Well this has been a busy and challenging year in equal measure.
As I come to the end of my time as head I am taking a few moment s to look back and think about how far we have come. Sports Day, Year Six Residential, Rainbow Day, World Book Day, Fantastic Mr Fox, Class Assemblies, Celebrating the Earth, our Coronation Party... so many events to enrich our pupils stock oof experiences.
People have been immensely, immensely kind in messages to me these last couple of weeks - I am deeply humbled and don't really know what to do with myself emotionally. Thanks to everyone who has spoken to me or sent a message. The generosity of the gifts I have recieved are beyond words.
If our school really has touched lives and enriched children's experiences during my time here then the responsibility and the credit sits absolutely with the people who really make that happen. Our incredible teachers and support staff. We had a special assembly this afternoon to say thank you and goodbye to people who are leaving the school. Let me take a very brief moment to thank them here.
Mr Newland isn't leaving but he is going to take a new role as SENDCO working with children across the new Foundry Hub (Chagfrod, SOuth Tawton, Norh Tawton and Exbourne schools. He will be missed by so many children but will be working hard to benfit many, many more children across the group of schools. We wish him the very best in this new role.
Claire-Shauna Saunders has worked one to one with our most vulnerable children. Claire's smile and infectious laugh light up the room she walks into. She will be very missed.
Dani Rout has worked in our Foundation Unit for nine years - every child in the school who attened Chagford for pre-school or reception has been cared for by her. She has touched so many lives. It is the right time for her to move on and take care of other areas of her life. We give her our very best wishes.
Judith Simpson joined as as an early career teacher when she completed her teacher training. Have studied through the pandemic when schools were only partly open, she has had to learn on the job. She has showed so much compassion for the children she has taught. Well done Judith - we wish you all the best for the next step in your career.
Jasmine Pollard joined us just eighteen months ago. That is hard to belive as she has absolutely transformed the provision in our Foundation UNit both for pre-school children and for the reception children in her class. She has been an exemplary leader in the unit and was praised very highly by my friend, the eminent EYFS expert, Ruth Swailes for the quality of her work and the opportunities she gives our youngest children. Jasmine is taking a job closer to her home which is very wise for our planet and her pocket but she will be missed. We are so glad that our friend Emily Coleman is coming back to fill those very big shoes.
Elaine Lawson started at Chagford Primary at the same time as me. Throughout our time togethe she has been a constant surce of support to me, she has the geratest emotional intellignece of anyone I have worked with. She says teh right thing to help children and adults in any sitaution and has solved more problems for me than I can tell you. She will remain a good friend to many in this community. Okehampton Primary will be gaining from our loss - they are very fortunate indeed.
Christine Ramoutar is also moving across to Okahampton Primary. There is very great need there and she will be doing enormously important work to support children in their Communication and Interaction Resource Base and across the school. She has done so much to help children in Chagford Primary who struggle with their emotions - her influence and wise counsel has set ripples which will continue to spread for a long, long time.
That is an awfully long list of leavers. It feels too long. I should tell you that Emma Goodwin, the new principal, has been working extraordinarily hard to ensure we have the staff we need to keep the school safe and effective come September and the new school year. I have been very nimpressed by her determination and tenacity. She has fought hard for this school. Today she has secured the contracts of two new teaching assistants, one of whom completes the staffing picture for EYFS and the other support learning in Year Three and Four. Parents and carers will know how important these appointments are - I hope they will join me in thanking Emma whose resilience and willingness to go the extra mile are what have made these appointments happen. Thank you and well done Emma.
I don't know what to say about my own departure. You all know why6 I have chosen to make the heart breakingly difficult decision to step out of headship and away from Chagford Primary. I need to make sure I am being the best dad I can be for my own child - and that means making sure I have the time and emotional energy available to be present for him when he needs me. This job is quite possibly the best job in the world but it doesn't leave time or headspace to be a good parent. So I have to make that change.
I have had one of the most rewarding, enriching and challenging periods of my professional life in the past two and a bit years. I think we have acheived great things together. When I look back on this time, it will be the friendship and support of the community I serve that will live longest in my memory; parents on the gate in the morning, volunteers making the gardens so beautiful, people checking in with me when they could see I wasn't having the best day, grandparents and people from the wider community stopping for a chat in the street, passionate PTFA members making sure we could offer the children the richest of offers, people helpiong us take children on trips to sporting fxtures, or down to the pool, or off on a spree and stoppign to share their joy. It's the people of the school - staff and wider community - who make it what it is, and this community is a joy. I do hope that I shall be allowed back to lead the occasional assembly and come to community events to hear about what is going on for the chidlren and grown ups I've come to know.
Thank you for having me as your Principal - it has been a privilege.
What a great day! Thanks first to the weather which managed to staydry and not too horribly hot or cold all day - something of a miracle after the weird summer we've had so far.
It was lovely to see all the children enjoying being together and taking part in the activities. I love the inclusive sports day model that Mr Frewin has developed - everyone joins in, everyone has fun, everyone celbrates what they can do - not what they cannot.
All the children came out at the end of the day to enjoy an ice cream in the sunshine thanks to the PTFA. Thank you to Zoe and the team for organising that.
Well done to Green and Red teams who won the KS1 and KS2 events respectively.
