Everyone who visits Park School-children, parents, staff and visitors- recognise that this is a very special, happy place. We are located on the beautiful Dartington Hall Estate in the heart of Devon’s glorious countryside. But it is more than our location that makes us unique.
We are a very close and caring community all working together to nurture our children to help them to grow into strong and positive individuals. As we are a very small school we know every child very well and can help them develop at their own pace. This means that strong foundations are built that help them to love learning throughout their time at Park and beyond.
Words on a page can only do so much to tell you all that we have to offer. I would encourage you to come and see for yourself. In the meantime please enjoy this short film about Park which catches a glimpse of what we are about. The film was kindly made by Drum, Kate Daws and Richard Daws. Many thanks for their time and expertise.
Amanda Bellamy (Teacher-in-charge.)
Park School is part of a National Research Project looking at Human Scale issues in schools. There are about 10 schools involved. Some are primary and some are rather large secondary schools. The objective of the research is to form a national footprint for people to really understand what Human Scale means with the idea of publishing a book and changing policies at government level not only in schools but in hospitals and prisons too. It is a 3 year project and is in its initial stages of working out how each school will work with another and be helped by consultants and facilitators. It is tremendously exciting and Park School is very proud to have been chosen from a high number of schools to take part. Last week 2 teachers went on a 2 day conference to meet the other schools and discuss the next stage.
TERM DATES: ACADEMIC YEAR 2013/14
Teacher Days: Thursday 5th and Friday 6th September
Term begins: Monday 9th September
Education Day: Friday 18th October
Half Term: 21st October – 1 November
Term ends: Friday 20th December – full day
Teacher Day: Monday 6th January 2014
Term begins: Tuesday 7th January 2014
Education Day: Friday 14th February
Half Term: Week beginning 17th February
Term ends: Friday 4th April
Teacher Days: Tuesday 22nd April
Term begins : Wednesday 23rd April
Bank Holiday: Monday 5th May
Education Day: Friday 23rd May
Half Term: Week beginning 26th May
Term ends: Thursday 17th July at midday
All the parents and children enjoyed a wonderful age old tradition of welcoming the sun back after the long winter. We dressed up in all sorts of bright and cheerful colours, sung songs, danced and woke up the earth with a big musical parade. We ended the day with a delicious cafe of home baked cakes. Welcome summer!
We are currently looking for peolpe to apply for the following vacancies.
Please tell anyone who might be interested.
- Part-time (1.5 days) LEARNING SUPPORT ASSISTANT needed to work with individuals and small groups. Lunch and break cover included. Experience, flexibility and initiative are desirable qualities. Closing date 17 May at noon.
- Part time (5 mornings) SCHOOL SECRETARY. Must have excellent administration and communication skills. Skills in bookkeeping would be desirable. Closing date 10 May at noon.
We are committed to Safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children. Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post including checks with previous employers and the DBS. An Application form and information pack are available from the school office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the summer term at Park! -Always one of my favourites. Let’s hope that we actually get a summer this term. Remember all children in main school must have a towel and a whole change of clothes to have some water play. Sun cream is best applied at home each morning. If you want your child to reapply sun cream through the day please bring a named bottle in to school. School will have some sun cream for emergencies. New must have pieces of kit are: a small child-friendly bag to take clothes, books, snack boxes to and from school to help children to become more independent and a named sunhat.
As you would have read in the last school news Emily and Dyane left at the end of last term. Shona has taken on board the role as gardener and I am sure will have plenty of ideas and enthusiasm. Shona has been connected to the school for a number of years as her daughter attended Park School and she was our school cook. She has also agreed to cover Emily’s hours for the whole of this term. This gives us plenty of time to find the right person for September.
