News from Alison Stephenson Headteacher/DSL of Chaddleworth St Andrew’s and Shefford C.E. Federated Primary Schools. For more details see their website csfschools.org
As I write this at the end of a beautifully sunny day, where the children have shown such concentration (our Learning Power of the term) and Friendship (our Christian Value of the term) throughout the week, it reminds me of what a privileged job we have. It allows us to nurture those skills and talents that each child has and enable them to ‘Live life in all its fullness’, whether it be now, when in secondary school or beyond.
By the time you read this, our running track will have been completed! The children are so excited about it and enjoyed watching each stage of development. On Monday our Sports Leaders will be opening the track and running the first lap, followed by the rest of the school. Our aim is for the children to be fitter and enjoy running more as a result. We will let you know how we get on!
Our topic of ‘Journeys’ has continued with the Red Kites designing motorised vehicles. These are their prototypes which is helping to inform the final design which they will make from recycled products. Electric vehicles of the future!
It only remains for me to say a huge thank you to staff and parents who have been fantastic during a particularly difficult time as a result of Covid this month. They have worked tirelessly to make sure we are business as usual. Thank you.
We are certainly ‘Living life in all its fullness’ as we look forward to all the enrichment opportunities we have planned for this term.
Last term, inter school sports competitions and events started again and we took every opportunity to participate. We were so proud of our children’s resilience, enthusiasm and teamwork. They took part in Paralympic events, football and archery and next term we have the Cross Country run, more football and rugby. A very busy sporting timetable! Meanwhile, we are half way through the installation of the running track which means our children will be able to practice their long distance running throughout the year.
Our children love to read and love ‘World Book Day’. This year our pupil Reading Champions asked if it could be based on ‘Journeys around the world’ – I can’t say any more than that at this stage as we have a few surprises awaiting the children but I’m sure it will be a memorable learning experience for them.
Our parents tell us that being part of the community is important to them and we absolutely agree! Having planned to celebrate the opening of the Shefford school building 40 years ago just before the half term, Storm Eunice got in the way so instead we are having a whole year of celebrations. We have already shared school photos from past pupils (thank you for your contributions!) and the children were fascinated by a talk one of our parents gave about what school was like in the 90s. If you have experience of the school in the 80s, please get in touch, we would love to hear your stories! We are also looking forward to the Jubilee and are putting plans in place!
We also have talks planned from the Environment Agency, the ARK project and our PCSO so, yes, I think we can say that we are aiming for our children to truly fulfil their potential by being given as many opportunities to learn about the world around them as possible in order to achieve our vision of ‘Living life in all its fullness’.
Our children have been out and about over the last few weeks. Red Kites (Y5/6) have enjoyed participating in the Alternative Olympics and Archery and Owls(Y3/4) learnt so much from their trip to Ufton Court. They are also rehearsing for the Junior Music Festival at The Anvil, Basingstoke where they will be performing songs linked to an ecological theme. As Mrs Sayer says in the class blog, they have been singing their hearts out!
Meanwhile, our running track is being installed so that our children can run every day, whatever the weather. We can’t wait for it to be completed!
On 3rd March, we will be celebrating World Book Day and leading up to this, our Reading Champions have set a challenge to read as many books as possible in one month. They have led the challenge with such enthusiasm and determination so that as many children as possible participate. Great work Reading Champions!
These are the beautiful artworks of Kingfishers (Y1/2) who have been leaarning about a Welsh artist called Rhiannon Roberts. As you can see, they have taken it a step at a time as they develop their knowledge of mixing colours and skill of applying it carefully.
Robins (EYFS) have been busy interviewing Rev. Miri to find out more about Christianity and consider the question ‘Is the word “God” special?’ Thank you Rev. Miri! They have also had a fantastic time learning how to use the balance bikes safely.
