Article written for the local newspapers - Longwood School and Nursery has been making some very big cuts lately, but for all the right reasons. Longwood prides itself on putting the well-being of the community in the hearts of all its pupils. The week, the children learnt the plight of young children with cancer and were given the opportunity to help in a practical and positive way.
On Monday, Year 6 assembly prefect, Rebecca, gave a presentation in assembly about the Little Princess Trust, which collects hair and sends it off to be made into wigs for children who have lost theirs, due to cancer and other serious illnesses. Following on from the presentation, headteacher Claire May, together with one of the secretaries, two nursery practitioners and two year 5 pupils, had their hair cut, so that they could send their ponytails to be made into wigs for children. The whole school watched as Sam Anton wielded her scissors six times. Sam is a Longwood mum herself and donated her time and her skills for free. Mrs May says, “I am so thrilled that this project has inspired so many of our community to get involved. The atmosphere in today’s assembly was supportive and so much fun and we’ve surpassed all expectations in terms of donations.”
Another Longwood mum, Tracy Hunt, whose daughter, Freya, came up with the whole idea, together with Sanya’s mum, set up a fundraising page for members of the community to donate. So far, we have raised just over £2000, which is a fantastic effort. The money is being divided equally between the Little Princess Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support, which is another charity that Longwood has supported for many years. Lauren and Adam, who are Year 6 events prefects, told the pupils about this charity and explained how they are organising a cake sale and a cupcake competition on Friday. Our annual coffee mornings have become an eagerly anticipated highlight at Longwood and we hope to raise a significant sum on Friday.
Macmillan Coffee Morning
This morning we held our annual coffee morning and it was, as usual, a great success. Thank you for all the wonderful cake donations and a special thank you to everyone who entered the cupcake competition. The judges found it hard but finally made their decision. Congratulations to Lauren, who was awarded third place, Sonni who came second and the overall winner, Rayyan, with his chocolatey, Oreo-laden cupcakes. It was lovely seeing so many parents enjoying a cup of tea, a cake and a chat. Thank you to Julie (Harrison’s mum) for helping to serve the hot drinks. My biggest thanks of the day go to Lauren and Adam for organising such a successful event.
FoL Family Quiz
The quiz, organised by Friends of Longwood was a great success. Special thanks to our quiz masters, Yogi and Julie, who ran the event with panache! Congratulations to the winning team – the Costco Champions – and thank you to everyone who came along and supported us.
Our harvest festival at St James’ Church was a lovely celebration and, as usual, the children all performed beautifully. It was very well attended; thank you to all parents who came along. I hope you enjoyed listening to our selection of harvest songs and poems.
This year, we decided to support Children in Need again. Lauren and Adam, our events prefects, suggested that all children come to school in sports kit. This was a popular idea and everyone enjoyed dressing in non-uniform. Lauren and Adam also organised a fun run at playtime, with children donating money to take part. They raised £35 for their efforts.
Oak room held their own Bake Off. The cakes looked delicious and they raised a staggering £301. Congratulations to Mrs Madawela, who won the staff cake competition and to Prachi in Oak room, who won the children’s competition. Altogether, we raised £448.30 which we have sent off to Children in Need.
December started with a very special treat for the children in Cherry, Oak, FT and FW. They had a magical visit from Mr Marvel. He kept them entertained with all sorts of tricks and jokes. Great fun was had by all.
Our older children visited Beaumont Care Home in Bushey to entertain the residents with a medley of Christmas carols. After some beautiful singing, UKS2 enjoyed chatting to the old people, getting to know them and finding out about their childhood memories. This was a lovely opportunity; the children and the residents both gained a great deal from our trip.
Everyone enjoyed the preschool nativity dress rehearsal. It was a lovely occasion, where the older children supported the younger ones, clapping enthusiastically and joining in where appropriate. The preschool parents loved the real thing. It was adorable and judging by the comments afterwards, enjoyed by all.
FS and KS1 loved presenting their show, Christmas with the Aliens, to a packed audience of family and friends. It was a superb performance, and was the culmination of a great deal of hard work.
KS2 performed Aladdin Trouble for their Christmas show. The children put in so much effort and were rewarded with a performance of which to be immensely proud.
