Parish News February 2023
Welcome to the second glimpse into the lives of our two, local primary schools this year. They say time flies when you’re having fun; well we must be having tons of fun as the first half of term has positively flown by!
Children in years 5 & 6 received a lovely surprise at the end of the autumn term: they were introduced to their new Chromebooks, which were received very well indeed. This is an Alumnis initiative, part of the Digital & Innovation Cornerstone in our curriculum and will help children become creators of learning with tools that build upon what teachers are already doing. As children begin to use the Chromebooks more, they will support accessibility, increase engagement with all stakeholders through shared portfolios, and help to build future-ready skills. Audio, video, and screen recording will be used to make thinking visible; photos can easily capture hands-on learning and files can be uploaded to each child’s own secure area to keep evidence of developing mastery in one place and help to show children their progress over weeks, months and even years. Children will begin to use these devices as extensions of their normal books in school and will even take them home each night - these are indeed exciting times in the evolving world of education!
Our intrepid year 5 & 6 children returned to Uffculme recently for more basketball-based action. The two teams have developed confidence and cooperation over their previous matches with courage often needed when trying to make the ball your own against the wishes of a competitor. As always, it was a joy to see the children working together, encouraging each other and showing great sportsmanship even when sometimes faced with defeat. All the participants represented their school fantastically well and we can be very proud of them.
The Local Schools Committee (LSC), which is the system of governance used to have oversight over our schools and the replacement for the old TVP Board of Governors, has been set up and is fully quorate with the first 2 meetings of this academic year having taken place last term and two more to come this term. The LSC play an important role in the drive for school improvement, offering both support and challenge to the headteacher. Committee members visit schools to monitor different aspects of school improvement and report back, helping to ensure that the strategic direction of our schools is progressing as planned and children’s experiences are the best they can possibly be. The committee is made up of volunteers, with parent members from each school and one staff member representative too; I would like to thank the members of the LSC for freely giving their time for the service of their community in this important role.
It has been brought to my attention that there were some unforeseen, unfortunate occurrences that took place around All Saints’ Church on the nights of the Webber’s Christmas Nativity performances. I would like to offer my apologies to any members of our communities that were adversely affected by the parking of cars around the church. With the performances having been necessarily cancelled for the past few years, some key helpful actions that are usually in place were not deployed, which exacerbated the situation. I have a plan for next year to minimise the disruption caused to the local community. Whilst it is wonderful that the performances are so popular, with over 300 audience members in total over course of the three shows, parking does present a problem, but one that can be eased with certain measures in place. Well over £300 was raised for our charity partner Edukid, who facilitate our sponsorship of a child’s education in Uganda, at the Webber’s performances alone – thank you to the generosity of all those who attended.
All members of the local communities are welcome to either schools’ Nativity performances this year, although you do have to wait a good 10 months or so for the next ones!
I look forward to continuing the lives of our two, local primary schools in next month’s edition. Until then,
Take care and Climb to your Highest…
Parish News January 2023
Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful, festive Christmas with your loved ones and a fun-filled New Year so far. The beginning of a new year is a joyous event, with the promise of so much to come in the year ahead – and that is certainly the case with our two schools.
With successful performances of the Nativity productions at both schools having taken place last term - for the first time in three years due to pandemic disruptions - staff across both schools are keen to build upon these character-building experiences with the curricular and enrichment opportunities available for children this term. After-school clubs will continue with Premier Sport delivering sport-based activities for children, and I am delighted to confirm that teacher-led clubs will also be resuming across both schools. These clubs are run by teachers out of their own time and offer children a variety of creative clubs for children to engage with. In addition to these clubs, I am excited to announce that the talented team from Wellington School are running “Stage School”, which is an after-school club for children who love to perform. This is an exciting opportunity for children from either school to hone their drama skills every week across the whole of term and I am sure it will be packed with budding thespians after the fantastic Nativity performances we have just seen. I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude to Mrs. Claire Davies, who helped with the supply of lighting for the Webber’s performance and Mr. Wil Barbary, who helped with the lighting for the Burlescombe performance. My thanks go to both PTFAs too for providing lovely light refreshments for parents to enjoy and to all of the parents who helped with dismantling and transporting the stage after the final performance.
