Budding Twitchers at Bluecoat!

Report by Rowan Seldon-Green, Class 6DH

On Monday 28th January, representatives from the Pupil Council and Eco Ambassadors took part in the RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch. This is a national survey run by the RSPB to find out about the birds and their population and distribution in gardens and local areas. Our survey took place in the school’s Forest School area.

During our survey we spotted lots of different species of birds: robin, blue tit, great tit, carrion crow, black headed gull, and many more. Overall, we had a busy lunchtime spotting birds. Our results have been entered into the RSPB database along with thousands of other results from members of the public. The RSPB will compile a report containing all the results from around the country.


Year One Play Maths

During the first half of the spring term, parents and carers of Year 1 pupils were invited to come and watch their child take part in a maths session, and to play some number games together. These were so enjoyed by the children, learning alongside their parents and carers at school. The session demonstrated the types of activities we use at school to develop children’s understanding of number and are good examples of home learning activities that families may wish to try out or adapt.

As a little reminder, or if you were unable to attend, here are some photos from the sessions, along with some of the activities that were introduced. Happy home learning!

Download the Year One Play Maths Activities

Year 5 Get Spaced Out

On Tuesday 5th February, the children in Year 5 had their Planet Earth topic work brought to life with a visit from the Space Lab Planetarium. In the dome, Mr Barber did an ‘Earth and Beyond’ presentation to each Year 5 class where they learnt about the solar system, the sun, the planets and their movements to create day/night and years. They watched the model of how the moon has phases and why, and were then wowed by the stars when the dome went pitch black inside revealing the constellations. Did you know the North Star doesn’t move and is a good navigational tool? 

Year 5 are linking this experience with their science and English work in particular, and will carry on their learning back in the classroom.

Photo courtesy of http://www.spacelab.me.uk/

Photo courtesy of http://www.spacelab.me.uk/

German Gingerbread

Around Christmastime, the Year 5 children researched about the culture and traditions of a German Christmas and made Google slides of their findings about food, Christmas trees, Christmas Eve, stockings and much more! As part of this, the children also made traditional gingerbread that they took home and enjoyed eating. They discussed the German ‘lebkuchen’ spiced biscuits and the different varieties too. The children made links with the science materials topic when they learnt about irreversible changes such as the process of baking ingredients mixed together which then cannot be separated or reversed.

Thor’s Day Thursday!

At the end of their History topic ‘Anglo Saxons and Vikings’ in Autumn term, Year 5 re-enacted their own version of Thor’s Day Thursday. This came from their novel in English ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ by Cressida Cowell in which a group of young Viking boys had to undergo an initiation ceremony to become full members of the Viking Tribe on the island of ‘Berk’. They had to find, collect and train a dragon to then demonstrate particular tasks on ‘Thor’s Day Thursday’ as well as take part in the celebration events on the island. In the Bluecoat Year 5 version, instead of children throwing axes – they did welly wanging! They also were able to enter an art contest to draw the ugliest dragon. Part of the day was spent learning the art of ‘sword fighting’ (with foam pipe lagging) followed by a fun tournament. The children needed to do ‘dragon egg collecting’ in a set time and were awarded prizes for the most collected. Finally, they had to show their skills in understanding and training their dragon by finding out in role play what their dragon ‘likes’ by testing it! A fun Thor’s Day Thursday was had by all the Year 5 pupils who also came dressed for the part. Fortunately it didn’t end in disaster…unlike the book where all the candidates were in line to be exiled!

Build, Construct and Create in Reception

In class RHH they have been thinking about how to ‘build, construct and create’. This has led them to many different activities, experiences and amazing discoveries in their learning. Here are just a few photos of them.

They looked at the work of Paul Klee and ‘built’ tower pictures with oil pastels and brusho ink. This also linked to their key text ‘Tower to the Sun’, set in a future where pollution meant that the sun and blue sky could no longer be seen. They made tool belts in the style of Bob and Wendy the builders and created clay towers from 2D rectangles turning them into 3D cylinders. They have also been practising using real tools and it has taken a lot of concentration, determination and ‘stickability’ to screw the screws into the wood; knock in nails safely with the hammer; sand wood and link nuts and bolts together.

