Who we are & Head Teacher’s blog
Mr R Lock
Please scroll down for our Head Teacher’s blog to see what has been happening in school.
Class Teacher - Mrs L Burton
Assistant Teacher - Mrs V Stratton-Stubbs
Assistant Teacher - Mrs S Howell
Governors - please visit our Governors page.
Head Teacher's Blog
14th January 2022
Welcome back to the first edition of the Northaw Newsround for 2022! Already at the end of the first week of the Spring term, it has been wonderful to see everybody returning back to school full of enthusiasm and eager to learn. The spring term is always one in which we see great progress in pupils’ learning. We hope that as the case numbers of Omicron, hopefully, subside in the local area, it will have less impact on our attendance so that pupils can be in school and continue their learning.
It has been really exciting to show some of the potential headteacher candidates around the school over the last week. There has been an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about the school and the feel of the school, as candidates have been given tours. It is something that you can’t quite quantify. Perhaps it is the good, focussed behaviour that we see each day in classes. It might be the enthusiasm and positivity of the staff team, who clearly love working at the school. Maybe it the unique and beautiful setting that we are in. The likelihood is that is a combination of all three and much more. The feeling that you get when you walk around a school is indicative of its ethos. Inclusive, caring, nurturing, stimulating, happy, welcoming and full of potential are some of the feelings that have been shared by our visitors. We are very fortunate to be part of a community that many people have worked so hard, over time, to achieve.
Wishing you a very pleasant weekend and I look forward to another productive week ahead on Monday.
17th December 2021
Here we are at the end of the Autumn term! It hardly seems like yesterday that we were welcoming in the new school year and here we are, after fourteen action-packed weeks of learning, at the end of the term and the year. The Autumn term is usually the longest term and with the dark mornings and nights drawing in very early, it can be a particularly tiring one. The great news is that things will be lighter and brighter in the Spring term and the longest night (21st December) will be long behind us.
The children all thoroughly enjoyed their Christmas dinners this week; hardly a drop of gravy was left on the plates, which is always the biggest compliment you can give to a chef! A massive thank you to the amazing Ginnie and her team for creating such a special meal for everybody to enjoy.
Although there has been a lot of things to contend with recently, I am delighted that we are at the end of the term and that everybody is going into the Christmas break safe and well. The current situation presents uncertainty and a lack of clarity for everybody. We will, of course, update you with any changes we will have to make to keep everybody safe, next term. We all are very grateful for the full support you have given in implementing any necessary changes we have had to make this term.
On behalf of Team Northaw, may I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2022. We look forward to seeing you all safe and well in the new year.
10th December 2021
Friday is here and, unbelievably, we are at the end of the penultimate week of term! Whilst the weeks in the run up towards the end of term look different to how we had hoped, the festive spirit is certainly sprinkling its way through the school.
Apples and Pears have been causing havoc this week by setting some buildings on fire! Now, you might be thinking that that is not at all in keeping with our 6Rs, but don’t panic! It was all part of their project on the Great Fire of London and this was under the careful guidance of the local fire brigade who attended school to oversee the event. It certainly showed the children how quickly a fire can spread and was a great way to consolidate their learning on the Great Fire of London.
Despite a number of challenges with COVID recently, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole school community for the efforts made during this time. The Northaw community has pulled together, showing great resilience. Thank you to parents and carers for your understanding and support. The pupils have been very considerate and respectful in following the extended measures that have been put in place. I also thank the staff team, who have had to take on additional duties each day to cover lunch and break supervision within their bubbles.
The Going for Gold part of the newsletter will be coming out on Monday, instead of today. We are also looking forward to our end of term Going for Gold next week and will be preparing this half term’s golden tickets which will be put in the Christmas post.
Have a fantastic week and I look forward to seeing everybody on Monday for the final week of the Autumn term, as we get ready to celebrate Christmas. Don’t forget to wear your Christmas jumpers on Wednesday!
3rd December 2021
It is the end of a long week! As always, there are have been some very positive and enjoyable moments; however, the challenges of COVID 19 has sprung upon us this week and reminded us that an outbreak can happen at anytime and at great pace. This places an enormous amount of additional strain on the whole school community. As we all pull together, this must be a time that we work collaboratively and stay united in our strategies to reduce the risk of infection. The support and understanding with this has been much appreciated.
This week was a challenging one for our staff team; Mrs Whales’ funeral took place on Wednesday. The sadness surrounding the tragic circumstances were inter-twined with the celebration of a great person’s life, who had touched the hearts and souls of so many. It is very difficult to understand and comprehend such sadness. What we will continue to do as a school community is ensure that the legacy left by Mrs Whales continues. We will continue to direct our fund raising, this year, to the Isabel Hospice. Let’s really work hard together to make sure that Northaw fundraises for such a good cause, which will be close to the school community’s heart. Your generous donations in memory of Mrs Whales have, so far, have raised £441.
