Christmas at Barrington
As in all schools, we have the traditional nativity play and carol service but we also have some very special Barrington Christmas traditions that it would not feel like Christmas without. This starts at October half term when we start to prepare our shoe boxes of Christmas treats for less fortunate children abroad; every year between the staff and families at school we manage to prepare about 50 boxes to be sent over seas to give a Christmas to people who would otherwise have nothing.
The next big event in the Christmas calendar is the making of the Christmas pudding. When the school cook makes the pudding a bowl with some of the mixture is taken around the whole school and every adult and child is able to close their eyes, stir the pudding and make a wish. This has to be one of my favourite school Christmas traditions! Pudding stirring is closely followed by Christmas Decoration Day at the very beginning of December. The children are organised into mixed aged groups so that the older ones can help the younger ones and each group make some decorations for the school Christmas tree. Later the same we have a whole school tree decorating session where the children all come into the school hall with the decoration they have made and while we sing Christmas carols they hang their decoration on the tree.
Another very unique Barrington tradition is the Infant Bazaar; we collect donations of toys and small gifts and the oldest children set them out as a shop in their classroom. During the morning each child in Class One and Two is taken down to the “shop” by their own personal shopping assistant who helps them to choose, pay for and wrap presents for members of their family. All the money collected from this event is given to Milton Children’s Hospice and the youngest children are able to buy surprise presents for their parents and siblings. This event is a source of great amusement for the staff, and I often wish I could be a fly on the wall when these present are opened as many of the youngest children make their present selection on what they would like and there are many mummies and daddies who will be opening toy cars, Barbie dolls and colouring books on Christmas morning!
As in most schools we have a school Christmas lunch and we manage to squeeze all the children and adults in school into the school hall to eat together- this is the school equivalent of trying to fit an extended family of twelve round a table for eight on Christmas day. The children all make party hats to wear and the meal is followed by one of the children’s favourite parts of the school Christmas – the Talent Show! Each class is able to select three to four acts to take part and with a judging panel to match Britain’s Got Talent we have a fun afternoon of singing, dancing, magic and joke telling.
Key Stage One Nativity Play
This year our nativity is “Rock Around the Flock”; the story of Christmas from the shepherd’s point of view, complete with singing, dancing angels and shepherds and some very cheeky sheep!
Wear Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day!
On Friday 21st October it was Wear Pink Day – a day to wear pink to raise awareness of and show support for people affected by breast cancer. As a staff we decided that we would like to participate in this event to show our support for our Class 3 teacher, Yvette Beswick. The children had just two days notice of this event and the amount of pink and red throughout the school was really impressive. A great way for us to show Mrs Beswick that we are all thinking of her and say Get Well Soon!
Key Stage Two Production
At the end of the summer term the children in Classes 3 and 4 stages a production of Shakespeare Rocks; a musical about the life and work of William Shakespeare. While this might sound like quite a heavy and serious topic, it was a great production, with plenty of humour and lots of catchy songs that stick in your head and you find yourself humming around Tesco. Other highlights included a group of boys from Class Three dressed up as surprisingly beautiful girls, a bearded lady from Class Four and one dreadfully drunk beer seller! This slideshow of photos will give you a flavour of the production and enable you to see photographs of how amazing the children all looked. The children had great fun performing the show and have learnt a lot about Shakespeare and his life and work as a result.
Collections at the end of the shows have raised enough money for us to participate in the project next year called Sing for your School, which will enable the children compose our own school sing – something we are all very excited about.
Sports day was really fun. Everyone could see their parents lining up behind the gate waiting to come in we were all really excited. When we were all walking out to the field we were all hyped up for sports. Up first for Key Stage Two was the shot put and for Key Stage One the egg and spoon obstacle course. Everyone had great fun. Then Key Stage One and Two swapped so we did the obstacle course and they did the shot putt. After that we all had our races and relay races. Finally the results were in! We were so excited! In fourth place was Brachiopods, in third place ammonites in second and in second place Belemnites. So that means the winners were Nautilus! Now that was a surprise! We all had well-earned ice lollies before we went home. Thank you to Mr Herd for organizing all the sports!
By Harry and Fletcher
Fantastic School Mural!
