Another week finishes leaving us exhausted but very happy and proud of the work the adults have put in and the progress that the children have made. February half term is half way through the school year and a great vantage point to look back at what has been acheived and forward to what is still to come. Mr Newland was glowing with pride this morning as he told me about the great strides some of our year threes have made in Phonics so dar this year. Our Year Fives treated us to a terrific assembly on Wednesday showing off their increasing discipline and control as a group. More year sixes joined the Year Six Ambasadors on hte bench after evidencing their commitment to learning and character development.
Danielle Betts, who has been working with us at Chagford Primary since September is finishing today to take up a new job a little closer to home. In assembly she told us that when her agency called her up and asked her to take on the role at Chagford, the recruiter said that Chagford was a very special school, one that would live in her memory for a long time after she finished her contract. Danielle told us that, at the time, she'd imagined this was just him trying to get her to take on the job but, once she arrived, she realised that there is something quite special about our school. Something which doesn't come from the walls or classrooms but from every child and adult who comes together in this place to live and learn together.
I think we will all be grateful for our half term break but that we will also be looking forward to another term. There's so much to look forward to.
World Book Day
Chagford will celebrate World Book Day on Wednesday 1st March. The official date is March 2nd but with the National Education Union planning another day of strike action for that day we have brought it forward.
Just as last year, we will have a visit from our friends at The Bookery on the day to learn about some brilliant newly publsihed books and there will be a very heavily subsidised book stall allowing the children to purchase the books. Through the generosity of the PTFA, we'll be purchasing a complete set for the school library so children can get a chance to read the books even if they can't buy every one that they would like.
Children can come to school dressed as a favourite book character or they can push the idea a little further - I have had children attend as full libraries, as genres, as authors or as historical or creative characters who they admire and clutching a biography. One of my all time favourites was a child in a lab coat absolutely covered in the poems from 'The Lost Words' - you could quite happily read that costume all day!
Additionally, there will be prizes for 'book in a box' exhibits. Take a box that would fit in a book shelf between teh books. Take off a side and build a little world inside. Yoiu might like to think about The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Lord of the Rings, The Gruffalo, The AdventureMice or any other book your child is passionate about - non fiction just as much as fiction. There will be some prizes and lots of celebration.
Children's Mental Health Week
This week has been Children's Mental Health Week across the country and Chagford Primary has played a full part. Classes have taken extra time over their PHSCE and Circle Time sessions and every day's afternoon assembly has had a mental health focus. Year Five gave us a confident whole school assembly based on the book Ruby's Worry.
We learned that worries tend to get bigger when we keep them inside and tend to resolve when we speak about them to other people. We thought about who the trusted people in our lives were that we could talk to and learned some good ways of talking and asking for help. We learned that everybody has busy thoughts in their heads and that we need to treat others with respect as we never know what worries or anxieties they might be carrying - even if they are looking happy and confident.
On Friday we celebrated with a 'Dress to Express Day. Children and staff came to school dressed in ways that expressed something about themselves - clothes that made them happy, clothes that reminded them of something they really like, clothes that had a story. Mr Finch was relaxed in his jeans and a comfy shirt and with no tie around his neck for once, Mr Dray chose an old rock band tour T-Shirt which reminds him of happy times in the past and of things he's looking forward to. SOme children wore their cosiest onesies, or dressed to make each other smile. My absolute favourite was a child who wore her rugby strip to show her pride in her team then shyly revealed that she was wearing a football top underneath to awknowledge her friendship with a football mad classmate.
Well done and thank you everyone. Hopefully a few children end this week a little more confident and comfortable to talk about thier identity and to share their worries.
Thank you to eveyone who donated a pound for the children's mental health charity place2be - there are many, many children and young people sruggling with the mental health and wellbeing at the moment - with more than twenty years in education I have never seen the situation so serious in this reagrd. Our young people need help and with services like CAMHS so overwhelmed, it is groups like place2be who are doing the work,
Work at Chagford Primary
We are currently very stretched indeed at Chagford Primary. Due to circumstances beyond our control we are down two key members of staff and unable to recruit to fill those jobs. We would love to take on two members of staff to fulfil these roles though, currently, it would be through agency.
If you know anyone who has some experience of working with children, is able to commit to a medium term agreement - up to the end of summer term ideally, is good at learning quickly and follwoing instructions and is happy to sign up to an agency and undertake the usual formality of a DBS check then please, please put them in touch with us so we can explain more and get things moving. Both roles are demanding but rewarding and vital for the children we serve.
Chagford Primary is a Church of England School. It's a key part of our identity and one that. maybe, we don't always celebrate as much and as loudly as we should. I am very proud o our children's increasing ability to talk about spirtuality - not as something which is tied to one religion or world view but as a way of thining about how we relate to ourselves, the people we are connected to and the wide world around and beyond us. I love that our children so understand our school vision 'Community, Challenge, Care and can talk about where the idea comes from. I am proud to hear them sing our school song 'Let us spur each other on to love and good works'. I love to hear them say our school blessing at the end of each day's collective worship. I am proud when I stand in the church with all our pupils, when we sing together, think together and pray together as part of a community much larger than the school.
A great deal of what I really love about Chagford Primary is, in part, in expression of it's distinctive identity as a Church of England School.
Church of England Schools are inspected under the SIAMS (Statutory Inspection for Anglican and Methodist Schools. Our last inspection under SIAMS was way back in 2016 and was judged 'good' at that time. We were expecting an inspection this year and rather looking forward to showcasing everyhting we love about our school however the inspection schedule is badly behind after the pandemic and we were told this week that we would not be inspected this year after all. We are a little disappointed that we won't get our chance to show how we shine this year, we hope that people outside the school do see the love, the care and the attention to the child's spirit that we think makes our school a bit special.