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Blog Featured Latest News The Voice of the School Council Blog

Reflections of the School Council

This year’s School Councillors have been fantastic! They have been so hardworking and reliable. The Councillors have listened to their classes about ideas for school and have spent a lot of time making things happen, such as Red Nose Day, the Parking Charter and discussions about the cloakrooms. Well done to all of you! Here are some reflections on their year:

I enjoyed having meetings with Mrs Reynolds because it made me feel heard,it also made me feel important in helping the school.
Oliver Y6

Being a school councillor has made me feel important because we got to have meetings with Mrs Reynolds and have our say in what could improve the school. I liked doing the tuck shop at break time as well as the parking safety topic we did.
Layla Y6

This year my favourite part of school councilling is feeling proud that I got to give ideas to make the school better. But overall I loved everything!
Laila Y5

This year my favourite thing was doing the tuck shop because we raised a lot of money and got to serve. It was all fun!
Oliver  Y5

This year I have enjoyed fundraising because on Red Nose Day we made over £200. Being a school councillor makes me feel like an important person and I liked helping improve the school.
Mya Y5

I liked doing Red Nose Day and having school council meetings with Mrs Reynolds . Now I feel like people would listen to me and help me.
Ben Y3

I have enjoyed doing the parking charter and having meetings with the cook. Being a school councillor has made me very proud and happy. But most of all I feel like people are listening to me.
Charlotte Y3

I have enjoyed fundraising for Red Nose Day but overall I’ve enjoyed everything.Also I have liked helping the school.
Elvie Y3

I liked raising money with the tuck shop and helping make the school happy.
Zac Y2

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Blog Class Pages Latest News Year 5 Blog

Getting creative

Another busy week in Year 5 and as always I have been impressed with the children’s attitudes towards their work.  We have enjoyed creating some lovely artwork inspired by the artist Hundertwasser which is now on display along KS2 corridor. Why not pop in to have a look.

Over the last few weeks the children in Year 5 have been immersed in stories from different cultures. They have enjoyed reading and a range of short stories, some of which are traditional tales from distant places and others are more contemporary. We have listened to some of the tales from Arabian Nights and discussed the descriptive detail which brings the story setting alive. We have focused on writing our own description, created out own synonym word bank and used these on complex sentences.  We are also using these stories as inspiration and have been creating ideas for our own stories. We will be planning and writing these story over the next week.

In science we have been closely watching the various seeds we have planted. We moved the seedlings planted indoors to the edible garden. It has been a nervous week waiting and watching what will happen to the young shoots. We’ve been very diligent and watered regularly. However we did not catered for the hungry snails, who have enjoyed munching away at our cauliflowers and wiped out any growth! Maybe we will have more success with our other vegetables.

The children enjoyed working on their D&T project, which was to create a moving toy. They examined and made a simple cam mechanisms, using axels, wheels and snail cams which moved different parts on their toy (creating linear and circular movement.) Some children did find some aspects quite difficult and it was great to see how they helped each other to overcome problems with their designs. Our finished products are on display in the hall and you are welcome to come in and have a look.

We have started our next geography enquiry and have been finding out about volcanoes and earthquakes. The children have already shared lots of great facts and information about volcanoes. We mapped out where volcanoes can be found and identified the ‘ring of fire’ which is located around the Pacific Ocean. The children shared interesting facts about earthquake zones and discussed where recent earthquakes have taken place.

Over the next few weeks the children will be focusing on the link between decimals, fractions and percentages in maths. They will be identifying fraction and percentage equivalence and using this information to solve simple problems. Why not point out where percentages can be found in real life situations and what they mean.

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Featured Latest News Teaching & Learning Blog Year 2 Blog

Nurturing creativity

Nurturing and developing children’s creativity is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. This week has been one of those weeks where children have been given a range of opportunities to be creative through using a range of different mediums such as art, music, drama, play and writing. It is through these different activities that children get an opportunity to make their own decisions and allow their personality to be expressed.

