Who we are & Head Teacher’s blog
Dr J Inglis
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
SENCo - Mrs J Rush (to contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
School Business Manager - Mrs H Hood
School Secretary - Mrs T Palmer
DSL Safeguarding team - Dr Inglis, Mrs Rush and Mrs Cullingford.
Governors - please visit our Governors page.
Head Teacher's Blog
20th May 2022
I can hardly believe we have reached the last Friday of my first half term with you already. I am frequently asked, “How are you finding it?” I always reply without a moment’s hesitation, “I’m loving it.” It remains an enormous privilege to lead the team at Northaw, equipping the children to drive their learning forward and fulfil their potential. I have also thoroughly enjoyed getting to know parents and carers at the school gates: your views have given me a crucial insight to the community we seek to serve.
Every child this week had an opportunity to nominate someone in their class who has The N Factor, regularly demonstrating our current value—friendship. On Wednesday, the Reflection Rangers and I met to count and sift the forms. The winners and runners-up will be revealed in a star-studded show next week.
It was incredibly disappointing Tolmers could not deliver the residential experience we planned well in advance for the children in Oak. We are actively exploring alternative events which can be organised in the limited time available while meeting the needs of all involved. I, like most teachers, joined our profession because of the importance we place on going the extra mile for the generations to follow; providing those magical childhood moments that will live with our pupils forever is central to this outlook.
Just to remind you, we are celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s historic reign next Thursday with our own Jubilee Jamboree, when pupils can attend school in red, white and blue (donating £1 to our chosen charity). Next Friday is an INSET day making this the last newsletter of this half term, I do hope you enjoy the jubilee celebrations during the half term holidays.
13th May 2022
Year 6 truly did us all proud this week—the first cohort to complete SATs since 2019. They have worked extremely hard to catch up on any lost learning , the unavoidable result of successive national lockdowns, over the past 12 months and pulled out all the stops in the tests. It has also been my pleasure to teach Year 5 each morning; they impressed me with their growing mathematical fluency, tremendous artistic flair and ambitiously complex writing. Oak class enjoyed an especially fun Friday in recognition of going beyond gold—well done.
On Tuesday morning, Acorns began welcoming parents and carers back into school. Mrs Burton and her team had prepared a range of engaging activities for them and their children to complete together—thank you.
I met with the Reflection Rangers on Wednesday to prepare for this half-term’s round of The N Factor. Every child will receive a form on Monday when they can nominate someone in their class who has particularly demonstrated our value in focus, friendship. Those with the most nominations will be recognised during collective worship the following week. I had better start brushing up on my impersonation of Simon Cowell.
The other teachers and I journeyed to Essendon on Thursday, joining staff from similarly sized schools for writing moderation. This is something we have not been able to do for a long time.
Finally, I am delighted to share with you Mrs Stratton-Stubbs is expecting another child. We send her family our best wishes.
6th May 2022
End of key stage 1 SATs began this week, and it was a joy to see pupils in Year 2 eager to perform to the best of their ability when I delivered the papers to Apples & Pears. Miss Barker and her team are doing a magnificent job easing them through the assessment process. End of key stage 2 SATs begin next week, and I led the last of the Early Energiser targeted boosters on Wednesday in Year 6. Their knowledge of grammar and punctuation, from abstract nouns to conjunctive adverbs, has improved enormously since these sessions started under Mr Lock, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them, bolstering their confidence as super spellers.
As you know, Her Majesty The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service this year, and we want to get involved in celebrating Her Majesty’s historic reign in the run up to the Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend which takes place from 2nd to 5th June. On Thursday 26 May, we plan on having our own Jubilee Jamboree, when pupils can attend school in red, white and blue (donating £1 to our chosen charity), celebrate Her Majesty’s life of service, and learn more about the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. I receive quite a lot of messages from the Department for Education, not all of which, to be honest, are that interesting; however, they have announced children in state-funded primary schools across the United Kingdom will, from mid-May, begin to receive a free commemorative book to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
29th April 2022
Although the weather outside has turned a little nippy once more, this has not affected our spirits in school. I had a wonderful afternoon on Tuesday touring classrooms, seeing the children thoroughly enjoying their learning and going for gold. I especially appreciated joining Acorns where the Reception pupils were independently writing, trying their best with letter formation, using full stops and capital letters, and applying phonics knowledge.
On Wednesday, I had my first opportunity to lead singing in collective worship. Prevented from assembling for this purpose during much of the last two years really brings home to us all how privileged we are at Northaw to perform songs of praise together. This week, we rehearsed Think of a world without any flowers before adding I will bring to you the best gift I can offer to our growing repertoire.
