Our pupils have excelled in a range of pursuits this week, a number of which were carefully planned by their teachers to compliment Children’s Mental Health Week.
In addition to ‘expressing themselves’ in a fun-packed virtual assembly, years 6, 7 and 8 blew us all away with their unwavering commitment to the ‘Step Challenge’ – results below! A huge congratulations to all those pupils and parents who took part!
Without doubt, this week we’ve definitely seen the adventurous side of our pupils come out, with lots of outdoors and creative learning – from the Step Challenge, to wet and wild worm hunts, navigation lessons using the sun (even braving the odd downpour!), and thinking creatively about what makes each one of us ‘incredible’.
We’re committed to finding more ways to help our pupils succeed in these hardest of times, with more creative and outdoors learning opportunities, so that they can come to lessons with a renewed sense of happiness and wellbeing.
Keep it up everyone, and well done!
A virtual assembly took place this week for years 6, 7 and 8 to coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week 2021, which runs until 7th February. We talked about the importance of looking after your mental health in the same way that we take care of our physical health, and the children also enjoyed watching a virtual assembly with BAFTA and Oak National Academy, which was streamed by the charity.
This year’s CMHW theme is ‘Express Yourself’. Judging by how much our pupils enjoyed dressing up for the assembly – with sunglasses, fake moustaches, and weird and wonderful virtual backdrops – it was clear that they are not afraid to do this! The pupils were asked to think about what they would like to do in lessons to be able to better express themselves. Mrs Allen has received some fantastic ideas so far and these will be incorporated into lessons next week.
Staff have been busy looking at how we can reduce screen time to improve mental wellbeing – a difficult task at the moment when lessons are only accessible online. We will be working hard to encourage the pupils to spend more time on creative and outdoor learning. Mr Gubby has a great Maths lesson prepared that will take place in the kitchen! We look forward to seeing the results.
Next week, pupils across the whole of the school will be continuing to think about mental health and mental health awareness, with an update to follow in next week’s Newsletter.
On Tuesday afternoon, and following the theme of mental and physical wellbeing, years 6, 7 and 8 were set a PE challenge. They had 1 hour and 45 mins to brave the weather, go outside and either walk or run to record as many ‘steps’ as possible for their house. Despite the weather being a little damp, our pupils didn’t disappoint and made the most of the fresh air and the chance to partake in a bit of healthy competition!
The event was a great success, with many positive comments from both pupils and parents, even the ones that got caught in heavy showers! We can only attempt to show a snapshot of just some of the fun that was had by everyone who took part.
The results have been collated and verified, and we are delighted to announce that the total number of steps walked or run by our 51 pupils was a staggering 392,292 – roughly equivalent to 200 miles!! Huge thanks to the team captains of each house for collecting all the evidence and using their mathematical skills to add up all the thousands of steps, which was no mean feat.
And, last but not least, the moment we have all been waiting for…the results!
Team Competition (17 pupils in each team):
3rd place with 119,308 – Dafydd
2nd place with 130,110 – Glyndŵr
1st place with a whopping 142,874 – Llewellyn!
The individual winner, covering 13,800 steps by ‘running’ around her garden for 1hr and 45 minutes, was Koto in Year 7! Congratulations, Koto! What an amazing achievement!
A huge thank you to all our pupils for wholeheartedly embracing this challenge and to all the parents that joined their children on the walks. We are so pleased and proud of you all for your commitment to exercising throughout this Half Term. Prizes will be awarded when we are back in school.
Our boarders continue to take lockdown life in their stride. We’re so proud of their resilience and optimism, not to mention their undiminished commitment to their studies, in these hardest of times. And there is still room for lots of fun!
We said a big happy birthday to boarder Chaco, who celebrated his 15th birthday this week surrounded by friends. Here he is making a birthday wish! Needless to say, everyone welcomed the chance to indulge in some delicious birthday cake…
In Geography this week, Year 8 have been using nature to navigate, looking at how the sun can help us to find our way around.
Despite the horrible weather, the class rose to the challenge to find different indicators to stop them from ever getting lost again! Impressively, they worked out that predominant growth is on the south side of a tree, that moss grows facing north in the dark and damp, and by the end they were also adept at using their hands to calculate when the sun will set. They are now waiting very patiently for lots of sun so that their stick shadow compass shows north…
Next week, they will be using wind to help navigate – and given the current weather, this may be a much easier task!
