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West Denton Primary School

‘A Stepping Stone into the Future’

Head Teacher's Blog

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Head Teacher's Blog 

15-10-21  (Mick MingStones, Head Teacher, WDPS)

Dear Families,


Life in WDPS,  week by week, is beginning to  feel more like the period before COVID-19 turned the world on its head. It is lovely for me to eat each day in the school hall and greet the children as they catch up on the news with their friends at lunch.


WDPS Safeguarding and the Newcastle City Council and Public Health Picture

Thank you all so much for supporting the WDPS community during this COVID-19 period and for adhering to the latest Government guidelines. Checking temperatures and hand sanitizing continue to be part of our own mitigation measures. I will continue to update you with any new guidance that I receive, as it often will be pertinent for other family members in secondary school and in higher education institutions. 


Open Week - (WC 8th November)

The format for the first parent/carer consultations of the year will be via telephone appointments. We will let you know how to book a time slot once this has been set up on our system.


Read Write Inc (RWI)

Miss Knowles (Foundation Stage Leader and Phonics Leader) continues to provide strong support for all school staff who deliver RWI across school. Please practise all phonics work that is sent home with your child and work with school staff to help our children to develop a love for reading by sharing books with them at home on a daily basis. 


Outer West Learning Trust (OWLT)

I enjoyed attending our annual OWLT Head Teacher Conference for a day and a half last week. This was a valuable opportunity to discuss collective goals and to strategically plan for focus area priorities for the next few years. Once all Governing Bodies have provided feedback on an OWLT presentation, we will share our plans with the school community. 


Turing Award and the 'Life Manual'  (Update)

I am delighted to tell you that the school in Amsterdam wants to work with us to create a  'Life Manual' which will provide students with: Recipes to create healthy snacks and meals, ideas/activities for positive mental health, wellbeing, mindfulness and meditation,  healthy and active outdoor activities and also creative response activities. In essence, it builds on the ethos of the WDPS Life Skills Challenge Award (LSCA) that I created several years ago. 


The Dutch school is also keen to develop communication between our Phase 3 children and their students. I met with our WDPS Phase 3 staff this week to start planning out this exciting project. Initial ideas include a 'Bake Off' or 'Cook Off', a 'Day in the Life of WDPS' video and a  rolling teaching and learning programme to create ideas for the 'Life Manual'. On Tuesday 2nd November, we will hold a video meeting with staff in both schools to decide how we progress the project to maximise inter-cultural learning and communication for all. 


Extended Curriculum

I am passionate about giving our children a rich diet of healthy activities at school. It  has been lovely to extend our curricular offer and to encourage our children to adopt healthy life choices that they can hopefully continue throughout their lives.


This week our Y3 children enjoyed their weekly ukulele sessions delivered by John from the Newcastle Music Service. Phase 3 received  Street Dance coaching with an Active Kids trainer. Phase 1 had fun in their Animal Pageant music workshops with the Newcastle Music Service and Mrs. McHatton has delivered the WDPS Life Skills Challenge Award (LSCA) to our children on a rota basis. On Wednesday she took Mr. Jones' Y4 class to Matfen Hall to extend their knowledge of the natural world. This included identifying different species of trees, searching for animal tracks and scat and creating dens for animals. Mrs. Williams has enjoyed providing cycling skills sessions to our children as well. This year, I will attend a British Cycling coaching course and I plan to get involved in working with Mrs. Williams to teach children to improve their bike skills.  Also, I will deliver a lunchtime club with Mrs. McHatton  to help our children to increase their skills and  knowledge via the LSCA.


In  2022, our Y5 children will attend a 10 afternoon intensive swimming programme to improve their confidence in the water and to enable them to swim 25 m or greater. We also hope to develop cycling skills and stamina through re-introducing offsite rides for our older students.


WDPS Raising Aspirations Programme (RAP)

We need more speakers - please!

If you would like to share your life journey with our older students, could you please e-mail Miss Croll or I and we can talk through this positive experience for our children. I promise you that is is very relaxed and teaching staff and I are there to promote a calm, learning environment.


All children need to have positive adult role models in order to help them to achieve their full potential. This is why we invite inspirational speakers into school to help children understand that hard work, perseverance and following your dreams can open up maximum choices in all aspects of life. 


Having Fun as a Family

As families,  remember that you and your children need lots of down time and getting outside together is a tonic for the wellbeing of all. A walk in the park, throwing or kicking a ball, a family bike ride can all help to put a smile back on our faces. If the weather is challenging, try an indoor physical workout which will get your heartbeat up or dust off a board game and re-kindle the shared pleasure of playing games together. Also, sharing a book is one of the best ways to help your child on their lifelong learning journey.


I hope you all get to enjoy a happy and safe weekend with your families and friends.


Kind regards,




Mick MingStones

Head Teacher