Lest We Forget – Remembrance 2017

On 10th November 2017, children in years 2 – 6 gathered in the upper hall for our annual Service of Remembrance. Mr Harts led the service, ably assisted by some year 6 children who spoke about the Poppy Appeal.
Year 2  and 3 classes had made some poppy wreaths which were received by 2nd Officer Wingrove and laid by the cross. During the service, children watched a video of the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ which was sung to music.

The children were very respectful throughout the service as they reflected on how those who are in our armed services protect our land and our peace.

Thank you to everyone who took part.

Meanwhile, Chapter 1 children held their own class observances of Remembrance.

Remembrance Sunday Parade

On Remembrance Sunday 12th November, 10 pupil representatives attended the Remembrance Parade and service in town. Braving icy winds, they marched proudly through the town and ably played their part during the service to honour the fallen men and women of Great Torrington. Stan and Lilly-Mai from Year 6 laid a commemorative wreath at the foot of the War Memorial on behalf of the school and led the other representatives in reflective silence and the singing of hymns.

An honour for them to be part of the parade and a terrific example of their role as ambassadors for Bluecoat C of E Primary.

Thank you to all who participated.


In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Autumn Annual Multi-Skills Festival

At the end of the last half-term children from year’s one and two attended the annual Autumn Multi-Skills Festival at GTS. The Festival was organised by the staff and students from GTS and run by Charlotte Frickleton.

Thank you to all parent volunteers who took part and who ensured that the walk in the appalling, windy weather was without any hazards! The Bluecoat Children had lots of fun running, balancing, skipping and chasing so that they eventually managed to warm up!

A ‘Stargazy Pie’ Harvest Breakfast

As part of their harvest learning, Year One have been focusing on the harvest of the sea. The children have readand enjoyed the story of the ‘Mousehole Cat’, and were lucky enough to watch the film version at the Plough.

The children have looked at a real mackerel and made some fabulous observational drawings and paintings. As a culmination of their learning, they held a harvest breakfast celebration for parents and carers, inviting them in to admire art work, listen to some harvest singing and share a “fishy” harvest feast!

Thank you to all who attended – it was a great finale to the harvest learning.

A Farm Experience with Farmer Harris

Farmer Harris visited the children in Reception to explain the importance of harvest on the farm. He explained about storing food for the winter and the uses of wheat and maize. Farmer Harris brought along his tractor and enabled children to look closely at a range of products from the farm, such as silage, cow cake, a maize plant, wheat and turnips.

After his visit the children built their own tractor and pretended to be Farmer Harris at work on the farm.

If you want to know more about tractors or harvest time on the farm, come in and ask the reception children; they are experts now!

A big thank you to Farmer Harris for giving up his time and for all the resources he prepared for the children to explore.

Town Task Force on a Mission

After a very busy week of Harvest Festival celebrations and activities going on around the school, the Town Task Force delivered some heavy bags full of food donations from our families at school to the Food Bank in Town. They braved the gusty wind but rose to the challenge of delivering the food from Bluecoat Primary. The Task Force were shown how things are organised and the challenges faced with running it. Well done and thank you to those pupils involved: Brooke, Leah, Lauren, Maisie, Rowan, Jack, Esme and Chloe.

The Food Bank is located in the Baptist Church, and runs from 10am to 12pm every Tuesday and Saturday.

Sing a Song for Harvest

Children in years 1-3 almost lifted the roof off the lower hall at this year’s Harvest Service with their amazing singing, including our latest harvest song ‘Sing a song for Harvest”. The Collective Worship Focus Group members were involved in presenting the programme and year 3 read some class prayers.

Mrs Harris spoke about her love of art and showed us at some of the work of Arcimboldo who used fruit and veg for his work. Some children had made their own works of art in true Arcimboldo style. The pictures reminded us all of how Harvest is a time when Christians can thank God for all the food we have and remember those who are not so fortunate.

We would like to thank all those who contributed to the Harvest display. Some children from years 1 and 2 children will take a token gift of fruit and veg to the four care homes in the town and all non-perishable food will be taken by our ‘Town Task Force’ children to the local food bank.

Year 4 Step Back in Time

On Wednesday 27th September, pupils in year 4 dressed up as Stone Age people and spent the day building shelters, gathering food, creating artefacts and making paints from locally found soil and rocks.
They were really lucky to learn about the art of making paint from local artist Peter Ward and then used these paints to create their own ‘cave art’ style paintings.

