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Headteacher's Blog Archive: 2020 - 2021

Summer Term First Half

Week 3


Week 2

Year 3 had an action packed week on Forest School and in keeping with their World War 2 topic they made an air -raid bunker. The children then had to complete the assault course, finishing off with the cooking of a stew on the campfire. Remember to have a look at the class page to see what the children have been up to, our Insta and Twitter pages also share aspects of school life. For those of you with older children do you know where they are on a weekend, who they are with and what they are up to? Please be vigilant Denton Dene and the park area next to school are both in a poor state. Remind the children about keeping safe when out and about. Our Parental Information page has lots of information regarding online safety. Sexting is Nationally becoming a major issue - be vigilant to your child's social and online activity. 

A huge congratulations to Mrs Douse who has won a £1000 grant bid from Tesco's, the bid was submitted for an outdoor reading area and we look forward to sharing our plans on this.

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend, remember Hands, Face, Space - keep outdoors.


Week 1

We have places available in Reception class, Nursery and Rising 3's, both currently and for September 21. Please contact or 0191 2674549 for our admissions.


It is good to be back once again and we have a busy Summer term ahead. We remain working within Covid restrictions and are following all steps of progress carefully. If your child develops a high temperature, continuous cough or complains of a loss of taste or smell then please keep them off and arrange for a PCR test. We are aiming to have a Literature Festival event in June and our annual Sports event by year groups - fingers crossed. Our Forest School opportunity is being widened for all year groups to access this term. We have been saddened to learn and see that there has been significant damage to Denton Dene in the last week and we have reported this in to the Rangers, this has had a significant impact on the Forest School activities and opportunities we can offer there.

Spring Term Second Half  - We have places available in Nursery for September 2021

I hope that you turned to page 28 of the Parliamentary Review to read the article that I wrote last year. I hope it gives an insight into aspects of the inner workings of school life and how passionate I am for the children of Waverley Primary School.


Week 6

A short four day week for 'Holy week' led up to the end of Spring Term. We had great fun on Thursday with our Easter raffle held virtually. I now know what Ant and Dec feel like with their huge wall where they can see all of the families! It was lovely for all the classes to link up together and clapping and cheering could be heard throughout school for our raffle winners. The Easter bunny visited the yard delivering the children a chocolate treat which was met with great enthusiasm (as you can imagine). This week we said goodbye to Mrs Annal our SENCO and we would like to thank her for her work in this role over the last 18 months. Our Instagram page is up and running and we hope you follow us on here.  We have an exciting Summer term planned for the children and a range of building work planned in the Summer holidays to improve our school even further. Our friends at Sugley Church have sent us links to a number of bakes for Holy Week, whilst we were still at school it may be something you have time for now. Have a peaceful Easter break.


Holy Week Palm Sunday


Monday 29th March - The Road Turns Rocky


Tuesday 30th March – Fulfilling a Purpose


Wednesday 31st March – Bead of Life


Thursday 1st April – Love one Another


Friday 2nd April – On the Cross on the Nail


Saturday 3rd April – The World Turn Upside Down


Sunday 4th April – He is Risen


Week 5

This week we have welcomed Mrs McGovern back to Waverley, she is taking intervention groups in Key Stage 2 for extra reading and grammar sessions. It has been an extremely busy week at school. I am sure by now you will have read my letter regarding  events earlier in the week, keeping the children safe is our number one priority. It was a very detailed and late Governing Body meeting this week and I thank these volunteers who kindly give up their time in order to make sure decisions about the school are robust. We have lots of exciting plans for next term for the children and behind the scenes, Mrs Douse, Mr O'Brien and myself are busy with plans for the internal and external building. Finally it was time for a treat for my hardworking and dedicated team all of whom enjoyed a coffee and cake from a local coffee van which arrived at school in time for staff breaktimes on Wednesday. Thanks Team! 


We still have places available for our Nursery and Rising 3 provision from September, if you know of someone who has a young child recommend us to them and if they apply for and accept a place both you and they will receive an Asda shopping voucher.


Week 4

A couple of notices in this blog. Please be aware of where your children are (Year 5 and 6), older Walbottle pupils (names of which have been passed onto Walbottle school) were setting fire to their homework on the park, the fire brigade were called by a resident. Children in green Waverley uniform were present, they need to dis-associate from this activity. The park area remains an issue for both school and residents. Please report anti-social behaviour this is the only way there will be change. Thank you to parents for taking note of not blocking the school main entrance gates on a morning and evening. Can we please ask that you do not block residents driveways with your vehicles on any of the side streets around school. This follows a complaint from a resident who could not get off their drive for work. We have launched an instagram page for the school.