It is with great disappointment that the week has ended with the cancellation of this year’s Christmas Fayre. My sincere thanks must go to the PTA who have worked so hard in planning this event, for it then to have to be cancelled at short notice. Their resilience and adaptability has been commendable, as they are already considering other ways of making some of the fayre’s highlights possible.
I wish you all a productive weekend as you continue with your Christmas preparations at home. Please do keep safe and well.
26th November 2021
What I am about to say may sound incredible: this is the last newsletter for November! Next week, we will be into December and entering the final three weeks of the Autumn term. The sands of time are passing by so quickly here in the land of Northaw and the excitement, busyness and festive spirit is certainly becoming increasingly noticeable.
This week has seemed to be a whirlwind of activity. I have been very impressed by all of the hard work that is going into the music rehearsals for the Christmas recording. The dance moves are very complicated and I had reached my peak by the end of verse 1; Year 2, on the other hand, seemed to be highly proficient at coordinating their moves in synchronisation to the music, under the watchful eye of Miss Barker. Acorns class were very confident in singing the part of the song they have been learning for their Christmas nativity. It was like stepping into the Royal Albert Hall when I popped in to their classroom on Wednesday morning. It has been a wonderful end to the week with our music assemblies today—a chance for all of our musicians to showcase their talents. This was a real treat and a credit to the hard work of our brilliant music teacher, Han-nah.
I have been very impressed with the resilience and determination shown by pupils in Oak class this week. I enjoyed teaching the class for a short while and asked them to explain a very complex Maths problem. After much consideration and discussion, four pupils came knocking on my door and interrupted some very dull paperwork which I was filling in. Delighted to be distracted from this task for five minutes, Angel, Archie, Jack and Liana explained their answer to the maths problem very clearly. It was very impressive to see such focus and excellent reasoning skills.
See you all on Monday for another great week ahead. Have a wonderful weekend.
19th November 2021
Walking around the school is always so uplifting! The engagement, enthusiasm and excitement is in abundance, with great learning attitudes in every classroom. I particularly enjoyed joining Year 3 for part of a maths lesson this week. The eagerness to participate in the challenging questions being asked was outstanding. The White Rose maths framework, which we are using to support teaching and learning in maths, really ensures that pupils have a solid grasp of all calculation strategies and often presents information in a way that really gets pupils thinking and applying their knowledge. I am so pleased that the days of ‘add a zero’ to explain how to multiply by ten are long gone and that now, in turn, pupils’ understanding of the mechanics of mathematics is much improved.
This week, we have welcomed one of our governors, Dan Worker, to school as part of a headteacher qualification that he is working towards. It was a great opportunity to spend time reflecting on some of the successes and challenges we face as a school, More importantly, it also has been a useful exercise to generate ideas which will feed into a our next school improvement plan. Whilst there are a great number of strengths to build on, the education landscape is ever-changing and it is important that we continue to look forward to ensure we continue to grow and develop. With a staff team very open to reflection and trialling new ideas, Northaw will continue to offer the very best to the pupils.
12th November 2021
I have thought very carefully about how I would start this week’s head’s lines but can only come back to one thing: this week has been incredibly challenging for Northaw School. I don’t think I can dress it up or frame it in other way. The news on Monday was a shock to all of the team, even though they knew it was imminent. This news is sad and shocking to somebody who, like me, did not have the personal affiliation and connection that many members of the staff team had with Mrs Whales . For those who worked with and knew Mrs Whales, Monday morning was an incredibly sad time as staff were coming to terms with the loss of a great friend and colleague who had supported, nurtured and inspired them all.
One the great achievements that Mrs Whales had as head teacher was developing and solid and resilient staff team; a team that care and support each other in a truly unique way. Her legacy in this was so evident from the way the staff got through the day on Monday, and the rest of the week, with professionalism and the determination to put the children’s learning first, whilst supporting each other. Compassion is our school value in focus and I do not believe that this could be epitomised any more clearly than the compassion that has been shown this week by all of the school community.
5th November 2021
How have we got to the end of the first week of this half term already? The clocks have gone back, the mornings are certainly much lighter and the nights are drawing in fast. Bonfire Night always seems to be the marker of the change in weather; the cold, crisp frosty mornings and chilly weather will fast be approaching. However, the bright sunny days we have seen this week have kept us energetic and positive to start this half term.
It has been great, as always, to see so much exciting learning taking place across the school. I particularly enjoyed my regular visit to Oak class to host this week’s desert island discs—each week, we send one member of the class to a desert island and they have to decide on a book, a luxury item, a menu, a memory and a favourite song, which is shared with the class. All of the castaways to the desert island so far have worked really hard on designing their boxes containing these items. It is always a real highlight of the week.
