Empowerment Day

On Friday 9th March, pupils and staff took part in the school’s annual Empowerment Day. Now in its second year, the day is designed to promote a culture of inclusion celebrating the uniqueness of every child, ensuring that all children understand diversity recognising the need to respect one another regardless of ability, gender, age, race or creed.

Our first Empowerment Day last year was a perfect opportunity for the children to explore diversity, celebrate their differences and make new friendships whilst developing their physical and artistic skills. This year children in Chapter One incorporated these themes into their activities in class, whilst children in Chapter 2 and 3 were split into mixed age groups spending an enriching day of creativity, problem solving, and working together as a team. The day had a focus on Personal, Social and Emotional learning, incorporating sessions on anti-bullying and internet safety workshops led by ‘bCyberwise’ which are intended to empower all our children to take responsibility and understand how to keep themselves safe.

The children had fun learning about new people and making friends and in doing so discovered so many new things about themselves. They found they could skip, juggle, paint, build, create, sing, dance, and hula hoop. They discovered multitude of unique talents and learnt that they share so many skills, but that they are also very unique and different children with many differences. The children left school with a strong sense of feeling empowered.

Here’s what some of the children had to say:

“I really enjoyed the Superheroes – I know I’m good at drawing” Ella, 3S
“I thought it was great fun dancing to that great song” Archie, 4H
“It is really important that we get a chance to try different things to help us to get better.” Freya, 4A
“We worked together and some people could do it really well.” Ewan, 3S
“We learned some new things today and I’m going to practise them all at home.” Maddie, 6S

Entourage Photo Opportunity

With the initial shock and excitement now calming down since the big announcement, plans and rehearsals for May Fair are now well underway and the sound of the Floral Dance now rings around the school as the steps are practised ready for the big day. It is customary for the Entourage to be photographed with the Mayor and Consort for publicity purposes so today the group got together to have their pictures taken. 

Rocket Kids with STEAM Co.

As part of the Year 5 Enrichment Week activities, on Monday 5th March the children were visited by Nick Corston of STEAM Co., official partner of National Careers Week and supporter of British Science Week.

The visit was part of their #INSPIRANATION UK Tour, where they are taking their half day #ROCKETKIDS session to schools between Land’s End and John O’Groats for National Careers Week and back again for British Science Week. Inspired by Homer Hickman’s book ‘Rocket Boys’ and the film ‘October Sky’ (anyone good at anagrams?) and with the author’s full blessing, the STEAM Co. ‘Rocket Kids’ Sampler is two hours of rocket and science activity. The afternoon was made up of:

Rocket Kids Assembly
An engaging 30 minute talk/stage show, of aspiration, invention, determination, diversity, family and STEAM skills looking at what makes rockets fly and how the children can make their own.

Rocket Science Activity
All children got the opportunity to make a paper rocket and fire it into the air using a puff of air from a bike pump.

Rocket Launch
Despite the drizzly weather, everyone assembled on the playground for the highlight of the afternoon – a live rocket launch! Children counted down before the 2 stage ‘black powder’ rocket with parachute recovery system was fired several hundred feet in the air. Very exciting! See the video below to see the launch in all its glory.


Phonics Screening Information

A number of year one parents have recently been invited into an information session regarding the Year One Phonics Screening Check. The presentation used at the session is now available to parents via the link below or on the Phonics page of the school website. We hope you find the information helpful.

Year One Phonics Screening Check - Information for Parents

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to talk to your child’s class teacher.

May Fair Entourage Confirmed!

We are delighted to confirm the Entourage for May Fair 2018 is as follows:

May Queen:
Amelia Batten

Paige MacDonald-Bale

Albie Smithson and Freddie North

Allannah McConnachie and Poppy Fry
Ellie Cooke and Lilie Barber
Evie Hill and Calypso Smithson
Amber Schofield and Lily Beer

Many congratulations to you all!

Roaring Rockets in Reception!

The Bluecoat Hall was transformed into outer space as Reception children marked the end of their “Roaring Rockets!” topic with a celebration assembly for parents and carers. They shared their art work and the amazing facts they have learned about space, as well as performing space songs and stories.

If any parents and carers were unable to join us on the day, please take a look at the photos of the performance, and admire the wonderful space themed costumes!

A huge thank you to all those who helped the Reception children look magnificent!

To Infinity and Beyond…

In R1D, the children were all very enthusiastic about their “To Infinity and Beyond” topic. They used a balloon to launch a straw rocket, causing great excitement!

