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
The 5th week of the summer term has somehow passed with barely a glimpse of sunshine. However, we're hopeful that things may be feeling a bit more summery by the end of next week and, as ever, are extremely proud of the children for maintaining excellent standards of behaviour and enthusiasm despite frequent wet breaks and indoor lunch times.
Last week, year 4 managed to choose the one dry day for a lovely walk on Dartmoor, while year 5 weren't so lucky and had to postpone theirs. Our Friday celebration assembly had to move back to being virtual as rain lashed the playground, but it was lovely to see so many children awarded for kindness and effort as well as academic achievement.
Next week, will see year 6 temporarily relocating into the school hall whilst the year 6 classroom undergoes a rather necessary refurbishment that will see the installation of secondary glazing and a lowered ceiling to keep the room warmer in the winter months. We're delighted that the costs of this are covered by grants to improve energy efficiency. Thank you to all members of year 6 for this move.
In other news, earlier this week, we received some initial drawings for a proposed new building which will enable us to bring our preschool on to the school site. Obviously, there is still a long way to go with this in terms of both planning permissions and building works, but it will make a huge difference to the school experience of all children going forward when we are all together on one site.
Thank you PTA!
The photos above show the year 6 children becoming the first pupils to benefit from the very generous donation of 15 new Chromebooks. These will be used for computing lessons as well as in other lessons across the curriculum. 11 of these devices were donated by the PTA with the remaining 4 coming from very generous parental donations. We are delighted that we have another 3 on order which have also been donated by parents and grandparents. We would love to have eventually have enough for a whole class to use one each. The photos below show year 1 also enjoying their computing lesson this week.
Sponsored events this week.
This coming week, your children will be taking part in a sponsored event in school to help raise funds for our PTA. Each class has chosen their own event, details are below:
Year R: Laps around the field or playground
Year 1: Go Noodle'a'thon
Year 2: Circuits
Year 3: Spelling Bee
Year 4: French Skipping
Year 5: Sponsored Read
Year 6: Multi-Sports
All pupils should have brought home a sponsorship form with details of the event that they are taking part in. Please send in the sponsorship money by the end of this coming week, so we can tally it up and let you know how much has been raised. If you have lost the form, feel free to donate anyway in an envelope with your child's name and class on it please.
The idea is to have fun whilst raising money for the school. Thank you in advance for asking family and friends to sponsor your child for their events.
Thank you and kind regards,
Summer Reading Challenge
Libraries across Devon are re-opening and the Summer Reading Challenge is back!
The Summer Reading Challenge, presented by The Reading Agency and funded by Arts Council England, encourages children aged 4 to 11 to set themselves a reading challenge to help prevent the summer reading 'dip'.
Each year the Challenge, delivered with the support of public libraries, motivates over 700,000 children to keep reading to build their skills and conﬁdence. Visit the Summer Reading Challenge website.
How the Summer Reading Challenge works
Children can read whatever they like in their chosen format - fiction, fact books, poetry, joke books, picture books, graphic novels, audio books and eBooks can all be used to complete the Challenge.
Children receive special rewards each time they finish a book and there's a certificate for everyone who completes the Challenge.
The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all primary school aged children and is designed for all reading abilities. Children can sign up for free at a participating library during the summer holidays.
As the photos above show, despite the very wet weather, a lot of outdoor learning took place this week. Teepees were built, gingerbread men were made, team building games played and habitats created for a range of clay creatures. The rain didn't seem to dampen enthusiasm in the slightest. It's lovely to see cross curricula lessons taking place outside of the classrooms.
Please scroll down the documents below to view the lunch menu. We're still losing time each morning sorting out lunches for children who do not have a booking made through school gateway. Please help your children and the teachers by booking meals in advance. This can be several weeks in advance or in the morning before coming to school. If you are having an problems booking lunches online, please let us know.
Travelling to school
The photo above gives an idea of how busy the cut through road between Sticklepath and South Zeal gets at the start and end of the school day. Please keep our families safe by avoiding this road and driving very slowly and carefully on all roads in and around the village.
I would also like to remind all families that the staff car park should not be used by parents/carers/grandparents for dropping off, picking up or turning their cars. Two classes use the carpark as pedestrian access to their classes and the bus also needs to turn here. It is simply not safe or practical to have parent cars in the area. Please park in the Kings' Arms or recreation ground carparks and walk your children to and from school.
