Friday, 23 January 2015

This week's news from Tadpole Farm

This week's news from Tadpole Farm

In the blog this week:-
  • exciting news about the new building
  • a temporary job opportunity
  • parking, jumpers and vouchers 
  • news from the classes, Lilypad and Friends of Tadpole Farm (FOTF)
Dates coming up:-
Monday 26th January
no after school Lily Pad due to staff training
Friday 6th February
Family Friday for Owl and Squirrel classes
Friday 13th February
last day of term 3 - finish at 3:30 pm as normal.
Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th February
Mid year parent review meetings - more details to follow
Wednesday 4th March
FOTF - Bingo evening for parents and children plus FOTF AGM
Thursday 5th March
World Book Day - dressing up as your favourite book character
Friday 13th March
MUFTI (wear your own clothes) day - for a donation of easter eggs for the tombola stall at the Easter Fayre
Monday 23rd March
FOTF - Easter Fayre - more details to follow
Friday 27th March
last day of term 4 - finish at 3:30 pm as normal
Monday 13th April
INSET day - children not in school
Tuesday 14th April
first day of term 5

The New Building

We had an exciting trip to the new building this week to choose flooring and other finishes and it gave us the opportunity to see the space we are going to be enjoying when we move there.  We came away imagining all the sports, drama, music, creative and learning opportunities your children will have the chance to be part of in such a light and spacious building.  There is, of course, a long way to go yet and, for those of you who didn't see the article in the Advertiser before Christmas, Swindon are now planning on the move being in the summer holidays so we will start the new school year in the new building.  This is ideal from the children's point of view though you and they will have the opportunity to visit the new building before the end of the school year.
Displaying 2015-01-22 10-18-42.pngSome of you have expressed concern about the time it will take to walk to the new site and this is understandable as you haven't been able to try it out yet.  I have a meeting booked with the Swindon School Travel Plan manager soon and, from that meeting, we will be able to give you the options for the best routes to school.  Currently the company laying the roads and paths for the whole development are working on the footpath that will go across the fields which I would think many of you will use.  
If you would like to look at the building plans then you can access them on this link  The opportunities that the new site will bring have already got the staff planning and designing for next year - another exciting step on our journey!

Play Leader - temporary job opportunity.

The numbers of children we have in nursery has risen and we are almost full; this has meant a move around for the staff and the need for a new colleague to help support the children at lunchtime - 11:30 - 1:30 each day.  This is a temporary role until 31/8/15; roles ready for September are still being designed.   If you are interested then pop in and see Niki to collect an application form.  The closing date for applications is 2/2/15, the interviews will be in the week commencing 9/2/15 and ideally the role will start after the February holiday. Please see note at end of this blog for more details.

Parking, jumpers and vouchers

Just a few reminders:-
Parking - as mentioned in previous blogs, if you drive to school, please could you park in the large parking area behind the school in the Isambard direction or, if you have to come to the Frankel Avenue entrance, park in the parking spaces only and not on the roadside. This helps keep the roadway clearer for traffic, delivery vans to get past and the neighbours.  Thank you for your help with being considerate to our neighbours.
Jumpers - school uniform is great but all sweatshirts and hoodies look the same.  Please could you check that your child has the named sweatshirt or hoodie that belongs to them, as we have some that have gone missing.  If you find yourself with one that doesn't belong to you please pop it in to your child's class and we'll find it's rightful owner. Thank you.
Vouchers - We would love to receive donations of Sainsbury or Anchor Butter vouchers if you have them.  Ask around family and friends too as the more vouchers the more resources we can order. Thank you

News from FOTF
Friends of Tadpole Farm needs you!

Dear Parents/carers/grandparents, 

Firstly I would like to start by saying a huge thank you on behalf of the school and Friends of Tadpole Farm group for all the fantastic support you gave us last year with our events. Our cake sale was a massive yummy success! Thank you for the donations and also coming along to support us. The tea towel sale was another massive success; I'm sure you'll all agree that our children produced some amazing self portraits. 

Friends of Tadpole Farm were able to use some of the money raised so far to buy all the children from nursery and reception classes their books from Father Christmas. 

We are very fortunate, later this year, to be moving to a brand new, sparkly school! Unfortunately this sparkly school will not come with a sparkly playground and, under current plans, the play area is looking very flat. Mrs Leo, however, has a wonderful vision of a space with multi level decking, tunnels, hides holes and, believe me, it sounds stunning! This is where we need you! In order to provide our children and future generations with this amazing facility we will need to raise roughly £3,000. I know it sounds like a lot but I have faith that it can be done! 

Friends of Tadpole Farm are currently planning a bingo night, Easter eggstravaganza, cake sales and other events - dates to follow. We are aware that our numbers are few so this is where you can all help. We need volunteers to help at the events and also to organise them. We need sponsors , donations and anyone with a link to a commercial printer would be fab! If you/your company/friends and family can help please let us know. Any help, big or small will be greatly appreciated. 

