We've been making the most of the better weather this half term and enjoying lots of activities and events outside. Year R are hoping that their caterpillars will soon become butterflies, year 2 have been working together on the field to create team games for each other to enjoy and years 5 and 6 have recently been making the most of having Dartmoor on our doorstep to experience guided walks on Cosdon with a Dartmoor park ranger. More information on all these activities can be found on the class blog pages.
We have been lucky here in Devon with relatively low cases of coronavirus compared to other communities. However, we cannot avoid the reality that case numbers are now rising both across the country and in Devon.
This week, schools in Devon, and within our DMAT, have had to isolate individuals, close bubbles, year groups and in some cases whole schools. The last thing we want to do is to increase the likelihood of this happening here at South Tawton.
It is for this reason we have had to change our plans for the end of term and we will not be able to invite parents as spectators for sports' day. We just cannot take this risk. It would be awful to have to keep children at home again.
While some parents have shown their support for the decision, others have aired their concerns and disappointment. Please do accept that this decision has not been made lightly. We have considered the size of the school, and potential risk before making this decision. Whilst we understand that some local schools are allowing spectators at their sports' days, these are much smaller schools where the number of children and staff present will be far less than at South Tawton.
It is our intention to use our expertise and staffing to really focus on the children and ensure that they have a positive and enjoyable last few weeks here with safe events and celebrations. We are using social distancing so that we can keep safe in our bubbles whilst still feeling part of the whole school group. Staff will ensure that the children have an exciting and enjoyable sports' day experience with their peers, even though their parents will not be present.
In terms of restrictions, we are still hoping that they will be lifted before the end of term so that we will be able to have live audiences at our Year 5/6 performance and Y6 Leavers' Assembly. Fingers crossed that this becomes possible.
Sports' Day Part 2
Weather willing, Sports' Day will take place on Tuesday 6th July. It would be really lovely if the children could wear a coloured T-shirt that matches their team colour. If possible, please can you send you child into school wearing the colour of their team. If you are unsure of which colour team your child is in, you can check with their class teacher. Please do not send the children in football shorts as this can cause problems with other children.
As with any event at this time of the year, the children will also need sun cream, a hat, a water bottle, a jumper and a raincoat.
Some parents have commented that they feel unsafe coming to the school gates when other parents are not wearing masks. Please continue to wear masks when dropping off and picking up your children. With case numbers rising so rapidly, this is particularly important.
PTA Ice Lolly Sales
Update from Devon County Council
For the latest Covid-19 response from Devon County Council, please click here.
It was such a disappointment to hear the news on Monday that the government road map out of lockdown has been delayed. This means we remain at Stage 3 with our current school risk assessments and measures in line with the government policy.
For this reason we are not able to go ahead with some of our summer term plans, including parents attending our Sports Day. While many of us are bitterly disappointed, we must all understand this is for the health and wellbeing of our staff and pupils at school, our families and community members. With the new variant, and numbers rising again, it is of course the right decision. We will do our very best to make sure the end of term is a special time, and have booked an exiting programme of visitors to the school to enrich the children's learning and experience. More details of these will follow, but a very big thank you to the PTA who are funding these visits.
On that note, I'm delighted to announce that the recent sponsored events in each class raised just over £2700 for the PTA. This is a staggering amount and I'd like to extend a huge thank you to the children for their efforts in completing the challenges and to all our community for donating so generously.
Sport's Day will still go ahead (though sadly without spectators) with the children kept in year group bubbles and equipment thoroughly sanitised between each class.
The Year 6 classroom now has secondary glazing and a new, lower ceiling installed. It looks fantastic and the acoustics are also much better. The walls have been freshly repainted and we have made the decision to re-paint the wood panelling, shelves and skirting boards in the summer holidays rather than now, so that the children can move back in this week.
Quad Kids Athletics Event
On Tuesday, OCRA coaches came in and held a Quadkids event for all KS2 children. The children each took part in javelin throw, a 50m sprint, standing long jump and a 600m run. Their sportsmanship and support of each other was fantastic to see. After the event, the coaches contacted me to praise not only the children's athletic ability, but also their fantastic effort and behaviour.
We have been reminding the children how to keep healthy and comfortable in the recent hot weather:
Take off thick jumpers but cover sensitive skin, apply sun cream, wear a hat, seek out the shady spaces, slide on a pair of sunglasses and drink plenty of water.
Please make sure that all children have water bottles and sunhats with their names on in school every day. They do also need a jumper and light coat because, as we know, our hot weather often doesn’t last!
