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73 Children learning about Chinese new year School Library


Getting creative at the land


moments when they’re calm and thoughtful watching the fire burning with their wide eyes or listening to the wind in the trees - you don’t get that in a classroom.” Alongside the regular forest days the children are


treated to many other trips outside the school grounds. Every summer pupils in their final year head to London for a couple of days. Jess admits it is a chance for them all to let their hair down and for teachers to say goodbye to the children they’ve watched grow over the past seven years. She says they also learn a few life lessons along the way as every year they have pupils who’ve never been out of Devon, never been on a train and never managed money. “They have their own cash to spend and have to work out how to budget. When we visit restaurants and they want an expensive main they can’t have a pudding. If they’ve had an ice cream that day they may not have enough for sweets - that’s all for them to work out.” They usually take a tour of the Houses of Parliament, go to a West End show and visit the Tower of London. Jess says they have a bit of a reputation for bumping into celebrities: “So far we’ve met Chris Martin from Coldplay at a theatre production of Matilda, he was really nice. We saw Nick Clegg outside number 10 so he stopped for a picture and then one year we clocked David Cameron. So now the pressure’s on, as each Year 6 class wants to see someone famous. “ Another popular summer activity is the yearly camp. It’s usually in Cornwall, but this year the children are heading to Beeson where they will try canoeing, bat safaris, midnight walks in the woods, tree climbing and preparing their own dinner on a gas cooker. Jess has two extra curricular passions of her own – her white Spanish horse, Farolera and her Kawasaki Ninja motorbike! (She also loves Formula 1, Moto GP and the British Superbikes Championship). Farolera had been abused in Spain, and was brought to England by Jess and her friend Naomi after they witnessed her tough life. She is now very happy and content in Ipplepen with four other horses. Although, she is not


too happy with the colder climate! The school has been part of a learning federation


Jess has two extra curricular passions of her own – her white Spanish horse,


Farolera and her Kawasaki Ninja motorbike!


for some years now - working alongside Blackawton, East Allington and Stoke Fleming primaries. At the beginning of this year they all joined an even bigger group called Education South West. This new body includes six primaries, three secondaries and Dartmouth Academy. Jess says being part of a big group has its benefits: “Here at Kingswear we only have one teacher for each key stage so it can be a bit isolating for them. Now they have even more people to call on if they want to discuss their lesson plans, or get a few hints and tips about a particular subject. For the pupils, we have already set up a pen pal system with children over at Rydon Primary in Kingsteignton.” Jess says it’s a two way process: “We are unique in our location; less than five minutes walk to the water. So the other schools might visit us for sailing days and other water based activities. I must admit I do sometimes take our surroundings for granted. I try to take the occasional moment to watch


a helicopter land at the Naval College or listen to the steam train whistle as it chugs beneath us.” Jess says the reason the school works so well is that the children and parents really are at its heart. “We listen to them and respect them. We don’t shout if pupils make mistakes - we call them ‘beautiful oops moments’ and show them how to learn from them. We give the older children roles around the school - whether that’s running Lego club for the younger ones or doing a reception shift - answering the phone and photocopying.” Jess is particularly proud of the school’s anti-bullying ambassadors. These children work as a team and like a David Attenborough ‘Spy In The Wild’, have the advantage of always being in amongst the other children ready to report anything slightly unpleasant before it gets out of hand. Teachers have been so impressed by the ambassadors’ dedication they’re putting them forward for a Diana Award - to gain national recognition for young role models. •


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