There is definitely an Autumnal feel in the air as we move towards our final week of term one. I cannot believe how quickly this term has passed us by. Mrs Griffiths and Oak class have been out on their Welly Walk, enjoying the sunshine and looking at lichen. They have been investigating how it can vary from tree to tree. Below you will also see the tree that the children observe every week to look at seasonal changes. As they pause, they start with a prayer/thank you for this special tree.
We have been lucky enough to have Andy Seed, a local author, in this week to talk to KS2 about flora and fauna in the Forest of Dean. The children really enjoyed his presentation and have been inspired to write their own poetry.
The whole school have had the privilege of going to the Forest of Dean gymnastics centre for one of the PE sessions this term. They get specialised coaching from staff from the centre, alongside our teachers too. Using the equipment means that the children have the opportunity to see what is available to them in our local area and a number of our children have gone on to be members of a squad at the gym following our sessions. Lots more join other gymnastics clubs. We love to inspire our children in all aspects of their life.
As part of our Developing Who we are offer, the children have designed the images for each of the badges that they are able to earn for trying to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Below is a link to the booklet which contains the images.
We have had the busiest of weeks having adventures that I can remember. I cannot thank staff enough for making these things happen at the end of a hectic term. As our Year 6 will be leaving us for pastures new next year I will start with them! They have had the most spectacular night away for their mini-residential at the Wilderness centre. We were impressed with their ability to work together, support and challenge each other and still come out smiling. The instructor was fabulous and we will certainly book to go there again. Lots of memories have been made.
Oak class have been praised for their incredible swimming this term, not all schools offer KS1 swimming but we think it is so important. We hope we can continue with this with the increasing costs of coach travel: quotations have tripled in some cases for next academic year. They have also completed tasting a range of fruit and vegetables and today have made smoothies – lucky things! Oak class had whole class music tuition – for a 10 week period – of Samba drumming which culminated in a performance to parents in the garden. Thank you to all of those that attended.
Year 5 children have attend Five Acres High School Super learning day where they learnt about probability trees, played music and went orienteering around the field.
Our Governing Body would like to organise a group of parents to help keep our great garden up to date. Please could you let the school office know asap if you are available to do this and perhaps join a ”What’s App” group so arrangements can be made.
What an incredible week we have had a Clearwell. We welcomed our new Reception children in on Tuesday morning and then their families joined us for our annual garden party in the afternoon. This garden party was special because it is the first one that we have been able to have since 2019 and we celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with our community as well. The weather was absolutely glorious, possibly too hot, but this did not stop our families attending and our children performing. Years 5 and 6 shared their research about key events from 1950s until 2022, years 3 and 4 read a poem written by Mrs Williams and Oak class performed ’The Queen’s Knickers” and danced the Circassian Circle. There was also audience participation as the children selected a lucky someone to come and dance with them. The whole of Willow performed a medley of songs from each decade, accompanied by Olivia who has been supported with children along with Mrs Stirrup. They were spectacular. A huge thank you to the Wye Valley Music Association who provide the funds for Olivia to work with us. There were cakes galore and fabulous raffle prizes. A huge thank you to everyone who donated prizes and bought tickets – over £330 was raised. This goes into our school fund to support adventures and resources.
On Wednesday, Mrs Stirrup, Mrs Williams and Abby took all of years 3 and 4 to a cricket tournament at St. John’s in Cinderford. Both teams performed well and one team made it through to the final. They came second in the overall tournament, which is brilliant and we are really proud of them of them all for their sportsmanship as well as their ability to play cricket!
Theo was Christi-Angel and Harry was Top Learner for improved presentation
We have had a week of having adventures at Clearwell this week. On Monday, a group of year 3 and 4 children represented Clearwell at the Panathlon at Hartpury College. They participated in new age curling, parachute games, table cricket and shooting into a hoop, to name a few. The ethos of honesty, self-belief, determination, passion, team work and respect was evident in all of our pupils. They also performed really well in the sports and came second overall out of nine schools. Thank you to Mr Tomley for training and taking them there.