There cannot be many schools in the country who have peacocks who visit as regularly as we do. They have made many staff jump first thing in the morning by appearing suddenly from round a corner or on one of the many flat rooves at school and they love to sit on the flat roof and look down through the high windows into Class One – much to the children’s delight! Another aspect of the peacock’s visits that also excites the children is the number of beautiful feathers they leave behind them. When we decided to brighten up a wall in school by painting a mural and the children were asked for ideas what we should paint, a peacock was the obvious choice. So during the last week of term every child, and most of the adults in the building, were involved in making an amazing picture using mostly hand, thumb and finger prints. We now have a beautiful peacock in the centre of the wall with a fantastic handprint tail. A tree and pond, complete with duck and ducklings, are to one side and there is a bank of colourful flowers going up the stairs. There is a beautiful sun and some blue birds and butterflies flying in the sky. The flowers are full of bees, caterpillars, ladybirds and the tree has a nest with a bird, several owls and a squirrel made with a foot print! This slide show of photos will show you the fun we had painting it. The mural has really has brightened up an area of the school that was starting to look past its best and the children enjoyed doing it so much that they are looking for a space to paint another!
Celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday.
The school and everyone in it turned red, white and blue recently when we had a whole school day to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. The children came to school dressed in the colours of the union jack and spent the morning learning about the Queen, her life, homes and family. We made a huge timeline showing the major events in the Queen’s life and linking these to major events in history. The children learnt how the union jack is made up of the combined flags from the counties that make Great Britain and where around the county the Queen has the different castles and palaces are located. The children also learnt to sing the National Anthem and between them made large pictures of the Queen with a dress that is completely made from a collage of pictures of her own face taken from stamps and bank notes (note real ones I hasten to add!)
By far the two most popular activities of the morning were those involving food! Between them the children iced 150 fairy cakes with red, white and blue icing. This was done with great enthusiasm and many contained more icing than cake once finished! The children’s enthusiasm was not even diminished by Mrs McGregor having the National Anthem playing constantly on a repeating loop – although the adults who had spent three hours in that room were not so keen on her choice of music by lunch time. We also made a vast quantity of crown shaped shortbread biscuits – complete with jelly tot jewels! It may be sometime before we manage to remove the last of the stickiness from those two classrooms.
After lunch we set up lines of tables on the playground to have a celebratory tea party. The whole school and a collection of invited guests made up of governors and school volunteers sat along two long lines of tables awaiting the arrival of the guests for the top table. Our eleven Year Six pupils had dressed up as members of the royal family (complete with face masks and corgis) and made a grand entrance before tea could begin!
Eggs and Chicks!
Chick fever well and truly took over the school in the summer term. After nineteen days counting down to the arrival of the incubator the children (and staff) were really excited when the incubator with ten partially incubated eggs was finally delivered to school. During this time the children (and several members of staff!) had been researching chick development and chicken life cycles to earn themselves a “chick cuddle club” voucher. On day twenty one we arrived in school to find that one egg had a tiny hole in it and before the start of lessons, Flash, the first chick, had arrived (named for the speed with which he hatched!). Over the course of the next two days he was joined by five more chicks; Crème Egg McFluffy, Baldrick, Nugget, Eggbert and Eggward - all named by the children!
Our chicks were a beautiful range of colours and sizes as they were from a range of rare breeds and the amount of noise that six tiny creature could make was quite unbelievable.
“Chick cuddle club” was a huge success and every lunchtime my head’s office was full of children and chicks. Although, as the chicks grew and began to test their flying wings we did have to chase a few escapees under the head’s desk! You can see photos of the chicks and the fun we had on the school website if you look on the news tab under children’s work.
Every day we weighed our chicks to monitor how they were growing. The speed with which they put on weight was testament to how well the children looked after them. The information from the incubator company said that chicks who are cuddled more gain weight more quickly. This could be why our chicks had all doubled their hatch weight by day five and the chick that grew the most went from weighing just 18g to 60 g in ten days! Although, actually weighing them became more of a challenge as they became better at flying and could escape from the pot we were putting them in on the scales – but this did add to the fun!
While the chicks were with us they took over the whole school and prompted a wide range of science, art, maths and writing activities which the whole school got involved with. Ten days after hatching the sad day came for the chicks to leave school. They did not go to the farm they original came from but have been given a home in the garden of one of the families from school which means we can keep track of their progress as they grow.