Newsletter 11th February
Spring is on it's way! 'The Lord of the Dance' has been playing in a loop at the back of my mind this week as I've rejoiced in the couple of minutes extra sunlight that I've noticed each morning and the spring flowers popping up all over. I hope your hearts have been lifted too.
Enormous thanks to every parent who has been booking their child's meals on to the SchoolComms system. I can't tell you how much easier it is to whizz through the register and get on to something more interesting when all the children are already coded for their meals. In some classes nearly all the children are now being sorted for meals and the teacher can pretty much get on with some teaching and learning. If you aren't sure how to book up and would like a little support Elaine in the office is very happy to advise.
A couple of parents have asked if we still need them to code when children are having a packed lunch from home. Yes please! The more children are booked up on the system in advance, the less we have to fuss the children in the morning.
Wonderful Year Sixes
Our Year Six pupils impressed hugely this morning when two teachers from one of our sister schools in the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust visited to observe their writing lesson. Mrs Armstrong, who teaches Year SIx, is one of our trust's strongest teachers of writing as well as being a county moderator. The children stayed calm even though there were visitors in their class, they participated in the lesson whole heartedly impressing Mrs Armstrong and the visitors and created some great writing. We are SO impressed with the progress this year's Year SIxes have made - they are real #ChagfordChampions.
Times Tables Rockstars
We have been delighted to see a big uptick in the children's interest and involvement in Times Tables Rockstars over the last few weeks. Some children have really been putting in the time and, as a result, their facility with times tables is markedly improving.
As a child I never got the point of learning times tables facts - I don't think my teachers ever explained to me, or, if they did, perhaps I wasn't listening. The biggest barrier to our pupils achieving their potential in maths at the moment is the quickness of their recall - if we know that three times four is twelve we can quickly work out that thirty times forty is one thousand two hundred, or that one hundred and twenty divided by forty is three. If we don't know that three fours are twelve and have to work it out afresh each time those secondary facts just aren't available to us. I am ambitious that every child in the school should know their times tables facts to ten times ten by the end of Year Three adding the elven times tables and twelve times tables in Year Four - that time spent on Numbots and on Times Tables Rockstars is a massive part of making that possible for every child.
Did you know that we have clubs running most nights of the week? If you missed them there's Chess Club, Sports Club, Football Club Netball Club, Lego Robotics Club and Samba Club running currently. There are available places in some of them so do have a look. I would LOVE to see more children coming to Samba Club so we can build the size of the band so if children are at a lose end on a Thursday after school please encourage them to give samba club a try. It would be brilliant to get a big old band going so we can fill the streets with the sound of drums when we process through the town.
We are hoping that covid cases will ease up again soon and that we'll be able to get volunteers back in to the school again - once we do we'll be really interested to talk to community members who are interested in running a club of some sort. Do get in touch if you'd be interested whether it be an art club, a board game club, a coding club, a dance club or whatever else it is you can offer.
We have a jolly clever computerised system for managing pupils data and we've noticed over that last few weeks that our attendance data - even after we take out everything associated with covid - has dropped by a couple of percentage points. In normal times we would expect our attendance figures to be somewhere around 97% - at the moment, even when all absence related to covid is taken out - it's hovering around 94%. As a result we've decided we need to be a bit more proactive and we've been calling parents of children where attendance has dropped below the threshold of 96%. A lot of the time there is an absolutely reasonable answer to the the question but sometimes parents are really surprised to learn that their child' s attendance has dropped significantly. We make no judgements at all as a school but we have a statutory duty as a school to ensure that children are attending as regularly as possible. Pleas don't be offended if we call and ask if we can help with attendance - we genuinely just want to make sure your child gets the very best go at education that we can possibly provide.
Free events at the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centres.
Join us this February half term for a host of bird activities. From nest box making with Ranger Pete, to cuckoo trails and bird crafts.
Find out more on our events page at www.dartmoor.gov.uk
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