Wharfedale Lodge, 11 Ben Rhydding Road,
Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8RL

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Word from the Head

Word from the Head

 June 12th 2020

The weeks leading up to opening the school to children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Senior 6 have probably been among the most challenging of times for any school.  The logistics of trying to create an educational experience for those different year groups, while at the same time trying to adhere to all the government guidance on safety, hygiene, social distancing, separating children into bubbles, organising staff so that they do not ‘cross over’ into a different bubble, finding a way to give staff a break during the day (as they are not allowed to leave their particular group of children to be supervised by anyone else), staggering entry and break times so different groups are not sharing the same space and a whole host of other issues, have certainly tested staff, governors and the Senior Leadership Team.

What has been apparent is the incredible team spirit in the staff who, against all the odds, have managed to develop suitable spaces, resources and an imaginative curriculum in order to create a learning environment which, although different to what the children are used to, has certainly had an impact on them so far.  The amount of work involved in preparing for such a small number of children is immense, even down to seemingly insignificant things such as sanitising lunch boxes every morning -  who is free to do that?!  Actually, that’s my job and I am more than happy to do it!

Of course, the children themselves have shown tremendous resilience as they have become used to all the restrictions we have to think about.  They have willingly accepted that they can’t walk or sit where they want to, mix with a friend who may be working in a different bubble to them, use sports equipment or play games in the way they would normally during breaktimes and PE lessons.  However, they have been nothing if not resourceful, finding ways to talk to each other across a 2 metre gap on the pitch, avoiding  bumping into each other in the corridors and today I spotted a ‘bubble’ devising what looked like a well thought out game which they could play without compromising distance or sharing equipment. 

This is not a situation I ever thought we would find ourselves in and certainly is not something I would want for my staff or children.  However, my experience so far is that this uncertain and difficult challenge has truly brought out the best in everyone at Moorfield and for that, I am incredibly humbled and grateful.

Mrs Tina Herbert

Word from the Head

 May 11th 2020

Like many schools across the country, Moorfield has had to quickly embrace the concept of remote teaching and learning.  No doubt many schools are discovering that teaching and learning in this way is a lot more complex than most assume. The past couple of weeks has seen teachers dealing with a whole wealth of problems that, quite simply, nobody could have prepared for.  Having now completed our fifth week of remote learning at Moorfield, there are one or two things we have learned from our own experiences.

No one single technology or one method of delivering lessons will suit all age groups; the different technologies schools use will all have limitations.  Live-streaming and pre-recorded lessons have worked well for our younger children but only for short periods of time.  In the classroom, young children spend the day engaged in a variety of activities and tasks, working independently or with others, problem solving, investigating science and maths concepts, finding different ways of recording their work, moving around the classroom to take advantage of resources – they would not be sitting in front of the teacher for long periods of time so we would not expect them to do this at home in front of a screen.  Older children have benefitted from the structure of Google Classroom which, along with pre-recorded demonstrations and lessons, has allowed children to access carefully planned assignments and receive daily feedback on their work.

What has become apparent as we reflect on our practice is that children and parents manage this new way of learning much better when we employ a range of approaches.  Pre-recorded and live-stream lessons, practical activities, a theme for the week, encouraging children to record in different ways (we have discovered some budding film-makers during this time!), engaging in family debates, using a hands-on task to explain or reinforce maths concepts; all of these approaches, alongside the more traditional maths and English teaching we have planned, have helped to keep children engaged and motivated.

We have also found that children have a more positive attitude to remote learning if we are not rigidly sticking to a prescribed curriculum.  The children all have weekly and daily time-tables but, within these, we expect children to pick and choose from some optional activities and we encourage them to follow a topic or theme by pursuing their own independent investigations and interpreting tasks in their own way; you only have to watch our weekly Good Work Assemblies on Facebook to see how imaginative and creative our children are!  We have discovered that learning has a more meaningful outcome if children are guided towards following their own interests within a topic or theme – often, the best learning happens when children don’t even realise they are learning but just assume they are having fun. 

Above all, and fundamental to everything we are trying to achieve during this difficult time, is that we want our children to maintain a sense of balance, happiness and well-being which, as we know from our experience as educators, goes hand in hand with academic success and never more so than now.  


Mrs Tina Herbert

Word from the Head

April 3rd 2020

This Friday was supposed to be the last day of term at school.  The days leading up to this are usually full of fun and activities for the children including Easter Bunny Day, dressing up, an egg decorating competition and an Easter egg hunt in our school grounds, an eagerly anticipated event.  Our last assembly is always all about recognising and celebrating the achievements of the children during the term, not just academic achievements and prizes for sport and music, but recognition of personal development, perseverance and courtesy. 