As a school we celebrate imagination, innovation and individuality through our daily practice. For us, it is so important that our classrooms and communal spaces are filled with children’s thoughts, ideas and own original pieces of work.

Reflecting on the different tasks that Y2 have done this week has been a real pleasure, as every child has shown how creative they can be when given the chance to share how they feel or experiment for themselves. For me, it is so important to provide children with opportunities to shine, to develop their own line of enquiry or make choices that reflect their own ideas. It is so rewarding to step back and reflect on how independent Y2 have started to become and also how imaginative they are when it comes to creating something for themselves.

The Aboriginal art work they have developed this week both indoors and outdoors is one of example of how hard the children have worked to produce their personal best. It is so important to put creativity at the centre of a school curriculum. Giving children and adults the space to innovate and be original allows for fresh perspectives, new ideas and a means by which to continually evolve. It also gives a space for expressing feelings and emotions.  The work below highlights how Y2 have expressed themselves this week through colour and imagery.

 

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Featured Latest News Teaching & Learning Blog

Working Together

Collaboration has always been a huge part of Unsworth, both within and beyond the school. In its purest form collaboration simply means working with someone to produce something and links to words such as cooperation, alliance, partnership or combination. It is so important to view our school as a collaboration of lots of different partners, from teachers and learners to parents and governors, the local community and schools both locally and nationally.

Currently, our education system as we know it is changing shape dramatically and often on a daily basis. Change often brings a sense of unease for some people or a feeling that different ways of doing things could change something beyond recognition, but is this really the case? Inevitably change will make a difference and it does often bring about a new way of doing something. However, the important factor to consider is the reasons why change is needed and the bigger picture of what it helps to create.

Unsworth is all about embracing change that benefits the education and development of young learners. Over the years we have learnt as a school that through looking closely at our practice and making changes to what we do, we can offer our learners the best possible start  on their learning journey. In essence we aim to develop a love of learning and resilience that allows children to achieve and succeed; something called a “Growth Mind-set”.

Working together through collaboration is at the core of this and this is achieved through our continuous two way dialogue as a community of learners. If you watch the short trailer below you will see how we have worked together as a school to create an exciting curriculum that offers learners opportunities to be curious about the world around them.

For us though, working together is all about how we work with others to help shape the future of learning. Through our work within other schools across the Local Authority and by sharing our practice through learning walks, courses, visits and coaching sessions, we have built up a culture within school where collaboration is commonplace. It is collaboration and partnerships with the BTSA (Bury Teaching School Alliance) and BPLC (Bury Primary Learning Collaborative) that have helped us to share our approaches to assessment, SMSC and the curriculum, whilst also providing opportunities for staff within school to develop their own practice.

In the current educational climate, it is these types of partnerships that will continue to allow us to help shape the way we want to do things for the learners at Unsworth. External support from the Local Authority is disappearing and schools are faced with the prospect of developing stronger links between each other so that together they can support each other to provide the best possible experiences for learners. During the Summer Term , myself and Mrs Reynolds are involved in a new nationwide alliance of educators known as “#LearningFirst”, which is a developing online community who have the aim of making assessment school led. It is these kinds of new collaborations that will shape the future of education and it is exciting to think that Unsworth has an opportunity to play a part and share practice.

Unsworth is already accustomed to “working together” with a range of different partners and through the years we have embraced change, using it as a catalyst to rethink the way we do things and make our approaches school owned. None of our changes would have happened without some form of collaboration. Crucially, we have worked together as a community to create a school that puts teaching and learning first, which clearly emphasises the fact that we are “stronger together” through our partnerships and alliances with others.

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Headteacher's Blog Latest News

Building community-then and now

There are so many activities across a school week, beyond our lessons, that help to build our children’s experience, confidence and enjoyment. We have done a lot of thinking about this and how a child’s primary school experience needs to be rich, varied and engaging. This week was no exception.

