I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for the way you have responded to the huge challenges you have all faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether this is your first year at school or your final year of college, I know the disruption you have all faced to your education since the pandemic began has been incredibly challenging and has meant completely changing the way you learn - either learning remotely at home or continuing at school or college with fewer of your friends around you and lots of safety measures in place.
Whether you were at home or at school, the disruption last term and throughout last year asked a lot of you and your families. I am filled with admiration for the incredible way you all responded and the resilience you have shown. Not being in school or college with your teachers and friends was a huge sacrifice. Everything you did, with the help of your families and your schools and colleges, and everything you missed out on – time in school, taking exams, seeing friends, playing sport and much more - made such a huge difference to helping us stop the spread of the virus. I want to say a huge thank you to all of you.
Getting all young people back into school and college safely has been my priority throughout the pandemic. I know how vital it is not just for your education but also to spend time with your friends and to feel happy and secure. All our lives have changed a lot in the past year but the challenges that young people have faced have been some of the hardest. I will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that all of you are supported to boost any areas of work you’ve had less time at school to study, get the qualifications you deserve and have the opportunities you need to succeed.
Continuing to follow all the safety measures your schools and colleges have worked hard to put in place, as well as taking a test twice a week, is so important and helps us to stop the virus spreading. The testing that thousands of you have been taking part in at school and college is a vital part of this. I am so grateful to you and all the staff who have supported you to do this. I know your schools and colleges have worked incredibly hard to prepare you to test yourself at home.
As most of you at secondary school and college move to testing yourself regularly at home, it’s vital that you continue to test and report online twice a week through the Easter holidays and after you return to school. Home testing twice a week for you and everyone you live with makes a huge difference and means you are playing a really important role in helping us move back to a more normal way of life. Your school or college will continue to support you and make sure you have tests. You and your family can also find out more about home testing here.
I was delighted to see the enthusiasm with which so many of you returned to school at the beginning of March and I am sure you have had a wonderful few weeks catching up with your friends and teachers. It was fantastic to meet pupils delighted to return to school on my visits to schools like Arden Academy and Bedford Free School and to see so many more of your reunions on social media. I hope that the new term will be just as enjoyable and successful for all of you.
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education
We’ve had a lovely week back in school and can’t believe that we only have four more days of school before the Easter holidays. We’re all looking forward to the summer term and hoping that, with each step of the government’s roadmap, school life becomes more and more normal. We’ll keep you updated about whether we’ll be able to have a Sport’s Day, a leaver’s assembly or any of the other events that we all missed so much last year.
Several children in school this week have had some symptoms of coughs or temperatures and have been to testing centres for Covid PCR tests. Happily, all tests have been negative. However, I’d just like to take this opportunity to remind you that, if any member of your family has a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell, then the whole family should self-isolate until the person with symptoms has received a negative result from a PCR test.
Lateral flow tests are available to identify asymptomatic members of the community. All school staff take these tests twice a week and testing kits are also available to parents and guardians. More information is available here:
Dartmoor Multi-Academy Trust and Three Hares News
The DMAT website has been updated and includes a link to the new leadership video:
News and Views - Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (dartmoormat.org.uk)
There is also a new post from Mrs Underwood on the Three Hares Blog page:
PTA Easter Trail
The PTA have produced a fun trail for the Easter holidays, which covers South Zeal, Sticklepath, South Tawton and Okehampton. There are maps for your children to follow to find the houses which have decorated their windows. At each house there will be a coloured letter included as part of the display. Collect all the letters and then use them to unscramble the anagrams to reveal an Easter phrase. The colour of the letter indicates which anagram word the letter belongs to. Trail packs cost £2 each and children can give the money to their teacher any day from Monday 29th March. The window decorations will be displayed between Friday 2nd April and Sunday 18th April. The PTA are planning to use the money raised from the trails to fund some Chromebooks for the school, so please help us achieve this by buying the trails - you support is much appreciated!
PTA Dress Down and Easter Egg Scramble
On Thursday 1st April, the children are welcome to come into school in non-uniform in exchange for £1 to raise money for the PTA. The PTA have also bought chocolate eggs for the children so that each class can participate in an Easter Egg Scramble on that day.
As per our message in a recent newsletter, we are no longer collecting crisp packets at school.
For those who are keen to continue recycling their crisp packets rather than sending them to landfill, we can suggest you save them and either take them to:
- Terracycle collection point at Co-Op Moretonhampstead
- Tesco stores are setting up new collection points for crisp packets
We've also discovered a more convenient Terracycle drop-off point in Okehampton at the following address:
4 Pikes Mead, Okehampton, EX20 1JU
There is an alleyway to the left of the front door with a recycling box where bagged crisp packets can be left. Proceeds from these packets will go towards a rescued animal charity.
Writing Competition Winners!
