What a wonderful Harvest Festival we had! The whole school hadn't been together in the church since a while before the pandemic. To be sitting and singing together in that beautiful space with parents, grandparents and other members of the school community was very, very special.
I loved what the vicar, the Reverend Paul, said - 'Harvests don't just happen'. If we want a harvest of kindness, a harvest of love or a harvest of achievement, we have to work for it just as we know the many farmers and keen gardeners in our community have to work hard for the harvest from the land. It reminded me of our school's vision and it's underpinning Bible verse Hebrews 10:24 'let us spur each other on to love and good works' - if we want to do great things we need to challenge and encourage each other and to hold each other to account. Thanks for your thought provoking words Paul.
Paul also reminded us of our collective responsibility to build a fairer society where food banks can be a thing of the past. Sadly, we're not quite in that time yet and I was very pleased and very moved to see the extraordinary generosity of our community in the donations you all gave to the food bank. It was so much the wheel arches of my little car were grinding on the tyres when I drove it all over to Okehampton. Malcolm, the coordinator of the food bank, was very grateful indeed and was very glad of the top up of tinned goods and hygiene products especially. He promised to write us a letter which I will share here. I loved the imaginative variety of the donations showing real respect for the people who will be the recipients of your donations. Malcolm tells me that referals to the food bank are still growing so I think we should have another call for donations at Christmas if that's ok with people?
The harvest festival was Miss Rowe's last time leading us in song in the church - she's heading off on her adventures very soon. We are SO excited to see what she gets up to. I'm hoping that she'll tell us all about it in next week's post. We are very, very sad to be losing one of our most beloved teachers but we know that she is leaving us to fulfil a long held dream and we know that for her, although her heart is heavy to be going, there is a real excitement about what is happening next. We love you so much Lisa, some of us are making secret plans to come and visit you - you won't be able to leave us behind!
Early Years/Reception Class Provision
Miss Rowe's departure leaves us without a leader in the Early Years and parents with children in that area of the school will have been very understandably concerned as to what will be happening for their children after half term. We have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to get everything set up. We have appointed a really exciting and inspiring new teacher to lead EYFS and I can't wait to introduce her to you all - we are waiting on her second reference before we are able to give her a big fanfare and a proper welcome but I know that she will bring brilliant new ideas and new inspiration to the school and I'm very excited.
Our newly appointed EYFS lead has to complete her notice period at her current school so she will join us after Christmas. Until then we have taken on an experienced teacher, Shauna, through an agency who will work leading EYFS through the coming half term. We know this isn't ideal and we will rely on the consistency of the other adults who work in our Early Years setting, particularly Tina and Dani, to ensure the children don't wobble and continue to make the brilliant progress we've seen them make - especially in their phonics and mark making - over the first half term of the year. I will be making sure that I spend some time in early years every day - partly because I need to ensure the provision is calm and consistent and partly because it's one of my very favourite places in the school and it's good for my soul!
Early Years Outdoor Area
We also want to say a HUGE thank you to the PTFA for their generous donation of equipment for the early years area, helping us to zone the area and create opportunities for learning.
We are lucky to have a top of the range composting system on our site. Long ago, before the move into the new school building, I understand there was a thriving composting system in place. Now it's time to get that back up and running.
We are lucky to have a master composter, Nicky Scott, living in the community. Nicky came into school on Thursday to explain to the children all about how the Ridan composter (the big green beast with the turny handle) and the hot boxes which he designed work together to turn food waste into lovely rich compost diverting carbon from the atmosphere, reducing our waste and nourishing our soil. The children are itching to get going and form a 'Little Rotters' club to run the system.
Over the past few weeks a group of year sixes have been being trained up as Sports Leaders. They'll provide activities to other children every lunchtime to ensure everyone can have a fun and active time outside. We've been very impressed with their good attitude in their training and we're sure we'll see this translating into happy, positive playtime and a growth in leadership skills. Real Community and Challenge champions!