Jubilee Tea Party
On Friday we celebrated the Queen's Platinum Jubilee together with members of the community. CHildren came to school dressed as royalty which, of course, they could interpret as creatively as they wished. We had lots of fabolous dresses and smart suits, any number of crowns and tiaras, a good few people looking like a casula minor royal dressed for a day at the polo and at least two fervent republicans who insisted on wearing heri uniforms. The staff got into the spirit of the ocassion and there were lots of lovely summer dresses and fascinators around the school. Mr Finch dressed as Rock Royalty in his Slash style top hat.
In the afternoon, friends from the memeory Cafe for senior citzens joined us for a 'garden party' on the field with scones with cream and jam for everyone. Someone remind me which is supposed to go on first? We had a game of Jubilee Bingo and the children sang some of their favouriote songs and a good time was generally had by all.
For a,lot of us older people, the day brought back memories of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Many years have passed but the fun of a celebration and of spending time togethr is the same. I hope that some of the children will treasure their Jubilee Bookmarks (donated thanks to the PTFA) as much as we treasured those Jubilee mugs back in '77.
Huge thanks to Miss Paddon whose project this party was and to members of the PTA, especially Chloe Brookes Warner, who coordianted scones, jam and cream to feed a multitude.
Most especially, thanks to our guests from the memory Cafe and their supporters who helped to bring them - after the difficult pandemic years, it's lvoely to be getting back to the kind of intergenerational connection that helps make our links to our community feel properly three dimensional.
> SAVE THE DATE - CELEBRATION OF BEES!
As part of the ongoing monthly COP26 Celebration of the Earth events, we will be celebrating bees, and their extraordinary lives and fascinating habits. The church will be filled with the sound of honey bees buzzing, there will be music, and poetry performed by one of our pupils, and an extraordinary interactive bee pod will be installed as the centrepiece. Our pupils will be making little bees on their first day back, so we are hoping for a little swarm of them to perform that evening, while Mr Finch plays and sings “Be More Kind”. We would love to see as many of you there as possible, so please put 5:30 pm 7th June in your diary. It’ll last about 30 minutes, so you’ll be home in time for tea!
Concert for Midsummer
Last Saturday, 22nd May, we had the most extraordinary evening in the Church of St Michael the Archangel. Amye Farrel and her accompanist Rupert Egerton-Smith played a beautiful selection of music from Beeethoven, Scarlatti, Chopin and Rachmaninov that filled the church with sound and our hearts with joy. It was lovely to see so many of the school community there and to share that experience with them and with the wider community. Amye and Rupert gave their time and taloent for free so that every penny raised could go to support the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that we are currently preparing at school. It was very moving to see the whole community come together to support this project and even more moving to hear that music in the beautiful interior of St Michael the Archangel. A Huge heartfelt thankyou to Amye and Rupert for giving this blessing and gift of an evening.
School Closed Monday 6th
Due to the Jubilee Bank Holiday being subsumed into the pre-existing half term break, schools were instructed to find a day in the year to give the pupils, families and staff that day's break. Along with the majority of other schools that I am aware of, Chagford Primary has opted to take that day on Monday 6th JUne which is the closest calandered day to the bank holiday. The school will not be open on that Monday.
Once again, huge thanks to every family who have been booking meals ahead of the day so that Marie can order mre accurtately and get on with preparing the food straight away in the morning. We are now instructing teachers not to check lunch registers in the morning as the vast, vast majorioty of meals are being ordered ahead of time. Marie is now creatinbg much less waste as she is not needing to figure in slack for un-ordered meals. Of course, if a child ends up without a meal ordered for them we don't let them go hungry - we can find a sandwich for them if need be but they may not be able to get their first choice which can disappoint. We are down to very, very few instances of this now. COuld be none soon!
Swimming after Half Term
Don't forget that pupils in years Three, Four, Five and Six will be swimming every Tuesday from half term to the end of term. Tey will need to bring their swimming kit and a towel with them. We need volunteers to walk to the pool and back with calsses. If you are able to help out on a Tuesday please let us know.
Chagford Primary in the News
The Moorlander put us on the cover this week with a story about Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve's visit earlier this term. It's a nice piece and it's lovely to see student's work featured in the paper.
