All posts by Rebecca Stacey

Review of Homework Policy

Thank you all for taking part in our homework review last half term.

It is good to hear feedback and as a consequence we have slightly changed the policy. As expected there will be always be contradictory points of view – but there were some common themes:

Parents appreciated the advice given for the younger children – for example to concentrate on conversations, or share books with your children instead of formal written homework. Activities such as counting; helping with shopping and practicing times tables were also advised.

The amount of homework given as the children move up the school is something that parents disagree about – and as a school it is important that any homework we give is manageable for staff and useful for the pupils.As such we have increased the amount of homework Year 5 and 6 receive – and changed the structure of any half-term projects in Key Stage 2. This is so the children are better prepared for the demands of secondary school. Year 6 will now be given both maths and literacy each week.

In Key Stage 2 the children do have access to Google Classroom – which on occasion will provide some of the work that can be done. There is also regular reading which needs to be completed, and spellings. All of Key Stage 2 have diaries which can be used between home and school to support this. This is the same for all children in Key Stage 2.

It was also thought that perhaps parents are not made aware of expectations – particularly in Class 4 – and so this will be shared more frequently – usually in the form of emails to parents with holiday homework or impending deadlines.

The updated policy can be found here:   Homework Policy Sept 2019

Climate Change on the Curriculum

On Friday, whilst we didn’t strike here at school,  we took part in the Action for Climate Change Day within our lessons.

We welcomed a local resident into school who spoke to the school about the impact the changing climate has on the butterflies here in Castle Carrock. John Miles also spoke to the children about how the changes  affect plant life and had some amazing photographs which illustrated just how beautiful the butterflies are. It turns out that we have some very knowledgeable children here at school!

For the rest of the day Key Stage 2 had two workshops – with Ms Stacey they explored the impact the changing climate is having now – using data from NASA and an amazing app called Earth Now. Y6 then designed an amazing webpage with information and ideas whilst Year 5 worked on posters to illustrate the small things that we can all do! Year 3  and 4 worked on leaflets with five things we can all do to help our planet!

With Mr Kirby the children worked on a science investigation designed to explore the insulation properties of different materials and how we can use this information to think about building materials.

A very worthwhile day – and one which the children enjoyed. Having a positive outlook on the changes taking place locally – and being realistic about the impact around the Earth is so important for the children.

You can take a look at the Y6 website here. 

The app Earth Now!

Welcome Back! 2019 – 2020

Welcome Back!

A huge welcome to all parents and pupils here at school.  I trust you’ve all had a fantastic break – and managed to get some good weather somewhere – it seems as though we have come back to rain already!

As you know, we have said goodbye to Mr Tyrrell this year  but we are really pleased to welcome Mrs Helliwell who, having completed her teacher training, is now taking Class 2 full time. I’m sure you join us in congratulating her!

We will have our school ‘drop in’ to meet the class teacher on Wednesday 11th September – 3:45pm. This is for Classes 2, 3 and 4.

School Uniform

Full details (as well as a link to the online shop) can be found on the website and the only change this year is the introduction of the House Team-linked colour PE tops. This means that the River Team your child is in will dictate the colour of their PE top.

Please remember a waterproof coat as we do try and be outside in all weathers.


Extra curriculum music sessions with Paul Hemingway and Jerry King are all available for specific instruments. If your child takes part in these sessions then please ensure they remember their instruments – and do speak to us if you are interested in these sessions for your child.



Remember that Parents and Carers are not to drive to the school gates at the start and close of school. Please park on the main road, or near the green, and walk up.


School Transport

If you think you are eligible for school transport there is a form to fill in. I would recommend that you do this, even if you do not attend to use the school bus every day. You can find the form here:


After School Clubs

Creative Writing Club and Running Club – for children in Key Stage 2 – will both begin next week. Creative writing club takes place on a Monday after school until 4:30pm and Running club on a Thursday until 4:15pm. Both clubs are free.


Kids Club and Breakfast Club 

Breakfast Club will be running as usual from 8am – please remember that the school does not open until 8:50am and children arriving before this will be placed into Breakfast Club and incur a charge. After school ‘Kids Club’ is open until 6pm. There are charges for this, and if you would like to know more please contact school.


School Dinners

The cost of a school dinner is £2.30 this year. The most up to date menu can be found on the school website. Remember that Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children receive a free school meal.


Friends Group

Our PTA – ‘Friends of Castle Carrock’ always do a fabulous job of raising money for the school and creating community links.  We have a Macmillan Coffee morning on the 27th September which will give you a chance to meet other parents and school friends. Donations of cakes for this are always welcome.


Safeguarding and Online Safety

The Governors take the safety of all children here at school very seriously and are committed to providing an inclusive education for all. If you have any concerns about children who attend our school please do speak to myself in the first instance. Advice for speaking to children about online safety and information about what we do in school can all be found on the website.


Homework and Google Classroom

As per our policy we will be carrying out a review of Homework this year. We continue to use Google Classroom, and the links to this can be found on the website. If you have any questions about these feel free to ask your class teacher.  There is a guide to using Google Classroom here. 

 And that is everything! As ever we will try to keep you as up to date as possible with all that is happening in school via the website, social media and text. Please make sure your details are current. 



Google Classroom – A Parents’ Guide

Castle Carrock make use of Google Apps for Schools, and the Google Classroom platform to share resources with the pupils.

Google Suite for Education is a group of tools that allow students and teachers to collaborate in real-time on a wide variety of documents, spreadsheets and and even websites. All tools are free, reliable and secure. You can find out about the suites here:

These can all be used and viewed at home and work can be set and handed in via the Google Classroom platform. The pupils are also able to comment on work and upload their own resources. It is an excellent introduction to online learning for our pupils and links well with the google drive applications such as google docs and slides.

How to find Google Classroom

‘Google Chrome’ tends to work best.

The children all have individual log-ins which can usually be found in their  school diary.

Go to and log in with the children’s account details.

If you receive an error message check that you are not already logged in with a personal google mail account.

Here’s to our PTA!

I always mention our fabulous PTA – or Friends Group – whenever I show new families around school. Having an active PTA is about more than just fundraising – it’s about socialising – about creating a community for the school and putting on family-friendly events. And then there is the fundraising.

The fact is, though many of you may not realise it, the Friends group have contributed thousands of pounds to school life over the last few years. And, in a time of rapidly rising school costs this has been a lifeline for us.

Easter Fun Day

In the last four years the Friends group have:

  • Bought new computer equipment – facilitating our movement to a ‘Google Apps’ School.
  • Bought equipment for, and then helped maintain, the school garden.
  • Supported our Arts provision; paid for poets and musicians to come in to school.
  • Bought hundreds of new books and helped to refurbish our library.
  • Organised events that all the children can take part in  –  e.g. End of Year Disco, Halloween Parties, Easter Fun Days.
  • Supported school events such as the trip to the Panto in December and Christmas Dinner.
  • Supported the school by maintaining the garden, the art work outside and the flowers in and around the playground.
  • Manned the Facebook page and elements of the school social media.

All of this creates a very special school environment with a very positive relationship between school and parents. It means that our pupils access the best in educational experiences and the opportunities that come from these. It means that we can depend on a few extra hundreds of pounds for new books, for special visitors or for amazing school trips when we see them.

I just wanted to write this post to thank you all for supporting the Friends of Castle Carrock. Without the people who organise and run events, as well as everyone who attends events and, of course, spends money at these events, our school wouldn’t be the same at all.


Thank you!