This week, Year 6 enjoyed learning more about the work of artist Clare Youngs. Youngs uses traditional and contemporary printing, cutting and folding techniques to create handcrafted objects made from paper and fabric. The children produced their own artist study page focused on Youngs’ practice, with some very creative, intricate and thoughtful results. We particularly like the beautiful bug drawings!
Years 3 to 6 took part in workshops with author Emma Beswetherick this morning. They learned all about the stories she writes, which are themed around children going on amazing adventures and learning how to care for their planet.
Years 3 and 4 enjoyed completing an activity about character description, while years 5 and 6 experimented with creating atmosphere in imaginative settings. A fantastic morning that really got the creative juices flowing!
Continuing the bug theme, Year 3 Forest School learnt all about wriggly worms this week. Braving the damp, muddy (and extremely cold!) weather, they set off with their families to seek out as many worms as they could, armed with rulers to measure their finds! Mrs Djiallis showed the children how to build their very own worm farms, and they were so excited to join her at the end for a story and snack around the campfire.
We saw some brilliant worm hunting despite the tough conditions, and FaB School recruit Sidonie even made a film showing how she built her wormery!
Scarlett and Tomos have also been busy working on their rainforest projects this week, looking at why rainforests are so important for keeping our planet healthy. They’ve shown some really impressive research skills – well done!
Our nursery class loved learning all about superheroes ‘The Incredibles’ this week. The children were encouraged to discuss how everyone has their own different incredible qualities and to think about what makes them incredible. There were lots of brilliant answers, from being incredible at climbing to excelling as a sibling. We’re sure you’ll agree they are all absolutely amazing…
We’ve seen some fantastic work across the Prep School this week and it’s a huge challenge to choose just one star! Congratulations on your achievements everyone!
Early Years: ⭐ Alban for getting work done online and becoming more and more confident with his English.
Year 1: ⭐ Libby for super work on poems and rhyming words. Well done, Libby!
Year 2: ⭐ Alexander for fantastic descriptive writing about dragons, and an excellent acrostic poem with detailed illustration!
Year 3: ⭐ Danielle for her excellent Maths work this week. Danielle has been such a superstar with online learning, always giving everything her best. Thank you, Danielle!
Year 4: ⭐ Otti for her enthusiasm during lessons. Excellent work, Otti!
Year 5:⭐ Peter for his focus and improvement in Maths. Well done, Peter!
Continuing with our ‘Getting to Know Us’ series, this week we talk to Keith Morrison, Year 10 Form Tutor and Senior School Maths Teacher.
How long have you worked at Westbourne School? I have worked at Westbourne since the start of the academic year 2019/20.
What is your background and experience? I’ve taught Mathematics since 2012, mostly in Oxford state schools, before crossing over to Wales in 2017. I briefly left teaching in 2018 working as a data analyst, but it wasn’t long before I came back to this career I love.
What is the best part about teaching at Westbourne? I teach mostly IB Mathematics, and I find the level challenging and intriguing to teach. The level permits students to see their foundational skills applied to many more things than at lower levels and it’s fascinating to see our students flourish in it.
What does being a Form Tutor mean to you? Being a Form Tutor is rewarding as it allows you to get to understand a certain group. I don’t particularly teach anybody in my form this year, but I am invested in their progress and I always want to see and hear them do well, and supporting them when they need it.
What are you most proud of? Oddly I am proud that I left teaching when I did, as I’d always wondered, ‘What if I had gone down a different route?’. Thankfully it only made me miss what I do best!
How do you relax when you are not in school? When I’m out of school I like to relax by keeping busy! Either getting away from the norm on a vacation or, more recently, walks around my local area. Cooking is also something I love to do to relax.
What’s the most challenging and most rewarding part of teaching remotely? The most challenging thing was initially adapting to it, and while I’ve grown with it, it isn’t without its issues from time to time! That being said, I have opened my eyes to the world of digital teaching resources, many of which will be in my repertoire even after the world goes back to the way it was.