Parent Governor elections
Please follow the link below to find out more about becoming a parent governor and having your voice heard on our Local Stakeholder Committee.
Free workshop for parents and carers
From the Social, Emotional and Mental Health Team
Do you ever feel you are about to explode? That your child might too?
We can help turn tantrums into calm connections
A free, informal workshop for parents and carers.
Held virtually on 30 June 2021, 10am – 11.30am
There are times when we all feel overwhelmed with our emotions. Children feel like this too. In this workshop, we will explore why your child behaves in the way that they do; how you can respond to help them calm and how to re-connect to strengthen your relationship with them. We will also offer some specific de-stressing techniques that both you and your child can start using straight away.
Join us to find out how you can help build a healthier relationship with your child and develop a sense of inner calm.
To book your free place: firstname.lastname@example.org
View this article in your browser
From the Communication and Interaction Team and the Social, Emotional and Mental Health Team
Think behaviour, think language. I wonder if …
A free, informal workshop for parents and carers to consider the links between behaviour and speech, language and communication needs.
This event will be held virtually on Tuesday 15th June 2021, 10am – 12pm
Does your child have difficulty with:
To book your free place, email email@example.com
Family Activity Pack for Empathy Day
The Family Activities Pack for Empathy Day was launched today (11 May) . It has 10 simple activities for families to do together with an empathy focus. We really hope families will enjoy sharing them - they range from an Empathy Shoe Shop for book characters, through to Empathy Walks and an Empathy Exhibition and it would be great if you could promote them to families over the next few weeks and especially during half term as we prepare from Empathy Day on 10 June. Many of the activities focus on taking the perspective of others as this is a theme that will be reflected throughout Empathy Day. The pack is freely downloadable from Empathy Lab’s website
We also launched the Empathy Shorts today -12 specially written stories by some leading children’s authors https://www.empathylab.uk/empathy-shorts
ASCEL Information Consultant
The sun was shining and the clouds were just wispy pastel strikes across the sky on Friday morning when Marc from Wild Work delivered two bespoke benches and a storytelling throne to us here at South Tawton. He was received by a very enthusiastic year 4 class with their equally excited teacher, Peggy Chalcraft! The benches were funded by the sales of our incredible Lockdown Cookbook, which took our community by storm with baking recipes, original poems and art back in the Autumn term of 2020.
Marc spent time nattering with Peggy Chalcraft discussing what we wanted to achieve, and he created masterpieces from locally sourced Chestnut and Oak. Marc was quoted to have said it was the best reception to a job he has ever had and he was very touched by the compliments.
Please see the link to his website below:
A big thank you to the PTA, Peggy Chalcraft and Marc for making this possible. The benches have been installed in the KS1 and 2 playgrounds. If a child feels lonely, they can go to the bench as a signal that they need someone to play with. Another child will see them, go and talk to them and include them in their games. We look forward to seeing them in action.
The story telling thrones will be used for class story times as well as for the children to tell stories and read to each other.
Stars of the Week
On Friday, we were delighted to get together for a whole school assembly in person instead of virtually. We gathered on the playground for our weekly celebration assembly and look forward to warmer weather and being able to do this more often. The children pictured below received certificates for their attitude, behaviour and efforts over the past week. They became the first children to sit on one of the friendship benches. Year 6 were also praised for their mature attitude through the week. Unfortunately, year 4 couldn't join us as they had some very special tortoise visitors to link in with the work they have been doing in English.
School dinners. The menu can be found here. Please note that, although every week is labelled as Week 02 on School Gateway, this is because every week the options for main, vegetarian and packed remain the same. If you are choosing meals for next week, please use the three week rolling menu. Next week is week one .
Parent Governor Vacancies
We have vacancies for two new parents governors for our Three Hares hub. More information will follow next week.
Once more, a heartfelt plea to all parents to drive slowly in the village and around the lanes.
Congratulations to all pupils whose art work has been published in The Moorlander magazine.
Heroes Stamp Design Competition
Many children will have bought home a sheet on which to design a stamp for the Royal Mail Stamp competition. Please could these be completed and returned to school.
Further details can be found here.
Please click here to read the latest update from Devon County Council.
