As Term 2 draws to a close and we look forward to the festive season, I would like to remind you of all the exciting events which have taken place since September. It has been an incredibly busy term with so much happening in every class. The children have continued to work extremely hard but have also had lots of fun – and that is what school is all about; a healthy balance of work and play! Fortunately the weather has been reasonably kind and we have been able to maximize their time in the playground during break and lunchtime, although jackets/ coats are still necessary.
We also approach a key moment in the school’s history. In January 2018, we shall celebrate our fifth anniversary as part of the Strawberry Line Federation! How time flies! We shall mark the occasion later in the year, when the weather is warmer, in a joint event with Winscombe Primary school. Details to follow in the new year.
Despite the occasional illness, our staffing situation has been very stable and as always, everyone continues to strive to provide the highest possible standard of education.
After-School club has proved to be an invaluable service, provided by Jacquelene Seel and Paula Wiilliams. At Breakfast Club, we have welcomed two new Play Leaders: Heather Stanley-Whiteley and Chloe Williams who have introduced some new games and toys to create an entertaining start to the day. A big ‘thank you’ to them all.
Flashback on Fun! – Terms 1 and 2:
Our academic year started with a focus on the ‘Hero’s Journey’, linking well with our promotion of ‘Growth Mindsets’ and core values and launching our two-week ‘suspended’ curriculum. This topic involved lots of mark-making, illustrations and of course, our now ‘traditional’ special assembly attended by so many parents and grandparents.
Since then the children have experienced a wide range of exciting, motivating activities to enhance their termly topics. For example, as part of their Great Fire of London project, the children in KS1 thoroughly enjoyed their ‘Wow!’ day when there was a special visit from Jethro Knuckleskull! They also enjoyed a baking day, making bread and all sorts of Tudor artefacts. Class One also had fun on their ‘welly walk’ and meeting up with Red Class at Winscombe, to celebrate Diwali. Class Three and Four were invited to participate in an apple picking day at Thatcher’s. Meanwhile, Class Three also enjoyed learning about the Romans, culminating in a special ‘Roman Day’! Going further east towards the Arab World, Class 4 explored the exciting topic of ‘Baghdad’ and its amazing culture which ended with a splendid feast and lots of dancing! In Class 5, the children enjoyed a trip to the ‘Big Pit’ in Wales, as part of their topic on the Victorians. Finally, as a special treat, the children had a great time towards the end of term when they visited Winscombe to see the pantomime, ‘Aladdin’ – our gift to the children.
In addition to all this, during Term 2, the KS1 children participated in the traditional nativity, this year entitled “A King is Born”. What a superb performance! It was amazing as ever and thoroughly enjoyed by the numerous parents and grandparents who attended. As usual, Class 3 took part in the cluster musical extravaganza: ‘Raise the Roof’ and last week, our KS2 pupils visited St James’ Church to participate in the annual Carol Concert. The church was filled to capacity with so many parents and grandparents. The children clearly enjoyed singing carols and the chosen readers narrated the Christmas story beautifully, the whole service reinforcing the real meaning of this special time of the year. Other events this term have included:
KS2 Inter-School Quiz, hosted by Winscombe; Burrington 1st; Sandford 2nd and Winscombe 3rd
Year Five Bikeability training
Violin Workshop at Churchill Academy
Class 4: festive singing at St. Monica’s and ‘Class 4 Does Strictly’ contest
Weekly visit by groups of children to St Monica’s, to build cross-generation relationships
Sport: numerous matches and tournaments enjoyed by our KS2 pupils
A highlight of the term was the news that Sandford was placed 108th in the country with regards to 2017 SATs attainment. Wow! Well done children and staff. Also received in Term 1, was our School Games Gold award, for raising standards in PE and maximising pupil participation in sport. My thanks to Mr Hall and staff for this fantastic achievement.
Another successful event at our federated school was their Ofsted Inspection which took place at Winscombe on 12th October. Although it was a gruelling, intense day, the governors, staff and I were delighted with the outcome and the inspector’s wonderful description of Winscombe in his report: a ‘high performing school’, its ‘environment designed to make learning seem like an exciting adventurous pursuit’. He acknowledged Winscombe as a ‘good’ school - ‘a hair’s breadth from outstanding’, and the quality of teaching and pupils’ work as very high indeed. Congratulations to all concerned. I am sure you will agree, we should feel very proud of our two wonderful schools.
Added to this, the PTA have continued to work incredibly hard to raise much-needed funds for the school through events such as an entertaining Frisbee Golf night in September and an amazing Christmas Fair. My thanks to Chairperson Tor Eddins and team.
As can be seen above, this really has been an extremely busy but rewarding term with so much to celebrate. The school is now virtually full, with 149 on roll in January (an increase pf 18% over the past five years) and we have had over 60 prospective parents view Sandford for places in September 2018. A most encouraging picture which bodes well for the future.
Finally, I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the members of our governing body led by highly experienced and dedicated Chair, Melissa Humphry; each one an unpaid volunteer, who collectively work for the good of the Strawberry Line Federation and our 360 pupils. They ensure that the staff are fully supported in their work, to provide a safe, stimulating learning environment and quality educational provision. Together, we aim to achieve the very best for the children.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Mrs Lin Williams
Academic Year 2017 - 2018
A fantastic start to the year!
We are only five weeks into the term and yet we have achieved so much!
We began the year with 147 pupils on roll, all bright and enthusiastic after their much-enjoyed summer break. We welcomed in particular, our new Reception children in Class One and already they are familiar with school life and are joining in all the activities with such confidence.
From day one, it was all go, with our whole-school focus on the ‘Hero’s Journey’, helping our children to understand the importance of ‘Growth Mindsets’ and becoming a ‘great learner’. It was super to see so many parents attend our two special assemblies to portray the Hero’s Journey, and to receive so many compliments. Thank you.
Since then, the classes have settled into their routines and are immersed in their exciting new topics. After the October break, parents will have the opportunity to meet with the class teachers during Parent Consultation Evening and view the high quality work on display in the classrooms and around the school.
During September, Class 3 and Class 4 visited Thatchers and had a great time learning about harvesting the crops and even picking their own apples! Shortly afterwards, we held a European Languages day to celebrate the wealth of languages in our continent. The children thoroughly enjoyed finding out about their chosen class focus language, especially the food! We also held a special EYFS Curriculum meeting for new Reception parents to provide further information about this crucial first year in school. Thank you to everyone who attended. At the end of the month, four KS2 pupils represented the school at the very first Churchill Cluster Inter-School Quiz. I am delighted to say that the Sandford team performed extremely well and came second overall, with our federated school Winscombe in third place. Congratulations to both our super schools!
The PTA has also been very active since the start of the year, commencing with the AGM on 12th September. A warm welcome to our new PTA Chairperson, Tor Eddins, and a big ‘thank you’ to outgoing Chair, Kate Hatherell. Recent fundraising activities include ‘Wicked Wednesday’ movie night and Frisbee Golf, as well as providing support during the Sandford Open Day on 2nd October. Thank you everyone.
This week, our Y5 pupils have been busy with their Bikeability courses and this Friday, several children will attend a violin workshop at Churchill Academy. Many children will also be involved in the various sporting activities planned for the term, a key event being the Rugby tournament on 13th October.
So much happening at Sandford!
Warmest regards and best wishes for what promises to be an exciting, eventful year.
Mrs Lin Williams