Break the Rules Day
Thank you to everyone who has been makikng a new habit of remembering to order their child's meals in advance so that we can plan and get things ready in a more timely way.
From next week I will ask teachers NOT to check the dinner registers in the morning. We will assume that every child who requires a meal will have had one ordered and that any children without a meal ordered are being provided a packed lunch from home.
If your child is having a homje packed lunch, it is still very helpful to make sure that is entered on the system so there's no chance of confusion.
Making this change to routine will save a few minutes of class time every day meaning we can get straight into something more interesting and useful.
We are really looking forward to teh concert tomorrow night in the church. We'll be raising funds for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as celebrating our beautiful church and a chance to be together. I understand that some tickets are still available so do come along. It promises to be a beautiful evening.
Dogs on Site
Can I remind everyone that as a school we can't allow dogs on site. We have some children who are very scared of dogs and a couple with allergies. To make this school as kind and inclsuive as possible we need to protect all our pupils and make sure they can feel absolutely safe and helpful on the grounds. I have spotted that lots of families are already tying their dogs up on the fence before bringing children on to the site - I'd like to thank them and I'd like to see if we can encourage each other to make this a universal practice.
Jubilee Tea Party
We will be having a Jubilee Tea Party on Friday afternoon. We will have scones with jam and some games and fun together to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. We have invited some older people to come and join us and it will be lovely to see the younger and older people from the community clebrating and enjoying spending time together.
The mamoth task of baking two hundred scones is being coordinated by the PTFA - if you could help out and provide a batch let us know and we will put you in touch with the organisers. We hope to be able to invite all of our parents and carers to stay behind for a cup of tea before too long!
Bee Kind! Celebrating the Earth
The next in the 'Celebrating the Earth' series of events - following on from the 'New Life/Beltane' Celebration last week - is a celebration of bees, their sense of community, their cooperation and everything they do to keep our planet running along.
Children wil be making their own bees to take along to the event.
The event will take palce after school on June 7th - we hope lots of families will want to be there with their children.
A Flower Festival in Chagford Church
Thursday June 2nd – Sunday June 5th 10.00 am – 5.30 pm daily.
Around twenty different flower and plant displays will each depict an event or particular interest of Her Majesty’s, from throughout her long reign.
This will be a real community event with many groups of people involved, including Chagford Primary School, flower arrangers and local organisations and businesses.
We anticipate that people will visit Chagford from far and wide as we open our wonderful town, and all it has to offer, to visitors for this special event.
Date: 2 June 2022
Parish Church of St Michael the Archangel, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8BN, United Kingdom
Find out more:
Marie has been very happy this week as so many families have logged on and booked in their children's meals. She has been able to get on with preparing the meals much more promptly and classes have been able to get on with their learning much quicker. There is a very small number of children left without a confirmed meal on the register each day now and we are moving to a presumption that any children left without a meal chosen against their name is having a packed lunch brought from home.
Thank you for making this change everyone - it's a real help to us. Please do keep it up.
Break the Rules Day
Thursday next week is our 'Break the Rules Day' raising funds for the PTFA. Children are very, very excited about this! There is a limited set of rules that pupils are invited to 'break' on the day - of course they will still be expected to be Safe, Ready to Learn and Respectful.
We ask for fifty pence for each of the 'rules' that your child chooses to 'break' - if your child wants to break all five that would be a two pound fifty donation. Can donations come to school in an envelope and be given to the class teacher at the start of the day so it can't go missing.
Pick Up Time
It's funny that drop off in the morning always seems very cheery, calm and orderly while pick up time at the end of the day can seem crowded and at times a bit chaotic. I worry about this a bit - at the end of the day with lots of adults on the site and lots of children criss-crossing and hurtling about I worry that we could have an accident or that a child could go missing. These might sound like big worries but it's my job to think about the big worries and consider how we can make things safer.
Parents can help us by standing a little way back from the classroom doors so we have a clearer transition and can see who has whom. Children can help me by staying calm and by staying with their parent or carer once they have been picked up.
One area that gets especially busy is the side door where both Year Three and Four come out at the end of the day. With parents also waiting for EYFS this area gets really busy.
