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Posted on: October 23rd 2020

Message from Caroline Lancey, Acting Head of School

A message from Caroline Lancey

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome to our second newsletter of the year. School life seems to be getting back into its stride, even though it is a little different to how it has been in the past. We have had two class assemblies and our Harvest Festival which have gone well. It's great that so many parents have joined us, I'm really grateful. The way a zoom meeting works is that it picks up the loudest noise and shows the screen of that person. That's why during Badger Classes assembly it kept moving away from them and onto other screens. Therefore, it's really helpful if you join with video off and muted.
I have recently been reminded of Anne Herbert's words when she said; 'Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of Beauty.

COVID has allowed us to come at things from a different angle and many have been an improvement. Our lunches are much more settled with us being able to give time to work on table manners and the use of cutlery. Children have games to play after they have eaten but before they go out to play. Several staff have brought in packs of cards, Top Trumps, Uno, sets of dominoes, Connect Four in fact all sorts to entertain the children. These have been given as gifts and it is wonderful to see the children engaging with these games more and more; but more than this they having conversations with each other. Every member of staff has volunteered to help run our breakfast club it isn't just the food, it's the conversations with adults and the calm start that is the great delight. I have worked in several schools and I am really lucky to have worked with brilliant and committed staff in all my previous schools but I have never worked with a group of people who put children and their needs at the fore front of EVERYTHING they do. They should be treasured.


Many thanks to Robyn who has donated two folding benches that we can use for sports fixtures when they restart. We have also had a donation of lovely books, toys and clothes to our nursery from a local health visitor and our local councillor donated a beautiful book called 'The World made a Rainbow' by Michelle Robinson. It is a lovely story about how young people have responded to the current crisis. Several parents sent in gifts for our Harvest Festival and as a result we were able to donate 44kg of food to the Taunton Food bank. Others have sent photos so we have created our COVID memories board, which reflects heroes, our new normal and random acts of kindness. These acts of kindness and beauty have touched us all.

PARENTS EVENING
We have has several successful evenings which I hope you found helpful. We have been so lucky to be able to offer face to face meetings, I know it was only with one parent and the children couldn't be there. It did allow you to see their work and in most cases the classroom they are in too. We hope you found the leaflets useful. If you weren't able to be with us we will send a copy home.

PE and FOREST SCHOOL
It is becoming a bit of a problem that a small minority of children are regularly turning up without a PE kit or Forest School clothes. It is really helpful if they keep their PE kit in school. If they need to change it useful to have their own clothes in school, it is also helps them not to have to drag two extra bags into school each week. On the whole children like being the same as all the other children in their class and we need you help to make this happen for them.

HALLOWEEN
The children looked amazing today and I hope they all had a lovely day in school today. We had such fun.

CHRISTMAS
It is highly likely that we will still have the COVID restrictions in place at Christmas. As a result we are planning to carry on with a Nativity for Owl and Hedgehog class. We are planning to video this and broadcast it to you. We will do the same for the carol concert. Whilst this isn't ideal it would be such a shame if we just said we can't do it and the children didn't get the opportunity to perform.

UNIFORM
The government guidelines are clear that all classrooms must be well ventilated. As the winter is coming on we are aware that the classrooms may be a bit chillier than usual. The best way to keep warm is thin layers so I would suggest that they wear T shirt under their normal school shirt. We may even see the reappearance of the old fashioned vest!


Have a wonderful half term and keep safe.

 

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A message from Carly Ellis Posted on: 16/07/2021

A message from Carly Ellis

A message from Carly Ellis I cannot believe how quickly this half term has blown by.  It feels like I have never been away!  I hope that the next academic year has less challenges than we faced this year.  I would like to extend a thank you to Mrs Lancey and the whole Priorswood school community for the support you all gave during such a testing year.  I would like to thank Mrs Lancey for driving my vision for the school forward in my absence and for continuing to build on the progress in the previous year, despite all the obstacles along the way.    The visits we have had from the CEO, Deputy CEO and Paul Jones (an external reviewer) and many others who have visited throughout this term have all commented very positively about the school.  They have been impressed with how well the children settle to their learning and the experiences and activities that the children are being given.  Some of the experiences have made it into the local newspaper!  They also commented positively on the quality of the learning seen in class and in the children’s books.  A recent visitor (who had come to visit the kitchen) praised the school saying that she felt really welcomed and wanted to come back!  She said that the school is really calm and recognised how lucky we are to have all the outside space.    Although we have still had many restrictions in place we have managed to get a few trips in.  Stag class did a Dawn to Dusk day at Magdalen Farm, there has been a trip to French Weir and Otter Class did a trip to the County Museum to find out more about the Anglo Saxons.  The Year 6's took part in a Sports Festival run by SASP at Wellsprings Leisure Centre and are looking forward to their trip to Crealy next week too!   We have been lucky to be involved in a project called Priorswood Pollinators.  Children mapped the school grounds looking for areas that encouraged pollinating species.  They also identified areas that were poor and have now planted these areas with a range of plants including herbs, lavender and apple trees.  Part of the project involved our Year 6's working with a filmmaker to film the project.   We have a few changes in staff next year which were mentioned in more detail in the class structure letter that went home.  We are looking forward to welcoming Miss Ashleigh Thompson and Miss Katy Collard to the team.  I’m really looking forward to next year and I hope that you all have a wonderful summer holiday!  See you in September! Good Luck Year 6!  Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 28/05/2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

