Well, we finally made it!  I’m quite surprised we managed to get to the last day without too much of a hiccup, especially when you hear about the Covid storm that seems to be brewing close by!

This school year has certainly been the most difficult that I’ve ever had to navigate.  We’d already experienced a 6-month teaser in to what school during Covid-19 would be like, and then in September we embarked into an odd school year of bubbles, testing, a barrage of guidance updates, emails and changes from the DfE and an increasing sense of pending closuresHowever, it turned out to be a really successful school year in many ways, and I couldn’t be prouder of the community of children, staff, parents, governors, Friends and distant grannies and grandads that made it all possible.

We’ve been unable to do robust comparisons with other schools and compare our test results against National data, but we’ve done really well and I’m really proud of our achievements. 

  • Remote Provision turned a corner in Lockdown 2 and we were fully computerised with Chromebooks and Google Classroom fully in action.  Our use of ICT went even further with lessons and Reading Groups taking place throughout the day using Google Meet and putting on Parents’ meetings with Zoom too.  It was very impressive and you ALL (parents too) did an amazing job!
  • Our assessment data is very similar to previous years, despite having to teach remotely for long periods, which shows the children learnt lots and kept up their momentum.
  • FROGS didn’t do a Christmas Coffee afternoon, cake sales, disco or a Summer Fair, yet still helped to raise almost £3000 from the Summer Santa appeal.  (Thanks for donating!)
  • We’ve managed to get every year group on their residential, including year 6s paid-back Lundy trip, which provided children with experiences that they’ll remember well.   
  • Attendance is really good this year, but you’d expect that with the limitations on travel!  This is something that we’ll keep a close eye on next year – trying to keep our percentage to remain at 96.8%.
    We can only teach and support children when they’re actually in school, as taking them out of school disrupts learning sequences and their learning and social interaction which is evidenced so well with the Government’s overview of lockdown learning, schools experiencing huge dips in assessment and the need for catch-up funding and support for behaviour and well-being.
  • Our ‘Soft Starts’ in the morning (arriving between 8.45am and 9.00am) has also meant that we’ve reduced the number of late arrivals.  Aiming for 8.45 really helps of course.
  • Class 2 had its Barn conversion built – a whole new learning area for the class!
  • Our Foundation Stage had a canopy installed, connecting the rooms up and enabling children to play on the artificial grass underneath it, in any weather.
  • Forest Village had yet another make-over (it’ll have to be regular) and is a lovely area to play and explore in.
  • Our Ash trees may have been cut down, but the children have loved building dens and being creative with the extra logs.
  • And there’s so much… I may have forgotten some!

There was lots of positive feedback from the Parent Survey too, so thank you for completing the survey last month.  We did gleam from the comments that parents wanted communication and sports at school to improve, and so these are a couple of the areas we’re taking through to the School’s Improvement Plan.

Our school values of being Kind, Curious, Confident, A Community, Adventurous and Ambitious are embedded in most things we do at the school and help to drive our actions.  It’s great seeing the children recognise the school’s values and actively applying them too – truly lovely.  Our Values Awards were issued to Kitty, Zac, James, Tess, Isla, and Charlie this year.  

It’s always an extremely tough decision about who wins the awards, but even more so for the annual school trophies – Tony Fletcher’s Award, the (Don Williams’) Rose Bowl and DCC’s Spirit of Devon Awards.  They’re awarded every year to deserving year 6 children, and this year we picked out Mohammad, Thea, Theo and EvaWell done!

What about next year?
Come September we’re planning on being in one single Bubble which should mean that we’ll almost be like our school once was!  We’re hoping that DfE guidance (probably due on the 1st September) will permit us to have a much more normal year.  We’ll keep you informed!

What to do over the summer?
Have fun, play and read lots. 

Have a great summer everyone.  Thanks for your support and patience through the year.  See you on the beach!
Mr Thomas