Northwold Primary School - No sky too high

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What Makes Northwold So Special

Posted by Alison Kriel
What Makes Northwold So Special

Seven Outstanding Features

We have lots of visitors at Northwold – famous and mainstream and who travel from all corners of the globe. The most common feedback we get from all our visitors is that Northwold is not like any other school – it’s a very special place. I know what they mean because I was hooked into the Northwold factor when I arrived as part of a temporary arrangement until the school was able to appoint their own head teacher. I found it difficult to leave, despite the mountain that needed to be climbed. So here are 7 things that I think makes Northwold stand out.

What Makes Northwold So Special

The children

The children are amazing, multi-talented and different to any other children. They really care about each other even though we have 32 different ethnicities and 35 different languages. Despite these differences the children speak with the same voice. They take pride in themselves and they take pride in each other. They run to school each morning because they have a love of learning, and a thirst for new knowledge, skills and success and they rise to any challenge. One of our Year 5 pupils defined learning as ‘…… the key to life. Learning can unlock your future; it is the path to your success’. Who could disagree? The children are polite, their behaviour is exceptional. They are grateful for the opportunities afforded to them by the school and remember to thank their teachers. They aim to be model citizens and they are a joy to teach.

What Makes Northwold So Special

The staff

The staff are awesome. Anyone who works at Northwold knows that they have to be exceptional practitioners. All of our staff clearly love working with children and take incredible pride in their success. The diversity of the staff embraces the culture and ethos of the school and that makes us an exceptional team. If you can work successfully at Northwold, you can teach anywhere! Our staff feel valued and appreciated by each other, the pupils and their parents. Staff well-being is high on the agenda and we try hard to ensure a good work-life balance.

The curriculum

The curriculum matches the diversity of the community! It’s rich, encourages creativity and ensures that every child has the opportunity to be challenged and feel successful in whatever their area of strength is – be it maths, art, music, sport…..we work hard to ensure that we provide the children with lots of unique opportunities to reach their potential. We draw on the richness of living in London (the children know they live in one of the coolest cities in the world) and staff compete in the range of visits, workshops and learning experiences they offer to their pupils. No two half terms are the same – with special whole school events, shows, competitions. Staff and pupils use any opportunity to dress up and to laugh and to learn together.

What Makes Northwold So Special

Inclusion

Inclusion is at the heart of all that we do. Every child and every member of staff is supported in being the best that they can be. We take pride and celebrate our diversity. We also take pride in knowing that at Northwold, no group is left behind.

Resources

Resources – we are so lucky to be accommodated in a very beautiful building which really stands out in our community. We ensure that it is well maintained and continually upgraded. The children love their playgrounds. Classrooms are well resourced, calm and purposeful and filled with excellent resources including state of the art IT. Staff have their own dedicated areas to work in and are just about to have their own Japanese garden, a gym and a beautiful staff room to chill out in.

What Makes Northwold So Special

The Northwold School Community

At Northwold we embrace the old African saying ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’. Our pupils achieve as well as they do because parents, staff and our wider community work hard together to ensure that each child feels valued, loved and successful.

Ethos

Many of our children live challenging lives but believe that they will be successful adults. They are resilient, thoughtful and ambitious and enabling them to be responsible, global citizens is our core business. We think positively at Northwold and we have high expectations of each other. We want the children to have happy memories of their school days, and to remember them as a plethery of character building experiences. We are a friendly, caring, sharing community. We encourage and inspire each other. This positive ethos is not only enticing but it gives us all a sense of belonging.


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About The Author Alison Kriel

Alison was born in South Africa and as a child attended schools in various African countries, as well as Ireland and England. She has always taught in Hackney schools because she loves the diversity of the community. Alison was deputy at Gayhurst school for 8 years before embarking on headship when she was the founder head teacher of Betty Layward School, which was the first primary school to open in the new millennium. As head teacher she managed its development from a 90 pupil Early Years school to a very popular and successful primary school for 450 pupils. Alison joined Northwold School in 2008, initially as an interim post to support it during some challenging times, and then became the substantive head teacher in 2009. Alison is very proud to be part of, what she describes as 'a wonderful team of people who, together, have steered the school from a failing school to an outstanding school'.

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