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Newsletter 20th October 2023

Newsletter 20th October 2023
October 20, 2023 Sandy Pike

Dear Parents and Carers,

The last week of term has been a busy one, with Oak Class being on their residential trip to Beam House, Torrington, a Harvest Festival celebration and a school disco.  We will all need the upcoming half term to recuperate!


In a continued effort to encourage a love of reading, and support the hard work the children are putting in during their Read, Write Inc lessons we encourage children to be reading at home as much as possible. For teachers to know and praise the children reading at home, it would be a great help for those reads to be recorded in their reading records. School staff will do the same when a child is heard to read. Thank you for your continued support and creating a school of life long readers.

Harvest Festival

We celebrated our Harvest Festival during a special assembly. Hazel Class sang a song, while Beech Class pupils read out a harvest recipe which they had written, (shared below). Chestnut Class shared a poem, and we were joined by Rev Clare and Fiona from St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Stour Provost. It was lovely to see so many parents at the assembly. Thank you to all for the wonderful donations which were given to the Gillingham Food Bank for distribution within the local community.

The Mix of Harvest Recipe

A pinch of gratefulness for the food we eat.

A sprinkle of celebration for the farmers.

A spoonful of delicious food to eat.

A dash of being healthy.

A dollop of being thankful.

A speck of respectfulness for all.

A splash of charity.

Mix it all together and this is what we get ….

A beautiful and cool Harvest Festival!

School Halloween Disco

What fun was had at the School Halloween Disco! So many children were dressed in costume or in their disco outfits.  Finn created a ‘spot the cube Halloween figure’ with Mrs Whelan, which was exceeding popular, and there was a steady line of children who wanted their faces painted – many thanks to Isla for her help with the face painting!  Also thanks to all the parents who helped decorate, supervise and tidy the hall. Finally a big thank you to DJ JJ for his music.


A reminder of competitions and events coming up over the half term.

Conker Bash

Sunday 22nd October sees the 16th annual Conker Bash at the Stapleton Arms, Buckhorn Western at 2pm. Please see the attached flyer for further information. It’s an event for all ages!

Pumpkin Carving Competition

Children and adults are invited to enter a photo of their creatively carved pumpkins into the Friends’ pumpkin carving competition. Each entry costs £2. All entries will be shared on the Friends’ Facebook page, with the winning entries receiving a prize for their efforts.  Please email entries to: . Good luck to all!  Please see attached flier, for further information.

 Local food links Christmas card competition

Our school food provider, Food Links, are looking for a Picasso to design their Christmas card. They will choose 2 winners, representing Foundation/Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2/Key Stage 3. Children are encouraged to take part in this competition, perhaps creating an entry over the half term. The closing date is Tuesday 28th November, with A4 entries emailed to  Please see the attached document for further information.

Stower Vale Preschool half term coffee morning and pumpkin carve

Stower Vale Preschool are running a fun filled half term event, including colouring and pumpkin carving, along with coffee and autumn cakes for adults on 28th October, Stour Row Village Hall, 10 am – 12 noon.

Fill a jar ready for children in need day

Why not find a jar and have fun thinking and then finding exciting things   to fill it with,

ready to hand in on 17th November. The jars will be kept safe and will be used on the

‘hoop and win a jar’ stall at the Christmas Bizarre.

Fire quiz

With bonfire night approaching rapidly I thought the attached quiz from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service Education Team may be useful, as well as giving you the opportunity of a VIP visit and lego!  We will be covering firework safety within a school assembly on 31st Oct.

A Link to a quiz the children can undertake at home with the chance to win a VIP trip to a fire station and a fire engine lego set, which you can also use to look at the safety messages again. (The answer is Stop, drop and roll!)

Future events just after half term 

Usborne Book Fair – Wednesday 8th November

We will be holding a book fair on Wednesday 8th November in school, selling Usborne books in our school library.  Children will have the opportunity to visit the fair during the day and complete a wish list form with 2 or 3 books that they like.

Parents will then have the option of coming to browse the books without or with you child. The book lists will be made available to parents so you can make surprise purchases, with Christmas in mind, or browse through the books with your child and buy books that are of interest and that can be enjoyed. Orders and payments will be made at the end of the day.

Should any parent be unable to make the book fair, then a completed order form can be handed into school, over the following few days after the fair, with the appropriate payment made to the school. Completed order forms and money will be sent or collected by Miss Buxton (the Usborne representative), who will then deliver your books to school.

I hope the following timetable will be useful to see when parents are able to visit the fair, with and without children.

If you have friends or family who would also like to visit the fair, please bring them along – all are welcome.

The school will receive commission on your purchases, which will be spent on books for our now depleted library!


