Some news from the School News

We have had a busy start to the year! The groups have all been busy finding out about their topics. Mark’s group is looking at Habitats, Amanda and Vanessa’s group looking at Water, Ben’s group at Forces and Movement and the Early Years at Autumn and jam making. They are all settling well into their new groups. The main school groups choose a new name each year based on an animal and its characteristics as a way of forming a new group feeling and bond. This involves a lot of debate and compromise. Mark’s group is the Lemmings, Amanda and Vanessa’s is the Eagles and Ben’s group is still deciding! We all went on a whole school expedition down to the River Dart this week and it was great to see all of the new friendships forming. There was a meeting for all parents to talk about the role of Community Groups and the tasks for the year. The minutes of this meeting can be found under the pigeon holes if you would like more information. The Community Groups Coordinators have nearly finished sorting out who is in each group and have managed to allocate some tasks that need doing. Thank you Marianne and Ruth! If you still have not managed to choose a group please contact Ruth or Marianne as soon as possible. (Ruth - Felix’ Mum in the Early Years is the coordinator of the Buildings and Grounds group, and Sue – Poppy and Finn’s Mum in Amanda and Early Years groups, is her co-coordinator.  Marianne -Joel’s Mum in the Early Years, is the coordinator of the Fundraising and Social Group, and Stephanie – Rudi’s Mum in Ben’s group, is her co-coordinator).  This will mean that they can give final lists of who is in which group and who has chosen to Opt Out to the office.  The opt out fee does not apply to Early Years fully funded children (i.e. 15 hours per week or less) but we really hope that you will want to (and be able to) join a group and feel involved in the school community.

A message from Marianne –

‘The Early Years climbing frame has had many years good use and is now due for replacing, and has been on our list of fundraising for a while now.  These things are expensive and there are new regulations as always for school’s use.  We were discussing it at the parents’ meeting with Amanda, and Heidi Strawson offered to do do some research into possible equipment and different sources.  The suggestion is that we do some specific fundraising for a good new climbing frame for our Early Years.  Talking it over with Amanda we decided that the Raffle at the Christmas Fair and the Jumble Sale next term (please start saving  your jumble) could both be solely in aid of the climbing frame.  Any other suggestions we will keep you posted!  The next meeting of the Fundraising group is on Wednesday 13th October from 2-3.20pm- many thanks to all who came to the last meeting but for some I think I picked the wrong day as I forgot that Friday is a swimming day and parents had to be down at the Pavilions.  So do come on this Wednesday if you can make it to let us know what you can join in with this term and help plan the details for the Harvest café and Barn Dance’.

A message from Ruth -

‘Hi Park People, I am Ruth Buildings and Grounds coordinator taking over from Beth Coombes. There is a lot of work to get stuck into over the next year. I look forward to meeting those of you interested in joining the Buildings and Grounds group as a way to fulfill your contribution of hours to the school community. Over the year I will be gathering teams to work together on different jobs bringing people together and getting the essential jobs done: There is a back log of decorating work so we need a good team of decorators. In the first week after half term we will need a team to clean all the insides of the school windows and their sills. I am still urgently looking for someone to rake and sweep leaves for the autumn term on Mondays and Fridays (1/2 hour per day) its getting slippery out there! Please check the boards under the covered way for notices and sign up sheets.

Thank you for all the work you do and help you give with or without your children.  Please be aware that children are welcome but are your responsibility out of school hours.

A message from Inga…

’On behalf of the school, I attended a conference in London that provided information on the new free schools initiative. There was a good deal of debate about whether it would create more of a two-tier educational system and whether children or private companies (which can contract to run such schools) would be the main beneficiaries. What was clear is that there are still a lot of unknowns. After the October spending review, we will know the amount of money per child which the government will provide – and this will enable us to assess whether we could run our school on this funding, given that we have smaller class sizes than most and would not be permitted to charge “top-up” fees. We will also need to look closely at the admissions code we would have to follow and other regulatory requirements. What no-one at the conference was able to say is how long free schools could be guaranteed their funding in the event that there were a change of government. They are politically very controversial, and we all know how often educational policies change when power changes hands. Given our responsibility to ensure the long-term viability of the school, this is obviously a very important consideration.