We are now all trying to adjust to a new reality and, in a very short space of time, those events which have always been reliable, fixed features in our calendar each term have now been taken over by other events.  We are not able to give out prizes in our end of term assembly, but every single child at Moorfield is deserving of a prize.  You may remember a few months ago that my focus for “Word from the Head” was on the subject of resilience and how we can support our children during those times when unexpected events occur, both in our personal lives and as we are experiencing now, a life-changing global event.  During the last few weeks, I have been humbled by our children who have displayed resilience, perseverance, independence and yes, even at times, good humour; they have truly tried to live up to the school’s values.  Examples of these qualities have included:- 

  • Older children supervising younger children on thorough hand washing
  • Preparing assemblies on kindness
  • Organising an alternative activity when they have been prevented from attending a fixture or a trip
  • Listening and talking sensibly with each other about their worries
  • Learning how to use positive thinking strategies to combat feelings of anxiety
  • Continuing with a positive attitude towards lessons and homework
  • Persevering with music practice ready for the Skipton Festival
  • For our Senior 6, showing great strength of character in putting on a fabulous performance of ‘Matilda’ for the whole school, even though parents could not be there to see it
  • A real determination from all the children to make the best of it

This is a time when taking care of both our own and our children’s mental wellbeing has to be a priority.  Keeping busy with home learning, activities, chores, reading and exercise is important but so is that precious family time when parents and children can just talk together.  Children will have anxieties that they may want to discuss and I would recommend using the guidance on the Mental Health Foundation website and Every Mind Matters.  In addition, there is very useful guidance on www.gov.uk – a document entitled ‘Guidance for Parents and Carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’.

Parents, please make the time to be kind to yourselves as you take care of your families.

Mrs Tina Herbert

Word from the Head

March 3rd 2020

The Joy of Reading

In an age when our children are more used to communicating and interacting via computer games, social media apps, mobile phones and tablets, it feels almost rare to see children actively choose a book over screen time.  This week, the National Literacy Trust reported that, in 2019, just 26% of under 18’s spent some time each day reading.  Enjoyment of reading, according to the report, dwindles with age and overall ‘just 53% of children said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “quite a lot” – the lowest level since 2013’.

There is no doubt that the importance of reading for children cannot be underestimated.  Reading for pleasure can benefit a child’s education, social and cognitive development, their wellbeing and their mental health.  According to a recent study by the Book Trust, reading ‘facilitates social interaction between adults and children, and encourages children to engage with the world around them’.  The study points to other benefits of reading:-

  • developing empathy – experiencing the lives of other characters helps to develop a greater understanding of emotions; essential in social development.
  • gaining a deeper understanding of the world – children are transported to countries and cultures they may not otherwise experience, learning about different people and events
  • improved literacy skills – helping with language acquisition in very young children and stimulating the part of the brain that processes language.
  • extensive vocabulary – children are introduced to more adventurous vocabulary which they then become accustomed to using in their own writing.
  • developing higher levels of creativity and imagination – children have to use their imaginations to picture characters and settings in stories and this leads to greater creativity in writing.

So how can we instil a love of reading in children?   I ask this because in the same week that the National Literacy Trust report is published, schools up and down the country are celebrating World Book Day.  At Moorfield, we will be marking this by a focus on shared reading between children and parents.  At the end of the school day, we are inviting parents to join us to ‘snuggle up’ and read aloud to their children or sit with them while they listen to a story.  It helps that the staff and children will all be in pyjamas, just to make that precious bedtime story aspect more authentic!

Interestingly, a recent Government report advocated the return of story time at the end of the school day, something that has been increasingly lost in many schools; but not at Moorfield.  Shared reading, using high quality texts as stimulus for writing and reading aloud to children during the day and also at the end of the day, has always been an important part of the curriculum and routine of our school day.   The English curriculum at Moorfield, together with other subjects such as history, RE and PSHE, gives our children numerous opportunities to discuss the meaning behind texts, the impact of carefully chosen vocabulary and their own responses to descriptions of events, characters and settings.  We have discovered that using a shared class book as the basis for the teaching of all genres of writing, including creative writing, significantly enhances and improves the children’s own writing.  In addition, we want our children to read a range of texts so that they have a greater variety of material which not only motivates them to read further, but helps them to become discerning readers.

Parents can help their children by modelling a love of reading themselves, talking to their children about books they enjoyed reading at school and why they enjoy reading as adults.  Encouraging children and parents to read together and to use that precious time at the end of the day to share a loved book not only enhances the pleasure of reading but provides parents with an opportunity to have a regular shared event that they and their child can look forward to.

Mrs Tina Herbert
February 13th 2020

At Moorfield, we are acutely aware of how important Year 6 is for our children, not only academically, but also in terms of personal development.  It is always gratifying to see our children really blossom in that last school year; a combination of the ethos of the school, excellent pastoral care, the opportunities to take on responsibilities and most of all, to recognise that this is the year when they can fulfil all the expectations we have had for them.  Being at the top of the school gives children a sense of having ‘made it’ and they eagerly anticipate this important stage in their education, not only for the kudos it gives them but also for the opportunity to experience this important time together as a close group of friends.

This final year is the one our children look forward to the most. They know they will become prefects and they discharge their prefect duties with great pride, helping to do jobs around the school, looking after our younger children and relishing the role of ambassadors for the school.  It is in Year 6 that children experience the thrill of having special privileges, reserved only for the oldest children in school and it is in this year that we start to see significant changes in our children.  We have noticed that the children leave the end of Year 6 completely unrecognisable from how they were at the beginning; children who have had to work hard at developing confidence academically or in other areas of school life begin to harness their inner strength and show us what they are really made of.  In the Spring and Summer terms, all those enriching experiences, such as the entrepreneur projects, the school play, residentials, days out, team building events, sports fixtures and the opportunities to showcase talents in a variety of ways, all give us the chance to see how far our children have come – no wonder it is an emotional day when they eventually have to leave us!

