School News Oct 2014


No.301                                                                                                                                            8th October 2014

Don’t forget to check your pigeonhole too - important messages are posted from time to time, and we like to see you by the office!  Every family now has one, labelled with their child’s name.

Dear Parents,

What a sociable and cake-filled start to the term we have had!  Thank you for all the jobs done at the Work Day, the jollies around the fire at the Family Camp, and for the gorgeous café on our Apple Press Open Day.  So many people came to every event and so much got done.  However, I know that it is about more than the jobs that get done on these occasions, as we all get to know each other a little bit more.  The connections that happen are a vital part of what makes Park’s community spirit strong.  When children see their parents involved in their school, valuing their school and being behind the school, it builds a powerful confidence in them that helps them grow in so many ways.  I know that these human connections and having a sense of place are important for all us to fulfil our own potential, laugh, play, feast and offer support when needed.

I am looking forward to our next Social & Fundraising event, which is the Christmas Fair on 11th December, 3-5pm.  Chat to Richard, Rachel or Simon if you have ideas on how to help.

We raised £296.91 for Children’s Hospice South West from the Apple Press Open Day café!  Congratulations to Richard, Rachel and Simon for a very successful first event!  The school meeting had a long debate about which charity to vote on and we have some sensible and serious discussions before the final decision was made.

Mark’s class have been working on their project on habitats.  Part of this involves walks around the Estate to look at the  woodlands and river, on our way to swim at the pool in Totnes.  We have seen deer prints, kingfishers, birds of prey, lots of cows, a snake swimming across the river and a swan’s bottom (ask Mark’s class if you want to know more about that!).  They have also been learning about Hinduism by studying a small village in India called Chambakolli.  A great maths and geography lesson involved them researching the cost, time and route they could take to travel to the village (with an endless budget!).  They have also been lucky enough to have had Derryck Strachan in to read them the book that he is writing, and discussing with them what makes a good story.

Ben’s class have been working on one of my favourite topics – water.  They have made boats with Martin and tested them on the River Dart, as well as finding out where water comes from.  They have also been cooking oatcakes on the open fire and making wild food juices with Olya, while interviewing Ben as a caveman to find out how he lived in the past.  This helped them realise how essential water is, and how lucky we are to turn a tap on in our house.

The Forest School gardening sessions have seen a totally terrific tomato crop and a scrummy harvest of corn on the cob, munched by all.  We have managed to remake the fences around the fire, using the willow that grows just next to it, with an artist’s touch by Martin to top it off.  There have been some bulbs planted out ready for some spring colour and some of the endless weeding done.

Water Containers – we have managed to get two large water storage containers from Buckfast Abbey to fill with water to use in our food garden.  This will hopefully show the children how much water we use and will mean we don’t have to use the hose as often, and during the school day.  We are working out ways to use them as water collectors too.

1.  Collecting at lunchtime: Please can Early Years parents who collect at lunchtime note that they can’t stay and play outside on the swings and seesaw, or outside areas – sorry!  This is for child protection issues and because this is a time for children in the main school to have their own space there.

2. Car Parking:  Please do not park on the double yellow lines outside of the school gates.  This causes a danger to children crossing.  If you are early, try to park further away in one of the other Estate car parks, which will help parents who can’t be early.

3. Money Collections: Teachers have had to spend a lot of time chasing money and permission slips for the Apple Press and Stay On – please respect our teachers’ time and give money promptly in a named envelope.


1.  Old clean pipes or gutters for Ben’s class water topic, to make a water collection station – please speak to Ben.

2. Willow Weaving / Cutting: the willows still need some more work doing to them – can anyone offer time with someone else to hold the ladder?

3. Painting: the wall in the adult toilet upstairs has been filled and needs sanding and a couple of coats of paint – this could be done during the school day.  Please see Rebecca if you can help.

4. Buy Apple Juice: there is some juice left from the Apple Press Open Day in the freezer at £3 per carton. Please bring your money to the office.

