May 2018: Mini Crickets Festival
Children from Y1, Y2 and Y3 had a marvellous afternoon yesterday, improving their ball skills and game play down at South Devon Cricket Club. They took part in a range of activities and represented our academy brilliantly. It was a wonderful opportunity for some of our younger children to experience representing our academy at an event and they did us proud. Mr Stewart writes, “The children loved the opportunity to play such exciting and energetic cricket games on a real cricket club field!” Here are some Y1 quotes:
“I was good at throwing the ball over arm at the stumps!” – Tom
“I like hitting the ball through the cones” – Barney
“My favourite bit was where you had to throw the ball and hit the stumps” – Belle
“I enjoyed hitting the ball with the bat. I got better at it” – Sophie
“I was good at throwing the ball to other people so they could catch it” – Isla
“I got 140 points from throwing the bean bags into hoops” – Inigo
“I liked hitting the ball with the bat between the two cones” – Louis.
May 2018: Y3 / Y4 Striking and Fielding Festival
Our Y3/4 children had a marvellous time at Teign School on Monday morning, participating in four different activities to develop their throwing, catching, aiming, fielding and batting skills.
“It was very exciting because we didn’t know exactly what we were going to do,” commented Josh.
“I enjoyed it because all the leaders were really nice and friendly,” reported Martha.
“It was challenging when it was raining a bit and quite windy, but we carried on going,” added Otto.
“I enjoyed playing Dartmoor 3Ball. We learned how to play it properly and it was really fun,” said Amelia.
“The first time I didn’t catch the ball but the next time I did. I felt really proud of myself,” concluded Oren.
Well done everyone, and thank you so much Mrs Squire for accompanying the trip.
May 2018: Cross Country Success
Daisy B, Daisy C, Lucy, Fin, Thea, Jessica, Otto and Martha represented our school brilliantly at the Cross Country Running Race at Haldon on Tuesday.
“It was fun but a bit tiring. I was very proud of myself because there were 70 girls in the race and I came 21st. I also helped my friend Martha. I was very proud of myself,” said Jessica.
“There were people around the course cheering us on and running a bit with us if we were walking at that point. That helped us and encouraged us to keep on running. I’d like to race again in events when I go to Teign School,” added Lucy.
Well done everyone, and thank you to all of the parents who supported the event.
April 2018: Wooston Castle archaeological dig
Last week Class 3 children were lucky enough to be one of three local schools to visit Wooston Castle iron age hillfort’s current archaeological dig. The team and volunteers had been on site for the previous two weeks, excavating parts of this scheduled monument; they held an Open Day for the wider community at the weekend. I do hope that some of you made it there! It was absolutely fascinating. Ellie, and her colleagues from the Woodland Trust, Simon the lead archaeologist and volunteers from the National Trust set up a range of activities for the children, bringing the past to life. We not only observed a ‘live’ dig, but had a tour of the site from Simon, an explanation of how we think iron age people made such deep and formidable ramparts and why they might have done so, a chance to get hands on, uncovering finds such as charcoal, iron and bone in preprepared dig boxes and even tried out wattling and daubing a wooden wall! It was an amazing experience and we are extremely grateful to Ellie and the rest of the team for helping us to understand our past. She has invited us back to join them when they dig at Fingle Mill in July – I can’t wait!
