Category Archives: 100 Years in Clearwell

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! 

Head’s blog – 19th July

We have had a fantastic week of celebrations this week, starting with Willow showcasing their cornet playing. As brass is part of our Forest Heritage, this learning was funded by the HLF. The children have improved so much and are lucky enough to continue with the cornet in September for another 10 weeks funded by the Wye Music Society.

We had so many celebrations, we had to do it in two parts today! This morning we issued all of the awards for Reading (Tickled pink) and Behaviour for Learning (Pink Pips) badges.

Then in church this afternoon, we announced the winners of the Sports Day trophy and the attendance cup, as well as celebrating lots of other things including attendance.

I offer my sincere apologies to Oak class who were missed off the attendance awards. Parents have been sent this, but to share with the rest of the community, these children got 100% all year: Max, Theo, Olly and Jenson. The lucky winner of the £20 Amazon voucher was Theo and for Willow was Kaiden. The Oak children who got 100% for the summer term are: Harry, Rory, Lily, Norah, Max, Theo, Jenson and Olly.  They are all owed a bar of chocolate and the winner of the cinema tickets was Norah.

Thank you for all of the support that you have all given this term. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who works at Clearwell. They all work so hard to ensure the children have the best experiences possible. I hope everyone enjoys a well earned rest and we all go and make some memories with our families.

Good luck to our year 6 children who head off to pastures new.

Head’s Blog – 12th July

We have had a real varied and interesting week this week, supporting our tag line, “A small school providing endless adventures.” On Monday, a surprise awaited the year 4, and a few year 3 children. We were off to watch Five Acres perform Annie. The performance certainly inspired a number of our budding actors and gave them a taste of what is on offer at Five Acres, should they choose to go there for their secondary education.

Wednesday had our usual welly walk for most children with the exception of year 5s who spent the morning at Dene Magna watch Chris Bradford perform; what a performance! He taught us some Japanese terms, such as Bushido which means the way of the warrior. Chris also gave us a demonstration of Samurai sword technique.  We have bought three of his books for our Ripping Reads for children to read independently or to share with an adult at home. 

The sun kept shining for us, which was lucky for us as Sports Day had arrived. Rob, from Prostars, has been preparing the children for this and they performed superbly. The four different stations of Field Events (Welly wanging, long jump, shot put and javelin) were situated around the track. The children were superb with the furthest junior “wanger” threw it 15.5m and the infant “wanger threw it 13.2m.  The memorial hall committee donated celebratory mugs to be awarded to these lucky winners.   This was followed with by the track events of running and the obstacle race, which included the class sack race component. 

Every single child in the school placed in at least one event, this makes me so proud because it shows us that the events gave everyone a chance to shine. Some of the overall winners included:

  • Kaden – Top scorer in the school
  • Charlie – Second highest scorer in the school
  • Harry – Third highest scorer in the school

Every single child who participated accrued points for their house, irrespective of the place they came.

The parents did the obstacle and running race this year and we also had our “toddler” race. A great time was had by all! The support given to the pupils was great as were the children, thank you.

The year 5s have had an extremely busy week, yesterday they spent the day back at Five Acres as part of the transition offered by the school for potential students. We work closely with all of our local secondary schools to ensure that our children can make an informed choice about their future and be prepared for life after Clearwell. They had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed their day.

We had a fabulous afternoon celebrating 100 years in Clearwell at our Annual Garden Party organised by the Governors. The country dancing children showcased their dancing, followed by Oak class reciting their acrostic poem about Clearwell. I loved Paige’s memories of her dad’s life at Clearwell, which I will post on our website soon. 

Willow class played Hot Cross Buns on the corner and then recited “Vorest Ship” written by Keith Morgan. Then we were in for a real treat when the whole school sang.

An event like this does not happen with lots of support from everyone. Thank you so much for everything, we may be small but we are mighty!

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 5th July

Being a teaching Head is a challenge but so rewarding. This week has really shown what a fabulous community we have at Clearwell. We have had children representing our school at the Forester’s Forest event, sharing the learning that the whole school has been doing about 100 years in Clearwell.

The children were amazing and spoke so knowledgeably about all of the things that they have learnt our local heritage. I am so proud to be able to lead a school which educates the future about their past.

With the annual Governor’s Garden Party coming up next week, we had another non-uniform day today in exchange for a bottle. Thank you for all of the donations. As ever, everyone was very generous. Raffle tickets will be on sale from Monday at £1 per tickets. Lots of hampers and prizes up for grabs.

