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Larwood School

Part of Larwood Academy Trust

Mr Van der Merwe's Blog

Page 1

  • Mr Van's Spring Blog

    Published 05/03/24, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/Carers,

    With the summer term quickly approaching, we want to make sure both you and your child/ren are prepared for the upcoming transition period. We have a robust system in place to support pupils as they transition between year groups and move on to secondary school, ensuring a smooth process for everyone involved.

    There's plenty to look forward to in the summer term after a busy spring term filled with events such as the school fete, World Book Day, residential visits, and various charity events. We also want to take a moment to bid farewell to Mrs Mckeever, who has been a beloved and invaluable member of the Larwood community for over 20 years. Mrs Mckeever has retired, and we wish her all the best in her retirement and future endeavours. She will be greatly missed!

    As always, I encourage open communication with all parents and carers. Maintaining open channels of communication is essential for us to continue developing outstanding practices and ensuring that everyone is well informed. I strongly encourage all parents/carers to consider joining us at the end of each month for our parents' morning sessions. These informal gatherings provide an opportunity for you to meet other parents, celebrate successes, and for us to share information and updates on current developments.

    Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to working together to make the summer term a success for our pupils.

    Bring on the sunny weather!!!!

    Mr. Van


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  • Enjoy the May break!

    Published 26/05/23, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers  

    As we approach the last half-term for the summer of 2023, we are looking forward to some very exciting things coming up such as the residential outings for all year groups which was a great success last year, the end of term trips, sports day and Y6 transitions.  

    Thanks to Mrs Osobu, we are also taking the whole school to the Science Museum in June, which should be an amazing experience for all our pupils and has never been done before. Please note that in order for your child/ren to access such an offsite activity we would need to ensure that they are safe, and that they can be trusted.  

    From a premises' perspective, the works to the new classrooms should be completed by mid-June. Exciting news is that the Astroturf will be replaced after the summer term. Our people numbers will increase to 101 pupils for next year and as things stand, all available spaces have been filled.  

    Thank you to all those parents/ carers and pupils who have completed our online surveys. Overall, we had some really positive feedback, which is always great to see. Please be assured that we will address some of the questions or recommendations raised by yourselves. As a reminder we have ongoing parent meetings at the end of each month, and we would love to see more of our parents/ carers involved, even if it is only for a friendly chat.  

    I would like to inform you that we have appointed a new Assistant Headteacher (AHT) Mr J Scales, who will be joining Larwood at the start of the new academic year. Mr Scales has worked at Larwood as a class teacher before becoming the Outreach/ In reach lead. Most recently he worked at Brandles as AHT. A great warm welcome to you Mr. Scales.  

    I wish you all a great half-term filled with sunshine and fun!! 

    Mr. Van  

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  • Change is coming!

    Published 17/03/23, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers  

    As we approach the last few weeks leading up to Easter, I would like to inform you of some changes and developments at Larwood school. 

    But firstly, I would like to thank all our wonderful children for their continued hard work and parents and carers for their continued support. You may be aware that we have several external professionals visiting us at regular intervals, including staff and visitors from other schools. The comments are always positive, and they are amazed by how welcome the staff and pupils make them feel.   

    From a staffing perspective we sadly have to say our farewells to our chef that has managed to upgrade and maintain high food standards to keep those tummies full. Jemima will be greatly missed, and we wish her well. Other changes to roles and responsibilities have been communicated directly to you.  Please be reassured that we endeavour to continue to build on our strong staffing structure to maintain a high-quality provision for our pupils. 

    We are growing our numbers! 

    In agreement with County, we are increasing our pupil on roll number to 101. This is a very important and positive change, which means that we could now offer more opportunities to pupils that are in desperate need of placement. HCC is also funding and constructing two new classrooms to facilitate this increase in numbers. 

    Important, safety! 

    Groundworks and construction will start on the 3rd of April, and they aim to complete the project by the 9th of June. Although construction will continue throughout the term, every safety measure has been put in place to ensure that safety of staff and pupils. The area will be cordoned off and is off-limits to all staff and pupils. I will host several assemblies with individual classes, explaining what they can expect to see when they return to school, what the expectations are and how to stay safe. Staff will also give constant reminders of risk and I ask you to do the same at home. Please feel free to get in contact with me directly if you have any questions or concerns.  