It is not long now until we celebrate Shefford C.E. Primary School’s 40th birthday at its current site! We are looking forward to hearing all about what it was like to be a pupil at our school in the 1980s and would be very interested in any stories or photos that you might have to share with us. Please email them in to the school office: email@example.com
We have had a fantastic start to the term, with all of our children finding out about what the topic of ‘Journeys’ will mean for them. At the very end of term, we are planning to take all of our children on a pilgrimage in the local area. We not only want our children to learn about their locality but also about themselves as they walk along the route. They will find out about Courage, Compassion, Trust, Friendship, Wisdom and Endurance. So a physical as well as personal journey.
But before we get that far into term, Owls are off to Ufton Court next week. They will have an action packed day learning about local history and what it might have been like to live in a local Tudor mansion. To bring the learning alive and make the experience truly memorable, they will be hearing real stories about Ufton Court, dressing up in costumes, taking part in a drama and feasting on a Tudor banquet! We can’t wait!
The House and Shadow Captains are working in partnership with the Arts Leaders who have decided that they would like to launch a competition to design posters about keeping everyone safe. They are looking forward to announcing it during the morning messages this week.
I shall leave you with my ‘golden moment’ this week which was when one of the Robins in Reception came to show Mrs Sayer (our Assistant Headteacher and Maths Lead) and me his maths learning. He said: “I have subitised 6”. Subitising is a term that was introduced by the Swiss psychologist Piaget. It’s the ability to look at a small number of objects and instantly recognise how many objects there are without needing to count – an extremely useful skill to master when learning about numbers. Fantastic!
We have been delighted to welcome back our children this week!
We have so much planned for the children already. We take the Red Kites away to The Manor in Shropshire on their long awaited residential trip at the end of September so they will be preparing for the many exciting challenges ahead. Remembering to brush their teeth at bedtime will be one of them! We have Lucy from Lambourn dental surgery coming to talk to all the children about caring for their teeth. Learning about oral health is an addition to the new Early Years Statutory Framework which is great to see, particularly as Lucy has been visiting us regularly for some time now! We are also thinking about recycling during ‘Recycle Week’. This will be child led as the children decide what they would like to focus on, plan how to achieve a specific goal and consider the impact of their actions.
Our Christian value this term is ‘Courage’, chosen because we start a new term, possibly a new class, possibly a new school and sometimes we need to be courageous when facing change. We will be thinking of the example of Jesus as he calmed a storm and are reminded that we can find strength in many ways and from many sources. The Learning Power ‘Don’t give up’ also reminds us that even when things get difficult, we need to rise to the challenge. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking for examples of this in our everyday school life. We will let you know how we get on!
Check our website for details of our open day events for new starters in 2022.
We had a fantastic Sports Day this week! The children were so focused as they participated in the activities and it was such a pleasure to have parents on site in the afternoon. Jayson, the Sports Leader, along with Teddy did a brilliant job of planning the morning activities, setting them out and explaining them to the children. The House and Shadow Captains gave their houses an inspiring speech about the importance of having a go, thinking of the feelings of others and trying their best. And the children showed such endurance and compassion throughout the day!
Merci à tous la semaine française était magnifique ! Yes, French week was magnifique. Red Kites learnt a range of greetings and were able to role play buying ice cream in a shop. Owls learnt how to say some foods in French, Connor told me the French word for lollipop is sucette and Frankie remembered l’eau for water. Kingfishers learnt colours and Jess told me that her Dad’s favourite colour is vert and Alex said his favourite colour was bleu. Kingfishers were also treated to a reading of the Three Little Pigs read by Darcie’s grandmother. Robins learnt numbers to 10, songs and rhymes and even listened to the story of the Hungry Caterpillar in French. Merci beaucoup Madame Wilson et Madame Chrimes. Here are some examples of what they can now say:
“I can say what my favourite ice cream is – chocolat!” Samantha
“I know bleu is blue and rouge is red.” Alex
“We listened to ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ in French. We can count up to 10.” Henry
“Poisson’ is ‘fish’ in French.” Rosie
It won’t be long before we finish the term but we have a lot to fit into the last few days including the Leavers Final Worship and the Year 5 and Year 6 performance of ‘Anyone Can Cook!’ I would also like to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported us through another challenging year. Thank you to the staff, parents, governors, community and of course, the children!
