Categories
Featured Headteacher's Blog Latest News

All it takes is a conversation

The educational landscape is undoubtedly ever evolving and changing. As the sun sets on one idea, view or approach, so the next day starts with more thoughts opinions or aspects to consider. After working in education for nearly two decades, I have come to see this as an essential part of the Teaching Profession, which allows it to expand the opportunities for young people and push the boundaries of what it means to be a learner in the 21st century.

As a school we aim to have learning as our core purpose; to ensure our children gain a mental or physical grasp of things, make sense of the world around themselves, interpret the events and actions that unfold, whilst also processing the words and actions of others. Learning and teaching come hand in hand and with that comes the relationships that exist between a school and its community. These relationships are the key to ensuring that all children, parents and staff are able to create the right climate for learning to take place and at the heart of this are the conversations that help shape and mould the way in which a community evolves.

Over the past couple of weeks I have had lots of conversations as usual with all sorts of children and adults who are both within and beyond our school community. Many of these conversations arise naturally from planned meetings, routines, visits or opportunities, but what I have found fascinating overtime is the power a conversation has to sow a seed of thought, bring about a different perspective or sometimes hold up a mirror to reflect on the way we do things.

As a school it has been great to start to work as part of Oak Learning Partnership and through the conversations between all three schools, start to see how collaboration across a primary school, secondary school and secondary special is in such a short space of time already starting to have an impact on the offer we want our children to have as learners.

Our newly established parent forum is another example of conversations that we are engaging with as a school to further expand our motto of “Together We Build Understanding”. As part of our forum launch we looked at the remit of the forum and its purpose, which was further enhance by a presentation from Bury2gether, who are going to work with us to establish a forum which allows parents of children with SEND to feel empowered to share their views and opinions. For us as a school we would like it to be owned by our parents and it is a real opportunity for us to work together as a community to continue to enhance the opportunities for learning that all our children have. The conversations within our forum between parents, members of staff and Bury2gether highlighted to me that our school community want to have more conversations and have lots of ideas and suggestions that will continue to help us move forward together.

Sometimes it is those conversations that happen by chance or that occur because of an opportunity which go on to change how things are. A parent once said to me 4 or 5 years ago “I would love to be a fly on the wall and see the things that my child tells me all about when they come home” and from that came our use of Tapestry and Twitter to bring the classroom to peoples finger tips.

We all want to do the best for our children, but at times there can appear to be challenges or systems and structures that seem to get in the way of this or somehow disrupt what we want to do. All it takes sometimes is a conversation to take us back to our shared purpose of ensuring our children get the best deal as learners and the future of society. Unsworth is always a place that is open to a conversation, a conversation that may almost seem insignificant, but a conversation that has the power to be the catalyst for change. The late Rita Pierson was an educator who believed in the power of human connection and always had time to listen to all those conversations that fill our daily lives and the shared spaces in which we exist as a society.  

“How powerful would our world be if we had kids not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think and who had a champion. Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them. Who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” (Rita Pierson)

So as simple as it sounds, all it often takes is a conversation to bring about understanding or bring about change. Our lives are filled with conversations and it is empowering to think that as a teaching profession our Chartered College came from our collective conversations about pedagogy. Our  growing engagement with digital apps such as Twitter shows us that conversations about education and ways to move forward are always possible.

All it takes is a conversation and somebody to start it off.

Categories
Featured Headteacher's Blog Latest News

New Beginnings

Last week saw the start of a new beginning for Unsworth with us officially converting to Academy status alongside our new partners Elms Bank and Broad Oak to form Oak Learning Partnership. For myself and Mrs Reynolds it is also the start of something new as we move forward into our different roles. I started at Unsworth thirteen years ago in 2006 as a class teacher within KS2 and when I look back overtime I can reflect on how the school has changed in that period of time.

I feel incredibly proud of all of the pupils and staff within the school and it really is a privilege to now be the Head teacher as Mrs Reynolds starts her role as Director of School Improvement and Executive Headteacher of the partnership.

It is true to say that Unsworth in 2019 is a different place to what it was in 2006, but what we have always protected at Unsworth and what we will continue to promote is that all our children are at the centre of what we do. I have always believed that “Together We Build Understanding” captures all that we do as a school and community. Our new partnership will continue to take this forward and our colleagues at Elms Bank and Broad Oak will help us to continue to change and evolve.

Our partnership unites our schools with one vision:

To give our learning community a highly effective education in a truly inclusive environment.

