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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 2 Blog

What a busy week!

As always year 2 came back after their weekend break to lots of new learning tasks! As well as planning and writing a story to finish off their fantasy story text type, the children have been developing their creative skills. Last week year 2 shared their contemporary paintings and this week thy have been working with Miss Hackett to look at the work of Vincent Van Gogh. The children explored who he was and focussed on his work “Starry Night”. Through exploring the techniques behind the painting, the children worked in steps with Miss Hackett to create a draft oil painting. The aim next week is to turn their draft into a mini canvas to show case in our very own Van Gogh exhibition.

Also, the children have spent time developing their programming skills on the ipads, by using the Beebot app and Daisy Dino. The children were challenged to plan sequences and test them out. Have a look at the gallery below to see the children in action.

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Latest News Reception Class Blog

A fabulous Reception assembly!

How fabulous was this morning’s assembly?! I was so impressed at all my scary pirates and their fabulous singing! They have worked so hard at making all their own props and learning lots and lots of words.  A huge thank you to all who attended and many thanks for all your kind wishes , cards and gifts. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with such a fabulous set of children and I am sure they will continue to flourish throughout the year.

I’ll come back and visit soon

Love Miss Ashton 😊

Have a look at our pirate video by clicking the link below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Class Pages Latest News Year 5 Blog

Field trips and hockey sticks

It has certainly been an eventful week. The week began with Year 5 going to Heaton Park to carry out fieldwork. Having worked out where we were on the map, our first task was to gather information about the human and physical features around the park. The children created their own symbols and key for the different aspects they had identified. We took photographs, sketched pictures of building and added details to our maps. We returned to school with lots of information, which we would be using for the next stage of our enquiry.

Why not find out more about our Geography enquiry which you can access through the curriculum page on the website. You can see a photo gallery of all the work carried out throughout the two weeks.

In literacy, we have been focusing on explanation text. We read and analysed a number of texts, comparing the layout and the features they included. The children enjoyed playing the “why do..” game which focused on using causal phrase to explain the answer for various questions. We had great fun trying to construct different answers and working out which phrases worked best.

On Thursday, the children enjoyed developing their hockey skills with the Qfirstsport coach, Miss Davies. We worked together to ‘squeeze the ball’, developed our skills to pass the ball to each other and scoring goals 1 on 1. Even I couldn’t resist and picked up the hockey stick and joined in with the games and fun! The children certainly enjoyed attacking me with their hockey sticks and trying to get the ball off me.

Over the last two weeks we have been focusing on multiplication methods and I was pleased to see the progress the different groups have made. The effort individual children have made to learn the multiplication facts has paid off and the improvement shows in the work produced. So well done guys. Next week we will begin work on fractions, another tricky unit of work!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and see the children’s latest work through the photos and videos posted.

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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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Categories
Featured Latest News Year 2 Blog

Y2’s Surprise Tweet!

This week year 2 have been very creative, using their imaginations to bring their dragons to life through creating sketches that matched their written descriptions and also creating their own fantasy world using maps created by Paolini and Tolkien. I was so impressed with the sketches that the children did with Mrs Rhodes on both Monday and Wednesday and it was fantastic to see how proud they were when they saw them displayed. To create the dragon sketches, the children used a video clip to introduce the techniques and then they followed each step to create their own dragon. Through studying maps from Tolkien’s and Paolini’s books, the children were able to develop their own worlds.

A highlight of the week was when year 2 received a Tweet from the famous author Christopher Paolini himself, whose books they have been inspired by. The children had tweeted him earlier in the week and they were both amazed and surprised that he sent them a reply. Through showing children how to use social media correctly, the idea is that they will become good digital citizens. Year 2 felt really proud of their work and the fact that a real author took time to tell them how he valued their work, was a real treat. Have a look at his tweet below.

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Next week the children are going to create a fantasy story using their maps and dragons. They are so fired up for writing their own story and I can’t wait to see what adventures unfold for their dragons. Below you can see some examples of the writing and sketches that the children produced!

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Do have a look at Y2’s geography work for our whole school enquiry by clicking here and then clicking on the year box on the page!

