Newsletter 13th January - Issue 16
We are proud to say...
Stars of the week in Dragonfly are: Darsh and Preston
Stars of the week in Otter are: Owen and Tatiana
Stars of the week in Kingfisher are: Charlie B and Niall
Headteacher awards: Colby, Brandon and John
Best Class attendance: Otter AND Dragonfly - both 100%!
A message from Mr Barton
This seems to have been a particularly busy week and we have lots of good news to share. All of this news fits nicely alongside our first school value of 'Happiness'. As you read through this week's newsletter I hope you will enjoy hearing about the different ways in which our school community can rightly feel proud and happy about our many achievements and pieces of good news. We are also asking for your strong support with our funding for school meals, as you will see when you get to the bottom of the 'Tuesday' section below.
Enjoy your weekend.
We had some very good financial news when we received a donation from the Rising Sun pub. This arose out of their Regatta back in August. The £125 raised was very generously matched by Jo and Mike at the pub, to give us £250.00. When combined with our half of the £162 raised at the Christmas concert, we have over £300 to spend. This has already allowed us to re-instigate a subscription to a fantastic online learning facility for mathematics called Mathletics. Our subscription will be live from Monday so things have moved very quickly and we are delighted and very grateful to all those who have contributed to raising these funds.
We would like to make a special mention here to Dom Lowe of the Chew Valley Brewery. Dom kindly ran the tractor and trailer rides on his vintage tractor at the Rising Sun Regatta and we are saddened to hear that he is currently unwell. We do hope that our delight in receiving the money will help to lift his spirits, and our School Council will shortly be sending their own thanks to him.
When you hear that only 4 parents came to hear 5 of us speak about the quality of our school meals on Tuesday, you may wonder how that fits into our feeling of happiness! However, despite the small group, the meeting was very successful in beginning a conversation about how we can encourage more and more children to take up the meals. With the introduction of our healthier Breakfast Club Menu and a focus in Mr Barton's assemblies this term on 'Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies', we are determined to highlight this aspect of what we mean when we say that Happiness is the first of our School Values.
In our values statement, we say, "We know that healthy minds and healthy bodies are both important for happiness." The conversation started on Tuesday is opening up new ideas about how we can encourage healthy eating at lunchtimes. It has been continued at our Parent Council meeting this week and we will be organising a lunchbox survey and gathering information from pupils and parents this term about how we can take forward the idea of really promoting healthy eating in a pragmatic way that genuinely benefits the pupils.
The meeting was also a real eye-opener about the facts behind our assertion that our school meals are high quality. Until today, our website has been out of date in terms of giving you the correct information about the quality of our meals and our suppliers. Please do take this opportunity to look at the revised page. By doing so, you will be aware that each time you order a school meal for your child you are:
- giving them the chance to eat a nutritious, hot, meal;
- supporting the fact that very unusually for a school our size still have all our meals prepared on site, from scratch by our wonderful Lisa Cook;
- supporting small, local producers of very high-quality fresh food as provided by our suppliers Fresh Range;
- benefiting from the BANES Sliver Award for the provision of school meals.
Related to this, we need your support on Thursday. The way school funding works is strange at times, but funding for our kitchen is based on the level of take-up for infant school meals on a particular day (rather than an average)! Every school meal taken up on Thursday by children in Dragonfly will therefore count towards our budget next year. Mrs Cook has made it particularly easy for most children to say "yes" to a school meal on Thursday by providing a hot-dogs menu on that day. Please take up a school meal on Thursday next week.
Our focus on children's happiness continued when the NSPCC came to deliver their age-specific assemblies about how children can deal with any worries that they have. This well-researched programme has been developed over the years and delivered in many schools up and down the country. Gemma and Becky who visited us were very informative and helpful. Parents and carers should have already received a letter with some more information about the assembly by email. Please check your inbox and let us know if it did not come through. Meanwhile, thank-you so much for all the donations for our 'Go Green' day. Donations for wearing something green to school raised £75.80, which will all be donated to the NSPCC.
