Showing Support for Ukraine
During the last week of the Spring term, our children have taken part in creating flags to show their support for the children and families in Ukraine.
Our very youngest children in Amethyst used chalk to create an enormous flag on their playground.
The older children decorated flags and wrote messages of support which have been sent to Durham Cathedral to join a huge display which the Cathedral Learning Engagement Team are putting together.
Letters from our Local MP
In Spring term, the KS2 children wrote to our local MP Richard Holden about The Fight That Unites campaign which is designed to keep up the momentum on climate change after COP26. The children were delighted to receive a personalised letter back from Mr Holden in agreement with the importance of highlighting the current climate crisis. We are so proud of the social action the children in KS2 have taken and the positive impact they are having locally.
Exploring other cultures through Bread Making
This half term in DT lessons, our whole school have taken part in the Great British Bread Off. The children have researched different bread from different cultures, written instructions and lists of ingredients, baked their own bread and then reflected on how they could improve their creations.
Each Learning Zone then entered an example of their unique bread into a competition which was judged by Tony Humphries (former baker) and Sarah Stancliffe (author of the Christian Aid book of Bread) from Bread Church (St. Thomas’).
Judging took place on 25th March which was a poignant day as it is known as Lady’s Day in the Christian calendar and is the day the angel appeared to Mary (9 months before the birth of Jesus). In old English the word ‘lady’ means kneader of bread. We also learnt that the word ‘companion’ means to break bread together with ‘pan’ meaning bread and com meaning ‘together’.
There was a huge range of different breads for our judges to consider ranging from Zopf to soda bread and from Bannock Bread to flat bread. The judges had an incredibly difficult job but eventually announced the winner as being the Sapphire Learning Zone for their Soda bread! Everyone in the Learning Zone won a prize.
The judges commented that they were incredibly impressed with the variety of different breads and that some Learning Zones had been very bold in their choice of bread.
Tony Humphries said: “We were in the company of such competent bread makers.”
The children thoroughly enjoyed the event, learnt a lot about other cultures and the process of bread making and we have had quite a few requests for the recipes!
Red Nose Day 2022
This year we celebrated Red Nose Day by holding ‘Stanhope’s got Talent’. The school gathered in the hall to watch the spectacular show, showcasing a range of talents from dancing, singing, jokes, taekwondo to our very own band! The children who took part showed amazing talent and resilience but most importantly everyone had a lot of fun!
Each child in the school also made their own superhero capes which was linked to their Learning Zone’s superpower and they added their own unique details to their designs. We had a fantastic day and raised an amazing £500 for Read Nose Day! Well done everyone.
A visit from Team GB Charlie Myers
On Thursday 17th March 2022 we were visited by a Team GB pole vaulter Charlie Myers. Children from right across the school got to meet Charlie and he put everyone through their paces with an afternoon of non-stop circuits.
Charlie then held a special assembly where he showed us the different types of poles, discussed how he got into the sport and surprised us all with the height he could jump (a two storey building!). Needless to say, all of the children enjoyed their afternoon with Charlie and he inspired the children to give this exciting sport a try!
Celebrating World Book Day – We Love Books!
On Friday 4th March 2022, we celebrated World Book Day. Our children came into school dressed as their favourite character from a book and we had some amazing costumes!
Mrs Norman (Academy Councillor and Link Councillor for Literacy) set up and ran a ‘book shop’ with the support of our school Librarians and her after school reading club.
Thank you to everyone who donated books for the sale – we had some really lovely books which were very popular and we raised £92.67 which will be used to buy more books for our school library.
Children paid 20p per book and quite a few bought an armful of books to take home. The children were extremely enthusiastic about the book sale and there was a real sense of excitement about books and reading.
In the Learning Zones there were some lovely activities including quizzes and drama based on books.
Even Taylor Shaw staff got in on the act and not only dressed up too but also made World Book Day cakes for everyone!
Mrs Norman (Academy Councillor) – “World Book Day has been fantastic. I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and interest from the children and how carefully they chose their books.”
Mrs Cross (Head Teacher) – “It was lovely to see books everywhere in school today, children were reading outside, in the hall, at lunchtime and really enjoyed showing staff which books they had bought. This event has really showcased our children’s love of reading.”
Jessica (Shadow Leadership Team) – “It has been a really fun day because we have done a quiz about books using Kahoot.”