At the end of the week, the children engaged in a day of fundraising for Sports Relief by working hard on an obstacle course organised by Mrs McLoughlin. It is her responsibility to organise and promote our sport and PE curriculum and the event on Friday is another part of this. It was great to see how the children pushed themselves but also how much they enjoyed the day. Back in class, the children watched some clips about how the money raised helps children around the world. Some of our children were surprised to learn that some children do not have access to an education. It was good for them to think about this and realise how they might have had some impact on another child’s life by taking part in the event.

Events like the Sports Relief obstacle course help our children to develop empathy and a sense of community. This was the subject of Y5’s assembly on Friday morning. In their most recent historical enquiry, Y5 have been researching the history of Unsworth and further developing their mapping skills by looking at maps over time to see the changes in our area. The history of Unsworth was the subject of their assembly.

During the assembly, we heard about the origins of the Unsworth area, its legendary dragon and its contribution to the developing Industrial Revolution. We also heard about the greasy Unsworth Pole and the sacrifice made by our community during the two World Wars. The children ‘travelled’ back and forth through time via their time machine. At the end of the assembly, they brought everyone together by leading us in an enthusiastic rendition of our Community Song. It is through events like this, attended by so many parents and carers, that we foster the sense of community and belonging that is so important to children’s lives.

On Monday and Tuesday this week we will be welcoming parents and carers into school to meet with class teachers. This is an opportunity to look through the children’s books and to look at the work on display in their classrooms and in our corridors and hall. It is also an opportunity to speak to the class teacher about the progress that has been made over the last two terms. Each class teacher should give a picture of how children are progressing in their basic skills in particular and the things they will be working on over the remainder of the academic year. This is why we have our progress meetings at this point, so that we have time to work on any issues before the year ends.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you in school this week. I will be available throughout both sessions (3:30-6:30 Monday and Tuesday) if there are any issues you wish to discuss further.

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Featured Latest News Year 6 Blog

Robinwood in Pictures

Recently our Y6 class visited Robinwood for a residential and had a great time. We thought we would share with you some of the photographs from the trip so you could see for yourselves all the different activities that the children got up to.

 

 

 

 

 

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Featured Latest News Teaching & Learning Blog

Taking a leap of faith…

Currently, the teaching profession is experiencing a period of significant change, with a new curriculum that is in its infancy, the removal of assessment levels, the introduction of a new SEND code of practice, the reduction in capacity of Local Authorities to offer support and the growing pressure on schools to deliver more and more services to their communities. For schools, there are so many decisions to make and often choosing the right one is not an easy task.

Over the last few years we have worked really hard at Unsworth to think about and prepare ourselves for all the changes that we knew were coming our way, but also to develop a mind-set that change is something to embrace, as we don’t know what is around the corner. As a staff we have come to see change as an opportunity, as a necessary part of developing our provision for our children and as something that allows us to grow in our pursuit of providing the best possible education. Our children live in an ever evolving, fast paced society, where each and every day brings new challenges or uncovers new learning. On one hand, to prepare children for a future that we can’t yet see is such a difficult task, as how do we know if the latest trends and ideas are going to stay or what if we try something and it doesn’t work out?

Consider this though, 5 years ago we decided as a school to write our own “Unsworth Curriculum”, where we sat together and thought about what we wanted children at Unsworth to experience from the minute they walked in the door in Reception to when they walked out of the door at the end of year 6. This enquiry curriculum was built by staff and has evolved each and every year, as we have learnt about how our children learn best, as we have developed our own knowledge and understanding of curriculum subjects and as we have reflected on the things that have been successful and the things that haven’t worked. All the way along we have stuck to our principles that the way we teach our children is bespoke to their needs. They are always at the centre of everything and when we reflect on the way in which we do things we always take it right back to whether or not it makes a positive impact on our children’s learning. Most of the time we have to make decisions about the way we do things, without knowing exactly what will happen or the effect it might have, but it is these leaps of faith that have moved Unsworth forward and enhanced the way in which our children access our curriculum.