Next week marks the beginning of the extended period when children across the school have statutory assessments to complete. Before half term, there are SATs at the end of both Key stage 1 (Year 2) and Key stage 2 (Year 6). In the second half of summer, pupils in Year 1 have the phonics screening check, and those in Year 4 will undertake the multiplication tables check—the first cohort to do so. I would like to thank all the staff for their sterling efforts in supporting the students involved to prepare and wish them every possible success in May and June.
I have now met every member of staff individually. I am sure you know this without me having to confirm it, but their dedication, skill and professionalism are second to none; I am immensely proud to be part of such a hard-working team.
22nd April 2022
My first week of headship at Northaw has been unsurprisingly very busy but also enormously enjoyable. It is a privilege to join the utterly dedicated and highly skilled team here, following in the footsteps of two outstanding predecessors: Shirley Whales nurtured a community of self-regulated learners, rooted in Christian values, and confidently guided the school through successive lockdowns; Rob Lock brought strong leadership at a difficult time, further motivating everyone to go for gold. Northaw was truly blessed to have them head the school. I am delighted Mr Lock has agreed to remain as a governor for the time being and we can continue calling upon his wealth of experience.
On Tuesday, I led collective worship, introducing myself to the children. I explained that while I am a doctor I am neither the kind you see when feeling sick nor one who has a tardis—unfortunately. Having discussed how we demonstrate readiness to learn and why it matters, I described the thrill I will feel when I hand out my first house credits.
I have begun meeting each member of staff individually, so I can get the clearest picture of what makes North-aw such a special place to learn and work. Whenever I can, I will be outside at the end of the school day. Please do not hesitate to approach me for a quick word: I would very much appreciate hearing your views in-formally on our strengths and ways we might develop in the years ahead.
Over the summer, the other teachers and I will be particularly focused on honing our curriculum before launching it revitalised in September. Introducing a fresh approach to phonics and reading will be central to this.
Click here for this weeks Going For Gold.
1st April 2022
Unbelievably, the time has come for me to write my final head's lines. Two terms have passed by in a flash. I have lost all track of time today and have been running in some sort of parallel universe.
I must thank the school community for your kind words and extremely kind gifts—I was very touched by your generosity and shall miss being part of Northaw on a daily basis. However, I am delighted to be able to continue supporting the school in the capacity of Associate Governor.
Despite the great challenges that COVID has brought, the start of the year was an incredibly challenging time for the school. Mrs Whales was an impossible act for anybody to follow. She was unique, highly respected and irreplaceable. I feel very privileged to have been trusted to support the school during such a challenging time. Because of the great vision and the strong ethos that Mrs Whales had built, the staff were so welcoming and supportive to each other, unwavering in their commitment to ensure that this legacy continued. I am so grateful to have been a part of this and have learnt so much. Thank you to everybody for making me feel so welcome and valued during my time at the school. It has been such an inspiring place to be.
As I hand over the reigns of the good ship Northaw to a new captain, I am delighted that the school is in very safe and capable hands. Dr Inglis will bring an abundance of dedication and a passion for enabling every child to thrive. It is a the beginning of a great new era for Northaw.
Thank you for everything. Until we meet again, keep Going for Gold!
25th March 2022
Note to self: do not mention how good the weather has been or that time has flown by really quickly and that you cannot believe there is only a week left of this term!
Hello everybody and welcome to this Friday’s newsletter. I cannot believe what marvellous weather we have been blessed with this week and that this time next week, it will be the Easter break [mission failed!]. This has been somewhat remarkable, though! Spring only officially began at the start of this week and we have already seen temperatures up to nearly 20 degrees! I always have to remember a rhyme to help me work out what the temperatures mean: 30 is hot, 20 is pleasing, 10 is not and 0 is freezing!
What a busy Friday we have had to finish the week. We have started to have photographs taken around the school that will be used for our website which will be coming later on in the year. Northaw sells itself: the children and staff are all so happy, around every corner is some great learning taking place and we are based in the most wonderful setting.
Have a terrific weekend and I will see you all ready and refreshed for the final week of the term. I look for-ward to seeing many of you who will join us on Tuesday morning for our Easter Service. It has been a very long time since the whole community has come together for an event and it is something to really look forward to.
Click here to read a welcome from Dr Inglis.
18th March 2022
The N Factor arrived at Northaw on Tuesday; excitement, enthusiasm and energy filled the hall as the brilliant reflection rangers led the very first set of N Factor awards, nominated by the pupils of Northaw. It was great fun and gave us a chance to reflect on our Christian value of courage. We really thought the X Factor judges wouldn’t have time to make it to Northaw. However, just as the children arrived in the hall, the helicopter was heard landing just outside Ginnie’s kitchen window and the next minute Trudy was signing in our visitors and escorting them into the hall where we were all thrilled to see them. The verdict from the judges was unanimous: all of the recipients of the N factor were thoroughly deserved.