Summer Term 2018
March 2018: Keeping Healthy
Class 3 children have been thinking about how to keep healthy, in mind as well as body. They have excellent advice for us all:
“It is important to eat a balanced diet to get all of the vitamins and nutrients we need.” Y4 boy
“You should drink water because if you get dehydrated, your body will not function properly. Drinking is important to stay healthy. It helps you to concentrate.” Y5 boy
“It is important to stay connected to those you care about, so you feel supported, loved and motivated.” Y4 girl
“You should talk about your feelings, because the person you are telling could sort out a problem if there is one. If you tell someone, you won’t be as sad or worried. It will make you happier.” Y6 boy
“Taking a break helps you get ready for the next thing you’ll do. If you’ve been doing lots of work, taking a break keeps your mind fresh.” Y5 boy
Do something you enjoy and are good at. This can be anything. It could be painting or cycling or reading. You should always have time for yourself. Be creative or active!” Y6 girl
“Never doubt yourself; be proud of who you are. You are amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you different.” Y6 girl
News from Dunsford Nursery
As always, we have been busy in our thriving Nursery Class, for 2, 3 and 4 year olds. The children have enjoyed painting keyrings and decorating wooden heart stencils for Mothering Sunday. Our topic for last term was ‘food around the world’. We enjoyed learning about where different foods originated from. The children ate noodles with chopsticks and enjoyed eating curry. They also used foods for crafts and play.
This term we are focussing on ‘Under the Sea’. As part of this theme, we will be learning about the many creatures found in the ocean. We will also be savouring the taste of different types of fish.
March 2018: Curriculum News
We have been learning about the amazing Amazon Rainforest this term. Class 2 would like to tell you all about it.
“A rainforest is a forest that gets lots of rain.”
“The Amazon rainforest is mostly in Brazil, though Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia have part of it.”
“It is a tropical rainforest.”
“More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon.”
“Over half of all plant and animal species live in the rainforest.”
“Lots of animals live there, like the emerald tree boa and poison dart frog.”
“There is the canopy, forest floor, understory, shrub layer and emergent layer.”
“The forest floor is very thick and good for animals to hide in.”
“Many of the plants that live here need large leaves to capture as much light as possible.”
“Jaguars live here because there is a lot of prey.”
“The understory is the part of the forest which is very thick and good for animals to hide in.”
“It is where the shrubs are.”
“Poison dart frogs live in the understory so they can have babies in bowl-shaped leaves.”
“Leaves fall down and add nutrients to the thin soil.”
“Lots of fruits and flowers can be found in the canopy layer.”
“Lemurs live in the canopy because they like swinging on trees.”
“Sloths would live here because they could hunt, eat and hang in the trees.”
“A blue bird of paradise would live in the canopy because most of the berries are high up.”
“Emergent layer: there are parrots in this layer because they fly around.”
“Trees grow very tall to collect light.”
“The emergent layer has the tallest trees in the Amazon rainforest.”
“Why should we save the rainforest? Because when we cut trees we kill lots of species and some of these species are nearly extinct.”
“Trees are getting chopped down as land for poor farmers, grazing land for cattle pulp for making paper, road construction and extraction of minerals.”
February 2018: Fairtrade Fortnight
Our Y4 children attended a Fairtrade Conference at Chudleigh Primary School, to mark Fairtrade Fortnight. They met Victor and Esther from Kenya, who are part of a Fairtrade Collective which produced over 4.6 million kg of fairtrade tea last year, largely for the UK market. The fairtrade premium they generated was ploughed back into local projects, such as a new laboratory for the secondary school. Our Y4 children will now be Fairtrade ambassadors for our school – look out for some further updates from them, coming soon.
February 2018: Curriculum News
In Geography this term the older children have been finding out about the Amazonian rainforest. They have created a rainforest in the corner of the classroom in their art lessons, aiming to recreate the different layers of the rainforest vegetation. A large 3D tree has giant leaves. Brightly coloured collage animals fill the branches and the river below. To enhance their learning further, we invited a mobile zoo into school, so we could all meet some real reptiles, mammals, birds and insects from South America. The tarantula was a particular hit!
In Science lessons the older children have been learning about the human body: how it works and key processes which keep us all alive eg the circulatory system. We borrowed couple of model ‘torsos’ from Teign School’s Science department, and the children have had fun removing the organs, learning about them and trying to fit them back in the right places!
Younger children have been learning about woodlands, inspired by some classic texts such as ‘Shall We Go On A Bear Hunt?’ They have produced some super stories of their own, based on the repetition and language rhythms of the original. They have also spent time in the woods, using all of their senses to explore the sights, sounds, smells and textures in our vibrant, rich, outdoor learning environment.
