St. Domininc’s School – Briege Ward, Headteacher

As soon as you open the door to the school or the gate to the playground of St Dominic’s you can feel that the children are completely engaged in their learning and play. In the peaceful setting we have it is delightful to hear the children’s voices ringing through the corridors and playgrounds. This year we have had 108 on role which is more than we expected.  For the academic year 2015-2016 we have only three spaces left for children to come to the school.

This last year we have worked tirelessly on ensuring that we have addressed all the features of the new National Curriculum and this has led us to strengthen our partnership with the Cotswold View Cluster Schools which include Horsley, Thrupp, Avening, Brimscombe, Leighterton and Amberley primary schools. As a cluster of schools we have recently joined with The Rosary primary school in Stroud and Nailsworth Primary school to discuss the current issue of ‘Assessment without levels.’ We have had two twilight evenings together for all our teaching staff in our school hall and we have planned to have our first in service day on 1st September at Nailsworth Primary school.  This is a great way of exchanging ideas and learning together. Our teachers all work together very well and it is a super opportunity for the Headteachers to look at what we need to do to make our schools the best in Gloucestershire.

This year we took part in the 2015 Primary Schools’ Annual Wildlife Quiz and got through quite a few rounds. We are very grateful to our parents that help with this and ensure the children are well prepared to take part with confidence. We also took part in the Stroud Schools Country Dance Festival. We are very proud of this as it was our youngest pupils that represented us this year.  Our reception children and their parents eagerly attended the evening.  Our children also sang at St. George’s church in Nailsworth and at the Farmers Market. It is so very beneficial to us all that we are able to share and do so many things together in the community. I feel this is very important for us as a school.

As always sport plays an important part in our curriculum and we are very privileged to have excellent sports coaches in every week.  Each coach has a skill set in a certain area where they teach and coach the children to progress from their current level.  This year this has included football, rugby, dance, athletics and gymnastics.  In addition to this we are fortunate to have very skilled parents who take our children after school for football, netball and a running club. We also have teachers and parents who have a sewing club, a book club and a games club.  At all times there is a hive of activity around the school.

At all times we are trying to ensure that we engage our children with the outdoors and the flora and fauna around the school. We are looking to making good use of our pond with the help of one our parents who is an ecologist.  The children in reception watched their eggs hatch this Easter and we were the proud parents of 10 chickens.  This caused a great deal of excitement in the school and parish. The children in Years 1 and 2 are currently watching the life cycle of their very own caterpillars as they change to butterflies.

We have been very fortunate this year with the refurbishment of two of our rooms; a new library will be opened in June by the famous children’s author Brian Moses and we hope to make this quite an event.  We have also had a new kitchen placed in one of our rooms so that the children can participate in cooking and other activities.

Woodchester Endowed SchoolGlyn Aelfryn Jones, Headteacher

At the start of the year, I was appointed as Headteacher of this fantastic school following Mr Gordon Soutar leaving at the end of the previous academic year.  It has been a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to Woodchester as a school as well as to the wider community.  I have been made to feel very welcome by all.

As ever with a new role, a huge amount of my time has been spent discovering what Woodchester Endowed Primary does and what makes it a unique place for children to learn.  I have talked to all stakeholders, in asking what they believe the school needs to be doing to address the current and future needs of our children.  Through this I hope to develop a clear idea of where we aim to see our school going.  This comes through my belief that a school needs to be developed personally to suit its children and the community that it serves, rather than to match the personality of its leaders.

There have been plenty of opportunities for our children to show their many talents, so far.  Our Year 3 and 4 class, Hawthorn, demonstrated their drama and dance during their performance of Odd and the Frost Giants.  Sporting opportunities have been plentiful with rugby, football, netball and cross country running tournaments taking place over recent weeks.  Our Key Stage 1 children have been learning about different cultures which culminated in a Spanish/Italian café.  Year 6 have even been tasked by Cardiff University Archaeology Department with helping their research about the Ancient Mayans!  Surely, a curriculum to inspire.

Some of our children have been inspiring their peers to think deeply about those around them.  Oscar, in Year 5, has organised and run a writing competition (in the vein of the Rotary Competition that we also entered).  He acquired a prize that was donated from Waitrose, and asked children to write creatively as well as donating a pound.  This was all done to raise money for homeless children in Bolivia after Oscar had read about the charity. Marie, Carys and Beth also organised fundraising in order to support the people of Nepal, after recent events.  As a Headteacher, there is nothing that makes me more proud than seeing our values in action.

We look to see our values, curriculum, achievements and learning go from strength to strength in the future.

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