Year 6 is the pinnacle of everything the children and staff have worked towards throughout their time at school and this is also reflected in academic achievement.  We are delighted this year that, once again, those children who have opted to take entrance exams for a variety of schools in the area have all gained places at their first choice of school.  Added to this, we are celebrating 100% pass rate for selective grammar schools, two academic scholarships, four drama scholarships, one music scholarship and a Chartered Award – only given to a child achieving the highest score out of all children in the area taking the entrance exam.

 It has given me the greatest pleasure to talk to Heads of senior schools about Moorfield children; comments included, ”you can just tell they have had the best start possible in their education” and “their independence, willingness to interact with others, ability to tackle a task or problem, attitude to learning and the courteous way they conduct themselves really makes them stand out”.

As the Head of Moorfield, those conversations with other Heads not only make me extremely proud of all our Year children but confirm to me, and our parents, that what we do absolutely works and the ‘end product’ in that final year is a result of a whole staff approach to excellent teaching and a commitment to developing the whole child.

Mrs Tina Herbert
February 7th 2020
This week is Children's Mental Health Week, but at Moorfield, we promote mental health and well-being all year round.  This is the article written by Mrs Herbert last October.

There has been much in the news over the last few months about the rise in the number of children who have been referred to health professionals for mental health and wellbeing issues.  We only have to look at the many influences and demands on young people to see how this rise has happened.  The World Health Organisation has reported that the pressure on children to attain only the highest grades, negotiate their way in an increasingly competitive world and to be seen to be ‘perfect’ is creating a climate of low self-worth and anxiety.

The Mental Health Foundation has created a pack entitled, ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ which lays out simple rules for building resilience and explains how parents and teachers can support children in developing emotional wellbeing.  The tips are:

Get connected – encourage children  to have conversations with different people in school,  join clubs and teams, organise events to have opportunities to socialise, such as school coffee mornings.

  • Get active – encourage children to try a range of sports and activities, make exercise important.
  • Be mindful – develop opportunities for children to participate in circle time, notice what is going on in their minds and bodies, try yoga.
  • Keep learning – whether it’s creative, IT skills, or a discussion about the news, it doesn’t matter as long as it excites, interests and keeps those brain juices flowing.
  • Give to others – organise charity events, help a friend in the classroom or playground, support a younger child.

 I mention the Mental Health Foundation pack because as I read it I realised that at Moorfield, we already embrace all of these rules during the normal school day and week; even the coffee morning idea which was such a success last week.  Equipping our children with the skills to be able to deal with change, the stresses of everyday life, cope with setbacks and maintain positive relationships with others is a crucial part of our ‘hidden’ curriculum.  It is the responsibility of all schools to help children to develop the confidence to negotiate life’s choppy waters and I am proud that we are a school which takes this responsibility seriously.

Yesterday morning Peter Willox (Vicar at St. John’s) led our assembly and I was inspired by something he said.  He explained to the children the meaning of the ‘good news’ for Christians and during his talk he encouraged children to be good news; to do something kind for someone every day.  If you want to read more about how important this particular rule is, please encourage your child to read the ‘Doing Good Does You Good’ guide which can be found on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

Mrs Tina Herbert
January 17th 2020

Does SATs preparation and testing ruin the last year of primary school for Year 6 children?

This is a question which has been debated for a number of years and is something I am often asked by parents, staff and anyone who has an interest in the education of children.  Having worked in the state sector for over 20 years, I think I can answer that question with a resounding ‘yes’!  My experience of teaching Year 6 is that all learning opportunities are put to one side as soon as children start the academic year in September; a year taken up with SATs practice.  Despite schools and staff working incredibly hard to minimise the impact of this on the curriculum, I know that, for many schools, the implications of the SATs results make the stakes very high.

Further evidence comes from the independent National Foundation for Educational Research.  They have found that children are simply being more effectively coached for SATs rather than educated:  History, art, drama, discussions and music get squeezed out of the curriculum and all those enriching experiences which so benefit children in the last year of school are either crammed into a few weeks at the end of term, or indeed not done at all.  They also point out that as children are coached so intensely, the end results are not always a true reflection of ability.  Speaking to colleagues who manage the transition to Year 7 in senior school, it is clear that they no longer rely as much on SATs results as an indicator of ability or performance, preferring instead to assess children themselves once they join Year 7.

Independent schools have a choice whether to participate in SATs testing or not and some schools have continued with it simply as a way of being included in the Sunday Times Good School Guide.  However, it is telling that the number of independent schools who choose this option is now less than 25% and falling.  They have discovered, as we have, that eschewing SATs tests actually enhances academic performance.

At Moorfield, along with 75% of good prep schools, we do not do SATs and yet the children leave at the end of Year 6 performing well above the national average in English and maths.  We want our Year 6 children to say farewell to us having experienced an enriched curriculum and all those ‘extras’ which make memories of school so special. 

