Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
We express our deepest sympathies for the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her dedication to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and to her other realms and territories is unparalleled and we thank her for her service.
Our school will observe the mourning period whilst continuing to support our pupils, families and staff. Unless otherwise stated, please assume any scheduled activities and events will continue as planned. We will observe the national holiday when announced for Her Majesty’s funeral, which means schools will be closed that day, but outside of this, school hours will continue as normal.
Our school will be keeping pupils informed of news about these events as part of assemblies and class activities. If you think your child may be experiencing particular upset due to the passing of the Queen, please do let us know so we can provide additional support if needed.
It is expected that there will be significant disruption across the UK, particularly in London, during this period, therefore we will endeavor to keep you up to date should there be any further changes. Should there be anything further we can support you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for your understanding.
The staff and governors of Milton Abbot Primary School
Another busy week draws to the end. Thank you to those parents who attended the forum on Wednesday. It was very helpful to hear your views, and your continuing commitment to the school is heart-warming. We have taken your concerns on board and will endeavour to address issues at every level. I will send a separate letter with more information about the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust next week. Dan Morrow (CEO) is looking forward to coming out to talk to parents about the vision and values of the Trust and how it could benefit Milton Abbot in the very near future. I assumed all stakeholders had received more information about our involvement in the managed partnership and the nature of the Trust. As I mentioned last week we operate an open door policy and always welcome your thoughts or ideas. If you have any concerns or worries don't hesitate to come in and see us. Everyone wants Milton Abbot Primary to thrive, to ensure the children can achieve at the highest level.
Leadership Team at Milton Abbot
We feel it is very important that parents understand the nature of the leadership team and can put a name to a face. Finding a full-time suitably experienced head to lead Milton Abbot and accelerate school improvement would have taken a considerable period of time to recruit. Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust felt placing very experienced leaders with a range of expertise would be an excellent option for the school. Mrs Underwood, Mrs Stevens and myself liaise via Teams at least twice a week to ensure there is consistency across the school. We have a shared action plan and are determined to ensure every child loves school and is engaged and challenged by their learning at all times.
Early next week we will be sending home a leaflet providing more information on our Milton Abbot team, complete with photos of the people you see regularly around school.
Debbie Buckingham: I have a part-time contract with the Trust and will be in school on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. As I mentioned before I have been long term head of several schools and have been seconded by the Local Authority several times to support schools for short periods of time.
Elizabeth is a very experienced Headteacher and an Executive Principle in the Trust. She will be working on a Tuesday
Suzie is the Principal of St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School and an Associate to the Primary Executive Board of the Trust. She is an Early Years Lead Teacher and will bring great expertise to our early years unit. She will be in school on a Friday
Debbie Buckingham Elizabeth Underwood Suzie Stevens.
This week in Tawny Owls we have begun our investigations within our Design and Technology lessons, we explored how wheels and axles work as well as how we could make them move without us pulling or pushing the mechanism along the floor. Some great discussions were had and the children all persevered very well.
In our RE lesson, we looked at the holy book within Islam and what it means to Muslims. The class made their own mini Qur'an fact books and could recall so many key facts.
Within our History lesson this week we learnt all about Hadrian's Wall; including how it was built, why it was built and who built it. Tawny Owls loved creating their own mini walls in their books - not made out of real bricks but real facts and new knowledge!
We also enjoyed speaking to Mr Hill, Maths Lead across Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust, who visited on Tuesday, about our amazing Maths lessons. He was blown away by the children's high level of understanding, oral skills when discussing their work as well as their presentation skills.
This week we have been carrying on with our learning about Hinduism. The children have focused their learning on what ‘Atman’ is within Hinduism as well as looking at sacred texts / stories which guide Hindus towards goodness. The children learnt the story ‘The Man in the Well’ by completing some roll play / acting and which is one of the Hindu stories centred around hope and being a good human. Great acting and fun for all.
Today was Eagle Owls first ‘Forest School’ session. They had a great time in our lovely school grounds and spent the time recapping forest school rules and safety as well as playing outdoor activities and discussing shelter / den construction techniques.
It's been another great week of learning in Barn Owls!
In maths this week we’ve been continuing our work with height and length. Year 2 had a wonderful time measuring the school in metres following their previous focus on centimetres. They are now moving on to comparing measurements and solving word problems. In Year 1 we’ve been focusing on measuring with non-standardised forms of measurement and discussing the most suitable way to accurately measure objects.
Year 6 Transition
Our year 6 pupils received notification of their secondary school places this week. I hope that you were all pleased with the allocations that you received. Please respond to your offer before Tuesday 15 March 2022. We will make sure there is an effective transition programme for our Year 6 pupils.
.To our Milton Abbot families
What a great week I have had in school!
I am really excited at the prospect of working with your children. Everyone has made me feel very welcome this week especially your fabulous children. I have been working in education for nearly forty years, twenty years as a headteacher and several years as a school improvement advisor. My last substantial post was at a large school in Exeter for 12 years and I have led several small schools across the county. Last year I was seconded by the Local Authority to run Mary Tavy and Brentor School.