Harry I: “It went across the string because it had some air in and when you let go it blows the air out and makes the balloon go faster.”

Bexleigh: “The air went out and pushes the balloon.”

Chanel: “When you let go, it makes the balloon go because it’s got air inside it.”

Epiphany Toy Service

On Wednesday 17th January 2018, it was time for the annual Toy Service as part of our Epiphany celebrations. Thank you once again to all the children who kindly donated their toys to be sent to children in Romania. What a colourful display they made!

Mags Zaharia, who runs Little John’s House in Romania, led the service and spoke to the children about some differences and similarities between the children there and here in Devon. We agreed that all children everywhere love toys. Mags’ niece, Rosie, showed us a traditional Romanian costume that some children might wear there. What a lovely way for our children to do something for those less fortunate than themselves.

Thanks also goes to the members of the Collective Worship Focus Group, who each had a part to play in the service.

Mags will speak to the older children later in the term about ways that they could raise money for Little John’s House, as the charity is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.

A look back at Christmas 2017…

Hark the Herald Reception Angels sing!

Providing maximum ‘Ahhhh’ factor to the packed audience, the Reception Nativity play ‘Angel Express’ flew off the stage with all the musical delight and fanfare of a West End show! Seth Hare led the confident cast as the worried Angel choir Conductor and displayed maturity beyond his years to weave faultless comic timing across the familiar tale.

Stars sparkled, sheep, donkeys and camels marched, shepherds quaked and wise men followed before a host of triumphant angels sang to the baton wafting arms of a relieved conductor.

Well to everyone involved it was a triumph!


‘You Can’t Catch Me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!’

Over Christmas, Nursery children looked at the book, The Gingerbread Man, and retold the story to parents using signs. The children did really well and gave a great show. However, disaster struck when they went to get the gingerbread men from the cupboard (that had been baked earlier in the week) – the children discovered that they had escaped and ran away!

They went in search of the Gingerbread Men, following the crumbs that had been left behind. But instead of finding the Gingerbread Men, they found characters from different stories and songs including Goldilocks and the three bears, and the old lady who swallowed a fly. In return for a clue, the children sang the characters their songs and the clue eventually led to a map, revealing where to find the Gingerbread Men.  They followed the map to forest school where they found a note. The gingerbread men had tricked them once again and they were very disappointed but luckily there were some beautiful christmas decorations hanging in the trees which they collected for the nursery christmas tree which was bare. When they returned to the Nursery there was a present waiting for them under the tree and inside, Gingerbread Men! Yay!

It was an eventful morning, but it remains a mystery where the present came from!


Turkey, Crackers and Christmas Cheer!

It was Christmas dinner day on Wednesday 13th December, and the catering team were on top form again serving hundreds of turkey dinners to the children of Bluecoat. The atmosphere was electric with Christmas music playing and a background of hustle and bustle as children ate together and excitedly pulled their crackers and donned their party hats. It was all hands on deck to ensure everyone was served efficiently and that the aftermath was cleared away swiftly.

Thank you to Hayley and the catering team, the mealtime assistants and all staff that rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in…and of course thank you to the children who made it such a special occasion.

Christmas Experiences

Christmas is a time for celebration and there are several events across the year groups that allow for just that. Year 3 children enjoyed a Christmas Experience at St. Michael’s Church, Years 1-3 attended a beautiful Christingle Service also at the Church, and Chapter 3 performed a festive Carol Service here at the School. In the community there was the annual ‘Big Sing’. 

Och aye the noo! St Andrew’s Day Celebrations at Bluecoat

Thursday 30th November was St. Andrew’s Day…and what a day it was!

For the whole day, as part of our British Values Learning, the school from reception to year 6 was steeped in finding out about the beauty, people and culture of Scotland. From porridge to Irn Bru, castles to islands, regions to main cities, bens to lochs, bagpipes to sword dancing, we covered it all!

The school was looking as vibrant as ever as many children and staff came clothed in tartan, and at lunch time the children enjoyed a special menu of Haggis, neeps and tatties (minced beef in gravy, swede and potatoes) followed by Scottish Shortbread. A particular highlight of the day was the sound of traditional Scottish bagpipes from Pipe Major Gaylena Humphreys of Bideford Junior Pipe Band.

Noah (R1D) “The bagpipes…it was wicked!”
Brooke (R1D) “I taught my friends the Highland Fling.”