Mrs Tina Herbert
January 4th 2020

As we start our new term, I thought it an opportune time to reflect on all we have achieved during last term.  If you attended the end of term assembly, you will know that I included lots of ‘highlights’ which the children had shared with me in the run up to the last week.  I have included the list below for those parents, carers and grandparents who were unable to be at the assembly:

  • winning five out of five hockey matches in one festival, we didn’t even concede a goal.  We were unbeatable - way to go Mr Snook!
  • sharing a cake with my mum at the Macmillan coffee morning
  • The Wizard of Oz - I absolutely loved it!
  • pretending to be a news reporter in a geography lesson
  • going to Mrs Herbert’s office for a silver star
  • Mrs Herbert putting a silver star on my nose instead of my jumper
  • Mr Well’s jazz band on a Thursday
  • getting lovely and muddy on the Otley Chevin
  • using coding to build and control a buggy in Mr Herbert’s computing lesson
  • holding an owl called Midge
  • going to the pet shop with Miss van Eede
  • pretending I’m dead (a reference to one of Mrs TT’s emergency first aid lessons)!


It comes as no surprise to discover that, for the children, the highlights are all about sharing successes and experiences with others, celebrating personal achievements and thoroughly enjoying creative and challenging lessons.  I also have my own highlights which I included in my Christmas letter to parents in December.  If you have not had the chance to read it on your email, I have included the main body of it here.  It can of course also be found on the Parental Portal on our website.

Dear Parents

As always, the last two weeks of the term are a whirlwind of excitement and activity as children prepare for the Christmas break.  I am sure you will agree with me that both the Nativity and the Carol Service reminded us of the wealth of talent, courage and musicality our children demonstrate when they are called upon to perform.  I’m sure, like me, you could not have failed to appreciate the wonderful Christmas message told so sensitively and endearingly by the children; without doubt, the perfect way to get us all into get into the Christmas spirit.

It is fitting then that I can wholeheartedly say that the highlight for me has been the over whelming generosity, kindness and compassion which has been so prevalent throughout the term, both from children and parents.  As I write, the sleigh outside my office is over flowing with gifts, bought and wrapped by Moorfield families, ready to be taken to other children in the Bradford area.  Those gifts will be truly appreciated by all those who work for the organisation, ‘Staying Put’, as they work to help children and parents recover from difficult home situations.

Our Children in Need day, which was completely organised and run by School Council, raised over £1000, with £648 coming from EYFS alone, as parents and children braved the weather to undertake a walk with the specific purpose of helping other children.  The MacMillan Coffee Morning, together with a donation from a member of staff, raised nearly £800 and another £200 was the result of the Jeans for Genes day in September.  Alongside this of course is the donation of food to Ilkley Food Bank as part of our Harvest giving and the Christmas collection for the Revival Centre in Matugga. 

When I say that Moorfield is a small school with a big heart, this is exactly what I mean.  It is not really about the money, impressive though that is, it is about our willingness to reach out to other people in our community and do what we can to show our support – this is what it means to uphold and cherish the values of the school.

Finally, it only remains for me to say a heart-felt thank you for supporting Moorfield in all manner of ways and to wish you all a very happy Christmas.  We look forward to seeing you in January and hope you all manage some rest and family time over the holiday.

Mrs Tina Herbert
November 22nd 2019

Last week was an extremely busy week in school but I am always amazed at how well our children greet each new activity with such a ‘can do’ attitude; don’t they ever get tired?  It seems not!  Busy weeks, of course, can also be productive, thought provoking and actually joyful. 

When I look back at the calendar from last week, the range and scope of learning opportunities is both exciting and inspiring.  It was very much a science and maths focus starting with class trips to the Otley Science Festival.  If you haven’t already, do look at the Facebook photos which show Form 3 enjoying the ‘School of Water Wizardry’.  Senior 5 have been looking at how to reduce their carbon footprint through renewable energy which inspired them to investigate how water wheels work and the factors which affect how much electricity is produced.  Form 4 and Senior 5 were also involved in a streamed live STEM lesson from the Caribbean where they learnt about the anatomy of the coral polyp.   Further activities during the week included a focus on maths investigations with all children involved in maths challenges, which encompassed building tetrahedrons, using maths in coding lessons and working out a combination problem involving houses, teddies, colours and streets.  I popped in to see the children and hardly anyone looked up to acknowledge me, not because they had forgotten their manners  (these are Moorfield children after all)  but because they were so absorbed in what they were doing.

It is wonderful that our children have all these opportunities and as we already know at Moorfield, learning is not confined to a timetable, structure or the classroom.  I know from the excited reactions and conversations during the week that these experiences will be remembered for a long time, inspiring our children to be curious, adventurous, innovative but most of all, helping them to develop a love of learning and discovery which will last a life-time.


Mrs Tina Herbert
November 13th 2019

One of the most difficult things to do as a parent is to allow your child to make mistakes or even fail. It is a natural instinct to want to protect children from disappointment; I know from my own parenting experience that I have been guilty of trying to smooth the way and remove any obstacle or bump in my children's path.

There are many research papers, parenting guides and academic theories penned by all sorts of experts about how to build resilience in children and there are differing points of view in them all. One thing on which they do agree is that allowing children to take risks and make mistakes also helps them learn to solve problems and understand natural consequences.

Donna Volpitta, founder of the Centre for Resilient Leadership in the USA, maintains that “children can gain so many lessons from failure. When we don’t swoop in to save them, they’re forced to learn how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It pushes kids to learn to try new strategies. Parents can use failures as opportunities to teach those lessons”.

“That is easier said than done,” I can hear you say and of course you have to make a judgement about when the time is right to let your child get on with it.  A good rule of thumb is to let children fail when they have a good chance of learning from it and they can be supported in developing a strategy for next time.  Parents can help by giving the right kind of praise and talking about strengths and weaknesses and, although it may pain us as adults, we can be role models in showing our children how we deal with our own setbacks and disappointments to better prepare them for life’s challenges.