5. For the garden: we need non-shiny, plastic-free cardboard, as well as manure or seaweed.

6. Woodchip: can you collect some free woodchip from Dartington Gardens for our garden? Ask Ben for more details.


Martin, our Art Teacher, is also a professional puppeteer and has been working on a new show called “Monkey”, written by Michael Rosen, with the PUPPETCRAFT puppet theatre company.

Mark’s and Ben’s classes were lucky enough to be invited to a rehearsal of the show, where they saw the puppets in detail and could ask the cast lots of questions.  They learnt some puppet tricks, as well as talked about how Michael Rosen came up with the ideas and what fun he was to work with.  It is a beautiful show, full of music, laughter and magic and will be touring our area on the following dates:

  • Scorriton Village Hall – 7pm, 1st November 2014 (01364 631288)
  • South Brent Village Hall – 3pm, 2nd November 2014 (01364 649424)
  • Ilsington – 3pm, 23rd November 2014 (01364 661128)
  • Harbertonford – 6pm, 5th December 2014 (01803 732668)
  • Rattery Village Hall – 3pm, 10th January 2015 (01364 643741)

Osip’s Gossip

Mark’s class have been learning how to be reporters, and Osip has started a newsletter (called Osip’s Gossip) that he reads to the Early Years children each Monday.  He finds out interesting news from as many people as possible and he is a great reporter!

Totnes Fun Palace

Last Saturday, Budgie and Daisy, Estelle and Joshua and Dyane joined me at the International Fun Palace event in Totnes.  Fun Palaces were happening all over the world last weekend and their aim is to be “fun, free, local, innovative, transformative and engaging”, to build stronger communities.  The Park School team provided play areas for the under 7-year olds and their families – over 200 people, aged 0-80 years old, came to enjoy all the activities put on by us, Schumacher College, KEVICCs, Dartington, Totnes Children’s Centre, Sound Art Radio and Tim Hill of street band Tongues on Fire.

Thank you to all who came to help – and to Gabi and Tina for providing the playdough.  It was so nice to be involved with other organisations and to be part of an event in the middle of town.

Next Step

An explanatory leaflet is available from the front hall table – the application process for Devon County Council is now electronic and needs to be completed online.

  • If your child was born between 1st September 2003 and 31st August 2004 you need to make an application for a place at a secondary school.  Online applications are now available until 31st October.
  • If your child was born between 1st September 2010 and 31st August 2011 and you are not sure whether or not you will need a main school place at Park School, you will need to make an application for a primary school place.  The online system will be available between 15.11.14 and 15.01.15.

To secure a place in main school, please speak to the office for more information – soon, as we are growing a waiting list!

Fleur’s “string” project

Fleur, in Mark’s class, has been collecting string for a project that a Reggio-inspired pre-school in Connecticut USA has organised (  They have asked schools to send some beautiful threads, ribbons and yarns, which they will wind around two tree branches and map where the ribbons come from on a world map, to illustrate that we are all connected.  They you to all those who brought in ribbons, and to Fleur for joining in with this idea.

Samaritan’s Purse

For the last few years the children have made up shoe boxes, filled with small gifts from a carefully prepared list, to send to a girl or boy overseas.  The school meeting has said they would like to do this again, so there is a leaflet in your pigeonhole explaining what to do.   Please return filled boxes to school between Monday 3rd and Friday 14th November.  We encourage the children to give some of their things away, instead of just buying new things. It’s a fun project to do during the half-term break – enjoy!


to the other new families who have joined Park School in recent weeks:  Mayu (in Mark’s class) came with her sister Hannah (in Early Years) from London with mum and dad Mark and Rika, to live in Totnes.

Other new Early Years children are Sophia, who lives in Brixham with mum and dad Laura and Ntembe; Edward (with mum and dad Eleonora and James), Sunny (with mum and dad Kate and Nicky) and Emily (with mum and dad Natalie and Marcus) all live in Totnes.

It has been a wonderful start to the academic year together.  Thank you again for all of your time and hard work, which helps us all to build a strong and happy community.

Best wishes,

Amanda Bellamy

Teacher in Charge


News, School NewsAmanda