Interim Reports to Parents
This week, all parents received a written report about the progress made so far this term. The class teachers and support staff are working incredibly hard as normal. Assessment and target setting are crucial to the teaching and learning process. The children are working hard and the written comments reflect this. However, because of the pandemic, time has been lost and valuable teaching time has gone. Our job as educators is to identify gaps and needs and address these appropriately with the resources available. One of these valuable resources is you! Your support with reading and sharing home learning will be more necessary than ever to help close the gap. We are of course, still mindful that children are individuals and each child's experience is very different. Aspirational targets have been set and with your help and support we believe your children are capable of reaching their full potential. Please do get in touch if you need clarification about any aspect of teaching and learning.
There are only three Fridays left! This term has gone so quickly! Inspired by Harry's festive attire, we will be joining in to add a little festive cheer as we lead up to the Christmas holidays. So... the children can wear their Christmas jumpers or headbands, tights and socks every FRIDAY (with their school uniform).
Please do order your Christmas lunch using the paper slips that came home on Friday or provide a home packed lunch. We will make the dining experience as festive as we can and on that day the children can wear their party clothes! Christmas Lunch Wednesday 16th December.
KS1 children are busy preparing for their Nativity production which will be recorded, spliced together and ready to broadcast as a virtual production. Look out for invitations to join us. Our Oak Class is a particularly talented group of aspiring performers who absolutely love the new stage.
For all those who registered, this vaccination took place in the hall on Friday. The NHS nurses were very impressed with how well mannered all the children were. It went very smoothly. If your child was absent on the day you will be contacted directly with an alternative venue and date.
Thank you for all the positive messages supporting the arrangements that are in place for the safe arrival and departure of the children. May I remind you that the gates open at 8:45 and are only closed after the majority of children have arrived and walked up into their bubbles with their friends.
Car drivers please DO NOT park on or stop on the double yellow lines and please be considerate to our neighbours when parking, especially in Strawberry Fields. On Friday, when a driver was challenged for parking dangerously directly across the road, verbal abuse was the result within ear shot of the children. This is incredibly selfish and very unhelpful.
Art work in progress
Have a lovely weekend
FONTS – UPDATE
Don’t miss the chance to take a look at the Virtual Christmas Market, which is running until 24th December. Great local businesses are selling on there, and you can buy raffle tickets by emailing [email protected]. The tickets are £1 each and you can buy as many as you would like – please share with friends and family.
The Wreath Competition forms have been collected. Thank you for such a fantastic response… loads of entries. Wreaths will be ordered now, and will be in school as soon as possible.
Thank you for your continued support,
email [email protected] / or message FONTS on Dojo
I was pleased to welcome parents to a virtual meeting last Wednesday evening, where we shared our continuing aims for school improvement at North Tawton Primary School. Having met with parents at Chagford and South Tawton, we have now met with all parents within the Three Hares. I am delighted that our Chair and Vice Chair of our Three Hares Local Academy Committee (governors) joined us, along with Dan Morrow, (new CEO of DMAT, as from January 2021), Hazel Fox (DMAT Interim CEO) and our link Trustee, Morgen Witzel all available to take questions.
If you would like to view the presentation, please refer to the presentation on the ‘Three Hares’ blog.
We are very pleased that due to the hard work of our staff, the children have made a happy and settled return to school since September.
Current School Improvement Focus:
Over recent weeks, within our Three Hares leaders’ meetings, we have been discussing our Three Hares vision. We are keen to share our thinking with all stakeholders over the coming weeks in order that everyone’s views are reflected. Fundamentally, we aim to craft a statement which describes our goals for every child who makes the journey through one of our schools.
Three Hares Curriculum
Having introduced all of our children to the ‘Three Hares’ theme last academic year, lockdown gave us the opportunity to take a fresh look at our curriculum, together as a Three Hares staff. We have launched into teaching and learning this year, with some new themes which deliver a broad and enriching learning journey, as children make their way through our schools.
