How lovely to see the children back in school this week, all looking refreshed and ready to learn! Due to staff absence, I have done some phonics teaching on several days this week, which was a real pleasure. I was very impressed with how well the children understand their phonics, and how they enjoy learning new words and getting their new books. The children knew the routines of the lessons incredibly well and they were very kind to me – it is a long time since I taught phonics regularly!
Earlier in the week, our application to convert to academy status and join the Midsomer Norton Partnership Trust (MNSP) was approved by the Region’s Office. Early in the summer term, all parents will be invited to a meeting with me, some of our governors and Alun Williams, the CEO of the trust. At that meeting, you will be able to hear why we have chosen to convert and to join MNSP, and you will also have the chance to ask Alun any questions you may have with regard to the trust itself. It is an exciting development for Trinity and one which I believe will enable us to continue to grow and thrive.
Next Wednesday we are holding our first Parent Cafe. This will be held in our new quad room, right in the heart of the school. Melody Hunter Evans from Frome Town Council will be joining me, and hopefully lots of you as well! The cafe will be a chance to have a chat (with me and Melody and with each other as parents) and to find out more about the different organisations and places where you can find help, support and information in and around Frome. I really hope you will come along, and I hope it will be an enjoyable and informative event. Please don’t feel you can only come if there is something you feel you need help with. I am looking forward to having more time and a much warmer and drier space than the gate to catch up with parents and find out how things are going so please do drop in if you can!
Earlier this week, I spent a morning visiting every class. I was able to see how well the children at Trinity learn and how focused and ready for learning they all are. I saw a mixture of maths and English lessons, and throughout the school I saw children having fun in their learning.
In Reception, the children were doing maths and I witnessed some amazing talk amongst the children about numbers and some great reasoning when they were explaining their answers. In Year 1, the children were learning all about similes and were saying and writing fantastic sentences describing polar bears, penguins, mountains and the ocean. Their choices of things to show the comparisons were ingenious!
In Year 2, the children were learning all about multiplication through arrays so there was lots of talk about columns and rows. They are also at the stage of discovering the magic of multiplication and working out that if they know one multiplication fact, they automatically know two!
It was back to English in Year 3, where the children were finding out about rats in preparation for their new story. I learned a number of facts about rats during my visits to Holly and Bramble. The children did too, and they were also organising the facts into related groups as they are exploring what makes a good paragraph.
English was a subject in Year 4 as well, where the children were tackling direct speech and the related punctuation….there are so many things to remember with that! I was really impressed with their proof-reading as it takes careful attention to check and be sure that everything that should be there is, and also that nothing extra has snuck in!
It was a truly lovely morning!
We have had some lovely connections with the wider community over the last two or three weeks, most of which have stemmed from our collaboration with Frome Town Council. Some of our Year 4 children worked with Katie from FTC to identify appropriate routes for families to travel to and from school safely on foot or by bike/scooter. Following the activity, I had the following from Katie:
‘Just a quick note to say what a pleasure it was to work with your Year 4s last week. We covered a lot of ground mapping different routes to school, looking for signs of Spring and talking about the benefits of active travel and how to keep safe whilst walking and wheeling. we spoke about air pollution and other environmental impacts of cars in the areas around school, and everyone was so engaged and knowledgeable.’
I am looking forward to seeing the Walking Wheel Map Katie is putting together as a result of this work with the children soon.
Our youngest children have been involved in litter picking in and around our school, again with Katie, which they engaged in most enthusiastically! It is frightening how much litter they were able to collect from green spaces in less than an hour – especially when we bear in mind how tricky the grabbers can be to operate when you are only little! The children loved being able to do something to make a positive difference to the area and were so keen to do more that Katie has promised to investigate whether she can source some grabbers and hoops that we can keep permanently at Trinity.
On Monday morning, 8 of our Year 4 children took part in a swimming gala, along with children from across all First schools in Frome. Our children did brilliantly well, with strong individual performances and finishing second overall as a team. They thoroughly enjoyed the morning, were very keen to swim as much as possible, and behaved impeccably. Well done!
Finally, probably the most exciting event of the week has been the BMX display the whole school was treated to yesterday morning. Again, this was organised and funded for us by Frome Town Council, and the children LOVED it! There was so much excitement this morning as the children told me about the tricks our visitor performed. Matti Hemmings is a current British BMX champion and also the holder of three Guinness World Records, so a real treat and spectacle for the school.