Bluecoat support the Blue Cross

Bluecoat support the Blue Cross!
During the last two weeks of the autumn term, the children of Bluecoat C of E Primary School kindly brought in donations for the animals at the Tiverton Blue Cross re-homing centre who were going to be homeless over the festive period. The donations were overwhelming and included a range of dog and cat treats and also high value items like peanut butter and hot dog sausages that the staff use for training purposes. As well as treats, there was an abundance of food and one kind parent even trooped around to the supermarkets asking for donations. The Blue Cross also now have three lovely dog beds thanks to the generosity of our families.
In addition to the offerings from Bluecoat, there were also generous contributions from a Year 1 class in Combe Martin School, from Hartland school, some kind staff members from St. Mary’s in Bideford and The Beaver Inn in Appledore, as well as Tescos in Bideford and Barnstaple, Morrisons in Bideford and Creature Comforts. 
 Bluecoat Teacher Jasmine Ayres, a keen supporter of the charity, delivered the items to the Blue Cross over the Christmas period where she met Bennie the 10 year old labrador cross, whose photo had been used as publicity for the donation drive. He was so excited to see (and smell) all the treats, that he barked with excitement. The Blue Cross do an amazing job saving animals who have been abandoned, abused or handed in through no fault of their own. Being a charity, they depend on donations and other resources to keep doing the great work they need to do.
If anyone feels they would like to support The Blue Cross in the same way that the children of Torrington did, they can visit their website where there is a link to their Amazon wishlist https://www.bluecross.org.uk/devon-tiverton-rehoming-centre. The Blue Cross re-home dogs and cats as well as other small animals such as rats, guinea pigs and degus.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated. Each and every item will make a difference.

Sitting Volleyball Success!

Earlier this month, Mrs Hannam took the Bluecoat Group to GTS for a sitting volleyball competition. The 8 children split into 2 teams – Team A consisted of Armani Ford, Kai Wheeler, Dylan Webb and TJ Doolan.
Team B consisted of Ebony Stagg, Charlie Vaggers, Phoebe Vaggers and Daylun Bock.

The children played 3 games in a row. The sports leaders were amazing, helping the children, keeping score and making sure everything ran smoothly. After a short break they played their final 2 games.

Team A came joint 3rd whilst Team B came 1st in their group which meant they were in the final against Lampards. The Bluecoat team were winning by quite a margin right up until the final minute when they were pipped at the post losing 10-6. A valiant effort nonetheless!

It was an amazing experience and the children really got into the spirit of the games and were excellent sports people, encouraging each other and supporting one another. Mrs Hannam commented that she was proud to be there with them. She is waiting to establish whether the team automatically qualifies for the main event in Barnstaple.

The children and supporting staff came back to school on a real high chanting ‘we won medals’. They are now ready to order some beach balls so they can practice their new found volleyball skills!

Up, Up & Away!

As part of Year 1’s “Up, Up and Away!” learning, they have shared the story of ‘The Blue Balloon’ and have thought about their own hopes and dreams. They have written messages and tied them to a balloon, ready to release – who knows how far they will travel? The messages have the school address on, so watch this space for news of any returns…

Rolle Canal Gig

On Wednesday 15th November, 33 children from Year 2 took part in a community performance at RHS Garden Rosemoor. The performance told the story of the Rolle Canal through drama and song, and was the culmination of weeks of rehearsals and preparation by the participating schools: Great Torrington School, Great Torrington Bluecoat C of E Primary School, Monkleigh Primary School, Appledore School and St Mary’s C of E Primary School.

The project was the brainchild of Debbie Kent, Robert Barber, Jan Baker and Tony Kent who wanted to explore a topic central to local life. Tony became inspired by the canal through walking parts of the route of the canal along the Tarka Trail and the opportunity to create a show about the Rolle Canal seemed too good an opportunity to miss!  The songs were researched, written, composed and arranged by Tony Kent. The music was co- ordinated across the schools by Debbie Kent (Babcock LDP Music Service – Professional Lead). The community choir was led by Jan Baker and the drama was created by the pupils under the direction of Robert Barber. Research has been supported by the Rolle Canal Society.

The History

Two hundred years ago the canal transformed the life of the town and community. It improved the lot of the farmer and so the prosperity of Great Torrington. Now there is barely a mark left of this industrial development. Few people have heard of the canal, fewer still knew of its whereabouts or use. So in the spirit of “knowing your past will enrich your present and future” the creative team set out to learn about this corner of North Devon in the early 19th century. Tony’s songs, the energetic work of students and the enthusiasm of the community choir brought to life an Inclined plane where tub boats went up and down, an aqueduct soaring across the river Torridge and the fiery furnaces of the many lime kilns. These converted the cumbersome limestone rock to the fine powder that is spread on the fields to balance the acidity and bring back the essential fertility.

