I have greatly enjoyed my first term as Headteacher of this wonderful village school that is made so very special by the dedicated support of the whole community. I would like to thank everyone for making me feel so welcome and for all the different ways in which you contribute towards making our school such a warm and friendly place.

The Autumn Term is typically a very busy period for all primary schools and Occold has been no exception.  It began with children and teachers spending time getting to know each other and adjusting to new routines and ended with a series of exciting festive events.

Class Events and School Trips

At the end of September, each class baked their own tasty treats which were sold at school during  the ‘Macmillan coffee morning’. The event, which took place on Friday 27th September, was well supported and raised £85.11. Children from Class 1 also baked for the Coffee Morning that took place on the last Friday before half-term. 

On the 7th October Class 1 visited the dinosaur park. The trip was very successful and well supported by parents. The children enjoyed being able to take part in a range of activities linked to their class topic on dinosaurs. Children not only learned all about dinosaurs, they also gained much from the outdoor and adventurous play opportunities, particularly the children in Reception.  The cost of the trip was brought down significantly by financial support from the Friends. The excellent behaviour of Occold children was commented on by other guests at the park.

Class 3 have continued to work with Dance East. The dance instructors have been impressed with the quality of work produced by our children. There has been a strong link between the writing and dance elements with children’s compositions being used to inspire movement.

  

Class 2 and 3 attended the annual Cross-Country Competition on Mellis Common.  All children raced, despite some early wobbles and foreboding smoke rising from the woods! Occold children ran well and secured two places in the final. We were unlucky not to achieve more with many children just finishing outside of qualifying positions. On Friday 15th November, two children from Occold represented the school in the area final of the Cross Country competition. They both ran well with one of them finishing in the top ten.

Year 6 attended the Aylmerton Field Study Centre from Monday 4th to Friday 7th November as part of a Pyramid residential. The children were accompanied by myself and Mrs Prentice. The trip was very successful and challenged the children academically, socially and physically, giving them the opportunities to develop character and get to know other children they are likely to be attending High School with. They also learned much about the geography and history of the North Norfolk coast.


On Monday 2nd December the children worked together in small groups, including representatives from each age group, with staff and volunteers to decorate the school. We were delighted to be joined by one of our school governors for this event.

On the final swimming session, children competed against one another in an inter-house swimming gala. The school is grateful for the support of parent volunteers with this event.

Children performed their Christmas Production at the Village Hall on Friday 13th December. All the children, volunteers and staff worked hard to ensure the play was of a high standard and enjoyed by all who watched it.

Class 3 concluded their theatrical term with a visit on Monday 16th December to the Jerwood Studio as part of their work with Dance East to watch a performance of ‘The Little Match Girl’ and on the next day they visited Hartismere High School and worked with Year 10 pupils as part of the collaborative drama project ‘It’s a Rat’s Tale’.

Class Assemblies

Class 1 were able to capitalise on their exciting visit to the Dinosaur Park by producing some excellent class work. Much of this was shared with parents during their class assembly. Class 2 led an assembly for parents based on their cross-curricular topic on ‘chocolate’. Many sets of parents came along to the event and it was enjoyed by all. Most parents stayed on to contribute to children’s learning by evaluating their work. Class 3 presented a very dramatic assembly to parents on the work they had been doing on local history.


High School Liaison

Occold enjoys having close relationships with local High Schools. Transition events are well underway and have already included the following:

  •  Jane Thomas from Debenham High School visited Year 6 pupils to talk generally about the transition to High School.
  • Children attending a visit to Debenham High School took part in a range of science activities involving thermal images and were commended for their excellent behaviour.
  • Transition events at Hartismere High School have so far included a mathematics lesson, a practical science lesson involving burning food and a stay over lunch.

Friends Events

The Occold Ball that took place on the 19th September was very successful and enjoyed by all who attended. My wife and I particularly enjoyed the occasion and I am looking forward to the next one (Mrs Williams is looking forward to another new dress).  Please send ‘suitable’ photographs to the School Office and I would be delighted to post them on the school website.

The Friends held their AGM on the 22nd October. Tanya kindly offered to take on the role of Chair with support from Lianne as Vice-Chair.

December was a very busy time of year for the Friends and their many contributions really helped to bring the whole community together. The ‘combined carols around the tree’ and ‘Christmas Fayre’ held on the evening of Friday 6th December was very well attended and there were several comments about the advantage of putting these events together. Children performed pieces of Christmas music playing brass instruments and recorders.

On Wednesday 11th December the whole school community met for a delicious shared Christmas meal in the Village which was well attended by previous members of staff, Governors, Friends and volunteers. Many thanks to all those involved in making this a wonderful afternoon.

The whole school visited the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich to watch a musical pantomime performance of ‘Dick Whittington’ on the afternoon of Wednesday 18th December. This was fully funded by the Friends and appreciated by children of all ages and staff.

On the last day of term, children were delighted to open their presents from Father Christmas, delivered to school through the helping hands of the Friends.

Assemblies and Visitors

Members of local faith groups have continued to contribute to school assemblies. I would like to thank Dawn, Paula, Stacey and Sam in particular for their support.

Ann Battershill visited the school on Tuesday 3rd December to meet the new Junior Road Safety Officers.

 

On the 10th December, the assembly was presented by a volunteer from the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary which included a face to face encounter with a Tawny Owl.


On Monday 16th December, Brian and Chris from the local Rotary Club led a fascinating assembly about the Philippines disaster and how the school’s contribution raised during the non-uniform day would go towards a survival box (which they bought in for children to look at).

 

On Friday 20th December parents were invited to an end of term assembly in which children presented summaries of their learning to parents and were awarded certificates for their achievements over the Autumn Term.

Clubs

School clubs for the Autumn Term have included recorders, crafts, singing and ukuleles. A film club ‘double bill’ night was also held. Breakfast Club has taken place on a daily basis. I would like to thank all the staff involved for going the extra mile to enrich the children’s experience at our school.