Over the last couple of weeks it has been fantastic to see so many parents coming into school for the Share my Work sessions. Each morning, the hall has been full, and the atmosphere so busy as the children have had the chance to show mums, dads and grandparents the work they have done so far this year. We value these sessions as a super opportunity for the children to talk about their learning, and they probably serve as a reminder sometimes too! From the fabulous attendance of adults, it is clear that it is also something that parents value, which is great. Hopefully all the children are able to find lots of things to show off how much they have learned in a variety of subjects and come away from the sessions feeling really proud of how hard they have been working.
In a much wider sense, working together with parents is a very important part of our role, and we know that there are many pressures facing families at the moment. We are always keen to do what we can to support, even if that is just signposting to services that are much better equipped to help than we are. Unfortunately, we also know that it is not just families facing pressures at the moment, many of our support services are also extremely stretched and it can be hard to access the help or advice that is needed. Something that we have already started as a way to help this is our parenting group, which runs every Tuesday afternoon from 2pm to 3pm. The group follows a loose structure, based on training Mr Reid attended on parenting support, but is very much enriched by the varied contributions of everybody attending. There is plenty of opportunity for open discussion, with parents attending contributing as much or as little as they feel comfortable doing, but everyone attending feels huge benefit from the chance to share concerns and know that they are not alone. If you feel this is something that would help you, please do get in touch with Mr Reid, me or the school office if you would like to find out more. It is a very welcoming group!
We are also aware that managing children’s anxieties is an increasing worry for parents and in order to support with this, Mrs Crawley is in the process of putting together a plan for an information-sharing session, which we will hold later this term. This will be a chance for parents to come along and get some advice and tips, as well as an opportunity to share experiences with other parents who are feeling the same way. As with anything we do, it is intended to be a supportive conversation. We cannot promise to have all the answers but we are seeking expert advice and information to make sure that we are as well informed as we can be and so as well-placed as possible to support those parents in need.
Finally, we know that reading with children at home can sometimes be a cause of stress, especially when lives are busy or when, in spite of our best efforts, your child is really not keen on reading. We also know that not every parent will feel confident reading with or to their child. We really want to help and support with reading at home, and while we already have some ideas, it would be great to hear from parents what the particular difficulties are so that we can aim to make the support we offer as useful and effective as possible. Please do get in touch with me and let me know what aspect of reading at home you would like some help with. It really doesn’t matter what the issue is, please don’t worry that it is silly – it isn’t if it is affecting your child’s reading. So please don’t be afraid or embarrassed about coming forwards, we can only help if we know what to help with!
In our weekly Stars assemblies on Friday mornings, I always ask one or two children from each class for the highlight of the week in their learning. I love hearing the responses, and enjoy the variety each week. There are often responses that are perhaps unexpected, but I think it is really important that we celebrate lots of different learning and take pride in the fact that the older children often cite as a highlight something that they have had to really think about.
This week, across our ten classes, six different areas of learning were highlighted by the children. PE, which is a regular favourite, was the best bit of the week in three classes. The children in Sunshine class had enjoyed doing gymnastics with Mr Sing; in Jasmine class the children had great fun learning skills for basketball, bouncing and dribbling the ball, and in Maple class the children loved doing street dance with Mrs Manaia. I happened to see the end of that lesson, when the children were taking it in turns to show skills they had been working on during the lesson and it was clear to see what fun they were having, alongside challenging themselves to perform in front of others.
Forest School is another regular favourite, and this week it was the children in Poppy class who identified it. The hot chocolate they had to drink while they were there was perhaps the most memorable aspect of the visit, but the focus of their visit was to explore the different textures they could find. In Rainbow class, the children have been learning about toys from the past as part of their learning in Understanding the World, and having hands-on experience of lots of old toys was their identified highlight. In Oak class, the children have been using the story ‘Emma Jane’s Aeroplane’ to inspire their learning in literacy and the children felt that the writing they have done this week, creating their own ‘second chapter’ to the story was their highlight.
Holly and Bramble classes both felt that their learning in art was the highlight of the week for them. The children were creating and using patterns to make a background for self-portraits they will be doing in a week or two. Pine class chose reading as the highlight of their week, which was based upon their exploration of the reading material available to them in the classroom, and subsequent reorganisation of the book shelves to make it easier to find the kind of texts they are looking for. Finally, in Gorse class the children have been using TT Rock Stars in class as they prepare for the multiplication tables check that they need to do during the summer term. The children were very proud to report on their increasing speed and accuracy with their multiplication facts.