We also need to assess how our parents feel about this. Presumably most would welcome the opportunity to educate their children at Park for free, but we need to balance this against possible loss of independence and uncertainty about the long-term situation. In due course we will be consulting with you about this, but meanwhile I would welcome any thoughts you may want to share with the Council on the subject.

Also, the school has always been very interested in looking at Green issues.  The Council wants to set up a working party to look at improving what the school already does.  (This time will not be part of contributed hours).  If you would like to offer any ideas or would like to be part of this working party please you can either drop a note in my pigeon hole or send me an email:’

All the classes in the main school held their class presentations last week. It was a good time to find out what topic your child is learning about as well as class routines and ways to help at home. Thank you to those parents who were able to come. Please have a chat with your class helper if you were not able to come and want to find out what went on.

Work Party-  A day for everyone to come and help with school projects and have a lovely lunch together. Please sign up for lunch on the green notice board under the covered way. Saturday 16 October 10-2 .Come along for the whole time or just an hour or two! (These hours do not count as part of the contribution hours).

Trips to the Barn cinema during school time for National School Film Week. Amanda/ Vanessa and Mark’s-20 October, Ben’s-18 October. Letters with details will be sent nearer the time.                               

We will be having our Harvest café on 21 October 3 ‘til 5. Please look out for sign up sheets for help. The Café will have soup and bread as well as a selection of sweet yummies. The soup will be made using some of the produce from the garden. This is a fundraising event.  The food is free (paid for from fundraising) and instead of charging we ask for a donation to this year’s good cause.  It is the only fundraiser which is not for school funds. The children decide upon a charity after discussion in classes and the school meeting. They are still deciding but I will let you know as soon as they decide!

This year we are having the Apple press come to school on the same day as part of our Seasonal Apple Day.  The fundraising group have given £100 to help towards the costs and each child will pay £1.50 collected by their class teachers.  Please come along to sample the juice and watch the fun of the press. There will be an apple juice stall where you can buy juice. All the funds from this will go towards the cost of new climbing equipment in the Early Years garden. We need apples and plastic bottles with lids. Please leave under the covered way.  As usual we will be doing our autumn planting of spring flower bulbs.  If you have any bulbs to spare or would like to donate some, please give them to Ben for the children to plant in the school garden during Forest School sessions.

The Park School Barn dance tickets (adults £8 and children under 16 £2) are about to be printed so if you want some fun dancing and eating over half term please come along! 

On Monday 18 October Heather Robinson from Samaritan’s Purse will be coming to talk to the children again about Operation Christmas Child which coordinates the sending of over 1 million shoeboxes to children in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe every year.  Ask in the shoe shops in town for empty shoeboxes.  They will be collected from school on Friday 5 November so please bring them in and give to your child’s teacher before then.  Leaflets are coming home with your child with exact descriptions of how to do them…contents etc.

A reminder that the deadline for applications for children transferring to secondary school in September 2011 is 31 October for online applications (or 19th October if you wish to submit a paper application via school).

Provisional date for Christmas Fair 3rd December.

We have been very fortunate to have been given a lot of furniture from the College of Arts this term. This is mainly due to Sue Payne’s hard work and thoughtfulness. Thank you so much Sue.

There have been concerns about the speed of cars using Park Road so please remember that the speed limit on Park Road and the Estate roads is 20 m.p.h.

In the last School News I mentioned that the school starts at 9.00. I have been made aware that some families catch the bus which gets them to school a little late. We would really like to encourage the use of the bus so if you are one of these families please tell your class teacher that you may be late so that they can plan the start of the day. Please can your child come into the class quietly so that they do not interrupt the flow of what is already happening in the room.