School News Sept 12

12 September 2012 Dear Parents,Welcome to the new school year.  I do hope that your holidays were filled with adventures, excitement and enough relaxation to make them feel like holidays!  It has been glorious to come back to school with the sun shining on our backs.

There has been a lot of new classroom discussion and work done in the last month and a half. Here is an update from Hamid:

‘The latest news is that we have hit upon a slight delay with the delivery of the classroom due to the planning process. Elliott - who are the generous donors of the new building - will not start the production until planning permission is granted. This is just in case there are any changes that need to be made to the final design. This means the building will now not arrive until towards the end of November and the plan is for Mark's class to be in early in the New Year. We hope to take down the old classroom during the mid term break - that is the last week of October. However planning processes are as always unpredictable - but for now we will stay optimistic’.

If we keep on track then Mark will move into the quiet room on 5 November and into the new classroom early January. He will need a lot of support to do this as all the equipment will have to be sorted and stored and then put back. Phew! Extra dates to help him do this are 17 and 18 October 3-5. Please talk directly to Mark to offer this time. The school has a lot of work ahead to complete this work but I know that it will all be worth it in the end. We will need a lot of banana boxes for storage- please bring them into school and leave in a dry area under the covered way.


Each class has a new Class helper. Mark’s is now Rachel (Will’s mum), Ben’s is now shared by Mike and Helen (Kieran’s mum and dad) and the Early Years is Kathy (Raphael’ mum). These people help with the communication in the school and will be calling upon you to help with the various events that you will see in the dates list at the bottom of this letter.


One of the first dates is the Work Day ( see hard copy in pig holes for dates). The Council has had a lot of discussions about the time that parents give to these and have come to the conclusion that it wants to pilot that these hours will count towards your contribution hours. To remind you, these are the hours that the school expects support from you. There is an expectation of at least one hour per week (approximately 12 hours a term) -or an opt out fee of £180. (The opt out fee does not apply to Early Years fully funded children, but our hope is that all parents will feel committed to the school and be involved). It is your responsibility to monitor the hours that you do and the more you are able to do the better the school will be for your child and the more included you will feel in the community. Work related to help in the classrooms with the children is not included in these hours. There are Essential Jobs that we must find help with as well as a list that the Parent Contribution Coordinators hold. These are on the green sign up board. The school has decreased its expected hours from 30 hours per term to an hour per week over the last 10 years as it has become apparent that sometimes both parents need to have jobs these days. This does mean that if you are able to give more it would help enormously. Stephanie (Rudi’s mum) and Ruth (Felix’s mum) have agreed to carry on their roles as Contribution Coordinators which means that at the next Council meeting I will ask for them to be re-elected.



It is with great regret that we have had to start to pay for parking. The Council looked into this in detail with a solicitor last term and have not as yet found out how we can stop this.  I know that it is not only more money to find and having the exact change but changing a routine is always a difficult thing which none of us like.  I am still in negotiation with the Estate and will send a letter out should anything change.  This year we have been given 15 free permits for staff to use. (Next March we will have to pay £50 each for them). There are a few left over that we can use for parents when necessary (e.g: settling in a child, essential jobs). These will be signed out on a first come first served basis from the office. If you do borrow a permit please ensure that you bring it back as you can appreciate that they are very limited. The only upside that I can see to this is that some people may be able to choose to use the local bus, walk, cycle or car share more often.


Getting your child ready to learn

There are a few things that you can do as parents to help your child to be ready to learn.

ü  Please get them to school on time. The main school classrooms doors open at 8.50 and registration is at 9.00. The Early Years open their doors at 9.00. Late children always miss the crucial start to the day and also disrupt their peers.

ü  Please have all the correct kit in school every day- coats, wellies, change of clothes.

ü  Please have breakfast and lots of sleep before school.

ü  Main school children to bring only healthy snacks in for break time (sugar and sweets do nothing for concentration).

ü  Let them feel their independence as soon as possible by letting them take their own things into school and pick them up at the end of the day (e.g. Coats, toys and lunch boxes). This gives a young child confidence which will transfer to other learning areas.