As you will see further in this newsletter, Trinity First School’s application to convert to an academy and join the Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership is proceeding so I thought this is a good time to share a little more detail around the application. Academy trusts have been in existence for some years now, but the staff and governors at Trinity have always been confident in our status as a Local Authority maintained school. As you know, we are a successful school and we make sure we are always looking outwards to find the support and challenge needed to ensure consistent and continued success. Over recent years, this has become increasingly important as the resources within the LA have dwindled, along with many other public services. This, together with the potential for change across Frome, encouraged the governors to explore the options available to us in terms of joining a MAT (multi-academy trust). The governors looked at a number of different MATs, visiting schools, meeting with the leaders of each MAT and seeking written responses to a set of questions. As I am sure you can imagine, this process took some time, but it was important to be thorough.
The Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership is a strong, local trust that we feel is well-placed to provide us with the resources to enable Trinity to continue to thrive. Trinity joining the same trust as Oakfield and Frome College will also strengthen and enhance the education pathway many of our Trinity children take. We have always worked together as schools in Frome, but we believe that being part of the same trust will provide greater stability and coherence to our children as they make their way through our various schools, allowing the children to continue building on the firm foundations we give them here at Trinity. Critchill School has been part of MNSP for several years and having the three schools that share this site as part of the same trust also brings exciting potential for development.
We are slightly later in the process than Oakfield and Frome College, whose applications to join the trust have already been approved. Ours is on the verge of being submitted and we hope will gain official approval next month. Once this has happened, it will take time before all the various legal processes have taken place, so it could be many months before the process is completed. In a practical, day-to-day sense, very little is likely to change, but what changes we see, we expect to be ones which will have a positive impact on the children’s experiences and outcomes.
In addition to the formal offer to meet with governors and trust leaders, I am more than happy to have a chat with parents at any point to talk through any questions or concerns you may have.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope all our families had the chance to enjoy time together over the Christmas break. It has been lovely to welcome the children back, refreshed and ready to learn.
Although it has been a very short week for the children, the teaching staff have been back at work a little bit longer, with two training days to start off the year. Over the two days, we have covered different aspects of school life as part of our continuous development programme for the school. On Tuesday, our focus was subject leadership and reading and on Wednesday we were concentrating on spelling. Although we have subject specialists who deliver some of the teaching (Mrs Robertson for Spanish, Charlotte who teaches the Year 4 children the violin, and Mr Sing, everybody’s favourite PE teacher) most of the time at this stage in education, children are taught everything by their class teacher. To support a strong curriculum, we have a leader for each subject and make sure that these leaders (our class teachers) have time to explore their subject in depth and to develop expertise which their colleagues can call upon. For the last few years, we have also made sure that our subject leaders have membership of the relevant subject association, which in turn allows them to have access to expertise as they seek to continue to develop teaching and learning in their subject here at Trinity. I am delighted that our subject leaders are really dedicated to the subject that they lead and work hard to ensure that it is planned and taught in the best way possible as this can only enhance the experience that the children have.
Tuesday afternoon was time for reading. As you know, we are thoroughly committed to doing everything we can to teach reading to as high a standard as possible, alongside encouraging a love of reading for pleasure in the children. To support this, I tasked the teaching staff with some research into current high quality texts which they can share with their classes as we know that the quality of the text can make a huge difference to the children’s experience of it, but keeping abreast of all the top quality books coming onto the market is extremely time-consuming. Hopefully now, we have lots of ideas as a staff for books to inspire the children with! Mr Reid and I have also been carrying out research into the teaching of reading, so we will be looking at ways to adapt out processes to incorporate new ideas to help us be even more successful.
Spelling is one of those areas of learning that can often instil fear and dread into people so it was great to be able to welcome an excellent consultant to Trinity to work with the teaching staff on Wednesday to promote the joys of spelling with us! We know that English is a ridiculously complicated language and that this makes learning to spell so tricky for so many people. However, on Wednesday we focused on celebrating the quirks of our language and the importance of taking time to explore words, and their meanings and origins, to really support the children in developing the skills they need to become good spellers. We know that there are far more words in the English language than we are capable of learning to spell as separate units, so our attention was very much on how we can create in the children the mindset and skills needed to enable them to make increasingly accurate attempts at spelling the unfamiliar and complex words that we would like them to be comfortable and confident using in their writing. It was a really interesting training session, and we also had a lot of fun, which is possibly not what most people might have anticipated!