Coleford Garden Centre donated lots of bedding plants and compost for us to use during our Ground Force day today. We had a number of parents and Governors come to help prepare the grounds for the party. Again, all of this shows how supportive our local community are of our school.

Sponsored Swim

Jen Hale (TA) and her mum Greta Hale (Former Vicar of Clearwell) completed a sponsored swim in aid of Clearwell School during the month of June. We are so grateful to them and they raised over £650, which is incredible. So far, we have used this money to purchase books for Willow to read as part of their English over the next year and also a set of comprehension resources. Mrs Stirrup is in the process of selecting her books for ordering.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 28th June

With so many pressures on everyone, I attended a Gloucestershire Healthy Living and  Learning conference with the focus on mental health for all.  It was extremely interesting and stressed the importance of all of taking responsibility of supporting others.  Our top priority should be to help others to be “Wholly content, positive and optimistic”.  This is very much something that we aim to do at Clearwell, it is challenging but we still keep trying as it is so important, more important than SATS results, and we spend a significant amount of time educating children how to be good friends, as well as to engage with someone that they can talk to and more importantly to be able to listen to each other.  Please help us to support your children by reinforcing how we can help ourselves and others.  Building a connection with people and listening to their concerns helps, we cannot solve all of their problems but we can learn to empathise.  We will continue to do this in school using physical activities, a range of lessons and skills building

Governor’s Annual Garden Party

With our Governors Annual Garden Party approaching quickly, we have had our first donation day for the raffle.  Thank you very much for these donations.

Rewarding children

Having spoken to the children, they wanted to have more rewards for those children who always do what they have been asked to do, without any fuss. So, after collating their ideas and a discussion at our staff meeting it has been decided that for the children who have 100% green dojos each week, they will get 15 minutes of Golden Time on a Friday afternoon. The children who have been in receipt of a red dojo that week will sit with me and we will do different pastoral activities. These will vary dependent on the individual needs of the children with me. For those children who get Golden time every week in a half term, they will get an extended Golden Time.

Children who get over 20 dojos will still get a pink pink which goes towards their badge. The purpose of this is to encourage all children to have appropriate learning behaviour which makes school a better place to learn for everyone.

Photograph on Head’s Blog

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 21st June

After what had felt like weeks of rain, the weather was finally kind to us on our school trip. Heading to two destinations that aren’t designed for tourists meant that we could have got very wet! However, the sun shone and we all had a fabulous time at Devil’s Chapel and Dark Hills. At Devil’s Chapel we were being inspired for our adventure stories; experiencing a Forest first hand makes writing so much easier than looking at photographs. This was something that one of our wonderful year 3 children commented on. We investigated what we saw, smelt, heard and could touch and wrote a mini resources book to use in class for setting of a Forest. I cannot wait to read the finished articles.

Willow class went down near the “Chapel” itself whilst Mrs Griffiths read F W Harvey’s world famous poem about the exact location. We were all captivated at the words as we took ourself back through time to hear how the Roman’s used slaves to mine for Iron to make their weapons.

After a pit-stop back at school we headed to Dark Hills to find out about David and Robert Mushet and how their invention of a method to produce refined iron direct from the blast furnace, without the need for a separate refinery had a huge impact on the Industrial Revolution. Mrs Griffiths read an extract from his diaries and it was interesting to hear how Mrs Mushet also worked in the famous furnace. We talked about how there is little recognition of this, only of the men, which was a sign of the times. Our girls are encouraged to speak out, be heard and be remembered!

Activities day at Dean Academy

Our Y5 children visited Dean Academy yesterday and had a wonderful day completing a range of activities which included maths, science and Design Technology. I was an extremely proud Headteacher to be told that the teacher commented on how polite our children are. Thank you 😊

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 14th June

The horrendous weather may well have stopped Country Dancing and Welly Walk taking place this week but the children have still had lots of fun. One thing was Mrs Griffiths spent a lot of time talking to Oak about what makes us happy. It is so important that we take time to reflect on this as too often we are concerned about what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. Then with Willow, they were history detectives and looked through boxes of old school photographs and documents so that they could compare and contrast school life over the last 100 years. Some family members could be recognised!