A message from Caroline Lancey Dear All, Well May has been more than a little cold and wet.   Who would have believed that at the same time last year during the first lockdown we could sit out in the sun!!!  As always it has been a busy month.  We have had visitors via zoom talking to the children about their jobs connected with science; a photographer in for Years 2, 6 and Reception,  we have had two reviews; one for the curriculum and one for the school, after school clubs have started carefully and we have had an action packed Health Week. Thank you so much for all the supportive comments we have had about the school review which was carried out by a trained OFSTED inspector.  The highlights were: This is a good school. It provides a calm, purposeful, organised learning environment for pupils to learn and grow. The school Team is fully aligned to the vision for teaching and learning and they talk positively and passionately about the vison for what the school should provide for pupils and families.  Well done, the school is on an exciting journey. The foundations are well in place for the next phase of the school’s improvement. Your hard work and dedicated professionalism is ensuring that Priorswood will become a very good school. The curriculum review also went really well, with the reviewer, Nick Hinds, saying the curriculum is ambitious and enriching. The school has been on a tremendous journey.  I remember talking during the Christmas Carol service just before Mrs Ellis joined us.  I said then that I felt like the school had trekked through the foothills of the Himalayas and were now at Everest base camp.  We are now at camp 2 which is half way up the mountain, we can see the summit but it will be hard work to get there.  I have every confidence that we will get there, we are on the up and up. Despite a horrible start to the week; weather-wise; we have had a great week.  The children have had a lot of opportunities to try sports that they wouldn’t normally.  I hope that they have enjoyed the balance of sporting activity and mental well-being sessions.  A big Thank you to Mrs Cullen who has spent hours organising all the different groups and making sure that all the classes get to do all the activities. I hope some of you have managed to get to Lyngford Park to make use of the Grass maze.  Otter class have visited as part of their local study.  I am sure you have noticed the improvements that have slowly been happening to the grounds of the school.  Mrs Collins always goes above and beyond but she has been helped by workers from the Community Payback service who have been painting, litter picking and gardening for us. We are looking forward to the return of Mrs Ellis after the birth of her son.  She will be back with us from the 7th June.    Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 30/04/2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

Dear All, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Holiday and it was lovely to see the children return looking so smart.  I thank you all for your support.  We are still observing Covid guidelines, making sure that the children wash their hands regularly, continue to have staggered breaks and lunches and we are maintaining our additional cleaning.  We have been in a long dark tunnel but there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.   We will still have to continue to do things a little differently for the rest of this year but hopefully we will be able to return to the best of what we have done in the past whilst keeping some of the better things we have learnt this year. Mrs Dee Alexander has joined Otter class from Wednesday to Fridays.  Mrs Powell Thomas is still at the helm on Monday and Tuesdays.  She really enjoyed her first week and I am sure is a wonderful addition to the school.  Miss Casey Hickey will be joining Butterfly class next week.  She is replacing Mrs Parsons who left before Easter. We always have Health week in the last week before the May half term.  This includes lots of sports activities, sessions on healthy eating and mental wellbeing as well as Sports day and Relationship and Health education.  This year we are planning to continue this tradition.  We will send you details on the relationship education nearer the time.  As we won’t be fully out of lockdown we will have to do Sports day in a slightly different way.  This year it will be for the children only, I appreciate this is disappointing but I am sure you understand that we are too close to the end to take a risk at this stage and we don’t want to have to cancel it completely. To make up for this we are hoping to be able to run some family sessions towards the end of the year.  Mrs Cullen has organised an amazing week including, Tennis, Cricket, Dodgeball, American Football,  Tai Chi, mental wellness and NHS nurses are going to do a session on Healthy Eating; I am sure that the children will have a wonderful week.  We are looking forward to the return of Mrs Ellis after the birth of her son.  She will be back with us from the 7th June.  Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
A message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 26/03/2021