Finally, an invitation to you all: our fabulous PTFA is organising an Easter Competition for the pupils, with a wide range of classes to inspire them all. If you would like to come along to enjoy the children’s creativity, skill and attention to detail, do come along to our first PTFA Community Afternoon Tea event on Monday 26th March from 1:30 – 2:45pm in the Village Hall. You will be able to admire all of the entries (from Nursery children right up to those in Y6 – ie 2 to 11 year olds). Once you have toured the gallery, you will be able to enjoy a refreshing cup of tea and a slice of cake. We would love members of the wider local community to join us. All welcome.
Advance notice: Teign Valley Learning Community ArtsFest – Thursday 21st June 4 – 5pm
Our annual celebration, involving children from the local schools and Teign School, is coming up once again. The format of the evening will be quite different to that of previous years – we are ringing the changes! We hope that the event will have more of a ‘summer fete’ feel and can be held outside. There will still be performances from our TVLC choir (which our children will all be part of) and our TVLC Orchestra (which our instrumentalists will play in, alongside some of our ex-pupils who are now at Teign School). However, this year there will be a range of free, interactive ‘stalls’, manned by the different schools in our local community, where children can take part in little games and activities on the theme of ‘British Values’. There will be food on offer (we hope it will be free, or at least heavily subsidised) and there might even be hairbraiding once again and henna tattooing.
There will be something for children of all ages to enjoy and experience, and we do hope that most families will choose to attend. It is an opportunity to represent our school and to share our work with other children and families from across the Learning Community. It might also be an opportunity for our youngest children to visit their possible secondary school in an informal, relaxed way. It should also be fun! Please add the date to your diaries.
January 2018: Welcome to Dunsford Community Academy
What an exciting start to the year for our school! Our school’s name has changed many times since it was founded in the Victorian era – you may remember us as Dunsford County Primary School, for example. Most recently we have been Dunsford Community Primary School but since 1st January 2018 we have become Dunsford Community Academy. We were all keen to keep the word ‘Community’ in our name, as we want to continue to play an important part in the life of our village and to benefit from close ties with local people and community groups.
Our name change this time indicates a big change to our governance and oversight. We no longer look to the local authority but to our Multi-Academy Trust, the Learning Academy Partnership. Mrs Atkinson (CEO of the LAP) writes, “We are looking forward to working closely together with Dunsford Community Academy and the local community to transform children’s lives.”
Our conversion to academy status has gone very smoothly and we are enjoying being part of our new family of academies. We have a new logo, new uniforms and a new wider group to belong to. Staff are already benefitting from new professional networks of support and challenge. We are enjoying sharing our good practice and learning from our peers across the Trust as well.
Our biggest new development so far is the extension of our age range, from 4-11 to 2-11. Our new Nursery Class, which is open five days a week, is already thriving. Families can opt for up to 30 hours a week of quality early years care and education in our flexible offer. These hours can be free, for eligible families. We can also offer provision starting at 7:30am, supporting working parents.
We are delighted with the take up so far. Our 2, 3 and 4 year olds are enjoying playing and learning in their spacious, purpose-built setting which has recently been revamped with a big investment of new equipment. It is wonderful to see closer links developing between the Nursery children and some of their older peers too.
ACADEMISATION DATE CONFIRMED
I am delighted to tell you that following some intervention from Lynn Atkinson, our new CEO, to hurry the process up, the DfE have confirmed that we will be able to academise on January 1st 2018. This means that we can steam ahead with setting up provision for 30 hours of quality early years education in our new Nursery Class from Wednesday 3rd January. There will be an advert going out soon for suitably qualified staff to join us in the Nursery. It also means that all staff and all pupils will be able to start to benefit from being part of this successful, innovative and supportive multi-academy trust.
As previously stated, the school will not feel materially different overnight. Our individuality and ethos will remain unchanged. We will have a new logo, new signage, a different email address – all relatively superficial things. The core of what makes Dunsford special, the reason why you chose this pre-school and school for your child(ren) in the first place, the quality of the relationships we develop, the breadth of the curriculum, the opportunities we provide etc will remain unchanged. We will still all aim to thrive!
