I hope that you have all had a very enjoyable summer and are feeling prepared for the start of the new school year commencing on Wednesday 5th September.
Over the summer holidays the staff have been busy moving into our brand new school building and preparing the classes for the start of the term. It has been a huge task and although there will certainly be more to do to make the school as we would like it over the coming months; the school is ready and just needs children to make it come alive. We are all delighted with the quality of the build and the learning environment is light, airy, fresh and inviting for your children to enjoy. This is a very special time for Chagford as a community and I know that you will all want to get to know the new school environment however the first day will be very much about the children getting to know their way around school so they feel safe and comfortable with their new surroundings.
Opportunities to visit:
I know as parents you will want to see the building however I do need to manage this process to ensure the well-being and safety of your children. On Thursday 6th September between 10:00am and 11:00am and again between 2:00pm and 3:00pm I will be happy to show parents from Preschool to Year 2 around the building. On Friday 7th September between 10:00am and 11:00am and again between 2:00pm and 3:00pm I will be happy to show parents from Year 3 to 6 around the new school.
I intend to open the doors to the wider community on Saturday 15th September between 12 noon and 3:00pm so that everyone who would like to come and have a look around can do so when the children are not in the building.
Keeping children safe:
The new school has been particularly designed with the safeguarding of your children in mind and we have systems in place to ensure that once inside the secure fencing line, your children are free to play and learn without any concern for their safety. The visitor entrance is situated at the front of the building where visitors to the school will be welcomed into the entrance but cannot enter the school any further without authorisation due to another set of electronically controlled doors. This secure line facility is very important to maintain and your children will not be able to exit the building without a member of staff electronically enabling the opening of the secure doors. Of course in the event of a fire all doors will open to allow supervised exit of the building. It is reassuring to know that the children will be safe at all times.
The start of the day procedure:
These enhanced security features have enabled us as a team to look at our operating procedures for the start and end of the school day and make some changes. Next Wednesday morning and every school day, there will be a member of staff on the school gates as normal and your children will walk down the drive and onto the playground to play until the bell goes at 8:55am (weather permitting of course). I will be on the playground to welcome and supervise the children from 8:45am. Once the bell goes the gates will be locked, the children will line up and the teachers will come out to collect the children and take them into the school via the pupil entrance at the back of the building. You will be able to leave your children in the playground from 8:45am or can stay until the bell rings. If you need to speak to a teacher before school starts then you will need to go into the school via the visitor entrance at the front of the building where Ayesha Robinson, School Administrator will contact the teacher. We will not be allowing members of the public including parents into the school via the pupil entrance at the back of the school as this will compromise the security aspect of the building and we would appreciate your cooperation to maintain this request for the safety of your children.
Those children who will be going to the Pre School and Reception class can enter the building via their own entrance to the left of the building and are welcome to go into these classrooms from 8:45am to settle your children. You will be asked to leave via this entrance also rather than going through the school. The school office can be accessed via the front visitor entrance.
If your children arrive late at school – after the gate has locked – then they will need to go to the visitor entrance from where they will be directed to class.
End of the day procedure:
At the end of the day, the bus children will go to the hall to be registered and taken down to the buses in the playground by an adult. The Preschool and Reception class children will be released to parents by staff from their own entrance on the side of the building. Years 1, 2 and 3 who are going home with parents will be released by staff from the doors at the front of the school, direct from their classes. Years 4, 5 and 6 will come downstairs and will come out of the door next to the Preschool entrance and can leave the school site via the pedestrian path. Please be mindful that although we have now successfully separated the buses down on the playground from any children being collected by parents; buses will be leaving the site via the driveway and it is your responsibility as parents to keep your children supervised once you have collected them. Children should not enter the playground again once they have been collected from the front of the school.
Breakfast and After School Club:
Breakfast and After School Club can be accessed via the door to the left of the building before the Preschool entrance. There is an intercom system in place to contact the member of staff on duty. Press the buzzer and they will answer. The member of staff can see you via a camera and will release the door for you to go up the stairs to the activities room next to the library, where the club will be based. The same system will operate at night when you come to collect your children.
Finally, we are about to enter the demolition stage of the old school building and so in order to maintain the highest of safety measures for your children a proportion of the playground will need to be fenced off for the Autumn term. We will be splitting break times and adjusting the lunchtime playtimes so that the number of children outside at any one time is reduced and space can be used effectively. You will also notice that the climbing frame has been removed. It has finally come to the end of its life and needed significant maintenance to pass the testing standards for school play equipment. It is the plan to invest in new and interesting play equipment as part of the wider landscaping project, once the old school building has been removed.
I realise that this is a lot of information to take in however I did want to give you as much information for the first day back next week to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. This is a new building for all of us so I am sure that we will have some hiccups along the way, so please be patient with all the staff during this initial stage.
There will be an official opening of the school on 10th October 2018; details to follow.
I am excited and pleased to have this opportunity to be welcoming you into your new school; what an honour after such a long journey! Thank you for all your support over last year during the construction stage and I look forward to continuing to create an inspiring and exciting learning environment along with my team, over the next year.
See you next at 8:45am on Wednesday 5th September.