 

 

 

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Featured Latest News Music Teacher's Blog

A Musical Masterpiece!

Our next large scale musical event will take place in July at Bury Parish Church. I have been asked to organise a ‘Youth Prom’ style concert which will obviously involve the choirs from the 5 schools in our Collaborative, alongside the Bury Young Voices Choir, and the Derby High School Band.

It is an exciting task to find repertoire for such events, challenging the children and introducing them to different genres of music. With great anticipation the Choral Group today began the task of learning the ‘Manchester Mash Up.’  This is a selection of songs all associated with Manchester that are ‘mashed together’ to create a 10 minute musical composition.  I have ensured the children mums, dads and carers will remember songs from the 80’ s and 90’s such as James ‘Sit down’ and Oasis ‘Don’t look back in anger.’

This fantastic musical masterpiece culminates with Elbow ‘A day like this.’ The thought of over 100 children performing this medley with a live band I’m sure will be another memorable night for our pupils, teachers, parents and carers.  To help the choral group familiarise themselves with these songs I have included a link for them to listen to and follow their lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOR00dOS-do

Our instrumentalists are continuing to make super progress particularly in Wider Opportunities where we have classes learning Ocarinas, Recorders and Brass.

Now we have entered the season of Spring, I look forward to our weekly ‘Big Sing’ where the theme of our songs will be the festival of Easter and New Life.

Mrs Geelan

 

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Featured Governor's Blog Latest News

Governors’ Learning Walk – British Values

Another interesting afternoon as a Governor of Unsworth Primary School.  Mr Cohen, Mr Howarth and I spent the afternoon carrying out a Learning Walk looking at how the school promotes British Values.  You can learn more about what this means by visiting the SMSC section of the website.

We met with Mrs Ali first and she explained to us how the school sets out to promote British Values under 5 themes: Mutual Respect, Democracy, Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, Rule of Law and Individual Liberty.  We then set out to explore how this is put into practice.  We visited an RE lesson, looked at the displays in the classrooms, hall and corridors, looked at some pupils’ books from each class, checked out the website and talked to the School Council.  We found lots and lots of evidence from all these activities that showed that the school is clearly very successful at putting into practice what it sets out to achieve under each of the 5 themes. We particularly liked the fact that children are encouraged to add their own personal contributions to the many displays. For example on the display “We all have dreams” one child had written “I have a dream that I will grow up to be a lovely lady and also a caring doctor”.

I also know that Mr Howarth had a great time meeting with the School Council.  We will very shortly be sharing with staff a full report of the outcomes of our Learning Walk.

Thanks, once again, to all the staff and children for making us so welcome.

[Sheila Gaskell, Vice Chair of Governors]

 

 

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Latest News Year 3 Blog

Poetry and mapping!

This week the children have enjoyed looking at acrostic poems. On Monday and Tuesday, we read various poems aimed at children of all ages and had discussions as to which age group we think they could be written for. To further their learning, the children thought hard about the PALL (purpose, audience, language and layout) for each poem, language being the trickiest for children to identify!

After further discussions in pairs and groups on Wednesday, the children were able to identify rhyming couplets, the use of adjectives and exciting adverbs. They also got to grips with the layout of an acrostic poem and how they are written.

On Thursday the children began to craft exciting and humorous sentences to use in their own acrostic poem based on imagination. Mrs Reynolds came into our lesson and was impressed with the children’s independent learning!

We have also started our Geography enquiry this week. We started with a clue hunt in the playground, the children absolutely loved it! They have also worked hard using various maps, beebots and iPad apps to further their understanding of directional language, points on a compass and using a key on a map.  On Friday, I worked with small groups of children to conduct map activities and learning conversations based on 4 figure grid references. Click on the curriculum tab, find the Geography page and follow the link for Year 3 next week to find out more about our exciting learning so far.

I have also reminded the children to keep on practising their 3, 4 and 8 times tables at home. We have been playing multiplication games all week to try to recall the times tables faster. Keep on accessing the abacus maths online homework page via the school website, as I set tasks that are in line with what the children are doing at school.

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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.”