School NewsMarch 2013
Thank you for those of you who came to the Work Day this month. We managed to clear piles of rubbish, paint rooms, clean windows and rooms, clear stones off the Early Years garden, re-bark the playground on the field and shared a delicious lunch in the new classroom. Most of this done in the pouring rain!
Our Open Day continued with the rain theme- and Kate and Rich brought along their rain play list to jolly us along! But rain did not stop play. We had about 6 new families with young children pop in to enjoy the Early Years as well as representatives from Elliotts who gave the classroom, Rhubarb Solutions who gave the furniture and Steljas who gave the Smartboard software and projector. Thank you for the many of you who gave/made cakes for the day. It was a wonderful surprise to me as I thought you must have been baked out with the Cabaret and Workday. The cutting of the ribbon has been captured by Richard and Kate Daws in the wonderful final edition of the film they made of the new classroom being built – the laying of the egg by the bird of paradise with the scissors inside was so enjoyed by the representative from Elliotts who said ‘she was so inspired by the children’s innovative ideas that they should come and get a job at her company when they are older.’ The film is beautiful and made me cry! I hope to have it up on the website asap. It is a wonderful evidence of the partnership between staff, parents and children which is so special at Park School. Thank you Rich and Kate not only for the film, but the hours of filming and ensuring it was ready to go with PA and professionalism on the Open Day. You are stars!
James wanted to say that now we have the new classroom back we have room for our drumming lessons to recommence. Should you be interested in taking up the drums please contact the office.
The Cabaret raised approximately £613. Many thanks again to Kirsty for all the work she put into organizing it. It was indeed a night to remember.
Use of the parent email list
Concern has been expressed by some parents about their email address being disclosed. Please ensure that any messages you send to coordinators or class helpers are sent using Bcc (which does not disclose email address details) and bulk emailing using the school’s parent collected data should only be about community contribution matters (not for personal messages).
The children had a fantastic pizza oven day this week supported by Martin and Tabitha. All the children who made and ate the pizzas thoroughly enjoyed the delicious, healthy food which children who eat school lunches appreciate. Tabitha has worked hard at creating some delicious menus for next term, all vegetarian and mostly organic at a very reasonable price of £3 (£2.50 for under 4’s and £3.50 for special dietary requirements). Prompt payment in the first week of term is essential for Tabitha to buy ingredients. Please book as many lunches as you can to support this unique and valuable service. Tabitha’s tel. no. is 01364 631171, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A message from Inge-
1. Chair of Council’s Quiz: GUESS WHO SAID THIS?
Here’s a couple of quotes from a recent newspaper interview with a head teacher. See if you can guess what school this person is head of – and it’s not Park School!
“Young people learn more from each other than they do from adults and more outside a classroom than they do inside it.”
“[Educators should not be] susceptible to a top-down driven measurement culture, which reduces the key elements of what I think a school is fundamentally about, which is to do with holistic development – the all-rounded person; enabling young people to develop that true sense of self-worth which is, in my view, absolutely essential if they are going to be able to stand up for themselves and for a purpose higher than themselves.”
The answer is at the end of the School News.
2. Petition for Michael Gove
The proposed new national curriculum has apparently removed all reference to the need for children to learn to care for the natural world. An online petition is circulating to protest this. Park parents might want to consider signing it. Here's the link: I just signed the petition ""Hey Gove, why can’t we talk about the environment?”" on Change.org.
It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link:
Many of you may have heard that Emily will be leaving us at Easter. She has managed to secure herself a full time job working at the Bridge at Dartington. I know that it was a very hard decision for her and one that was not taken lightly. Emily has been at the school on and off for about 13 years both as a class teacher and in the current role as a support teacher. She will be greatly missed by the children and staff. May I take this opportunity to wish her well from all of us at Park and to thank her for her many years of care and hard work that she has given us all.
Dyane has also managed to find a job which offers her more time and has given notice to leave this week. Dyane has worked so hard with Ben and many parents to create a food garden for the pig pen area. This vision and creativity has been greatly appreciated over the years that she has been involved in the garden. She has kindly agreed that her contribution hours will be directed to the garden so we will still have her gorgeous energy in there. Thank you Dyane – and good luck with your new job.
These two valuable members of staff will be hard to replace. However I am seeing it as an opportunity to think about what the children need at Park at the moment and act accordingly. We will be looking at how best to fill these positions over the next month. We will probably ask people known to the school for a temporary solution while we take time to make decisions with staff and Council.
We have managed to find a rather wonderful singing teacher called Fran who has been involved in music education in a variety of different ways since leaving university. She has taught wider opportunities (whole class) instrumental sessions in cello, piano, fife and recorder, been a peripatetic instrumental and vocal teacher, and also built up a music department in London as a classroom teacher for 3 years. Fran is passionate about group singing and the positive effects that it can bring, both in terms of personal expression, and fostering a sense of community and team work. She leads a weekly staff choir for Rowcroft Hospice, and a monthly Gospel and African choir in Totnes called Jubilation! She is also a cellist and is currently playing in and arranging music for Rumi poetry, and also loves playing for dance and movement sessions in the Devon area. She has settled in quickly and I can already see changes in the way the children sing and work as a team together in her lessons. She will be helping Mark to get songs ready for the play next term. (Date to be decided!)
I am looking forward to the 4 children from Early Years moving to Ben’s next term – Annie, Adam, Rachel and Dorothy. They recently spent a morning with Ben and in the main school area which they seem to be so at home in already.
A Message from the Phoenix Education Trust-
Phoenix at Park
The Phoenix Education Trust is a small charity which was launched in 2001 by Lord Young of Dartington. Our vision is to support and promote education in which all members of the school community have a real say in the everyday life at school. The essence of this runs deeper than decision making structures, it boils down to trust, respect, and equality in relationships. We work with a range of schools and organisations to develop these approaches, offer opportunities for sharing and exchanging practice, we also aim to work on research to substantiate the value of this type of education.
Most of our time and money at the moment goes into supporting Student Voice, a student led representative organisation seeking to put the views of secondary school students on the decision making agenda. We spend days in large state secondary schools delivering interactive peer training to students in order to help them have their say.
This is inspiring and impactful work which involves spending most of our time in London. So, it was wonderful for my colleague Kirsten and I to have the opportunity a few weeks ago to scale down, return to our roots and visit Park. We were co-incidentally at the school on ‘book day’ which meant we spent a morning being told about the concept and school structure by the ‘Snow Queen’ before an array of weird and wonderful characters greeted us and gave us the grand tour!
The main thing we were struck by was the quality of relationships at Park. The children clearly felt comfortable in, and proud of, their school. They knew how everything worked, they felt empowered and contented with their education. They clearly love their school. It was a privilege to see first-hand the wonderful work Park is does. Not to mention the way our visit ended in an impromptu dance session.
We offer travel bursaries, which teachers, students, parents and other individuals can apply for in order to attend events, visit schools and generally develop their understanding of democratic practices in education. We very much hope to connect members of the Park community with other similar schools and people who want to start similar schools through events like the EUDEC conference in Holland this summer and other more regional activities.
Thank you for having us at your school and do get in touch.
Monday 15 April is a Non-Pupil day. Term starts on Tuesday 16 April.
Have a Happy Easter! And eat loads of chocolate.
Teacher in Charge
Answer to Guess Who Said This?: It was Tony Little, headmaster of Eton College. Interviewed in The Guardian, Saturday, 9 February 2013.