    I wish you a well-deserved Easter holiday filled with love and laughter  

    Mr Van  

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  • We have Achieved, Believed, Expected & Enjoyed!

    Published 15/12/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers

    As we approach the last day of Christmas, it is with enormous pride and a big thank you to parents/carers, pupils and staff for making this Autumn term very special.

    We have achieved much since our return in September, including Ofsted, changes to lunchtimes, new interventions, return to off site visits and our enhanced ‘hoody’ reward system.

    A personal highlight for me at the end of term was the Christmas production. A lot of effort, time and dedication went into preparing our youngsters for a production that superseded expectations, and I would like to thank staff and pupils alike for their hard work. Like with all great performances, they need a great audience, therefore I would like to extend my gratitude to the great number of parents/ carers that took the time out of their busy schedules to support our youngsters.

    Sadly, we are saying our farewells to two long term members of our Larwood team. Mrs Trott, after more than 10 years of service, will leave us at the end this term and will be taking up a new senior position at a different school in Stevenage. Mr Dennis, who after more than 20 years, will be retiring at the end of term. I wish them both well and want to thank them for their dedicated service and commitment to Larwood school. They will be greatly missed.

    I had some feedback from Ofsted, and we are expecting our results to be published early in the new year. I will keep you posted on progress and inform you once we know when it will be published.

    I hope you all have a fantastic and enjoyable festive break and a very happy new year. We shall see you back on the 4th of January 2023

    Mr. Van 

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  • Points all round!

    Published 15/11/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers, 

    It has been a while since we returned from the half-term, and I am very excited to report that pupils have settled back in well and enjoying the last few weeks before Christmas arrives. 

    Last time I mentioned the launch of our additional reward system, which is now in place. Your child/ren can now opt into a fast-track coloured shirt option whereby they have to earn a certain amount of points per week for 5 consecutive weeks to earn their shirts. This runs parallel to our existing reward scheme, so in theory they have two options rather than one to reach their goal.  

    We have also made some exciting changes to our lunchtime routines and feedback from pupils and staff confirm that these are positive changes. It’s early days, but we will keep you updated. We are also planning festive celebrations that will involve a great number of pupils. I have witnessed that they are working hard to get their performances ‘spot on’.  

    We have opened up all activities, skills and offsite trips to all, as we believe that our pupils deserve and benefit from these opportunities, and it is what makes us unique.  As we enter the colder season, I still want to ask that you look after yourselves and your families and assess at all times if your child/ren are healthy and well enough to attend. 

    Finally, I also want to make you aware that we were inspected by OFSTED last week (9th and 10th)  

    I can’t disclose any outcomes at the moment, but I will ensure to share the results with you as soon as the final report is available.  

    Get those decorations ready! 

    Mr. Van  

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  • BOO!

    Published 10/10/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers  

    One more week to go until half-term!  

    I must say that it has been a stunning start to the new academic year and pupils and staff are relishing the joyful moments end experiences at school. I can report that there has been a drastic reduction in incidents across the school and new pupils are conforming to the Larwood ways, which enables them to get going with their learning.  

    There has been a rise in covid cases that have affected both staff and pupils. I am happy to report that we managed to keep the school open through difficult times and endeavour do so moving forward. I also want to extend a great big thank you for staff that have covered staff absence to allow us to keep going. Could I please ask that you test your child if they are sent home with covid like symptoms. If you do not have access to a test, we could send some home with you. If it is not covid related, we ask that you keep your child at home until they are symptom free.  

    We have reverted to keeping most activities, skill sessions and Friday rewards class based. Lunch times are split into three groups, but pupils are still accessing the dining room. I hope that this will be a temporary measure, but we need to ensure the safety of your child and staff.   

    We are making some exciting changes to the reward system with regard to blue, yellow and black shirts. Mrs Longcroft will be leading on this project moving forward and will share the changes with you after half-term in a newsletter.  

