The last 2 years have been enormously difficult for everyone, but I am pleased that in terms of school life, it’s business as usual for the most part!
It is impossible to put into words the hard work, dedication, and resilience of all the staff here at school in our endeavour to provide the very best opportunities for the children in our care throughout the whole pandemic. The quality of education provided whether it be virtual, or in-school learning has been the best we could possibly make it. So, in addition to the rigour of the school day and all that it entails, here is summary of what extra things we have been up to!
In September, Rowan resumed his weekly multi – skills and football sessions with each class, Class 3 began a 10-week block of swimming lessons and parents of Reception children joined the class to see how their children had settled in. Nat Pattinson delivered a whole day of Wheelchair basketball to all the pupils and an ambassador from Blood Bikes came to school to thank the pupils and Rota kids for their fundraising. He talked about the work they do at Blood Bikes and all the children got to look around his motorbike!
In October the pupils began preparations for the Harvest Festival, which was held in church and parents were invited to attend. The harvest gifts were then packed into hampers which the older children delivered to the retired residents of the village. These hampers are always well received, and the children love to read the ‘thank you’ cards and letters that come into school. I took some children to attend the Cumbria in Bloom presentation held in church, where Danny Poland an ex-pupil received the Silver Gilt award for his work in the community. The Rota kids had a meeting with Sinc, to plan this year’s fundraising ideas and to choose the charities they would like to support.
We started November with an Air Ambulance collection. Then as we do every year, we spent 2 days commemorating Remembrance Day. This year the pupils at Irthington Village School spent 2 days researching events of WW2 and also found out about Captain Sir Tom Moore’s role in the war and his subsequent fundraising achievements during the pandemic. We started the first day by reading the beautiful book ‘One Hundred Steps’ which gives a lovely insight into Sir Tom’s life and contains many inspirational life quotes and phrases. In Class One the children made medals out of salt dough and card which they decorated and proudly wore around their necks. In Class 2 the children created newspaper articles and posters chronicling the life and work of Sir Tom. And in Class 3 the pupils researched and wrote biographies of Sir Tom and also created beautiful silhouette pictures of WW2 soldiers and poppies. At the end of the second day, inspired by Sir Tom, we held a sponsored run event, whereby each class was tasked to run collectively 100 laps of the school field! The children really outdid themselves and through sponsorship money raised £900 and a further £302.25 was raised through the sale of poppies. A truly amazing achievement.
Bookfair visited school for 4 days, and several children attended the Co – Op pay out celebration event at the Co – Op in Brampton. They were very proud to see the photo in the local newspaper! Nicky William from Oak Tree Animal charity came into school to talk to Class 1 about how to look after their pets and Mrs Ackerley came to tell them about her job as a vet. Both visits were very much enjoyed, and visitors were impressed by the pupils’ knowledge and questions!
December started with a whole school Christmas cake making, quickly followed with rehearsals for the Christmas performances and Nativity. Classes 2 and 3 each held 2 performances in the school hall for parents and Class 1 held their Nativity in church for parents. We are a Fairtrade School, and the Fairtrade committee held their first event of the year, there were quizzes, games, a raffle and a Traidcraft shop. When the visiting pantomime cancelled, we arranged for a magician to come and entertain us for an afternoon! The whole school Christmas party was great fun and was attended by a very special visitor in a red suit bearing gifts! The school Christmas lunch was delicious. Well-done Julie, Eirian and Louise!
January saw a spike in Covid cases here at school, affecting staff and pupils alike, however we remained open and carried on regardless! In addition to Rowan’s football sessions, Frasier began his weekly cricket sessions with each class. Class 3 visited the Theatre by the Lake to watch Tom’s Midnight Garden. This was a superb production. School staff were complimented 3 times by staff and volunteers at the theatre on our pupils’ manners and behaviour! Class 3 began their Spelling Binding Book challenge.
Zozo led African drumming sessions and we concluded January with a fantastic visit to school from a published and award-winning author! Stuart Reid delivered a whole school assembly and then class workshops. These were both inspiring and fun.
In February Class 1 visited Tullie House to take part in the ‘Paddington Bear – Story of a bear’ exhibition and story writing workshop! Tian, a lady from China, came to school to deliver an exciting assembly on the Lunar New Year and Action Ants delivered crossbow and archery to all pupils followed by an obstacle course! Class 2 had a ‘reading for pleasure’ week and were set a reading challenge for the half term.
In March we began the month with a Fairtrade Afternoon Tea for all the pupils. The pupils also took part in recycle, reduce reuse competition. All manner of wonderful creations were entered into the competition and judging was extremely hard for 2 of our school Governors! A week later parents were delighted to attend an in-person Parents’ Evening, having the opportunity to look at their child’s schoolbooks. The following week, parents of class One were invited to attend a ‘phonics for parents’ information session.
The pupils thoroughly enjoyed decorating eggs and Easter Crafts. The Rota kids held another fundraiser – non uniform day and a Bunny Drive! At the very end of the month pupils in Year 5 and 6 took part in the climbing competition at Eden Rock and did an excellent job! This was the first climbing experience for some pupils who represented the school admirably!
The whole school took part in an Easter Service in church with each class delivering a presentation. On the last day of term all pupils took part in and easter Egg hunt on the school field.
In April, Classes 2 and 3 started the term with a super visit to Housesteads, on Hadrian’s wall, and the Roman soldier experience, brought their new learning context to life!
In May we all took part in Big Plant Week, planting wildflowers and scattering wildflower seed in the church grounds.
Class One headed off to Tullie house to experience life as a Victorian child and also to explore the building and museum. This really helped to bring to life aspects of their history and geography learning. The Summer Fair was a huge success, attended by so many people from the school and wider community. The weather was kind to us, and much needed funds were raised for the school PTA. Year 6 coped admirably completing their Year 6 SATs and were rewarded with a post SATs treat of Bowling at Hollywood Bowl! Great fun was had by all. The local community supported us once again for a fantastic GNAA collection.
Classes 2 and 3 walked along Hadrian’s wall, imagining what life was like for a Roman soldier.KS2 parents came in for a meeting about the forthcoming Residential visit to Dukes House wood near Hexham.
Pupils from year 5 and 6 took part in the Ronders festival at William Howard school class 2 finished the half term with visits to Bitts Park, where they found the statue of Queen Victoria, explored the gardens and played on the play area and the following week they had a guided tour of Carlisle Cathedral! They were so impressed with the decorated ceiling and beautiful stained-glass windows; they even found a Victorian window!