Monthly Archives: March 2023

Head’s Blog – 31st March 2023

It has been a very busy week here at Clearwell! A group of children chose to attend a gymnastics competition at the Forest of Dean Gymnastics Centre organised by Lynn Hammersley. We competed against Ellwood Primary school and the children were an absolute credit to themselves and our school. All of the children received a participation certificate and some chocolate. The highest scoring gymnasts (male and female, KS1 and KS2) were also given an Easter Egg. Clearwell did really well with this, Teddy, Victoria & Lily (joint first) and Harry all received an Easter Egg. Lynn generously had a “lucky dip” gift for three of the entrants, Bea and Zara won two of these. I am so very proud of all of these children as they were living out our vision of being “Life-long learners”. A parent also sent in these words which I wanted to share:

I just wanted to send an email to say how impressed I was with the children who took part in the gymnastics competition! It’s one thing to try something completely new, and another to then take that new activity and perform in front of a crowd of people! It takes a lot of guts to perform in front of other people, and even when nerves seemed to get the better of some of the gymnasts, they continued to perform to the best of their abilities and behaved in a very professional and sportsmanlike manner! 

We also had our Easter Service which was fully organised by the teaching staff. As always, the service was a delight, with our children performing with varying amounts of confidence. We feel it is important that every child has the opportunity to speak in our celebrations as it is part of our vision for them to be confident communicators. We have seen so many children develop their confidence through our learning provision and ethos. Thank you to all of the families and members of the community that came to join us in this celebration – you are always welcome.

Sewing club have created a large range of items this term, practising different stitches. Thank you to Mrs Peters and Mrs McKelvey for running this club and filling the children’s sewing with Easter goodies!

The school council requested that Key Stage Two children get to participate in Welly Walk – this is an activity for all of our EYFS and KS1 children as elements of their curriculum are delivered in this way. As usual, we do our best to fulfill their requests; on Thursday the whole school went on Welly Walk. They had a fabulous time.

The children have also been part of the process in the selection of new play equipment for the rec. KS2 children were shown the different designs and Mrs McBean and Charlie Rose came in today to discuss their thoughts and gather their opinions. It is great opportunity for them to influence the area where they get to play. The children have chosen the company which has an ethos and reputation for their materials being sustainable. They have requested for play equipment that enables access for all, including a hard service for wheel chair users. The next step will be to raise over £100,000 – watch this space!

The dojo shop was open today with children exchanging their dojo points (positive rewards given in school). They love this shop! Thank you to Mrs Williams for sorting this out for the children.

Mrs Tarry has been extremely busy over the last couple of weeks with us having a number of audits before I leave. These have been in Finance, Health and Safety and Safeguarding. I am extremely grateful for the amount of work she put in to prepare for and be part of these audits. I am pleased to say that all three audits confirmed that best practice is in place at Clearwell. The Safeguarding audit was particularly pleasing as the quick feedback was that we are “Sound as a pound” as Clearwell has an ethos conducive to excellent safeguarding.

The week has been a very strange one for me as it is my last one the Headteacher at Clearwell Primary school and the last one as a teacher. I have been working with and at Clearwell for six years as I was appointed in March 2017 and have been teaching for 25 years. I am going to work at the Local Authority and will be the Inclusion Lead for the Forest of Dean and Gloucester. Inclusion is something that I am passionate about as I believe that every child deserves the chance to be the best version of themselves possible – sometimes needed an extra helping hand to make this possible.

My time at Clearwell has been brilliant! There have been some challenging times alongside the joyous occasions but I have always done my very best to put the children in our school at the centre of decision making. I am going to miss the staff; the children; the families and the community of Clearwell so much. It has been a huge part of my life for the last 6 years. Thank you to those who have welcomed me into this community and supported me in my journey as Headteacher of our village school. There are way too many people to thank individually, but I hope that you know who you are – I do try to make sure people know when I am grateful. As I tell the children, “treat others as you like to be treated!” I also want to say thank you to those people who have contributed to the gifts that I received during the Easter service. Just in case you do not know what your kind donations went to I had some Lego flowers (I LOVE Lego!), a spa day for two and afternoon tea for two. There were also some fabulous gifts made by the children, a book of memories (these will make me shed some tears!) and some bunting where they had all drawn me. Absolutely perfect.

I usually like to write personalised thank you letters to anyone that gives a gift to me but I have been bombarded with flowers, wine and other gifts this morning and I am not 100% sure who has given me what, so please forgive me for this generic thank you! The cards with your thanks on definitely need a mascara warning!

I am confident that the team at Clearwell will continue to put children at the centre of decision making as they are absolutely superb. The school is in an excellent place, with a dedicated team of people who all share the same values and ethos. These will be ably led by Rachel Griffiths until September. The recruitment process is on-going for the substantial Headteacher and the Vice Chair of Governors – Dr Laura Price – will keep you informed of this.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 24th March 2023

What a hectic week in school this week. The children have been practising for their gymnastics competition next week and we were also able to invite parents in to watch the violin concert. I was amazed at how well they have learnt to play different tunes and read music in only 9 weeks. This shows how good a teacher Ms McFarlane is and how determined the children are to learn. I really hope some of them take up the lessons being offered in Cinderford – they have had a flyer about it.

A message from Mrs Stirrup – Thank you to all those who came and supported year 3 and 4 violin concert they were incredible, I hope your child has enjoyed their experience learning a new instrument. Thank you once again for your continued support.  