    As we move into the festive season, there will be a lot on offer at Larwood i.e., Halloween, Guy Fawkes, Christmas and more. We will keep you updated at regular intervals.  

    I wish you all a pleasant October break and look forward to a host of exciting opportunities when we return.

    Mr Van  

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  • Welcome BACK!

    Published 07/09/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    A great big welcome back to all our old pupils, and a warm welcome to our new starters joining our Larwood family. It is wonderful to witness the smiley faces returning from their summer holiday, ready to start a new year with us.

    Parents and carers, please note that it is essential that we foster open communication between school and home, so please get in touch should you have any questions or want to get more information from class teams, family support, admin, or management.  

    We start this year with exciting new initiatives to enhance our offer. Our middle leaders for this year are: 

    Mrs Osborne (Literacy) 

    Miss Kimpton (Maths)  

    Mr Jacobs (Community and skills curriculum and 

    Mr Rooke (Creative curriculum and communication)  

    They all have fantastic, fun, and fresh ideas to make the learning experience great for our pupils!

    Throughout the term/year; you will get regular updates on new initiatives, and the impact it's had. Our main curriculum focus points for the year are to improve writing across the school, and to continue to develop our Essentials curriculum. Mrs Osobu and Mrs Williams have launched 'Talk for Writing' that is exciting and engaging and will benefit your child/ren.  

    Over the summer holiday we had a new fire alarm system installed, upgraded the toilets, and fitted new fire doors; all areas are also being decorated. I hosted assemblies when we returned, making pupils aware of the changes that occurred over the holiday period, and the reasons why we had it done. I reminded all pupils of the fact that these doors are very expensive to replace, as are the decorating costs, therefore please remind your child/ren that damage to property is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.  

    I also want to thank all the companies involved, who worked long hours to ensure the safety of our school and completing the works on time.  

    I wish all our pupils, families, and staff a fantastic 2022/23 year filled with opportunities and great memories  

    Mr Van

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  • Stay CooooooL Everyone!

    Published 19/07/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers

    As we approach the end of term, I would like to look back on all the fantastic events we had on offer for our young learners this summer term. Larwood’s got talent was outstanding with a host of acts from a variety of pupils across all ages. Sport days were very well represented, and I would like to express a massive thank you to all parents/ carers that took the time off to observe or, in some cases, join in the events.   

    Our popular end of term trips were very much enjoyed by all, and I have to add that all pupils were able to access either the discovery, adventure or onsite activity. Our new offer of residential/ extended days to all pupils across all year groups was a great success and I want to thank all staff that were involved for their efforts to make these events special for our pupils. We will offer the same again next year. 

    As we look forward to next year, I want to remind you that we have a staff inset day on Wednesday the 31st of August 22 and pupils are back on the following day. I very much look forward to having our youngsters back rested, refreshed, and ready to continue their Larwood journey. I would also like to wish our year 6 school leavers well as they start the next phase of their education. You will be missed! But remember to come and visit to share your success.

    It is with great regret that we have to say farewell to our longest standing member and chair of Trustees, Mrs. Sandra Barr. She has been part of Larwood school for 40 years and have been a pillar of strength for staff at all levels and more importantly our pupils. I can confidently say that Mrs. Barr has always argued that if we decided to change anything we do, it had to be in the best interests of our youngsters. Her compassion, understanding and vision for the school has always been apparent, and she ensured we have the best staff appointed to deliver the best quality education. Mrs. Barr has been accredited with a long list of awards including an ‘Outstanding Governor Award’ and has also served as Mayor of Stevenage to name a few. I personally thank you for your guidance and on behalf of the staff at Larwood thank you for your commitment, dedication, and support, we wish you well with your future endeavours, and you will be greatly missed!

    I wish you all a fantastic summer break and hope you create good moments to enjoy.

    Mr. Van

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  • Achievements All Round!

    Published 18/05/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers

    I hope you are all enjoying some of the lovely weather we have been having. As mentioned in my previous blog to you, we are looking forward to some fun and exciting events in the second half of the summer term. Assemblies will include Father's Day, world music day and celebrating the NHS to name a few.

    On the last day of this half-term we are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, what an amazing achievement! We also have PGL to look forward to in June and some residential opportunities for other year groups. Mrs Osobu will share some further information with you in due time.