They will be continuing to think about this topic after half term, so please pop down and talk to them about it. What else can they ‘build, construct and create’?

Garden Transformation Nears Completion!

Cast your mind back to when we were awarded the Tesco Bags for Help Grant (remember we were chosen as a project in store and you kindly posted your blue tokens to support the project!)

Well, the funds we were awarded have allowed us to transform the garden area in the middle of the school into a space for spiritual reflection. The photos below chart the project progress and show just what a transformation it is! Just a few plants to put in and the installation of the artwork on the walls and we are good to go. 

Special thanks to Rob Pudner for his superb voluntary efforts and of course to Kelvyn Bond, Andy Johns and everyone else that has contributed. Thanks to Mrs Bastable for coordinating the murals, which will be ready soon, and the children involved in designing and painting them . It really is a great result and the whole school community are delighted.

Bluecoat go all out for the Blue Cross

The parents and children of Bluecoat C of E Primary School were very generous last year and filled a van full of much needed food, toys and treats for the Tiverton Blue Cross Animal Rescue Centre. This year, they doubled their efforts and provided another van load of provisions for the North Devon Animal Ambulance in addition to the Blue Cross. The donations were added to by other establishments including Witten Park Vets, Bradworthy Primary and St. Margarets in Northam.

Jasmine Ayres, ardent supporter of the Blue Cross and teacher here at Bluecoat, made the deliveries to the centres on the weekend before Christmas and commented “I was rewarded with doggy snuggles and cat kisses from lots of animals. At the Blue Cross, I met Benny, a lovely young lurcher who has been at the centre for quite some time despite being so friendly and happy, and Diana Lewis had arranged for me to meet the animals at the NDAA clinic in Pottington, Barnstaple and sadly, there were so many of them to meet. I saw a beautiful ginger and white cat who stayed curled up in a ball for the duration of my visit, and was told he had been put in a cat carrier and left in a car park one evening in the freezing cold”. Both centres were overwhelmed with gratitude by the donations. Amy Brown, from the Blue Cross, emailed to say “Thank you so much for all your donations. We will be putting some photos on Facebook soon of the animals enjoying all their gifts – I’ve attached a few of some of the pets opening shoeboxes here for you to enjoy in the meantime! Hopefully you recognise some of your boxes..? Thanks as ever for your continued support – we couldn’t do the work we do without donations like yours!”

The kindness shown to these abandoned animals by the children and adults of Torrington we hope is a reflection of the safe and caring environment of our school.

Santa Claus Came to Bluecoat

Today, each class had a very special visitor….Santa Claus and his elf. Santa was bringing presents for the class to enjoy as a reward for working so hard this year. The children’s faces were delightful and they were all pleased with their gifts.

With thanks to the FoTB for funding the presents and to Santa’s elves (the teachers!) for getting them.

Christingle 2018

After a last minute change of venue due to the yellow weather warning, the children of Years 1 ,2 and 3 presented their Christingle service in the Bluecoat Hall. Once again this very special service drew in a large crowd of parents and friends to hear the children sing a selection of Christmas songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

The climax of the service, when the Christingle candles are lit, is always a poignant moment, and this year did not disappoint.

Thank you to all children and staff for a lovely service and to all parents and friends who came along.

The money collected after the service will go to the Children’s Society, which this year is celebrating 50 years of Christingle. Your donations will go towards projects for disadvantaged children in the U.K.
As we approach Christmas, let’s remember Jesus, ‘the Light of the World’.

Have a very Happy Christmas, everyone!


The Meaning of Christingle

Christingle means ‘Christ’s Light’ and it is a symbol of the Christian faith. Lots of churches hold Christingle services around Christmas time. The custom of giving out lighted candles in these services began in Germany in 1747 but it wasn’t introduced to the Anglican Church in England until 1968.

Christingles are made up of different parts, each one being there to remind us of something.

  • The orange represents the world.
  • The candle reminds Christians of Jesus who they believe to be the light of the world.
  • The red ribbon goes all round the ‘world’ and being the colour of blood, reminds Christians that Jesus died.
  • The four cocktail sticks could have either of two meanings; the four seasons or the four corners of the world.
  • The sweets (or sometimes dried fruit) remind Christians of God’s gifts to the world including kindness and love.
  • The foil is there to catch waxy drips from the candle.

