School News June 2015


No.310  17th June 2015Dear Parents, We had a great Camp Week during the first week back after half term; the weather gave us some fabulous days to roll around bare-footed in our sleeping bags, as well as a couple of wet days to make sure we appreciated the sun! This is what Talia and Mayu wrote about their experience in Mark’s class: Last week my class had an activity filled week that included two fun-filled nights of sleeping at school.  On Monday, we went on a canoeing trip with two instructors.  Voices hovered in the blue sky as we strolled down to Dynamic Dartington to start canoeing. After heaving the boats to the riverside, all of us got into groups of 3 and clambered on to the bright blue boats that sat on the river.  After a bit of canoeing, the sky darkened and light raindrops flickered in the river.  It was so funny, but annoying at the same time, that as soon as we got in the water and had started it began raining! So we had to stop and put our raincoats on.  I got soaking! And Marshall from Ben’s class wrote… At camp it was very good fun because in the day we got to play, so I did a bit of gardening and played water play and football.  But after that, I was burying treasure.  After that it was dinner and it was vegetarian sausages, baked beans and new potatoes.  I liked toasting marshmallows. Thank you to all the staff who gave so much care, energy and laughter to make these camps such a success which included: sleeping in a yurt with loads of children, canoeing in the rain, making breakfast in the Early Years, running around with torches, shopping and endless kitchen cleaning by our Perfect Kitchen Porter (Rebecca). I’d also like to give a big thank you to Rika who was a complete star making suppers and extra lunch orders, all in her very first week of taking over the cook’s duties from Tabitha. We had Sushi down by the river on the last day. How incredible is that? Three cheers for them all and for all the children who were a pleasure to be with! London Trip Mark’s class were invited to visit The Houses of Parliament by Sarah Wollaston, our local MP, last time she visited the school.  So, last Friday Mark’s class jumped on the 8.16am train to London. We were all very excited and had our movie man (Rich) and our London tour guide (Heidi) with us too! Arriving into Paddington we caught the tube to Westminster, which opened up to a fantastic view of the Houses of Parliament surrounded by blue sky. We registered for the special permit, which Sarah had ordered for us, and went through security, just like at an airport. They were very suspicious of Rebecca’s car keys... We then had a tour of the stunning rooms inside which totally took my breath away.  The solid gold throne where the Queen sits to give her annual Queen’s Speech was truly amazing. Our guide was brilliant and told us so much about the history, and the children acted out parts of it.  He led us right into the House of Lords and the House of Commons, but we were not allowed to sit down on the leather benches, out of respect for how hard it is to have the right to talk there. Both Houses are actually much smaller rooms than I thought they were. We then walked to Trafalgar Square and sat under Nelson’s Column next to the lions to watch the music and street entertainment, soaking up the atmosphere. All too soon we made our way back walking along Whitehall, past the Cenotaph, Downing Street, the back of Horse Guards (where we stopped to admire the stationery mounted guards) and the Monument to the Women of WWII, to reach Paddington by tube ahead of the rush hour and caught the 6pm train home. I loved the trip and when I spoke to my Dad recently he told me he went on the same trip when he was ten and he remembers it very clearly-and he is 81 now! I know that these sorts of experiences are a vital part of not only learning history and geography, but how they grow in confidence and independence. A passenger on the train on the way home (a teacher from Singapore) commented ‘Your children are so kind to each other and very happy, aren’t they?’ ‘Indeed they are’ I replied with a big grin on my face! Council of Management Inga Page has decided that she needs to step down from being the Chair of Council in September 2015.  She was a parent at the school when she joined Council about 10 years ago and then became Chair about 6 years ago. I have been very grateful for her tremendous support to me and for her wise and thoughtful Chairing of our Management team. Inga will remain a member of the Management team. Council is very pleased to announce that Mike Rowe will be stepping into Inga’s place. He has been a Parent Member on Council for two years and a parent at Park School for many years. He has a very good understanding of the school’s ethos and has previous experience in management roles. Mike’s son, Kieran, is in Mark’s class. Council is also very pleased to announce that there is a new Parent Member. John Woodhouse (dad of Kai in Ben’s class) has been nominated and accepted for the two year term starting in September 2015. He has been a parent here for about seven years and has management experience. His youngest son, Jonah, is also the youngest child with an application to the school at the moment - he went on when he was nine months old! Here’s a bit more information about the role of The Council of Management, extracted from our Parents’ Handbook: Whilst the TIC (Teacher in Charge) and the staff effectively run the school, the ultimate responsibility lies with