The creative team are inspired by the thought that through music and theatre young and old, performer and audience can share in this joint history and so appreciate just a little bit more about who we are.

The Performance

The story of the canal was told through the conversation of two ladies who worked at the Glove Factory in the latter part of the 19th Century. Both had contrasting memories of the canal. Mrs Leonard, now a manager at Truscotts, had done well whereas Mrs Scoins’ life had been scarred by her association with the canal. It was Mrs Scoins’ reflections and memories that brought the canal and its people to life.

Each Primary School learnt several of the songs and some developed drama around the canal. GTS students represented the people of Great Torrington and those present at the tragedy in the Sea Lock at Annery.

The children of Bluecoat created a dance to demonstrate how the Inclined plane worked. It was rehearsed and performed with the four other schools, the community choir and a house band! It was an amazing experience and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

What the children thought

“Last night I liked going onto the stage because I felt really happy and I got to see everybody. I wasn’t scared. I was excited to show everyone our dance.” Ruby 2P

“I really enjoyed last night. To start off with I was a little nervous but kind of excited at the same time. I really liked watching other schools.” Imogen 2P

“I really enjoyed being the tug boat and showing my family our performance. I was excited to get started and I also liked watching the other schools’ parts.” Daniel 2P

“I was really scared to perform in front of 300 people. I really enjoyed myself when doing the dance as a rock on the tug boat. I liked showing my family and watching others.” Quinlan 2P


The Rolle Canal Society provides a wealth of information and can be found at: http://therollecanal.co.uk/

Positive Touch at Bluecoat

Monday 13th November was the start of national ‘Anti-Bullying Week’. As part of the launch of this vital week of learning, all classes at Bluecoat Primary took part in class positive touch (Massage in Schools Programme) spirals with movements set to reflect a poem entitled ‘The Bystander’. This was a calm and quiet time of reflection as we all thought about our part in taking care of each other.

The Bystander

Positive touch activity for the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP)
written for the Anti-Bullying Conference, Weston-super-Mare, 2006.

Imagine a world without bullies.
What is the part that you’ll play?
Will you be the bystander,
looking on…
and then walking away?
Or will you be the befriender
offering support and making their day?
Imagine a world without bullies.
What is the part that you’ll play?
Or befriender?

Remember, the choice is yours.

Authors: Carol Trower and Anne Crease
Massage in Schools Association (MISA)
© Massage in Schools Association 2006 www.misa.org.uk

Children’s comments:
T said, “It helps you to work your muscles.”
R said, “It shows respect when you say,’ can I massage you’, because it’s not your body to touch!”
J said, “It gets your brain ready for learning.”
A said, “This is a special positive touch, because it is a different one with a poem about a befriender. That means don’t just let someone be lonely, go and say, ‘Do you want to play with me?’”
Z said, “It makes you feel relaxed.”

Positive touch is an on-going programme at Bluecoat School from R to Y3 and has been recognised as an anti-bullying strategy. For more information please visit our PSHE page or speak to Janice Harris, lead for positive touch at Bluecoat school and trained instructor.

Stephen Shield Cross Country Competition 2017

It was a drizzly and dreary day on Wednesday 18th October, but this was not enough to dampen the spirits of over 700 children taking part in the hotly contested Stephen Shield Cross Country Competition at Donnacroft in Torrington. It was a record number of participants and taking part were 6 Bluecoat boys and 6 Bluecoat girls from years 3-6.

The competition was fierce and Adrian Avery from GTS commented how excellent the pupils were throughout the morning. He said they were “well behaved and competed to their very best”. He also added that the competition “is a great event which gives a lot of pupils the opportunity to take part when sometimes they may not get that opportunity.”


Year 3 Boys – Blake Meakin (11th)

Year 3 Girls – Allannah McConnachie (17th)

Year 4 Boys – Camball Reeks (29th)

Year 5 Girls – Chloe MacDonald-Bale (3rd), Maisie Stevens (4th), Bluecoat Team 3rd overall

Year 6 Boys – Jacob Blease (7th)

Year 6 Girls – Maizie Mock (13th), Paige MacDonald-Bale (15th), Bluecoat Team 4th overall
 Well done everybody, great effort!

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.