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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 

30-09-22  (Mick MingStones, Head Teacher, WDPS)


Dear Families,


I hope that you have all enjoyed a stimulating week. 


It has been lovely for me to settle back into the routine of school life again. Thank you for your kind words, wishes and prayers.


Monday Assembly

My focus for this week's assembly was about always trying to be the best that you can be. I shared an overview of the life of Amy Johnson who was the first female to fly solo from Britain to Australia and how she overcame many obstacles and challenges to make her dream of flying come true. Amy really lived out one of the WDPS Core Values below.


I have the courage to try new things.


Achievers' Assembly

I love seeing the delight on our children's faces as they share their work and receive an Achiever's Certificate for their academic achievement or for living out WDPS Core Values like 'Creativity', 'Enthusiasm' or 'Empathy'.


Clennell Education Solutions (CES) Safer Recruitment Training

I enjoyed a useful Safer Recruitment Training session with CES.


WDPS Full Governors

I really appreciate all the quality support that I receive from WDPS Governors as we work together to provide the best learning environment for all our children. On Tuesday, we listened to a presentation from Mark Outterside and Julie Stuart as they shared with us their exploration work into Multi Academy Trust (MAT) status, which is high on the national political agenda. I will be sharing information on this subject with you over the coming months.


Staff Professional Development

Thank you to Maths Leader Mrs. Singleton who delivered stimulating staff training this week. 


Attendance Update

All school staff are working really hard to improve our overall school attendance. Please ensure that your child gets into the habit of coming to school every day so that they can maximise their life chances through developing their talents to the full. Our Attendance Officer Grant Short and our School Welfare Officer Lyndsay McMenzie are working with families to improve their children's attendance. If you are having any problems getting your child into school, please let their Class Teacher know immediately and Grant and/or Lyndsay will contact you to offer support.


New Initiatives

Children with over 97% attendance will have a treat in the hall once a half-term.

Class league table on the website every Friday.

Monday text reminding parents about benefits of attending and the £50 voucher each half-term.

Children to receive a sticker for attending each week.


New In-class Incentive

On each day that the whole class are present, they will earn a letter to display. Once they have spelt out ‘My Perfect Attendance’, they will be rewarded with a Golden Afternoon e.g. PJs party, film and popcorn in classroom, board game afternoon etc.


Holidays in Term Time - Penalty Notice

Since September 2019, the Governing Body has been notifying the Attendance Service about any pupil taking holidays in term time and will now be issuing Penalty Notices.  This policy is in line with Newcastle LA and our partner schools in the Outer West Learning Trust (OWLT).


Please note that a copy of the Penalty Notice is issued to each parent for each child taken out of school. A Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 if paid within the first 21 days which increases to £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. If the Penalty remains unpaid, this may lead to prosecution through the Magistrates Court.


The summer holidays at the end of the academic year 2022-2023 are equivalent to a full six weeks starting on the 21st July to the 5th September which we hope may enable families to book cheaper holidays removing any need for children to go on holiday during term time.


Family Support - Literacy and Numeracy

Read Write Inc (RWI), Reading Plus and Reading with Your Child at Home to Improve their Life Chances

Please practise all RWI 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. Also, can we ask all parents and carers to share a book, story of magazine with their child at home each day. Help your child and  make sure that they do their Reading Plus work as well,  as those children who are accessing these challenges regularly, are making rapid progress in their reading speed and thinking skills. I know that many of our students are strengthening their attainment levels with regular sessions at home on both Doodle English and Doodle Spell. 

Once your child can read, they can access the curriculum and begin to learn and also improve their life chances to get the best jobs possible in life. Education simply opens up more choices for your child in all areas of their life to come. 



All children love and benefit from Times Tables Rockstars, so please support them at home with this programme and also with Doodle Maths and Doodle Tables. With just 10 minutes every day, the children can potentially make three months’ worth of progress in one month. 


Turing Award and the 'Creative, Healthy and Natural Me' Project  (Update)

Check out our 5 Facebook vlogs and highlights video that chronicle the Amsterdam trip West Denton Primary School - Home | Facebook

Our Phase 3 students are now working on making the ‘Life Manual’ a reality as they create assets for the following 4 strands:

  • Recipes for healthy snacks and meals.
  • Ideas and techniques for promoting mental health, positive wellbeing, mindfulness, meditation etc.
  • Outdoor activities.
  • Ideas for creative response e.g. write songs, origami, whittling etc.


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. 


From September 2022, we have extended our outdoor learning offer and provide a wider range of activities in order to develop our children’s Multiple Intelligences.  Please click on the link below to see an overview of the exciting experiences our children will enjoy in the future as per the mindmap  'WDPS Cycle Development and Wider Outdoor Learning'.

WDPS Cycle Development and Wider Outdoor Learning - September 2022 | West Denton Primary School



Our Y5 children have really enjoyed their BMX session this week when we visited Chopwell BMX track. Check out West Denton Primary School (WDPS) (@WDPrimarySchool) / Twitter


This week, our Phase 3 children had fun in  their Active Kids Street Dance lesson with Shantelle. Our Y4 children enjoyed their weekly ukulele sessions delivered by John from the Newcastle Music Service. Nathan has taught Rocksteady music sessions to our budding performers and musicians. Phase 1 children are developing their musical skills through their 'Story Makers' workshops.

Mrs. McHatton has had fun delivering the WDPS Life Skills Challenge Award (LSCA) to our children on a rota basis. Mrs. Williams provided cycling skills sessions to our children and is developing their bike-handling skills.



A huge thank you to all out staff who have provided lunchtime and after-school clubs for our children this week. If your child did not manage to get into the club of their choice this half-term, there will be further opportunities over the course of the next academic year.


Parent Engagement

Thank you to all the parents and carers who have been attending the after-school Hat Trick parent and child sessions. This week our Y6 families and Y3 parents and carers were put through their paces.



Our Y6 students learnt how to keep safe in different out door environments, when they visited SafetyWorks! this week. 


Safetyworks! is a multi-agency interactive safety centre serving the community of Tyne & Wear.  It provides an innovative, enjoyable learning experience enabling visitors to participate safely in realistic situations illustrating everyday hazards and how to prevent them.

SafetyWorks! is operated and managed by Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service.


WDPS Raising Aspirations Programme (RAP)

We need more speakers - please!

If you would like to share your life journey with our older students (15 to 20 minutes), could you please e-mail Miss Croll or I and we can talk through this positive experience for our children. I promise you that it 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 you have a pet, have fun playing with it. 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 enjoy a happy weekend with your families and friends.


Kind regards,



Mick MingStones

Head Teacher