My Leaving Words for the Class of 2017…

Some say that every cloud has a silver lining.

I like to think that every cloud holds an opportunity.

Will you be the person sitting safe inside, wrapped in a soft cocoon,

Or will you be the one perched on top…

Watching, waiting…

For that chance to make a difference?

Will you be the one who sets their cloud ablaze?


When the path divides,

Will you be the one who chooses the path less travelled?

When your beliefs are challenged,

Will you be the one to maintain integrity?

When your time is demanded,

Will you be the one to take a step back to refocus your priorities?

When others don’t have a voice,

Will you encourage them and stand up for them with your words?

When you see injustice,

Will you be a leader and make things right?


Will you carve out your own path?

Will you stand firm in your beliefs?

Will you take time to continually reflect on your priorities?

Will you be a voice for those without one?

Will you always be a leader?


To balance unwaveringly on top of that cloud,

You need courage.

You only need faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain,

So courage in equal measure?

Imagine the possibilities…


Remember that God never gives you more than you can handle.

So, be that cloud surfer,

Poised and ready for the next challenge that is sure to come your way.

Be you…

But know who YOU are.

Be different…

Ready to stand apart from the crowd.


Be a leader…

Unafraid to stand alone.

Go out into this world

And don’t hide your light.


Be phenomenal

And Shine On!


Purple Learning Week and the Thames Run and Summer Fayre

What an amazing end to a spectacular week!

This week marked our second Purple Learning week.  Throughout the week we had key themes that we focused on, weaving in the key elements into every lesson, maths, English, science….Monday was about setting goals, Tuesday was about reflection, Wednesday was looking at the Learning Pit, and Thursday and Friday focused on collaboration and team work.

Purple Learning underpins everything we do at Crowmarsh.  We know that learning the skills of how to be the most effective learners, will ensure that all pupils learn to be independent and learn how to challenge themselves in all aspects of their learning.  Teaching these skills last for a lifetime.

On Tuesday this week we welcomed Diana Pardoe back into our school.  She led a fascinating session on learning for parents.  It was great to see many of our new parents join us.

Finally, on Sunday, we celebrated with our annual Thames Run and Summer Faye.  The weather was beautiful and we had a huge turnout.  A massive thank you to our PTA and dedicated parents who help support our school to be the amazing place it is.  We couldn’t do it without you!

Be Kind…

I truly do not know where the time has gone.  This term has flown by and we have had so much excitement and things going on that we haven’t had a moment to pause and take a breath!

We’ve had many visitors this past term, from the Being Brilliant team, the Fix It Up Team, and Joy Stone from the Tim Peake Challenge.  Next term we will be welcoming many more.

Our children have been #phenomenal, they continue to do their very best in everything that they do.

One of the highlights this term has been our focus on Random Acts of Kindness.  Our year 5 and 6 children were again randomly selected and got to spend the day at Jamie’s Italian in Oxford, where their chef helped them prepare ten pizzas to deliver to the homeless.  Jamie’s provided all of this free of charge.  A huge thanks to Mrs Bridges for helping to make this a possibility again, with much of what we have given out being donated to us.

The children came back again absolutely thrilled – and yet again, the video of their endeavours has impacted the whole school.  Kindness is being embedded….children are understanding how our school value ‘Service’ can be modeled and demonstrated.

Please watch the video.

Remember this Easter, that everybody is somebody….

Everyone has a story….

Don’t judge a book by its cover and above all….


Random Acts of Kindness Take 2

Kindness Can Make All The Difference…

As you know, we have been talking a great deal about Random Acts of Kindness.  The children have all been set the challenge of going above and beyond, showing kindness to those in school and out in their community.

When Mark Russell returned on Friday, it was amazing to hear the children speak about their random acts of kindness and how they were more aware of trying to help others.  Stories like George, who shared how he had gone out of his way to help his brother with his homework, Neve, who set to work cleaning the entire cloakroom without being asked, James and Peter, who during their tennis practice, said they were running laps and then slowed down on the last lap to help someone who was struggling to keep up.  It’s stories like this that we want to keep hearing, stories where our children are examples of kindness every day.  It is just another strand of the ‘manners’ that go ‘above and beyond’ that we expect from our children here at Crowmarsh Gifford.

Many of you will have already seen our video that was Tweeted out.  However, if you haven’t now is your chance.  Thanks to the inspiration from Mrs Bridges after watching an example on YouTube, we decided to try the experiment out in school.  We randomly selected four children from class 5 and 6 and Mr Sharman has put together the final video of our afternoon.

Random Acts of Kindness Video

The response was amazing.  We had letters, e-mails and Tweets of thanks from family members and the recipients themselves.  On Friday, we showed the video to the whole school and then I read the following handwritten letter.