Thankfully the pupils didn’t have to spend the night in their shelters or survive on the little food they managed to collect and went home really grateful not to be Stone Age children! Great fun was had by all.

Look out in the year 4 corridor for the Stone Age museum.

A Token of Thanks

As part of their Religious Education, in the run up to Harvest, Year 1 have been thinking about being thankful for the food they have and for those who help them.

Each child decorated a ‘thank you token’ to give to the Mealtime Assistants who serve and help them in the lower hall at lunchtime. They thought about how hard they work and wanted to show their appreciation.

Thank you to all the lunch time staff who help in the hall and outside. You are amazing!

GTS PE Superstars Academy

We are delighted that seven year 6 pupils have been selected to take part in the Torrington Learning Community Year 6 PE Superstars Academy. Congratulations to Harrison Brown, Jonathan Taylor, Cain Thompson, Jacob Thompson, Maizie Mock, Stan Irvine and Cody Gardiner..

The Academy, led by Great Torrington School (GTS), provides fantastic opportunities for those involved, such as being part of professionally coached sessions, competitive games plus a visit to Bath University to see their sports facilities and participate in a day’s programme of activities.

We hope they all enjoy this wonderful opportunity.


An Icy Escape for the Dinosaurs!

Last week in nursery they learnt about dinosaurs.

The children discovered dinosaurs frozen in ice and had to investigate ways to help them escape.  After the chilly rescue, the children made a gloopy swamp for the dinosaurs to play in.

As part of the adventure, children read exciting books and learnt the names of dinosaurs before learning some dinosaur songs and how to move like different dinosaurs.

Possibly the most exciting part was discovering that there was an angry T-rex on the loose! The children had to bravely go in search of her eggs and return them to her nest without being caught! Don’t worry, the children managed to save the day!


Fantastic Reading Achievements in Year 6

Kit (class 6M, pictured left) and Sophie (class 6F, pictured right) have dedicated the last few weeks to achieving the brilliant result of reading and reviewing 100 books in the lunchtime Reading Club ‘Quest’! They were absolutely determined, despite several disruptions to daily attendance including a week at transition camp, to achieve 100 books before their year 6 was complete.
They both started their quest in Year 5 way back in the Autumn of 2015 and after Leah Thorne became our very first Reading Champion, they have been driven to emulate her achievement. Congratulations to both Kit and Sophie!

Avast, Ye Landlubbers! Pirate Story Trail for Nursery

Nursery children enjoyed a group retelling of the storybook, The Treasure of Pirate Frank, which was performed to parents and grandparents. Then the children discovered that there had been a flood in the nursery (see below) which washed up a pirate ship wreck and a message in a bottle. The message was a map! 

They all grabbed their telescopes and a copy of the map and went on an adventure! They went up snowy mountains, through a forest where they caught monkeys, then hopped across the stepping stones over the swamp, and finally up some stairs where they saw a volcano and the palm tree which marked the spot. 

They found the treasure chest and inside was a chocolate pirate coin for everyone.

German Exchange Visit 2017

We had an amazingly successful Exchange Visit from our Global German Partner in Year 5, Evangelishe Grundschule Babelsberg from June 12th -16th, now in our second year of our partnership. It began on Monday evening when their plane landed at Bristol (30 German pen pals and 5 teaching staff led by Irina). They made really good time arriving by 8:30pm to settle into their accommodation at Braddicks in Westward Ho!

On Tuesday morning 63 excited Year 5 Bluecoat pupils arrived on the coach at the Green in Westward Ho! to greet face to face – some for the first time, others for the second time – their German pen-pals. Having had many Skype calls, it was great for the children to finally be able to get to know each other more freely. We did some fun ice-breaker activities to start and then set off on a coastal walk towards Abbotsham, learning about the local area and the Biosphere status on the way to the rockpools near Greencliff. We had lunch before everyone went exploring for rockpool creature. Amongst the thrilling finds were many crabs, blennies, a tiny cushion starfish, hermit crabs, masses of limpets, winkles and seaweeds, and also beadlet and snakelock anemones. After our walk back, the Year 5 children returned to Bluecoat. Our German friends enjoyed some shopping and perusing the shops of Westward Ho! before a ‘fish and chip’ for dinner.

