Category Archives: headteachers blog

International Day of the Family

Today is International Day of the Family and if ever there was a more pertinent time for us to look at our families and to celebrate them it is right now.

There are a multitude of different family types and today they do not always consist of people that are directly related to one another as families are fluid and can change. The most important thing about being part of a family is that you are with people who consider you, who care about how you feel, who respect you, listen to you and support you when you ask for help; people who try to understand you, who allow you to make decisions and guide you towards your goals, who value your opinions and encourage you to express yourself in a calm and nurturing environment. Families look out for each other and notice when you behave differently, they invite you to share any problems, worries and anxieties that you may have, and sometimes just by talking to your family they become less of a problem and together you can work out a solution.

Families are fun. These are the people who may know you better than others, where you can relax and be yourself, knowing that they will not judge you and they will not stop loving you. You can be silly in your family, you can express yourself and be truthful in a way that sometimes you cannot be when you are with other people, families can make you feel free.

It is our families that are with us now as we all share the experience of this different way of living – some of them are close to us in the same house, some of them are a small picture on a screen that we talk to and some of them on the other end of a phone call or a text message. At Castle Carrock School we consider ourselves to be a family; we all care about each other and will be here to support each other through this experience till a time when we can all hopefully get together again.

So Happy International Day of the Family and go celebrate your wonderful family

Welcome Back! January 2020

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a peaceful break, and managed to find some time for rest amongst the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

This is just a short letter with reminders for the term; class letters will also come out this week which will detail the work we are covering this term as well as Swimming for Class 2, PE with coaches from Carlisle United for Key Stage 2 and class trips that have already been booked. Class 1 parents can also meet their new teacher Mrs Murgatroyd after school on Thursday for an informal chat.

Children whose attendance is below 90% will receive a letter from the governors this term – it is vital that we encourage our children to see regular attendance at school as a vital habit and that parents reinforce this. Some circumstances, such as illness, will obviously have an impact on attendance and it is very important that the school is aware of any ways in which we can help.

School uniform is important to the identity of the school and the pupils. Please remember that black shoes, or boots, are part of the uniform and trainers are to be worn only for PE and sports. Likewise long hair needs to be tied up, (off of the face), and tied back securely for PE. Leggings are not to be worn as trousers.

Please be aware of your child’s use of the internet particularly when they watch You Tube videos – You Tube does have age restrictions and parental modes but you have to log in with them to use it and they are not always reliable. Remember to check parental settings on any new devices they may have and to ensure that you know who they are talking to online.

We will hold an e-safety briefing later on in the term to review what parents can do at home – and we always share information via our school website:
Remember the school uses the ‘Google Classroom’ infrastructure – and this means that the children have access to apps for things such as word processing, drawing, creating presentations and much more. You can find out more information here:

Packed Lunches
Ensuring that we are a ‘healthy school’ is very important to us. Not only do we need to teach our children about healthy choices they can make but we also need to set a good example. This is especially important at lunch times and this term we will be taking a close look at packed lunches – ensuring that they meet the guidelines for what a ‘healthy packed lunch’ is. More information will come home about this for those children who do have a packed lunch.

We are looking forward to an exciting and busy time (as usual!) – dates for Parents’ Evenings and assemblies will be put on the website in due course.

R Stacey
Head Teacher

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!


Welcome Back!

Welcome back!

I hope you had a peaceful two weeks – it is a bit of a strange start to the term with two four day weeks, but we have got lots to cram in this term!

We start the term this week with Parents’ Evening – please speak to Dee if you have not got your appointment yet.

There is also a change to the staff structure in Key Stage 2 this term; as you may have been aware Mr Tyrrell was off before the holidays. I am pleased to be able to tell you that he is back now, but is working to a reduced timetable in Class 3. This means that the bulk of the teaching in the class will now be done by Mrs Helliwell, with support from Mrs McNeil. I believe that this arrangement will ensure consistency for Class 3 children – and we will be able to split Class 3 and Class 4 more frequently in the afternoons.

Arrangements across the school for next year are currently being finalised – but, as ever – if you have any concerns please do pop in and see me in school.

In other school news we are currently working with Tullie House to offer a Chinese Club on a Monday lunchtime, and thanks to equipment from Cumbria Stem we are starting a lunchtime Lego challenge club for Year 3. Our popular garden club starts up again this week as well, and if you can spare time for the garden do please get in touch! Running club also starts up again this Thursday.

We have also just been designated a Community Hub by the Computing at School’s association – this is an excellent opportunity for the children and staff here at school, and means that we lead the way in our use of technology in school and in the teaching of computing and ICT.

We put a letter out for interested Parent Governors before Easter – the deadline for this is next Friday. You can find out more details here.

Finally a reminder about the need for healthy snacks in school and a healthy packed lunch (if appropriate) – the number of children bringing chocolate bars in for playground snacks is increasing and I would take the chance to remind you that we encourage the children to make healthy choices; fruit, cereal bars and vegetable crisps. Please remember that we do not allow peanuts in school.

R Stacey
Head Teacher
Castle Carrock Primary School

Celebrating our Chinese Links!

This term we have created links with a school in Guangzhou, China.

Currently our school council is planning a ‘culture box’ to share with the school and they have already sent us videos of their box, which is on it’s way to us!

To reinforce these links we will be celebrating Chinese New Year on Wednesday 6th February, which is a day after the official Chinese New Year on Tuesday 5th.

We will be taking part in traditional crafts such as making Chinese New Year cards, creating paper dragons and learning about the myths and legends which are part of the Chinese Culture. The children will have the chance to cook traditional foods such as rice, noodles and vegetables.

We will also have a slightly different lunch that day of Sweet and Sour Chicken with Sticky Rice Balls (made by Class 4!) for pudding.  If your child doesn’t normally have school lunch on this day they are welcome to opt in – just speak to Dee in the office.

To support us with this, and to share their own culture and language we are also welcoming Chinese students from Austin Friars School in Carlisle.

This will be a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn about the languages in China as well as their culture and traditions.