Once children have left their classrooms at home time they need to play outside so that the cleaning and organizing of classrooms can start on time. We are asking the children not to use the school telephone for making social arrangements.


Parents are responsible for keeping their children at home if they have a contagious illness or infection.  We also advise that if children have sickness or diarrhoea they should stay off school until it has stopped for at least 48 hours.  Parents are also responsible for informing the school office so that other parents can be alerted and we can keep all children as healthy as possible.


As many of you know the school has a council of Management (which is very similar to a board of governors).  The Council is made up of the Chair – Inga Page, 2 nominated parent members who sit on Council for 2 years, the Treasurer and other council members who are experts in their field and have been associated with the school over a number of years.  The Teacher in Charge and a teacher representative are also in attendance and the Parent Group Coordinators are invited to attend one meeting each term.  Anybody is welcome to contact Council members.  In particular the nominated parents (Ross Robens and Heidi Strawson) and Chair are a good point of initial contact.  The Council generally meets half termly.  Like all governing bodies their role is not to be involved in the day to day running of the school but rather broader issues, such as policy, future development, financial strategy, staffing, establishment etc.  Currently the Council has 2 sub groups – an ongoing Finance group, which considers detailed financial matters and makes financial recommendations to Council and the Parent Review Group.  The latter was formed 5 years ago to find a structure to make a significant change to the Rota system because after many years of trying to make it work it became apparent that the system was not sustainable.  Running a school is a complex matter and I hope the above helps to clarify.



The term dates are attached on a separate sheet for your retention.

We do have lots of fun things to look forward to.  Dates and times on hard copies in pig holes.Get your diaries out!

Apple week – 1-5 October

Apple Press - 4 October OPEN DAY. Apples needed urgently please – by 3 October. Our orchard is very low.  Please talk to Amanda if you have lots of apples and maybe we could organize some help.

Stay on – .  Ben and Mark’s class and the older Early Years children are invited to stay after school to have supper and a play.  Cost £3.  Please put in a named envelope and give to class teachers with the permission slip attached to this letter.

Early Years Nativity –

Greenery Walk -

Carol Concert and Christmas Fair-

Dartington Estate Carol Concert- 10 December

Children’s Christmas lunch and party with Father Christmas

Barn dance/ Cabaret Evening

Open Day-  Spring 21 March 2.30-4.30

Easter Egg Hunt

Yurt up- week beginning 15 April.

May Day café and celebration

Sports day

Camp week

Jumble Sale – beginning of summer term t.b.c.

Strawberry Fair-  6 July 11-3

Class Presentations

Pizza Oven Days-  16 October, 12 February Pancake Day, 26 March, 21 May, 9 July

Work Days- one every half term

Nits weeks!- 15-19 October, 11-15 February, 20-24 May

Parent Teacher Meetings

Autumn – 14 and 15 November 3.20-4.30

Summer – 12 and 13 June 3.20-4.30


Finally a warm welcome to Reuben, Otis, Josie, Aiyana, Lily, Bridie, Tashi, Julia and Rachel who are joining the Early Years this term.  Reuben’s mum is Frankie Eriksson and they live in Rattery, Otis and Josie’s parents are Karla Grierson and Peter Stuart and their brother Alfie is also in the Early Years, Aiyana’s parents are Tori and Chris Lane and her brother Asher is in Ben’s group, Lily’s parents are Lotta and Dale Lockett and her brother Eljas is in Ben’s group, Bridie’s parents are Charlotte Matts and Richard Gregson and they live in Landscove, Tashi’s parents are Julia Nussbaum and Felipe Viveros, Julia’s parents are Clare and Daniel Lashley and they live in Buckfastleigh and Rachel’s parents are Anita Shen and Neil Workman and they live at Bovey Tracey.  An updated Parent Phone List will be in pigeon holes shortly.


I am looking forward to spending time with each of you over the coming year.


Best wishes,


Amanda Bellamy

Teacher in Charge