Head’s Blog – 20th July
I cannot quite believe that it is the end of another academic year! Never a dull moment and this week brought us the hottest temperatures ever in the UK and even though our school building is usually cool and cold in the winter, the classrooms reached 29 degrees! However, the children who were in still kept learning and being creative. Our KS2 pupils researched the Commonwealth Games and created posters. They were highly motivated as Mr Tomley had brought in a box of chocolates for the winners! Never had some of them focussed for so long on one activity.
As our year draws to a close, we say goodbye to Abby and Mr Tomley. Abby joined us as part of Kickstart scheme having completed her A-Levels last year. She has simply been incredible so we kept her for the entire year – we are going to be so lost without her. You can tell how good she is because she will be starting at University in September to secure her qualification to be paid as a teacher. In our eyes she is already a teacher as she has worked with and inspired so many of our children. Mr Tomley has led our PE this year and helped us to participate in many events, all of which the children have loved. He will hopefully come and run our Sports Day in September! We wish him well in his retirement.
Whilst Mrs Griffiths is staying with us to be part-time in Years 3 and 4, I must mention how brilliant she has been in our EYFS and KS1 class. She took over at the start of COVID, revolutionised the learning environment and works tirelessly to ensure that the pupils make progress. The attainment of the children show the impact that she has had on them all as individuals. Thank you and we are so glad you are still going to be around to support and inspire us all.
Head’s Blog – 15th October
We have finally been able to return to competitive sport outside of school this week where 12 of the children from Clearwell participated in a Cross Country competition at Five Acres School as part of the School Games initiative. All of the children completed the course with minimal amount of training. Michaela Bowen, a parent and governor, came in the last couple of weeks and did some preparation with the children but nothing long term. This makes their achievement of completing the course even more admiral. The event was aimed at Year 5 and 6 children but we entered lots of year 4 and even a year 3 girl. The year 3, Tabitha, came an impressive 9th out of over 120 children. I find this simply phenomenal. We have signed up for lots of other sporting events which will be led by Mr Pete Tomley who is joining us to teach PE after half term. We are looking forward to him joining our team.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to our fashion show by attending, modelling, buying raffle tickets or simply donating. We raised over £600 which will all go to the library fund. We have ordered the bookcases as we are keen to get this set up as soon as possible and will continue to raise money during this academic year.
Our next fundraiser will take place on Thursday 21st October. It will start at 3:00 so we have time to fit a film in and will end at 4:30. The cost will be £2 per child and will include popcorn. All children are invited and dependent on how many children there are and their ages will determine whether we play one or two films and what they will be. Full details will come out on PA Connect.
Head’s Blog – 30th April 2021
We have had a very art inspired week this week at Clearwell, supporting one of our curriculum drivers to be creative. Firstly, Jer Gazzard, a fellow teacher, friend and artist came in to paint a ‘Wow Tree’ in our corridor. I am sure that you will agree, the finished product is absolutely phenomenal. I love the fact he has also inspired our children, just look at this painting on a rock by a year 4 pupil who is also painting some glass at home. We love it!
Oak class have been having fun (improving their gross motor skills) mashing up the Evil Pea from “Supertato”. They have also been creating a scene from the Great Fire of London, they have captured the colours spectularly.
Willow class have been able to go swimming this week, which was brilliant for all of them. Many of our children, like the rest of the population, had not been swimming for over a year. Lots of certificates were issued to some of the beginners group, showing the progress that they made during their first session. There are a number of children who can already swim so did not get certificates but I know that are doing well.
Mrs Griffiths also started our Upper Key Stage Two book club. They are meeting weekly to discuss the same book, Holes by Louis Sacher. They came out so excited this week it inspired someone who isn’t in the club to read the book - success all round.
Head’s Blog – January 2021: Lockdown 3.0
Well, we are have managed to survive four weeks of another lockdown and of remote learning. I cannot thank everyone in our community enough for the work and patience that they have shown during this time. Teaching staff have become mini-experts on using teaching using Microsoft Teams from the point of no knowledge whatsoever; support staff have been working hard behind the scenes providing practical and emotion support to many; pupils computing skills have developed in an alarming rate as has their need to learn a whole raft of new skills whilst being away from their friends; parents are juggling work, remote learning, running a home and if your house is anything like mine, keeping the peace and the governors are being supportive of all of us. Meanwhile this has happened under the cloud that is a global pandemic and the one, most important thing that you are all doing is staying safe. We have seen some brilliant examples of home learning which I am extremely impressed by but I also know that sometimes, some of us just want to sit and cry and this is OK too. We are very fortunate in our school that we all work together and support each other, I am sure that you all know that we are here if you need us.
You will have seen in the news that the Government have announced that the earliest schools will be fully open (they are not closed!) is 8th March. This means that we will continue with our remote learning until that point. It is likely that we will be delivering more learning resources to all of you on Monday 22nd February – this is a planned INSET day for staff. Obviously there will not be any remote learning or work set over half term, everyone needs a break from a computer screen and have some family time. I do not know any more details surrounding this possible return and will find out the same time as you if I watch the Government briefing or watch/read the BBC news, so meanwhile we will keep doing what we are doing. I will be sending out a quick survey regarding our remote learning provision over the next week or so and would appreciate your feedback.