Please contact us on or talk to Aaron's mum (Kristy) or myself (mum of Rufus in nursery).

With kind regards, 

Amanda Wilkins
Friends of Tadpole Farm Chair

News from the Lily Pad

Thank you to all those of you who have made sure that only adults press the buzzer on the outside gate - could you check the gate closes on your way in and way out too as this will help keep the children safe and secure.

Date for the diary: Lily pad closed for After School Club on Monday 26th January this is due to staff training on that day, please collect children from classrooms at 3.20pm for Nursery and 3.30pm for Reception, this was sent in a previous e-mail so is just a reminder.

Now that our numbers are thriving in the Lily Pad we would like to ask parents who book spaces to please make sure they cancel the slot, at least a week in advance, if it is not needed.  This way we can offer these spaces to others who are on a waiting list for a space.

We have created a 'parents notice board' on the back of the Lily Pad door so we can keep you informed of anything up and coming.

We are in the process of getting a waterproof doorbell fitted to the locked gate to make it easier for parents dropping off and collecting; in the meantime continue using the buzzer system linked with the office and feel free to wave manically at us if we don't answer :-)

News from Hedgehogs

The children have been really engaged with our Nursery Rhyme topic over the last two weeks. Last week we learnt the Incy Wincy Spider. We made our own clay spiders and experimented with water play and pipes to sequence and sing the rhyme ourselves. We also focused on lots of fine motor activities to help us hold tools more effectively. We brought our climbing frame inside to practise jumping and landing carefully.

This week we sang Five Little Speckled Frogs, we have been matching amounts of frogs to numbers in a number hunt around the classroom and learning to count objects more carefully. We have been finding out about the life cycle of frogs and how they grow and change. We acted out the life cycle using our whole bodies to move in different ways, from curling up in a ball like frogspawn, to wriggling like tadpoles and froglets and hopping like frogs. We have also been exploring lots of different materials and textures in messy play, using tools but mostly our hands!

The children are developing their independence when getting changed for PE, if your child has not yet brought in their PE kit please remember to bring in a bag with a named pair of daps or trainers, black shorts and jogging bottoms and a plain white t-shirt. We are encouraging the children to find their own peg and hang up their coats at the start of the session as this helps them to recognise their name and also look after their belongings. Next week we will be learning Five Currant Buns in a Bakers Shop, if you have any baking utensils at home you no longer need they would be gratefully received.

News from Owls and Squirrels

We hope you have enjoyed the children retelling you all the traditional tales that we have been learning so far! The children have been having great fun learning about the stories, characters and settings and how to retell the stories using action, we even made our own yummy Gingerbread men.

Independence fortnight
Over the next two weeks we are encouraging the children to develop their independence skills both at school and at home. By the end of the term, we hope all the children will be able to do up their own coats, get changed for P.E.  and independently follow our morning routine. This involves putting coats, bottles and book bags away quickly and safely, then engaging in a morning task so they are ready for the day’s learning. To help us with this aim, please say goodbye to your children at the gate as they can be easily distracted by the sight of Mummy at the window!
You can support your child to develop their independence by giving them tasks at home. For example, they could match up all of the socks after they have been washed, carry their own bags home and look for things they cannot find. All the children can get dressed by themselves, but struggle when clothes are inside out or have buttons. Please practise these skills at home, and maybe challenge your child to get dressed in a time frame - they always love a challenge!

The children are having great fun building traps, dens and bridges for the story characters. If you know anyone that might be able to donate any large building equipment such as drain pipes, crates, wood, tyres... please let us know.

Family Friday - please come along and join in with our learning on Friday 6th February from 1:30 - 3:30 pm. You'll be able to play alongside the children and see how they use the resources for learning. At the end of the afternoon you can be part of our celebration worship too. Please let Niki, in the school office, know if you are able to attend.

Don't forget to keep practising the word webs at home and completing the sound books when we learn a new sound.

More details about the Play Leader - temporary job opportunity. 
There are not many times when the opportunity arises to be in at the start of a brand new school –this is one of those times… are you the person who will make the most of this opportunity?  

We are looking for a creative Play Leader for our growing Church of England Primary Academy, which opened in September 2014 and now has 50 Reception and nursery age children who would love you to come and join in their lunchtime fun.  