Week 3

It has been another busy week at school - many year groups have been planting a variety of seeds, some under different conditions. Miss Cowling has set up a number of fun orienteering based activities for our younger children. Music was a delight to watch with children drumming a beat with wooden pegs and clapping rhythms. I am super impressed with how well children have been getting on with their reading and Lexia - what a difference!


Week 2

Thank you for the amazing home learning - in this final week. We look forward to the children returning on Monday. Attached to this weeks email bulletin are some well being strategies for any children who are feeling particularly anxious about a return to school and some advice from Nexus for those who get the bus. Our Risk Assessment and back to school letter which were sent earlier in the week are on our website. We are launching a school instagram page in the next week or two (once we have ironed out a few technicalities). See you on Monday.


Week 1

We were thrilled with the announcement on Monday 22nd February that school will re-open to ALL children on Monday 8th March. This includes wrap around provision. Whilst we await clarity from Cuba I suggest that you ring them direct if you require a place in wrap around care.

I aim to write out to you all by the end of this week with some reminders of how we ran things in the Autumn term and with some additional updates and procedures since then. Please do not drive yourself crackers trying to organise uniform, shoes etc for children who have outgrown clothes as we will be flexible with regard this and I will share more details in my update.

Spring Term 1st Half week 7

It has been a strange end to the half term with 2 snow days, half of the school missing from the school site and everyone remaining under National Lockdown. I will comment briefly on each one in turn.

Snow Days - it is always difficult to decide whether to close or be open. The first thought is always to the staff and pupils travelling in, how bad are the main roads, estate roads, are the buses running? Ploughs and gritters are deployed to main routes only, there is no dedicated team for snow clearance in the city and in 2 weeks we went through 56 bags of grit (our full Winter stock). Moving forward we cannot keep closing due to Moorcroft and Maple Close - even if as a staff we are able to get out of our own estates. We hope that by Winter 2021 into 2022 we will have a better solution for clearing the main access road to the front of school. However, the opportunity to go sledging locally raised the spirits of the children. Snow is rare but we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We have really missed all of the children being in school and there have been some amazing efforts from children and parents in supporting children with their home learning. We listened to the feedback from lockdown 1 and we purchased the SeeSaw home learning platform that you have all been working on, we increased our pastoral support and care by a fortnightly call from the class teacher to parents and a number of families received a weekly call from Mrs Selkirk. We were finally eligible for I-pads and once they arrived in stock, were delivered and prepared by Scott our IT technician we then asked you to collect them - we hope your child will be able to use the device when we are back at school up until a few weeks before the main Summer break. 

National Lockdown - like the rest of the Nation we await the same announcement on any changes, as a school we are not privy to this information before it is released to the public - we hear it at the same time. We await what a return to school from 8th March may look like, which year groups will be first, will it be the whole school at once, will it be secondary schools then primary? The answer is we do not know. The staff are carrying out Lateral Flow tests fortnightly and this involves everyone from the team in the kitchen to our cleaners. Our school community risk assessment has been updated twice this month alone in line with any guidance.


Finally have a happy half term break, and a Happy Valentines Day. We will be in touch after half term. 

Stay at home and stay safe, please see the North of Tyne combined authorities and services message below.



SCHOOL CLOSED WEDNESDAY 10TH FEBRUARY - School will be closed due to snow, this is to protect staff and families from travelling and to save the NHS casualties under this current pandemic.
School will re-open on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 to pupils who are currently attending during lockdown. We apologise for the inconvenience today has caused. The disruption that can be seen in Yorkshire was also predicted for here as per Met Office/ Sky News forecast/ BBC forecast and ITV forecasts.

2nd February 2021

Due to the amber forecast for snow that is in place for the full day and that in lockdown it is essential travel only, for the safety of staff and pupils travelling to and from school, school will close for the day. Pupils who usually attend school can switch to remote learning for the day.

Spring Term Week 5 

This week the staff have commenced twice weekly lateral flow testing in a further effort to keep the school community safe. Whilst this test is not compulsory it is further testament to the spirit and ethos of the staff that all are partaking.

Spring Term - Lockdown 3 - weeks 3 and 4

We hope that you are all managing at home with Remote Learning and that the fortnightly pastoral phone call is useful. The weekly bulletin has the email addresses of all of the staff so if you do need to get in touch please email or ring school. The children who are working at home are doing an amazing job of keeping their studies going and you as parents are doing a fantastic job in supporting them with it. At school the children who are on site follow the same work that is being set. 

Next week (1st Feb) is internet safety week. A reminder that on the useful information section of this website there is a lot of information on how to keep your child safe online.