Mrs Tina Herbert
October 24th 2019

Our value during these first few weeks of the school year has centred around ‘thankfulness’, so it is fitting that the end of the first half-term coincides with a Harvest Assembly in school.  We have so much to be thankful for but sometimes it is so easy to forget this; I am grateful to Reverend Shannon for reminding us of this in such a warm and engaging way. 

I am thankful for our wonderful parents who gave so generously to the work of Ilkley Food Bank.  As I mentioned at the end of the assembly, it is important to remember that even in a town such as Ilkley, there are many families who, for one reason or another, may experience difficult times and need the support of all of us to help weather a rough patch.  I was reminded of this when I read about the work of the Ilkley Food Bank volunteers who explained that they collect, prepare, pack and distribute over 50 bags of food every week to families.  They went on to make the point that none of us are immune to a sudden change of circumstances which may result in any one of us relying on this sort of support.

So as we come to the end of the first half-term, I am thankful for our wonderful school, talented and hard-working teachers and our kind and well behaved children.  Most of all though, I have been extremely thankful for the willingness of parents to support us in everything we do and for all the good wishes and encouragement I have received personally since the beginning of term – I could not have wished for a better start.

Enjoy a restful half-term break, you all deserve it!

Mrs Tina Herbert
October 11th 2019

Switching roles from class teacher to the Head of Moorfield has many challenges as you can imagine.  While I miss the close interaction a teacher has with a class and the joy of seeing children completely engaged in their learning, a Head’s job does have many compensations!  Over the last week, I think my highlights have all been about celebrating the success of the children and, of course, being Head means that I can be involved in the celebration of many children, not just one class.  

This week I have had some interesting conversations with Form 1 who all came to see me to show me their ‘Autumn Riddles’ and took great delight in making me try and work out the clues.  The writing and imagination in such young children were exceptional and they all deserved their silver stars. I know I use the word ‘proud’ more times than I should but the whole week certainly did make me proud.  Our Reception children braved the wind and rain to spend a day on the Otley Chevin; not a single complaint from anyone and the Facebook photographs show a group of children revelling in the mud, rain, wind and each other – what better advert could you have for demonstrating how resilient our children are? 

The rugby festival at Gateways was a triumph for the boys and for Mr Snook.  For many children, it was their first rugby match and so there were nerves all round when they set off, but goodness me, how they rose to the occasion - four wins out of five, well done everyone!

To complete an already magnificent week, Senior 5 and 6 made me proud just by being Moorfield children.  Mrs Crebbin reported to me that during their wonderful trip to Bradford Cathedral, the cathedral staff was full of praise for the ‘delightful, well behaved children’ who all showed such interest and asked sensible, thoughtful questions.  The conductor on the train back to Ilkley personally thanked our children for being so wonderfully polite and well behaved. Oh dear, I’m going to use the ‘p’ word again! Well, it won’t be for the last time I’m sure.

Mrs Tina Herbert
October 4th 2019

There has been much in the news over the last few months about the rise in the number of children who have been referred to health professionals for mental health and wellbeing issues.  We only have to look at the many influences and demands on young people to see how this rise has happened.  The World Health Organisation has reported that the pressure on children to attain only the highest grades, negotiate their way in an increasingly competitive world and to be seen to be ‘perfect’ is creating a climate of low self-worth and anxiety.

The Mental Health Foundation has created a pack entitled, ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ which lays out simple rules for building resilience and explains how parents and teachers can support children in developing emotional wellbeing.  The tips are:

Get connected – encourage children  to have conversations with different people in school,  join clubs and teams, organise events to have opportunities to socialise, such as school coffee mornings.

  • Get active – encourage children to try a range of sports and activities, make exercise important.
  • Be mindful – develop opportunities for children to participate in circle time, notice what is going on in their minds and bodies, try yoga.
  • Keep learning – whether it’s creative, IT skills, or a discussion about the news, it doesn’t matter as long as it excites, interests and keeps those brain juices flowing.
  • Give to others – organise charity events, help a friend in the classroom or playground, support a younger child.

 I mention the Mental Health Foundation pack because as I read it I realised that at Moorfield, we already embrace all of these rules during the normal school day and week; even the coffee morning idea which was such a success last week.  Equipping our children with the skills to be able to deal with change, the stresses of everyday life, cope with setbacks and maintain positive relationships with others is a crucial part of our ‘hidden’ curriculum.  It is the responsibility of all schools to help children to develop the confidence to negotiate life’s choppy waters and I am proud that we are a school which takes this responsibility seriously.

Yesterday morning Peter Willox (Vicar at St. John’s) led our assembly and I was inspired by something he said.  He explained to the children the meaning of the ‘good news’ for Christians and during his talk he encouraged children to be good news; to do something kind for someone every day.  If you want to read more about how important this particular rule is, please encourage your child to read the ‘Doing Good Does You Good’ guide which can be found on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

Mrs Tina Herbert 
September 27th 2019

We have been thinking about language and how we communicate.  ‘European Languages Day’ has been the perfect opportunity to try out different ways of greeting each other and expressing ourselves.  In an age where the study of modern foreign languages seems to be in decline, certainly at GCSE level, we want to do all we can to encourage our children to see the value in this very important skill.   When you can speak to people in their own language you deepen connections and understanding.  If you learn a foreign language as a child, you will have a lifetime to reap the benefits of cross-cultural friendships, broader career opportunities, exciting travel adventures and deeper insights into how others see the world.