Time Class Adult
10.00 – 10.30 Set Up  
10.30 – 11.00 Toddler Group parents  
11.00 – 11.35 Reception LBU
11.35 – 12.05 Oak Class LC
12.00 – 12.30 Pre School (parents / villagers)  
12.00 – 12.30 Lunch  
13.10 – 13.40 Beech Class HW
13.40 – 14.10 Chestnut Class LBA
14.15 – 14.45 Catch up of any pupils missed JS / AB
14.45 – 15.20 Parent time without children (pre school, school and villagers)  
15.20 – 16.00 Parents with children time  


Class news


It was wonderful to share several days with Oak class this week. I had high expectations for our children and they didn’t let me down. They were a credit to the school, themselves and their parents. They all tried their very best to engage with all the activities as much as they felt able – these included: problem solving, high ropes, trapeze, rifle shooting, abseiling, zip wire, climbing and street surfing. In addition to this, they enjoyed an ambush session in the total darkness and then, the next day, a wonderful campfire with some very silly songs. The children got the chance to toast their marshmallows on the fire too and they were delicious even though some of them caught fire! The children practised their survival skills and made shelters, as well as using a flint and steel to light cotton wool. It was great. Finally, there was the challenge course on the last day, where the children and the adults got completely covered in mud to the extent that a hosing off, shower and a complete change of clothes was urgently needed. It was quite hard to tell the children apart as they were all a uniform mud colour from head to toe!

The biggest challenge, particularly for our younger children, was being away from home as well as living in a dorm with new friends. It was really rewarding to see how well the children coped with these two huge challenges.

It was a great trip and the children came back having grown in resilience, with an increased awareness of their physical prowess and with increased collaborative skills. We (Mrs Clasby, Mrs Fuller and I) were extremely proud of them all, as they all overcame their various challenges with good humour, sensitivity and aplomb. Well done Oak class – we are proud of you all!


This week, Chestnut class have been completing their NFER assessments. All of the children have been very focused and put in a huge effect. They have started looking at their new English text and they have continued their work on addition and subtraction in maths. In topic, the students have finished learning about the Stone Age and will go on to learn about the Bronze and Iron Ages after half term.

A quick note about times-table homework:

The children complete a times-table test each week on a Wednesday morning. If they get all of the questions right, the next test gets sent home on a Thursday as homework to practise before the test the following week. If not, the same test will be sent home for them to practise again. Thanks again for your continued support with all of the homework.


This week, Beech class have been writing their Harvest Festival recipe. We hope everyone at the assembly enjoyed their performance of this. Mrs Whelan is rightly very proud of how Beech Class wanted to show their appreciation for the farmers, and everything that we have, as well as highlighting the importance of giving to charity to help those in need. Well done Beech class!

In maths, the pupils have been looking at different styles of subtraction and learning how to represent these in different forms. They have not only shown their understanding of subtraction but also their understanding of subtraction across the tens! In history this week, the children have been looking at Christopher Columbus and understanding his importance in history. The children have gone above and beyond to demonstrate this and have enjoyed learning about these explorers that are such a great part of history.

For homework over half term, Mrs Whelan has asked the children to write a diary entry about what exciting things they get up to. This can be shown in writing, drawings or pictures. She can’t wait for the children to share these when we get back to school after half term!


Children had an exciting week in Hazel class. They have investigated how reliable their sense of touch is by completing several challenges, such as building a tower and sorting buttons by colour all whilst blindfolded. The last challenge pitted Mrs Smeeton against Miss Buxton to complete a jigsaw whilst blindfolded, neither managed to complete the puzzles!

The children have been talking about their family trees in history, with Year 1 pupils creating their own family tree and EYFS creating their own ‘who lives in my house’. In geography pupils have been investigating hot and cold countries, with Year 1 learning about the equator, and EYFS looking at the features of hot and cold countries.

Diary dates  (dates in red have been added this week)


HALF TERM Activity

22nd Oct

Throughout half term

Throughout half term

28th Oct

Half term


10 – 12


Conker Bash at the Stapleton Arms

Friends Pumpkin carving competition

Local Food Bank Christmas Card competition

Preschool fun activity morning at Stour Row Village Hall

8th Nov 12 – 12.30 &

14.45 – 16.00

Usborne Book Fair in the school library
17th Nov All day Children in Need – come dressed in spots! Please bring a jar filled with something interesting e.g. sweets, soaps, cotton wool balls, bouncy balls etc.
4th Dec 18.30 – 20.00 Friends Event – Wreath Making
5th Dec 14.00 School nativity – KS1 and Reception on stage, KS2 singing
5th Dec 18.30 – 20.00 Friends Event – Wreath Making
6th Dec 16.00 School nativity – KS1 and Reception on stage, KS2 singing
7th Dec All Day Christmas jumper day
8th Dec 15.30 – 17.00 Christmas Bizarre
14th Dec 15.30 – 17.00 Christmas Disco
22nd July 2024   INSET DAY
23rd July 2024   INSET DAY


Wishing everyone, a very happy and restful half term.

Best wishes,