Learn how to make your own Christingle.

A Miracle in Christmas Town

A highlight of the school calendar has to be the Reception nativity performance. This year the performance took place to parents and carers on Friday 14th December and was entitled ‘A Miracle in Christmas Town’. This musical piece was performed beautifully by the children to many proud family members. Here is what some of the children had to say:

“It’s about Mary and Jesus, the shepherds and a donkey. I like singing ‘Little Grey Donkey’. I’m good at sitting still when I’m not singing and I stand still when we’re standing up” – Olivia
“I like being the Innkeeper’s wife. I like singing the songs. I like ‘A babies born beneath a star” – Bella C
“I like everything. I like saying ‘Shepherds, I have news.  My favourite song is ‘Singing, singing in the sky” – Darcey
“I like sitting on the big high box. My favourite song is ‘We’re going to tell you a story.’ I like holding the microphone and going on the stage” – Finley
“It’s about baby Jesus. I like ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ because I like the bit where you cross your fingers and when you do Christmas with your hands. I like holding my lamb. I think that Finley is doing good speaking with the microphone and Sebastian is good at holding his stick” – Henry K.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful occasion.

Christmas Cheer at Bluecoat

‘Tis the season to be jolly…..and for lots of exciting Christmassy things!

Senior Citizen Christmas Lunch

On Wednesday 5th December, the senior citizens of Great Torrington took shelter from the pouring rain and joined us for their annual Christmas lunch. They were shown to the dining hall where the tables adorned with holly and crackers awaited them. The event, which started several years ago on a much smaller scale, is now a firm feature in the school calendar and the children look forward to compiling a full programme of entertainment for the afternoon.

Almost forty diners, served by pupils in year 6, enjoyed a meal of roast beef with all the trimmings followed by traditional Christmas pudding and clotted cream. The guests then relaxed as children from across the year groups took to the stage to sing some traditional Christmas songs as well as some wartime tunes. The proceedings were met with warm applause and the event was concluded with a few words from the Mayor who thanked the school, the children in particular, the Rotary Club of Torrington for providing transport and The Cavaliers for funding the event.


Co-op Food Share Scheme

As part of our drive for sustainability, we are now involved with the Co-op Food Share Scheme. The scheme allows Co-op stores to donate produce at its best before or use by date to community/charitable organisations – food that would normally go to waste. We are partnered with 3 stores: Torrington, Hatherleigh and Bideford, and regular collections are now taking place. The produce is made available to our families via our ‘Waste Not Want Not’ Sustainability Hub, based in the cafe. 

In addition to the Food Share, we also plan to add a second hand uniform outlet and book/toys swaps for families. Whilst the drive is ultimately for sustainability and to reduce waste, we hope this initiative will go some way to support those families who would appreciate a little support, so please drop in and help yourself.

Thank you to the Co-op for offering this fantastic scheme!
















Stephen Shield Cross Country

Report by: Maisie Stevens (Squad Captain)

On the 2nd November 2018, more than twenty of our students tackled the Stephen Shield Cross Country race and faced fierce competition from athletes from different schools around North Devon. The run took place over several steep, muddy fields at Donnacroft in Torrington with hundreds of spectators cheering on their family and friends.

With boys and girls from years 4, 5 and 6 competing, the atmosphere before the event was tense and nervous. We all wanted to do our best. The whole team were determined and focused, supporting each other the whole morning. Some of us achieved amazing individual results, such as: Chloe Macdonald-Bale [Year 6 Girls] and Calypso Smithson [Year 4 Girls] who both came 4th place in their race; Bailey Johnson [Year 5 Boys] who came 5th place and Allanah McConnachie [Year 4 Girls] who came 8th place. All of our team members should be proud of their efforts as in some races there were over 120 entries and the standard was very high.

The team results were the most impressive. The year 6 girls overall came 3rd out of 14 schools, the year 5 boys came 3rd from 15 schools and the year 4 girls came 1st out of 15 schools! This means that the year 4 girls will go on to represent the area at the County games in March in Torquay!

Well done to all the runners who pushed themselves to the limits and were amazing team mates displaying impeccable sportsmanship. It should be noted that we are all becoming fitter and being able to run the ten minutes each week has helped us immensely, alongside joining lunch time games and after school sports clubs.