I was delighted to heard this week that three of our pupils have received awards in the Dogberry and Finch writing competition. In the age 10-13 years event, Matilda and Emily were first and second respectively. Oliver came second in the 5-9 years event. We’re very proud of these pupils for taking art and producing such great writing. Their stories can be found below:
Public Health Devon are running a new initiative for Easter called ‘The Goodie Box’. Families who sign up will receive food for simple and delicious recipes delivered straight to their door, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to cook the recipes together as a family. The recipes are suitable for weaning age children and will be privatised for families with children 0-5.
How will boxes be delivered?
Boxes will be delivered directly to the homes of families by the suppliers Devon Norse / Total Produce. All boxes will be delivered between 29th March and 16th April.
What will the box contain?
Families will receive a box with some exciting new recipes to try along with the food to make them. The food included in the box will enable families to make the following recipes:
Also included in the box will be:
If you would like to receive a box, or more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter Fuel Boxes
We had lots of fun wearing red for Comic Relief and, to date, have raised £193 with more money still pledged. Thank you to everyone who supported this cause.
The children have settled well back into school and routines and lessons are running smoothly. We're noticing a few deviations from our standard uniform and shoes. We realise that many children have out-grown their clothes during lockdown and would ask that everyone is back in standard uniform by the beginning of the Summer Term (Monday 19th April)
School Gateway Accounts
If you have recently noticed an account called South Tawton New appearing on your child's school gateway account , please do not worry. This is due to a change in the MIS system used in school. Please continue to use your old account until the Easter holidays.
Many children are still coming to school without a lunch booking on their accounts. Please help us to get into learning time quickly in the mornings by ensuring that you have booked your choice - even if it is a home packed lunch.
Social distancing at the school gates
We are still having families arriving early for their pick up and drop off times. Please help us to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus by keeping to your allotted slots.
Thank you to those people who have already offered to decorate a window for the PTA Easter Trail. Just a reminder that if you would still like to participate then please let Katie Wright (email@example.com) know by tomorrow. The trail is not just limited to South Zeal, so you are very welcome to do a window display if you live in Okehampton or one of the surrounding villages.
Many thanks, The PTA
Please click here to read the latest update from Devon County Council
I couldn't resist starting this week's newsletter with a bumper gallery to celebrate the fact that the school is fully open again and the children are back. It has been so lovely to once more hear the hum of busy classrooms and to see the children outside playing with each other. I'd like to thank every pupil for making such a positive start to life back in school and I'm sure you'll all join me in keeping everything crossed that we have all seen our last period of school closures. There have been so many smiley faces this week; well done to all children and staff who have once again risen beautifully to the situation.
World Book Day Displays
Wonderful World Book Day displays are springing up in classrooms and corridors and I have just ordered a large batch of photos to be printed to supplement these. If you have any World Book Day books nooks or other creations at home that your children are willing to share, please bring them in.
Lockdown Art Work Wanted
I have received the message below from the editor of the Moorlander newspaper. If you have any lockdown art work at home which you are willing to be displayed in the newspaper, please send photos to me or your child's teacher and we will send it to the editor.
I am the editor of The Moorlander newspaper and am writing to you with a request. During this past lockdown I was, as many others were, home schooling my two primary aged children. One of my daughter’s lessons was to find an artist she liked the work of and either copy one of their paintings or produce her own ‘in the style of’ that artist.
Other children in her class uploaded their work onto the central online classroom and I was absolutely amazed at how good some of their artwork was. One teacher even questioned whether one painting was the original – it wasn’t!
So this has led me to reach out to you to invite you and your staff to choose some of their favourite pieces of artwork produced during this last lockdown and send it to me so that I may publish the best in the paper. This isn’t a competition, it’s simply to showcase the wonderful talent in our children across the area and perhaps give something back to those children who have coped so magnificently with the upheaval that COVID-19 has brought about.
I would very much like to help the children feel proud of themselves and what they’ve achieved, so please do consider taking part. Please send any work with the name of the school, name of the child and their age, to this email address.
I’m afraid I do have to put a fairly tight deadline on this, so please make sure you have sent your pieces by 5pm, Wednesday 24th March to make sure they can be included in the paper which will be out on sale on Friday 2nd April.
Thank you for your time and I very much look forward to hearing from you.
Year 1 Small World Garden
Well done Archie and Reggie
Archie and Reggie Guscott and their family are going 'sugar free' for Lent. Mum, Lorraine, says, 'We have now been 3.5 weeks without a drop of sugar (except naturally occurring). We've been collecting sponsorship for the food banks. The boys have been amazing, I am so proud of them. We've cut out all the obvious things (cake, biscuit, sweets, chocolate) but also those foods with sneaked in sugars, tomato ketchup, all crisps except ready salted, most white breads, beans... The list is endless, shopping has been a challenge at times!'
The link to the 'gofundme' page is gf.me/u/zh49au if you would like to donate to this excellent cause? Every pound donated will also buy a ticket for a family Easter egg basket!
Second Hand Uniform
I've been asked to add a reminder about the second hand uniform which is for sale on the PTA Facebook page. All items are just £1 each and there are some fantastic bargains to be had.