Ofsted Parent View
Last September I invited you to give your views about Park School to the Ofsted Inspectors through a website called Parent View. I would like to invite you to do this now if you did not manage before. Your views and opinions are extremely important. Parent View gives you the chance to tell Ofsted what you think about our school. Parents View asks your opinion on 12 aspects of your child’s school, from the quality of teaching, to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour. Please follow the link http://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/ I also have hard copies of a questionnaire in the office if you would find this easier. All replies are kept in sealed envelopes and kept confidential for the Ofsted Inspectors. We are anticipating an inspection in the near future and would value your feedback.
Please remember that this is a great time for bikes in school for main school children and that they must have personal named
helmets at all times on any wheeled objects. As helmets should be fitted very well (and they take ages to fit each one x 30 children!) we do not allow sharing of helmets so please ensure your child has one in school. All bikes must be locked when not in use. Our insurance does not cover stolen bikes or scooters. Please do not lock bikes together as this can cause problems when the key holder is not in school the next day! We have Bike Week 17-21 June and all children in main school need a bike in good working order and a good fitting helmet for the bike rides we want to plan. Any offers of help to pump up a tyre or two on 17 and 18 June am would be much appreciated. Please talk to your class teacher.
The Spring Café is on 2 May -starts with a few songs and dancing followed by a parade around the school grounds and finishes with singing and a delicious café. You and your child are invited to dress up for this event in spring colours, as fairies or young creatures to signify new life and celebrate the beginning of summer (hopefully!!!!) There will be a sign up sheet for organizing the café which is being led by the Early Years parents headed by Kathy. There will be a sign up sheets for cakes soon. This is a fundraising event. Thank you for all who helped at our Open Day last term which was lots of fun and takings came to £64.
There will also be a sign up sheet for jobs that need doing this summer term. The Work Day this term will be on 29 June and will extend into a Family Camp starting 6pm ’til Sunday 30 June at 11 am. Lunch will be provided as usual on the Saturday but if you wish to camp then bring supper to share. I remember a very decadent shared breakfast being given to me last year as I basked in the morning sunshine! Do try to come and sign up so that we can gauge numbers. There is no cost involved but we all do a cleaning rota.
Young Dartington summer camps for children aged 8-14 are running from 22 July -9 August. Park children receive a discount. If you would like more information there are brochures on the table outside the school office. Their website is www.ydsummercamps.co.uk and they can be contacted on 01803 867100 or 07818032443 or email: email@example.com
In order to help Tabitha collect payments you will need to book and pay for all meals by Monday 22 April at the latest. Payment after this time will have the usual surcharge added. A minimum booking of 3 days a week is needed (if you have an Early Years child who only attends for 2 full days Tabitha will make an exceptional arrangement with you) but you can now choose to have a favourite World Food Day in addition without having to commit to it as one of your 3 days every week. Refunds can only be provided if your child is off school due to illness for more than three consecutive lunc
h days (in one week) and in this circumstance reimbursement (starting from the fourth day of absence) will be by deduction from the following invoice. Holidays should be notified to Tabitha by the first day of the half term, as invoices need to be issued. Unfortunately it will not be possible to make any other refunds. I know that it is difficult to provide an organic and nutritious lunch on a budget and hope you will support Tabitha in this.
A warm welcome to Hughie, Ella, Matilda, Laila, Joshua and Jay who are joining the Early Years this term. Hughie’s parents are Gina and Ben Hayes and they live in Totnes, Ella’s Mum is Catherine Barlemoor and lives in Buckfastleigh, Matilda’s parents are Susie and Stuart Dorman and they live in Littlehempston, Laila’s parents are Lisa Adshead and Nick Hallam and they live in Totnes, Joshua’s Mum is Estelle Adams and they live in Buckfastleigh and Jay’s parents are Emma Kempton and Mat Chivers and they live on the Dartington Estate. A updated phone list will be in pigeon-holes shortly.
Dates-due to safeguardng and child protection not all dates are written here:
- 23 April- Please could we have some help to move the yurt? Please sign up on the board under the covered way.
- 24 April- Mark’s class presentation 3.30-4.30
- Early Years social 7.00-8pm.