For those of you attending firework events this weekend, have a great time and please re-member to be safe!
We’ve entered in the Fun & Active Playgrounds competition and are in with a chance of winning a playground transformation worth £3000 for the new academic year! We’re crossing our fingers as the Silver Sports Package includes 6 bright and colourful playground markings that encourage physical play and activity. With a Netball Court, Dance With Me, Active Trail, Jump Game, Dartboard and 4-Way Hopscotch – the range of markings can be used to enhance breaktimes and PE lessons!
Find out more here: https://fun-play.co.uk/playground-competition/
Art Exhibition starring Northaw pupils art work
22nd October 2021
Incredibly, we have reached the end of Autumn 1—the first half term; a sixth of the way through the academic year. It has absolutely flown by and has been such an enjoyable seven weeks. I must start by thanking all of the school community for your support and generosity. The beginning of term was a challenging time for Northaw with Mrs Whales retiring, followed by her very sad health news, and then a change of headteacher at very short notice. However, resilience has proven to be a real strength of the school and challenges have become successes. The community of any institution is always determined by how it deals with unprecedented events. On top of the demands and challenges of COVID, I really do feel that we should all be so proud of the direction Northaw has headed during this time. I am very privileged to be a part of this wonderful school and community; something which cannot ever be taken for granted and is the legacy that Mrs Whales had worked so hard to achieve with you all.
This week started with our headteacher interviews. Although an appointment was not made, a very pleasing aspect of this process was the pupil panel that helped to deliver the interview programme. They were extremely professional, perceptive and insightful—such great qualities to have from an interview panel. Congratulations to all of the pupils involved in this and to the rest of the school for making a striking impression with your excellent behaviour.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very enjoyable half term break. I look forward to seeing you all for Autumn 2—the second half of the Autumn term.
15th October 2021
The end of another week is here and what a brilliant week it has been! The week started with great excitement as we once again attended the church and enjoyed a great service with some uplifting songs. We then had our first break time as a whole school community. The pupils were delighted to be able to play outside with their friends from other classes once again and the behaviour was exemplary. It was such a positive and energising way to begin the week. Lunchtimes have also run very smoothly.
I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting classes this week to look at some of the maths learning across the school. It has been both delightful and inspiring to see the positive learning attitudes that pupils have. The staff team work tirelessly to support pupils and it is very evident that relationships between all members of the school community are a great strength of the school. I was particularly impressed by the focus and participation from pupils that I have seen in the lessons visited.
It was very pleasing to hear fantastic feedback about Willow class visit to Wodson Park this week. The organisers of this event went out of their way to speak to Northaw staff to say that the pupils from Northaw stood out for the way they work together and support each other as a team. What brilliant news to receive! Well done to Willow Class. What great ambassadors you have been.
Unbelievably, next week is the final week of this half term. We look forward to seeing you on Monday. Have a restful weekend.
8th October 2021
What a fantastic start to the week it was: all of the school back in church, singing their hearts out and generously bringing items to add to the harvest collection for the food bank. It was a wonderful start to the week. I have really enjoyed showing various people around the school this week. We have had some prospective parents visit and I have also shown around many people interested in the permanent headteacher vacancy. So many of these visitors commented on the positive behaviour of the pupils and what a welcoming environment Northaw has; both are things which I can relate to, as a new member of the team. The school community should be very proud of this. One prospective headteacher commented that there is smile around every corner you turn. This has to be one of the best bits of praise we can receive; a place where everybody is happy and positive.
Next week, we are looking forward to the return of ‘normal’ break and lunchtimes restrictions arrangements, after a recent review of our risk assessment. Since the start of this year, when many were lifted for schools, we have taken a steady and cautious approach to making any changes to our procedures. We will continue to limit mixing inside at this time, with the exception of visiting church as this is a very airy and large space.
Wishing you all a marvellous weekend and see you on Monday.
1st October 2021
October has arrived and another Friday has arrived in the land of Northaw. The school has been a hive of activity over the last week, Pupils are all so well embedded into our school routines and engaged in their learning, which is so pleasing to see.
One of the wonderful things about Northaw is how friendly everybody is: walking down through the school, you are guaranteed to be met by warm greetings and smiles by pupils and staff. It is these small acts of generosity that make Northaw such a great place to be.
A particular highlight for me was being visited by Isabella from Apples and Pears class on Wednesday after-noon. Miss Barker brought Isabella to me with one of our new positive cards which read “I am going to put a big smile on your face”. The class were talking about being thankful and had to draw something they were thankful for. It was an absolute honour that Isabella has chosen me to draw! Not only was this such a thoughtful gesture, the drawing was of top quality too—it was just like looking in the mirror. This was a real cheerful moment in my afternoon and certainly did put a smile on my face. Thank you, Isabella!