Working in partnership with parents is fundamental to the smooth running of the school and your input is highly valued. Next week we will be starting a regular face to face forum to hear your views, communicating our vision for the school and discussing how a managed partnership with Dartmoor Academy Trust will benefit your children. I would like to hold the first meeting on Wednesday 9th March at 6.30pm in the school for all parents. We are fortunate to be working with an expert team from Dartmoor Academy Trust and are committed to improving your lovely school to ensure all children achieve their very best. As a Headteacher I have always believed it is important to operate an open door policy to ensure parents feel comfortable about sharing their views. If you have any concerns or worries about anything don't hesitate to contact the school at any time. One of the first things we need to do is improve communication, both at school and class level. We want to celebrate your children's learning with you and the school's achievements. We want to provide more clarity about what your children are learning and how you can help them. Please come to the forum next week where we can meet face to face and talk about the future for Milton Abbot.
World Book Day
Thankyou for making such an effort with world book day. It was wonderful to see the whole school dressed up and the children celebrating their favourite authors and book characters. There was a very special shared reading experience across the whole school at the end of the day.
This week, assemblies have focussed on the crisis in Ukraine. Rather than have a whole school assembly I tailored the assemblies to Key Stage 1 and 2 to suit the age of the children. Your children were very knowledgeable and keen to contribute their thoughts and understanding. Save the Children offer some very good advice for parents when dealing with children's questions.
"What is happening in Ukraine can be frightening for both children and adults. Ignoring or avoiding the topic can lead to children feeling lost, alone and more scared, which can affect their health and wellbeing. It is essential to have open and honest conversations with children to help them process what is happening,”
Experts at Save the Children share five tools and tips that caregivers can use to approach the conversation with children:
1. MAKE TIME AND LISTEN WHEN YOUR CHILD WANTS TO TALK
Give children the space to tell you what they know, how they feel and to ask you questions. They may have formed a completely different picture of the situation than you have. Take the time to listen to what they think, and what they have seen or heard.
2. TAILOR THE CONVERSATION TO THE CHILD
Be mindful of the child’s age as you approach the conversation with them. Young children may not understand what conflict or war means and require an age-appropriate explanation. Be careful not to over-explain the situation or go into too much detail as this can make children unnecessarily anxious. Younger children may be satisfied just by understanding that sometimes countries fight. Older children are more likely to understand what war means but may still benefit from talking with you about the situation. In fact, older children will often be more concerned by talk of war because they tend to understand the dangers better than younger children do.
3. VALIDATE THEIR FEELINGS
It is important that children feel supported in the conversation. They should not feel judged or have their concerns dismissed. When children have the chance to have an open and honest conversation about things upsetting them, it can create a sense of relief and safety.
4. REASSURE THEM THAT ADULTS ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE WORKING HARD TO RESOLVE THIS
Remind children that this is not their problem to solve. They should not feel guilty about playing, seeing their friends, and doing the things that make them happy. Stay calm when you approach the conversation. Children often copy the sentiments of their caregivers – if you are uneasy about the situation, chances are your child will be uneasy as well.
5. GIVE THEM A PRACTICAL WAY TO HELP
Support children who want to help. Children who have the opportunity to help those affected by the conflict can feel like they are part of the solution. Children can create fundraisers, send letters to local decision-makers or create drawings calling for peace.
After School Club
I am delighted to tell you that from next week Susie Jonas will be running after school club for four nights a week. Ocra will continue to do sports on Wednesday. This will provide continuity for your children. Susie is really excited and is starting to plan some exciting activities and opportunities for your children.
We are delighted to welcome Suzie Stevens from Dartmoor Academy Trust who will be working with our Early Years provision every Friday. Suzie is the Executive Head of St James and an Early Years specialist. She will be working with all staff in the unit to continue to improve the provision and learning opportunities for our very youngest children .
For this half term, the children are focusing on Shakespeare and the play script of Macbeth. They have learnt the story, written detailed setting descriptions of where Macbeth met the three witches and today had the chance to dissect the deeper meanings of Shakespearian English as well getting into role /completing some drama.
In DT we are focusing on ‘Electrical Controls’. This week, they linked with prior learning and constructed and drew their own electrical circuits including the use of bulbs, switches and buzzers. They are going to be working towards designing, making and evaluating their own electrical board game.
Dear Milton Abbot families,
As we draw towards the end of spring half term, concluding with a school closure due to Storm Eunice, I reflect on many a February during my time in education, where schools have been closed at this time – mainly due to snow, rather than wind! I hope you are all warm and safe indoors and managing to access the online learning which has been provided by the teachers.
Information for Parents/Carers-Attendance
This week, the Milton Abbot school governors reviewed and updated our attendance procedures. The link between a child’s attendance at school and improved outcomes and life chances is well documented. We want to help all children and young people to fulfil their potential and get the most out of their education.
In line with our policy and government expectations we would like to share with you the following updated procedures:
No term time holidays will be authorised unless there are exceptional circumstances. Every day in school counts, even a small drop in attendance can lead to a child missing a significant part of their education.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with school at any time if you have any queries around attendance expectations and procedures.