- 25 April- Ben’s class presentation 3.30-4.30
- 26 April- Older class second gym session. 1 parent needed for the walk down. Please talk to Mark if you can help with this.
- 1 May- 9.15am in the kitch
- en. Meeting for new parents (Invitations will be in pigeon-holes shortly).
- 2nd May- Spring Celebration Café
- 3 May- No gym.
- 6 May- Bank Holiday
- 8 May- Strawberry Fair planning meeting 9.15. All parents invited for consultation.
- 10 May- Older class third gym session. 1 parent needed for the walk down. Please talk to Mark if you can help with this.
- 14 May- Pizza Oven Day.
- 17 May- Older class fourth gym session. 1 parent needed for the walk down. Please talk to Mark if you can help with this.
- 22 May- Play - Studio 30, the Hexagon
- . Mark and Ben’s class to arrive 5.30 at school having eaten supper.
- 24 May- Non-Pupil Day.
- 12 June- Parent Teacher Meetings 3.30-5.30.
- 13 June- Parent Teacher Meetings 3.30-5.30.
- 19 June- Sports Day
- 26 June- Provisional Sports Day (if wet on 19 June) 2-3pm.
- 29th June- Workday and Family Camp
- 6th July- Strawberry Fair 11-3 pm.
- 9 July- Pizza Oven Day.
- 17 July- Leavers Ceremony 11-12. Te
- rm ends at noon.
Please especially note that the Strawberry Fair is on 6 July 11-3pm. This is our main fundraiser and publicity event and is an event that all families are expected to contribute to on the day- this time is in addition to the 12 hours a term contribution. It is always so much fun for everyone on the day but we need as many people as possible to be behind the scenes from the start (and this time does contribute to your term contribution hours). Contact Stephanie to show how keen you are! Strawberry Fair planning meeting on 8 May 9.15am in the kitchen. All welcome.
Class presentations are also a very important part of you knowing how you can help your child at school. Please make a special note to attend these. Your child will be looked after by a member of staff.
Easter hunt 28 March for all children at Park to look what the Easter Bunny has left for you!
Thank you for those of you who came to the Work Day this month. We managed to clear piles of rubbish, paint rooms, clean windows and rooms, clear stones off the Early Years garden, re-bark the playground on the field and shared a delicious lunch in the new classroom. Most of this done in the pouring rain!
Our Open Day continued with the rain theme- and Kate and Rich brought along their rain play list to jolly us along! But rain did not stop play. We had about 6 new families with young children pop in to enjoy the Early Years as well as representatives from Elliotts who gave the classroom, Rhubarb Solutions who gave the furniture and Steljas who gave the Smartboard software and projector. Thank you for the many of you who gave/made cakes for the day. It was a wonderful surprise to me as I thought you must have been baked out with the Cabaret and Workday. The cutting of the ribbon has been captured by Richard and Kate Daws in the wonderful final edition of the film they made of the new classroom being built – the laying of the egg by the bird of paradise with the scissors inside was so enjoyed by the representative from Elliotts who said ‘she was so inspired by the children’s innovative ideas that they should come and get a job at her company when they are older.’ The film is beautiful and made me cry! I hope to have it up on the website asap. It is a wonderful evidence of the partnership between staff, parents and children which is so special at Park School. Thank you Rich and Kate not only for the film, but the hours of filming and ensuring it was ready to go with PA and professionalism on the Open Day. You are stars!
James wanted to say that now we have the new classroom back we have room for our drumming lessons to recommence. Should you be interested in taking up the drums please contact the office.
The Cabaret raised approximately £613. Many thanks again to Kirsty for all the work she put into organizing it. It was indeed a night to remember.
Use of the parent email list
Concern has been expressed by some parents about their email address being disclosed. Please ensure that any messages you send to coordinators or class helpers are sent using Bcc (which does not disclose email address details) and bulk emailing using the school’s parent collected data should only be about community contribution matters (not for personal messages).
