We have had a busy, busy week at Chagford Primary with lots and lots to celebrate.
Very little pleases me more at a school than when the children reveal talents that we hadn't been aware of. Sometimes because they are something they are developing away from school or sometimes becasue they have only just reached the point of confidence in themselves to let us see what they can do. There were several beautiful examples of that this week.
Kit impressed everyone in Collective Worship on Thursday with his recorder playing. He played a charismatic (and very speedy) reading of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' theme which blew everyone away.
Molly played to the school on Friday. She was nervous but showed she could keep a steady pulse and played right through to the end of her opeice with support from Mimi. We were proud of her and of the school who listened impeccably.
I was delighted by Benji C who asked if he could share some art work and brought a collection of absolutely delightful models of creatures, mostly birds, that he has been making at home. He has put such love and care into these models - I shall ask if I may photogrpah them to share with you all.
We love to see this - if your child would like to share in assembly but has been a bit nervous to offer do let us know so we can invite them. It means a lot to us and I think it can mean a lot to them.
'Dress to Express' Day
Next week is Childrens Mental Health week. Across the UK schools and colleges will be thinking about how we can help children to be in tune with themselves, in harmony with the people they are connected to and in good relations with the wide, wide world around and beyond them. Classes will talk about this in their PHSCE and Circle Time sessions. It will be a theme in our afternoon assemblies and collective worship thought the week and, on Friday, we will have a whole school 'Dress to Express' Day. Children can come to school wearing clothes that make them happy or, if they want to, they could be more adventurous and dress to express a given emotion or a character from a book that helps them think about their own wellbeing - Ruby from Ruby's Worry for example.
We are asking for a one pouind donation per child to raise some funds for children's mental health charities.
The week should give us great opportunities to talk and explore our feelings and those activtries which help us to feel good.
Our Friday Celebration will have a special mental health focus and we would love to invite all parents and carers to join us for that if they would like to.
A huge party of Chagford Priamry pupils headed off to Simmonds Park in Okehampton today to taker part in an inter school Cross Country competition. Huge thanks to Mel Holyoak and Chloe Brooks-Warner who accompanied the trip aloing with Mrs Armstrong and our bold leader Wes Frewin.
As ever, the children made us very proud. Their conduct was excelletn and every child put in their very best effort. We love to see those fighters who know they aren't going to place but keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway. We love those kids who go out of the traps like a greyhound and lead the pack for a good lap before finding they didn't have quite the legs they thought they did and fall back. We love the concientious plodder... the great thing about running is that there really is room for everyone.
Of course, we are also extremely proud of those children who excel and today we had two superstars. Seth placed on the podium in the Year £ and 4 boys race and max came first in the Year 5 and 6 boys race making him the quickest out of all the many children on the course.
We are seeing many cases of a nasty cold amongst staff and pupils which is accompanied by a really vicious sore throat. Most of us seem to get better in a few days with plenty of rest, fluids and paracetemol but some children and adults are needing antibiotics to shake it off. It's really worth speaking to your GP and finding out if this is strep A.
Common symptoms of strep A include:
Industrial Action by the National Union of Teachers
Our school was closed to all pupils on Wednesday of this week due to indusrtial action by the national Union of Teachers (NEU). We recieved many messages of support from members of the school community which the teachers taking action were very grateful for. Some aprents have asked questions to better understand the action and I agreed to give answers in the newsletter.
Why was the school closed when some other schools were only partially closed?
There are a number of teachers unioins, the NEU is the biggest in England but there are also the NASUWT, ASCL and the NAHT. Other unions did not pass the strict regulations regarding turn out to have a succesful ballot for industrial action so their members were not taking action. At Chagford Primary is so happens that all members of the teaching team are members of the NEU and therefore eligible to take this action. At other schools it may be that the majority of teachers belong to other unions. As head I make a judgement about whether it is safe to open the school, with no teachers on the premises as well as no leadership or safeguarding lead, it was my judgement that it was not safe to open to pupils.
Did other members of staff besides teachers strike?
At our school, no other memebrs of staff belong to the NEU and, therefore, none were elib=gible to take strike action.
What did the striking teachers hope to achieve?
WHile the aims of the action are formally about teachers pay, the teachers that we have spoken to are far more concerned about funding for the sector as a whole and the impact that the realk terms reduction in funding for schools has had on staffing, morale and, ultimately, the provisioin schools can provide to their children. Striking teachers told me that they wanted to make the public aware of their concerns and wanted the govenment to unbderstand the depth of their concern.
Do striking teachers get paid?
No. Everyone who takes strike action is docked that days pay. For our colleagues this is a significant sum which impacts on their budgetting for the month and does make a real impact.
Will there be more days of strike action?
There are three more days of action currently planned. The next is on Thursday March 2nd. We do not yet know how many members will be likely to take a second day of strike action. We will risk assess closer to the time and let you know how our school will be effected no less than a week ahead of time.