This week has been the most magical end to a fantastic term. There have been so many things happening this week which have shown that our school is at the heart of a wonderful community, starting with the FOTFS Christmas Fair on Sunday afternoon. The committee did a brilliant job planning and organising the event and the atmosphere throughout was super. So many of our families came along to join in with the fun and it was lovely to see so many parents and staff helping the committee on the day and making sure it was a complete success. There were so many activities for the children to enjoy and the event raised a huge amount of money too!
Throughout the week, all of the children have taken part in their Christmas performances, and as always it is my absolute pleasure to watch them all. The staff and children put so much effort into learning lines and songs, getting costumes and props ready and making sure each show is fantastic. The performances are all very different but I have been proud of every child for the part they have played, whether that is singing a solo or just being prepared to stand on the stage. Everything we do at Trinity is designed to support the children being the best and the happiest they can be, whatever their starting point, and I am delighted that our performances are inclusive of all – from the children who were born to shine on stage to the children for whom a starring role is their worst nightmare, and all the variations in between.
The end of the week has been more relaxing for the children as they have been able to enjoy their Christmas lunch on Wednesday and the pantomime yesterday. For the Christmas lunch, we have all adult hands on deck to ensure it goes smoothly, with the staff collecting the meals and serving them to the children. My job was to go around and serve gravy to those who wanted it and it was good to hear so many children talking enthusiastically about their meal as I went. The kitchen staff always make sure there is plenty of food, and lots of the year 4 children tucked into seconds, including the vegetables, although I think it is fair to say that the pigs in blankets were the stand-out favourite item!
Thank you all for all your support throughout the term. Together, we make this a wonderful school for all of the children. I wish all of our Trinity children, parents and staff the most wonderful Christmas and New Year and look forward to seeing you all again in 2024!
On Tuesday morning, the whole school went to Holy Trinity church for an advent service. It is always lovely to visit the church, which is a beautiful building and a very welcoming space. Walking nearly 300 children to church and back is quite an undertaking, but the children always behave impeccably and we are fortunate to have plenty of parents and grandparents who come along to help out. Our Sunshine and Rainbow children walked with our children in year 3 this week, with the older children taking their responsibility seriously and really taking care of their younger charges.
Advent is a period of waiting and anticipation and there is plenty of that around school at the moment – and no doubt at home too! The children in all classes have been busy rehearsing their plays and carol concerts over the last few weeks, and we are eagerly anticipating their performances to parents next week. During our advent service we had a sneaky preview, with each class performing one of their songs for the rest of the school. This week also we have had some dress rehearsals in school, which are usually the first opportunity for the children to perform their play in front of an audience. Yesterday morning it was wonderful to welcome an audience of childminders, nurseries and some of the residents from Greenhill Grange to a Sunshine and Rainbow dress rehearsal.
We are also looking forward to the Christmas Fair this Sunday, and hope to see lots of families coming along to join in the fun. There will be a variety of craft activities on offer for the children to engage in and hopefully a visit from Father Christmas too! The children from Sunshine and Rainbow, Pine and Gorse and the Songbirds club will be singing during the fair and there will be refreshments on sale too, so it should be a busy and enjoyable event. Do come along and join us if you can.
We have recently received a donation from the Rotary Club, which has enabled us to bring about something I have been keen to do for a long time. As I am sure you know, I am really passionate about reading and aim to nurture a love of reading in the children alongside making sure that they all have fantastic reading skills. At Trinity, we love having a fabulous independent book shop in Frome and we make as much use as we can of the knowledge and expertise of all the staff at Hunting Raven. Tina and her team are always extremely welcoming when we go and such a font of wisdom about all things related to books.
We will be using our donation to enable us to buy a few new books each term for the library, and each term Tina, or someone else from the team, will come and introduce those books to the children during assemblies. Yesterday Tina came to share two seasonal books with the children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – ‘This is not a Polar Bear’ by Barry Timms and Ged Adamson and ‘Adventuremice, Mice on the Ice’ by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. The children loved the humour in both books and really enjoyed the snippet of each that Tina read to them.
Today, Tina came back to share another two books, this time with Year 3 and Year 4. Today’s selection comprised one very festive story, Operation Nativity by Jenny Pearson and Katie Kear, and a stunning non-fiction book called The Observologist by Giselle Clarkson. Again, Tina gave the children a brief introduction to the books, sharing the first few pages of Operation Nativity to give the children a feel for the style of writing and picking out a couple of pages from The Observologist to help explain what an observologist is and how and when the children can be one.
On both days, Tina’s selections were brilliant and certainly engaged the children completely. They will be excellent additions to our library!