The children had a fantastic pizza oven day this week supported by Martin and Tabitha. All the children who made and ate the pizzas thoroughly enjoyed the delicious, healthy food which children who eat school lunches appreciate. Tabitha has worked hard at creating some delicious menus for next term, all vegetarian and mostly organic at a very reasonable price of £3 (£2.50 for under 4’s and £3.50 for special dietary requirements). Prompt payment in the first week of term is essential for Tabitha to buy ingredients. Please book as many lunches as you can to support this unique and valuable service. Tabitha’s tel. no. is 01364 631171, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A message from Inge-
1. Chair of Council’s Quiz: GUESS WHO SAID THIS?
Here’s a couple of quotes from a recent newspaper interview with a head teacher. See if you can guess what school this person is head of – and it’s not Park School!
“Young people learn more from each other than they do from adults and more outside a classroom than they do inside it.”
“[Educators should not be] susceptible to a top-down driven measurement culture, which reduces the key elements of what I think a school is fundamentally about, which is to do with holistic development – the all-rounded person; enabling young people to develop that true sense of self-worth which is, in my view, absolutely essential if they are going to be able to stand up for themselves and for a purpose higher than themselves.”
The answer is at the end of the School News.
2. Petition for Michael Gove
The proposed new national curriculum has apparently removed all reference to the need for children to learn to care for the natural world. An online petition is circulating to protest this. Park parents might want to consider signing it. Here’s the link:
I just signed the petition “”Hey Gove, why can’t we talk about the environment?”” on Change.org.
It’s important. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:
Many of you may have heard that Emily will be leaving us at Easter. She has managed to secure herself a full time job working at the Bridge at Dartington. I know that it was a very hard decision for her and one that was not taken lightly. Emily has been at the school on and off for about 13 years both as a class teacher and in the current role as a support teacher. She will be greatly missed by the children and staff. May I take this opportunity to wish her well from all of us at Park and to thank her for her many years of care and hard work that she has given us all.
Dyane has also managed to find a job which offers her more time and has given notice to leave this week. Dyane has worked so hard with Ben and many parents to create a food garden for the pig pen area. This vision and creativity has been greatly appreciated over the years that she has been involved in the garden. She has kindly agreed that her contribution hours will be directed to the garden so we will still have her gorgeous energy in there. Thank you Dyane – and good luck with your new job.
These two valuable members of staff will be hard to replace. However I am seeing it as an opportunity to think about what the children need at Park at the moment and act accordingly. We will be looking at how best to fill these positions over the next month. We will probably ask people known to the school for a temporary solution while we take time to make decisions with staff and Council.
We have managed to find a rather wonderful singing teacher called Fran who has been involved in music education in a variety of different ways since leaving university. She has taught wider opportunities (whole class) instrumental sessions in cello, piano, fife and recorder, been a peripatetic instrumental and vocal teacher, and also built up a music department in London as a classroom teacher for 3 years. Fran is passionate about group singing and the positive effects that it can bring, both in terms of personal expression, and fostering a sense of community and team work. She leads a weekly staff choir for Rowcroft Hospice, and a monthly Gospel and African choir in Totnes called Jubilation! She is also a cellist and is currently playing in and arranging music for Rumi poetry, and also loves playing for dance and movement sessions in the Devon area. She has settled in quickly and I can already see changes in the way the children sing and work as a team together in her lessons. She will be helping Mark to get songs ready for the play next term. (Date to be decided!)
I am looking forward to the 4 children from Early Years moving to Ben’s next term – Annie, Adam, Rachel and Dorothy. They recently spent a morning with Ben and in the main school area which they seem to be so at home in already.
A Message from the Phoenix Education Trust-
Phoenix at Park
The Phoenix Education Trust is a small charity which was launched in 2001 by Lord Young of Dartington. Our vision is to support and promote education in which all members of the school community have a real say in the everyday life at school. The essence of this runs deeper than decision making structures, it boils down to trust, respect, and equality in relationships. We work with a range of schools and organisations to develop these approaches, offer opportunities for sharing and exchanging practice, we also aim to work on research to substantiate the value of this type of education.