The biggest cheers of the day however went to the funny and resourceful Year Sixes whose 'Year Six Spectacular' made us all smile so much. Well, I didn't smile quite so much when they ganged up on me and plastered me with flour - but I can forgive it after the outstanding year those children have had.
A Message from our new Hub Principal, Lisa Paton
Dear pupils, parents and staff
I hope you are enjoying the end of term and engaging in some positive activities with your school communities. I was hoping to come and see you this week to say hello as I haven't been to your school for a little while. I have been supporting children in another of our schools and haven't been able to pop in. Sorry this hasn't happened but I am very much looking forward to starting as your Hub Principal after the holidays. I am excited about the work we are all going to do together as we move into the next chapter for Chagford Primary School.
Have a lovely break over the summer.
A Message from the Chair of the Local Stakeholding Board
It’s the end of an era for the Three Hares, as our hub of schools (Chagford, North Tawton, South Tawton and Exbourne) is being renamed Foundry. (Mr Finch is secretly quite pleased about the decision to name the hub after him…) With the change of name comes many other changes. The school is losing a number of staff, and we are all anxious about September because we don’t know what our school will look like, how it will operate, and how it will affect our children and our school community as a whole. The Local Stakeholder Board will no longer exist, as the Trust is introducing the role of advocate to the individual schools instead of governors as we currently know and understand them to be. The Trust will communicate the detail to you all in due course, no doubt, but in the meantime, I wanted to invite each and every one of you to consider taking up the role of advocate. The main purpose of the role will be gathering stakeholder voice, and we know from recent experience how important it is that all voices are heard, from the loud shouty ones, to the barely audible. Each is equally important. I do not know yet whether I will stay on in this new role – a change of face is sometimes a good thing (!) – but if anyone is immediately keen to find out more about the position, please do get in touch.
The one thing I really want to pass on, having chaired the LSB and been a governor for five years is that, whilst we are losing people we love from the school, we are also keeping some absolutely fantastic people. Ed has spent the last couple of years really embedding our core values of Community, Challenge and Care, and they don’t just disappear because other things change. We must all hold onto these three words, as we start the next academic year, and ensure we continue to make being at school an exciting and happy idea. Emma Goodwin is coming to Chagford, and we should welcome her with open arms, and support her the way we supported Ed, and Tara before him. I suspect it is going to be a tough enough job for her as it is, and respect and kindness will make her job (and her life) easier. Living and breathing those values every day will make sure our wonderful school stays as good as it is now.
Finally, I need to thank the team of governors that have worked for the school, ensuring all sorts of areas of governance are covered, and in particular, I would like to acknowledge our Chagford governors for their epic contributions. James Warner has served an astonishing eight years in the role, predominantly as our Safeguarding Lead. He has ensured the safety of our children every day, picking up problems when they arose and getting them resolved. His wisdom and ability to give a balanced view has helped our LSB operate at a really high level. And Lennie McGowan, who only recently took over as SEND Lead, has made such a difference already, providing support to our SENDCo and the children. Her experience and knowledge of issues that SEND children can face has made her an incredible asset to the team.
Finally finally, I would like to share something really valuable that I have gained from my past few years working with the school. And that is that we were all raised differently, with different values and consequently we sometimes have conflicting outlooks on life. Sometimes it’s been hard to accept such extreme differences of opinion, but in the wise words of Mr Finch, who has been persistent in teaching equality and tolerance of all… “We are all different. And that’s okay.”
Thank you to all our friends at St Michael the Archangel for welcoming us so warmly to hold our Year Six Leavers' Service at the Church on Thursday. The Year Six children shared memories and sang beautifully, Lotte played the violin magnificently, we enjoyed a slideshow of photos from the children's year and the Reverend Harriet Every shared some thoughts. The Year Six children presented us with the results of thier weaving project - a big woven pool of greens and blues drawn from the colours of CLaude Monet's waterlilies - we thought about all the experiences that have woven together to make our leaving pupils the proud, resourceful young people that they are and we thought about the weaving of frinedhsip that makes us a community. Thank you Year Six, it's beautiful and we will think of you every time we look at it..
We ended by singing 'One More Step Along the World I Go' and praying our beautiful 'Chagford Blessing' together. Thanks to Mrs Armstrong for all the hard work she put in with the brilliant Year Six pupils to make this event so special.
Would you be interested in enabling our children to enjoy positive, purposeful play? We are looking for three playleaders to facilitate play, for all, during our lunchtime breaks. These highly rewarding positions will be from 12-1:15pm daily and will really enhance our lunchtime provision. For more information, please visit Support Staff Vacancies | Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (dartmoormat.org.uk). The closing date is noon on Monday 31st July, with interviews later that week.
Libraries' Summer Reading Challenge
What is the Summer Reading Challenge?
Children aged 4-11 are invited to set a reading goal and collect rewards for their reading.
The Challenge encourages them to keep reading during the school summer holidays – and to enjoy anything they like to read! It’s FREE to take part.
The Challenge finishes on 16th September so plenty of time to sign up and complete the challenge.
It has been created by the Reading Agency and is delivered by libraries across the country. For 2023, The Reading Agency has teamed up with Youth Sport Trust for ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ a sports and games themed Challenge that will encourage play and participation.
How can a child take part in the Challenge?