Some good examples of this would be the fact that as a school we rarely use whole class teaching, but instead teach groups of children across lessons, to ensure that children are instantly hooked into their learning, get regular personalised feedback and have every opportunity to develop their skills from their point in the curriculum. For us this approach started 8 years ago and looking back to when it started, it has truly transformed the way in which our children learn and the way in which we teach. At the time, it was bold and there were many outside the school who considered it to be a risk, but for us we felt that it was right for our children and we took a chance to do something to make a difference.

All our classes for the last 7 years have had their own sets of laptops or Ipads, because we felt that we wanted technology to be weaved throughout the curriculum and to be there when the children needed it, rather than in a given slot across the week. We got rid of the ICT suite and the moveable trollies and opted for in class storage solutions. The result was children embraced the technology, teachers had it at their fingertips and technology had the chance to weave its self into the daily practice of each and every class. Not all the decisions we make always work, but I think the saying “you learn from your mistakes” is so true, because like children learn from errors, we as a school learn from trying things out and reflecting on how to adapt. Our writing curriculum is a prime example of this, because it is after 10 years of development, that we feel we have now got to a place where we understand not only what good writing is, but how to develop our children’s love of the writing craft.

Throughout my time at Unsworth myself and my colleagues have always opened up our classrooms to a variety of different educational practitioners and we have had the opportunity to work with some of them within their own settings. Quite often we have not known what the outcomes of these visits or sessions might be, but many of them have resulted in partnerships or projects that have helped shape and develop both our thinking and  curriculum . Crucially, each and every visit has developed our practice and, as a consequence, directly impacted upon the children that we teach. As a school we embrace this kind of approach and increasingly over the last few years we have opened ourselves up to our colleagues in other schools, because we see the value in school to school support.

Recently we have hosted a variety of different types of courses at Unsworth in our new training room, all of which have involved practitioners across Bury spending time within our classrooms experiencing how our children learn on a day to day basis. For me, these visits have made such a positive impact upon our school, because not only has it allowed us as staff to reflect on the way we do things, but it has also given us a wealth of feedback about the way in which our school works.

Sometimes the unknown can seem like something to step away from, but when you think of the current landscape, no one has any idea where things will go and in some ways we never know how things will turn out. If we don’t try things out or push the boundaries of the way we do things, our practice will never move on. As a school we like to evolve and develop the opportunities our children have. When you think about most of the ways in which we do things as a school, they have developed not only from us taking a leap of faith into the unknown, but from being rooted in us understanding what works for our children and putting them at the centre of all that we do. If you read some of the recent comments below that we have received from visitors, hopefully you will see further how important it is for us as a school to keep looking forward and taking every opportunity we have, even if we can’t always predict what the outcome might be.

“Wow Unsworth Primary. Your school makes us feel really welcome! Your focus on bringing out the best in every pupil and your honesty is refreshing.”

 “Thank you for welcoming us into your school during such a busy week. There are so many ideas to share and celebrate, but I will take away how inclusive the school is and how you prioritise and celebrate individuality.”

“Classrooms were stimulating and supported children’s learning. Children were able to talk about their learning confidently and knew the purpose of their tasks.”

“The books are excellent. Marking signposts how to improve really well. The children work very much independently and are proud of their work and their school. Displays are beautiful and vibrant. Children are polite to each other and can talk eloquently. All this has clearly been developed over time. Great staff!”

“It was so good to see all the staff working together as a team. You could see this culture well and truly embedded throughout the school.”

“Thanks to everybody-our school motto is Happiness and High Standards. Your team seems to be as near to achieving it as possible. Well done!”

“Thank you so much for letting us see all the amazing things you are doing with your children. You clearly enthuse and inspire your children. I saw lots of fantastic teaching.”

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Computing and E-Safety Featured Latest News

Making the Internet a Safer Place!

Each evening this week the children will be bringing home some resources from the UK Safer Internet Centre. You can click here to access a range of other materials from them. In school we will be raising further awareness about using the Internet safely as an extension of the work we already do through our curriculum.