There are other benefits too.  Research shows that learning a second language boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking and listening skills, in addition to improving memory, concentration and the ability to multitask.  Children proficient in other languages also show signs of enhanced creativity and mental flexibility.

 Obviously, these are all important reasons and we are very fortunate that we are able to offer both French and Spanish at Moorfield, even to our younger children.  What has been apparent as I have watched Mrs Hewitt’s lovely language lessons and observed the children singing, reciting, counting, role-playing and participating in language games, is the complete joy they experience from immersing themselves in a new language. 

 During this week, the children have embraced the fun of learning a language; from dressing up in the colours of the Polish flag, asking for their lunch in Spanish, experiencing food from other countries and learning how to conduct basic social interactions in French, Spanish and Italian.  Our Spanish lunch was such a success this week that Mrs Collier has suggested we have a ‘Language Lunch’ every half-term, not just on Languages Day.  Well, I say ‘twoje zdrowie’ to that – Polish for ‘cheers’!

Mrs Tina Herbert
September 20th 2019

You would be forgiven for thinking Form 1 was moving classroom this week.  I popped in to see them on Wednesday and couldn’t find a single child anywhere, but there they were, hiding among a pile of huge cardboard boxes!  It soon became clear that this was the start of an exciting train building project, inspired by a fabulous ride on the Bolton Abbey steam train the day before.  This is why we love teaching at Moorfield; harnessing the enthusiasm and interest of children and observing how much they enjoy learning is definitely one of the best things about the job.

Our younger children continually surprise and impress us.  Mrs Turner-Thompson’s First Aid lesson really was a revelation.  I was so proud to see children as young as five years old confidently following the correct procedure for dealing with an emergency – it seems that we have some budding medics in our midst!  During role play, they checked their ‘casualty’ for breathing and injuries before calling for an ambulance, remembering to explain their location and briefly summarising the problem.  We are so fortunate that we have a teacher who has a wealth of skills and experience in life saving and emergency procedures and even more fortunate that we have children so prepared to give this a go.  As I mentioned at Meet the Teacher Evening, every child in school will receive the benefit of these very important life lessons.

Finally, if you have not had the chance to catch up with all our goings on through the school Facebook page, do have a look.  Only Mrs Minshall would think of taking Nursery children to a car wash!  Those photographs will keep you smiling for days to come.

Mrs Tina Herbert 
September 13th 2019

There is so much to celebrate in school this week.  Already, Reception children have received silver stars for beautiful letter formation and handwriting, Senior 5 children are busy impressing Mrs Welsh in maths lessons and everyone in school is greeting each new opportunity and challenge with great enthusiasm.

A huge thank you to parents for attending ‘Meet the Teacher’ evening. It was a pleasure to see so many of you there and have the chance to get to know new faces.  Feedback since then has been very positive, with parents commenting on how much they appreciate the chance to hear from their child’s teacher about plans for the year ahead.  As I mentioned at the meeting, as part of our focus on helping parents and children to use technology safely, we are running a series of lessons and workshops looking at on-line safety and we are grateful for the expertise of the Bradford District Cyber Team, along with West Yorkshire Police, who will be helping us with this.  Please keep an hour free on the afternoon of 15th November as we will be inviting you to a special workshop for parents, grandparents and carers.  Keeping our children safe and helping them to protect themselves is becoming even more important in the world in which we live. 

Another highlight this week has been a wonderful assembly on the theme of curiosity and what a surprise at the end!  I won’t give too much away here but watching the children’s reaction and hearing such delighted laughter was certainly one of the best ways I know to start a busy Thursday.

 Mrs Tina Herbert
September 6th 2019

What a lovely first day back we have had!  The sun has been shining, well most of the day at least, certainly there has been enough dry weather for the children to go out to play. I have been delighted to see so many smiling and absorbed little faces as I have walked around school and popped into classrooms.  There has been a definite buzz in the air which has been delightful. 

Our Senior 6 prefects are very proud to have been given responsibilities this term and, in honour of our library being reinstated, we have asked Sam to be in charge of it, a prefect job he is particularly thrilled with.  Congratulations to Lucinda who is Head Girl this term, I know she will undertake this role brilliantly.

Mrs Tina Herbert


May 16th 2019

The Summer term is a short but very busy one and it seems incredible that we are already almost half way through the first half of the term.  There is so much to fit in!  Last week began with a Bank Holiday but school was very much to the forefront for many of you at the Ilkley Carnival.  I do hope that all involved had a wonderful time; I know that the children have talked about it with great enthusiasm. 

Even though the Bank Holiday left us with a four day week, there has still been time to squeeze a lot in.  The Wharfedale Festival was prominent and I’m really pleased that so many of the children were involved.  Those children who performed in the Poetry Recitals achieved superbly well; there was a first and second place in Form 2, a second and both joint thirds in Form 3, a first and second in Form 4, a first, second and third in Senior 5, as well as a second in Senior 6!  The String Group also achieved a first place and by all accounts performed very well.  I was present to watch the performance of the Senior 5 and Senior 6 choir and I thought that they were excellent; as usual watching them made me feel incredibly proud of the school and the dedication and abilities of the staff and children involved.  Besides all of this, there has also been time for a very successful residential trip for Form 4 to Bewerley Park.  I’m told that the children behaved themselves superbly and that a wonderful time was had by all.