Dear Mrs Barton, Amber and Emily,

I had the most wonderful and totally unexpected experience today when i became the recipient of your experiment, “Random Acts of Kindness.”  I must thank you, the staff and children of your school for this day.  I was helping my daughter and my two grandchildren with a few tasks and we were just returning to the car park when we met.

Since returning home, I have thought about kindness.  I do consider myself a kind person, but his has made me realise that I could do more and I will.  In the hustle and bustle of life, it is perhaps too easy to overlook such acts beyond the immediate family.  I shall remember this act of kindness always as one of those unexpected, yet treasured moments.  I am an avid reader, but I think I shall choose a special book and annotate it to consolidate this memory.

For you, Amber and Emily, I hope that you gained something as well.  The pleasure of being kind, seeing another person’s happiness allows us to touch lives.  Your school is obviously wonderful!  I’m sure that academic standards are high and that you all work very hard.  However, there is more to live than tables and spellings and I am sure that happiness is the most important.

Thank you, Mrs Barton and all your staff for facilitating this.  Your girls have set a fine example and, as a family we will double our efforts to achieve your standard!

May I wish you all success in your studies and great happiness in your lives.

With great appreciation,


For me, as headteacher, this is what it is all about.  What an amazing and unforgettable experience for us all.

We are hoping to make ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ a termly event….so keep posted.

Until then, keep spreading the happiness and changing lives….

Another Brilliant Year!

We welcome everyone back to school and we wish you and your families all the best for 2017!

This term, we have started the year off in the way we mean to go on.  As you are aware, our #BePhenomenal theme continues. We welcomed both Will and Mark into our school from the Art of Brilliance to run both the Inset day for all staff as well as the first morning back for the children.  We have looked at what it takes to be a 2%er, those people who can be positive no matter what the circumstances.  Those people, who are constantly ‘purple learners’ looking to step outside of their comfort zones, seeking challenge and never afraid of the mistakes they might make along the way.

This year, we are seeking to be as phenomenal and brilliant as we can be, in all aspects of life.  So, this week we are really focusing on what traits we need to develop to become more like the 2%ers.  Remember, it all starts with the right attitude and one way to start every day with the right mindset is to remember all that you have been blessed with.  So keep counting your blessings and being thankful for all that you have.

Are You a 2%er?  If not, what do you need to change?

Remember, 10% of life is what happens to you which is out of your control, but 90% is how you react to that 10%!  Be Positive!  It can take a great deal of effort but it is so very worth it!

A Year to be Phenomenal…

This year we are focusing on being Phenomenal.  Last year we talked about being extraordinary, so phenomenal seemed like a clear next step!  In collective worship this week, children reminded each other of what our school is all about….here is part of that list:

  • We enjoy making mistakes – this is when we learn our most!
  • We are resilient and ‘bounce-back’ when we make mistakes or fall
  • We persevere, especially when things get difficult
  • We enjoy a challenge
  • We encourage each other with our words
  • We model our school values and aim for impeccable manners always being aware of others around us
  • We love to welcome new faces and visitors into our school to show them how unique our school is
  • We enjoy being different, unique and distinctly ourselves
  • We are leaders, not followers
  • When we put all of these things together we show what phenomenal ‘purple learners’ we can be!

When you read this list, you can see why our pupils at Crowmarsh are truly phenomenal.  This year is about making the ‘impossible, possible’ – exceeding other people’s expectations and even exceeding our own.

Your children are what makes this school such a dynamic place to be.  Their smiles, laughter and inquiring minds, truly make my job the very best in the world.

Here’s to what will most definitely be, a year never to be forgotten!

A year to #bephenomenal!

What will you do to be phenomenal this year?

My Leaving Words for the Class of 2016

My Leaving Words for the Class of 2016

Some say to be extraordinary you need to achieve the impossible.

But what is this – this impossible?

For us, there are no limits,

All ceilings can be broken through; success is what you make of it,

Obstacles only slow us down, so what is this impossible you speak of?

To be extraordinary….

You need to be unique,

Standing apart from the crowd

A diamond amongst the unpolished jewels.

To be extraordinary…

You need to be brave,

Unafraid when challenge stirs,

Poised and ready to speak out for those with no voice.

To be extraordinary…

You need to be a leader

Honesty and integrity at the heart

Even marching alone, when you know,

it is the right thing to do.

Always be honest…

Doing the right thing…

Even when it is the most difficult….

Trust that God will show you the way..

This is extraordinary…

This is you…

To be extraordinary

You need to leave your mark on the world….

So I ask you,

What will your mark be?