On Wednesday KS2 visited Goodrich castle as part of their History learning, where they are studying an aspect or theme in British history that extends their chronological knowledge beyond 1066. They have been looking at a significant turning point in British History, namely The Norman Conquest. Visiting Goodrich castle enabled the children to learn about the design of castles, how life was influenced by the arrival of the Normans and what life was like for children. Using this information the children are writing a piece of narrative to entertain as well as it being able to inform their understanding of chronology. Most importantly, we all had a wonderful day, even though it was absolutely freezing cold!
On Thursday, it was Oak classes turn to have their adventure. We all went to ”We The Curious” in Bristol as part of their hands-on science learning. There are so many learning opportunities including forces, sound, light and the human body to name a few. As Bristol is the home of Aardman animation we had the opportunity to use light boxes to trace characters and make our own stop frame animation. It was a truly fabulous and exhausting day. I am sure that everyone involved slept well last night!
As part of our Collective Worship, Father Robert came in and carried out Open the Book. The children love this every Tuesday as they get to act out the bible stories. This week it was Daniel and the Lions’ Den.
Not the way that we expected to finish half term with Storm Eunice. I hope that everyone has stayed safe and that properties have remained in tact – there seems to be a lot of fences down so good news for Forest Products! As I sat in my dining room, I saw a lovely rainbow appear up over May Hill, there is always a glimmer of hope amongst the storms. We talk about this with our children as part of our Worship and the importance of trusting in God to bring calm – Trust has been our value this term.
The children in KS2 have been able to be creative this week and have been communicating confidently without speech as part of the second part of the Drama Workshops with Wyldwood. They produced some fabulous sketches linked to different parts of the book, ”The Farmer and the Clown”. It is surprising how some of the quieter children really come out of themselves when performing which is exactly why we deliver a broad and balanced curriculum even post COVID.
This week we have recruited a fabulous new teacher to join us in September, Mrs Karen Peters. She grew up in the Forest and has taught at both Coalway Infants and Mitcheldean Primary school. She will be a real asset to our team. Mr Rob Hulse will be joining us after Easter.
I have written a newsletter this week which shares other news about our school. The link is below. Have a wonderful half term for those in education.
COVID finally forced us to close a bubble this week and I want to thank our parents for their support. We are so lucky to have parents that work with us. As a team, we never underestimate how important this is to the success of our school. Thank you for this. We received some photographs of children learning, using resources sent home to them, creating their own resources and utilising our wonderful outdoors – for those not isolating!
We have been very fortunate to have Olivia, a pianist, to come and work with our children in preparation for our Easter service and also learning songs for us to perform at our Jubilee Garden Party which will take place on Tuesday 21st June (more information to follow). Wye Valley Music Society fund these sessions as they know the importance of exposing children to high quality musicians to help inspire them to play their own instruments. We also have, funded by the Art Council, Wyldwood arts working with our KS2 children. Over the course of a few days they are going to explore, create and make some drama together. Their ideas can help Wyldwood develop their brand new play based on the book, The Farmer and the Clown. This week, they played games, used props and created sensory play doh characters. The smell of lemon, spearmint and other herbs was divine! Our children are so lucky having all of these creative opportunities and living our our vision in their learning.
Mr Tomley also arranged for Ollie from Gloucestershire Cricket Club to come and work with our children as part of their Chance to Shine programme. They had the chance to play indoor cricket, hopefully some of them will take the sport when the season starts. They will be doing more cricket in the summer.
As part of RE in KS1 and Understanding the World: People, Culture and Communities for EYFS, Oak class have been learning about the significance of objects to people who follow Judaism. The children really enjoyed inspecting and reflecting on the objects, making comparisons to Christianity with the importance of candles and light.