Longdown Station Visit
As you know, Class 2 and 3 children are learning about the Victorians in their History lessons and thinking about how life changed for people as a result of the enormous changes which took place during that era. Last week local railway enthusiast, Mr Chambers, kindly teamed up with Mr Eden (local landowner) to offer the children a rich experience right on our doorstep! Mr Chambers gave the children, staff and parent volunteers an illustrated talk about the railways before guiding us around the Longdown Station site, which is now disused. We were able to explore what remains of the station before exploring an abandoned railway tunnel. Mr Eden explained that his family had objected to the proposed route of the track back in Victorian times, so it was moved further away from their family home. William G explained that his grandfather’s great grandfather had helped to build the tunnels! It was a fantastic trip and extremelymuddy (great fun)!
“I liked seeing where the train track was in Victorian times,” said Thea.
“I liked going into the tunnel; it was really dark,” added Daniella.
Thank you to all of our parent volunteers who made the trip possible, and also to Mr Eden and Mr Chambers for their enthusiasm and generosity in organising this experience for us. Please follow this link for more photos.
Morwellham Quay Visit
What an amazing, rich experience Class 2 and Class 3 children shared yesterday at Morwellham Quay! The whole day was fantastic from start to finish. We were taught by very strict Victorian teachers, who told us that we were ‘to be seen and not heard’ and punished some of us with the cane! We learned how to make rope, which we then straightened with a tug-of-war. We found out about Victorian fashion and dressed up to step back in time. We also travelled into a copper mine on a little train and thought about what it must have been like to work down there in the dark. The children were brilliantly behaved, listening attentively and asking questions. A marvellous day – thank you all. Please follow this link for lots of photos.
For our multicultural week we focused on the country of China. The children enjoyed various experiences. Please follow this link for more information and lots of photos!
Y3-4 Hi 5 Netball Tournament
We took 8 children to a Y3-4 Hi 5 Netball Tournament at Teign School. The team of Lorenzo (Y3), Amelia (Y3), Harry (Y4), Jessica (Y4), Troy (Y4), Lily (Y4), Phoebe (Y4) and Cora (Y4) showed excellent skill and perseverance to return to school having achieved second place in the tournament. This means they are now through to the School Sports Partnership finals in January. Well done!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you all for donating your unwanted clothing items etc. This year we have raised £96 for the PTFA funds (a smaller total than our usual amount, but still a fabulous sum)! Mrs Todd would like to thank Daisy C, Nick, Felix, Jessica, Mrs Wood, Mrs Dickens and Mrs Smith for helping on the day and Mrs Squire for setting it all up for us once again. Our next collection will be on May 2nd 2018.
Class 1 Windout Farm trip
Class 1 children visited Windout Farm in October and had a wonderful experience learning about farm life from the Ursell family. Do please follow this link for more information and lots of photos.
What a wonderful show we were treated to by the Theatre Alibi team. Who would have thought that story telling without any words at all would make sense? For a whole hour? Two talented musicians and two amazing actors gave us a wonderful experience. There were a lot of laughs, some sad moments and some exciting moments. For example Apple John was born, learned to walk then to ride a bike, made a snowman then got a chill, discovered pop music and how to be cool, started to ride a motorbike, went to university, fell in love and started a family of his own. There was so much to take in that images were projected onto a variety of white surfaces from time to time, to enrich the storytelling. The children were spellbound and it was a privilege to share the production with them.
Team Challenge Day
What a wonderful day we had! Together we really did thrive. The mixed-age teams were so successful, with the older children providing sensitive and thoughtful leadership and the younger pupils looking to them for support and guidance. It has been lovely to see new positive interactions across the year groups. The weather could not have been better on Friday afternoon. Thank you to all of the parents, grandparents and extended family members, neighbours, friends of the school and governors who came along to make it such an enjoyable and positive afternoon for everyone. Please follow this link for lots more photos.
