The start of our 125th anniversary year has seen Westbourne Online in full flow and this week the introduction of Century, a ground-breaking online platform, backed by AI and the latest thinking in neuroscience and learning science, has been well received across the year groups.
Working alongside the personalised academic support already available via Google Classroom, Century provides students from Year 3 – 11 limitless opportunities to extend their learning in English, Maths and the Sciences, all with full teacher support.
Elsewhere across Westbourne Online this week, the Westbourne community spirit has shone brightly with outstanding work being produced throughout the year groups, a mere snapshot being showcased below. Alongside student work, we have been touched by the overwhelming support and thanks that has come in from parents, some of which we are delighted to share below.
A huge thank you to the whole community for your support!
Community is one of the most important parts of Westbourne life.
Throughout the coming weeks, particularly whilst we are learning online and for those who have yet to meet us in person, we’ll be putting a spotlight on members of staff from throughout the school so you can get to know us all a little better.
A huge thanks to Mrs Barber, GCSE Coordinator and Head of Geography for being first up!
In her own words….
How long have you worked at Westbourne? Since September 2011
What’s your background and experience? After several years of not wanting to grow up, backpacking and going back to university, I did my teaching degree in Geography with ICT.
My first teaching job was in a very challenging inner-city school in London. On my first day as I walked into school a child towered over me and said, “who the bleep are you?”, it was a real baptism by fire! Panic alarms in classrooms, our own school policeman on-site, 87 languages spoken … after 3 years although it had taught me to teach in an exciting way enough was enough!
Geography teachers should travel, so off my husband and I went to the Philippines. We fell in love with the country and it really was a geographers dream – the annual geography trips included Pinatubu Volcano, diving coral reefs, surfing, swimming with whale sharks and mangroves research and this is without trips for activities week! This was where I first taught the IB and MUN and loved the way it helped pupils to think and approach their learning. After four years teaching at the most wonderful British School, the 2 of us returned as a family of 4!
After a stint at a top boarding school in Somerset, it was back home to the Vale and Westbourne. As my children have been through all stages of the Prep School and due to my role in the Senior School I feel I know the school pretty well and am really pleased they are schooled here. Since September I have been GCSE coordinator a role that has been full-on with the pandemic!
What’s the best part of working at Westbourne? I love the ‘it’s cool to have a go’ culture, my goodness does that make teaching easier! We call it Westbournised; new pupils usually stick out for a few weeks, then they realise it’s normal to put your hand up, it’s great to make friends with other years groups, it’s ok for boys and girls to chat and be friends and sixth formers aren’t scary!
What does your “role” of GCSE Coordinator mean to you? Making the transition up to the GCSE years seamless and preparing the pupils for Sixth Form. Having an open-door policy, I wouldn’t want any pupil to be worried when a chat can put either a problem into perspective or I can start the wheels turning in the right direction.
What are you most proud of? My children and school aside, recently I passed my Surf Life Saving level 2 qualification. I didn’t realise when I signed up it would be quite so many hours in the sea or the classroom! I am so glad I persevered as now I get to work with fantastic children who go on to give back to the community with their beach patrols keeping the Vale beaches safe.
How do you relax when you’re not at school? If I’m not off walking in the countryside, you will find me with the family at the beach. Swimming, surfing, surf lifesaving, SUPing, you name it if it’s sea-related we are there! This is one of the best parts of living where we do; both countryside and beach on our doorstep.
What’s the most challenging and the most rewarding part of teaching remotely? Sound. Some classes don’t speak and others all talk at once!
Sitting in front of a screen all day is challenging; teaching, planning lessons, marking, contacting parents it is all on a laptop.
Rewarding – it is mind-blowing how quickly everyone adapted. Schools closed on Friday and opened online on Monday, how staff and pupils managed to pull this off I have no idea!
A huge thank you for all your support this week….you have made us blush & smile a lot!
Our lessons may well be remote once more but that isn’t going to stop our dedicated teachers to help students fully immerse themselves into the subject.
