Dear North Tawton Friends and Families,
Today marks two years since we returned from the last Covid lock down, and two years since I became Principal at North Tawton. As I look back, I am so pleased and proud of the work we have done together. Welcoming volunteers back into school, the events organised by FONTS not only to raise money, but to also re-establish our community links, and the huge amount of work our staff have undertaken to ensure our children are happy, safe and learning.
In two years our staff team have embedded our Read, Write Inc phonics programme, adopted and adapted a new history, geography and science curriculum, taken on new schemes in PE, music, and PSHE. Most importantly, we have spent a lot of time building our children’s resilience, cooperation and study skills, and assessing and addressing knowledge and confidence gaps after the disruptions to their learning and routines.
Our Ofsted in June 2022, is evidence of the really hard work each and every member of our school staff team contributes to our children’s school experience. We are not complacent! We continue to go above and beyond each and every day so that all children strive to be the best that they can be.
The children at North Tawton really are a pleasure to teach, their behaviour and attitude towards learning makes them a credit to you and a joy to work with.
Festival of Hope
Continuing our Festival of Hope, over the last two weeks of term we have taken part in a number of events to embed our Trust values.
Year 7 pupils came from Okehampton College for an afternoon of reading with our Year 6 to introduce them to new texts and to support their transition from primary to secondary. We will have more events over the summer term so that our Year 6 pupils become well prepared for the next stage of their education.
I have received lots of compliments regarding our school contribution to the Trust art exhibition which is now at Okehampton College. It was inspired by the book Window and is made with materials headed for the recycling bin. I have shared it before but I can't resist sharing again at the end of this newsletter!
Unfortunately, we have had to cancel some sporting events due to the weather however we did take part in the football tournament this Thursday, and came second! I was so proud of our team who not only played well, but also played fairly and even lent a player to another team! (Thank you Jack!)
We also had a collaborative Fun Fitness afternoon where all children took part in activities on the field. They had a great time and came home extremely muddy – apologies parents! Thank you to Mrs Ahmad and Year 6 pupils for leading this event.
ShivDev explained to us in a special assembly that birds nesting in North Tawton, and across the country, has reduced as we use more and more plastic in construction. A way to help birds, particularly our swallows, is to put up bird boxes. She explained that Madewell in Hatherleigh produces these and it would be great if as many of us as possible could put up bird boxes in our gardens. If you are able to, please speak to the staff at MadeWell. They need to be put up high, facing between north and east. We learnt how to identify swifts, swallows and house martins.
How to identify swifts, swallows, sand martins and house martins | The Wildlife Trusts
Continuing our science learning and environment awareness, Year 5 visited the Eden Project. They have been learning about biomes so what better place to go (other than on a world trip!) than the Eden Project where they could experience different climates and ecosystems.
A biome is a large area characterized by its vegetation, soil, climate, and wildlife. There are five major types of biomes: aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra, though some of these biomes can be further divided into more specific categories, such as freshwater, marine, savanna, tropical rainforest, temperate rainforest, and taiga. The Five Major Types of Biomes (nationalgeographic.org)
The class really enjoyed their trip and learnt a lot.
Easter Art Exhibition
A huge thank you to FONTS for organising the Easter Art Show. I was really impressed with the entries and did not envy our judges having to choose first and second places for each class.
Nursery - Charlotte and Lucy
Reception – Henry and Toby
Year 1 – Freddie and Margo
Year 2 -Laiton and Isla
Year 3 – Evie-May and Radley
Year 4 – Izzy and Ashton
Year 5 – Isobel and Jessica R
Year Six – Lola and Jack
These will be on show at The Ruth Smith Gallery this Easter. Thank you to Ruth Smith, Philippa Simms and Carol Hughes for being our judges and thank you to all who took part.
Active Body, Active Mind
KS2 children have been enjoying a very active start to their mornings by attending our Active Body, Active Mind sessions in the hall. A 10 minute 'wake up and shake up' to start the day in a positive frame of mind. Thank you to Mrs Day and her keep fit team for leading this.
Parking and Stopping Outside our School
A number of parents have taken to regularly dropping children off outside the school gates. Please can I ask you not to do this. The only exception is of course our school bus. Please park and walk like many of our parents do. I would much rather you are a little late than we have an accident outside our school.
Safe inside, Safe outside
In assembly last week I spoke, carefully so as not to worry children, about when it is safest to be inside and when it is safest to be outside. Children are very used to practicing fire drills and know when that hear the alarm that adults will tell them to line up quietly and sensibly so that staff can lead them outside to safety. We have practiced listening out for a whistle which lets us know it is safest to be inside. EYFS have practiced listening to instructions and coming inside quickly and KS1 and KS2 to ducking down under our tables. As with fire drills, we hope we will never have to actually use this system for real, but obviously it is worth practicing.
Of course the main them of our assemblies this term has been Easter. From learning about Lent and having pancake tossing competitions, to learning about the sacrifice Christians believe Jesus made on Good Friday and him being resurrected on Easter Sunday. One theme has been symbolism and how symbols are important in world faiths and many other areas of communication, literature and advertising!
Symbols are particularly important in the Easter story, and I have enjoyed working with Y4 to explore this and why Christians call the day Jesus died 'Good Friday.' We enjoyed making our Easter Gardens which include symbols representing life, death, miracles and resurrection.
Assemblies led by Rev Spence, Mr Cutler and myself, will end with a reflection and an opportunity to pray. We also have music assemblies and mental health assemblies led by Miss Boyce and Miss Keen and an end of week Praise Assembly where staff lead a celebration of learning where children receive Learner of the Week certificates, and we find out which house has won the house cup for the week. This term we also trialled a writing sharing assembly where children shared their writing with children from other classes. It was really successful, and Mrs Ware will continue these termly.
This week we said farewell to Miss Bennett our SENDCO. We thanked her for all of the work she has done to support children and families at North Tawton and we wished her all the best n her new role as an Assistant Principal.
Thank you to parents for attending parent’s meetings with teachers over the past two weeks, these are such important times to talk so we can best meet the needs of your children together. Also to the Year 6 parents who came to the SATs meeting. Mrs Ware has posted the PowerPoint and revision timetable on Dojo so parents can access this.
End of Term Assembly
Thank you to all who came to our end of term assembly. Each class shared some of their learning highlights of the term, we had some excellent singing of our Price Tag / Flashlight mash up by our choir, piano playing from our accomplished pianist Rebecca and we all enjoyed singing Proud, I’ve Got the Power in Me and our Festival of Hope song Future Bright. I hope the reception class Spring Chicken song becomes an annual feature! North Tawton pupils really are great singers! Thanks to Miss Boyce and Nick Bryant for all their hard work leading and promoting singing.
As always, please look at the class blogs to see what the pupils have been learning about this week.
I wish you all a very happy Easter holiday and look forward to seeing you in two weeks’ time for the start of our summer term.
Key Dates for Summer Term
17th April – First day of Summer Term
1st May – Bank Holiday – school closed
2nd May – Normandy Parent Meeting 5pm at school
8th May – Bank Holiday – school closed – Volunteers at school
9th May – 12th May – Year Six SATS
15th May – 26th May – Year 2 SATS
29th May – 2nd June – Half term Holiday
Friday 9th June 7pm FONTS Quiz
15th June – Wildlife Ambassadors to Meath Quarry
Friday 23rd June - Rainbow Day
Saturday 1st July – Summer Fair
11th July – 15th July - Y6 Residential to France
14th July - Carnival Friday
21st July – Last day of Term
Our Festival of Hope Collaborative Art Work - I love it!