We aim to make our Academy outstanding so would welcome your application if you can demonstrate that you are:-

Someone who understands the importance of playing, sharing and enjoyment
Able to lead safe and happy playtimes and create caring provision for wraparound care
Able to be flexible and adaptable in this exciting early growth phase of this new academy
Aware of the positive impact of learning in an environment built on Christian values

We can offer you:-
An enthusiastic group of governors, Diocesan Board of Trustees , Principal and teachers who all passionately believe this is an amazing opportunity to build an innovative, effective learning environment firmly based on Christian values
Opportunities to get involved in creating aspects of the wider school development over the longer term
Opportunities for professional development

The Play Leader will, as part a team, be involved in creating safe and happy lunchtimes.  The salary and hours details are as follows

PL10 – 10 hours per week – term time only – 11:30 am – 1:30 pm-  salary scale Hay 13 - £7.65 p/h (actual salary £3488 pa)

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young persons.  This appointment will be subject to Enhanced DBS Disclosure; proof of the right to work in the UK and satisfactory references.  Please note the proof of right to work in the UK will be required at interview.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you and a big thank you for all the lovely cards, messages and gifts that the staff and I received; they were much appreciated and enjoyed.

In this first blog of 2015:-

  • dates for your diary
  • Deadline for Reception Place applications reminder
  • attendance letters
  • keeping the children safe
  • reminders about PE kit and water bottles
  • News from nursery plus request for tubes
  • News from Reception

Dates for your diary:

15/1/15 - Friends of Tadpole Farm Committee meeting 7:30 pm at school - if you would like to join this happy group of parents who are all working hard on ways to fundraise to provide an even more exciting learning environment for the children then come along on Thursday 15th to find out more.
6/2/15 - 1:30 - 3:30 pm - Family Friday for Reception parents - come along and join us for an afternoon of play and learning followed by our Friday celebration worship.  We thought that, just as we do, many of you would like to come along and join the children as they use the amazing resources that we have - they will enjoy showing you the different ways they use to learn new things.  There will be sign up sheets for this nearer the time so look out for them or drop us an email to let us know you can come -
14/2/15 - 22/2/15 - February holiday school closed
24/2/15 and 25/2/15 - Parent meeting for Reception children - more details to follow but the time slots will be 15 minutes long and be between 15:45 and 18:30. (Nursery meeting times to follow)

Deadline for applications for Reception places to start September 2015

I know many of you have already completed your applications, but just a reminder to those of you with nursery children that the deadline for applying for a Reception place for September 2015 is 15th January 2015. will link you to the admissions page for Swindon where you can find out how to apply.

Attendance Letters

Over the next two weeks, the staff and I will be looking at attendance for the first two terms.  All of the children in Nursery, and children who are under 5 in Reception, fall below the age at which attendance is compulsory, however we will still send you details of your child's attendance as we feel that it's important to think about the continuity of learning that children can benefit from when they attend school every day.  OFSTED, when they consider attendance, look for attendance rates for the school as a whole and, for an outstanding school, would expect to see attendance rates in the region of 97.5%.  Across both classes we did have quite a lot of sickness last term - hopefully we have all shared our various bugs and have now built up some immunity between us!  Sickness absence can't be helped and we do appreciate you keeping your child off when they are poorly as this reduces the spread of the various infections.  Currently the attendance rate for the school is 95.6% - for Reception it is 96.5%; Nursery mornings 94% and Nursery afternoons is 93.7%.   Letters showing your child's attendance will be sent out in the next two weeks.

Keeping the children safe

We regularly review our safety procedures, particularly those around dropping off and collecting the children.  Thank you for keeping us informed when others are collecting your child; this process is working very smoothly.  Could we ask that, if you arrive for The Lily Pad, arrive late for school or come to school after an appointment that the adult is the one who presses the buzzer.  We have been talking to the children about safety around the site and that the buzzer is for adults to use and adults to let people in/out; if you can make sure that adults only press the buzzer this will help reinforce the safety message for the children - thank you.

PE Kit and Water Bottles

Just a couple of reminders:-

  • all children, both in nursery and reception, need a PE kit which can be kept in school every day.  The PE kit should contain:
    • Black shorts
    • White round neck t-shirt
    • Daps
    • School logo hoodie or black non-logo tracksuit top
    • Black non-logo tracksuit bottoms or joggers
  • water bottles should contain water only, not squash or juice.  This is because the children have sips from these bottles during the day and both the bottles tops and their teeth would be benefit from bottles which contained water only - thank you for your support with this.
News from Nursery plus request for tubes
The children have all been keen to come back to school and talk about their Christmas news. We have been exploring the weather through lots of creative activities and nursery rhymes. The children enjoyed using musical instruments to make sounds for thunder and rain to use while singing I Hear Thunder together. They have enjoyed exploring sounds inside and outside during phonics this week.

Next week we will be basing our learning around The Incy Wincy Spider. We are collecting plastic pipes and cardboard tubes to support our learning next week, if you have any at home please bring them in.

News from Reception

The children have all come back from the holidays full of their news and excited about the Traditional Tales topic we are basing our learning around this term. They have already enjoyed acting out the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with Aaron, from the Sixth Sense Theatre Company, and exploring the themed learning around the classroom. We've been really impressed with how many of the children have been practising their phonics over the holidays - thank you all for your support with this.