Staff Briefing

Friday song – As we head into December I am sure there will be many of you, like me, that have the tradition of trimming up for the festive season on the first weekend. It doesn’t seem like two minutes since I put the boxes back in the loft! Where does time go?

Reflection of the Week

Well it’s Friday and it is December! Meaning there are now only 11 school days (including today) to the Christmas break. It is that time of year when there are a whole host of things happening, some of them exciting, like the pupils having the opportunity to sing festive songs at different local locations and then some more challenging, like seasonal viruses that seem to have been prevalent this week. It is at times like this that our strength is in our collective support for each other, in the words of Charles Dickens “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” I would like to thank everyone who in their own way has supported this week, be it covering lessons, tutor groups, duties, supporting with clubs or trips, or just doing something that has helped someone else out. It has been a truly #teamoakwood week.

Assemblies – school council

The school council has been running the assemblies this week. Their focus has been on recycling, but also demonstrating the wider role that they play is being a key part of pupil voice. It was great to see young people standing up in front of their peers and championing important issues which affect us all. Also, a big thank you to Jeremy Bignell who, through his excellent work and guidance, the school council and pupil leadership at Oakwood thrives.

Maths Challenge

On Tuesday, 8 Year 8s (Mohammad Yousuf, Peter Shek, Laila Ahmed, Tawanda Shoko, Finlay Hayter, Inayah Rashid, Maryam Bashiri and Ibrahim Ejaz) represented Oakwood in a Borough wide Maths competition held here at Oakwood. They engaged in the activities with such enthusiasm, worked brilliantly as a team and supported us in welcoming the other schools. They each received a certificate and were nominated for a Bueno award to recognise their fantastic achievements in the competition. Thank you to Jess Searle for setting it up and to Hannah Parsons and Tal Picton for helping run the event on the day.

Minster Visit

It is sometimes hard to remember that, only last year, COVID was still affecting how we led our lives and was still impacting on events which Oakwood pupils have traditionally been a big part of. So, it was great to be invited to take part in the festive celebrations at Rotherham Minster once again. Thank you to Marie Hudson for organising things, to Michelle Haslam and Michael Symonds (our singing teacher) for supporting us and, most importantly, to the pupils who were a credit to us.

Year 10 last 32 national football competition and next round Rotherham Cup

In the absence of a Friday briefing last week (yes, I know it seems like a month since wellbeing Friday), there was some sporting news that was not reported. Not only are England having success in the World Cup, but so are our Year 10s under the excellent management of Alisdair Grant. On Monday, after the excitement of the England win over Iran, they successfully won through to the last 32 of the English Schools National Cup. This was followed by another win over local rivals Dinnington, to progress to the next round of the Rotherham Cup. If you have any of the squad in your classes, be sure to congratulate them.


Last night’s twilight was time set aside from the well-being Friday. We have used this time to support professional development and facilitate collaboration. It is always great to see colleagues coming together to talk about and reflect on ‘quality first teaching’. What we do in the classroom and how we plan and prepare for this through our curriculums, supported by class profiles, is what allows us to deliver that curriculum to the specific pupils in front of us, which in turn leads to sustained learning and progress. The opportunity to take time to share, reflect and refine is important and why we have committed so much Learning Zone and Twilight time to it this year. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller. Of course, in true Oakwood fashion, the snacks in the staffroom were quickly devoured!

Although a regular weekend, (as normal as it can be in the run up to any big festive holiday and the last 16 matches of the World Cup), please take time for yourself and with your loved ones. Have a good day and enjoy the weekend.


Year 11 assembly

ILE plans-please read in triplicate!!

Staff who teach Y11: AM Exams, Before the Exams

  • Come to the dining-hall.
  • Spread out around the pupils.
  • Soothe, calm, shush, eye-ball, non-verbal gestures.
  • SLT blows the whistle and delivers exam rule reminder. Subject Lead speaks, please only three top tips as all the preparation should have been done in lessons beforehand.
  • Walk them up, staff leave, SLT enter the Sports Hall.

Staff who Teach Y11: After the Exam AM

  • Your SLT link will email you.
  • BBR emails the finish time of the exam.
  • All staff who teach Y11 come to the Sports Hall 10 minutes before the exam finishes.
  • Enter the Sports Hall and spread out; stand behind key characters or in their eye-line.
  • We are trying to avoid suspensions as there are some Y11s who disrupted last year’s ILEs at the end of the exams by whistling. We all want the Y11s in their lessons and ILEs.
  • Support with a calm, quiet dismissal.
  • Walk them back to lessons.
  • If they need the toilet, they return to your lesson, get a pass and go individually. They can go to the toilet, but not in groups.
  • Log any truancy.
  • Don’t expect them to delve back into learning, but do expect them to stay in the correct classroom either talking, revising for the next exam or using Chromebooks.

Staff who Teach Y11: PM Exams

  • Same protocol for the dining room, but at 1pm.
  • Same protocol for going into the Sports Hall, including at the end of the exam please arrive before the end of the exam.
  • Ensure they leave via the Perform gates.
  • Anyone who wants to stay needs to wait in the dining-room, not wander the corridors.
  • There will be serious consequences for exam disruption, but we need everyone’s help to enforce standards.
  • Your SLT link will email you.

Oakwood Calendar 22/23

Assemblies: Social media HOH


Tuesday- Full teaching staff IRIS training


Thursday-   Leadership: time to update Excellence Planning

Year 7 and 8 Disco 5-7pm

Friday- Y10 ILE Assembly Tutor-time

I heard a Wispa 

Bev Kaye and Laura Cooper for undertaking a mammoth task to ensure our most vulnerable pupils receive information about the healthy holiday programme and free food at Christmas. This was despite the clumsy way it was presented to them by Rotherham LA.

Marie Hudson for saving an Observation that was needed at TRC. A set of speakers had broken and we did not have the cable in stock to fix it but Marie was more than happy to lend a hand and get a cable over and help out both Music and also the IT Team!

Sarah Cumberlidge for being there for a member of staff to help rationalise.

Joe Novak for covering a class when he only went to the printer.

Rob Oakes for making the light covers in the Main Hall

Jenna Finnie for going above and beyond to find specific information out for RS and the SACRE. 

Liza Melvin and Patrick Lamphee for always being supportive.

Michelle Bowater, Sarah Alyanak and Laura Potente for supporting the DJ workshop whilst Marie was out of school.

Michelle Haslam and Matthew Symonds for supporting our pupils at the Rotherham Minster.

Cathy Martinson for being kind and helpful and recycling!!!

Donna for rescuing a member of SLT from their office where they had been locked in by an eminent member of SLT!!!

Dave Hodgson for supplying the Buenos!

Karen Mckernon and Sue Swales for the support, collaboration and resource sharing to support Abdul.

Tahir Naziq for always spreading a smile and cheerfulness!

April for being so thoughtful bringing in little gifts & treats for the team 🙂

Haleema for providing Sam with a special herbal mix to help her cough and get her voice back (sorry Simon!)

Headteacher Awards 

For their performance at Rotherham Minster:

Lizzie Thompson

Jessica Novotna

Nieve Hobson

Maya Sissons

Peter Shek

Caleb Flower

Macey Lea Mottershead

Imogen Brooksbank

Lucy Wadsworth

Connie Shaw

Heather Bennett

Robin Bramley

Kaya Bhosle

Yu Yan Lin 

Tameka Chipunza


All of you who have covered lessons, tutor time, duties and other activities and tasks this week as a result of a busy week of absence, finally the flu and COVID seems to have caught up with us.