Many of you will have noticed that there seems to be a high number of ticks around at the moment. Please click here for a government leaflet about ticks.
Key tick awareness messages
• ‘be tick aware’ and remember that you could be exposed to ticks whenever you spend time outdoors, including when in your garden or the local park
• ticks mainly attach to animals, but sometimes they may bite you or your family
• you can prevent tick bites by walking on clearly defined paths, using insect repellent and performing regular tick checks
• some tick bites can result in infection, so it is important to remove ticks safely and as quickly as possible
• the safest way to remove a tick is by using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool
• contact your GP or dial NHS 111 promptly if you begin to feel unwell with flu-like symptoms or develop a spreading circular red rash. Remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors
More information For more information, search for the phrases 'ticks' and 'Lyme disease' on these websites: www.nhs.uk www.gov.uk
Letter to parents from the Secretary of State for Education
On Friday, the Secretary of State for Education wrote an open letter to parents encouraging continued regular testing, to support all the hard work schools and colleges have been doing to increase participation. Please read the letter by clicking the blue text above.
We had a lovely whole school celebration assembly this afternoon and it was wonderful to see so many children rewarded for outstanding attitude, efforts and kindness towards others. Earlier in the week, we had a visit from one of the Executive Heads of the Trust and afterwards I received this email, 'Just wanted to say a huge thank you for making time for me on Tuesday. I absolutely LOVED seeing all the fantastic work you are doing at ST.'
Thank you to all the staff and children for their enthusiasm and hard work which make South Tawton the special place it is.
If you are late to school for any reason, please bring your child up the ramp and ring the bell so that we can ensure they are signed in on the register. Please do not use the gate in the car park after 9am.
Please help us by ensuring that lunches, including home packed lunch options, are booked on School Gateway in advance. Teachers no longer take a lunch register at the start of the day.
We have been having some difficulties with children bringing in very hard footballs from home. We will provide balls for children to play with at break and lunch time, so please do not send balls into school.
Please return any sponsorship money to school as soon as possible. Thank you all for your generosity in this event. We'll report the total next week.
We currently have two vacancies for teaching assistants to join us in September. Both posts will involve supporting children with special educational needs or disabilities. There are full time and part time posts available. For more information and to apply, please visit the following links or contact the school for more information.
To make our stunning new wooden additions feel at home Sarah and Mark Bazeley and Peggy Chalcraft set to on a planter re-furbishment, replant, rehoming session over the half term. As you can see from the photos, they even found a home for a snail who rather liked it's new bug hotel. We will continue to develop the area between the bike shed and mud kitchen and make it into a lovely outdoor classroom / storytelling space with our new throne. The planters near the friendship bench in the playground will be planted with stimulating sensory plants such as Lavendar, Chive, Mint, Curry plants, grasses for example. So far, they have a yellow Buddleia and Rosemary and Thyme plants.
Any donations of plants greatly appreciated as are donations of topsoil or compost, please let either Mrs Bazeley or Miss Chalcraft know. Many thanks!
May's 100 Club draw took place at school before the half term break with the help of some very lovely Egyptians from Year 4. The following numbers/people won.
1st 80 Nan Passmore
2nd 65 Vellette Valance
3rd 63 Dani Tansley
Further to our our Easter newsletter, please remember that we have another Bag2School collection scheduled for Monday 21 June. We hope that you may have had a chance of a spring clean and sort out of your wardrobes, cupboards and lofts. Please bring in on the day and drop in the school car park (please avoid bringing in beforehand as there is no facility to store at the school).
Bag2School WILL/WILL NOT accept the following items for re-use.
WE ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING GOOD QUALITY ITEMS:
We DO NOT accept:
SAVE THE DATE - as long as the easing of covid restrictions allow, we hope to hold our ever-popular Summer BBQ on Friday 9 July!! We'll update the newsletter with further news towards the end of June. In the meantime, it would be great if you could hold on to unwanted soft toys, childrens' books and prizes for the tombola. Thank you, the PTA
Do you have a daughter age 10 - 14 who would be interested in finding out more about joining a local Guide unit? South Zeal has always had an excellent Brownie Pack but unfortunately the Guide unit closed down many years ago. If you would like to continue in Guiding or have never been a member there are local units who would be pleased to meet you. North Tawton Guides are on a Monday evening from 6.30 - 8.30pm and Okehampton Guides meet on a Thursday from 7.00 - 9.00pm. If you would like more information then please contact Jane on 01837 89160.'
Jane Simons - North Tawton Guide Guider