Monthly Archives: September 2019

Head’s Blog – 27th September

The week started with a surprise visitor from the other side of the world. Emily Cross, now living in New Zealand, used to come to Clearwell, along with her 4 siblings. Along with her boyfriend, they had a tour around school and she was able to share her memories of her time at Clearwell. She said that she had fond memories, which is wonderful and something that we hope continues to happen with the children that we teach now. We want to inspire them to become life long learners but have lots of memorable adventures along the way.

Our topic on the Impact of War on Clearwell has been so inspiring to the children already. They are living out our vision of being creative by bringing in a vast array of independent learning. This week, we have had home-made Anzac biscuits, tanks, Anderson shelters, research about family members to name a selection. We love sharing these in Worship as it gives our children to talk in front of the whole school, again living out our vision of being able to communicate effectively.

Mrs Davies, the Bishop’s visitor, came into school on Monday too. She was welcomed into Worship and RE lessons, as well as talking to myself. She wrote us a fabulous letter, here is an excerpt.

“It was a privilege to join with the school family for worship, in which there was a high level of interaction. The hall was well prepared, the worship table, covered in a seasonal green cloth, and bearing a candle, cross and Bible, being the focus.  Children entered quietly into the hall and joined in with the singing of a reflective worship song. They joined in as one with the responses of the short liturgy (May the peace of the Lord be with you And also with you.  We light our candle in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.) A child was able to tell everyone that this is the Trinity and all seemed familiar with the statement that one candle is lit to signify God as Trinity, three in one. The easily accessible teaching was based on the parable of the yeast from St Matthew, and related to the termly value, Hope.  A loaf of bread, freshly baked by the school cook, and a pot of yeast were effectively used to demonstrate how a small amount of yeast enables bread to rise and be shared, and how likewise a small amount of hope or small act of kindness can ‘spread out’ and have a large impact on others. During a time for reflection, and while the headteacher passed round grains of yeast for children to share with those near them, all were asked to reflect on situations where they might bring kindness or hope to others.  As the yeast was shared, grains remained on the giver’s hand, demonstrating that as you share peace or kindness with others there is still enough left for yourself! The worship song ‘Shine, Jesus Shine’ was sung enthusiastically by all, and a short prayer asked that we might all spread our yeast, our hope, with others and help to make the world a better place.  As part of the ‘sending out’ children were challenged to do acts of kindness and record them on an outline of a loaf of bread, which once completed would then be added to the Spiritual Journey Book.”

We shared the bread that Mrs Thomas baked for us, it was delicious! I shared the letter with the children today but I wanted to share the excerpt above with you all. She was very complimentary about our school, especially the relationships between staff and pupils.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 20th September

I had a wonderful day on Wednesday, having the privilege to go with the children on Welly Walk. They all absolutely love our local area and it is fantastic to see them working and playing together. So many of them commenting on how beautiful is and how God has created it. They are right, we are so lucky to be able to walk and play here. Some children even created a WWI trench, inspired by our trip to the Imperial War Museum. The sun shone as we were able to capture this perfect image of our church.

An Archaeology dig

We learnt what archaeology is – it is looking at the things that humans have left behind over thousands of years. The children were asking lots of questions about what sort of things they have found as an Archaeology team. Today, we looked at a Roman enclosure on the top of Ruardean Hill, as part of the Foresters Forest. One man told us that we were at the highest point in the Forest, 941ft above sea level!

Using photographs of landscapes and people during History, the children were able to create a pictorial timeline. They surprised the archeologist at the speed in which they sorted the images. 

Then the children got given a bag of items and needed to sort it out into items that would still be in the ground in 1000 years times should it be buried. We took the opportunity to discuss the importance of recycling plastic, something that we now do in school. 