Have your say on the Okehampton Hospital Community Space!
Healthwatch Devon has been asked to assist North Dartmoor Primary Care Network (PCN) Advisory Group, to find out from the local community about their health and wellbeing needs, together with ideas for how to use the community space at Okehampton Hospital.
Healthwatch Devon is an independent consumer champion for Health and Social Care service in Devon, ensuring the voice of the community is used to influence and improve services for local people.
North Dartmoor Primary Care network consists of Black Torrington, Chagford, Moretonhampstead and Okehampton GP Practices. PCNs build on existing primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for people close to home. North Dartmoor PCN Advisory Group comprises of these GP practices working closely together, along with local healthcare partners and community, voluntary and statutory services to provide joined up, patients centred, primary and community-based care, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.
How can you have your say?
It is important that the views of the community are collected to ensure the space in the hospital is best utilised to suit the needs of the community. Healthwatch would like to work with key community groups in the area to ensure everyone is given a chance to share their feedback.
To have your say and share your views, please complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NorthDartmoorPCN.
If you would like to speak to us directly contact Healthwatch Devon Office, Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm on freephone 0800 520 0640 and someone can help you to complete the survey over the phone.
We will be holding a digital drop in session on:
Thursday 13th May 17:00-18:00
I look forward to hearing from you, please let me know if you would like further information, or to simply say you do not wish to be involved. If I have received no response from your group by next week I will follow up with a phone call to ensure you have received the information above and been given a chance to share your feedback.
Engagement Officer, Healthwatch Devon
A message from Okehampton Library
Classes for next year
Although there is still nearly a term of this academic year to go, we thought you might like to know what our plans are for classes next year. Obviously circumstances can change and the structures won't be finalised until the end of the term, but at the moment the staffing plans are as follows:
Year R - Mrs Culverhouse and Mrs Bond
Year 1 - Miss Rowe and Mrs Bazeley
Year 2 - Mrs Dennis and Mrs Horsley
Year 3 - Mrs Everett and Mrs Glover
Year 4 - Miss Chalcraft and Mrs White
Year 5 - Mrs Leslie and Mrs Bonnett
Year 6 - Mrs Donovan and Ms Laybourn.
Miss Bennett will continue in her role of SENDCo across the Three Hares Schools.
Mrs Snell and Mrs Dunn will cover each teacher for PPA.
Safety of children on the roads around school
I have had two near misses reported to me this week. The first was a parent and child who had a lucky escape at the top of the hill near the crossroad. A passing car failed to slow down for them and put them in danger.
The second was a car driving down the pavement on the road outside the church rather than waiting for an oncoming vehicle to pass. If one of our pupils had been running ahead after school and run around the corner, they may well have been hit.
Please take great care as both drivers and pedestrians and try not to use the cut through to drive between South Zeal and Sticklepath at the start and end of the school day.
With the help of some Year 1 pupils, Mrs Marvin has carried out April's 100 Club draw at school and the following people/numbers won:-
1st 68 Stephen Corcoran
2nd 78 Wendy Meardon
3rd 27 Jill Lock
I will distribute prizes to the winners over the next day or so.
Please click here for our lovely new PTA newsletter or scroll down to view it in the pane below.
It's been such a lovely, sunny first week of the summer term and all classes have been making the most of the dry weather. The athletics track is now marked on the field and we have everything crossed that we will be able to use the field for PE lessons and lunch breaks throughout the term. The UV index is very high at the moment so please send your child to school with sun cream applied and a sun hat. Despite the sunshine, it is still bitterly cold in the wind or shade, so coats and jumpers are still very much needed.
On the subject of clothing, please help us to ensure that all children are now wearing correct uniform and plain black shoes. Details of expected uniform may be found by clicking here.
Later in the term, we will be producing a short, written report for each child to update you on their progress. Parents' evenings this term will once more take place by telephone and teachers will be contacting you to book slots. These appointments will be largely on the following dates:
Tuesday 4th May - Years 2,5&6
Wednesday 5th May - Years 2&3
Thursday 4th May - Years 4&5
Monday 10th May - Years R,3&6
Tuesday 11th May - Years R&1
Wednesday 12th May - Years 1&4
The reason for the range of dates is that we only have 2 telephone lines within the school.