Our participation in Uffculme School’s PE outreach programme continues this term with children attending after-school tournaments and also curriculum-based, in-school skill development sessions. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, these enrichment activities are vital to support children’s development in, and enjoyment of, sporting activities helping them increase the amount of daily, physical activity they complete. We can all benefit from this approach – did you know that a brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise? See you out walking soon, I’m sure. 😊
Sticking with the enrichment theme, children from both schools will enjoy a visit to Paignton Zoo this term. The zoo turns 100 this year. Its founder, Herbert Whitley, opened Paignton Zoo in 1923 with education at its heart, and they would like to celebrate their centenary with education too. So for 2023, Paignton Zoo are offering free school visits – and our wonderful administration team have jumped on this opportunity. They have reserved a day for both schools to visit later this term. This promises to be a fantastic, fun-filled educational experience where children will take part in different themed workshops and explore all the zoo has to offer; I look forward to telling you all about it in a subsequent edition.
Children from both schools will be continuing their swimming lessons this term too with yrR/1/2/3 going swimming every week at Burlescombe and yr3/4/5/6 swimming every week at Webber’s. Thank you to both sets of PTFAs for funding the cost of the coaches each week – swimming is an important life skill and with both schools situated close to a canal, it is important that we are enabling children to develop this important skill.
There will be many more things to report on in next month’s edition as the spring term continues and I look forward to sharing the experiences of our two local schools. Until then…
Take care and Climb to your Highest!
Parish News December 2022
Webber’s C of E (VA)
🕿 & Fax: 01823 672510
Mr. Robert Roffey
Burlescombe C of E (VC)
🕿 & Fax: 01823 672521
With Christmas fast approaching, we find ourselves in the final week of term, and what a term it’s been! Burlescombe school enjoyed performing their nativity production to a packed school hall last week and Webber’s performed their production to a standing-room-only packed All Saints Church just this week. If you were lucky enough to attend either schools’ productions, I’m sure you would agree with me when I say that the children, as always, are such shining stars and the confidence, cooperation and motivation that they displayed throughout the whole nativity experience from the very beginning, when first starting to practise reading from a script, to the final tableaux on the final night’s performance, was wonderful to see and makes teaching staff, parents and members of the community very proud of the next generation to come.
In the last edition, I mentioned that Webber’s school had undergone a Statutory Inspection of Anglican & Methodist Schools (SIAMS) inspection before half-term. I am now able to share with you the result of the inspection and it fills me with joy to confirm that the inspector judged Webber’s school to be “Good” on all measures inspected. A direct quote from the report reads,
“Pupils, staff and leaders exemplify the Christian vision and values, meaning that pupils feel safe, are well supported and therefore strive to ‘climb to their highest’. Pupils support each other and have resilience in their learning.”. It goes on to say that, “A clear, Christian vision is at the centre of this school which is acted on daily by staff and pupils. This enables pupils to flourish personally and academically.”
I am immensely proud of the children and staff at Webber’s school, who thoroughly deserve this good judgement, which recognises the passion, commitment and care displayed by children and adults alike. We look forward to a SIAMS inspection at Burlescombe school too, so the same judgement can be obtained there, but we will have to wait a year or two for our turn.
Last month, both schools marked Remembrance Day at their respective local churches and held two-minutes’ silence at 11am with poppies created by school children presented in church. Children at Burlescombe & Webber’s schools fully understand why we show so much respect and gratitude to those who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy and why the many examples of selfless service by so many are recognised and celebrated. I would like to thank Rev Glyn, David & Roy for ensuring the churches were open for us on this important day.
Mrs. Hunter at Webber’s and Miss. Ody at Burlescombe have both held phonics and maths parent workshops this term too, where parents of children in their first year of school came in and saw first-hand how we teach phonics, early reading and maths, and how they can best support their children at home. I do have to say that it is lovely to see so much parental engagement across both schools with all the workshops very well attended and lots of positive feedback. The home-school partnership is so important to help children achieve to the best of their ability and I would like to thank all parents who took the time to attend these workshops.
Burlescombe & Webber’s schools both held Open Mornings this term too inviting members of the public, parents and other stakeholders to come and see the quality-first teaching and learning that takes place in both schools every day. Instead of putting on a showcase of activities, we chose to showcase one of the most important things in school – the learning - with the normal delivery of maths, English, phonics and reading taking place for people to see. We will be holding similar events in the future, so I will ensure that I advertise them in this blog to give you a chance to visit the schools you read so much about.