Teachers and subject leaders are able to share good practice through our monthly Three Hares staff meetings, where over time, teachers will benefit from systems which will reduce their workload, enabling them to share, modify and develop plans and projects across the schools. We have shared training opportunities for leaders, teachers and support staff, providing not only value for money, but also the benefits of collaboration and shared discussion across a broader context.
North Tawton already enjoys a good relationship with its parents and local community. We hope to continue to build upon this, extending our communications to ensure that we are able to welcome parents from beyond this town and local villages to sustain and grow our current number of pupils to ensure we can keep single-age classes in the future.
One of our focus areas this term, is to develop our capacity for delivering remote learning. Staff are currently being trained in the use of Google Classroom, which will enable children to login with a Google email address allocated to them, from a device in school or at home. The aim is for children to be able to access projects set for them and submit their completed work and receive feedback. We are also working on enabling teachers’ face-to-face online contact, should we need to close a bubble or even close the school at any point in the future.
Since our return in September, teachers have been carefully assessing children’s knowledge and understanding of key concepts. We have identified some gaps in spelling, grammar and maths. Our catch-up plan is already being implemented and with the benefit of government funding, we will be able to deliver individual and small group interventions. We have also purchased a variety of resources which will ensure any gaps in learning will be quickly and efficiently filled.
Read Write Inc.
Training in the delivery of our new phonics scheme is ongoing and the huge array of resources is being organised in order that our children can benefit fully from this highly acclaimed programme. As soon as possible, we will hold a workshop for KS1 parents to help you to support your children with early reading.
We are pleased that improvements to the fabric of our old building will be underway soon. Following the replacement of gates and fences over the summer holidays, we are now looking forward to a long awaited extension and refurbishment to our Early Years unit, next summer.
Thanks to the success of grant applications made by the DMAT, the school will benefit from improvements to its energy efficiency with installation of a new building management system, controlling the heating system and also LED lighting.
Repairs to the flat roof happening soon, will mean we will be able to develop a much-needed interventions/sensory room.
I am delighted to say, we have been able to appoint a Three Hares Site Officer, Mr Steve Kiff, who will work across our schools to specifically support premises projects, repairs and maintenance.
The swimming pool remains a key feature in the life of the school. We need to think carefully about its future, as the building structure comes nearer to the end of its life towards the end of this academic year. We will work in partnership with parents to consider a variety of solutions.
Three Hares Partnership
In addition to the aforementioned benefits of working as a trio of schools, we continue to plan ahead for the time when we can physically bring our children together. We still aspire to have children working with their peers in other schools, getting to know new friends as they move up through primary school and into secondary education as a larger cohort. Other opportunities could include: joint day visits, residentials, inter-school events, festivals, music, clubs, competitions and matches, both sporting and other themed events.
As our partnerships grow, we are keen to bring our communities closer together. Already, due to this partnership, we have seen children in Chagford and North Tawton benefit from the generosity of two sets of Chagford parents who have sponsored the first of year of a three year subscription to the school library service. This means that all three schools once again enjoy delivery of quality books each half term.
We are currently looking into developing partnerships with schools in contrasting parts of the UK, as well as investigating more far-reaching links with schools in other parts of the world in the future.
Mel Holyoak, our Vice Chair of Governors has been instrumental in developing a strategy to provide additional financial support for our Three Hares primary schools. We are excited to launch a brand new fundraising initiative, asking for support from parents, carers, local businesses and communities to provide the children of our schools with access to the best possible school learning experiences. This initiative is being undertaken collaboratively with the PTAs of the trio of schools that make up the Three Hares. We also hope to forge stronger relationships between the schools and their local communities, not just for the children of today, but for those of the future.
Within the Three Hares, we focus on providing local children with the best possible start in life, both from an academic and lifestyle perspective, to ensure that they are all given the tools and resources they need to be prepared to move into further education and their future workplace as well-rounded, skilled, confident and unique individuals. Our hope is that, as a result, they will grow up and continue to contribute to our community as adults.