Mrs Stirrup welcomed the new parents and children to Clearwell this week. We are very excited about them joining us and are sure that they will have a wonderful school experience. There are a few places left in Reception for September if anyone knows anyone who is still looking for a tailored education for their child, whilst having a huge range of opportunities.

On Wednesday we were entertained by the children who have private music lessons with Mark Bick. They put on a performance to showcase their creativity. We had singing from Shannon; a composition to include keyboard, voice and drums from Norah – it sounded very much like The Doors; Rory’s composition included keyboard and voice producing a transient inspired dance sound; Tom and Josh – with Josh on Keyboard – who wrote a song about the bug hotel that they have built in our garden; Grace played the Brahm’s lullaby on the keyboard whilst Mark accompanied her on the guitar and then she played ‘There was a crooked man’ as a solo. Toby and Millie completed the performance with their composition about a virus escaping a laboratory and zombies taking over. I was overwhelmed by the range of skills and creativity demonstrated. It is fabulous to see how confident the children are and how their creativity is encouraged. This is one way we nurture our children to enable them to flourish.  Thank you Mark!

Our audience!

Our school trip to Devil’s Chapel and Dark Hills is taking place next Wednesday. If the current weather is anything to go by, waterproofs are going to be required!

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 7th June

This week has seen the finishing touches to our new mosaic in school.  The children chose images that represent our village, namely the church, the modern well, the castle and of course children in our school uniform.  This is all part of the celebration of our Heritage Lottery Fund project researching 100 years in Clearwell.  The amazing Rachel Shilston drew up the designs and worked with the children to create the finished product.  Paul Tarry (Mrs Tarry’s husband) came and installed it over the holidays, so a big thank you to him as well.  I am sure you all agree, it looks magnificent.

Leaver’s service

As we are part of Gloucestershire Diocese as a church school, we are invited to attend a celebration for the Leavers at Gloucester cathedral.  One of our year 6 attended and she had a lovely time, the receipt of a unique cross will help her to remember that she is unique and made by God with love, just as the wooden cross has been.  We had a beautiful day for these celebrations.

We will remember them

As the country remembers the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Mrs Griffiths shared some films with Willow class. They were captivated by this, which bodes well for September when the whole school will visit the Imperial War Museum at a minimal cost and then study the impact of war on our village. Mrs Griffiths will be leading this project and we have lots of exciting things lined up already to inspire learning.

Staff development

I don’t usually celebrate the training that staff participate in but I do feel that it is important that our community know that the staff are invested in, as well as the pupils.  This week well being, sports mark and emotional support training has been attended.  I have been listening to some inspirational speakers today at the Gloucestershire Association of Headteachers conference, Sir Tim Brighouse being one of them. He really helped to remind me why I do the job that I do, namely to create a climate in school that makes a difference for each child.  There are challenges along the way and mistakes that are made, but we learn from these and become better as a result of this.  We need to ensure that all of us, adults and children, learn by our mistakes and don’t see them as being the end of something but more of a beginning of a new journey. Dr Gervase Phinn was incredible too, I am definitely going to read his books. He too spoke of the importance of nurturing a child and how there is more to life than English and maths. We all want our children to be happy and healthy, something I hope that we succeed in doing at Clearwell and where we don’t, we listen to how we can.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 24th May

Willow have been working scientifically this week to investigate whether all the bones in a person are bigger if they are taller. There was some confusion in the measuring because of the inches on the tape measure got there in the end!

Commemorating our 100 years in Clearwell

As part of our Heritage Lottery Fund Project we have researched many aspects of life and wanted to capture this on a mosaic which will be put in pride of place in the school playground for all to see. Here some of the photos that the talented Rachel Shilston has taken during her work with the children. I did get to put one piece in!

Travelling by Tuba

The children at Clearwell have been so fortunate to watch an afternoon of tuba playing by Travelling by Tuba. The Wye Valley Music Society organised the event and the children had a wonderful time. Thank you so much for funding this.

Our Celebrations

Head’s Blog – 17th May

A busy week assessing this week for our year 2 and 6 children. I am really proud of them and need them to understand that there is more to life than assessments. All of us have our talents and gifts and I hope that whatever the outcomes they are reminded they are special in their own way, that is what makes life so interesting.

Willow class had a visit from a Free Miner this week so they could learn their mining technique is different to one used 100 years ago. This is all part of our 100 years in Clearwell project. Jason Griffiths proved to be real hit with the class and they were fascinated by the information that he shared with them. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our children about life in the mines.

Our Celebrations