Happy New Year! I have a very strong feeling that we are owed an absolutely stonking year so my heart is full of optimism and positivity for 2022.
It's easy to be positive at the moment with the new mural in the hall that fills my heart with joy every time I go in there. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet do take a peep in through the doors of the hall and feast your eyes on the colours, the shapes and the three bounding hares.
Our mural was created by artist and illustrator Anna Higgie who has painted works for multinational businesses and huge festivals and who did this for us at barely a snip of her usual fees. You can have a look at Anna's website here. She put her heart and soul into the job pulling some very long days to make it work. Anna was assisted by Bruno's mother Ione. The project was paid for from the proceeds of the auction of promises that took place way back before the pandemic so, if you were involved in that event, give yourself a pat on the back - it was very worthwhile. Thanks to the team who ran that event and raised the money and particularly to Ione who coordinated Anna's project and Casper who provided and erected the scaffold towers.
The children have been blown away by the mural and I've heard lots of excited talk about it - favourite colours, favourite shapes, the meanings and names of the hares. What a lovely welcome back to school for the new year.
Welcome to Miss Pollard
It has been just wonderful to see Miss Pollard settling into the Early Years Foundation Stage area. She is a terrific teacher and a great positive force. The children seem to have taken to her immediately and the atmosphere in the room has been an absolute pleasure to see.
We have had no positive tests at all amongst staff at school over Christmas or up to now. We currently have two children isolating after positive tests over the school holidays. This is atypically low nationally at the moment and things could change very quickly however, for now, we are very thankful to be able to run the school almost normally.
As the omicron variant is so very contagious we are being very careful indeed and not letting visitors into the school unless there are very specific reasons why they should be in the building. Sadly this means no volunteers just at the minute - we will be back on that project as soon as we can safely relax that protocol.
The government advice no longer recommends keeping children to 'bubbles'. Instead they recommend keeping a flexible approach so it may be that if staff need to isolate and there are small numbers of pupils in the class that we amalgamate classes. We would let you know if we were doing that. Hopefully we will all remain well and there will be no need for such an action.
In school we ask the adults to wear masks when in communal areas but we don't ask them to wear masks in the classroom. We keep classrooms well ventilated and that means they can be a little chilly so it is worth sending children in with a hoody or other warm layer they can slip on if needed. If you or your child have any of the symptoms associated with covid please do book a PCR test and get it checked as soon as possible and do, please, let us know what is going on for you.
Before Christmas we had a plan to work together with Devon Wildlife Trust and have each child plant a tree along the fence line bordering the amphitheatre to create a new hedgerow. sadly the weather was very rough the day we had it planned and the wildlife trust staff were advised to cancel b their bosses. I'm glad to say that we are back on for next Tuesday and by the end of that day we hope to have one hundred and fifty baby trees settling their roots into our soil. It might be wise for children to wear stouter shoes than usual or to bring a pair of wellingtons on Tuesday as some of the flimsier trainer style shoes we see on the playground may struggle with a spade.
The vast majority of parents and carers are making sure that their children are in school by ten to nine ready for the bell that calls the children to line up. We would love to see the number of children arriving after this time diminishing so that we can all start the day together with positivity and togetherness. The side gate is locked by nine and after that children are asked to come to the front of the school to enter through reception. Of course we all have days when we can't din our glasses or we meet an HGV reversing past Sandy Park but as a general rule we would like to have all children on the premises by ten to nine so we start the day in an orderly way.