As you may already know, government funding for schools has been substantially reduced over the years, to the point that our schools are now spending up to 90% of their budget on staff alone. Historically, a school would have expected to spend up to 75% of its budget on staff. This is not bad budgeting on the part of the schools – it is the sad truth of the public purse, and the cuts that have been made in education.
We have developed a wish-list has been separated into several categories that could be supported by our communities and businesses, as well as a legacy project, designed to be long-lasting for the school with a “Yours Today, Theirs Tomorrow” sentiment. Each category provides several examples of how donations would be used, together with a target fundraising goal. The final decision in relation to how those funds will be spent (but strictly adhering to their specified category) would be made by school leaders, in conjunction with the Local Academy Committee.
Donations can be made which will support projects within 5 categories:
Amazon Wish List
In addition to our fundraising website and in collaboration with FONTS, we have also created an Amazon wish list, which has been populated by the staff of the school, with all sorts of items to support and enhance teaching and learning. This will be updated regularly and ranges from the smallest of items to much bigger aspirational items. Whilst we recognise the obvious convenience and vast range of Amazon, we are committed to supporting our local community so, wherever feasible, please be assured that the school will endeavour to use monies raised to make purchases locally and use local businesses and trades.
ANY improvements we are able to make enriches the children’s school experience, and adds value to the school environment, making them attractive to potential new pupils and families. In turn, this generates additional funding for the schools – the amount of funding the school receives from the government is dependent on the number of pupils. So the more pupils that are attracted to the schools, the better funded the schools become.
The schools' leadership and staff are also eager to forge stronger relationships between the school and local communities and would love to hear from you with any ideas you may have about ways we might do this together. Our wish is to create a school where the saying, “It takes a community to raise a child” really holds true.
Finally, it is really important that we stress that we appreciate that many families may not be in a position to offer anything. We would never ask or expect anyone to put themselves under any kind of strain to contribute.
Three Hares Governance
Emma Neath, our Chair of Governors will soon be contacting parents about two vacancies within our committee for the role of parent governor. There are vacancies for two Parent Governors to serve on the Three Hares Academy Committee, which is the governing body across Chagford, South Tawton and North Tawton Primary Schools, and part of the Dartmoor Multi-Academy Trust. We are very keen to encourage parents and carers of registered pupils to nominate themselves to become part of our Academy Committee. More details and nomination forms will be issued shortly.
We are grateful to all the parents who were able to attend the meeting last week; whilst we look forward to meeting with parents face-to-face in school again one day soon, we hope that meeting virtually using ‘Teams’ invites was helpful means of keeping in touch with school leaders in the meantime; it also provided a great opportunity for a ‘Q&A’ session.
Thank you for supporting the school as we continue to drive improvement for the benefit of our current and future pupils.
With kind regards,
The Three Hares Primary Schools
This week a reversing van narrowly missed a small child, who was standing alone on the pavement. The van reversed into a private driveway to allow another vehicle to pass up the road. The driver did not see the child on the pavement. This happened at approximately 8:55.
Following this incident I would like to remind you all about the importance of road safety, especially at drop-off and pick-up times. Please make sure that your children are supervised at all times, and you do not allow young children to run ahead.
If you need to drive to school, make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times particularly when you are reversing. I would like to ask you all AGAIN to use Exeter Street as a ‘one way system’ so we can keep traffic moving in a safer way.
Staff members are at the gates to ensure that the children have a familiar face and are then quickly and safely escorted into their bubbles before the start of the day at 9:00am.
I have been in touch with Devon County Council regarding traffic violations on Exeter Street. You are not allowed to obstruct the entrance of the school, you are not allowed to park on double yellow lines or on the speed bumps, and you are not allowed to stop on the hazard markings. There are plenty of car parks in the town to allow you to safely walk to school with your children. In order that we reduce the risk at these key times I would urge you to use the town car parks and to arrive at school between 8:45 and 9:00. This will allow you more than enough time to stagger your arrival and maintain at a 2 metre distance, wearing a face covering as recommended by the government. There is no need to wait for prolonged periods at the gates. Your children are safe once they are through the gates. Some parents are arriving after 9:00, prolonging the arrival and departure and causing great delay to members of staff who should be in class looking after the children.
