Despite the greatly reduced numbers of children in school this week, Beckley pupils have still thrown themselves into our Children in Need day today – dressing up in dotty clothes and having crazy hair to raise money for the national charity.
We have obviously had to limit the number of activities taking place at school, but it has been great to see how enthusiastically pupils and staff have got involved. Well done to everyone who took part today!
Pupils from Beckley produced a wide range of art work based around the theme of the Poppy and Remembrance, as part of our focus on Remembrance Day last week. The art work, along with a number of artefacts from WW2, was taken to create a display at Beckley Church and formed a focal point for the Remembrance Day events in the local community.
For many years now, the school has used art to help children understand the significance of events that have resulted in a national day of Remembrance for over 100 years. Pupils relate to the impact of these historical events within the local community and their own families. We believe it is vital for children to never forget the price paid by many others so that future generations can live freely and safely.
At the end of Term 1, the school held our Harvest Service at Beckley Church. It was really lovely to return back to the church after the long period of lockdown, which meant we had not gone there for 20 months!
Each class participated in the service, with songs, poems and prayers and it was especially good to hear the whole school singing Harvest hymns in the church once again. In the weeks leading up to the service, parents and pupils had brought in a large of food donations – over 300 tins, packets and boxes as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. These were added to the contributions of the local community and shared between the Rye Foodbank and the Seaview Project in St Leonards on Sea who provide hot meals for the homeless.
A huge thank you to everyone who made a donation – you really have helped to make a difference!
October saw the annual Hastings Storytelling Festival taking place. Throughout the week, an extensive programme of activities took place, involving visiting authors, creative workshops and a big parade along Hastings seafront at the end of the week.
As always, Beckley School were very involved with this excellent festival. On Tuesday 19th October, our Key Stage 2 classes were fortunate to have a visit from internationally best-selling author, Thomas Taylor. He has written a series of children’s books, loosely based around Hastings and his most popular book ‘Malamander’ is being turned into a major Hollywood film in the next twelve months.
Thomas also illustrated the original cover for the first J K Rowling’s first book in the Harry Potter series, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. It was a fascinating opportunity for our older pupils to gain an insight into the process that an author goes through when writing a book, and it certainly inspired many of the children!
The school also took part in the Festival Parade at the end of the week, where local schools were asked to make a model or a piece of art work based upon a favourite character from a Roald Dahl book. Our amazing Acorns staff made the most wonderful model of Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant – the BFG. We were asked to lead the parade, wheeling our BFG all along the parade route, with our pupils carrying the BFG’s favourite ‘food’ – snozcumbers! It was a wonderful end to the festival and the Beckley pupils, parents and staff attending all had a great time!
‘I’ve never seen a better school performance in 30 years of watching!’
‘This show was like watching a West End production!’
These were just a few of the comments from audience members at the end of our three incredible performances of the musical ‘Oliver’ this week. The Key Stage 2 pupils have put on an amazing version of the well-known, well-loved musical and it has been a really special time to have parents back in school, watching their children taking part in a performance.
Of course, the performances are really the very end of a much longer process, which began several months earlier. To begin with, when ‘Oliver’ was announces at the production for the July, the Key Stage 2 pupils asked the question, ‘Oliver? What’s that?’. From that starting point, the children have travelled a long way and our Year 5 pupils created a large display about their own personal experiences on the journey. Their comments describe the experiences they have gone through, the challenges overcome and the emotional rollercoaster of feelings throughout it all. Needless to say, the main theme emerging from their comments is just how much they have grown in confidence and how the memories of such a wonderful school production will stay with them for many, many years to some!
Last week, we held our Sports Day for the first time in 2 years! We introduced a number of COVID restrictions so that we could still have some parents and families attend and it was absolutely lovely to have an outdoor event that included 90 visitors! The weather was kind to us and the children really gave 100% into their race events. In total, we held 56 races and it was fantastic to see the excellent attitude show by all of our pupils to competing. At the end of the afternoon, Team Woodpecker came out on top as the 2020-21 Sports Day Champions! However, the biggest winner of all was really the event itself! The children were exemplary throughout, visitors had cheered themselves hoarse and staff were exhausted – welcome back Sports Day – we have missed you!
Today, the school was invaded by a hoard of fierce Vikings! Well, actually, the Vikings were struggling to be fierce and nasty because they were having so much fun as they took part in their class ‘Viking Day’. These were the pupils in Blue Spruce who have been learning about the Vikings this term, and today they put all of their learning into practice with a series of activities with a Viking theme. The Blue Spruce pupils and staff dressed up in Viking costume, had Viking names for day and spent the afternoon making shields which they used to then create a ‘shield-wall’ – a tactic the Vikings used in battle. It has been a ‘fabulous finish’ to their learning journey this term and one that the children will rember for a long time to come!
‘Consider Yourself’ nearly ready! That is the message from our staff and pupils in Key Stage 2 who have been rehearsing so hard for the Oliver musical production that’s almost on us. Today, we started our final week of rehearsals and run-throughs before the three performances happening in the last week of term. As with all school productions, everything is suddenly coming together as costumes, props and scenery appear on an almost daily basis in the school hall and we hear the familiar songs from the musical drifting through the corridors on the air.
We have had to build in additional restrictions to ensure that our audiences are still socially distanced, but as a result we have arranged for THREE performances:
Monday 19th July – afternoon
Thursday 22nd July – morning
Thursday 22nd July – evening
We are very excited about the performances for next week and, judging by the by the fantastic sounds coming out from the rehearsals in the hall, we are certainly in for a treat!
Gardening club have been working really hard over the past few weeks to help paint flower pots, plant them up and put them around the school site. They have brought a lovely splash of colour to the outside areas and the Key Stage 1 children who attend gardening club have really enjoyed helping with this project. It has not been, however, the only project gardening club have undertaken this term – they have been involved in planting, growing and watering a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in our raised beds too! A huge thank you goes out to the parent helpers who support the children every week – they are all superstars!
Our Evergreen pupils have spent time over the last two weeks working with a group of classical musicians to create and perform their own pieces of music. This is something that our Year 5 and 6 children have been able to for a number of years, as part of the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival. The creative workshop would usually lead to our children performing to a public audience with the musicians at one of the festival venues. This year sadly, the public performances are not possible but the children held their own ‘concert’ in school. They were also treated to the musicians performing a number of amazing musical pieces to them – from Mozart to Chopin. It is an amazing experience for our pupils to work with and listen to a group of world-class classical musicians playing and will be something we know the children will remember for a very long time!