February School News!

Parts of the School News no.252 Thursday 10 February 2011 At last the snowdrops and crocuses are coming out to show us that Spring is on the way!  We have lots of bulbs planted around the school so do be careful where you step.  There are some especially beautiful daffodils on all the banks by the car park and road so please do not walk over them.

The children have been very busy this half term.  Mark’s class has been making some very fun animations with Martin.  I am hoping to put some of these onto the website soon.  Ben and Dyane have been encouraging the children to make little homes for solitary bees out of willow and tubing which will be put around the grounds.  Ben has also made some little clay forest creatures to put into the little holes in trees as part of the Forest School gardening lessons.  Vanessa’s class went on expeditions around the estate when it was really icy cold and created some lovely poems together.  The Early Years have been enjoying the Hall Gardens and lots of craft activities.  The two older classes had a day of fun sports at the Foxhole Gym learning basket ball, dodge ball and some tag rugby.

Please remember the date for you to come to your child’s class and find out a little bit more about what they have been doing by reading their books and looking at the displays on the walls.   The class term’s topic plans are up in all classrooms now.

There will be a coffee morning for all new parents on 9 March at 9.15am. Invitations will be in pigeon-holes shortly.  This is a chance for you to meet other families, class helpers, coordinators, the Chair of Council and me.

Our twin school in Sri Lanka received a book the children had made about their favourite places in Park.  They really loved it and have sent one for us to have.  Each child has been able to look at the book and there has been lots of discussion about their twin school.  There are now children from each school who help to coordinate what we will send next time.  I have put the book on the table in the hall.

We have 2 students from Schumacher College coming to work with a group of children in Mark’s class.  They are studying for an MSc in Holistic Science and want to help us to enhance our existing herb garden.  They will be helping the children to design what they want to put in the garden as well as teaching them what various herbs can be used for.

The garden group has done a marvelous job of cleaning and organizing the gardens over the winter.  They are beginning to think about what will be grown there now that can be eaten in term time.  Dyane is needing some little marmite pots for growing seeds.  Please put into the greenhouse if you have any.

Colin Rea has some lovely pictures from the winter concert.  These can be viewed on the link below:


Colin has covered the cost of the photographer and negotiated a reduced price for Park School families - £5 for a 8x6” print and £10 for a 10x8”.  CDs and DVDs are also available to order from Colin if you are interested.

A reminder about the start and end times in the Early Years.  Doors open at 9 and collecting time is 3pm.  Please respect that the teachers are busy getting the room ready and have confidential meetings before 9.  They need this time to ensure your child has a fun and settled day.

I was very pleased to have received several nominations for Ross Robens to become the new Parent Member on the Council and he will begin this role at the next council meeting. As there were no other nominations an election was not required on this occasion.  The Council of Management is the school’s governing body.  It meets once every half term and agreed minutes are kept in a folder under the pigeonholes for you to read.  There are eight members and their names and photos can be found on the Who’s Who at Park School board in the hallway.

One of the issues discussed at the last council meeting is that we would like to publicize the wonderful school more.  The council has set up a new working group for people interested in publicity.  Please contact Mark Maynard if you have any time or expertise to offer them.

Term date change: Due to the extra Bank Holiday on 29 April this year, Council has decided that April 26th will become a normal school day and not a teacher day.

Messages from your Group Coordinators:

From Marianne- Fundraising and Social Group

The Barn Dance  -  See posters around school.  -  The band has a great reputation as a calling band and it should be lots of fun for all.  It starts at 6pm and there will be a light supper for a donation.  Bring friends and family and have a great night out.   Tickets available from the office, Adults £6, children under 16 £2.bring your own drink.

We are planning a Jumble Sale and craft afternoon in the Methodist Hall in Totnes on 26th March starting at 1.30, in aid of the new climbing frame for the early years -  so please bring any good quality jumble in to school before then -  CLOTHES (children’s & adults), TOYS & BOOKS & DVDS OR VIDEOS, and also BRIC-A-BRAC.  The jumble is being stored in a garage by the school car park.  To help with the coordination of all of the jumble please bring it in on Fridays only between 9-9.30am and leave it with Stephanie at the garage.  A good chance to do some de-cluttering, maybe over half term!!  Many thanks to all for your help.  We will also need any spare plastic bags for the buyers.

And thanks to all those who have joined the fundraising group – look out for more notices of meetings etc.

The Early Years climbing frame was bought many years ago by the parents and has given hours and hours of joy.  As you may have noticed it unfortunately needs replacing.  There has been a group of parents lead by William (Tika’s Dad in the Early Years) who have been looking into costs and discussing ideas with Bridie and myself.  We have found out the regulations around climbing frames in school have changed since the last one was put in.  The surface underneath any climbing frame structure will be a major cost of any new structure we put in.  However there are plenty of ideas being talked about and I am sure the fundraising events will help it all become a reality.

From Ruth – Buildings and Grounds Group

Happy New Year to you all! A big thank-you to all those parents who helped with decorating, gardening and other land work last term. Buildings and Grounds have the usual rounds of painting and decorating tasks to get done so please let us know what days you can join in on. There are 2 weekend dates this term

Saturday Feb 12th 10am-4pm

Sunday Feb 13th 10am-4pm

Also we could do with a couple of parents to join the gardening group,. If you do this weekly a CRB check will be required.  We will need the Rabbit Woods path cleared again in the second half of this term so volunteers for that are needed.

Please let me know by email or phone what and when you can join in. We need to get all hours fulfilled in each term that they are applicable for or the school will charge the “Opt Out Fee”.

We will be looking for a new co-coordinator of B&G group as Sue will have her hands full once the new baby arrives – so anyone who fancies helping with organizing I’d love to hear from you. The co-coordinator supports the coordinator in their role organizing parents to do general building and grounds maintenance and development and various regular cleaning jobs etc. The role involves talking to parents, organizing materials and attending some planning meetings if possible but should work out no more than 2 hours work per week on average.

Inga’s notes from the January Council meeting:

Amanda reported that the school had undergone a voluntary Safeguarding Audit, carried out by Devon County Council, and all our child protection procedures were approved with no further action required.

Our Health and Safety policy, in particular the tree climbing policy, was discussed.  It was agreed that these policies strike a good balance between safety and freedom, which is an important part of the ethos which makes Park School special.

Discussions of next year's budget were begun.  There are still figures to be fed in before we can finalize the budget, but we hope to have this all decided by half-term, and will share information with parents soon after we return from the half-term holiday.

Our fabulous drum teacher James is helping to organize the Drum Set Master Class and Clinic on March 12th.  Please contact him on 08453962312 for further details.  The raffle at this event will help fund some drumming equipment for the school.We have a new piano teacher called Lucina Swain.  She comes in to school on Thursday afternoons and has a huge amount of experience to offer.  Colin is still teaching piano to his current students and inspiring all the groups with his singing.Martin Holland who taught at Park previously is returning to offer brass and guitar lessons.  He will be coming to the school meeting to show his instruments after half term.  Please contact the office if you are interested.

World Book Day is coming during week beginning 28 February and we will be giving out the book tokens that week.  These tokens are valid from 28th February – 27th March inclusive.  There will be a dressing up day for the school on 3 March when all children (and adults!) can dress as a book character.  If you have any skills such as an illustrator or storyteller which you would like to offer to the children please do come and talk to your class teacher.

A reminder:  Please return your updated Consents Form which accompanied the last school news.

Friday 18th February is a non-pupil day and half term the following week.  Have a great time.