I have asked Devon County Council for a road closure but this will need time to organise and is not an immediate solution to the problem of inconsiderate drivers. The school bus and taxi need to access this route to safely deliver the children who do need to travel in. The arrival of the bus and taxi is also carefully managed and synchronised.
We continue to stagger the departure of the children to make it as safe as possible. This process is working extremely well, and every member of staff is available to successfully handover 170 children to their parents in less than 15 minutes and safely escort children onto the bus and taxi.
Please be ready to collect your children at the correct time and avoid lingering unnecessarily in the congested area. If you have a particular vulnerability, arrangements can be made to suit your needs.
All classes with siblings and singles are slightly staggered and rely on you to identify yourself and collect your children. Y6 who have permission to walk alone do so once the gate is free.
I have contacted the Health and Safety Lead within the TRUST and have been reassured that the position the school is taking is absolutely right, maintaining the safety of all concerned at this time of a National lockdown.
The following is a message from the TRUST Health and Safety Lead.
"We are in a situation where we are balancing one risk against another and having to establish measures which meet the balance of those risks. The decision to keep the playground closed is therefore based upon the need to keep the school grounds clear so we can:
Thank you for wearing your odd socks today. The children have worked hard during their PSHE lessons to develop their understanding of what bullying is and how to prevent it. I was very impressed to see the ingenious ways in which they have used their ideas to stamp out bullying.
KS2 Hot Lunches
I am pleased to inform you that from 30th November, ALL KS2 children will have the option to book a hot meal at lunchtime. Please book using the Gateway App. The children are seated in the hall, only two classes at a time, and are socially distanced. The ordered meals are served to the table ensuring that at all times the class bubbles are kept separated. Please do book your menu choice well in advance to allow us to get organised. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the multitude of staff who are working over and above what is normally expected to make sure your children are cared for and fed in a safe and appropriate way. Thank you in particular to Mandy and PJ who prepare all the food on site.
Twiglets – After School Club
Please do respond to the email sent to existing Twiglet attendees. The after-school club runs every Tuesday and Thursday and is intended to help support those parents who are working. If you are interested in finding out how we can help please do contact the school office for more details. This relies on a very carefully planned register and set of activities that keep the bubbles separate. Advanced bookings allow us to prepare resources and plan the days making sure that equipment and resources are available, so please book early. We will be following the strict Covid-19 guidance and will not be sharing equipment.
FONTS – UPDATE – 20 November 2020
It is fantastic news that the Library Service books have arrived in school. This is a much-valued resource in the school providing fiction and non-fiction books in all the classes. FONTS will be fundraising to keep this service in the school in 2021 - 2022 and 2022 - 2023 so your help and support is very much appreciated and is put to good use.
The Virtual Christmas Market is running until 24th December. Don’t forget to get your raffle tickets by emailing [email protected] the tickets are £1 each and you can buy as many as you would like – please share with friends and family.
FONTS have sent home a letter about a wreath decorating competition. Please return forms and £1s to school by Monday 23rd November. Wreaths will be ordered, delivered to school and then it’s over to you to get festively creative!
Click here for the Christmas Wreath Competition form.
Deliveries of supplies for Wet Play Boxes are being received and are nearly ready to come into the classrooms. Of course we don’t want rain at play time, but this is Devon!
Thank you for your continued support,
email [email protected] / or msg FONTS on Dojo
PS – Don’t forget that Easyfundraising is a great way to use online shopping to donate to FONTS, and we’re part of the SeaMoor Lottery where a % of every ticket bought goes to FONTS too.
Chestnut Class artwork inspired by Claude Debussy's "La Mer"
I hope you have a lovely weekend