The PTA will no longer be collecting crisp packets at school for the Terracycle recycling scheme.
However, we would still love to encourage the recycling of crisp packets and suggest the following:
- Tesco are starting to roll out collection points for soft plastic packaging, like crisp packets (also pet food pouches, bread bags etc), so hold on to your crisp packets until you are able to drop them off at your nearest Tesco collection point.
- There is a Terracycle crisp packet collection point at the Co-Op in Moretonhampstead.
We'll let you know if we hear of any other drop-off points that might be even more local.
The PTA are planning an Easter Trail for children to do during the Easter holidays. Participating houses will display an Easter-themed decoration which will have within it a letter of the alphabet. The trail will involve walking around, spotting the decoration and writing down the letter that they find at each house. The letters will form part of an anagram which the children then have to solve.
We are asking for volunteers to make and then display these Easter decorations in your house window or garden, so long as it is clearly visible from the road. You can decide how simple or complicated you make it – from a basic paper egg, to a full window display! If you would like to host a display, please email Katie Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your address by Friday 19th March. The PTA will then contact you with the alphabet letter which you need to incorporate within your display. Displays will need to be put up on Good Friday and remain for the whole of the Easter holidays.
Please note that by providing these details to the PTA you consent for them to print your address on the South Tawton PTA Easter Trail sheet, which will be sent home with children at the end of term. The trail will not include anybody's name and the addresses will only be used for the purposes of the trail.
Roots and Shoots
We're a small community group based in Chagford that has received National Lottery Covid-19 Community Support funding to create arts and crafts packs (with online tuition by local craftspeople) to send out to children in Devon during these challenging times.
We've attached a flier and were wondering whether you could let parents know about the project.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any further information.
Anna and Bella
Year 6 Likes and Loves
World Book Day
What a glorious success you all made World Book Day! Thank you all for attending both assemblies, carrying out the challenges and sending in your photos. I do hope that you al enjoyed doing it as much as I enjoyed hearing all about it. I received some photos which haven't yet made it onto the blogs yet but these will be updated tomorrow morning.
If you haven't yet looked at all the wonderful photos which have been sent in, then please visit the following links:
Return to school tomorrow
I will re-paste below the information which I sent out last week. However, if you haven't yet done so, please book lunches for the week (including home packed lunch options) and, if relevant, spaces on the bus and at breakfast club.
Our risk assessment has been revised and can be found here.
We're working hard to ensure that we have everything in place for a smooth and safe transition back to school. Please help us to avoid crowds at drop off and pick-up times by only arriving for your children's designated slot and leaving Tawton Lane promptly after. All timings will revert to those in place last term: Years 1, 3 and 6 will begin at 8:40 and be collected at 3:20. Years R, 2, 4 and 5 will begin at 8:50 and be collected at 3:30. Children will not be allowed on site before their allocated times and we will ask parents to wait well clear of the school gates if they arrive early. This is for the safety of the whole community.
Please remember that, if you have children who have different start or finish times, you should arrive at school for the later of the two times.
Hot dinners will be served from the 8th. The current menu can be viewed here. Please book all meals as soon as possible through your school gateway accounts.
Bookings for breakfast club and the school bus are also now open and can be accessed through school gateway.
Everything you need to know for school on 8th March: a message from Devon CC
Please click here to read the bulletin from Devon County Council
I'd like to say a very public and heartfelt THANK YOU and WELL DONE to everyone - pupils, staff and parents - for all the hard work that you have put into the last few weeks and the excellent results which you have achieved. I couldn't be prouder.
Community Lateral Flow Testing
Did you know that you can now access lateral flow tests as parents and families of school aged children? More information can be found here:
Recycling of old pens
I've been asked to remind parents that Steve Granger collects old pens and takes them to be recycled, Usually, there is a collection box in the Kings' Arms, but Steve can take them directly whilst the pub is closed. If you would like to use this service, please let me know and I'll pass your details on to Steve.
100 Club Draw
February's draw was carried out at School last week and the following numbers/people won:-
1st 40 Ruth Murray
2nd 3 Claire Tucker
3rd 16 Mark Williams
Mary MacMillan-Scott will distribute prizes to the winners outside School next week.
PTA AMAZON SMILE SCHEME
Most of us have Amazon accounts and many of us are using them now more than ever.
When you make a purchase from Amazon, they donate money to nominated charities through their Amazon Smile scheme at no additional cost to you!
Therefore, please click on the link below and nominate South Tawton School PTA as your chosen charity. Then, every time you shop with Amazon, they will donate 0.5% of the sale value to the school.
Please also share this link with anyone you know who also uses Amazon - friends, grandparents, aunties and uncles, etc...
Amazon Sign In
Scroll down to see all 25 non-screen activities.
Don't forget to have a look at the other World Book Day blog for many more ideas of things to do.
If you complete any of these activities, please bring them into school on Monday; I'd love to up on display!