2016 has been a transitional year at Shilbottle’s school with staff changes and a switch to primary, meaning a new logo, uniform and buildings.
In July, Shilbottle First School said a huge goodbye to Mrs Jefferies, headteacher for 20 years, and welcomed new class teachers in Reception and Year 4, as well as Mrs Burroughs, a dedicated Key Stage 2 PE teacher.
In September, it reopened as Shilbottle Primary School which has required several new additions during the last six months, including two new classrooms and a studio room ready for the Year 5 children and next year’s Year 6.
Acting headteacher Imogen Bowden said: “At the end of the summer term, our new gazebo arrived – we discovered on the first day of this term that 135 pupils can fit inside.
“As a school we thought carefully about how the outdoor space could be enhanced and, after a lot of discussions, an Awards for All grant was submitted for a climbing trail. After 10 weeks, we found out this was successful and our new Big Lottery-funded climbing trail was installed last week.”
Another aspect of the transition to primary saw the whole school work together to design a new school logo.
Miss Bowden said: “We could not believe how much first-school uniform we had in stock and thought carefully about what we could do with it.
“We kept some uniform to turn into proggy mats, but decided that the old new school uniform from Shilbottle First School should benefit those less fortunate than us.
“In August, we received photographs showing children from the Ithembalihle project in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, South Africa, wearing our first-school coats – they really appreciated the gift as it turned really cold the following day.
“Since then one of our school parent governors arranged to collect old and new uniform from parents as well as school. This uniform is about to make its way to Kenya to help others.”
Looking ahead, in the next few weeks, the school is also celebrating its 90th birthday and the changes seen in both the school and local area since 1926. “We are wondering what our next adventure will be as a primary school,” added Miss Bowden.