I am delighted to tell you that Lucy, Alex, Daisy C, Nick and Daisy B are our new librarians. They’re proud to take on this important role and are proudly wearing their ‘librarian’ badges around school. They have had their first training session with Mrs Bond (one of our governors who oversees the library) and she was very pleased with how quickly they picked it all up. Thank you all.
Thank you all so much for supporting our Harvest celebration. The children all brought in amazingly generous gifts: Helen Orchard (Connor’s mum) even persuaded Tesco’s to donate three large bagfuls of food items; thank you Helen and thank you, Tesco’s!
It was lovely to see so many of you joining us in the church. What a treat we had and what a great atmosphere it was! It is very early in the school year for a performance, but the children did themselves proud. The ‘enormous turnip’ story told to us by Class 1 was a triumph and the ambitious puppet show from Class 2 was also amazing. Class 3 spoke clearly and had researched many interesting facts; next year we will investigate using the microphones so that they are even louder.
Mrs Ursell, one of our churchwardens, writes: “Please thank the children for all their gifts for the homeless and old people in Exeter. I noticed some of them had taken great trouble in decorating their boxes. Such a loving gesture!”
As our application to academise and join the LAP Trust has not yet been formally approved, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the 30 hour offer at our new Nursery provision until January 2018. We are still hoping to academise on 1st November, when the Pre-school will join our new academy and we will all be one. However we are now proposing that we continue with the Pre-school’s current 15 hour offer for 2-4 year olds until the end of this term (rather than opening for 30 hours straight after half term).
The delay in academising is unfortunate and beyond our control. Dunsford School governors and the LAP executive team are doing all we can to speed the process up. However, there is a small chance that the academisation will not go through until December 1st, and we do not want to let any families down by promising that we can offer 30 hours before this is certain.
So the new plan we are working towards is as follows:
- Our academisation is approved during September or October 2017
- Dunsford Community Primary School and Dunsford Pre-school both cease to exist on November 1st 2017
- Dunsford Community Academy, catering for 2-11 year olds, opens on November 1st 2017 with four classes (The Nursery Class, Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3)
- All staff TUPE over to the new academy on November 1st 2017
- All children transfer over to the new academy on November 1st 2017
- The Nursery Class, with Christine and Leanne, is open as usual until December 31st 2017
- The Nursery Class opens full time (30 hours a week) on January 1st 2018 (staffing to be decided, in consultation with Christine and Leanne. We will probably need to recruit additional staff).
We did not take this decision lightly, as we know that several families are actively looking for extended early years provision over five days a week. However, our hands are tied and it is a little frustrating for us all! Please do get in touch if you would like further information or if you have any concerns. Thank you.
Cross Country Running Success
Our local School Sports Partnership held the first Cross Country Running event of the year in September. I am delighted to tell you that seven of our pupils chose to go along to represent our school and they did so brilliantly! Simon, Otto and Martha ran in the Y3/4 races while Archie, Fin, Daisy C and Lucy competed in the Y5/6 races. They all did themselves proud, but two of them deserve a special mention. Archie came 7th out of 95 runners in his boys’ race – a fabulous achievement in such a competitive field. “I am happy that I beat most of the Y6s. I love running and I hope that when I am in Y6 I can come first!” he said. Otto got a stitch at one point but he did not give up. He responded to the supportive encouragement of the other Dunsford children and got up to carry on, showing great resilience. “I really wanted to finish because I didn’t want to give up,” said Otto. Well done everyone! Thank you to Ms Farress and to all of the parents who supported the event.
Eco Council News
By popular request we are reinstating our Eco Council and starting an Eco Club, so that children can work on little projects to improve our local environment, help wildlife and improve our energy efficiency. Our new eco-councillors are: Elva (YR), Barney (Y1), Verity (Y2), Martha (Y3), Jessica (Y4), Gus (Y5), Daisy B (Y6)
I wonder what they will choose to work on first? Watch this space!