One of the highlights from our recent Ofsted report is the sentence that begins, ‘the school is alive with the many musical pursuits on offer to pupils’, and this is never more evident than at this time of year. It is almost impossible to be anywhere in school without being able to hear singing or musical instruments being played (not that we would want to!), with all year groups busily learning songs for their carol concert or their Christmas play adding to our regular music opportunities.
On Mondays there are individual and small group violin and keyboard lessons, followed after school by guitar club and djembe drumming club. Tuesday mornings is whole school singing assembly, led by Mrs Solway with Mrs Williams accompanying the children on the piano. On Wednesday morning, Year 4 start the day with their violin lessons and Mrs Williams ends the day with recorder club, and on Fridays Mrs Williams rounds off the week with the very popular Songbirds club.
In addition to this, every week the whole school listens to a focus piece of music, which I also play as the children enter and leave assemblies. These pieces vary enormously in style, and date from as early as the 12th century. This week’s piece happens to be one of the children’s absolute favourites, Le Freak by Chic, and always makes us smile. It is, of course, impossible for the children to walk normally out of the hall at the end of the assembly with that track as the background music!
All of this is in addition to our music curriculum which sees the children develop an all-round knowledge and appreciation of different musical styles and vocabulary, as well as learning music notation and beginning to compose their own pieces. We use our computers to deliver music technology and have class sets of ukuleles and boomwhackers, which enable all the children to learn to play an instrument. So we really are alive with music at Trinity, and we love it!
This week we have had lots of opportunities to think about others, although perhaps not busy parents trying to keep up with the different days we have celebrated….sorry, next week is more normal!
Monday was Odd Socks Day, when the children were invited to wear odd socks (I know, plenty of children need no such invitation!) in recognition of our understanding that we are all different, but all equally important. This week is also anti-bullying week, and so wearing our odd socks was a great way to start the week. The children all had a lesson during the day with the theme of diversity and kindness. Also, as a reminder of the power of words, they listened to the new song by Andy and the Odd Socks called ‘Make a Noise’. It is important for us to teach the children that not all difference is visible, and that we shouldn’t always have to change who we are to feel we can fit in.
On Tuesday it was World Diabetes Day, and we were really pleased to be joined by three students from Frome College, and a member of Frome College staff, who came to talk to the children about type 1 diabetes and what it is like to live with the condition. This is especially important to us as we have welcomed a child into Reception this year with type 1 diabetes, and we wanted to make sure all of our children are aware of the condition so that we can make sure that we all know what school is like for him, and what we should be aware of in order to allow him to be as much a part of our school community as everyone else. You will find information kindly shared by his mum later in the newsletter, which explains more about diabetes and what signs to look out for. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the staff are able to track and monitor how this little boy is using a mobile phone. For safeguarding reasons, staff do not routinely use a mobile phone when they are in the company of the children, and some of the older children had noticed the phone being used in the reception classes so it was good to be able to give them a clear explanation of why this one is both legitimate and necessary. From a wider safeguarding perspective, it was really positive that the children had noticed, questioned and reported the use of a phone in their presence!
And finally, today we are joining in with Children in Need, raising money to fund and support a wide range of projects across the country that help children and young people experiencing difficult times. A huge thank you to FOTFS for the lovely coffee morning this morning, and thank you to everyone for joining in with the theme as there is so much bright yellow all around the school today! Thank you also for your donations, which enable us to support this very worthwhile cause.
At Trinity we love giving the children as much opportunity as possible to show leadership and to take responsibility for different aspects of school life. We have a very successful School Council and Energy Sparks team, both of which are made up of representatives from most year groups. In addition to this we have chances for the Year 4 children to take on specific roles that support the running of the school, most notably Play Leaders and Librarians, as well as more ad-hoc roles such as the selling of the Poppy Appeal items which Year 4 have taken responsibility for over the last week….and done extremely well indeed!
The children love having the chance to fulfil specific roles and this has been especially evident with our librarians this week. Together with Mrs Fox, one of our lovely teaching assistants who oversees the somewhat herculean task of trying to keep the library in some sort of order, I met with this year’s team of librarians on Monday afternoon. I don’t think I have ever encountered a more enthusiastic group! The children were so keen to get going, and in the end we spent an hour working in the library, rather than the 15 minute chat I was anticipating. The remit for the librarians is to do as much tidying of the shelves as they can, and to put the books that have been returned to the library back on the right shelf. However, on Monday afternoon, there was so much enthusiasm that we were able to do so much more. Not only did we get through an enormous pile of returned books, but we also managed to do some significant reorganising, moving some of the books around to make sure they are now in a much more sensible place.