During lunchtime this week, a child came up to me and said; “Mrs Stephenson, I used wisdom today because I worked out how to untangle the skipping rope from the hoop and it wasn’t easy. But I did it!” She had made the wise choice to keep going, even though it was difficult. A bit later in the week, another child stopped at the door to my office and said: “I used wisdom Mrs Stephenson. I wanted to run down the corridor but I stopped myself!” Music to my ears! We have been focusing on our Christian Value of ‘Wisdom’ this term so that the children understand that being wise is much more than being clever! They know it is about making careful decisions, based on their experiences of the world and weighing up benefits against risks.
The benefits of starting educational trips again were seen in the last couple of weeks as Kingfishers (Y1/Y2) went on a science walk around the village and Robins (EYFS/Y1) went on a welly walk. The Robins had been learning about emails and letters so they posted a letter at the post office in Great Shefford to see what happened next! The Kingfishers were learning how to identify different plants as they walked around the village. While the Kingfishers learnt about identifying plants, Red Kites (Y5/Y6) have been learning the names of the parts of a plant. We make links and connections to previous learning so that the children build on their previous knowledge and understanding.
Owls have been inspired by the Australian Aboriginal art and dreamtime stories that they have been learning about.
Looking ahead, we have a French Week planned, based on healthy eating which the children are learning about in science next term. Our French teacher, Mrs Wilson, is looking forward to teaching all the children how to ask for different fruit and salad items so they can make a fruit smoothie or salad!
Our volunteers have been able to come into school again which is fantastic! Thank you to them for giving up their time – the children love reading and gardening with you!
‘Pick up’ and ‘drop off’ have become a test of endurance recently what with the wind and the rain which seem to make a perfectly timed appearance! Looking forward to a slightly drier June!
May 2021 News
Our Christian value this term is ‘wisdom’ which has led to some fantastic discussions about what wisdom means and whether wisdom is the same as being clever. One of the children said: ’It’s about being able to judge what’s right and what isn’t’. So this is our starting point for the children, using wisdom to work out what’s right and what isn’t.
Exciting news about our running track! Following feedback from parents and carers who said that they like the children having the opportunity to do a daily mile run, we are going to have an all-weather running track laid around the school. I don’t know if they’ll run an extra mile but they will certainly be ‘Going the extra mile’ by putting all their energy into completing the circuit!
We are planning end of the school year events and hoping that we can invite all our parents and carers but will have to wait and see what the guidance allows when it is updated. We have added an extra treat for the children this year – a French week! This will be a great opportunity to immerse the children in a Modern Foreign Language – we are looking forward to finding out about the food, traditions and culture of France.
Here are some pupils in action:
- In computing, Kingfishers were learning through discussion and working together.
- The Robins have been practising on their balance bikes.
- Learning how to classify leaves in Red Kites.
- Wallpaper designs created by Owls
March 2021 News
We are in the final stages of preparing for the return of all our children next week. We can’t wait! About 30% of our children have been in school throughout the period and 70% have been joining us online daily for live lessons. We plan to celebrate everyone’s achievements on Friday starting with the children who are working so hard at home, parents and carers who are supporting their children’s learning and staff who have created and delivered exceptional online learning or who have supported the learning in schools throughout the period.
What can we keep from this experience? An even greater sense of community, advanced computing skills for all and parents and carers tell us that they have a far better understanding of phonics, maths and English teaching than previously. And yes, they do know what fronted adverbials are!
World Book Day is being celebrated with the theme of ‘Amazing Animals’, following on from a virtual visit by ZooLab which was funded by the PTFA. The children loved it! Even those who were peaking between their hands as the animals were presented. Hunter was a favourite I wonder if you can guess what animal he was! Our children not only learnt about the animals but were inspired to find out more.
- “I really liked the frog because it changes colour from green to brown, like the rainforest colours that it comes from.” Skye
- “Did you know that snails can be boys and girls and they both lay eggs? After, I read books about spiders and frogs.” Maisie
- “I liked the rat. Rats eat everything. We learnt a lot.” Tayla
- “I liked the snake because it wasn’t poisonous!” Isabella C.
