Newsletter 7th October
Work Party - Saturday 8th October
Tomorrow - Saturday 8th October - we will be working in the school grounds to start creating a quiet space for children who want some time at break and lunchtime to sit and think, reflect or pray. Lots of children want to run around and be active at breaktimes but, just like us adults, sometimes they need opportunities for quiet time. We want to make sure that provision is in place.
We are lucky to have wonderful, talented people in our school community who are helping us consult with children and design this to make sure it meets the needs of all the children. The project will be taking shape over the next few weeks.
This Saturday we want to plant a hedge of low-growing lavender and rosemary plants to demarcate the area and to help us all start to get a better idea in our heads of what it could become. If you are able, please come along to school at 10:00 a.m. and we will work through till 12:00. If you can come, please bring a spade and a trowel so as many of us as possible can be digging and planting.
Reading Open Mornings
It was lovely to see so many parents at the Reading Open Morning on Thursday. There were quite a few more than we had expected and, as a result, it took a while to get everyone signed in. There are a lot worse problems to have but we will figure out a way to streamline this for next time.
Parents and carers spent half an hour in class watching and joining in with their children's reading lessons. Many commented that it was really interesting to see how the teachers did it, and that it was very different to how it had been when they were at school. We focus a great deal on 'book talk' where we look at how authors (and illustrators) convey meaning. The children show great ability to talk intelligently and with some depth on this and it is always a joy to see. I hope that everyone who attended found it interesting and had thoughts to take away. Our current intention is to run one of these after Christmas and another in Summer term. If you'd like more opportunities to come in to school and see how the children are learning, just let us know.
Parent Carer Forum
On Thursday 13th October at 6:00 p.m. we will hold a parent/carer forum to give everyone involved in the school community the chance to challenge us to live up to our school values 'Community, Challenge, Care' and to consider how we can really live out those values in everything we do. We would love for as many people as possible to come along so we can hear from a really wide range of voices. The event won't last more than an hour and it will be interesting and interactive.
We will be celebrating out Harvest Festival in the church on Thursday 20th October at 2:00 p.m. There will be poetry, singing and good thoughts. Parents and carers are very welcome indeed to join us for the celebration which will be led by the Reverend Paul.
We will be collecting donations for the new Chagford Eco Pantry Project - we would especially welcome dry goods such as dried pasta, lentils, cereals and so on, and canned goods such as chopped tomatoes, beans, and fruit etc. Donations can be dropped off at the school reception or brought to school by children.
Volunteering at Chagford Primary
After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, we are very pleased to be welcoming volunteers back into school. Some really useful roles that volunteers can play to support the children include - reading volunteers, lunch and breaktime supervision, library volunteers, classroom assistants, we have capacity to welcome people in many roles. We'd also love to hear from people in the community who would like to offer or support a club after school.
We help all volunteers to get their DBS safeguarding clearance sorted before they start. We know that a lot of people have been really keen to offer help and it has been disappointing when Covid regulations have knocked that generosity back - we hope that this time we won't hit any further snags and we'll be able to welcome you in to play a part in your community school.
From the Three Hares Local Stakeholder Board
This week, we would like to introduce James Warner. James, who has seen two generations passing through Chagford Primary (sorry James!) is the most experienced governor on our LSB, having been a member of the Board in its various guises for about eight years. He is the Safeguarding Lead, and this role is key to understanding the effectiveness of safeguarding for everyone in the schools. He has to understand the requirements of safeguarding guidance and legislation and is ‘confident in his challenge to executive leaders on strategies for monitoring and improving the behaviour and safety of pupils.' He supports the work of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs), reports back to the LSB about how effective safeguarding is, and ensures that the school is compliant with statutory guidance, with all the appropriate policies in place and reviewed in a timely way. He also checks whether there is a consistency in safeguarding across the whole school (approach and reporting), and ensures that there are effective systems in place to keep vulnerable children safe.
It is an extremely important role, and with his impending retirement from the Board (having served two full terms), we are seeking to replace him. If you have an interest in exploring this governor role further, please do contact me or Liz (details below).
We have recently welcomed a couple of new governors to the LSB and will introduce you to them, once all the mandatory training has been completed. All governors annually revisit their training needs to identify any gaps that could be filled. For example, we have all recently ensured our Safeguarding Young People, The Prevent Duty, and Data Protection training is up to date.
We are looking forward to seeing you all at our impending Community Forums, and the principals of each school will let you know when those are to be held. Parent voice is incredibly important to the schools, so please do try and attend if you are able! It is an important opportunity to let your voice be heard.
Mel & Liz
Mini Monster Bash
The PTFA is organising a 'Mini Monster Bash' disco for the children on November 4th.
Children are welcome to dress up if they would like to. There will be a prize for best costume and for the best decorated pumpkin.
Tickets are £2 - children should have brought home a letter with a reply slip but you can pop into reception if that is easier.
We ask that every child is accompanied by an adult but we will make a classroom available if you'd rather sit somewhere quiet than dance to the music with the children!
We have noticed an increase in the number of parents requesting periods of absence for children. It seems have risen sharply from last year which concerns us. We understand that money is becoming tighter and that it's possible to save some money by taking flights or making bookings in term time but we really do urge you to consider whether this is best for your child.
Our teaching is organised in sequences, and very few lessons stand alone. So, for example, if your child misses the day when we plan our stories, they are at a disadvantage when they come to write them. If they attended school on the day that the stories are planned but don't get to write them, they won't have the satisfaction of completing that task along with their classmates. In maths, they can be at a real disadvantage if we are working through a sequence on, for example, division, and they miss the lesson where we move from the concrete example to the abstract representation. Of course the teacher will try to catch them up but it's a significant blow and can result in a gap that isn't easy to fill.
What we are saying here is that 'missing just one day' may not sound like much but the effect can be more like taking a link out of a chain.
Government and county protocols are clear that we, as a school or as a trust, can not authorise absence for family holidays. Those absences are always recorded as 'unauthorised' and, when a certain threshold is crossed this results in formal letters being issued. This works purely by protocol and the letters are in no way meant personally - nonetheless we know that no one wants to receive a letter like this.
Where attendance is becoming problematic, we will always look to have a conversation before progressing to any form of action or involvement of additional services. We do take this seriously as we want every child to succeed and to reach their potential.
Thank you for letting us know when children are going to be away as it means we don't have concerns about the child's safety - it's really supportive to know why children are away when they aren't attending school.
The Secret Book Quest
The Secret Book Quest is an exciting new reading challenge for children ages 5 and up. Read a total of 50 library books to collect all the stickers, decipher the code, and win a special prize.
Join Pip, Zena and Libro the cat on a unique reading adventure through 10 themed worlds, beautifully illustrated by Emily Fox.
Get a certificate when you reach halfway (25 books) and another when you finish (50 books), along with a finisher’s prize.
To sign up for FREE, simply visit your local library and speak to a member of staff.
You will receive your very own Secret Book Quest journal and the first sticker in your collection.
Then browse the library to find your first book, and begin the quest!
Chagford Library Gadget Day!
Friday 14 October 10:30 - 12:30
FREE one-to-one sessions.
Learn and practice basic online digital skills.
You can learn how to:
🔹 Set up an email address
🔹 Make a GP appointment
🔹 Open a social media account
🔹 Online shopping
🔹 Staying safe online
🔹 Life-long Learning
Bring in your own device or use our public access computers.
BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL! Phone Okehampton Library to book your space 01837 52805
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