In total, we have 10 librarians, which means that we ask two of them each day to spend their morning playtime in the library rather than outside with their friends. The children all knew this when they volunteered to take on the role, but during our meeting on Monday afternoon, they asked if they could use some of their other free time in the library as well. Some of the children attend breakfast or after school club, and several times this week, they have been in the library making sure everything is in order. Not only that, but Wednesday’s librarians happened to have a shorter playtime and asked if they could use their lunchtime play to continue with their work in the library. At Trinity we love our library, and it is really important to us that the children get the chance to visit the library every week to borrow a book, but maintaining tidy and organised shelves takes a lot of effort – thank goodness we have such willing helpers!
On Friday mornings, we have our Stars Assemblies, which give us the chance to come together and celebrate some of the special things that have happened in school during the week. Each class usually has two stars who are being recognised for something fabulous that they have done. Often this links to our school values, with children being recognised for their resilience and kindness most often, although teamwork, respect and curiosity do also feature regularly. The children may get a star award for an aspect of their academic work or progress, but they may equally be celebrated for their behaviour at playtime or lunchtime.
Occasionally the whole class or year group is also recognised for something they have done especially well, and this is something that happened this morning when all of Maple and Oak were congratulated for their special efforts in helping someone learn our school rules and values. In addition, we also had a most unusual recipient of a star award – Mr Pea, formerly known as Evil Pea. It is Mr Pea who the children have been helping, and Miss Rutt, Mrs Godsave and Mrs Flower are all so impressed with how well Mr Pea has been taught and how well he has learned to make a positive contribution that they felt he should be rewarded, not just with a name change, but also with a star sticker and certificate.
During the Stars assemblies we also recognise the children who have achieved a reading certificate. Reading certificates are awarded for every 25 days the children have a reading experience at home. Ideally that is the child reading to an adult, but can include having a story read to them as well because sharing stories is such a valuable learning experience. We know that the children who share stories regularly at home make better progress than the children who don’t and we want to do everything we can to promote that for our children. We know that life is busy, but we really do appreciate and value the time that you as parents spend sharing stories with your children. For those parents who find it harder to share stories or reading experiences at home, we would love to help so do please let us know if there is anything we can do to help – even if you don’t know what would help, you just know you would like some support!
At this time of year I have the pleasure of doing a number of parent tours at Trinity, and this week has been particularly busy. It is always lovely to wander around the school and see what each class is up to, and taking prospective parents on tours is no exception. The children really do their bit to show our school at its best, they are always engaged in their learning and behaviour across the school is fantastic, whether that is Reception children enjoying self-initiated play or Year 4 children writing a story.
Throughout the week, I have seen such a wide range of learning taking place and I thought it might be interesting to share some of that here. Having visited classes at the beginning and the end of the week, I was able to see the children in Year 3 starting to plan a story on Monday and then this morning when I popped in they were making ‘published’ copies of their stories, which I believe are going to be shared with parents. In Reception, I have been able to see the children doing some phonics and maths learning, as well as lots of very busy play. The marble run has been extremely popular this week, and whenever I visit Sunshine and Rainbow, there are always children making the most of the sandpit and the role play corners. I have been able to see children using the writing stations and exploring the mud kitchen. The children are so settled in Sunshine and Rainbow it is hard to imagine that they have only been here for 7 weeks.
During Year 1 and 2 phonics and guided reading time, every available space is in use with small groups so all of our corridors are busy with the sounds of children reading. It is especially lovely to see groups using our new quad room! I have also seen geography in Year 3, with children learning about the population of Frome and using their cutting skills to make paper chains representing different age groups and how these make up the population as a whole. In Year 4, the children were doing amazing writing on their history learning about the Ancient Egyptians. The children were writing diary entries, as if they were Howard Carter, about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. When I was in Gorse class, Mr Reid was sharing a sentence from Martha’s writing, and it was so lovely, I thought I would share it here…. ‘It’s hard to believe that this bundle of fabric was once the most powerful person in the world.’ What a beautiful way of expressing the wonder that Howard Carter must have felt!
This week, a gripping saga that has been playing out in Oak and Maple classes has reached its conclusion. For the best part of two weeks, the children arrived at school each morning to see what mischief Evil Pea had been up to overnight. Most days, they would arrive to find he had trapped Supertato and his friends, who were powerless to resist the cunning of Evil Pea. Day after day, the children devised traps to capture Evil Pea, but he evaded them all, no matter how brilliant they were. Every day, both classes were full of chatter as the children discussed how they might finally get the better of Evil Pea, and what they could do to encourage him to change his ways.
