard-work and have had a brilliant end to a busy but amazing year!
Year Four have had a very full year! From learning about the Ancient Greeks in history to volcanoes and earthquakes in geography. From electricity and the human digestive system in science to learning about sound on our trip to Winchester Science Museum. Finding out about the Hindu religion and the importance of prayer and worship, thinking about the importance of developing a growth mindset through our PSHE sessions across the year. The children have developed their writing skills by undertaking a range of writing topics. This has included non-fiction texts such as imagining what it would have been like for Captain Scott and his team in their attempt to reach the South Pole. Fiction texts based on Greek mythology; Theseus and the Minotaur was very popular! Similarly, The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. They have done us proud in how their maths skills have developed, particularly times table knowledge and application!
We have been fortunate to take the children on a number of trips this year. The Winchester Science Museum in the Autumn term, Great Hollands Library and Butser Farm in the Spring term, whilst also having a Roman Day in school thanks to a visitor from Ufton Court. Finally, Year Four took part in South Hill Park’s art festival last week. It can be agreed that we have been very busy this year! And not least, each week, Year Four has gone and read with Year One children on a Monday afternoon. A weekly activity which we are sure will continue next year.
The last few weeks of term have flown by for Year 5. They enjoyed a wonderful trip to South Hill Park where they tried a variety of activities – the drama session was definitely a favourite. We hope you enjoyed the wonderful creations they brought home with them. They also enjoyed watching the Year 6 production of Aladdin, and were very impressed with the singing and acting.
The whole year group has worked extremely hard this year and it has been wonderful to watch them flourish as the year went by. We have seen them become independent writers, confident speakers and good team players. They have learned to listen to one another, think for themselves and show understanding towards each other. We have learn about different periods in history, influential people including artists and scientists and done lots of practical learning. We’ve put together a collection of our favourite moments, involving lots of eating and experimenting! It has been a privilege to work with such a wonderful group of children and we wish all of them a lovely summer break.
It feels crazy to be writing the final entry for our Year 6’s news at Wooden Hill. The last few weeks have been packed with exciting events such as preparation for our Leavers’ assembly, receiving our SATs results, the final few swimming lessons and, of course, the production of ‘Aladdin Trouble’!
We’d like to thank all the parents and carers who came to support us with the performance, it truly made for a special event. The children sang and performed their hearts out and it was magnificent to watch.
There is no denying how hard these children have worked, not just in Year 6 but throughout their journey at Wooden Hill. They are a credit to our school and certainly made all of the Wooden Hill community very proud.
Goodbye for now Year 6 - we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you! Good luck in your new secondary schools. Keep in touch and do come back to see us again soon. We miss you lots already!