Regarding advertising, Webber’s school has lost a much-valued caretaker as he moves to pastures new, so if you, or anyone you know would be interested in applying, please contact the school office who will be best placed to advise you.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year; I look forward to continuing to share with you the journey of our wonderful local schools in next month’s edition. Until then…
Take care and Climb to your Highest!
Parish News November 2022
I am sure that I am not alone in asking myself where this year has gone. I can barely believe that it will be the end of term next month with so much to look forward to including a school nativity for both schools, Christingle services, and of course, Christmas!
With so many activities and so much learning packed into the curriculum, it’s no wonder the term is flying by. Recently, our Christian Core Value focus was creativity, and our Character Virtue focus was also creativity, which started us thinking about values and virtues…can something be a value and a virtue at the same time? Our Collective Worships have focused on this as they are not the same thing and children are now realising that they can use their language and actions (virtues) to show people things that are important to them (values). For example, if compassion is something you value and it is important to you, how can you show others it is important? One way is to use the language and action of virtue, which is a habit of doing good, so people know you value compassion because you choose your language and actions to act compassionately. Children are beginning to build the tools to articulate their spiritual and character development as well as effecting positive changes in their community, which is the first steps to becoming Inspiring Changemakers and the Global Citizens of the future – exciting times indeed!
Webber’s school completed a Statutory Inspection of Anglican & Methodist Schools (SIAMS) inspection last month. The inspector was collecting evidence to answer the question, “How effective is the school’s distinctive Christian vision, established and promoted by leadership at all levels, in enabling pupils and adults to flourish?”
I would like to pass my thanks to all parents who took the time to answer the parent consultation survey that was sent out; also to those parents who spoke to the inspector in the playground in the morning and in school for the 20-minute meeting in the afternoon! The inspection report has a due diligence and quality assurance process to go through before the final report is published, but I look forward to sharing the headlines of it with you in next month’s edition.
Last month saw the return of the much-loved Cross-Country event at Killerton, although the walk up the hill at the start was not such a welcome addition! I am pleased to report that all our children from both schools gave 100% of themselves, with some very high finishers as well. I would like to thank all the children who volunteered to take part and represented their school so magnificently. Children in years 4/5/6 also recently enjoyed a trip to the Farmwise event held at Westpoint Arena. Farmwise is full of fun events, which are all about farming in Devon and where our food comes from. At Farmwise, children heard, touched, felt and even smelt how farms work, although I’m sure the latter sense was not always as welcome as the others! Children from years 1/2/3 have also visited the Children’s Bookshow at the Northcott theatre, where acclaimed picture book authors and illustrators Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz held a live drawing session, told stories to children and gave real examples of how these two brilliant artists work together. This was followed-up by a workshop held by Viviane Schwarz back at school and all children received a copy of their new book.
It delights me to be able to confirm that both Webber’s and Burlescombe schools are continuing their partnership with Edukid this year. Edukid are a charity who sponsor children in Africa and enable them to receive an education. Last year, the school councils from both schools held a live Zoom session to Uganda to speak directly to the children who are being sponsored. Similar events are planned this year and after our introductory assembly delivered by a teacher from another Alumnis MAT school who was lucky enough to go to Uganda to meet the children there, our children are raring to go!
It is a privilege, as headteacher, to be able to see children’s learning in action in different classrooms with creativity, helpfulness and cooperation from children and adults helping to drive learning forward, so it is no surprise to me that when our children go out on educational experiences, they consistently represent their school magnificently. I am very proud of the children in our school communities, and I know that you are too.
Until the next edition,
Take care and Climb to your Highest!
Burlescombe & Webber’s C of E Primary Schools
Parish News October 2022
Welcome to another glimpse into the lives of our two local primary schools. It is fair to say that the autumn term has continued apace. It was wonderful to see children across both schools returning with such a spring in their step and looking so smart too at the beginning of term - I would like to thank parents for their help with that.
Learning across both schools continues to have a broad and exciting curriculum; all children are developing their skills not only in maths and English, but also in creative and musical arts. We continue to focus on the development of children’s character through our school Core Values and Character Education Virtues. Staff lead a whole-school Collective Worship on a Monday, where the weekly Core Value and Character Education virtue are introduced, which is supplemented by a discrete teaching session later in the week where children discuss and explore issues and stories related to different values and virtues. A virtue is a habit of doing good and a value is something we hold dear, so we can use our language and actions to show people around us the values that are dear to us.