the school’s Council. Traditionally many Council members have been drawn from past and present members of the parent body. Constitutionally there are a maximum of eight voting members, including two nominated parents who are elected by the parent body and hold office for two years. Other members are co-opted because they have a particular management contribution to offer. In addition there is a Teacher Representative and the Teacher in Charge who are non-voting. A “who’s who” of Council members can be found on the display board in the main hall. The Council is an important part of the democratic tradition of the school and parents are encouraged to get to know the members, particularly the elected ones, and feel free to discuss any matter of school interest with them. The school has a series of Council approved policy documents covering the principles, practices and procedures of the school, including such matters as the curriculum, teaching and learning and health and safety issues. These are freely available to be read in school from the school office on request. The Council currently has two sub-groups: an on-going Finance Group and a Parent Review Group (PRG).  The Finance Group considers detailed financial matters and makes financial recommendations to Council.  The PRG was set up several years ago to review the on-going role of parents and lead to the formation of the Community Contribution Group. Photos and names of all current Council members are on our “Who’s Who” noticeboard in the entrance hall. New Classroom Assistant We had to say goodbye to Emily last week, because she was returning to her career as an Occupational Therapist in Torbay Hospital. We wish her the very best and thank her for her year at Park School. After reading lots of applications and holding some careful interviews, we now have a new classroom assistant in Ben’s class. She is called Carly Weaver. Here is a note from her to tell you a little bit about herself: Hello, my name is Carly and I am so pleased to be able to introduce myself as Ben's new Classroom Assistant.  I have recently moved to Devon from my family and lifelong home in Somerset and am now living in Totnes, which I absolutely love!  I studied International Education at Bath Spa University and have worked as a classroom assistant in a very rural Middle School on Exmoor and a large Primary School in the centre of Bristol (two very different experiences!) I have taught English as a Foreign Language in Italy and most recently in India, where I volunteered for an International Development charity for three months.  I have a real passion for Education and am really excited about this next new chapter; especially getting to know you all and being a part of the Park community. Please do say “hi” to her and give her a good ‘Parky’ welcome. Late Arrivals There are quite a few children arriving late in the mornings in the main school.  This is disruptive to the rest of the class and often unsettling for them.  School opens at 8.50am and teachers need to start with everyone at 9am.  Come a little early with your child and enjoy the easy parking, a wander in the school grounds and a happy teacher! Strawberry Fair - Saturday 11th  July, 9am – 5pm There is now a beautiful sign- up sheet under the covered way for the Fair-and an explanation of the Essential Giving needed by all of us to make this event a fun and successful fundraiser. As well as your 12 hours normal termly contribution there is an expectation that all families give:  1) A dish for the food tent 2) Time to set up the fair on Friday 10th July, 2pm – 5pm  3) Time to help during the fair and an hour to help with clearing up. Please make a commitment by signing up soon so that the fundraising team feel supported. Any questions ask Richard (Dorothy and Adelaide’s dad), Rachel (Will’s mum) or Simon (Lara and Dylan’s dad). Work Day – There is a sign-up sheet for this up as well and this day not only counts towards your contribution hours, but it is also a fun and friendly experience and really gels our school community. Everyone is invited – we love to meet our Early Years parents too! We do need lunch maker offers so if you want to do this pop your name down soon. If you need to be reimbursed for the ingredients then just let the office know. Check with Ben what may be available in the school food garden-especially salad makers. I will put a list of jobs up the week before so that we can ensure that we have all the right tools for the jobs we will need to do.  We know we will need the following… Three stepladders Soft paint brushes Wheelbarrows Garden cutters and gloves Charged electric drills – at least two  In preparation for completing jobs on Work Day, we have arranged a session on Friday 26th June, between 2 and 4pm to scrape the paint off the floor of the cloakroom by the kitchen and wash the small outside gate to Early Years. Cameras, mobile phones and image recording in school Photographs and videos of children taken for school and family use are a source of pleasure and pride and enhance children’s self- esteem.  However, I want to highlight our school policy around image taking at school, so that we can all proceed safely and with regard to the law:  School decides when recording images of children in school is permitted and parents must follow staff guidance.  Photographs and videos may be taken at school events by family members for their own personal use. Such photographs and videos cannot be passed on or sold or put on the internet (including social networking sites) without consent. Failure to comply is a breach of the Data Protection Act.  