The children’s traps became increasingly technical and Evil Pea began to realise his days of freedom were numbered as sooner or later the children were going to find a way to capture him. In order to increase their chances, the children made brilliant ‘Wanted’ posters, with detailed pictures of Evil Pea and fabulous written descriptions. When these appeared on the walls, Evil Pea knew the time had come.
And so it was that last Thursday morning, I came into school to find a somewhat subdued Evil Pea waiting for me in my office. He was keen to express both his regret and his remorse at his actions over the previous couple of weeks, and indicated he was ready to change his ways. At first, I have to say I was not convinced and felt this could be yet another trap. However, over the course of the morning I felt Evil Pea really did want a second chance.
So, having made it clear that his previous behaviour was not acceptable and could not continue, I felt it only fair to give Evil Pea the opportunity to change. Luckily, the children in Oak and Maple are kind and forgiving, and they were very keen to help Evil Pea learn how to be kind and to be a good friend. In this way, I returned Evil Pea to the class, where the children are setting him the best of examples to follow.
This week the children have been writing up the events of the last couple of weeks. I have every confidence that these stories will have a happy ending!
How lovely it was to end our week with the children with the Harvest Festival yesterday afternoon! We were delighted to be joined by so many parents and grandparents and we know the children love having family members to perform to. As it is so early in the year, it can be a challenge to get everything ready – songs learned, poems and prayers written – and for everyone to be sure of what they need to do and where they need to be, but Harvest is such an important part of the school year at this age that we love celebrating it. Two of our songs were old favourites to help with our preparation, meaning that we just needed a little bit of rehearsing to remember the words and the tune. We also introduced two new songs for this year as we love to make changes and to keep things exciting and interesting for the children. We were extremely proud of the way they managed to sing in a 4 part round – this is not easy, especially outside!
We loved having the Reception children outside with us yesterday afternoon, and thought they did extremely well. As we are still getting the children used to being in school, they are not familiar with being in a whole school group but it is important that we include the children in whole school events as much as possible. Obviously they are too little to have learned the songs, but I hope Reception parents loved seeing their children being part of the celebration.
Thank you so much for your support, both in terms of coming to the Festival and also for the wonderful donations of food which will be passed on to Fair Frome. The corridor outside my office is full of bags and boxes of your donations which will make a real difference to local families in need. It is always brilliant to see what we can do when we come together as a community.
This morning we held our first community event of the academic year, with the FOTFS committee running a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care. It was great to see so many parents and other members of our community coming together to have a chat and enjoy some cake. Thank you to the committee for organising the coffee morning, and to all the parents who supported it by bringing cake or coming along this morning, or both!
The other exciting event today, has been the signing off of our new room. Over the summer we have had builders on site, converting the central quad into an extra indoor space for us to use throughout the day. This has been a very long process, beginning with protracted negotiations with the Local Authority to reach an agreement on what we were able to do, followed by difficulties finding the right contractor. Initial plans were interrupted and delayed by Covid and then had to be changed completely when the rapid rise in costs following the invasion of Ukraine meant that our original intentions became unaffordable. We went back to the drawing board, came up with an alternative and then began the process all over again!
However, this is all behind us now and we are very much looking forward to using the space to further improve several aspects of school life. It is going to be a very busy space (there is never enough room in a school!) and it will be in use throughout the day. It will provide us with another space for our reading groups and other group activities in the mornings, and each afternoon it will be the base for Rockets, our nurture provision. It is also going to be a really useful space for Trinity Plus to be able to access, especially as we have increased capacity in our wraparound care to meet increasing need for places. When you come to parents’ evening in a few weeks, do feel free to have a look!
This week has been a bit more ordinary – or as close to ordinary as a school ever is! The children in reception continue to settle well, although with this being their first full week, I think there are a few tired minds and bodies at this end of the week. It is such a big step for children when they start school, so many things to get to know and it is remarkable how well they manage it, but not surprising that they are feeling tired by the end of the week.
Our Year 3 children are loving their swimming lessons each week, and the children in year 4 are having weekly violin lessons, which they are also enjoying. For several years we have had percussion lessons for our year 4 children, with a specialist teacher coming from the Somerset Music Hub but this year we have swapped to violin. Again, we have a specialist teacher coming to deliver the lessons. Although percussion is great fun, we really wanted the children to be learning more about music notation which the violin lessons offer. It isn’t necessarily the easiest instrument to learn, but we have every confidence in our children, especially as we have been gradually increasing our music offer over the last few years, ensuring that they have had the chance to learn easier instruments such as the ukulele first.