As of next Monday we will organising Year Four to leave the school through the hall doors. We will pilot this for a week or two to see how it goes before making a firm decision. Parents for children in Year Four should wait a little way back from the hall doors nearer to the reception and children will be released one by one to their parents. Hopefully this can be a calmer and more orderly way to release them and make things calmer at the other end too.
Year One Trip to the Chagford Memory Cafe
On Thursday 12th May, Beech class walked up to the Jubilee Hall and joined in with the monthly Chagford Memory Café. This month’s memory café was celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The children took up their drawings of Queen Elizabeth II which were enjoyed by all. We heard from one of the guests about the day of the coronation and how they felt. We also saw photos of the coronation and street parties for past jubilees. There were lots of interesting stories to be heard. We performed our ‘Rocket Ship’ dance which we had learnt in PE and then were invited to join in with a drink and biscuit. Everyone had a lovely time; on the walk back, a child even asked if we could do it every day!
The children were a real credit to Chagford school and excellent ambassadors. It was fantastic being able to go into the community and meet lots of new people; something we hope to do more of in the coming months.
A huge thank you to Ann and Caroline for organising this and allowing us to visit and a huge thank you to Chloe for volunteering too – without you, this trip wouldn’t have been possible, thank you.
The PTFA would like to warmly welcome you to come along to a meeting on Tuesday 17th May in the Birdcage Cafe to discuss The Jubilee, A Midsummer Night's Dream and much, much more.
Beltane 'Celebrating the Earth
Children at Chagford Primary made leafy headbands over the last week so that they could take part in the celebration of the coming of summer and of new life up at O'er Hill on Thursday Night. Plenty of children from the school attended and a lot of fun was had. We loved to see these pictures with a lot of familiar faces - both adults and children! The children were able to tell me about the 'Obby 'Oss that was dead but came back to life and snapped it's jaws at them, the jack in the green and jumping over the stream (none of them got their shoes wet they said). Ut sounds like a great event and I hope it becomes an annual tradition that the children can take a part in. I'm vcery gald we were able to play our part.
Competition Glory for Holly!
We were excited and proud to hear that Holly from Year One won the under 12’s 'design a postcard' competition at Exeter Phoenix arts centre.
Holly made her design when she was 5 years old, of her own accord, The family liked her spatial awareness and use of colour, so shared it with family. There is a stained glass window after visiting church, alongside the keys that were on the family dining table, so it's a real mix of influences! Unbeknown to the rest of the family, Holly's Granny entered it into the competition and later announced Holly had won!
The artwork will be on exhibition later in the year, so we might be able to show you a picture of Holly with her winning picture.
Well done Holly - you're a proper #ChagfordChampion.
School Dinner Bookings
Have you met Marie - our on site cook? Many primary schools nowadays are bringing food in that has been cooked off site but here we still proudly cook from fresh each and every day.
Marie needs to get to work as soon as she gets in to school in the morning - and if all the dinners have been booked up in advance, she can do just that. If, however, we don't have the bookings in she can't crack on and has to wait until teachers have laboriously gone through the list asking children what they want for lunch and marking it off. This is a waste of valuable time for Marie who genuinely needs to know how many people she is cooking for before she can start measuring out her ingredients. It's also a massive waste of time for all our children who are getting on with busywork rather than getting straight into something more interesting and useful. If it takes a teacher five minutes to check the missing meals from the register each morning then that's twenty five minutes for each child every day which is being wasted - over a term we are talking about hours of time listening to children deciding between a roast dinner and a tuna sandwich - it just isn't a good use of time.
Can we say a big 'thank you' to all the families who do book their school meals in advance - it really helps Marie and it really helps us. Can we ask, gently but firmly, if the few families who are not booking in advance to get in the habit of doing so please? If your child has packed lunches prepared at home, it would still be immensely helpful to us if you could log in and book those in - it really streamlines things to know what children are having.
From the middle of next week will be moving to an assumption that children who do not have a meal booked are having a home packed lunch. We will instruct teachers not to go through dinners with their classes each morning and we expect to win back quite a considerable chunk of learning time.