Dr Inglis joined us, once again, on Wednesday and is really looking forward to starting at the school after the Easter break. At this time of the year, Mrs Hood is always very busy working on next year’s budget, so it was great that Dr Inglis was in to think about the priorities of the school as we move forward into a new financial year and a new chapter of the school. I had wondered whether the school office had a basement Key Worker apartment attached as Mrs Hood seems to spend most of her week at school, despite only being employed for two days a week. Both she and Trudy are such an asset to the school and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all of their hard work and for making Northaw a great, fun place to be.
We have only two weeks left of the Spring term, which seems quite incredible. I know these will fly past very quickly.
11th March 2022
I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be having regular collective worship assemblies back in the hall. We started this week with an extended singing assembly and it was so inspiring and uplifting. Mrs Cullingford was genuinely moved to tears and I don’t think an adult in the school could not feel moved by the wonderful voices which filled the hall.
Willow class were very excited to receive their second class golden ticket—they need three in total to earn a whole class reward. The pupils in the class have been set a challenge to try and achieve three golden tickets by the end of this half term—it will take a lot of hard work and courage to achieve this, but nothing is impossible. Apples and Pears also earned a golden ticket this week for their fantastic efforts in collective worship.
Well done to all of our Year 6 pupils who have started their Early Energiser groups this week, in the run up to the SATs assessments in May. I thoroughly enjoyed the first SPAG session on Wednesday; the children all attended with very positive attitudes and were keen to learn.
Have a peaceful and enjoyable weekend and I look forward to seeing everybody safe and well on Monday.
4th March 2022
The end of another week is here. They always say that two heads are better than one, so it is very fortunate that Mr Lock and our new headteacher, Dr Inglis, are both writing the head lines today. Dr Inglis will be starting officially in the Summer term but will be visiting the school regularly over the next few weeks in preparation. Dr Inglis is already feeling very much at home and I am sure you will join me in welcoming him to our school.
We really enjoyed our second Going for Gold together in the hall today. It has become apparent that Mr Lock needs to improve his dance moves (Mrs Beeton was on hand to make a list of useful development points so that Mr Lock can improve this over the weekend). As our value is courage, next week all of the staff are challenged to show great courage and join in with our ‘reach for the stars’ theme which introduce our Stars with the 6Rs. The pupils in Oak class did a great job a choreographing some extraordinary moves for the opening theme “Going for Gold”. It was all great fun and a real celebration to draw the week to a close.
World Book Day was a huge success and the pupils really enjoyed all of their activities and dressing up for this event. Our thanks goes to all of the families for their efforts in providing the costumes and to the staff team, particularly Mrs Howell who organised the day, for making this a memorable event.
Finally, congratulations to Narnia house who were able to come to school in their own choice of clothing today. They were the winning house from Spring 1. It is always wonderful to see how many house cred-its are achieved each week for showing our 6Rs.
Have a great weekend and see you next week for another fun-filled week of learning.
25th February 2022
Welcome back to the second half of the Spring term—Spring 2! Half term already feels like a long time ago, but I do hope that you all had a good break and were not too impacted by the trilogy of storms that descended upon us.
It was wonderful to begin the week by all coming together for our first collective worship assembly in school. We were, in fact, planning on visiting the church; however, with Storm Franklin circulating, it was decided to host the event in school. Many thanks to Rev Chris for being so flexible with the last minute changes and giving us all a great introduction to Easter. This was the first time that pupils in Early Years and Key Stage 1 had gathered for a whole school collective worship. They managed this extremely well and we will continue to focus on the expectations of collective worship as the term progresses. Our Reflection Rangers are very eager to support and it was delightful that they were able to contribute to this half term’s collective worship planning which took place at the end of Spring 1.
It was thoroughly enjoyable to have the opportunity to teach in Acorns on Wednesday morning. I was very impressed by some of the writing we were doing. As well as singing assembly, I enjoyed hearing the pupils sing a version of our school prayer—what a great way to end the morning.
Finally, a big thank you to everybody for making the first week back on our regular timetable a success. Let’s hope for some stability and consistency as we continue to move forward.
I wish you all a pleasant and safe weekend.
10th February 2022
The half-time whistle is about to blow; despite all of the odds, Team Northaw has pulled together and worked as a solid team for the first half of the 2021/22 season. There have been a few moments when things have got tough. We have had to utilise the substitution bench a few times; thank you very much, to Mrs Moores for bringing energy and drive to the team this week. A much needed break is needed for all of the team and their supporters and we are very much looking for-ward to recharging our batteries and reviewing our team tactics, ready for the half time (known in these parts as half-term) break.
The highlights of the season so far have included the fact that the whole team has worked so well together in the face of adversity. Our weekly Going for Gold sessions have been a great opportunity for the entire team to come together and share the successes of every team member. I have been very impressed to see so many examples of 6R values being achieved by so many. This sea-son’s golden tickets are about to be posted - the lucky recipients will be gran
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