Mrs Williams also had some very good news for her (although sad for us) on Wednesday. She has been a tremendously-valued member of staff working in Otter and Dragonfly but will now be moving on to a new role in a secondary school. This is a great opportunity for her, taking her skills to another level, and we wish her all the best in this promoted role. Rest assured that she and her daughter will still be with us until the February half-term.
More good news is that soon afterwards, on March 20th, Mrs Britton will be coming back from her maternity leave. She will teach Otter class all day on a Monday and on a Tuesday afternoon and will be teaching in Kingfisher on a Tuesday morning. Meanwhile watch this space for news about how we will continue to provide extra support for children in Dragonfly when Mrs Williams leaves.
We went from strength to strength on Wednesday when Mr Miller and the football team returned from their match against East Harptree. Typified by the player of the match, Niall Hillier, the skills and determination shown by the whole team were extremely impressive. Mr Miller gave Niall his 'Star of the Week' certificate for "leading the football team by example, working his hardest and never giving up". We are delighted that as a result of this final match, Pensford will be the team representing small schools at an upcoming regional competition next week. Details of this are to follow as soon as possible, and we have so far been told that the tournament will be on Friday.
Meanwhile, here is a short account of the match from a child's point of view:
Last year we went to a football tournament where we got to the knock out stage which was the furthest any small school got. It therefore got us into the small schools final.
At the first half of the match we managed to score three goals. So at half time we were winning three nil up. In the first ten minutes of the second half they managed to score two goals (one being an own goal). At this point Mr Miller and Mrs Croucher were looking rather anxious on the side of the pitch.
At the end of the match we had won 3-2!
You may already be aware that Mr Barton will now be teaching Otter and Kingfisher on a Thursday afternoon for Science. This is in place instead of the PE lessons they were being taught by an external provider. This has helped with our budget, as well as giving our co-PE leaders Mrs Mullen and Mr Miller the opportunity to teach all of the PE to their respective classes.
We had some further good news this week when Louise Goldsmith from Hidden Valley Forest School confirmed that a session for each of Years 3 to 6 can be delivered specifically to support their learning in Science. These forest school sessions will happen on the last day of term, and Key Stage 2 parents and carers will be receiving more information about this next week. There will be a small cost for these trips of £5 per child. Thankfully no travel costs are involved because we are such a short walk from the facilities!
Today's assembly gave Mr Barton the opportunity to share and update the children with much of what has been described above, as well as to celebrate individual achievements. In addition, he was able to launch this term's reading challenge books which have now arrived in the library and are illustrated below.
You can encourage your child(ren) to borrow these from the library when it opens each Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime, in addition to the books they are reading from their classes.
The happiness will hopefully continue on into next week! Here are some of the upcoming events:
Wednesday - Year Reception & 1 will be attending a Fun Sports Festival at Chew Valley School - APOLOGIES, BUT THIS HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED.
Thursday - special menu of Hot Dogs - can all KS1 children be encouraged to have a school meal on this day so that the school will receive its maximum school meal funding.
Friday - Year 5/6 taking part in a "Stay Safe" workshop with NSPCC.
Valley Arts Quiz Night Friday 27th Jan
Dust off those brain cells and cheer up January with a fun night out while raising some funds to help get our community performing arts centre for the Chew Valley off the ground.
Last year's quiz night was a rip-roaring success, so we're back again with curlier questions and more award-winning fish and chips from Salt + Malt. (Tickets £10 including fish and chips, £5 for quiz only.)
Rally some friends and start thinking up your silly team name (maximum 6 per team). Or just book a ticket and meet some other spare brains on the night.
Tickets are easy to book on Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.co.uk): just search for "Valley Arts Quiz". Our events usually sell out, so get in there quick!
Valley Arts Winter Quiz
Friday 27 January, 7–10.30pm
Chew Valley School Main Hall, BS40 8QB
Tickets £5 or £10 in advance from Eventbrite
And find out more about the performing arts centre project at www.valleyartscentre.co.uk.