Consent must be given by parents whose children are included in the image, even if unintentionally in the background.  Children changing clothes must never be photographed or videoed.  Images of children taken during the school day (not including school events – see above) may only be taken using a device that is the property of Park School. Always ask a member of staff if you are not clear about the rules! Park School’s Facebook We have a new Facebook page, which will be taking feeds from the Park website.  Children who have permission for their photos to be used in association with Park School publicity may appear on here from time to time, in the same way they do on our website and in the local paper.  Children’s names are never used without permission.  Have a look at Permission slips and money collections By the time you receive a letter informing you about a trip or event for your child/ren, teachers have already put a lot of effort into the organisation.  The staff have brought to my attention that they are often have to chase replies and money, which wastes a lot of time. Please respect their time and return slips and/or money into a named envelope and return it as soon as possible. Art Exhibition We still have some beautiful paintings to sell left over from our Exhibition with Anita. They are up in the entrance and are £35 each. There are also some sold paintings that have not yet been collected. Due to Anita’s generosity with costs all proceeds from all of the children’s work will come to the school and we raised over £600! Sunscreen and hats PLEASE remember to always put sun cream and a hat on your child in the morning. We will assume this has been done unless you come and tell your class teacher. I hope we are in for some hot sunny days for water play, so bring a towel and a change of clothes/costume every day too. Bark for the garden paths Can you help collect and bag some free bark for the garden? It is on the estate and needed urgently. We cannot do this job on a Work Day as the gates are locked on Saturdays. Please talk to Ben, Martin or me if you can help. Even small bags make a difference! Child Protection issues For your information if you ever had any concerns about the welfare of a child I am the designated trained Officer and Bridie is the Deputy. You can also call the NSPCC and MASH - details from the office. Please ensure that you sign in the visitors’ book if you stay longer than the normal drop off or pick up time during school hours and ask a member of staff to supervise you. Please make sure you sign out and tell the supervising member of staff that you are leaving so that we know who is in the building in case of a fire. Early Years parents and carers please note that if you pick up at lunch time you cannot stay and play in the school grounds. This is to safeguard all our children and is also the time for children in the main school to use the space. Thank you for your continued help and support in this important area. CAP (Child Assault Protection) will be in school next week to teach the children some very useful tools to keep themselves safe. There are leaflets on the hall table for those of you who were unable to attend the parent meeting last week. Please make sure that you have filled in the permission slip and given the payment to your class teacher – if you haven’t, hand this in as soon as possible in a named envelope. Contacting the school Please remember that Rebecca leaves the office just after midday every day and emails are only checked in the morning. If you need to contact the school in the afternoon then please only contact us by the school’s land line phone. You may need to leave a message but the phone messages are usually checked before home time. Parents have sometimes been given staff mobile numbers during school trips for safety reasons. These are staff private numbers and are to be used for that specific purpose only. Please respect staff privacy and only contact them via the school email or landline. In an emergency I and the Chair of Council can be contacted on our home landlines which are on the bottom of the contact sheet and in the parent handbook. New outside learning and play shelter Martin has been very busy over the last few months making a new structure by our fire pit and it is near completion. Have a look at the top of it to see a creature! It will be used for outdoor nature based lessons, woodworking and for a general shelter from the rain and sun. This has been made using some of the fundraising Budget. Thank you to Martin for his wonderful creative skills! Pop Up Clothes Swap   Sarah Strachan is running a Pop Up Clothes Swap for us on 8th July.  Please bring your swap clothes to the yurt between 3pm and 4pm for an entrance fee of £3, which will go towards school funds.  Your un-swapped clothes must be taken away again at the end. Dance Night Thank you so much to Natalie (Charlotte’s mum) who organised such a fun DJ Dance Night at the Civic Hall for all of us – I certainly love dancing all night long! Leavers’ Ceremony – 17th July, 11am I am looking for someone to play some short piano/guitar bits for our Leavers’ Ceremony. Sarah and Lucina are unable to join us and I would love some live music to go with our songs! If you can help please let me know. I look forward to spending some time with you at the various events below! All the best, Amanda  Bellamy Teacher in Charge

School NewsAmanda