On Wednesday, we greeted our German friends in school, in small groups. They had tours around and then we went in small groups ‘child led pre-planned tours’ of Great Torrington. We convened at the Old Bowling Green for shared snacks before heading back on a different route. After a school lunch, we used our knowledge of North Devon combined with the German children’s knowledge of the ‘Stop Motion’ App on iPads to create group animations advertising the attractions and activities North Devon has to offer. The Exchange group kindly did a school assembly where the other year groups too were able to learn more about their school and the surrounding area. After school some of our Year 5 pupils took their German pen-pals home to host them for the afternoon, dinner and early evening, they all returned at 7pm having had a fantastic time! The staff meanwhile had taken the opportunity to also have dinner at The Plough and begin planning next year’s Exchange Visits (which we’re already very animated about!)

Our last day together was a trip to Exmoor. We all met at Watersmeet for a lovely scenic walk along the River Lyn valley to Lynmouth, stopping along the way to learn about the National Park. Whilst at Lynmouth we enjoyed lunch on the beach and, as we gazed out to sea, we could just about make out the Welsh coastline. Mr Harts then guided our German Exchange group onto the funicular railway to look around Lynton and do some souvenir shopping, whilst our Year 5s went to learn about the Lynmouth – Porlock Lifeboat Rescue in 1899. Once we had arrived back at school, we all enjoyed our last evening together playing sports and games on the playground at the start of the ‘Global Evening’ followed by a buffet laid on by parents, and finally Maypole Dancing accompanied by the Torrington Silver Band organised by Mrs Hannam. Then it was time to say farewell, with a few tears from some when they said their goodbyes.
We are looking forward to our last Year 5 Skype call in a couple of weeks before the summer holidays.

Thanks so much to parents who provided snacks, buffet food, helped on trips, hosted German children and also to other staff for their support during a very busy but very enjoyable week.

Mrs Hogan & Mr Harts

‘High Five’ For The Bluecoat Netball Team

After a previous postponement due to bad weather, the Bluecoat Netball team finally got their friendly ‘Away’ High 5 Netball match against Monkleigh Primary on    Monday 3rd  July. With amazing views from Monkleigh’s netball court, Paige won the toss and decided which end they shot from in the first quarter, so Monkleigh took the first centre pass. In the first quarter Paige scored followed by a second goal in the second quarter by Marnie.

Mrs Wilson, Monkleigh’s PE coordinator, refereed the match supported by some of her Year 6 netballers. It was a competitive but friendly match, balanced well in ability with teams of mainly Year 4 and 5 children. Monkleigh gained their first goal in the third quarter but weren’t able to make a draw. By the last quarter, Bluecoat had won scoring 2:1. It was the first match for many of the children from both schools and they all really enjoyed the experience. After the match, the teams joined together for some chocolate gateaux cake provided by Mrs Nash in their school’s kitchen. Thank you to Mrs MacDonald-Bale and Mrs Potts for kindly helping to provide transport there and back.

Year Five Get On Their Bikes

On Wednesday 5th July, pupils in year 5 had a lovely warm, sunny day for their bike ride on the Tarka Trail from Great Torrington to Instow. They set off at around 9:15am and peddled approximately 17 miles, with snack and drink stops en route before arriving at Instow beach in time for lunch. After an ice cream and play on the sand, they were ready to make the return journey. The children were wonderful and really enjoyed it, despite being tired and hot, especially after the hill climb at the end! They showed great determination and supported one another extremely well. Thank you to our parent helpers on the day, Mr Milton for much of the bike maintenance, and also Mrs Mock, Mr Taylor, Mr Pateman, Mrs Curley, Mrs Shadbolt and Mrs Passmore.

Reception and Year One Mini Sports Festival

The Summer is in full swing and with it comes another Sports Festival! This time the children from Reception and Year one had a chance to attend the Mini Sports Morning at GTS. The Festival was organized by the staff and the students from GTS and was run by Charlotte Frickleton.

All of the children had lots of fun and used their PE skills to accomplish all of the challenges put to them such as the football sprint, the obstacle course and the throwing trial.

A big well done to the youngest children from the Reception classes who used all of their energy on their first real sports festival! Thanks also to the parent volunteers who took part in the Festival and who ensured that our walk went smoothly.

Fire Fighting Fun in Reception

A big thank you to the Torrington Fire Brigade fire fighters who gave up their own time to come and visit the Reception children as part of their learning about ‘Real Life Superheroes’. The children learnt so much about being safe. They enjoyed exploring all the equipment fire-fighters use, with special attention paid to how the hose works. The cars in the car park were very clean by the end of the afternoon!

Mrs. Harris ‘volunteered’ to try on the fire fighters protective clothing and decided it was not the job for her! A lot of joy and laughter were had by all as we learnt potentially life-saving information in a sensitive and fun way.