If you are not sure how to book online please drop in and see Elaine who will be very happy to show you how to do it.
Can we remind families that the school day starts at ten to nine and that we expect that all children will be on site by that time so they can line up when the bell is rung and start the day together. of course anyone might get caught up in a queue behind a tractor once in a while, we absolutely understand that - however this really should be the exception rather than the rule! Elaine has some really specific jobs she has to crack on with in the morning and while she is always delighted to see the children she would like a bit less coming and going while she completes her tasks. We will be contacting families where this has become an issue to ask if there is any way we can support them with punctuality.
Monday 6th June - School Closed
You will be aware that the government called for an additional bank holiday to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. This bank holiday falls within the half term holiday so schools have been instructed to take that day elsewhere in the school year. Together with other schools in the trust we have decided to add it as an extra day immediately after the half term break to keep things as simple as possible. That means that school will be closed to all children on Monday 6th June, the Monday after the half term break.
Year Six Sats
Next week is the Year Six SATS week. Of course there is a degree of nervousness and tummy butterflies involved. The children are fully prepared to do the best that they can do and the teachers are all briefed on their roles to support the pupils. SATS exist primarily as a tool for the government to monitor the attainment and progress of cohorts of children. Secondary schools tend not to use the results of SATS to group or stream their Year Sevens - most prefer to use their own assessments so there really is no need to be worried that a child who has a hiccup on the day will be disadvantaged. Of course, as a school, we'd like the children to do as well as they possibly can - the success of our pupils is one of the ways that our effectiveness is judged - but far more than that, we want the children to be happy with how they have done. We're hoping that next week will be a really positive one for the children. We will be narrating success every day.
The papers will be sent away to be marked and the results will come back in a few weeks by which time, I guarantee you, our minds will be so busy with sports day, leavers assembly, a Midsummer Night's Dream and a hundred other things that the tests will seem like ancient history to the children whose sights will be increasingly set on Year Seven and beyond. It sounds silly but, as far as is possible, the best advice for you to give your Year Six children is to do their very best, remember all the help they've been given, try to enjoy it as much as they can and then to move on and think of greater things.
Equipment for EYFS
There's a lot more fun equipment in the Early Years area this week thanks to a generous donation from the PTFA. A trolley for pens, pencils and clipboards so we can always have a writing area outdoors, more shelves so children can access the things they need more easily, more play food for the home corner, brushes for sweeping (children love to sweep!) and much more. It's great to see the money that the PTFA raise being used to benefit the children. Thank you to everyone who has attended an event, bought a raffle ticket, organised something or played a part in this terrific work.
Jubilee Tea Party
On Friday 27th May we will be having an epic Jubilee Tea Party for all the children and invited guests.
Plans are still being finalised but we hope to see lots of regal attire, we'll be hoping to treat everyone to a scone with jam and cream, there will be games, a visit from a VERY special guest and every child will take home a souvenir of the day. We will be asking fro some support with this soon - if you could come along to help, could bake a batch or two of scones, could supply some jam or know an older person who would really value an invitation - please do let us know.
Break the Rules Day
We want to raise some money to fund giving each child a memento of the Platinum Jubilee. To do this we are going to have a 'Break The Rules' Day. This was run very successfully at our sister school South Tawton Primary a couple of weeks ago. Children were reminded of a list of five very important rules and then invited to 'break' them creatively. The rules included;
Celebrating the Earth 'Beltane' Event
Children have been busy making leafy headbands in preparation for the 'Celebrating the Earth' event next Thursday. The event will take place on O'er Hill on Thursday 12th May at 5:30. The organisers hope that children from the school will come along to join in the celebration of the coming of summer and of the power of nature and of new life. I am told there will be an 'Obby 'Oss and lots of fun. It would be lovely to see some of the children there with their beautiful leafy headbands. Of course, if your child has not made one at school (or if you think you can do better!) there's nothing at all to stop you making a headdress of foliage and blossom at home to wear along to the event.
Chagford Primary in the News
Did you catch our appearance in the Mid Devon Advertiser? We were delighted that a photographer from the paper was able to come along and help us create memories of our brilliant day with Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve last week. They possibly didn't need a picture of Mr Finch but it's a shame to quibble.