Thank you all for your patience in transferring to the new School Gateway accounts. If you are continuing to have trouble, please do get in touch. For next week the lunch menu will remain the same as last term, with a new menu starting on Tuesday 4th May. Just a reminder that all staff and admin email addresses have now changed to ending in @southtawton.org.uk and mine is now firstname.lastname@example.org
There have been a few glitches with the transition, so if you have emailed us and we have not replied, apologies. If this is the case, please do email again to the new address.
We hope that you may have noticed that the front of the school has had rather a makeover over the Easter holiday. The front window frames and door of the Year R and 1 block have all been refurbished and painted, as has the first main door to the old building. We're hoping that this refurbishment programme will now continue with the other windows and doors around the old building.
With more than a little help from friends and family, all of the railings have been rubbed down and cleaned and the ramp and steps into the school power-washed. This paved the way for a team from the Dartmoor MAT staff to visit the school armed with paint and brushes and with many hands making light(ish) work, we managed to get all the railings re-painted.
A special thank you is also due to Penny and Bea's mum and grandma who have swept and weeded all of the KS1 playground and banks, as well as donating and planting new plants for the borders.
A very big thank you to everyone involved for all their hard work.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the PTA who have donated 11 new Chromebooks to the school. We have also received an additional 4 from very generous donors and have another 3 on order - also from donors. We already have a class set of Chromebooks for pupils to use in the new building and are working towards building up to another class set for the children in the old building (years R, 1, 2 and 6).
On the subject of donations, we're also extremely grateful to Aine who has used her own pocket money to purchase a set of The Treehouse books which she knows her class enjoy. What a lovely, kind gesture!
Thank you all!
Bag to School
As our last Bag2School collection in December was so successful (we raised £96!) we've booked another collection for Monday 21st June.
It's spring-cleaning time, or maybe you've had a chance to clear out the cupboards during the latest lockdown, so if possible, please hold on to those bags of unwanted items until June 21st.
Here's a list of what IS and IS NOT accepted:
We ACCEPT the following ‘good quality’ items for RE-USE*:
We DO NOT accept:
Please click here to read the latest update from Devon Count Council.
The Easter holidays have arrived and the sun is shining. We hope that you all have a lovely break and look forward to welcoming the children back into school on Monday 19th April.
As ever, I am so proud of all our pupils, staff and families for their resilience in managing the changes that the pandemic has brought to us. As we move into the Summer Term, we have everything crossed that the worse is behind us and we can enjoy happy and productive full term in school.
After the holidays, please start to use the 'new' school gateway accounts that you will see when you log in. The old accounts will be removed and any remaining balances will be transferred to your new ones. You will notice that dinner bookings are only available for the first week back. We are hoping that the menu will change after this and will let you know when future bookings are available.
School bus and breakfast club bookings are now available in your new accounts.
Don't forget to check out the class blog pages each week to find out more about what each class have been doing. Of special mention this week, is the video on the Class 4 blog page. We weren't able to have our traditional end of term Years 3 and 4 performance, but year 4 have made a video showcasing their learning about Australia. Click here to view.
Crowdfunder for safer walking/cycling route
As mentioned in many previous newsletters, the cut-through lane between Sticklepath and South Zeal can be hazardous to parents and children walking to school. I have received the following message from a parent which many of you will find interesting:
I came across this crowdfunder earlier today, set up by our local counciller, Lynn Daniels. I thought it may be of interest to the school as it specifically mentions South Tawton School and the children having a safer walking/cycling route. I know a lot of parents, including myself find walking down the lane between Sticklepath and South Zeal quite dangerous and it would definitely encourage more to walk if it were off road. Also reduce the traffic congestion around school at drop off/ pick up times.
The Foundation for Education Development
The Foundation for Education Development (FED) is dedicated to promoting a long-term vision and plan for education in England, and is launching their National Consultation Report at the end of April 2021. More information is available on their website here. As part of this consultation report the FED have launched a short survey which we would like to encourage staff, parents, and students to complete. Their plan is to capture '100,000 Voices' in the next 3 weeks from across the education spectrum. Please see the message below:
Do you want to help shape the future of our Education System? Please take 60 seconds to answer these simple questions and support The Foundation for Education Development https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/EducationSystem or go straight to our website Fed Education – Foundation for education development.
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