I hope everyone found some moments of joy during what was yet again a very unusual Christmas. It was lovely to welcome all of our children back on Wednesday and hear of their adventures over the holidays.
I had intended to do a reflection of the Autumn Term in the last week but was unfortunately off sick with a nasty chest infection which saw me ill for two weeks over the holidays.
Despite the pressures of Covid we managed to deliver an exciting and challenging curriculum and a wide range of learning experiences for our children. The Learning Zones were extended across the whole school from September and this has worked extremely well with children making accelerated progress by being in the correct learning environment.
Every child in our school attended a one day educational visit to the Weardale Outdoor Adventure Centre and carried out activities which helped to embed their superpowers within their Learning Zones. Another external visit took place with a group of lucky children with 100% attendance whose names were pulled out of a hat. They accompanied me to Killhope to take part in the recording of a film and we all had a great time!
As well as our external visits, we have begun to welcome visitors back into school in line with our Risk Assessment and last term we held a writing workshop for the whole school facilitated by Gav Cross an author who was taking parts in the Highlights Rural Crafts event. The workshop was called Twisted Tales for Terrible Children and was totally inspiring and engaging for children of all ages.
The Emerald Learning Zone also welcomed a rapper into school for a number of music workshops. Kema Kay was totally blown away with how well our children took to writing rap songs. We have also re-established our violin and brass lessons for children in KS2.
Since September we have introduced Open The Book which involves a team of volunteers co-ordinated by Rev Bruce and Rev Claire who come into school almost every Wednesday to deliver a performance for collective worship. The children are totally engaged in these performances which help to bring their RE lessons to life.
We have explored Black History and the whole school spent a week looking at this topic followed a few weeks later by War Week – again another whole school focus.
We have established a huge range of pupil voice groups who have been active this last term (please check out their sections of the website). Our Shadow Leadership Team gave a fantastic presentation to our Academy Council all about what the school means to them. Our Social Action Team have supported the local food bank and our Preloved School Uniform scheme and our Charities Team have already raised over £700 for different good causes including MacMillan Cancer Care, Children In Need, The Royal British Legion and Save the Children. Thank you for all of your support at these events.
Our outdoor playtimes have been re-branded as Power Play with the establishment of a mud kitchen. The children were very much involved in naming and developing the various play zones – more coming soon!
From September 2021, we also introduced our own After School Childcare provision and a huge variety of After School Clubs to give our children a wide range of choice including: Art Club, Drama Club, Extreme Frisbee, Curling, Cookery Club, Film Club, Archery and lots more.
There are far too many amazing activities to include them all here but I just wanted to share a flavour of what has been happening in school in addition to the usual teaching and learning which takes place in school each day.
Our Autumn Term ended on a high with our fantastic outdoor Christmas performance. It was something we have never done before but allowed parents to come into school and see their children performing which was priceless. Our live animals added to the atmosphere and we have had some brilliant feedback and a challenge for making it even bigger and better next year. Thank you to everyone who supported the Friends of Stanhope Barrington refreshment and raffle. The money raised is going towards the cost of the panto (18th January 2022) and means we do not need to request financial contributions from parents.
Following this reflection on Autumn Term, next week I will look ahead to what we have to look forward to during the Spring Term.
Mrs. D Cross