A message from Caroline Lancey

It is hard to believe we have only been back for three weeks, the children have risen to the challenge of being back in school.  However, there is no doubt that many of them have found the days long and we have seen a noticeable decline in their stamina.  We have tried to keep school life as normal as possible and they have very quickly got back into the routine.  We loved the effort people went to for World Book Day and it was great to see how many people created their own costumes. We have some changes in staff.  Helen Woodhams is leaving us to work for the National Trust.  Rebeka Thompson who is currently on our staff and has done some work with them already will be taking them after Easter.  Miss Thompson currently spends Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings in Otter Class.  Mrs Powell-Thomas will be joined by Mrs Dee Alexander who is an experienced teacher and compliments Mrs PT very well.   Kayleigh Parsons is moving onto another nursery setting.  We wish them both well. We have also been joined by Jason Pike who is helping support children’s catch up in Maths and Chloe Bryant is doing the same but for English.  These have been a valuable addition to our team and are there purely to support the learning of the children. We are in the process of putting together our Easter Service which you will be able to access via Zoom.  We are planning to start clubs after Easter but these will have to be class based as government guidelines still say that children should stay in their bubbles.  This may mean that Sports Day will look different this year and it is likely that it will be only for the children. Whilst I appreciate that this is a little disappointing I am sure that you appreciate cancelling it completely would be a real blow for the children as it’s one of the memory-making school days. One of the new things we have been trying is to get volunteers to talk to the children about their jobs and how they became involved in it.  We have been really lucky that each class has had a zoom meeting with a volunteer that works with ICT as this half term’s focus is ‘What it is to work with Information Technology’.  The volunteers have talked about how they use computers and technology in their jobs and how they came to do it.  The children have really enjoyed having other adults coming to talk to them and the teachers have been impressed with the quality of the questions they have asked. We have also started a partnership with the probation service.  After the willow tree fell down we were left with lots of large chunks of wood.  We have used them to create seating in our willow dome, started a trim trail and demarcated areas within forest school.  They are also going to re-paint the outside of our forest school area which is currently covered in graffiti. We continue to live in the Arctic as the old heating system has been taken out and the new boiler has yet to be installed.  However, due to the current guidelines about having windows open to purge the air the children haven’t really noticed!!Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
Message from Caroline Lancey Posted on: 26/02/2021

Message from Caroline Lancey

Dear Parents and Carers, Welcome to our much shorter newsletter.  In reality it has only been 3 weeks since the last one and as I said last time you are probably more aware of what your child is doing and seeing more of the teachers than you would do normally. So, I haven’t asked the teachers to write a piece this time.  At the moment I am holding on to this thought: There was never a night or problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. These have been very dark times but we are beginning to see the sun rise and our positive and optimistic hope for the future will help us to get things back on an even keel.     We are all thrilled (and all the other words) that the children are coming back we have missed them dreadfully.  A school without children is like the ocean without fish.  Just too awful to imagine.  I will be sending out at the beginning of next week what the return will look like.  You may want to check that shoes and school uniform fit, as your child may have grown over the last few months.  This will give you just over a week to get them sorted out ready to start. It many ways it feels like another start of the year. This is Our Priorswood Promise to your children. We are incredibly proud of you   This last year has been exceptionally difficult. You have shown incredible resilience and adaptability. You have been selfless and put the needs of others before your own. You have made so many sacrifices and yet faced the challenges with strength and determination. There is much you’ve been told you’ve lost, including many weeks of your education, but there is much you have gained. You will emerge from this stronger. This may be the greatest challenge you have faced so far but it will not be the last. Next time you will find you have more resources and are better prepared (and even more so the time after that).   We are here for you  We know some of you will be worried about what the future holds. We want you to know we are here for you. We know you will need a chance to reconnect with your friends. We know you will need time and space to play and be active. We know you are desperate to get back to your sports/ music/art/acting and everything else that is so crucial to your development. We know that you are keen to get back to your academic studies in school as well. We know that evenings, weekends and holidays are as important as your time at school. We are committed to ensuring that your opportunities are balanced and wherever your passions lie you have the chance to pursue these.  We will be here to encourage you, support you, challenge and help you every step of the way.   You are the future  You are the future and that future is not written. There are challenges but there always have been and always will be: we know we will get through this together. We have complete faith in you. We want you to know that; more than anything. Do not let us or anyone else tell you what you can or can’t be. We don’t know. We cannot imagine what you will achieve. But we are so excited to see and be a part of it.  We are looking forward to seeing you on Monday the 8th and whatever happens next, it will just be another step in your journey. Categories: 1 CategorySchool News
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