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Willowdown Primary Academy

Happy Children, Successful Learners, Confident Individuals

Headteacher's blog

Welcome to Mr Priestley's blog!

This is officially my favourite half term of the school year – I love Christmas!  Autumn is well and truly with us, with the trees shedding leaves and the daylight disappearing early! 

All the pupils have settled into the new school year and are showing tremendous focus in class.  At our weekly celebration assembly, certificates are given to the Star Pupil of the week and Mathematician of the week, recognising the achievements of the individuals.  Reader of the week is being introduced to those children progressing and enjoying their texts.

This term we are excited to welcome Miss Dwyer to the team and wish Miss Massey every success as she starts her maternity leave.  The children of Year 3 have made her feel very welcome.  They will be taught by another new face, Mr McFadzean every Friday, who adds experience to the Willowdown team.

Sport is beginning to take off at Willowdown due to the coaching of Mr Bath, who is delivering PE once a week.  The staff are building their skills during these sessions as well, with a range of after school clubs enjoyed by the children.

The Year 4/5 children have all enjoyed violin lessons this term and have made tremendous progress.  They are all extremely excited by the sessions and are playing music with huge smiles on their faces.  Hopefully they will be given opportunity to perform to the school very soon.  The choir will be performing at the Christmas concert, with Mrs Vessier working hard with the group.

If there are any questions or queries do not hesitate to approach a member of staff so that we can help.


Kind regards to all


Olly Priestley




September 2016


Welcome back to everybody!

The summer holidays have flown by, with the wonderful weather hopefully enjoyed by all.  Whilst the children have been recuperating, the staff at Willowdown Primary Academy has been extremely busy, preparing for the new school year.  As time has progressed, the numbers at school have risen once again, approaching 150 pupils.  It will be extremely exciting seeing the corridors and classrooms filled with eager children, ready to learn.

Once again the teachers are planning to provide the children with an enriching and interesting curriculum to help the children progress with their skills.  There will be after school clubs provided as well to support their interests.  A child’s education relies on the partnership between school and home, so we welcome families in to share and support with this educational journey.

One of the highlights already planned will be the ‘Roald Dahl Day’, which you will receive information about in a letter.  This celebration of a great author will be a fantastic stimulus for fun and creativity, which we are all excited about. 

There may well be questions that you would like answered, so please make contact with the office or arrange an appointment if it is required.

I’m very much looking forward to the Autumn term…not long until Christmas now!

Kind regards


Olly Priestley

Head of School




July 2016


I’m writing this blog with only three weeks left of term.  Where has the time gone?  In my previous schools, there has always been a Year 6 leaving at this time, excited by the challenges ahead.  This does leave those remaining with a tinge of sadness though, having spent seven years watching the children develop and blossom.  This is an emotion we don’t have to deal with at Willowdown for the final year, with all of our children moving up in the school, with our first Year 6 cohort starting in September.  Those children have already become great role models for the other children and will be a positive force at the school.  With this in mind, it is an exciting time of the year for us all.

The Summer Fete is on Saturday, with our PTFA working tirelessly to organise to support Willowdown, which I am thankful for.  I have all my fingers crossed with the weather, but regardless of sunshine, rain or snow, there will be a Summer Fete, so please do come and support us.

Sports Day is just around the corner as well, which all families are welcome to attend.  These are the occasions that make schools special; an experience that the children remember in years to come.  The houses will be competing with each other to win on the day, but will also be encouraged to support their peers and show signs of sportsmanship.

Ancient Greece has been a tremendous topic, with the children producing such a high standard of work based around the myths.  In every class, the children have been focused and worked extremely hard to produce their best.  I was delighted by a recent comment made by an important visitor who commented that some of the learning behaviour of our children was exceptional.  That is a credit to the pupils and to the efforts of the talented staff of which I am enormously proud.  Willowdown Primary Academy really is a wonderful place to be.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of this term and then a fantastic summer holiday.

Kind regards

Olly Priestley


June 2016


This is my very first blog as Head of School of Willowdown Primary Academy.  Having been in post for a month now, I have got to know both pupils and their families, who have all made me feel very welcome.  It is clear that the children are extremely proud of their school, showing great respect with their environment and to all those in the community.  All the staff care very deeply for the education of the children and strive to offer them a rich and rewarding curriculum. 

My appointment came about in extremely sad circumstances with the loss of Mr Riddiough.  This is an opportunity for me to build on his good work and vision to provide a quality experience for the pupils.  He will be remembered dearly and the children will cherish happy memories of him.

It is the final half term in a busy school year and we look forward to a number of exciting events in the school calendar.  Sports Day, Class Assemblies, a Disco, a Summer Fete and a Street Party for the Queen are just some of the events for the whole community.  All the classes will be embracing the Ancient Greece theme as well with the Summer Olympics just round the corner.  Our Year 4/5 class are also going on their first residential trip in the final week, which will be the culmination of a very positive term.

We are delighted with the new website page at Willowdown and hope it provides everybody with important information and a glimpse of life at the school.  Keep posted for regular updates.  I would like to thank Miss Saunter for her hard work in establishing the new format.

If I haven’t been lucky enough to meet you, please introduce yourselves.  A happy education is built on a positive relationship between school and home, and therefore good communication is vital.

If there are any questions or queries please speak to members of staff.  I look forward to catching up at one of the numerous events in the next seven weeks.

Kind regards

Olly Priestley

Head of School