We have everything crossed that we are allowed to have ALL of the children back together by March 8th.

Take care and stay safe.

Spring term 1 - National lockdown 3, week 1 and 2

After the 'Hokey Cokey' of in and out of school last week, here at Waverley we have begun to settle into more of a routine. who would believe that Snow would come along at the end of the week. It certainly kept us all busy. School was freezing indoor and out so we had hot chocolate on the yard to warm ourselves up.


We are into the second week and we are in awe with how amazing the SeeSaw home learning is. We have seen some magnificent efforts. This week on a fortnightly rotation your child's class teacher will be doing a pastoral check in with you at home. We are going to continue to send a weekly bulletin by email and last week we put on the email address of every teacher. We hope to provide breakfasts packs soon to those families at home. Last Monday we met the threshold for a small number of laptops and I-pads as soon as we are able to place the order and receive them we will get them distributed. We have loved seeing your messages and work. Stay safe (and parents stay sane). We are here if you need us. Thank you for the messages of support you have shown to the school, staff and myself. 

14.30pm Sunday 3rd January 20201

Whilst staff will be going against their Union and returning to work on Monday this situation remains very fluid. Staff in their letter to myself and the Chair this afternoon have requested the following further safety measures are in place. That ALL parents (with the exception of those with known exemption) wear a face mask on school site (playground). You may be politely asked to leave school site if not wearing a mask. It would be very sad for all of us if we feel we are put in a position where we have to approach and ask this of parents. Finally if your child presents with any illness they are not sent to school and those with symptoms have a Covid test. As Head it is my belief that these requests are not unreasonable and so in order to keep school open to all I ask that these are respected and adhered to regardless of personal beliefs. I cannot emphasise enough how precarious schools position on being open currently is. Thank you.

Sunday 3rd January 2021: Information as of 1pm - School open to ALL.

I can confirm that despite the recommendation by some Unions for staff not to return to work and to exercise Section 44, so that school is only open to keyworkers and vulnerable children, that all Waverley staff will be at work from Monday 4th January. School will re-open as normal to ALL children. This has been a tense 48 hours and has not been a decision that the staff have taken easily. Many colleagues and schools are following the scientific data and no comparison should be made to the decision at Waverley to other schools. Staff at Waverley are satisfied with the measures that have been consistently in place since May with regard to their safety, the safety of their own families and that of pupils and their families in the Waverley community. None of us know the impact of the new strain and the opening of school will be under constant review. We thank you for your support in this matter and I reiterate on behalf of the staff the Hands, Face and Space motto. Being obsessive in these measures may keep Waverley open to all for longer. Anyone who does not attend school will be expected to work from and place work onto our remote learning SeeSaw platform. 

Gavin Williamson December 30th announcement

Wed 30 Dec 2020 by W. Leeming


At this time school will re-open as normal to ALL children on Monday 4th January 2021. 


I shall be checking the website for any regional variations for schools this evening and parents would be alerted by the weekend if there were any changes to school opening subject to this document. 


I wish to reassure you that we will continue with the stringent approach we have adopted since May 2020.

Autumn Term 2020

Second Half

As you will have noticed keeping my blog page running has been a challenge this term. My priority has been keeping school functioning and moving forward. The weekly Friday email bulletin gives a flavor of what has been happening in school as well as any updates. Here is a summary of some of this terms highlights, my school report to myself would say "must try harder with the headteacher blog" and I hope to be able to keep this up to date each week in the New Year. Everything below has been achieved due to the dedicated hard work of the Waverley Team from Cuba to Kitchen to Office to classroom to Governors. Thank you for choosing Waverley and bringing your children to school every day.


13/14 weeks no teaching, support staff or pupils have tested positive for Coronavirus.

School attendance has been the best ever with 12/13 weeks well above the National Average.

We have increased our Mental Health Counselling programme to its maximum at 2 days a week with a number of children accessing support.

We have managed and maintained classroom and key stage bubbles including at break and more significantly at lunchtimes - providing hot dinners from day 1.

All pupils have made progress this term and I have held in depth pupil progress meetings with all teaching staff last week.

All classes have had I-pad Green Screen Training and teachers have had specific training.

Forest School has been rolled out for some classes Early Years, KS1 and Year 3.

Year 3 have had a 'Stone Age' event as part of their curriculum.

We have appointed Miss Megan Lowes as our New Nursery Teacher for January 2021 due to the departure of Miss Quiles who will be returning to family in Essex.

Year 2 children have undertaken their delayed from Summer Phonic Test.

We have adapted our Fire evacuation plans and procedures and completed a drill on this.