We have been lucky enough to experience some sunshine this week and Oak class made the most of it when they went on their weekly Welly walk. As part of D&T and Art, they have been investigating texture so they used the trees in our local area and made some wax rubbing to see what patterns they were able to get.
As working scientifically is how we want our children to experience science, Willow class have been using a range of different materials to investigate friction and the impact it has on movement.
I am super proud of two of our children who have represented our school at the District Cross-Country yesterday at Newent. Both of them qualified to go to the County finals but because the competition is really only for Y5/6, our Y3 girl is not able to go and compete. The organiser was so impressed with her, he sent me an email to praise her achievement. I am sure she will be back next year when they will let her go to County! Well done to both of them.
Oak class have been getting in touch with nature this week, even more than normal. Mrs Griffiths found some stag antlers near her house, so the children have been holding these. I was absolutely amazed by them as I have never seen any up close before, let alone had the chance to hold them. They have also been looking at birds’ nests and have been creating their own. Roman recounted how he has a bird’s nest in his garden and gave us a great deal of information about how the mummy bird goes away and brings back worms to feed them. I love the fact that our children have the confidence to communicate to so many people, they are certainly having lots of opportunities to live out our curriculum drivers.
Oak class have been data handling in Science by measuring their height using Duplo and then they drew graphs. They had lots of fun and were keen to tell me who was the tallest and how there were 3 of them all the same height. They obviously love their learning as they get so excited about it.
We started the week with our first athletics tournament that I have known Clearwell enter. The competition was aimed at year 5 and 6 children but we took children from years 3 to 6. They all represented our school superbly and I am very proud of the way that they conducted themselves at the event. We had lots of wins and some losses but out of the 4 schools there, Clearwell placed second. This is a fabulous achievement of which they should all be very pleased with. I am hoping that we get to participate in many more competitions this year. Mr Tomley has been instrumental in helping us to enter this and other competitions, so thank you to him.
I have really enjoyed being in with the year 5 and 6 children this week, they have settled into the new routine with me in a mature manner. They have shown me how creative their minds are when describing our text, Tuesday. I am always amazed how great the minds of children are. They have limited experience of life but are always able to come up with ideas that I honestly don’t think I would have thought of on my own.
Well we have survived another half term where COVID has become more and more prevalent in our local community but thankfully we have managed to avoid it having a drastic effect at our school. New guidance has been issued by the Local Authority today because of the high rate of cases locally. The main recommendation that impacts on our school is for children to take regular lateral flow tests as this can help to identify cases at an early stage. This could be twice weekly or daily if that person has been a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID. We need to help each other to stay safe as we approach the winter months and pray that there is not another lockdown going to happen. I don’t think anyone is keen to return to home learning! As far as attendance is concerned here is some further guidance which should help families know what to do:
Symptoms: Should anyone have symptoms (one or more of the main three – new continuous cough, loss/change in taste or smell or a temperature) with a negative LFT, you should call the school for advice before coming in. Students who are advised to remain at home should continue to do LFT tests and book a PCR test. Please advise the school as soon as possible of any positive result. Work will be available for students to continue with on Doodle and we can share additional learning.
Positive LFT: Students who test positive on a LFT should book a PCR test and remain at home until the PCR test result has been returned. Please let the school know of both LFT and PCR test results as soon as possible. Work will be available for students to continue with on Doodle and other additional learning.
Positive PCR: Students should remain at home for the isolation period NHS Track and Trace have advised, plus any additional time should the symptoms still be present and are considered to still be contagious. Please advise the school of the result and any additional absence needed. Work will be available for students to continue with on Doodle and other additional learning, if they are well enough to work.
Positive LFT/PCR in the household: Students should continue to do LFTs daily and if negative should come into school.
The intention for our science at Clearwell is one that is practically based, this has been happening a lot over this term when pupils have been learning about light and sound at KS2. Here are a few images of the years 3 and 4 investigating the best material to create headphones.
As part of our encouraging creativity the children have also been making Roman shields, they had lots of fun and created some fabulous designs, as you can see.