After one year in post as headteacher of Northfield Infant School, Sam Woolhouse reflects on a busy and eventful year and shares her hopes and ambitions for the future.
Sam has a lot to be proud of after just one year in the job, and began her new role with her biggest challenge to date – an Ofsted Inspection after just three weeks in post.
Sam told Driffield & Wolds Weekly: “It was the best thing that could have happened because it brought the whole school together as a new team.
“We received “good” across the board and there wasn’t anything which came up as an area of development which was a surprise and we had already made plans for how we would address these, which we were able to show the inspectors.”
Sam joined Northfield Infant School in September last year after 15 years teaching in Hull, which included two and a half years as a deputy head of a primary school, and three years as the Early Years Standards and Improvements Officer.
She believes she has the best job in the world. She said: “I feel extremely privileged to be in a position to drive forward standards for the children of Driffield in such a lovely school, in a superb setting with a fabulous team. ”
Sam prides herself on the school’s “Northfield Family” approach. She said: “People always comment on the lovely feel of the school as they come through the door and we want the school to become the hub of the community, by giving all our visitors a warm and friendly welcome. ”
During the past year Sam and her team have worked hard to develop a creative curriculum which is led by the children’s interests and questions.
She said: “We have developed opportunities for first hand experiences with a wealth of trips, visits and visitors. We use our outdoor areas all year round to stimulate role play and active learning. “We have developed learning environments in the school including a new open access library area and a small group learning zone in the Rainbow Room. This enables us to use additional TAs to support individual needs, including language and vocabulary development, nurture and wellbeing support groups, as well as running groups to challenge the more able pupils. “We don’t believe in putting a ceiling on any child’s learning. We believe in building the children’s resilience, so that when they leave this school they believe they can do anything and they can be anything and the world is their oyster. ”
The school has also introduced a new rewards system and incentives scheme, which includes attendance awards, star of the week, lunchtime awards and a new termly Governors Award for achievements in reading, writing, maths and science.
The team at Northfield has also worked hard to develop links with the preschools and Driffield Junior School to support transition into the school and from the school. Sam added: “Our new starters this term have settled in so well, which is testament to the close relationship we have developed with our preschools. “We also work closely with Driffield CE Infant School and Driffield Junior School to aid the transition as the children move onto the next stage of their education. “We have also developed links with the Children’s Centre including the introduction of a toy library for all our families. ”With many goals achieved already, Sam is clear on her focus for the future. “We will continue to develop the curriculum, drawing on first hand experiences, which is led by the children,” she said. “We will build on our partnerships with other community groups, so that our school is the hub of the community. “We strive to drive forward standards and outcomes for our children, and when Ofsted return an “outstanding” grade would be great; it is nothing less than our children, parents and staff deserve. “My goal is always to provide the best for our children, so that when they leave here after Year 2 they are prepared for the next step of their education and are confident and happy children who have had the most wonderful three years experience with us. ”
Northfield Infant School is holding an Open Evening on Wednesday 7th October from 4pm until 6pm for families of children who are due to start school next September. It is a fun session where prospective parents can look around the school, and speak to members of staff. There will be activities on offer for the children and tea and cake will be served.