Yesterday evening was the Friends of Trinity First School AGM. All parents and carers are automatically a member of FOTFS, and we have a small but dedicated committee that works incredibly hard to put on several events throughout the year to raise funds and provide extra resources and opportunities for the children. The team is always keen to welcome new members onto the committee and it is a great way to get to know other parents and to contribute to the wider life of the school, so do get in touch if you would like to get involved.
At the meeting yesterday, a long list of events was agreed, spread throughout the year. First up is the coffee morning next Friday, being held in aid of Macmillan. This will be in the hall from 9am until 11am and it would be amazing to see lots of parents, grandparents, siblings and other friends of our school coming along to get together for coffee and cake. For parents new and old, it is a great opportunity to catch up with other parents, especially as the school run can be rushed and not a great time for a chat.
Another event planned for this term is a quiz for parents (and other adults, so friends and family are welcome!), which will take place in November. It is a while since we last hosted a quiz at school, but it is always a fun event and a great opportunity to raise funds for school and to compete for the bragging rights that come with winning! Do get a team together and look out for details of how to book nearer the time.
The last event planned for this term is the Christmas Fair, which is much more about the children, with fun arts and crafts activities as well as some musical performances.
All of these events will be great fun and will really help our community come together, but the FOTFS committee does need your help to be able to run them smoothly. If you don’t feel you have the time to join the committee and be involved in planning future events, you can still offer your support by volunteering some of your time to help out at individual events. The committee would love to hear from you, however you would like to be involved, so do get in touch. They do an amazing job for the school, and the children’s experiences would be poorer without their support.
Well, week two has been intense! We had our long-awaited call from Ofsted on Monday morning and our inspector was with us on Tuesday and Wednesday. The outcome of the inspection will be made public with the publication of the report in a few weeks’ time. Until then, the information we are able to share is very limited. So although it has been a very busy week, there isn’t a great deal to say which feels rather odd!
I can tell you that the children were brilliant throughout (no more than we expected!) and absolutely did us proud. During the course of the inspection, the inspector visited all classes and spoke to small groups of children about lots of different aspects of the school. She talked to children about their learning in a number of different subjects, she heard some of our children read, and also observed them at playtimes. She visited breakfast club and spoke to the children about the wider opportunities they have at Trinity, such as after school clubs, trips, visitors and so on. Whatever they were asked to do, the children were fantastic.
I would also like to thank you as parents for all of your support, from your kind words and wishes when I saw you on the gate, to your responses to the parent survey online. Thank you for persevering in spite of the technical issues with the website! The results on the survey are overwhelmingly positive. We are absolutely thrilled that 100% of parents who completed the survey would recommend Trinity to other parents; that means an awful lot to us as a whole school team. An Ofsted inspection is a stressful time for a school, but we very definitely felt the love and support from the parent body and felt very grateful for it.
During the inspection, the inspector also met with staff and governors. The time from the initial phone call on Monday morning to the end of the inspection on Wednesday evening was extremely busy, with everyone making sure they had everything they needed for lessons and meetings. We are looking forward to a well-earned rest this weekend, and hope all of our Trinity families enjoy the weekend too.
Here we are again! It has been so lovely to see our children in Year 1 and above again after their summer break and wonderful to welcome our new children and families into Sunshine and Rainbow. We are so impressed at how well all the children have settled into new classes and routines, especially given how warm it has been this week. Our new Reception children have come in for just a half day each day this week, and next week will be staying for lunch before starting full days the week after. They are doing brilliantly so far!
Our children in Year 4 have spent the last three days on a residential visit at Hooke Court in Dorset. I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with them yesterday and joined in with the den building activity. The children had a brilliant time away, and everybody took on the challenges of the different activities, and being away from home, really sensibly. When I left yesterday, they were just finishing their dinner and there was much excitement about the night walk coming up. We are really lucky that our staff are willing to give up their time (and the best part of two nights’ sleep!) to take the children away, enabling them to have such a fabulous experience. As I write the children have just returned to school, and although they are tired, it was lovely to hear the excited bubble of children telling their parents all about their trip. I imagine children and staff will sleep well tonight!
During the summer, work began on a long-awaited building project at Trinity. We are having a roof put over the central quad, which will create an extra room in the middle of our school. This isn’t big enough to be a classroom, but it will be a really useful space for group work during the mornings and will be the base for our Nurture group in the afternoons. All being well, the work will be completed by the beginning of October.