Newsletter 24th March
Chagford School Blessing
Lord of the high tors and the singing rivers,
Lord of the farmhouse, the village, the town and the city,
Be with us -
In our hearts,
In our friendships,
and in the wide, wide world around and beyond us,
On every step of our journey.
Our school blesing reflects on the beauty and blessings of the natural world around us and then reminds us of the model of spirituality which we use in our Collective Worship every afternoon as well as in our class discussions. We think of spirituality as being that interrealtion of ourselves, those people we are connected to and the wider world of nature and whatever is beyond. Whenever we say our prayer we think of being settled and in harmony within ourselves, in our relations with others and in relation to whatever is beyond us. For a child with a home context of religious belief the 'wide, wide world around and beyond us' includes God and the spiritual world. For a child from a humanist or athiest household, that phrase can refer to nature and the sense of wonder and connection we have with our amazing, beautiful universe. Can your child remember the blessing? Can they say it to you? Can they talk about how the things you do as a family - enjoying time together, walking on the moor, playing games, eating together - relate to our model of spirituality?
Fantastic Mr Fox
Years 5 and 6 started the earliest preparatory work for this years production. Following on from last year's success with A Midsummer Night's Dream, our friend Lydia Frater is back again to direct the production.
Every child in the school from Early Years through to Year Six will be in the show which, weather allowing, will once again take place in our beautiful auditoreum.
One reason for last year's huge success once the invlvement of the whole community. Parents, grandparents and members of the community who don't currently have a child at the school came together and worked to help the children rehearse, to prepare the set, costumes, tickets, refreshments, to make sure the amphitheatre was as trim as can be and safe for our children to perform in. We could not have done it without them. After the Easter break we will start putting feelers out for people who would like to be involved - whether that's volunteering to take part in a costume workshop, to help out on the night, to come into school to help pupils rehearse or whatever other role they are fitted for.
Mealtime Assistant Vacancy
We will very shortly have an advertisment up on the trust jobs page for another Mealtime Assistant. This role involves coming into school a little before lunch break to help set up and to get the smallest children into the hall. The assistant would then go outside to supervise playtime. They wil also be asked to facilitate play for the children. After the end of break they stay for a few more minutes to help clear and clean the hall.
I will message when the advertisement is live. The candidate must be compliant with all safeguarding regulations and will have to have a standard DBS check and undertake safeguarding training. They will have a full induction before starting the job.
Easter Bingo - a message from the PTFA
Dear Parents and carers.
The PTFA are holding a bingo on Friday 14th April in The Jubilee Hall, Chagford.
Doors open at 6.45pm eyes down at 7.30pm.
There will be excellent prizes and meat hampers to win, a cash flyer, raffle and refreshments will be available.
Children are welcome.
We are asking for donations for raffle prizes. If you could spare a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates or something else suitable to put in the raffle we would be very grateful.
Any donations can be taken to the school office by Friday 31st March.
Many thanks in advance.
The PTFA Committee.
Festival of Hope
For the second year, every school in Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust has taken part in our 'Festival of Hope'. Bringing together puipils from all our schools fro sports, arts and celebration.
Mr Frewin has been very busy indeed ferrying children to various sporting activities including a great day of indoor athletics at tanistock College.
The Festival of Hope is great idea. It is achance for our childen to come together and to encounter each other and become aware that they are part of something bigger than the one school that they are in. We hope that year by year, the festival will be more recognised by the staff, pupils and families of the trust and become something to look forward to.
Festival of Hope Art Exhibition
Children from Year Four travelled to Okehampton College to see the Festival of Hope Art exhibition featurng art created by pupils from every school in our trust.
The children enjoyed seeing how different schools had responded to the prompt of depicting 'Hope'. Many of the pieces drew on the book 'Window' by Jeannie Baker and imagined a world in which people took action to repair our environment.
As well as viewing the exhibition, the children had a workshop with an artist in residence who painted an amazing owl live infront of them then let them take the painting back to school - it has quite the stae! The childen also got to design and make their own shoes! They showed us theri work with great pride.
Our Reading Journals
Why do we have the reading journal?
Acquisition of language has been proven to develop much more strongly through reading that through the comparatively much reduced vocabulary of conversational language.
As a result we hold with the belief that frequent opportunities to read are essential for the development of basic reading skills, vocabulary and comprehension.
We no longer have access to the Accelerated Reader programme but our library books will continue to be coded as per AR as this still enables the children to pick books that have been analysed to ensure a smooth progression in difficulty.
The exact content of the journal will change slightly with the next print run but the essentials are as follows:
,Changes to the Daily Routine
Starting after Easter, we will make a change to the way we run our morning routine.
We expect children to be arrive at school between 8:40 and 8:50 a.m. Our day starts at 8:50 and we do expect all pupils to be on site by that time.
After Easter, instead of gathering on the playground and lining up before entering the school building we will send children straight in. All children should therefore, be in the school building by 8:50. This means that teachers can complete registers by 9:00 and get on with the day. The gate will be closed sooner than it has been and children arriving after that time will enter school through reception. Children arriving after the gate is closed will be marked as late.
We love to hear the children singing together and it's an important part of how we build a sense of community. We will continue to sing every day but we will do this in Collective Worship in the afternoon.
Schools do not authorise absence for holidays within term time. We are simply not allowed to under national, county or trust protocol. It is our statutory duty to ensure that children are present in school to learn. Parents too have a statutory duty under the law to ensure children attend school regularly. When you sign up to send your child to school, one of the commitments you make is that you will ensure they attend regularly unless there are excpetional circumstances. Of course, for the vast majority of children, these exceptional circumstances amount to the ocassional illness - no one expects that your child will attend school if they are sick.
I think that, due to the pandemic, lots of families had postponed holidays that they wanted to fit in, often including visits to family around the world. This was understandable but we, as heads, could not authorise them. Sessions missed from these holidays are marked down as unauthorised absences. Other unauthorisable absences can include trips the theatre or to relatives for special birthdays. Any children who have missed more than 10% of available sessions is coded as a 'persitant absentee' and this raises concerns which we have to look into. Currently, in our little school, 16% of our pupils are coded as persitant absentees - this is a good deal more than we would expect.
One of the insruments we can use to show our intent in this area is fining parents who removing children from school for reasons that we cannot authorise. This is something that I have been reluctant to do in the past but which I feel I will have to do. I would always do this is consultation with the county Education Welfare Officers who can help families before it gets to that point.
Even though we cannot authorise holidays, we are grateful to have the absence form filled out so that we know where they are - if we know in advance that you are visiting family overseas for a week in April, we don't panic when your child is away and the phone unanswered.
as a school, we would like to see the persistant absentee figure fall markedly over the next few weeks and we hope to see all pupils attending such that they can make really good progress.
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