Thank you again to our Torrington heroes.

Anyone for Mud Cakes?…

The children in Reception are absolutely thrilled with their fantastic new mud kitchens. They couldn’t wait to start using them and have even made potions to catch the Joker who stole their superheroes!

Research has shown that mud kitchens have great benefits for children, such as:

  • Creative expression and invention (mud can become anything!)
  • Problem solving opportunities (e.g. how to make soup thin or thick, how to make mud meatballs stick together)
  • Cooperative play possibilities (e.g. let’s cook dinner, let’s have a restaurant, let’s feed the baby—you be the baby)
  • Stress reduction (being outdoors in nature helps children relax)
  • Building stronger immune systems (research indicates that some exposure to dirt helps build resistance to bad bacteria)
  • Growing affection for the stuff on our earth—soil, stones, sand, and growing plants (leading to care for our planet)

The kitchens were kindly built by two Reception dads, and it is safe to say they did an amazing job. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to them for all their hard work and generosity. As the photos show, the children are really getting stuck in.

The Sun Had His Hat on for Sports Day!

On Tuesday 20th June, Bluecoat was a sea of red, blue, yellow and green t-Shirts as pupils prepared to battle it out for their house team to be crowned the champions of the annual Sports Day.  It was a beautifully sunny day and measures had been taken to ensure plenty of shaded areas for children to wait in between events and plenty of drinks on hand to stay hydrated. Parents and family were invited to come and be part of the day to cheer on their children, and year 7 pupils from GTS came along to to offer their support.

Year groups were split into boys and girls, and individuals within each group competed in the various events on a rotation; sprint, hurdles, tennis ball throw, high jump, javelin, spring jump, shot put and target shooting.  There were also two events where each group worked as a team – basketball and team relay. After each event a runner delivered the score sheet to the data team who input the all important numbers into the spreadsheet. Only they could see who was in the lead, and it is fair to say the team on top changed several times throughout the morning!  As the heat of the day rose the decision was made to draw the events to a close slightly early at 1pm but the sterling effort displayed by all involved meant the majority of the events were fully completed.

Such fantastic team spirit was displayed by the pupils; cheering each other on, congratulating the winners, and showing genuine support to each other. They were a credit to their families and the school and made the day what it was.

So who reigned victorious – Tamar, Torridge, Tavy or Taw?

1st – Tamar – Yellow (25955 points)
2nd – Tavy – Red (25355 points)
3rd – Taw – Green (24803 points)
4th – Torridge – Blue (24590 points)

Individual Results








It may have been Tamar that took the crown overall, but the results above clearly show that all teams worked fantastically well and deserve to feel proud of their achievements. There was some very close scoring too, and some in 4th place only missed out on a medal by a mere handful of points!

Much preparation went into the arrangements for the day, and particular thanks must go to Mr Tennant for the huge amount of co-ordination undertaken to ensure its smooth running. He commented, “it was a good day, and I’m looking forward to next year!”

Around the World with Reception

The Reception children have been ‘travelling’ around the world recently.  Each class has studied different countries and put stamps in their passports to remember where they have been.  Families were invited to come on a ‘tour of the world’ with the children as the tour guides.  As they visited each ‘country’ (table of artefacts and photos) the children shared all about their learning.  They visited Romania, Cambodia, Australia, Peru, Latvia, Poland, The Gambia, Scotland, India, France and England. 

M and his Mum came to speak to us about Latvia, Ewa and B told us about Poland and Z and his Mum told us about Mauritius.  We also learnt about Scotland with Mrs. Flower and The Gambia with Mrs. Harris.  Come and speak to us about what we have found out about these countries. 

A fantastic time was had by all!  Thanks to everyone who supplied information and artefacts for the ‘countries’ and to everyone who came along.

In Class RH they learnt about Cambodia, a country special to Mrs Harris as she lived there for many years.  They learnt about the food – eating spiders, Angkor Wat (temple), Buddhism, getting around on motorbikes and cyclos, houses on stilts, monsoon rain, weddings and bringing gifts of fruit (on your head), writing letters and numbers and the only river in the world that changes direction of flow during the year.

 They learnt about the boat races to celebrate the Tonle Sap (river) changing direction and made their own boats.  Then, moi, bee, buy saum jaul DTOW! (1,2,3, go) ១ ២ ៣ សូមចូលទៅ!  “Blow your boat as fast as you can to win the race!”  They had great fun and really enjoyed learning about the similarities and differences between our own culture and that of the Khmer people.