Information for parents of pupils aged 5 to 17 years old on the vaccination programme
Vaccinations help to increase protection against COVID-19, which is particularly important for those with underlying health conditions. Being vaccinated minimises the need for children and young people to have time off from school or college and helps them to continue to carry out their hobbies, attend social events and live their lives to the full.
Guidance on how to book appointments for children aged 12 years and over is available on the NHS website. Further information on the vaccination of high risk children aged 5 to 11 years old is available in the guide for parents of children aged 5 to 11 years published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been published on the vaccination programme including information on eligibility, accessibility and advice for parents of children at high risk from COVID-19. We are being encouraged to share these FAQs with parents/carers, particularly those of you with children who are clinically vulnerable.
We have recently been made aware of a potential e-safety issue which you may need to consider. The issue is in connection with a popular children’s online game, called Roblox in which there is some explicit content, not appropriate for children’s viewing. Roblox is a platform that is very popular among children, and allows children under 13. Particularly worrying is children and adults potentially socialise together in these spaces. Part of the game includes an instant messenger where users can talk to each other - and to everyone else playing the game. The following article from the BBC news outlines the issues:
As a school community, we want to ensure that our children are protected, so we hope by raising this issue with you, it will help to keep your child safe online. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads at school.
Little Owls News:
Little Owls have 'travelled the world', stopping off at Australia, looking at cricket and aboriginal dot art, then off to Africa for a Safari trip and some African drumming, and then China for Chinese New Year – they loved making their own Chinese dragon and performing it to all their friends! They have tasted foods from around the world, looked at different celebrations and had a look at the weather in each country – they like it when its warm!
It has been a lovely end to the half term looking for signs of Spring and how things grow, which leads us on to our topic after the holiday learning all about animals (even dinosaurs!)
The children have been fantastic in their learning and have been a delight to work with. They truly are a credit to Milton Abbot school! I cannot wait for Spring term 2 and all the exciting things we have in store.
Barn Owls News:
On Monday we welcomed Marie from Animals 2U Southwest to Milton Abbot Primary School as part of our work in science: Animals including Humans.
We had the opportunity to get to know Prince, Venus, Blue and Horatio and demonstrate our extensive knowledge, understanding and vocabulary around the subject.
In art, we have each created a barn owl in the style of our featured artist, Kim Kimbro, using the medium, charcoal. Within this unit we have explored in detail, the seven elements of art, developing our skills along the way. Although it’s been challenging and particularly messy (sorry parents), the children have been engaged and inspired at every stage of the journey.
Our final day of half term was not what we expected thanks to Storm Eunice but the important thing is that we are all happy and safe. The class were able to put into practice our circle time discussions of gratitude, trusted adults and PANTS, as well as planning a week of meals for Miss King by applying everything they have learnt in science.
Finally, our class book challenge continues with another three books finished this week! We completed The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Creature Features by Natasha Durley and Lost and Foundby Oliver Jeffers. After halfterm we will begin our next book, The Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl.
And finally ...
This week, in addition to this newsletter, you will also receive an update from the Chair of Governors, Jane Byrne regarding a leadership update.
I will be returning after the half term holiday to work alongside Mrs Debbie Buckingham in order that she may take up the reins as Headteacher. I am delighted to still maintain my connection with Milton Abbot through my role, leading on curriculum.
On behalf of the staff and governors of the school, I would like to wish you all a happy, safe, and relaxing half term break. We look forward to welcoming the children back to school on Monday 28th February for the next chapter of their learning journey at Milton Abbot School.
With kindest regards,
Mrs Elizabeth Underwood
Primary Executive Headteacher
Milton Abbot School has always enjoyed sharing World Book Day together, especially dressing up and sharing our favourite stories. This year was especially sweet as we waited until we were all back together after restricted attendance for two months to celebrate being back together. A great day was had by all.
We raised over £130 for Comic Relief last week, with every child splatting Mr Luxford with a cream pie! Thank you to all our parents for their kind donations. If you need to speak to Mr Luxford over the next few weeks you will need to speak up because his ears are full of cream!!
The children of Milton Abbot put together not one but two films this Christmas, so that more children could perform in acting roles - and what a great job they did - we premiere the film tomorrow in class and then families will be sent a link to view the film at home. Happy Christmas to all the families and friends of Milton Abbot School...
On the 16th December the children enjoyed their annual Christmas Jumper day at school, which is used to raise awareness and money for a charity. This year the children suggested Food Bank so that they could do something as part of the local community. Our families donated very generously and filled more than three large boxes full of donations - thank you!
Today we have recorded the first episode of our school podcast 'Talking Learning' on our new equipment. Jack and Alba joined Mr Luxford to explore their Geography learning and share their favourite reads ever recommendations. We will be broadcasting the show as soon as we can as part of our Expressive Curriculum commitment to encourage our children to Speak Up, Speak Out, Speak Clearly! Thank you Jack and Alba, you were brilliant!
Our Snowy Owls Reception Class have been learning to dance like dinosaurs with their class teacher Miss Stansbury! They learnt to move in time to the music and to use their whole body and all the space available. We think you're dino-tastic Snowys!
Welcome to our News page. We may be a small school but we are always busy enjoying exciting learning experiences, which we will share with you here.