This week promises to be even busier:  Many of the children will be completing annual assessments during the week and, in addition, children in Senior 6 and some children in Senior 5 will also be out on the roads on their bicycles as part of the Bikeability programme.  All of this goes on, of course, alongside the rehearsals that are continuing for next week’s production of “Mary Poppins”.  The play is getting very close now and the excitement and anticipation are noticeably beginning to build!  I am certainly looking forward to seeing my first Moorfield School production enormously.

In the near future we will be issuing a school survey which will give parents the opportunity to feedback to us about things which are going well and of course also where there is room for improvement.  This is a vital tool for school development so please look out for it and do get involved if you have the time to complete one.  The children will also be having an NSPCC assembly in the final week of half term which delivers the “Speak Out. Stay Safe Programme”.  Once again, please look out for a letter with further information about this initiative.

I do hope that you and your children enjoy the rest of the half term. Things promise to be even busier when we return after the half term break.

Paul Baddeley


April 12th 2019

The warmer weather and brighter skies are finally here and spring is definitely upon us!  As we prepare for our Easter Break, it seems a good time to reflect on some of the extremely positive things that I have seen and experienced at Moorfield over the last few weeks.

It has been so pleasing to see the impact that the children here at Moorfield have within the local community.  There were of course excellent performances at both the Harrogate and Skipton Festivals.  In fact, in all there were 110 performances by our pupils at the Skipton festival alone and ten of these were chosen to be in the final concert, which showcases the best performances throughout the week. 

Closer to home, it was a pleasure to take part in the school’s Autism Awareness Walk.  The children looked fantastic in their uniforms and hats as we walked around Ilkley and gave a wonderful impression of our school through both their appearance and their polite and friendly manner towards anybody that we encountered. 

Resilience is a key word in the school values and I have seen the way that the children who have been joining in with the weekly cross-country runs are able to display this in abundance. They turn up in their numbers to some windswept and rainy locations and then run up and down hill in treacherous conditions without a word of complaint, all in the name of representing their school, well done to all involved.

As you would expect this last week of the term has been a very busy one.  It began with the wonderful shared event that was the Easter Service at St. John’s Church.  It was lovely to see so many of you there to experience the very moving singing and the powerful readings which were so well executed by the children in Senior 6.  There has also been an exceptionally high quality of entrants to the Easter Bonnet and Decorated Egg competitions; some wonderful attention to detail and a serious amount of creativity in evidence there.

I hope that you all have a very relaxing and fun Easter break together and look forward to seeing you all again next term.

Paul Baddeley
March 2019

One of the many great privileges of having a career in education is that on occasion there is an opportunity to accompany children on a residential visit. Last week I was able to enjoy my very first residential with children from Moorfield School. In this case it was the Senior 6 trip to London. The trip was a wonderful treat for me, not just because of the fabulous cultural opportunities that were on offer but because this sort of trip always provides a chance to get to know the children much better and to see how they socialise with each other over a long period. 

As you might imagine, they were all a credit to the school and to their families. Consistently polite, open to learning and new experiences, both tolerant and compassionate with each other and cheery and positive throughout. The residential was superbly organised by Mrs Hewitt and Mrs Crossley’s experience of both the trip and the city meant that I was in a really good position to observe and enjoy the children’s interactions. They made the most of everything and even when they were clearly tired and hungry they never stopped being positive and caring. The whole trip was an affirming experience and one to make a head teacher very proud, I look forward to the next one.

Paul Baddeley

February 2019

In recent weeks we have continued to focus on how we can look after and respect our planet. This has involved setting out on some different environmental projects. You are very likely to be aware of Reception’s ‘Sea Cycler’ which currently has pride of place in the entrance foyer. What you may not be aware of is that as a school we have recently signed up to a scheme whereby our food waste is now being recycled and converted into energy. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing information with the children about how this process works and how much energy we are able to create.

As well as this, Miss Van Eede also attended a recent Ilkley meeting entitled ‘The Solution is Less Pollution’ on the school’s behalf, which was about water pollution in the town. We will be following up on this as a school after the half term. Finally, we have also just begun a school project on air pollution using Friends of the Earth’s clean air pack. We have a pollution monitor near the front gate and another next to the pitch, these monitors will be sent to a laboratory after two weeks and we will then be able to discuss our findings.

All of these different projects were briefly discussed with the children in assembly and we all hope that they will give the children plenty to think about and talk about as they develop. The assembly also featured many examples of the children’s art work as part of our regular celebration. I really was struck by the ambition, the diversity and proficiency of the children’s work, right across the school. It was an excellent reminder of just how rich a curriculum they are exposed to and how well they take advantage of this.

Paul Baddeley
January 2019

Many of you were present at the final assembly of the year in which various prizes were awarded to deserving pupils. During the assembly we spoke a lot about the school values and I drew the children’s attention to the fact that most of the prizes fitted in very well with these values. Not many of the children were entirely clear about what our school values are. This is not to say that they don’t have an understanding of what the school stands for or that they don’t demonstrate these values on a daily basis, they do. It’s simply that generally speaking they don’t know how to articulate the values of Moorfield School and this is something that we will be working on with them this term. Currently the values are expressed as below:

Excellence in Education, inspiring Kindness, Confidence and Creativity.