Will you be extraordinary?

Purple Learning Week…..

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning….”

~Proverbs 1:5~

What an amazing week we have had in our Purple Learning Week.

Every day has had a different theme that relates to learning.  Below are the videos that the children watched each day.

Monday – Our Amazing Brains –

Children learned about the different areas of their brains – some made brain bands and other classes learned about how their memory works among other activities.

On Tuesday it was ‘Perfect Maths Day’ – 

Throughout the day children worked on mathematical hands on challenges.  There was also a math trail that was set up around the school for the children to find and answer.  At the end of the day we also held a parent/child maths scavenger hunt.

On Wednesday we learned about the ‘Learning Pit’ – see the video below:

Many of the children had a chance to make their own versions of the learning pit.

Then on Thursday, the focus was on working in collaboration.  As a whole school we created some amazing purple designs that were put together to create an amazing mosaic.

Finally on Friday we looked at Feedback and Improvement and the video for the day was Austin’s Butterfly seen here:

It was a busy but exciting week.  All across school we have seen children demonstrating many of the qualities of what it means to be a ‘purple learner’.  This is what makes our school unique and special.

As I also shared this week:

Wise Old Owl

What a way to start the term!

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” 

~Albert Einstein~

Our first week back into our final term and we couldn’t have packed more excitement into one week!

We started Monday off with a whole school photo, the first in about the past three or four years.  Then, the Irish Boy Band ‘Taken’  came and performed on our school field and talked to the children about e-safety.  We all danced, sang and clapped along.  Hopefully our neighbours were all dancing along as well… The message they delivered was a very important one and one that our school takes very seriously.  If you have not yet been to one of our e-safety parent sessions, our next series of them will begin again in the Autumn term.

We had a busy summer reading morning with many children and parents turning up to enjoy pastries, tea and juice.  We look forward to starting these again in September and hope to see many of you there.

Year 3 had an amazing day out on Wednesday, be sure to read their class blog to see pictures and get all of the updates.

On Thursday, we had French day and all of the children were busy learning about various aspects of France and their language. In the afternoon we had a carousel of activities to complete, including dancing, singing, and food tasting.  A few children commented that they wished French day was everyday!  Well done to Ms Dark for organising such a seamless event, with loads of learning and fun for the staff and children.

The week ended with both the year 3 sharing assembly and the whole school tea party to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday.  We had a grand turnout with parents and children picnicking on the field with tea and hundreds of scones, flapjacks and cakes baked by Cook Emma for everyone to enjoy.  Again, another wonderful afternoon with glorious weather…the rain seems to be holding off for all of our events so far!

We began with the theme of being ‘Imaginers’ in collective worship last week and discussed the meaning of ‘stepping outside of the box’.  The quote above from Albert Einstein was debated and we talked about how if we did not use our imaginations nothing would have been invented and how ‘thinking outside of the box’ means being able to imagine what others may think impossible!

So, the question we are exploring now is, how do we nurture our imagination so that we think, we invent, we create, we design, we explore, we imagine all possibilities…..truly making the ‘impossible’ a reality?

Focusing on the details…

This past week we learnt about the artist Dalton Ghetti and looked at some of the intricate artwork that he creates out of pencil lead.  It made us focus on the small details and realise that through patience, hard work and effort, beautiful artwork can be made out of things we take often take for granted.   Dalton M. Ghetti

We need patience to keep going, we need ‘focus’ to maintain concentration on the task at hand and we need resilience when things don’t quite go our way or we make a mistake and have to start all over again.  We read the following, “Artist Dalton M. Ghetti (b.1961) was deeply affected by the events on September 11, 2001; so much so that he was moved to create a memorial to honor the fallen by carving one teardrop every day for each of the victims. Averaging 300 teardrops per year, it took him 10 years to carve the 3,000 teardrops necessary to complete this project, entitled 3000 Tears. Using only his bare hands and a razor blade, and working without the benefit of a magnifying glass or other optical device, the Bridgeport, CT artist, whose studio is located in the Black Rock section of the city, carved individual teardrops from the graphite of pencils he found in streets and on sidewalks. The teardrops, each of which took nearly one hour to carve, are no larger than single grains of rice. Combined, they make one large, two-dimensional dark teardrop against a white background” (found at: What a story and piece of artwork that truly represents what ‘patience’ means!

We need patience to learn – to be the best we can be.  Patience is needed to improve our learning, to constantly evaluate and reflect on what we have done to then put in the effort to make it even better.

How patient are you?  Do you have patience with yourself and your learning?  Do you give yourself enough time to reflect on your learning and to think about how to improve?

In what ways can you improve your patience?