I had a sad day on Friday, saying farewell to a very special primary school and its children. After having worked at Horsley for nearly nine years, formally as Deputy Headteacher and latterly as Headteacher, it was hard to say goodbye. So many turned out to give me a fantastic send-off with such kind words, including poems, cards and songs from the children. Generous presents and a specially-made cake was presented for all to share. What a wonderful end to an amazing journey. It has been a privilege to lead Horsley School and I will really miss you all, especially the children. Thank you!
The whole school community turned out on a dry winter’s evening for what is fast becoming an annual Christmas tradition at Horsley; the reenactment of the nativity story. With Mary (Sienna) saddled on the pony, led by Joseph (Charlie), the crowd followed from one stop to another, accompanied by the accordion, and the narrators retelling the story. The Angel Gabriel appeared to the couple (in the school playground) before moving on to the inn (The Hog PH) to look for a room for the night. Joseph’s knocks were greeted by the landlord who turned them away to search for a stable. In the fields (outside the village shop), the shepherds and angels appeared. The procession moved on to the final stop (St. Martin’s Church) and the three kings presented their gifts to Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. Carols and other musical performances accompanied the acting, and the evening was rounded off with a traditional carol service including Christmas poems, a wonderful Joy to the World dance, children’s own prayers and some delightful singing. FHS provided mulled wine and mince pies for the congregation. Another special event at Horsley.
The school's recent Ofsted report can be found at http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/ and by entering URN 115685. We are pleased with the result. Ofsted praises the behaviour of pupils, the well-planned curriculum, the outdoor learning opportunities and relationships between staff and pupils. They go on to rate the Headteacher's drive for improvement, the Governors' shared vision for the school, the quality of teaching and learning, and pupils' progress. Areas for development include the use of questioning to check understanding in the Early Years, and to further increase progress in maths. It was pleasing to see that Ofsted thought that 'the school's Christian ethos makes a strong contribution to pupils' social, moral, spiritual and cultural development.'
On Wednesday 11th November the junior children and staff, along with local residents, gathered around the village Memorial to mark Armistice Day. In a short service, led by Rev. Mike Smith, we took time to remember all those who have gone to war and sadly never returned. Rev. Smith talked to the children about why we wear poppies and what they symbolise. A small group placed small wooden crosses in a sand tray and we all observed two minutes of silence. The children conducted themselves in a respectful and appropriate manner throughout.
These were the words from the opening song, enthusiastically performed by the whole school in full voice. With two confident solo musicians, a dance based on Handa's Surprise, plenty of song and some moving poetry and prayers, the children reminded us of how grateful we are for this important time of year. Harvest was traditionally celebrated with the sharing of tasty bread, together with a beautiful plaited loaf forming the centre piece of the produce display. The food will be distributed to the pensioners in the village by Otters Class on Monday, with the remainder being donated to the Stroud Food Bank. The church was jam packed with supportive parents and grandparents. Thanks to Hobbs House for donating the bread and all the children for a wonderful celebration.
Y3, 4, 5 and 6 had a fabulous morning on Tuesday as they took part in Pulse Games - based on the Rugby World Cup - delivered by a large group of volunteers from Psalms. The children were split into six teams, each representing a different country. Each team perfected a chant to perform to the group, took part in an opening ceremony and competed against one another in a range of fun sports activities loosely based on rugby. Points were accumulated with a large number reserved for sportsmanlike behaviour and team effort. The games were centred around the Christian value of honour. The final results were as follows: Tonga 220, Scotland 245, England 285, New Zealand 305, Japan 310 and the winning team was ......Argentina with 314 points. Each member of the winning team received a medal and all paraded their flags in the closing ceremony. Finally, one child from each team was selected for exceptional sportsmanlike behaviour and received a special certificate. We would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who made this great event so memorable.
We were treated to a fabulous assembly on Friday with Otters sharing all that they'd learnt on the Celts and Stone Age period. Dressed in tunics, sheep fleeces and skins and donning shields they'd made, the children not only looked the part but also explained this period of ancient history through a series of short role plays and excellent presentations. It was all very enjoyable and a real pleasure to watch. Thank you Otters.
A special day was enjoyed by year 6 on Tuesday. They were treated to a morning at the climbing wall in Gloucester, it was good to see some overcome their fears and pluck up the courage to try something they hadn't tried before. Next the children took a guided tour of Gloucester cathedral and after lunch, joined 450 other Y6 leavers to take part in a special service. The theme was 'One Life', a reminder to make the most of every day of our precious lives. Our school banner was held high by Toby and Nell, the cake sale money was donated to Gloucestershire Young Carers and all took a moment to ponder on the journey that lies ahead.
Members of St. Martin's Church come into school each year to lead Experience Easter. The Easter story is explained through a series of activity stations set around the church grounds. It's an opportunity for children to consider this important period in the church calendar and to think about how it affects their own lives today. We are most grateful to the volunteers who run this event.