Mr Storey (Early Reading Lead Teacher) – “Our children have really enjoyed dressing up and accessing the book sale. Please see our fantastic photos on the windows of the EYFS Unit.”
Jet and Ben visit our school
On Thursday 16th September 2021, Durham Police brought Jet and Ben, their safety dogs, into our school to meet the children. Their handler (Claire) was joined by our local PCSO Jamie and they spoke to the children about the role of the police, road safety, playing outside safely and online safety.
Everyone was extremely excited to meet the two Labradors! The children sat so quietly and calmly waiting for the arrival of the dogs. Jet (the black lab) was really excited to come into the hall and meet everyone! Claire explained what dogs are used for by the police and then every child had the opportunity to stroke the dogs as they left the hall.
After assembly, Jet and Ben escorted Claire and Jamie down to the Opal and Amethyst Learning Zones where they spent time with our very youngest children answering lots of questions about what they had learnt in assembly.
We look forward to welcoming Jet and Ben back to school later in the year.
Feedback from our children:
“They both feel so soft and cuddly.”
“It was really fun having Jet and Ben in the school hall.”
“ I was a bit nervous but I used my superpower of courage and gave the yellow one a little stroke.”
Feedback from our team:
“It was fantastic to see the children participating with visitors allowed back in school.”
Feedback from our Academy Councillor:
“The PSCO’s were very friendly and informative about safety both inside and outside of school. They were extremely engaging with the children. It would be lovely to see them back in school later in the year so that we can reinforce confidence.”
For more information check out the Jet and Ben website for lots of great activities!
Film Stars in the Making
On Tuesday 19th October 2021, 8 children whose names had been pulled out of a hat for having 100% attendance visited Killhope Lead Mine with Mrs Cross. Annie, Aimee, David, Cooper, Ava, Jayden, Willow and Alexander were the lucky children drawn out of the hat.
Killhope were making a promotional film to advertise and encourage visitors for next Spring and Summer and needed some children to appear in the background as extras and also to take part in an interview about Killhope.
Our visit began with a trip down the mine, which was a bit scary but all of the children were incredibly brave and had a go showing excellent resilience even though they were a bit anxious.
David, Aimee and Cooper then took part in an interview all about the Killhope experience. They were very professional and were a real credit to the school.
We then continued the tour and visited various areas within Killhope. The children were horrified to discover that children as young as 9 were sent to work down the mines! The visit ended with us all working on the Washing Floor looking for galena and fluorspar. The children experienced all of the jobs children would have done on the Washing Floor and everyone was lucky enough to find some treasure to take home.
As a thank you for taking part in the filming each child was given a goody bag. The children had a great time and Ava even said : “ This is the best day ever!”
We will let parents know the dates the film is being released.
Twisted Tales for Terrible Children Drama Workshop
On Thursday 21st October 2021, we welcomed Gav Cross into school to deliver a drama workshop for our children. The workshop was organised as part of the Highlights Tour and was very kindly funded by St. Thomas’ Church Hall. Later that day, Gav also gave a performance in the Church Hall.
The workshop was split into three groups with our younger children from Amethyst and Sapphire working together, Ruby had their own session and then in the afternoon Emerald and Diamond joined together for a fantastic session.
Gav was extremely enthusiastic, dynamic and engaging. His storytelling was exceptional and he held the children spell-bound. The workshops involved the children using drama to retell familiar and unfamiliar stories. They really enjoyed using physical movement to convey different feelings and emotions.
The workshops not only gave our children the opportunity to experience story telling through drama, it also inspired them and embedded a love of stories. Our teaching teams used this experience as a stimulus for writing and for further drama to across a range of curriculum areas.
As Halloween occurred during the half term holiday we decided to celebrate on Friday 22nd October (the day we broke up).
The children came into school wearing Halloween costumes or non-uniform if they preferred.
Our catering team from Taylor Shaw outdid themselves in decorating the hall for lunchtime, dressing up and making a spooky Halloween lunch. Even children who normally have a packed lunch participated and enjoyed their ‘Frightening Fish Fingers’!
Thank you so much to everyone who joined in and many thanks to Lynn and Jamie-Leigh from Taylor Shaw for all their hard work in creating a fantastic atmosphere and experience for our children.