AN innovative Ellesmere Port school has been going from strength to strength despite the challenges presented by the Covid pandemic.

Woodlands Primary School had two very positive Ofsted monitoring visits last year, in February and April, right in the middle of the pandemic. Inspectors found that the work of leaders had ensured that children continued to have a rich and varied diet of activities and the school have gone from strength to strength since, something they look forward to sharing with inspectors during their next inspection, which the school expects to be in the near future as full inspections have resumed.

Having spent last term working hard to establish the academic baseline for pupils after prolonged disruption to learning, not just due to Covid but issues prior to the current headteacher taking over, staff sought to work primarily on ensuring that literacy and maths were brought up to the required standard.

This built on prior work and utilised the skills of the staff in both Read, Write, Inc. (a phonics programme) and The Literacy Company texts, to great effect and also White Rose Maths and Times Tables Rock Stars.

Some of the work created by Woodlands Primary School pupils as the school is enjoying a busy term.

Some of the work created by Woodlands Primary School pupils as the school is enjoying a busy term.

The school's Literacy/Lower Key Stage Two Leader, Laura Dutton, was asked by The Literacy Company (TLC), as one of only five schools nationwide, to exemplify best practice and share that practice, the work of both staff and pupils at Woodlands, with the whole country – in blog format.

It appears the penchant of headteacher, Dr Victoria Carr, for blog writing, podcasting, and news interviewing is beginning to rub off on the rest of the staff.

Mrs Dutton’s first blog left one of the senior TLC staff in tears as she recognised the amazing work it contained, work that Mrs Dutton and the leadership of the school are the biggest advocates of.

Last week, the school held a fundraising Read-a-thon, raising hundreds of pounds. People can still donate at

The school is welcoming a number of special guests this term. Thanks to building a link with the Royal Marines, next month will see Mike Beaton MBE, aka @CommandoChef, visiting to cook with the children.

Cooking at the school is important for not only the children and staff, but also the wider community. School cook Kellee Godfrey will support the efforts of the school both in supporting the homeless in the wider community and also fostering a sense of social conscience amongst the children by cooking once a month for Wirral Homeless Angels.

The brainchild of the headteacher, this action brings together the staff, who wear their own clothes on the last Friday of the month and chip in a pound for charity to do so, the pupils who will cook food bought with staff donations, and Edsential who are supportive of the idea and ensure that all food standards are met.

Dr Carr has recently supported University of Cumbria with leadership training, the result of which will be several outdoor education students from the university coming to Woodlands to support their outdoor learning programme, which the school will build on by organising a trip to the Ambleside Campus where pupils will work with experienced lecturers and students.

The relationship between school and the university will be cemented as the plan is for Woodlands to host students as part of their training when they must complete an ‘urban’ placement.

To continue the success story of the school in innovative approaches to learning and teaching, it has become one of the flagship schools for the national character education programme, Commando Joe’s.

Mike Hamilton, OBE, founder of the programme, is really pleased to be working with the school as they design, and test out new materials for the company that embrace a number of National Curriculum subject areas and also support explicit character development in children from Reception to Year 6.

The school has excellent links with The Abbey School for Exceptional Children in Chester and both will work on challenges for CoJoe’s this year.

For further information about Woodlands, or to book a visit, contact Sue Moss on 0151 329 3164.