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Headteacher's news

Headteacher's news

 Fiona Oastler, Headteacher

This term, Devonshire turned 50 and we had the most wonderful week of activities which culminated in a day of whole school celebrations to mark this very special occasion.  It was lovely to invite staff and governors who had left the school but been an important part of our history to join the festivities.  After school, parents and friends of Devonshire joined us on the field where the fun continued.  This is the type of day that Devonshire does brilliantly; every member of the school community worked together and made the day as successful and enjoyable as it was.  A day to remember!

As part of our 50th celebrations, we had a whole school photo.  All 710 children and almost 100 staff and governors are in one photo.  The children’s behaviour was impeccable and they were a credit to themselves and the school.

There have been many occasions throughout the year where the children have made us very proud, not just of their achievements but also of their attitudes towards their learning and school life in general.  This term alone, I have had two members of the public ring the school to compliment the children on their behaviour whilst on a school trip.  We have taken part in a variety of sporting events, where the children have been excellent ambassadors for the school, both in terms of the effort that they put in to representing the school but also the support that they give their team mates.

It has been a busy year; lots of learning has taken place and school trips and activities organised to enhance children’s learning and experiences.  Learning doesn’t only happen in the school day; this year we have had our highest number of extra curricular activities that children can participate in and we have worked hard to ensure that they are available to as many children as possible.

At the end of the summer term we said farewell to our Year 6 who have left us with many fond memories of their time at Devonshire and we hope that they are taking equally fond memories with them as they move on to the next stage in their education.  We wish each and every one of them all the very best in their new schools. We also wish any Devonshire families and staff who are leaving and won’t be returning in September all the very best.

Have a wonderful summer and let’s make 2018 – 2019 another memorable year.

Last term, we focussed on the importance of everyone being unique and Devonshire being a diverse community.  This term, we are sharing the importance of being proud; proud of being a member of Devonshire but also, children being proud of their achievements.

We begin each Friday assembly thinking about what the children have done during the week that they are proud of.

Our weekly merit assembles are an ideal platform for celebrating things that the children have done that their teachers are proud of and the children themselves should be proud of.  Merits are given for a variety of reasons and are not just for academic achievements.  This half term, in Key Stage  2, we have given out our first silver merit mention certificates; these children have earned 20 merit mentions so far this year, a tremendous achievement.

Children also bring things that they are proud of to these assemblies and we regularly share achievements that children have made outside of school.  These range from certificates for achieving RM easimaths levels, certificates for reading challenges to swimming certificates and karate belts.  The list is endless but these achievements are very important to celebrate.

Children are getting good at identifying what they have done to be proud of and when asked, “What have you done to make yourself feel proud?” they come up with some very thoughtful observations.  We look forward to sharing more reasons to be proud in the next half term.

Primary schools are one of the best places to work at Christmas time.

At Devonshire, December was a busy month.  As well as continuing with their hard work in the classroom, Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children performed two Christmas productions and Key Stage 2 performed a nativity at Christ Church.  This year we increased the number of performances so that parents, carers and family members had more flexibility as to which performance they watched.

The school kitchen cooked 554 Christmas dinners and the midday supervisors did a fantastic job of making the halls in to Christmas themed dining areas with decorations, crackers and Christmas music.

Every child from Reception to Year 6 watched a performance of Aladdin.  The PSA kindly paid for a travelling pantomime company to visit Devonshire.

The PSA organised a ‘Winter Ball’ and a Christmas raffle event, both of which were very enjoyable and also raised money for the school.

We extended our Christmas spirit into the local community.  Our choir sang carols and Christmas songs at 3 local old people’s homes, we invited a local old people’s group from a local church to watch our Year 2 Christmas production and every child at Devonshire made a Christmas card that they delivered to homes close to the school.  We raised £401 for Save the Children through our Christmas Jumper Day.  At the end of each of our Christmas productions we had a collection for the Dreaming Tree project, this is a project that supports deaf children and their families and is a charity very close to our hearts at Devonshire.  Thanks to the generosity of families and friends at Devonshire we raised £383 for the Dreaming Tree Project.

My first half term as Headteacher of Devonshire has been very enjoyable.

It has been a busy half term. We have welcomed 90 new Reception children and 52 new Nursery children to Devonshire and 20 new children to other parts of the school. All of our children have settled very well into their new classes.

The teachers welcomed parents and carers to their classrooms for the meet the teacher sessions in the first couple of weeks of term.

The children have been working very hard in the classroom and have completed their first curriculum project of the school year. The majority of the children’s learning takes place through these curriculum projects and at the end of each project children have the opportunity to share their learning with each other and other classes.

The parents’ afternoon and evening sessions before half term were a good opportunity for parents to see their child’s work.

There have been many activities out of the classroom…

We now have 19 extra-curricular clubs taking place either before school, at lunchtime or after school.  We have never had as many activities as this. The clubs are run by school staff or external providers and children from Year 1 to Year 6 are able to participate in a range of extra-curricular activities.

Mike Mullen, an ex-pupil and BMX champion, visited the school to talk to the juniors about the importance of resilience and not giving up. The highlight of his assembly has to be him jumping over three members of staff lying on the floor. The children thoroughly enjoyed his visit and will remember his message of not giving up when faced with a challenge.

Thanks to the generosity of Devonshire families at our Harvest Festival, we were able to take a ‘very full’ car load of food to the Sutton Foodbank.

Some of our Year 5 children were trained as sports leaders and worked with our Year 1 children to devise activities for them to take part in.

We welcomed 30 Korean Headteachers who came to Devonshire as part of their professional development. They had a tour of the school and met two of our school councillors.

We had our own Black History Week and had a whole school assembly where every year group shared their learning.

Our new School Council have been elected and have plans for their first fund raising event.  Eco-group have been busy working on a recycling project and creating posters to help us understand what can be recycled.

The school garden has had a makeover and it now includes 8 raised beds. Each year group in the school will take charge of a raised bed, choosing what to plant and taking care of their plants.

One of the elements of my new role that I have particularly enjoyed is leading the fortnightly school tours for prospective parents. I am extremely proud to show parents around the school. They are always so impressed not only with the facilities that we have at Devonshire, but most importantly with our children who are wonderful ambassadors for our school.

Fiona Oastler

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