Most of our time and money at the moment goes into supporting Student Voice, a student led representative organisation seeking to put the views of secondary school students on the decision making agenda. We spend days in large state secondary schools delivering interactive peer training to students in order to help them have their say.
This is inspiring and impactful work which involves spending most of our time in London. So, it was wonderful for my colleague Kirsten and I to have the opportunity a few weeks ago to scale down, return to our roots and visit Park. We were co-incidentally at the school on ‘book day’ which meant we spent a morning being told about the concept and school structure by the ‘Snow Queen’ before an array of weird and wonderful characters greeted us and gave us the grand tour!
The main thing we were struck by was the quality of relationships at Park. The children clearly felt comfortable in, and proud of, their school. They knew how everything worked, they felt empowered and contented with their education. They clearly love their school. It was a privilege to see first-hand the wonderful work Park is does. Not to mention the way our visit ended in an impromptu dance session.
We offer travel bursaries, which teachers, students, parents and other individuals can apply for in order to attend events, visit schools and generally develop their understanding of democratic practices in education. We very much hope to connect members of the Park community with other similar schools and people who want to start similar schools through events like the EUDEC conference in Holland this summer and other more regional activities.
Thank you for having us at your school and do get in touch.
Monday 15 April is a Non-Pupil day. Term starts on Tuesday 16 April.
Have a Happy Easter! And eat loads of chocolate.
Teacher in Charge
Answer to Guess Who Said This?: It was Tony Little, headmaster of Eton College. Interviewed in The Guardian, Saturday, 9 February 2013.
We had an official opening of our classroom with cake, tea and champagne to celebrate. All the companies who gave the prizes of the new furniture, Smartboard and the classroom came to be thanked and to cut the red ribbon. We all watched a short film made by parents about the making of the room which clearly demonstrated the way that parents, staff and children work together at Park School to the benefit of the whole community-and brought a tear to a few eyes!
Come and celebrate the opening of our new classroom on 21 March at 4pm 21 March. We will be having an Open Afternoon from 2.30- 4.30 with a treasue hunt for all and a cafe. Do pop in if you have never been before and want to find out a little bit about us or if you are an ex-Park family who wants to share the excitement of our dream come true!Looking forward to meeting you.
Carlos and Mark Jefferys will be giving an adult talk as part of TTT education about the work they have been doing with us. They have excellent skills around Earth Education and Earth Wisdom which have encouraged the children to become more aware of their environment. Do pop your name on the sign-up sheet under the covered way so we have an idea of numbers. Tea and coffee available. Tickets on the door – £4/£3 concessions. Carlos has written a short article which is in Sacred Hoop magazine- copies on the hall table
13 March 7.30-9.30pm in the new classroom.
We had a wonderful book character parade last week. Thank you for supporting your child by helping them to dress up. We had pirates, a hamster called ‘Nibbles’, Harry Potters, Wild Things, as well as many other characters. The children chatted with so much enthusiasm about their books and inspired each other. Lily showed me her pirate golden pants story which made me laugh so much. Book Week was full of book reviews, storytelling, parents coming in to read and book making. We will do our ‘extreme reading’ (which involves reading anywhere you like – even up a tree) as soon as the weather dries up. Keep reading with your child every day – it makes a huge difference.
I felt so proud to be part of Park School Cabaret on Saturday night. The Cabaret evening was a stunning, thrilling, emotional, hysterical roller coaster from start to finish!! I think I was actually laughing and crying at the same time at some point. When Kirsty planted the seed of us holding a Cabaret a year ago she said ‘We have such talent at our school’- she was so right! Every act was so professional and exciting to watch – and Kate joined all the acts together so brilliantly with her wit and humour. An awesome job not to be underestimated! I will put some photos on the notice boards as soon as I can. Thank you to all the acts. Didn’t the children blow you away?! And a special mention to Glorious Chorus, The Sheriff and his boys and Kwabana Lindsay for giving their time so generously to help us raise funds for school and to give us such quality entertainment, helped by Drum and Richard doing a grand, professional job with all the sound and lighting. There are so many people that I want to thank for making the evening such a success. I want to start with Nicky, John, Jacob and Kai who woke up at 6am to start cooking all the quiches all day for us. They were so delicious and helped us all have plenty to eat. Kathy bought extra-large bowls of pastas and goodies too. I can’t thank everyone who bought the food individually – but it was a beautiful gift of food that we gave each other, wasn’t it?