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Blog Teaching & Learning Blog

The Evolution of Learning

When we think of evolution we often think first of Charles Darwin and his work around the process by which different organisms are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the earth. It’s interesting through to consider the fact that evolution means the “gradual development of something.” I have been lucky enough over the past few weeks to work with a range of different practitioners, who have got me thinking about how learning has changed and is changing.

This year I have been working with Bury NQT’s (Newly Qualified Teachers) to develop their knowledge and understanding about what good teaching is. This involves planning and delivering training sessions where we unpick the theory behind teaching and look at what good practice is. While I was with Bury NQT’s on Thursday, we had the opportunity to go on a learning walk around St John with St Marks Primary School and observe a range of lessons. Visiting another school is always a privilege because it is an opportunity to see how learning and learners are being developed. It was wonderful to see how the children were at the centre of the learning experience and it confirmed for me the importance of listening to learners and developing approaches in school to make learning accessible to all. Through my discussions with other teachers, I always find that I learn something new or think about something in a different way, which is why collaboration between schools is so important.

All of us are learners and learn best from each other. As a school we have been developing this idea through our collaborations with other schools. You will have probably read recently through our blogs, about the variety of different visitors we have had to school and how these visitors help us to develop our thinking further. Linked with this are our visits to other schools, where we get opportunities to see other practitioners, reflect on different learning environments, look at children’s books and participate in learning in different classrooms. These types of experiences are the ways in which we evolve at Unsworth and how we advance our own understanding of learning.

Today I spent a morning at Yesoiday Hatorah School in Prestwich, which is a school I have been working with over the past 18 months. Within the school I have been sharing the work Unsworth have done on assessment and helping the school to develop its own approach through discussing the National picture. It was great to see the work the school has done so far following on from my earlier visits. It further strengthened my belief in the importance of school to school support, where practitioners have professional dialogue about their schools and where they need to go next. My session today provided staff at the school with an opportunity to look through a range of children’s work from Unsworth and a chance for me to discuss what learning is like for our children. I was delighted to hear how impressed the school was with the quality of our children’s work and how inspired the staff felt to develop further the learning experience for children within their own setting.  For me, the school I visited has started to evolve and it is lovely to think that through the evolution of learning at Unsworth, learning in other places is evolving to.

Classrooms, schools and indeed the whole landscape of education, are places that are constantly faced with a need to develop and move on. For myself and Mrs Reynolds, the progression of Unsworth and development of opportunities for learners to thrive further is always a high priority. It is an exciting prospect to be part of the evolution of learning and to value the merits of embracing change. We must see change as something positive, because change brings about reflection, it brings a sense of developing something further and it means that for our children, we are always looking at how learning can shape their futures.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

Nelson Mandela

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Class Pages Latest News Year 5 Blog

Sea serpents and chicks!

What an eventful week in Year 5.

We began the week with the arrival of the incubator and 10 eggs. Not expecting the eggs to hatch until Wednesday we had a lovely surprise at the end of Tuesday when one of the chicks appeared. By Wednesday morning we had a whole incubator full of yellow fluffy chicks.
We spent Thursday setting up the brood box and having fun handling the little delights. We weighed each of the chicks and will do so each day in order to monitor their growth over the next week.

We have also been gathering data over the last few weeks, linked to our PE and sustained running unit of work. The children have been keeping information linked to the number of laps they can run around a short circuit during 5 minutes. The children will monitor their own results and see if they can improve week on week.

In literacy, the children have been writing a mythical story with the support of a planning frame we constructed together. We focused on writing a good ending which sees all the problems created along the way being resolved. We even ended with a cliff hanger which left the reader thinking there might be another episode! The children will be planning there own mythical stories next week, including their own mythical beast which they created for homework.

Another area we need to return our focus to over the next few weeks will be multiplication and division. I left this aspect of learning for a few weeks because I wanted the children to spend some time on memorising their multiplication facts. It is vital that children are really secure with these facts, as next year there are proposed plans to introduce a multiplication test alongside the usual Maths SATs which your children will be doing. Please support your child in learning all of these facts.

Great week everyone