In the last week of term, the school children enjoyed a special Christmas lunch, complete with crackers and Christmas music. Everyone was in good spirits, the children behaved beautifully and a great time was had by all. The dessert – a dazzling array of homemade Christmas cookies – was amazing. Our school council enjoyed judging the cookies, although they had a difficult time choosing the winners. Congratulations to Aadi (third place), Freya (second place) and the overall winner, Mack.
On Wednesday, we all went off to the pantomime – oh yes we did! (OK, so I make the same joke every year!) This was huge fun, a perfect Christmas treat and a chance for the children to see a professional show and start gathering some ideas for next year’s performances.
At the end of term, KS2 children enjoyed an Interhouse football competition. Congratulations to the winning house – BLYTON! Thank you to Miss Taylor for refereeing the matches.
On Tuesday 5th February, our school choir had a fabulous day, culminating in taking part in a performance at the O2 arena in Greenwich. Everyone had been practising all the songs and dances for months. It was an amazing experience to be part of a massed choir made up of 8868 primary
school children and their teachers. The O2 was packed, the atmosphere was fantastic and we
all made memories that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
This event, organised by Young Voices, gets bigger and bigger each year and it's not hard to see why. The benefits of working together, being a small cog in a big machine, practising hard for a future reward, making music and having fun are so important and we work hard at Longwood to take
advantage of opportunities such as this event, to that end.
Also in February, we held our annual Musicians Assembly. What a fabulous musical celebration! We heard many solo pieces on a variety of instruments. The children were confident, well-rehearsed and enjoyed playing to an audience; some of them for the first time. UKS2 performed a piece of Gamalan music. This was the culmination of several weeks of work in their music lessons. Gamalan music originated in Indonesia and is traditionally played on drums and percussion instruments hit with mallets. Our children used glockenspiels, drums and a xylophone. They played complex layers of music all on a pentatonic scale. Our school choir performed We Are The World, which was part of our Young Voices repertoire. The morning finished with everyone singing Let It Go, after being reminded that singing improves mood, decreases stress and anxiety levels, lowers blood pressure and increases blood oxygen saturation. We all felt great afterwards.
We had a great week celebrating World Book Day. Lots of children bought a book or two from our Book People book fair to add to their family libraries. Our World Book Day dress up day was very successful. There are some pictures on the website; the children made a fantastic effort.
Madame's second hand book fair was another success. She raised £75 which we donated to the RSPCA. Thank you to everyone who donated a book, everyone who bought a book and a special thank you to Madame for organising it all.
The house captains organised a quiz on Friday afternoon. They kept the whole school entertained with a selection of literary questions. Great fun!
We held a fun day to support Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day. The children enjoyed wearing something red and we raised a substantial amount of money for the charity. Lauren and Adam organised two playtime games – Guess How Many Sweets In The Jar and How Many Basketball Shots In One Minute. This generated excitement and also helped add to the total. Well done to our Events Prefects for being proactive and making a difference.
There was great excitement when the eggs arrived. We all watched the chicks hatch. The children loved watching the life cycle in action and getting to meet the baby chicks.
Still in March, we took part in the National Skipping Challenge. The children enjoyed counting the number of skips jumped at playtime and lunchtime. Charlotte and Aman, our playground prefects, added them all together and submitted our total, which was added to the totals from 123 other schools around the country. It was fun to take part and has helped us to develop our skipping techniques, which will come in useful on Sports Day.
Just before the end of term, the school council organised an Easter egg race at lunchtime, just for fun. This event was in the planning for a good few weeks. The children were split into teams. Each team had to “mat race” to the log world and get a plastic egg full of chocolates down from the top of the log world, using only rulers and sellotape. Everyone really entered into the spirit, worked together and had loads of fun in the process. Thank you to Rebecca, who masterminded the whole event.
The house captains organised inter house handball and football on Wednesday afternoon. These matches are becoming a tradition at the end of each term and it’s lovely to watch the children taking their sport seriously and putting skills learnt in their games lessons to the test. Well done to everyone for such good sportsmanship.
In May, we had “Careers Day”, led by some of our Year 6 pupils. This was their own initiative and I am proud of them for seeing a great project through. There were some very creative ideas about what the children see themselves doing in the future. Take a look at the pictures on the website. You will spot doctors, teachers, footballers, artists, palaeontologists, lawyers, engineers and more. Thank you to the house captains and events prefects for preparing a great assembly and a quiz to kick the day off. What a great idea!
