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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 

20-05-22  (Mick MingStones, Head Teacher, WDPS)


Dear Families,


I hope that this has been a fulfilling week for you all.


COVID-19 - Latest Guidance

(This will be re-introduced when/if new guidelines are introduced)


Y2 SATS Week

Thank you to our staff, Y2 pupils and their families for supporting our children during their SATS this week. Now the children can relax

and enjoy this last week of this term at WDPS. 


Y2 SATS Slumber Party

Our Y2 children have enjoyed ending the week with a special, end of SATS 'Slumber Party'.


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. 


Dear Parents and Carers,


I would like to clarify school-wide systems and procedures for everyone in the WDPS community.


  • School starts at 8.55 am promptly; all children are expected to arrive on time for the start of the day.  Any child arriving after this time will be marked late.  It is very disruptive to our community and unsettling for your child if they are late, please make every effort to ensure they arrive on time.


  • If your child arrives late (and after 9.10am) 3 or more times in a week, they will be expected to attend a ‘catch up learning session’ on a Friday lunchtime with Miss Croll. If they arrive after 9.30am they will be marked with a ‘U’ code which is an absent mark, not a late ‘present’ mark.


  • School must be contacted by 9.15am if your child is going to be absent. Please provide the reason for the absence and the expected date of return to school.


  • Remember to make every effort to book medical appointments outside of school hours.  A child will only be authorised to be absent for medical appointments where an appointment card is provided. Your child will be expected to attend school before and after any appointment.


  • We understand it can be difficult, but holidays during term time, will not be authorised.  If you plan to take your child out of school for a holiday, please arrange to meet with me to discuss the absence. An absence request form must then be completed and returned.


  • Thank you for supporting us in ensuring that our children are wearing the recommended school uniform which also includes black shoes. Not only is the uniform smart and practical, but it can also save wear and tear on more expensive fashionable clothes.


  • Lunches – please refrain from changing between packed lunches and school meals within a week.  We ask that a child stays on the same choice for a whole week at a time.


Kind Regards,


Mick MingStones

Head Teacher



Teaching Assistant (TA) Short-Listing

This week we shortlisted for a Teaching Assistant vacancy and were impressed by the high quality skills and experience of some of the candidates.


Finance, Staffing and Premises (FSP) Governors

Thank you to our FSP Governors who met with me this week to work through the budget for 2022-2023. Effective resource allocation is so important to maximise the best learning experiences and outcomes for our children.


Whole School Achievers Assembly

It is lovely to see the delight on our children’s faces as they receive their Achievers Certificates at our Friday Achievers Assembly. I always tell tall the children to : Share their certificates at home, get some exercise outside at the weekend and also offer to help out by doing jobs at home. I love hearing them tell me on a Monday how they have helped at home. 


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. 


Maths Staff Meeting

Thank you to Mrs. Singleton for leading a high-quality staff meeting on Wednesday.


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

Please see the Turing Project overview and updates (Second circle from the left at the top of the WDPS homepage). Check out the 'Talking Heads' video of the WDPS Ambassadors and their expectations for the trip. There is also a video of me talking through the rationale for the project. Also check out our 5 Facebook vlogs and highlights video that chronicle the Amsterdam trip West Denton Primary School - Home | Facebook


After the Key Stage 2 SATS, our Phase 3 students will work on making my dream of 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.


Hat-trick PE

Miss Jenks' Y3 class are thoroughly enjoying the sports sessions which have included football, dodgeball and basketball so far. 


Laing Art Gallery Visit

On Monday Mr. Jones' Year 4 class visited the Laing Art Gallery. The children took part in a workshop designed around sculpture. They investigated Henry Moore’s abstract sculpture and learnt about shape, form and texture through games and drama activities. Thank you to our Art Leader Miss Jenks for organising this cultural experience. Our Y3/4 class enjoyed the same offsite workshop on Wednesday.


Reception Aquarium Visit

As part of their ‘Under the Sea’ topic, our Reception children visited  The Tynemouth Aquarium on Tuesday 17th May 2022.  Whilst at The Blue Reef Aquarium, the children took part in a rock pool encounter, watched a seal show and investigated various marine life. 


ABC Project

Our Year 4 children are enjoying their Anti-Social Behaviour  lessons where they are learning about the importance of resisting peer pressure and the need to make their own good choices in life. These programmes are delivered by Percy Mather who is a former policeman.

ABC Lesson Overview

  • Why we have rules and laws
  • Understanding antisocial behaviour
  • Don’t be a bully, do not become a victim
  • Borrowing or Stealing
  • Children and Crime
  • Keeping Safe


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. Nathan has taught Rocksteady music sessions to our budding performers and musicians.    Mrs. McHatton has had fun delivering the WDPS Life Skills Challenge Award (LSCA) to our children on a rota basis.  On Friday Y4 students conducted a litter pick with Morrisons. Mrs. Williams provided cycling skills sessions to our children and is developing their bike-handling skills. From September 2022, we are looking to extend our outdoor learning offer and provide a wider range of activities in order to develop our children’s Multiple Intelligences. 



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 year.


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 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 all enjoy a fun and relaxing weekend with your families and friends.


Kind regards,



Mick MingStones

Head Teacher