We are looking forward to being able to reunite as a whole school community for our first visit to church on Monday morning. We will be walking pupils to and from the church, so please remember that the normal morning routine will apply on Monday. As a reminder, parents will not be able to join us at the moment but we hope this will change for future.
Wishing you all a brilliant weekend.
24th September 2021
The last newsletter for September—next time it will be October. I am sure I won’t be the only one finding that absolutely incredible! Autumn is certainly filling the air and the nights are noticeably drawing in.
We started the week with Reverend Chris visiting to lead collective worship. The focus was on generosity and how God generously created the world. It was very thought provoking to watch a visual representation of how the world was creating, along with a very catchy song about ’God made everything’.
I have really enjoyed looking at some of the RE learning across the school this week. Pupils in Acorns have been thinking very carefully about how to look after living things around them, inspired by their recent learning on St Francis of Assisi. It is wonderful to consider the impact that being generous can have on somebody else.
I very much enjoyed having a good old sing with Oak class –they are sounding in fine tune and have worked really hard on practising their songs ready for Harvest.
It was wonderful to finish my week by teaching Apples and Pears class this morning. There was some fantastic learning in PE and brilliant examples of pupils listening, following instructions and working together.
Wishing you all a very restful weekend.
17th September 2021
Another week has come to end and the weekend is upon us. I am convinced that Northaw is has its own time zone: I cannot work out how it goes from being 8am to suddenly being 3pm all in the space of what seems to be twenty minutes. There is the old proverb that time flies when you’re having fun, so perhaps that is the reason.
A very excited Mrs Cullingford arrived at my door on Wednesday afternoon. I wasn’t quite sure whether she was auditioning for a place on Britain’s Got Talent (she was breaking into a song and dance as her joy infused the room), but it turned out to be something even better than that: Willow class had worked so hard during the afternoon, creating a story board and producing some excellent pieces of writing. I was delighted to go and visit the class and agreed that an exceptional effort had been made. As a result, Wil-low are the first class to be awarded a whole class ‘Golden Ticket’. Earning three of these exclusive tickets permits the class to have a whole class reward—Willow are well on their way to achieving this. Well done!
Many thanks to everybody who attended our ‘meet the teacher’ sessions that have taken place throughout this week. It was very pleasing to welcome parents back into the school. Everybody’s cooperation with wearing a mask was also greatly appreciated.
Have a restful weekend ahead and see you all on Monday!
10th September 2021
Wow! So here we are, already, at the end of the first full week back to school. What a fantastic week it has been. A real highlight for everybody has been welcoming everybody in Acorns to school, with the pupils in Reception staying for their first full day today. Already, they are working so well with the school routines and are having a great time with their learning. It has to be recognised what a great job all of the Early Years team in Acorn Class has done; their warm, calm and welcoming manner gets pupils in Northaw off to a brilliant start to their education and I have been most impressed by everything that has taken place this week. For parents, it is a real defining moment to watch your child go to ‘big’ school for the first time—thank you all for trusting us to look after the most precious things you have—it is such a privilege.
The school library is looking amazing! The books are all in the right place. The shelves have all been sorted and moved around and it is now ready to invite classes in to read. We are planning to start using the library again very soon, as part of our Covid review. It has also been wonderful to be treated some amazing piano playing, with many of our talented musicians having restarted their piano lessons.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first full week at Northaw. Whilst I know everybody is looking forward to their weekend, it is always a joy to be somewhere that you look forward to going to on a Monday morning.
Have a fantastic weekend and I look forward to another enjoyable week ahead.
3rd September 2021
Welcome to back to a brand new academic year and to the first edition of our new-look newsletter! The Autumn term has started and the school has been buzzing with great enthusiasm and excitement all day.
At the end of a summer, I am sure every member of school staff up and down the land thinks about how the new year might start off. Well, I can honestly say that I could not have asked for a warmer welcome to Northaw. It was wonderful to see such happy children, ready to come back to school. I can tell that they love being members of Northaw and I have really enjoyed visiting each class today to read a story. I am very impressed by the excellent manners and great listening skills I have seen.
The staff have been absolutely brilliant and I must thank them all for their generosity (which happens to be this half term’s value in focus). Despite the very challenging circumstances, the team has demonstrated one of the 6Rs very clearly: resilience. Mrs Whales has created a fantastic team of staff and pupils; their enthusi-asm and warmth are a credit to her and we will continue to build on this great legacy.
It was wonderful to meet many parents this morning. Thank you very much for your warm welcomes and encouragement.
I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend and see you on Monday for our first full week back.
Click here for historic Heads Blog pre July 2021