Later in May, our school children have enjoyed a Skip2bfit workshop and the older children also did Box2bfit. Skipping is one of the best exercises you can do as it gives you the fundamentals of all sports i.e balance, timing and footwork. The sessions were great fun and pupils loved the challenges they were set. The children were provided with blueberries, as exercise and eating healthily go hand in hand.
Just before half term, we held our annual gymnastics display. The KS1 & 2 children had been practising hard during their PE lessons for quite some time and they didn’t disappoint. The standard of gymnastics was impressive, as was the standard of creativity. We are grateful to the instructors from Jumptastic, who work with our children every week, teaching them skills and encouraging them to achieve highly. It was a lovely display of physical agility, teamwork and practice.
Then we held “Longwood’s Got Talent”. It was huge fun. There were a variety of acts, involving children from preschool right through to Year 6. The judges were excited and the audience expectant. Congratulations to Joshua (first place), Isabella, (second place), FS dancers (third place) and Elias (fourth place). There were two extra prizes awarded to Omari and Harmony. It was lovely to see so many children taking part. Well done to them all.
Huge fun was had as the KS2 children swam a variety of races during the swimming gala. I am amazed every year at the standard of swimming. Our swimming curriculum is very impressive, not least because all children have lessons every year. Consequently, by the time they reach KS2, they are extremely confident in the water and have mastered good techniques. The fun race at the end was a real highlight, with each child swimming a length whilst carrying an article of clothing, which the house captains had to adorn and swim a length in. Congratulations to Blyton, who scored the most points from the initial races and the team relay.
What a lovely day! We couldn’t have asked for better weather or better behaviour from the children. Both the morning and the afternoon games and races went without a hitch and it was lovely to see so many parents enjoying spending time with the children and with each other. I hope you all enjoyed the family picnic too. The atmosphere was wonderful. Congratulations to Rowling (yellow) who were the overall winners.
Creative Arts week kicked off with a Samba workshop. All classes had a chance to practice some rhythms and learn some samba techniques. It’s not easy to remember different rhythms and piece them together but everyone enjoyed trying. It was fun to use authentic djembe drums, as well as our own cobbled-together instruments. It was especially lovely to be outside under the new canopy!
UKS2 had an introduction to fractal art. Fractals are geometrical figures where each part has the same pattern as the whole. They began to create some artwork to continue later in the week.
Tuesday started with some fabulous dance workshops. Darren from Dance Days taught FS a Bollywood dance, Yrs 1-3 a Chinese dance and Yrs 4-6 a Latin Carnival dance. All three were great fun. It was hard to believe that so much could be covered in such a small period. There are some videos on the website so take a look.
After lunch, the whole school was treated to a performance of Charlotte’s Web. M&M Productions have been coming to Longwood for the past few years and we always look forward to their high quality shows. Again, we were not disappointed and everyone enjoyed the performance. It was a little sad but the message was very happy.
On Wednesday, there were pottery workshops for FS, Years 1-3 and then Years 4-6. Everyone made a face with a comical expression.
On Wednesday afternoon, FT, FW and FS enjoyed Boogie Mites workshops – more singing and dancing fun and playing around with rhythms. Also on Wednesday, UKS2 continued their fractals art work and LKS2 looked at patterns in nature and produced some lovely work.
Thursday was a real highlight with everyone loving the Beatboxing workshops. We all got a chance to beatbox through a microphone and the children learnt about loop pedals, as well as being treated to some really cool performances. Also on Thursday, KS1 had a very special workshop, learning the art of graffiti. They used spray paints and each created their own canvas. They also contributed to a class canvas with a fabulous cartoon dinosaur.
The whole week was huge fun, very creative and the children learnt many different skills. Some of them are really inspired. It would be great to see them continuing and maybe building a new hobby.
There are many photos and a few videos of all the activities on the website so please take a look.
We are extremely grateful to Friends of Longwood for funding many of the activities this week. Creativity is such an important part of who we are and contributes hugely to our wellbeing, so it is fantastic that we have been able to have a whole week of focus.