Haven't we been blessed with the weather this week! I have recently moved house and my new route in to school, just as the sun is rising, shows me waves upon waves of mist lying in hollows with the tops of trees peeping out. It's genuinely magical and reminds me to be graeful every day to work in this beautiful part of the world. I'm reminded again to be grateful as I watch the children dancing to start off the day - a job which starts every day with a dance can't be a bad one! Thankyou to every parent and every carer who pays us the huge compliment of trusting us to care for their children.
After a good many months where Chagford Primary School has ben left untouched by the coronavirus, I am sad to say that this week it has made an appearance. While changes to government protocols and guidance mean that as a school we a re no longer the main point of contact in terms of tracing contacts we still have a great duty of care to all our children and to our families. Currently we have three confirmed cases of the virus in the school population and those individuals are isolating. All three individuals are pupils, no staff have been affected. The children are not all from one year group. Two more pupils are awaiting the results of PCR tests. We are comfortable to share this level of information but, of course, we cannot go much further than this without compromising the confidentiality of those involved. We are aware that some people in our community may have very specific reasons to be concerned - if, for example, they are immunocompromised or otherwise vulnerable. We'd ask that anyone in that position let's us know discreetly so we can let them know if we believe there is a specific concern they should know about.
School Vision - Community Challenge Care
The school ethos forum met on Tuesday to agree the finalised version of the school's new vision statement. Every Church of England school is required to express a school vision and we felt that the existing vision 'Love Life, Love learning' had perhaps lost meaning and focus through over familiarity. After consulting with staff, pupils, parents and carers we have come up with a new vision statement that we think really sets out what we think matters at Chagford Primary and gives us the push we need to improve and develop.
From now on instead of saying 'Love Life, Love Learning' we'll be saying 'Community, Challenge, Care'.
Community - we are nothing without our communities - our children and families have roots and backgrounds that make them unique, collectively we are of this place - we draw from it and we give back to it. The lockdowns and regulations of the pandemic made it hard for us to demonstrate and nurture our connections to the community context of our school and it's time to purposefully put that right. We'll start off with what we hope will be a huge community celebration in place of our Autumn Fair in just a few weeks - we'll be inviting community groups such as gardeners, bell ringers, eco-groups, sports teams and everything else under the sun to join us and set up stall to show their presence in the life of the community of the school, we'll be inviting community groups in to play a part in the life of the school and we will be asking ourselves what we as a school can do for our community. We want to make our school not only a place nourishes the pupils' sense of being part of a community but also a place that reaches out to create good in the community. If you are part of a community group that might like to come along to the celebration or if you have an idea of something we can do to reach out to our communities will you please get in touch and let us know?
Challenge - we know that to see the progress in our pupils that will enable them to reach their potential we need to raise the level of challenge. We have to get them thinking harder, learning more, working harder. Not to raise the challenge means accepting second best and we can't believe that second best is good enough for the brilliant, sparky children in our care. At the same time we know that we as a school have to be open to challenge - if three's something we're not doing right or could simply do better we need to be open to hear about it. We'll be adding a 'challenge us' tab to the website and putting a 'challenge box' in the foyer to make it easier to get those challenges to us. Challenge can mean other things too - climbing a tor, learning to swim, mastering a musical instrument, improving at a sport - all of these are real challenges for children and adults and we want to celebrate every obstacle tackled and every goal our children are striving for.
Care - every school surely has care at the heart, but if we don't take time to say it then we risk letting other aspects of our busy lives take priority. We care for each other, we care for our community, we care for our school, we care about learning. Fundamentally, as my friend Hywel likes to say, we are 'bothered' - the children in our care and the work we do matters to us. We want to work towards a time when people in our community say of us 'that school really cares' - not in a wishy washy way but because our work sings care in everything we do.
The more we think about Community, Challenge, Care the more we see that they overlap and work together. We care for our community. We challenge ourselves to do better because we care. As a Church of England School we are asked to consider a scriptural basis for our vision. We found the Bible verse Hebrews 10:24 thought provoking and inspiring - 'Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.' Good work has lots of different meanings in a school from the good work that the children do in their books to the good work teachers are doing to facilitate learning; from the good work of the PTFA to the good work of Elaine in the office making sure the right information goes to the right place. Dancing together in the morning is good work and mopping the hall floor in the evening is good work too.
The Chagfilm Festival has been running all week with all manner of wonderful films showcasing talent and diversity in many forms. Tomorrow, Saturday, there will be a showing of Peter Rabbit 2 for the children in the Jubilee Hall- I know a lot of them are really looking forward to it. You can still buy tickets and find more information here or you could just pop into The Globe or into Sally's Newsagents. In the evening there will be a fun fancy dress parade where people can dress up as characters from movies - minions, gangsters, superheroes - you name it. It should be lots and lots of fun. Meet outside The Globe at six.