Thank you to Oli for taking the time and care to make the posters and tickets – which I am sure you will agree were stunning. The hall was so beautifully decorated by the decorating team- with such attention to detail that Heidi had ‘quality control’ over every heart that we hung up! The tables had lanterns made by Sarah and flowers arranged so thoughtfully. Rachel made a perfect ‘Head Barman’ at the bar. Thanks to Oli and Rachel for buying, collecting and taking back the alcohol and all the glasses (well that’s what they said they did with the alcohol….) – and for the team behind the bar. Derryck’s cocktails were delicious and a hit I believe. Thanks to Andy who stood in the freezing cold wrapped against the elements to be our car park attendant – much appreciated!
Everyone was so helpful cleaning up the various places around the hall at the end of the evening, popping in and out of the ‘Zumba’ disco in between jobs! Rubbish got taken away and toilets got cleaned while the kitchen was mopped and all the tables and chairs got put away. With so much help it just felt like an extension to the party atmosphere rather than a chore to clean up. There was quite a lot of food left over so I decided to take it all to the local homeless kitchen in Totnes where it was very much appreciated. (I have put any bowls in the kitchen. Do please pop in to collect them asap). While I was there it came to my attention that if you had any old sleeping bags, blankets or tins of food you no longer need I would happily take them down. Just give them to me at any time.
Thank you once again to Kirsty for holding it all together, for the idea, for the decoration, the singing, the selling of tickets, the fooling, the cleaning, the patience and the creativity that you gave.
I know that there will be people that I have not mentioned by name here as so many people gave their time so generously. It was an evening of joy, laughter and love that I know I will never forget. Thank you everyone who supported our cabaret in any way. A wonderful way to build our community and raise funds.
Our next gathering will be the Work Party Day . See school news hard copies for details.. This is a chance for you to offer up contribution hours, get to know people, laugh and have a delicious lunch while helping with the many jobs we have in school. Sign up for lunch please – under the covered way. If you could bring a wheelbarrow, gloves and energy that would be fabulous.
The last event this term is our Open Afternoon 21 March 2.30-4.30. This is a chance for new families to come to visit us and find out what we are about. We invite our visitors to walk around the school on a treasure trail using their 5 senses to find treasure at the end. (Park School children will have their own treasure trail the following week). We have decided to have a café with bought biscuits, juice, tea and coffee because of all the cooking you all did last weekend. But if you fancy making a cake please do! Or if you fancy working with some children to make fairy cakes beforehand let their teacher know as soon as possible. We do need people to help with the setting up of the café and a few of the activities for the treasure trail. Come and talk to me or sign up on the sheet – under the covered way (yet again!!) We would appreciate a prompt 3 o’clock pick up that day to allow teachers space to get themselves organized. At 4pm we will officially open the new classroom. The company who gave us the classroom is called Elliotts and they (hopefully) will be cutting the ribbon with a surprise visitor (children’s request!) The people who supplied the furniture, the whiteboard and the office electricity have also been invited. I am sure you will give all of our visitors a heartwarming welcome. Please remember that your child is your responsibility at all out of school hour events.
Please can you be very aware of how your child crosses the road. I have seen children running across the road at the end of the day unattended. Not all car drivers are aware that young children are crossing.
The spring term ends on 28 March and the summer term begins on 16 April.
Looking forward to sharing more time with you lovely people.
Teacher in Charge