At Unsworth inclusion is something that we have thought a lot about and for us it is as simple as providing all of our children with what they need to be successful. For us as a school, the learning environment and the products of learning are what help our children to flourish. This is achieved through our enquiry curriculum, which has been designed by our staff to map out what we want our children to experience when they come to us at 4 up until they leave us at 11.

It has been lovely this week to hear from lots of our new families who will be starting with us in September and I look forward to welcoming them into Unsworth with the rest of the staff across the summer term.

We see this new beginning as the next chapter in Unsworth’s story; a story that belongs to all of the characters past, present and future who have helped shape it into the place that it is and will be. A place where learning about each other and the world around us is at the heart of what we do.

Categories
Computing and E-Safety eWarrior Blog Featured Latest News

Digital Worries

Our digital leaders have been working hard across the 1st half term, having weekly meetings and completing weekly challenges. All of the digital leaders have created their own introduction videos for their display board to explain who they are and why they wanted to be a digital leader. Their second task was to check that their class had e-safety rules displayed and to also be able to talk about what the rules mean. Task three was to create a digital worry box for their classroom, where children could post any problems or worries they were having with technology. All of the digital leaders brought in their own boxes and worked in pairs to create a box. The were also challenged with introducing the box to their class and had the additional challenge of recording this through a video, pic collage or comic life. After half term they will be sharing their creations, delivering an e-safety session to their class and meeting with our school governors to explaining their work across the school. 

Categories
Featured Latest News Music Teacher's Blog

Musical Opportunities

Welcome back to the new academic year where at Unsworth we want to offer your children the very best opportunities for music. I will continue to visit school every Tuesday working with individual Year groups and leading full school ‘Big Sing’ assemblies.

Today Year 2 had their first Ocarina lesson! The Ocarina is a small plastic instrument with 4 holes, and is an ideal instrument for KS1 children to learn.  Children will also learn about musical notation and elements of music such as ‘Pitch’ and ‘Rhythm.’

Year 3 had their second recorder lesson this morning. The children are already making amazing progress, as they are able to build on the Ocarina skills they developed in Year 2.

We are delighted to have on board exciting instrumental teachers offering a super range of instruments from children in Y1-6. In our assembly today we welcomed Dave from ‘Fidler Music’ who gave a fantastic demonstration to the children on learning the Ukulele and Guitar.  The children were spellbound when he started playing ‘ Despacito’ and other popular songs.  I can highly recommend ‘Fidler Music’ as they visit some of the other schools in our Music Collaborative and are very reasonably priced.  Each child in Y1 and Y2 has a letter about how they can sign up for lessons with this organisation.  Interested children in Key Stage 2 chose to take a letter home.

Year 5 had their Brass session today. We welcome back Mr Watkins, who is a Brass specialist and will be working with Y5 all year as part of the Wider Opportunities Programme.  Parents will have received a letter asking permission for children to take their instruments home, so please return the reply slip to school as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so.

Choral group will recommence at lunchtime on Tuesdays for any children in Years 5 and 6 that wish to come and sing. We do request that children who sign up for choir remain in it until the end of term, as we have already been invited to participate in numerous events, particularly in the run up to Christmas.  You may like to ‘Save the date’ Monday 11th December, as our choir will be performing at Bury Parish Church in the ‘Bury Hospice’ annual Carol Service.  This is always a wonderful event, and I know from experience, children do get very disappointed if they rehearse all the songs and carols, and are then unable to sing at the actual event.

If you wish to speak to me about any musical matters please call in between 8 and 9 am any Tuesday. We truly value music education at  School and strive once again this year to give your child the very best opportunities to shine.

Mrs Geelan

 

Categories
Blog Headteacher's Blog Latest News

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.

Earlier this week, the government published its latest response to the review of assessment in primary schools. The full report can be downloaded here. In primary education, we are used to constant change. We have experienced numerous changes in the assessment system since SATs were first introduced in 1990 for all seven year olds. The response paper has recommended that SATs for seven year olds be scrapped by 2023 and that the methodology for assessing writing in Y6 be changed this year. It also recommends the introduction of a times tables test in Y4. The check will be introduced in the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

As we do with all changes, we will look at them and adapt our practice accordingly. We have to comply with the accountability agenda without compromising our broad and balanced curriculum offer. For some pupils in some schools, Y6 has become a ‘preparation for SATs’ year. This is not the case at our school. We do prepare the children, but it is important that their last year at primary school is full of rich experiences and opportunities. For instance, during this last week they have enjoyed our celebration of Roald Dahl day (see the picture that accompanies this blog!); they have left school to become evacuees at Stockport Air Raid Shelters and then next week they will be going to Robinwood to experience their residential adventure holiday.