There will be up to 3 more races this year. If you put in the time and effort: will you make the team?


Anti-Bullying Assemblies

Classes 1M and 4D joined their forces against bullying on during Anti-Bullying Week when they experienced their first Buddy Assembly. Both classes enjoyed reading and discussing a poem by Kate Fleming: ‘The Hurt Feelings’ and talking about how being hurt inside takes a long time to heal. During the joint assembly children from 1M shared their ‘Bystander’ positive touch spiral with the pupils from 4D and the children from Year 4 read their own amazing poems about bullying. By the end of their Buddy Assembly they all agreed that they will try to be the Brave Befrienders and not the Shy Bystanders!

As part of their learning about Anti-Bullying Week, 1D and 5GH also held a paired assembly on 15th November 2018. Class 1D have been learning about the phrases “being unkind,” “teasing” and “bullying,” and discussing what makes a good friend. They have learned the Bystander poem, which talks about being a bystander or a befriender, along with some positive touch moves, which they shared with 5GH as part of their assembly.

Class 5GH also learned the Bystander poem and looked at cyber bullying, which does become more of a risk to pupils as they grow older and begin to use electronic devices. The children learnt what it is and ways to protect themselves from it. They also dramatised a cyber bullying situation which explained how it may happen and what they should do if they witness it.
The assembly was a great opportunity to share their learning and see how other classes have been embracing Anti-Bullying Week.


Class 3OS and The Bluecoat Group paired up for their assembly and performed the ‘Choose Respect’ anti-bullying song that Andy from CBBC performed> They also read the Bystander poem and discussed its meaning and finally said some prayers written by the children about kindness and respect.  

Bakery Visit

As part of their learning about Harvest the children in the Reception classes had a visit from Alfred’s Granny who owns Sandford’s Bakery. They looked at photographs of the bakery and found out all about the different things they make and sell. The children particularly liked the doughnuts they had made especially for them!

Lunchtime Stars

As part of Year 1’s RE programme for the Autumn half term we talked about being thankful. We thought of people in the school that we don’t often thank properly and decided to give a ‘thank you star’ to each of the ladies who help us at dinner times. We think they are all stars!

Year 1 Harvest Breakfast

On Thursday 18th October, Year 1 held a harvest breakfast. Following on from our harvest experiences in Reception last year, we have been learning about harvest of the sea. We read The Mousehole Cat, and watched the film at the Plough. We looked closely at a mackerel and made observational drawings, and then we were busy cooking! We made jelly and sea shaped biscuits to share with our grown-ups, and wrote them invitations so that they knew when to come and help us celebrate. We sang, and wrote harvest prayers, which we read before sharing the food we had made. Thank you to all those who came and supported the event, it was a lovely finale to our harvest learning in Year 1.

A Bumper Harvest

We would like to thank everyone for the many, many food gifts that were donated to the school for this year’s harvest celebrations and to the crowds of parents who attended. The hall really was bursting at the seams!

The children from Years 1-3 who are part of the Collective Worship Focus Group took responsibility for the readings and prayers and we were all treated to the school choir’s debut as they sang ‘Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring’. ‘Britain’s got talent’ here they come!

Mrs Harris told the story of ‘Stone Soup’ to encourage the children to work well together. That’s just what we did to make this a Bumper Harvest Celebration. Thank you, everyone!

Sharing the Harvest

Thank you to our school TASK FORCE who delivered the non-perishable foods to the Food Bank at the Baptist Church.  As is our custom, the fresh fruit and vegetables were taken by children in Years 1 & 2 to the four care homes in the town – Hatchmoor, Castle Hill, Torridge Vale and Abbeyfield.

The children from 2P sang some Harvest songs to the residents at Abbeyfield and then enjoyed a little chat together, plus some cake! It was so lovely to see the interaction between the generations.
What a lovely opportunity Harvest is for sharing with the wider community.


We Will Remember Them

On Remembrance Sunday, pupils from Bluecoat represented the school at the Remembrance Parade in the town. They laid a wreath at the War Memorial and paid their respects to the fallen. The children were a credit to the school and their parents.

Meanwhile in school, the Bluecoat Group took time out to remember by created their own memorial using poppies they had made.