The snow that fell last weekend (and more is forecast this weekend) gave us all a welcome break and something different to do. I had great fun with my daughters sledging so I thought that it would be an opportunity for families to send in photographs of the children playing in the snow and home learning so we can all see each other. Enjoy these images and keep doing what you are doing – keeping us all safe. We will get to see each other face to face soon.
We have had a short yet busy term and have all made it to the end! We have had some concerns raised about the speed that people are travelling through our village, particularly at school drop off time and pick up time. Whilst the official sped limit is 30, it would be really appreciated if people could keep below 20. We keep all of our children safe in school and want them to be safe in the village too. Thank you.
Our school is being refurbished and we are going to spend some of our time making more improvements before the children are back after half term. We strive to make our leaning environments the best that they can be because we know that this shows everyone how much we care about the education of our children.
Congratulations to Dr Jason Griffiths who has been awarded his PhD. We are really lucky that this expert on Authors from the Forest of Dean is working with our children. He is sharing his expertise in podcasting with them so that we can share our learning about the Impact of war on Clearwell.
We all know someone who has experienced mental health issues and as a school we like to educate the whole child, so when Miss Warr asked if we could participate in the National Awareness day, how could we say no? She put together resources for all of us to share and the children took part in numerous activities during the day supporting their understanding of mental health and their own mental well being.
As part of our worship today, Mrs Baird from the Forest Food bank came in to explain what a food bank actually does. She talked us through the whole process and even got a couple of volunteers to pack the bags ready to deliver to someone in need. We took the opportunity to thank the many volunteers who work at the food bank as well as the people who are in a position to donate. If anyone is in a position to donate to the food bank then please bring food into school and we will give all of it to the food bank after our Harvest Festival on Wednesday 16th October. Everyone is welcome to join our celebration at St. Peter’s at 2:00 p.m.
Our independent learning
The independent learning is still coming in thick and fast. The children never to cease to amaze me with their creations, especially as it is all voluntary! Their compulsory homework is reading, spelling, grammar and maths! Well done everyone, keep up the good work. What you are doing is a great start to being life-long learners.
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.
We have had an extremely busy and exciting week, which I am sure you have heard all about! Both Oak and Willow classes have had Brand new BENQ 4K touch screens installed. The children and staff are thrilled with them and have been put them to use straightaway. One member of staff was heard to squeal the first time she used it! We know that learning will become even more interactive and the iPads that we have will be used more as we will be able to share presentations and work straight into the board at a swipe. What a fabulous way to share What A Good One Looks Like (WAGOLL)!
Items for sale!
As a result of the touch board installation we have 2 projectors that we are selling at £120 each which could be used for the home cinema experience. We also have two, used, long armed brackets (price to be decided) and two (brand new in box) Vision Flat Panel Wall Mount for up to 80″ Displays (Max Weight: 130kg) for £30 each. Please contact me on email@example.com if you are interested. All monies will go into school fund to buy more equipment for your children.
Lest we Forget
Today, we went to the Memorial hall and had a beautiful remembrance service led by Rev. Wearmouth. We were all reminded that war has an impact on lots of people from all cultures, not just soldiers and that there are people suffering from this today.
Bethan read “In Flanders field” and Brooke lay a wreath in memory of the fallen soldiers. The Last Post was played and children were able to respect the 2 minute silence.
You should all have received letters relating to the key dates for this term and a reverse advent letter which identifies the date that your child has been asked to bring in an item for the Forest Food bank. Next week, you will receive a book of 5 raffle tickets to sell for our Christmas Fayre at £1 per ticket – lots of extras are available. Kat Nelson-Brown and the Friends of Clearwell school have got a huge amount of prizes, some of which are listed below:
- Puzzlewood family ticket
- Dean Heritage Centre family ticket
- Krazy Golf family ticket
- Perrygrove family ticket
- Perrygrove family ticket for Cider, Sausage and Steam event
- Go Ape voucher
- £10 Moot voucher
- Hunky Dory cafe voucher for two
- Tudor Farmhouse champagne cream tea for two
- Sunday carvery at Forest hills golf club
- The Miners voucher
- Girls writing set
- Girls princess pen set
There are a large amount of stalls too; it is going to be a good one!
Friends are meeting at 2:15 on Thursday 16th November. If you would like to come along and get involved – old and new members welcome.
The winner of the house points sash went to Dunraven for the second week running. Come on Joce and Wyndham, see if you can get more house points than them next week!
We have been so lucky this week to all go to Perrygrove to make our own pear juice. At a time when OFSTED are criticising schools for only focusing on the core subjects, this week has been a perfect example of the benefits of being in a small village primary school. There aren’t many schools who, at short notice, organise a trip for the entire school to visit a local tourist attraction and take part in ‘From the Orchard to the Bottle’ experience – all free of charge too. A huge thank you to Perrygrove for inviting us, donating their time, bottles and labels. The children had a marvellous time, as you will be able to see from the videos below and hopefully from the feedback from your child(ren). The photographs in these videos were taken by the children and then Willow class created their own videos using iMovie. This was all done with minimum support from the adults! I am sure that you are as impressed as we are.