Appraisals have taken place and numerous virtual meetings with our OWL colleagues and Governing Body.

We have undertaken a parental survey (with great results) feedback in the New Year.

We have undertaken writing, maths and reading scrutinies.

We have enjoyed Christmas crafts in every year group.

We have filmed and placed on our website our Christmas film.

We have held SEND reviews for all pupils with parents.



First Half

Week 1-4

Thank you to everyone for supporting the re-opening of school and following the Space and Face directive from central Government. The children have settled well into the new norm for the school day specifically break times. We continue to work on a new home/school learning platform and staff have training next week. Many of you have returned your consent forms and/or informed us of the technology that you have or is lacking at home. During Summer work took place on the internal building and a room has been converted into a Science/Home Economics room. This room has been particularly useful for the distribution of the daily bagels to the whole school. Thanks to the National Schools Breakfast Program the children have a bagel every morning and we have quickly got into the swing of toasting 176 bagels each morning, thanks to our cook and her new super oven. Mr Waggott our school caretaker will be retiring at October half term and Mr O'Brien has been appointed to the new facility manager role in school. Miss Cowling has passed her Forest School training gaining her certificate at the start of the month. Can I remind any parents who have not completed the online form regarding secondary school choice for your year 6 child that you have until noon on October 31st. It is imperative this is completed as due to a second year of high demand for secondary places getting a first choice would be difficult if this was not completed.  A reminder to visit your child's class page on this website to see what the children have been doing in the classroom.



I am sure many of you are now thinking about the return to school for your child next Monday 7th September. We can't wait to see you all again.


I wish to reassure you that we have many measures in place to keep everyone safe. On our letter to parents page there is a document called the re-opening of Waverley Primary School and this shares information about the school day from start to end. A brief synopsis is as follows:

Adults to wear protective masks whilst on the yard (unless an underlying condition which prevents this), we ask where possible that one adult brings the pupil/ pupils to school. We ask that older siblings are lined up first before you drop youngest siblings off. Year 5 and 6 will be collected by staff from the bottom yard, year 3 and 4 from the side area next to the trim trail, year 1 and 2 on the main upper yard and Reception from inside the enclosed Early Years yard. Nursery parents await entry by the Nursery entrance. At the end of the school day please collect children from the same areas (year 5 and 6 bottom yard), we ask that you collect youngest siblings first and oldest children last (if you have more than 1 child). There will be no clubs after school for the first half term whilst we settle into and embed the new 'norm'. 


If you are late dropping off in the morning I am afraid you will have to wait and queue to sign your child in at the office system. If you are late to collect in the evening the children will await collection in the conference room (this is the room next to the Nursery entrance).


School finishes at 2.30pm on a Friday and for working parents children will await collection from the homework club which will be based in the Gym, please pass the main office/entrance and head through the large green gate ahead of you (this will be signposted on Friday).


Year groups will be on separate yards at break and lunch times and there will be staggered break and lunch times.

Hand sanitiser is in every classroom, the gym, dining hall (with a 1 way entrance and exit) and main entrances. Screen wipes and sanitiser wipes and gel are available in the computer suite.


Children from Year 1 to Year 6 are being given their own pencil case with their own equipment in it. This must stay at school and is to be used in school daily. Please send your child with a bottle of water or water bottle each day as we will be unable to provide drinks from beakers at the classroom sinks. Children get very thirsty running around at breaks and in PE.


I shall be sending a newsletter update in week 1 but we will be advising that children come to school on their PE day wearing sports clothing e.g. jogging bottom, leggings, with the Waverley PE T. shirt and a warm top (e.g. school jumper, a tracksuit top, fleece, hooded top). A pair of shorts can be placed in the school bag that day in case of warm weather or indoor PE session.


At this time we are unable to admit any parents into the building to use the toilet facilities. Meetings must be booked in advance and where possible these will be completed by phone or teams. Staff can be contacted by email using their full name e.g.


Much has been said in the media regarding children being behind in their learning, we will be following PIXL from Year 1 to Year 6 which highlights individual gaps and needs across the English and Maths curriculum areas. This will allow for even further specific targeting of support by the class teacher. In our first year of using PIXL with a year 6 class we saw pupils working at expected increase from 56% to 80* within 3 terms.


Please can I ask that parents search out the reading books they were given for their child in March - a huge volume of school stock was distributed and we will struggle to provide appropriate level reading books for your children if these are not returned. All books will be wiped and stored for a minimum of 72 hours before being placed back into the school reading scheme.


Breakfast and after school club ran by Cuba begins from Monday 7th September, please contact them for a place and further information.