Mental Health and wellbeing is fundamental to us all. This week in our wellbeing lesson our focus was top talents and thinking out how everyone has an area they really shine in. To encourage positive thinking we made medals with positive words and phrases on then swapped with another friend in our class.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 17th March

Lots of exciting learning taking place this week in school. We have also been carrying out some assessments with children’s reading. If you ask any child in our school they know that assessments are there to show us what they know and what the teachers need to teach still. We love this ethos as it shows children that assessments are not to be feared but instead a time to celebrate and use for planning. Over the last couple of weeks Mrs Williams has been using YARC (a standardised National Test) to review reading progress. It assesses accuracy, reading rate and comprehension. We were absolutely blown away with the progress made by children. This shows that the fluency practice that we do daily in class, along with the comprehension activities are all working. The biggest improvement in children’s “reading ages” is when they read regularly (and the converse when they don’t read regularly). Mrs Knight takes some children individually and listens to them every day as part of our reading offer. She is incredible and has worked wonders with the confidence and the ability of them. Thank you Mrs Knight, you have gone over and above what we asked you to do in your remit as a Reading Partner.

You will start to notice a different style in the weekly blog as classes are making their own contributions, so not all of the information is coming from me now. I am not losing it by using the incorrect pronouns!

There is a new display up showing the incredible observational drawing from Years 1 and 2.

This week in Oak Class we have been using our 3D Art Sculpture lessons to make tulips for our Mother’s Day cards.  We looked at the bulbs we planted earlier in the year and were so please with how they have grown.  We made them into special gifts for our mums.

Every day Mrs Thomas provides us with a lovely selection of fruit and vegetables for our morning snack. It always looks and tastes delicious – thank you Mrs Thomas!

At Clearwell we like to see ourselves as writers, using a short video clip as stimulus year 3 and 4 have written narratives using the title The Lighthouse. They have all written fantastic stories budding authors in the making. 

We have also been busy dissecting flowers to learn about functions of plants, we love a practical science lesson where we use our working scientifically skills. 

They have also been busy preparing for their violin concert which year 3 and 4 parents are welcome to attend , concert will begin at 11.40.  They sound superb ! 

It has also been Comic relief today and we have talked about what it means to be a Courageous Advocates. All of KS2 wrote their reasons for making a donation and wearing something that makes them smile. Maci announced the winner of the “Guess how many sweets in the jar” competition – Mrs Williams was very happy! This competition raised an extra £30 toward Maci’s charity work for endangered animals.

Our Celebrations

Maci in year 3 was a Top Learner for her swimming.

Head’s Blog – 10th March 2023

The snow didn’t stop our adventures this week, although we were a bit worried about the bus turning up but it did arrive, albeit a bit late! First stop was the Reception and KS1 children who went to Bristol Suspension Bridge to learn about the Significant Individual Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the impact that he had on numerous engineering projects. They also go to be engineers and design and create a bridge. With some adult support (some of them are only 4!) they were able to create some create structures. You can see by the look on their faces how proud they were!

Years 3 and 4 have written their own blog entry:

It has been a busy week in Willow 1. On Wednesday, we went to Bristol museum to find out more about the Ancient Egyptians. We saw mummified cats, a sarcophagus and clay jewellery. It was awesome!

Years 5 and 6 had an excellent trip to the M-Shed in Bristol, where they took part in a workshop about the migration of the Anglo- Saxons to Britain. They also enjoyed the interactive exhibits during a tour of the Museum. They were brilliantly behaved during their trip and a real credit to our school. 

Other learning has taken place this week including some hands on Science. The children in Reception have been exploring herbs.  The cut up mint, basil and coriander and mixed them with water to make ‘potions’. Our classroom smelt lovely! This activity encourages the children to explore the natural world through their senses, study cause and effect and to develop new vocabulary.

Earlier in the week the class competed against each other boys vs girls to learn about features of plants , the objective was to roll a dice and build a flower each flower part being associated with a number on a die. The pupils enjoyed the element of healthy competition as well as being scientists. 

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 3rd March

In Oak Class, Years 1 & 2 have been learning about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, as a significant individual in History.  This week they studied paintings (of the launch of the SS Great Britain), as a historical source, to make deductions about the past.   They then tried to draw an accurate picture of the ship, including lots of details.  Their work is really impressive! We will be visiting one of Brunel’s designs, Clifton Suspension Bridge as one of our adventures next week. I cannot wait to go!

Reception have been learning all about growing plants.  They have been sorting types of vegetables and had a ‘vegetable tasting’ session, which led to discussions about what they did or didn’t like.  They have also been making their own obstacle courses outside! We love to encourage children to be creative as it is a quality and skill that will service them in later life.

Years 3 and 4 jumped into their new science topic plants by Investigating what plants need to survive using the variables sunlight and water , no sunlight but water and sunlight but no water. We will observe what has happened next week where the pupils will find out if their predictions were correct.

Some of our Year 5 children took part in a Netball Tournament at Dean Academy and we are very proud of them. They represented the school well, upholding our values and playing great netball. They came second in their group and out of the 20 teams that took part over different heats, they came 7th. We are by far the smallest school to participate (although we now have 58 children in our school and still growing!) which makes their achievement even more impressive.

We have celebrated a love of books and continuing to encourage children to be readers today. We made the decision for our KS2 children to be ambassadors of reading to promote their love of reading with the KS1 children so they are working in groups of mixed ages across the entire school. As part of National World Book Day, we have discussed our favourite book and character from their book as this was the theme for children who chose to dress up.

A number of children took up the challenge to read in an unusual place. Our winners were pictured on a slide and on a climbing wall. They both receive a £10 book voucher. Here are the competition entries.

We also took the time to participate in some Paired Reading, drew some maps of books and designed a book token for a competition. A very busy and exciting day celebrating books.

Our Celebrations