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!