    Furthermore, we have parents evening next week, where you could discuss your child’s progress and achievements, transitions and end the of year productions for year 6. In the second half-term, you will also receive some further information with regard to sport day. Our last sports day was very successful and was enjoyed thoroughly by pupils and parents/carers alike.

    As we look forward to half-term, I want to wish you all a peaceful, safe and enjoyable break



    Mr. Van

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  • Goodbye, Mr Trimble!

    Published 21/04/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers  

    I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all our staff, pupils and their families back from your Easter holidays and hope it was restful, and you enjoyed the lovely weather.

    We had a very successful end of the term and pupils thoroughly enjoyed the end of term reward day. A big thank you to Mrs Osobo, for arranging the fun activities and all staff that made the day very special for our youngsters. Unfortunately, we could not go off site due to restrictions we were forced to impose but as promised it will be taking place early in this term. 

    As always, the Summer term is packed full of exciting events such as residential trips, not only for our year six pupils but for several year groups, transition events for our year six pupils, sports day/s, outdoor activities, Larwood’s Got Talent, year 6 performance, end of term rewards, and plenty more.  

    Our assembly schedule, to name a few, include:

    • International dance day
    • The Queens Platinum Jubilee 
    • Good work assembly and more.....

    I need to make you aware that we will be hosting parents' meetings this half-term, where class teams will share with you, your children’s progress, success and good work. You will have the option of meeting the teachers in person, by phone or virtually, more information will follow via email and class dojo.  

    It is with great sadness that we say our farewells to our CEO, Mr Sean Trimble who will be retiring at the end of April. Mr Trimble has been a pillar of strength for Larwood school and our Trust and will be greatly missed. His commitment to doing his best for our pupils, parents, community, trustees and staff and the impact he has had on people’s lives are immeasurable. His drive, enthusiasm, and commitment to create opportunities influenced a great number of people. We wish you and your family well in your future endeavours, and you will be greatly missed  


    Mr Van  

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  • Chocolate break coming SOON! #holidays

    Published 07/03/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents & Carers,

    We have several exciting events to look forward to as we approach Easter. In the coming few weeks, we have Sports Relief, World Math Day, British Science Week, Dress in Green Day and Mother's Day coming up. A lot of fun events for all to enjoy. Please keep an eye out on class Dojo and our weekly letter to parents, so you can best prepare your child. 

    Our skills sessions and Friday activities are proving to be very popular. Pupils now have the opportunity to engage in a wider range of activities on offer and mix with other pupils across different age groups not only in their own bubbles. Please be aware that we will revert to bubbles should we identify a rise in Covid19 cases. As from the Monday the 14th we will also start having lunches in the dining room again. I believe it is very important to add a ‘family feel’ to lunchtimes and our pupils benefit from the experience and the social interaction with their friends.

    A big warm welcome to Ms Kelly Keeler, who has joined our Larwood team as part of the administration team.   

    The last day of the Spring term is on Friday the 1st of April. I wish you all a relaxed, safe, and enjoyable Easter break  

    Kind Regards

    Mr Van

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  • Happy 2022!

    Published 02/02/22, by Nic Newman

    Dear Parents/ Carers 

    We had a good start to 2022 and as we head towards warmer weather, we start looking forward to planning more activities outdoors and hopefully looking at revising some of the restrictions that have been in place. Just to make you aware that no changes will be considered for the rest of this half-term and at the start of the next half-term.  

    We celebrated Martin LK and Chinese New Year in January and in February we are looking forward to Valentines/ friendship and kindness and World thinking day assemblies. We are also very much looking forward to the February half-term that starts on Monday the 14th of February, pupils will be expected to return to school on Monday, 21st of February. 

    It is with sadness that we are saying our farewells to two longstanding members of staff. Mrs Cox in our kitchen and Mrs Otero in Space Hub. I wish them well with their future endeavours. You will be missed. We are also welcoming to the Larwood team Ms. Courtney who has just joined our administration team.  

    I wish you all a relaxed, safe and enjoyable half-term break   

    Kind Regards  

    Mr Van 

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