Normally, around this time of the year, Mrs Jessop teaches pupils about the custom of lead pouring – a German tradition that is said to predict the future! Whilst in ‘normal’ times students would have melted wax in the Chemistry lab, undeterred Mrs Jessop pointed students in the direction of an online App where they could virtually try their hand at the practice…naturally using plenty of German along the way.
Pre-IB New Year predictions are certainly looking auspicious so far: Whilst Isaac, Marc, Jakub and Anson all poured different symbols related to aspects of luck, Aiden received the prediction of very old age, Oracene the fulfilment of wishes, Emilia the prospect of lots of available help, Jason the promise of a fulfilled dream and Noemie received the prediction of having a huge growth in skills. What a lucky class!
Whilst our PreIB students have been exploring different aspects of German culture, Ms Phillips Year 11 class have been exploring German history, tackling the challenging topic of the Nazi’s consolidation of power as part of the GCSE syllabus.
An excellent effort by all students, particularly given the online start to term – well done Year 11!
Year 10 students have produced some outstanding coursework this week as part of their GCSE syllabus. Working on the theme of ‘Natural Forms’ we’ve seen the class undertake various skills-based studies focusing on different media and techniques.
Instead of using drawing pencils and depicting an image using the traditional spectrum of greyscale, students applied their understanding of a gradient and instead explored producing studies which captured tones and shapes with skill, accuracy and precision, but using a gradient of a colour of their choice instead.
Well done to all our Year 10 artists, the standard is impeccable.
As an island nation, it’s already a much-discussed topic in British culture, the weather! However, this term Year 8 are taking a more academic approach to the subject in their Geography classes with Mrs Barber.
Interpreting synoptic maps, writing their own weather forecasts and turning themselves into authoritative weather presenters!
Westbourne Online is no barrier to Mrs Allen’s commitment to keeping our students fit and healthy! A hugely active week has seen excellent participation across the age ranges with a wealth of fitness and yoga classes to keep us all moving.
Whilst our pupils from Year 3 upwards have been exploring the new online platform, Century, our younger pupils from Reception to Year 2 have their very own tailored programme, Learning Live.
Face to face contact being such an important part of learning, daily Zoom meets have seen pupils explore a variety of tasks, including Art Attack with Mrs Edwards, Music Madness with Mrs Morgan, Storytime with Mr Murray, Active with Allen with Miss Allen and Feel Good Friday with Mrs Morgan. A huge thanks to all our parents for their positive feedback this week on the new initiative.
A great discussion with Year 5, debating this very point and whether boredom is a reason to break the rules?
Inspired by the Gruffalo Child, the depth of opinion and maturity of response was outstanding, well done Year 5!
Whilst the majority of students learn online, Westbourne remains open for key worker children and a daily dose of exercise is all part of the mix!
Funky Fifteen Fitness led the way this week, with the beat of cheery music and a virtual helper dancing, spinning, hopping…and having bags of fun was all part of the energetic vibe.
With nurseries permitted to remain open, we’ve been thrilled to see our Little Westbourne pupils turn into real-life Super Heroes!
A busy week creating logos, masks and capes in order to curate their very own superhero alongside using numicon, an approach to teaching mathematics, to create skyscrapers, guessing theme tunes and creating superfood in the superhero café.
Congratulations to all our Prep School stars!
Reception: Ana and Zoe – well done you two for completing EVERY task and sending lovely photos of your work!
Year 1: Isaac – for improving his reading skills greatly and for always engaging in activities giving 100% effort. Well done Isaac!
Year 2: Sidonie – for always being so positive and uplifting in her attitude to her work and during zoom meetings!!
Year 3: Scarlett – for her exceptional work based on the Space Bat Angel Dragon from The Iron Man. This super work is consistent with her incredible efforts in every lockdown lesson. Great job Scarlett!
Year 4: Floyd – for his excellent focus and work during online science lessons.
Year 5: Isabel – for writing an incredibly well structured and balanced discussion text on xenotransplantation