Staff wellbeing has always been a significant component to our School’s ethos and we have always invested in staff development as the staff are our greatest asset. This year staff wellbeing has been a whole school priority and this year’s staff training has contributed towards the work around the Wellbeing Award for Schools – promoting wellbeing and mental health and acknowledgement within our re-accreditation of Gold status for Investors In People.  We also welcomed Tracy Brandwood, new Chair of Governors, to join in the fun and who was able to witness for herself how important staff wellbeing is taken into consideration at Elmwood.

In addition to this we wanted to celebrate the work of some inspirational women and organisations as part of recognition of International Women’s Month (March 2018). So we welcomed Sara Morris (Barlaston Women’s Institute, http://barlastonheronswi.webs.com/ ) and Margaret Thompson (Birmingham Back to Backs, National Trust, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birmingham-back-to-backs ) ably assisted by her colleague to deliver some age old techniques and applications using a variety of natural materials toDigital Camera produce some fantastic pieces of work that staff will feel able to support our own pupils during out and about lessons in the coming years (and keep for themselves as mementoes of the fantastic day).

Sara’s enthusiasm and creative flair enabled staff to experience different colours and textures in their very own A4 masterpiece of wet felting (which will be carefully created into wall banners to enhance the School’s environment; so keep your eyes open you never know when or where they will appear!) and Margaret took us through the history and application of rag rugging by making Christmas tree decorations – which will further enhance fund raising at our school fetes.Digital CameraThis was delivered authentically both from the materials used and her dress code, staff felt they were in the terraced houses in the heart of Birmingham. Some staff even dressed especially for the occasion.

Our very own Mr Whittaker (SLE for Outdoor Learning) treated us to some nail art, using different coloured threads to create some truly spectacular pieces of work that will create “awe” for the pupils when they see them. The awe and fear for staff was generated by Mr Holmes when he demonstrated and enabled staff to safely and effectively participate in axe throwing, using angel stars and single blade tomahawks – some even progressed to the double bladed axe!axes 5

This was all delivered at Blymhill and Weston Village hall https://www.blymhill-westonvillagehall.co.uk/  with a picturesque landscape of local farms and village tranquillity, which really enabled staff to focus on the learning at hand and do so in a truly mindful and “Elmwood way”. The facilities enabled all facilitators to deliver outstanding sessions and the kitchen was well equipped to enable Mr Cross and special invited quest to cook up a storm of pulled pork and slow cooked beef  baps with accompaniments and a special salmon, okra and rice dish for Leon and a nice vegan burger for Jenna.

I am sure you can see from the gallery that a lot of fun was had by all and initial feedback is very positive about the experience and all are looking forward to supporting the pupils next year.