- “I thought it was amazing.” Alex
A very successful Virtual Cross Country Championships, led by Maiden Erleigh School, was followed by a sponsored walk over half term, raising £1610. Our live yoga sessions have also been a hit during lockdown so we are planning weekly sessions with Olivia.
Forest School teaching has also continued – the children made stick fairies last week.
We are very much looking forward to implementing our recovery curriculum and are excited about seeing all our children together again.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support.
February 2021 News
February 2021 started with Mental Health Week and was a fantastic opportunity for our children to reflect on their thoughts and feelings. The theme ‘Express Yourself’ was explored through art, dance, philosophy and baking! On the final day, the children dressed in clothes that they felt expressed them. Whether it was jeans and T-shirt or a space suit, the children had fun thinking about how expressing themselves made them feel.
What does ‘express yourself’ mean?
Showing what you think, being you, doing what you love, showing who you are
Express yourself means showing who you really are
Finding a way to express my feelings
How does being creative and expressing yourself make you feel?
Being different in your own way and showing people who you are on the inside
It makes me feel happy joyful
Why does finding healthy ways to express yourself matter?
If you do what you love or something that makes you happy it gives you a positive mental attitude
Finding healthy ways to express myself matters because it makes me feel good and is good for my mind
Because it helps my mind
We also introduced live yoga sessions for our children to teach them how to relax as well as strengthen muscles and improve balance. Olivia, the yoga teacher, taught the children a variety of poses including cat, cow and tree pose. We can’t wait for our next session!
This week we were also out delivering the next set of resources (whilst following Covid safe guidelines) so that our families can access the maths learning more easily. We took the opportunity to drop off skipping ropes for KS2 who are taking on Dan the Skipping Man challenges, bird seed so that the children could make bird feeders and reading books so that the children’s reading continues to progress.
Thank you to our whole school community for your continued support – it keeps us all going! We are looking forward to the time when we can welcome back all of our children and hope it won’t be too long now.
January 2021 News
What a start to the new year and our spring term at school! With twelve hours’ notice we put our plan for remote learning into action and prepared to receive children of critical workers and vulnerable children in school.
Our parents and carers have been fantastically supportive as we find our way to a new routine and way of working. We went ‘live’ with our lessons on the first day back and the children love it! Not only are all the staff involved with the remote learning but we also have Mhairi, our Forest School leader popping in to do live Forest School sessions from home and Caroline from Berkshire Maestros joining us on Teams for music every week. Rev Miri joined us last week for Collective Worship and she asked the children about our Christian Value of ‘Trust’. The children thought about who they trusted and why they trusted them. Right now, school has huge admiration for our parents and carers as they trust us to lead the learning while they support at home. Our parents and carers tell us that their children prefer this way of learning and are engaging well.
We have made sure that all our children have devices that they can use to access the remote learning and have had two very kind donations through our school community which have helped us provide the very best opportunities for all. Thank you!
The PTFA are planning some treats in the next few weeks – we can’t wait!! Thank you PTFA, you continue to brighten up our school with your thoughtful and creative ways to make our children’s experiences of school memorable and fun!
Our learning power of the term is … Have a Go… and we’ve certainly all been doing just that!
We asked the children what learning they have enjoyed so far so that in a few weeks’ time, we are ready to add something new to keep the children motivated and engaged. We also want to follow the children’s’ interests and find out what they would like to learn about.
I wish … tell us what you would like to learn more about and what could make learning even better.
“Nothing school is amazing.”
“I’m not sure, I like things as they are”
“Making instruments. very fun”
“I wish to learn more about writing because it is a bit too tricky. What could make writing even better is more reading.”
“I would really like to learn more about maths and the way of working out things. I would like to do more science experiments to see how things work”
“I like precision teaching because it is quiet.”
“It is very challenging and it is very fun (maths)”
Parents and carers, thank you! Thank you to our governors! And thank you to our amazing team of staff who go the extra mile every day with positivity and a smile. We would not have been able to achieve what we have done without all your support.