It is hard to believe that this half term is already over, it has whizzed past so quickly that it has been hard to keep a track of all the events and progress we've made.
Children have been bellringing at the Church, they have sung with professional musicians, we've been dancing on the playground in the morning, we have got our new curriculums for history and geography off to a flying start, the new French teacher has been in class teaching every week, our new teachers have settled in so quickly it's hard to believe they haven't always been here, our drive on handwriting and presentation is bearing fruit in children's pride in their work... I must have left off another dozen achievements but that's enough to give a flavour - our staff and students have gone above and beyond every day to meet the challenge and help our school move towards its remarkable potential.
Goodbye to Miss Rowe and to Miss Glanville
Today we had a very special assembly to say goodbye to two remarkable members of staff. Emily Glanville has been working with us as a teaching assistant for a couple of years and has been a calm and kind presence that children and adults warm to. We are sorry to see her go. Miss Rowe has taught at Chagford Primary for fifteen years and there is barely a child in the school, unless they joined us very recently indeed, who hasn't been taught by her at some stage. Over the years Lisa has taught every year group from early years to the end of Year Six and has shown great flexibility. This term she has been absolutely shining in the reception class - it has been a pleasure to see her loving teaching the children and to see them loving their learning. For many years Lisa has been the school's leader of music and we have loved singing with her in singing practice every week. I will remember those summer time practices out in the amphitheatre with great affection - there was the time a lamb sneaked under the fence and joined us while we sang and Miss Rowe didn't miss a beat but swung straight into 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm'. Every day Lisa would show us her kindness, her humour and her humanity.
While we are very sad to see Miss Rowe go we are very, very excited to hear all about her next big adventure. She will be flying to Greece and working in migrant camps bringing everything that makes her special to those places and working together with Greek musicians and migrants on music projects. She has been dreaming of this for a long time and we all wish her the very best in this great adventure.
Foundation Unit Staffing
With Lisa Rowe leaving us there is a big hole to fill in the EYFS. From Christmas the unit will be led by our new appointment - we'll be able to tell you all about her after half term. For the weeks up to Christmas the room will be led by Shauna Pindard who is joining us on a short term contract to fill that gap - we are very grateful to her for agreeing to do this. Shauna was in the EYFS all day on Wednesday and got to know the majority of the children. She got on very well with them and I took a chance to observe her teaching and manner with the children and I was very happy indeed. It is a great comfort to me that the children will have the consistency of Tina Adams and Dani Rowe, as well as the wonderful Mel, to help them weather the change to another teacher. Obviously this is not how we would wish it to be for our youngest pupils but I think that with the consistent approach used in the room and with many familiar adults working with them the children should continue to thrive. I will personally be in the room for a while each and every day to ensure the provision continues to be up to the standard I would want for my own child.
Are you coming to the Autumn Festival tomorrow, Saturday 23rd October? We've never had an Autumn Festival before so we are just a tiny bit nervous - we hope to see lots and lots of people there. There will be games to play and nice things to eat and all sorts going on from storytelling to the new tradition of the Apple Cake competition. This is meant to be a festival for the whole community - not just people immediately associated with the school so do drag along friends and neighbours and anyone who might like a look around - for lots of people it may be the first time they've had the chance to be in the school since the new building was built so we'll be running tours of the building so you can have a proper look. We'll be having a wonderful time together from eleven till three, do come and join us.
We are so SO happy with the delivery of Samba instruments that came to the school yesterday courtesy of the always amazing PTFA. We have enough instruments to put together a great big samba band to bring colour, noise and Brazilian beats to community events. It is the generosity of parents and school community members that has made this sizable purchase possible and I just cannot wait to get going after half term with a weekly samba club. If any parents or carers fancy joining the club as helpers/musicians just let us know and we'll get you onboarded. Playing samba is noisy, exhausting, demanding of focus and concentration and - when it all works - immensely satisfying. This is a wonderful new challenge to be able to offer to our learners - thank you to everyone who ever spent a few pounds or brought a cake to a bake sale, bought a raffle ticket, played 'Swat the Rat', barbecued a sausage or contributed to the PTFA in any way - it really does add up to improved opportunities for our children and - in this example at least - brings joy to our community.
Everyone has been enormously patient while we work out what we can and can't manage in this post covid environment. We have held off running clubs except for the Monday sports club and Craig's Football Fridays which take place entirely outdoors but we think the time has come to cautiously bring them back. Clearly, a resurgence in covid numbers could put these plans on hold but next term we hope to see an after school choir, a chess club, netball, samba, music club, possibly a tennis coaching session and maybe more. We'll get information and a booking system for all this together straight after half term. If you have a brilliant idea for a club - art, nature appreciation, board games, coding or whatever it is do get in touch. Volunteers will need to have a DBS check and we will suggest that you work in groups of two or three to offer a club. Let us know if this is something you'd be interested in.