We achieve this by:

  • Nurturing and celebrating each individual
  • Providing a calm and purposeful academic environment where each pupil makes excellent progress from their level of ability
  • Enabling, through a rich and creative curriculum, many areas for pupils to shine
  • Building character to facilitate curiosity, independence, perseverance, resilience and good humour
  • Encouraging care and respect for everyone and everything on our planet
  • Being happy together as a community

It may well be that we need to find a way to make these statements more accessible to the children but in the meantime we are examining each one in detail and we have started with:

  • Encouraging care and respect for everyone and everything on our planet

The children have fantastic ideas and are able to tell me about some of the wonderful things that they do at home and at school which support this. I have drawn their attention to The UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which are largely aimed at children and really inspire thought about global citizenship. It may well be that these goals could provoke some really useful conversations at home too.

Paul Baddeley


November 15th 2018

Since we returned to school after the half term break we have, as you would expect, been extremely busy. As always there have been exciting things going on in the classrooms and we have also enjoyed great success in the Wharfedale Art Competition.

What will remain with me however are those times when we have come together as a school and with parents, carers and other members of the community.There were the two piano concerts which took place on the 30th and 31st October in which the children highlighted not only their fantastic levels of skill but also their confidence to perform and their collaboration skills when performing with each other. The concert on the 31st was particularly poignant as we were visited by Mrs Clarke who donated the piano which is now being used in the hall. She clearly took such delight in hearing the children playing it so well and with such enthusiasm. Afterwards she spoke to us all in very moving terms about what these performances meant to her.

Some of you were also able to be with us for last week’s remembrance assembly, which made it all the more special. I was very proud of the children’s maturity and sensitivity when being a part of such a meaningful assembly. This goes from the impeccable way that nursery children were able to observe the two-minute silence right up to senior six and the empathetic manner in which they all contributed to the assembly.

This week of course will culminate in Children in Need day. I must thank you all for your generosity in the donations that we have received through the purchasing of merchandise and taking part in quizzes and so forth. We have needed to order more stock as demand far outstripped supply, a very useful learning experience for the children involved.

Paul Baddeley
17th October 2018

In double quick time my first half term at Moorfield has come to a close and a very positive experience it has been. I would like to thank everyone for their patience as I have gradually learned the faces and routines of the school. I now have the opportunity to reflect on all that I have absorbed over these past few weeks and to begin to plan for the future of the school. There is so much to be proud of here. What has particularly struck me as I have observed the children learning in these past few weeks is just how high their levels of engagement are. I have yet to walk into a lesson and see any child approaching their learning with any kind of passivity at all. The children are excited and involved in what they are doing throughout the school and are happy and able to articulate this.

I have seen some excellent examples of team work, the children support and genuinely value each other.  There is an enthusiastic and collaborative approach to dealing with any problems or barriers that a given task might present. These are strengths that we will continue to build on and can enhance even further. The school is such a positive community; it’s lovely to see the high levels of participation in extracurricular music and sport and the pride with which the children represent the school when given that opportunity, something I would like to make even more accessible to all.

I have had a hugely rewarding first half term and I look forward to many more to come.

Paul Baddeley


28th September 2018

We are well into the term now and the school is feeling very busy and purposeful as children have been taking part in a variety of exciting opportunities. Sport has been very much to the fore and there have been netball matches both home and away in three different age groups as well as away rugby matches due later on this very afternoon.It’s also been a time in which various children from around the school have benefitted from hearing directly from some notable children’s authors. Just yesterday Senior 5 were lucky enough to visit Bradford Grammar School and meet acclaimed cyclist and now children’s author Sir Chris Hoy and today we eagerly await the visit of Peter Bunzl, author of the Cogheart series; a very exciting opportunity! As well as this, we’ve also been celebrating the European Day of Languages as part of our exciting curriculum.

The fly in the ointment at present surrounds the issues that we are having around swimming provision as the Ilkley swimming pool remains closed. I have been in contact with three other swimming pools to see if they can offer us the provision that we need. Unfortunately, so far we haven’t been able to find a pool which is available and has the right kind of facilities for us but we will keep trying.  

 Paul Baddeley


14th September 2018

The first full week at Moorfield seems to have gone by in a flash. It was wonderful to see so many of you at our meet the teacher evening. I’m delighted that the partnership between the parents and carers and the school staff is so strong. The evening felt enormously supportive and I have been very grateful for the feedback that so many of you have taken the time to share with me. As I mentioned on the evening the welcome that I have received from parents, children and staff alike has been overwhelming and has served as an affirmation to me of what a fine school Moorfield really is, I feel very lucky to be here.

A reminder that our communication systems are now all up and running after some initial teething problems so please do check for emails and texts as well as using the website as your first port of call for any school information. On that subject we expect to send out agreement forms for use of technology and photography in the very near future, please can you return these to school as soon as you are able.

Finally it was lovely to end the week with our Big Breakfast for Matugga this morning. I very much enjoyed experiencing the way in which that Moorfield spirit extends into the global community and would like to thank all involved for their generosity both in terms of their time and their donations to a very worthy cause.  A special thank you to Miss Van Eede fo organising such a positive event so early in the new school year.

 Paul Baddeley