Politics is certainly in the air at this fascinating moment as we wait for another general election. Therefore the timing of our Debating Society visit to parliament could not have been better. What a tremendous learning experience it was for all! The children learnt how to lobby politicians, the different ways in which views could be shared, and most importantly got to see the most powerful house in our country.
The children themselves were asked many questions and our Debating Society are fully versed in the role of the speaker, in expectations of professional debate and the set up of our houses of parliament. They so impressed the guide on our visit that he proclaimed 'There are A Level students that couldn't answer some of the questions you've answered'. Naturally, we were extremely proud.
Highlights of the day included visiting the viewing gallery in the House of Lords and the House of Commons where we actually watched some debate taking place. What really impressed the children however was a visit from our local MP Nadhim Zahawi, who gave up a lot of time to come and answer their questions. As he talked with warmth about his own experiences that led him to become an MP, it was clear that the children were genuinely inspired by what he had to say. An already unforgettable visit was truly enriched by his presence. So thank you Mr Zahawi!
DEBATE CLUB TO VISIT HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT IN OCTOBER
When the trip was booked earlier in the year, it was hard to imagine or predict what might be happening in parliament by October. Debate club are getting incredibly excited about the upcoming visit and are writing numerous questions in preparation.
Miss Smith is running special speech writing workshops for any key stage 2 child who is interesting in participating in our debate club.
Our local Conservative MP, Nadim Zahawi has confirmed that he would like to attend one of our debate sessions (as you will see below, Jess Phillips from the Labour party joined us in the summer), and we are just awaiting a final date.
Our children in upper juniors are encouraged to engage in politics. Some year 5 children have followed every single Brexit vote and can opine with confidence, when it comes to sharing their views. We were so impressed by the eloquence that Miss Smith decided to start a debate club. This is an absolutely wonderful incentive and the children absolutely love it.
It was partly due to this that Jess Phillips asked if we would like her to visit our school. Miss Smith and Mrs Herrero attended a historical artistic tour at Birmingham art gallery which focused on Suffragettes. As part of this exhibition, there was a talk on Women in politics, led by four female mps from different parties and different constituencies. Miss Smith and Mrs Herrero spoke to them afterwards, and Jess Phillip was so impressed by the work happening at out school that she offered to visit.
She stayed for two hours, answering questions written by children in Seahorses and Sharks. Her responses can be read in detail in the Stratford Herald, who also stayed to report on events for the full two hours. The session finished with Jess taking part in debate club, where she was astounded by the confidence and articulation of the pupils.
PROUD AND COLD! WILLOWS PUPILS LEAD THE PRIMARY SCHOOL PROCESSION FOR SHAKESPEARE'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
The feeling of those attending this year's Shakespeare Parade was put into two words by the eloquent Mr Shuker "Proud and cold!"
It was an icy cold day, particularly when the wind whistled through the streets, billowing up into the Shakespeare flag with such force that it had to be taken down again!
Parade Willows veterans Mr Stickley and Mrs Longford kept everyone in line.
"It's such an honour to lead the procession as the oldest school in Stratford", said Mr Stickley.
"It's by far, one of my favourite events of the year," Mrs Longford added, "I might even write one of my songs about it for next year."
Mrs Herrero tried to keep the children warm by encouraging them to march and dance along to the music from the brass band. Our good friends Stratford upon Avon Primary school, also did the same thing. Mrs Herrero expressed her pride in the children's performance.
"I was so proud of our wonderful Willows pupils. Their behaviour was impeccable as usual, and despite the biting cold, they walked through the streets with pride."
The cross country dancing was a real success, led by the talented Miss Smith. Mrs Milward and Dr Dale both commented on how much they enjoyed it, "It was fantastic! So full of energy".
Thank you to Mrs Campion who organised the children's arrival and who tweeted the most up to date information, and to Dr Dale who worked not just with our school but with other schools in the cluster to ensure everyone knew what was to happen on the day.
SHELL SHOCK DRAMA AS REMNANTS OF HUMPTY ARE DISCOVERED
Somehow, drama seems to court EYFS, where yet again, there has been another catastrophe. You may remember that very recently Monty, the school pet disappeared during the children's superhero project. He was later found frozen, in a block of ice and the children had to find a way to defrost him.
Last week the class walked into a crime scene. Remnants of Humpty Dumpty were found strewn on the floor. Investigations took place very quickly where the children surmised that Humpty had not fallen, he had actually been pushed. The police were invited in to the investigation and this was extremely helpful. The children have now solved the mystery and the culprit has kept her job, due to a very good explanation which we have accepted.
LEARNING SIDE BY SIDE: ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL EYFS WORKSHOP
One of the approaches used in EYFS that has the most powerful impact on learning in the classroom are the regular workshops held for parents during the school day. Attendance and commitment is high. The sessions are always extremely well attended and parents feedback on how valuable they find the experience.
Throughout the term, the EYFS team work hard to identify the areas where children need extra support and the workshops are developed and designed around this, making the approach bespoke and effective.
EYFS lead, James Shuker was very pleased with last week's event.
"Many thanks to all of the parents/grandparents who attended last week’s Reception writing workshops
It was an opportunity to work alongside their child, seeing how phonics is taught in school and understanding how to best support their child at home. We explored how to pronounce the sounds that are within Phase two and Phase three of Letters and Sounds, how to read them and how to write them. We then practiced the skill of segmenting to model how a child is expected to develop their writing skills. The children practiced writing words, captions and even some sentences with capital letters, finger spaces and full stops."