In our Celebration Assembly on Fridays, we celebrate children in all classes who have accomplished something new, faced special challenges or gained rewards for good work, kind actions and thoughtfulness. Children are also able to nominate their peers (or adults) for the weekly value or virtue and new Character Recognition Certificates will be coming soon, so more about those in a later edition.
It was with deep sadness and respect that we marked the passing of our Majesty Queen Elizabeth II across both schools. We held a live Collective Worship across Teams, so children from every class could share together their thoughts of our longest reigning monarch, pay our respects and marvel at the shining example of service that she displayed from the beginning to the very end of her reign. I am sure you will join me in sending our best wishes, thoughts and prayers to the Royal family for their loss of a much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Children in years 4, 5 and 6 at Burlescombe are well underway with their weekly swimming instruction at Tiverton swimming pool. Year 6 children have to be able to swim 25m unaided and this is an important part of supporting their ability to achieve that goal. Thank you to the Burlescombe PTFA for funding the cost of the coach. We are in the process of organising swimming in the spring term for children at Webber’s and other year groups at Burlescombe. Of course, before we know it, it will soon be summer and Webber’s children will be able to make use of their wonderful pool!
Burlescombe PTFA have had their first meeting of this year and Webber’s PTFA have held their AGM, so do please keep a look out for our newsletters on the school websites, as they will have details of our events - they are not just for our families, but also for the communities that we serve. The work both PTFAs do in raising money for each school is vital and directly benefits our children and their educational experiences, so please do support them where you are able.
Selected children in year 1 and 2 from Burlescombe and Webber’s schools have taken part in a multi-skills development event held at Uffculme school and there are lots more of these events planned for different year groups as the term and year progress. After-school clubs have also commenced at each school with children taking part in tag rugby, basketball, football, netball and gymnastic clubs although these outdoor clubs have started to prove more challenging with our lovely changeable British weather and the nights beginning to draw in!
There are lots more exciting enrichment experiences planned for the children this term including the ever-popular Farmwise visit at Westpoint Arena, a trip to the theatre (financed by the PTFA), cross country competitions and, of course, the Christmas productions at both schools to name but a few. I look forward to telling you all about them in next month’s edition.
Take care and Climb to your Highest!
Burlescombe & Webber’s C of E Primary Schools
Parish News September 2022
The start of the new school year is always an exciting time, but never more so than this year. Following the affirmative vote from The Valley Partnership’s governing body last term, both Burlescombe and Webber’s schools will be joining the Alumnis Multi-Academy Trust in the autumn term 2022.
As has already been reported, this year, both schools have been taking part in a Management Partnership with Alumnis. As the school year progressed, it became clear that the resources, support and collaborative opportunities for children and staff that joining Alumnis brings, would be a positive and exciting new step in the journeys of Burlescombe and Webber’s schools.
Whilst there will be some positive changes (the decorator has been busy on the inside and front of Burlescombe school) to the school sites and opportunities that children – and staff – receive, the outlooks, aspirations and visions of the schools will remain the same as they always have – put shortly, to help children Believe, Belong and Become the confident, successful learners they are.
Staff teams across both schools are looking forward to welcoming children in school on Monday 5th September, especially our new children and families! There are lots of exciting things planned over the autumn term with visits to the theatre, swimming lessons at Tiverton & Wellington swimming pool for some year groups, inter-school sports competitions, class trips to enrich education and the appointment of school-based positions of responsibility for some children to name but a few - keep an eye out for each schools’ advertised Open Days next term if you would like to come and see for yourself learning in action at our schools…we’d love to welcome you.
My predecessor before Mr. Bladon’s interim leadership, Deborah Eveleigh, had a positive relationship with the wider communities that both schools serve, and that is something I am very keen to continue. Part of our strategic vision for the schools is to maintain and strengthen links with the community, indeed community is one of the four Cornerstones in the curriculum that we follow. To that end, please do contact the admin team at either school on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to meet with me in school to discuss how we could take this idea forward to the benefit of our children and ourselves.
Next month’s entry will be packed with details of what our Inspiring Changemaker children have been learning and doing, and I look forward to telling you all about it.
Take care and Climb to your Highest!
Burlescombe & Webber’s C of E Primary Schools