Professor John Hattie is a researcher in education. He is Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has conducted extensive research into what works in education and has become one of the most influential academics in education today.

In his work, Hattie analyses the effects of numerous strategies and approaches on pupil achievement. His analysis has some surprising findings. What he does believe, however, is this:

“What does matter is teachers having a mind frame in which they see it as their role to evaluate their effect on learning.”

This seems an obvious statement but to do it successfully is not so easy. Teachers and other school staff need to see themselves as learners. Constant evaluation of their teaching and its effectiveness is key. It is too easy to collect a bank of teaching resources and approaches and stick to ‘what you know’. Those of you who have had a number of children go through our school will know that this is not our approach. We are always researching and looking for answers to that important question of how to improve children’s learning.

In our School Development Plan this year, we are looking at how we can improve the range and quality of what we are calling ‘pupil products’. These are the outcomes of learning. Of course, many of these products will be in the children’s books but we also want to consider how we will use technology and the range of products of learning that are not written down. It will be an exciting challenge to develop this research with our staff and with our pupils. We will look to share this work with you on a daily and weekly basis through our twitter feed @unsworthprimary and through this website.

Categories
Blog Latest News Reception Class Blog Year 1 Blog Year 2 Blog Year 3 Blog Year 4 Blog Year 5 Blog Year 6 Blog

A huge thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who visited our Book Fair this week and who got involved in celebrating  Roald Dahl’s Birthday on Wednesday by bringing a prop, a book or wearing an entire costume!  It has been lovely to see so many children excited about buying and looking at the books on sale.  The fair and ‘Dress up for Dahl Day’ has been a fantastic success in creating a buzz around books and promoting reading for pleasure, with over £800 worth of books having been sold throughout the week.  Your generosity and support has meant that the school will receive nearly £500 worth of free books for the school library!  Our school library will be open from next Friday lunchtime and our newly appointed librarians or ‘Word Warriors’ as we like to call them will be on hand to help out! 

Congratulations as well to our five raffle winners, ( from Reception, Y1, Y4  and Y6)  who all received and cashed in a £5 gift voucher today. 

 

Categories
Headteacher's Blog Latest News

That September feeling

The first week in September is a special time in school. The wider school staff have worked hard over the summer to make sure school is shiny and new for our children returning this week. On Wednesday morning our classrooms were ready to receive our children for another school year.

It is always lovely to see everyone arrive on the playground on the first morning of the school year. Our children looked very smart in their brand new uniforms and were excited to start in their new classes. Our Reception class have settled in very well. 

In our first whole-school assembly, we spoke about our school motto, our five core values and our golden rules. As usual, the children were able to talk about these things with confidence and understanding. It’s a great pleasure to listen to their wise words. 

As the week progressed, the children agreed their class rules and reward systems. They also decide on the types of sanctions they think are fair if they make poor choices. They really do understand how their good behaviour contributes to their learning. 

As the week ended, the children started to use their new exercise books. These have been personalised with our school motto and have shiny new covers which the children love! They take a lot of pride in producing their personal best work in their ‘learning windows’. 

We are looking forward to another successful year for our children and our school. 

Categories
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

Categories
Blog Featured Latest News The Voice of the School Council Blog

Red Nose Day

The School Councillors are pleased to announce the arrival of Red Noses! From tomorrow they will be sold around school at the cost of £1. Watch out for School Councillors selling them at playtime.

Did you know it takes 17 muscles to smile? The children at Unsworth are facing the challenge of smiling for two minutes or more on Friday morning. Please support them and help them raise money for Red Nose Day by donating any loose change you may have.  The School Councillors will be on collection duty on the yard this week. They are committed to raising money for this worthwhile cause and are hoping to raise a lot of smiles doing so!

 

 

Categories
Sports News Blog

Greater Manchester School Games – Unsworth chosen to represent Bury Schools

We are proud to announce that the Unsworth Tag Rugby team will be one of two schools to represent Bury at the annual Greater Manchester Winter Games. They will compete against the top 2 schools from each borough of Greater Manchester on Tuesday 21st March

imageimage

The day is something the children will remember, participating at the fantastic Eastlands Sportscity facilities. They have done incredibly well to represent the Bury schools and should enjoy this next challenge.