We are very happy to be hosting the new branch of the Chagford Eco Pantry in the foyer at the school.
Shops, cafes, restaurants and indivduals are donating food and other goods that would otherwise be wasted or go to landfill. These are absolutely free to take from the foyer right by Elaine's office. Just pop in when you are passing by or when you are dropping off or collecting chidlren and help us make sure this food doesn't go to waste.
Thanks to the team working on the eco-pantry who have organsied this and to the kind members of the commnity who sourced and fitted the fridge and the kitchen unit to hold the food and other donations. If you have anything to donate you can pop it straight into the pantry or give to Elaine. A volunteer from the committee will be visiting regularly to check food is of good quality and in date and to keep it tidy.
Quiet/Sacred Garden Area
One big job for this year is the creation of a quiet area of the school field where children can go if they want to spend a little time alone or sitting quietly with friends. This could be because they are dealing with big feelings, because they have something to think about, because they want to meditate or pray, because they want to take themselves from a situation they know might end up badly or just because they want a bit of alone time. This area is going to have seating and planting that gives it a variety of spaces of different shapes and sizes to be in. We hope that we can have plants with a range of fragrances and textures and beautiful foliage so that the experience of being amongst natural forms can calm the mind - or at least give us somehing to think about beyond what is going on for us in our heads.
We started this project last week when a party of parents and carers joined Mr Finch on Saturday morning to mark up the area and plant sixty lavender and rosemary bushes to create a scented hedge boundary to it.
By and large, the majority of pupoils have been very good indeed at respecting that people who go into the area do so because they want to be quiet and have some space. As the year goes on, we hope to add seating and sculptural features, paths and beds, possibly a den or two for children who need to be able to hunker down to feel safe and much more. There will be more work parties so do keep an eye out. For me, Saturday mornings feel like the right time but if there are people who would like to volunteer at another time, do let me know.
Children enjoyed working with our friend Chloe to harvest the bounty of the allotment area at the back of the school - the area is currently dominated by the astonishing sunflowers we planted back in the summer but amonst the beds Chloe and her little team found marrows, tomatoes and more. What wonderful work and what a gift to have beds for planting, friends to work with and a community who supports us so our children can have these experiences.
We will be celebrating Harvest Festival at the church next Thursday at 2:00 p.m. with song, poetry and thoughts. We are calling for donations of dry and canned goods or anything you can spare to donate to the Chagford Eco Pantry. Children can bring this to school in the morning or we can bring it straight to church where I hope we will create a mighty display.
More Beautiful Books!
It is well known that MrFinch has a serious love of books so you can imagine how excited he was when the daughter of the great Shirley Hughes got in touch to offer us a collection of her mothers books for the school.
Shirley Hughes was the author and illustrator of too many books to count. She is proabably best known for the Alfie and Annie Rose stories such Alfie Gets in First, Alfie Wins a Prize and Alfie's Feet, and Dogger - the story of Dave who loses his favourite friend and Bella who does a very kind thing to get it back for him. Shirley died a few months ago and her children Clara, Ed and Nick wanted her own personal copies of her books to go to places where they would be loved by children. Mr Finch drove up to Shirley's house in Notting Hill in London to collect bags and bags of books, and posters almost as the removers were coming to empty the house that Shirley had lived for so long. I think it cheered Shirley up a bit to see her mother's books dissapearing off to a school in far away Devon.
We shared Dogger in assembly on Tuesday and there was barely a dry eye in the house when we turned the page and Bella did her famously kind thing. Thank you to Clara, Nick and Ed and another thankyou to Shirley Hughes who brought so much love and pleasure to so many of us and who, through her books, continues to do so.
Volunteering at Chagford Primary
Thank you to all the people who have offered to volunteer at the school. We have a number of DBS applications currently going through the system. These seem to be taking longer than usual at the moment so, if you haven't heard from us, I promise it's not because we're sitting on our hands. As soon as the DBS comes through, we will be in touch and working with you to make best use of our time.
We are in great need of reading volunteers who can commit to a regular spot to hear children read and deepen their appreciation of books. An hour twice a week is enough to make a real difference to a child's life. We are also very, very keen to have people volunteering to run after school clubs. There is a lot of appetite for an art club for example - you don't have to be super arty for this - we could provide ideas for weekly art or craft projects. You would just need to be happy to work with children and happy to have a go.
We would love to welcome volunteer lunchtime supervisors - it's a lovely way to spend an hour among the children in our beautiful grounds and it really helps us all to feel safe and secure. If you could commit to one lunchtime a week, we can build a roster and get more supervision, more fun and more community presence among the pupils.
A volunteer has come forward to run a spreadsheet of volunteering opportunities and needs to make sure we put together the people with the jobs - I would really welcome and encourage you to have a think if you can help out.
Mini Monster Bash
Don't forget that we have our 'Mini Monster Bash' Disco on November 4th. It's going to be a lot of fun. Children can dress up if they choose, and there will be prizes for the best pumpkin and best costume. Every child needs to be accompanied by a responsible adult but if the adults would prefer to hang out in a classroom than dance with the children that is fine - a space will be set aside for you!
Tickets are £2 a head and there will be refreshments on sale.
Put a note in your diary that we will be holding Parent Evenings on the 16th and 17th November. We will open booking for them straight after half term. Please always remember that if there is something that you feel you need to talk about, you are always, always welcome to get in touch to talk about it with Mr Finch or the class teacher. If there is a question or a problem, we would much rather help deal with it now than wait until a parent evening.
PTFA Coffee Morning
The PTFA are holding a coffee morning at Endecott House, Chagford on Saturday 19th November between 10am and 12pm.
We are asking for donations of children's games, toys, books and pre loved children's clothes and uniform.
We ask that all items are in good condition and complete and we aren't able to accept cuddly toys.
If you would like to donate any of these items please drop to the school office by Tuesday 15th November or e mail Zoe Francis- email@example.com to arrange dropping directly to her.
We are also asking for donations for cakes, savouries or any other delicious bakes.
If you would like to donate any food, please drop to the office by 3.30pm on Friday 18th November or bring to Endecott House by 10am on the Saturday.
Many thanks in advance.
The PTFA Committee.
Our Plans and Priorities for this Year
Each year we create a plan for how we are going to improve our school. We try to link everything we do into this plan so we all know what we are working on and so that everyone can play a part. We call this document our AIP or Academy Improvement Plan. I wanted to tell you specifically what we are working on this year - this may be of interest or there might even be something you feel you can support us with.Our five priorities are:
Attendance and Punctuality
It has been another difficult week for a lot of families with the sickness bug circulating and covid in some families. You all have our sincere sympathy. As a result, our attendance has taken quite a knock. Our average for the year so far is just 94.6% which is well below the national figures - it would be terrific to see an uptick in numbers as we head towards Christmas.
Wish For Devon
Devon County Council is running a consultation on improving the county's service for children and young people in order to make it 'the best place to grow up'. They want to capture children's and adults' voices in this. Do click on the link and follow through to take part in the consultation and have your say.
A wish for Devon - Strategic Plan