We got to stand in a ditch that the Romans had dug. We know this because of the pottery found in the ground. What we don’t know if what they were doing in the Forest of Dean and why. Being an archaeologist means piecing together clues, like a detective. The children were hypothesising why the Romans dug a trench. Some ideas included defending something valuable, as pottery was found it could have been a religious site; the archaeologists are trying to find out. Their initial thinking is that it was a Roman fort built by the army but they don’t know yet. They are excavating to try and find out more. We did lots of observations of a team of archaeologists looking to see what they could find to add more pieces to their puzzle.

Our Celebrations

Head’s blog – 13th September

This week started with sharing our wonderful school with someone who left in 1957. Chris Harris contacted us earlier in the year to say that he was visiting England from his home in Australia. He left Clearwell Primary school in 1957, when Chris and his family emigrated. There were 4 brothers, one sister, a mum, dad and two dogs! All left on a 6 week sail to the other side of the world. This week was the first time Chris had returned to Clearwell. It was a pleasure to talk to him and his wife about our school and he was able to share his memories of his life in England. Chris bought some books for us to share. Thank you Chris.

An email received from Chris on his return to Australia.

Thank you for your valuable time you gave my wife Vicki and myself. To show and explain so much of my old school , it meant a lot to us and we have since passed on the news to my two brothers who also attended the school and my sister .It was a delight to meet you and your passion for the school and your dedication shone through. Thanking you again , with appreciation Chris Harris”

We have had a lot of other adventures this week, starting with gymnastics where children from years 3, 4 and 5 went to the Forest of Dean Gymnastics centre and were coached by Vlad and Shanie. We had a fabulous time and will be continuing to go every week until October half term. Then another group of children will attend until Christmas.

Kerry Ford has returned to teach KS2 brass. We have divided the class, with one half learning French and then they swap over.

Today has bought lots of excitement across the school. Oak class had the opportunity to visit the Secret Forest with their families invited too. They had a fabulous afternoon in the sunshine. Thank you to the local community for inviting us visit.

Whilst Oak were out and about, Willow class were learning how to cook an apple or rhubarb crumble based on a war time recipe. We used a traditional recipe, even using apples and rhubarb from our garden including wind falls. This is exactly what our predecessors will have done during war time. Here is a selection of photographs of the fun that we had.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 6th September 2019

Welcome back! What an exciting week back to school. Staff spent our INSET day reviewing our behaviour policy and school rules as we felt that it was complicated for children to relate to. Using ideas from Paul Dix, “When adults change, everything changes”, we have decided on 3 simple rules:

Within each of these rules, there are examples of what is meant by being prepared, being respectful and being safe.  All families should have received a copy of this document, I will put one on the parents’ page too.  

The children have grasped these rules so quickly, that after discussion with them, we decided to further simplify our dojos to be these 3 rules and then a couple related to reading records. We hope that this clarity will help children to learn what is expected in school (and outside of school).

Your children may have told you that we have had a major revamp of classrooms in school, with new flooring, tables and chairs being purchased and installed. School looks incredible and I want to thank staff for coming in over their holidays to re-organise classrooms including displays. These things do not happen by chance, it is great team work. 

We also celebrated some awards that were inadvertently missed out at the end of term, namely 100% attendance awards from Oak class.   They were very happy to receive their prizes on the first day back!

As you know, our tag line is “a small school providing endless adventures” and today saw our whole school trip to London. We went to the Imperial War Museum to help inspire children about our topic, “The Impact of War on Clearwell.”  

We saw exhibitions about WWI and WWII, learning about the different people involved in war and the impact it had on society. We are so lucky to have seen the Victorian Crosses of Private Miles and Angus Buchanan. Private Mile’s section had a plaque on it, which referred to him having been a “scholar of Clearwell Church of England School”. It was a real “wow” moment for all of us, as a man who was awarded the Victoria Cross went to our school. Whilst we knew this, seeing it written pride of place in the Imperial War Museum was very special. 

Mrs Stirrup took up her usual “Tour guide Teacher” role, talking is through the geographical differences between London and the Forest of Dean. She also pointed out London Landmarks. A great adventure was had by all! 

A huge thank you to staff and parents who have spent the day making it possible. It has been a long day, especially the extended journey home!