In The Press
Moredon on the Radio!
James Thomas from BBC Wiltshire radio came into our school to talk to some of our pupils and staff about how wonderful our school is! We spoke about lots of different aspects of the school. Click on the links below to listen
Young Carer Ambassador Status For Moredon School
Pubished in Swindon Advertiser on 5/11/15 Click here for full article and photos
A Moredon school which provides specialist support to young carers has won a prestigious award. Moredon Primary School, in Moredon Road, received the carer ambassador status from the Swindon Carer’s Centre in a special assembly.
The ambassador status allows Moredon Primary to act as a centre of excellence and provide advice on supporting young carers at other schools in the area. The school won the accolade in recognition of its support systems to ensure the well-being of young carers, such as staff training, providing dedicated staff members for carers to speak to and setting up a young carers’ group.
A mosaic tree artwork designed by artist Fiona Mormon was also presented to teacher Helen Wollington with each fragment representing a young carer in the country. Moredon Primary currently has nine young carers in its support group, which meets once every term time.
With the school’s new status they hope more children will come forward. Helen, who created the group, said it was vital to the young carers in the school
“We wanted to do something for young carers and we put the feelers out,” she said.
“I was surprised by the response and you can really see the difference it makes to all the children, they can share their experiences and they feel like they have someone to talk to.”
Principal Claire Leach said yesterday it was an honour to receive the accolade.
“It’s absolutely brilliant to be recognised as an ambassador school for young carers,” she said.
“We see every day how much of a lifeline this group is to the children that use it.
“They can talk to others who are in the same situation. They can have fun as children do and there’s always a teacher they can turn to.”
Fiona Prinzi, from charity the Swindon Carer’s Centre was impressed with the dedication shown by staff.
She said: “To be given ambassador status I think it shows that self-sufficiency from the school. They have proven that they can provide the support and care to the students and it is showing in the results they are getting. Some children may not realise they are being carers and just see it as them supporting their mum, dad or relatives. We hope that as a result of this, other young carers will come forward and get the support they need.”
Moredon Primary is one of 45 town schools and academies working toward the young carer award.
A total of 26 schools across the country already have the award.
There are an estimated 700,000 young carers under the age of 18 in England.
SA Comment – Moredon Primary School Head Claire Leach and her Deputy
Published in Swindon Advertiser 23rd June 2015. Click here for full article and photos
There are teachers who treat the job as just that; a means to a salary and a generous holiday entitlement.
And then there are teachers like Moredon Primary School head Claire Leach and her deputy Helen Wollington, who care so much about the welfare of their students that they will go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure they get the best possible start in life.
No rule book or job description compelled these two teachers to step in when the mum of three of their pupils underwent a serious operation and was unable to get her children to school. They could have sat back, shrugged their shoulders and adopted the ‘not my problem’ attitude which seems so prevalent today.
But instead the dedicated professionals visited Lisa Barrett at home and, after seeing how distressed she was about the possibility of being fined for not getting her little ones to the gates while she recovered, they volunteered to pick the children up every morning and take them home again.
That might seem like a small gesture to some, but that gesture ensured some continuity in the lives of Kaden, 11, Ellis, nine, and Ruby, six, at a time when they were no doubt scared about seeing their mum in hospital and then struggling to cope with everyday things at home.
It almost certainly helped to speed up mum Lisa’s recovery too, freeing her from the worry and stress of arranging help for the daily school run.
What’s more, they have now arranged for the youngsters to attend a young carers group, where they can make friends with other children in a situation similar to theirs, share their worries and let off steam.
So we’d like to add our own thanks to Mrs Leach and Mrs Wollington. You are the kind of teachers everyone wants their children to have.
Beyond the call of duty: Mum thanks teachers for their kindness
First published Sunday 21 June 2015 in Swindon Advertiser. Click here for full article plus photos
A MUM whose debilitating illness meant she could no longer take her children to school was overwhelmed by the compassion of the teachers who went above and beyond to help her family. After Lisa Barrett’s operation at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital to treat a rare bladder dysfunction saw her unable to drive and struggling to walk, she faced being fined for not taking her three children, 11-year-old Kaden, nine-year-old Ellis and six-year-old Ruby to school.
But when Moredon Primary School headteacher Claire Leach and deputy headteacher and special educational needs co-ordinator Helen Wollington realised how the family were struggling, they agreed to collect the youngsters from home and return them each day.
“They literally have saved my little family,” said 33-year-old Lisa, who lives at Ridgeway Farm. “They both had empathy and kindness that I will never forget.
“Even though they have really busy schedules they still found the time to help us in and outside the school.”
Lisa’s condition causes chronic kidney infections which regularly require hospitalisation, something which has particularly affected little Ellis, who is Lisa’s carer at the age of just nine.
“He has really struggled and had episodes where he doesn’t want to go to school because he’s afraid I won’t be there when he gets home,” said Lisa.
Her latest operation — the third — saw doctors install a pacemaker in the muscle and nerves which allows the bladder to work. Depressed and anxious, and unable to pay for daily taxis to take the children to school, Lisa, who cannot work because of her condition, contacted the council but was denied temporary transport for the youngsters while she was receiving treatment.
“I became more depressed and worried how my children was going to get to school,” she said.
“I wanted them to go to school so they had a break from the worry and stress my condition has caused our family, and I was worried I would be fined if the kids didn’t attend.
“After breaking down at the school Mrs Leach and Mrs Wollington both came to my house and explained that they would help us by personally coming to my house every morning and afternoon so my children did not have to miss school.
“Both Mrs Leach and Mrs Wollington have looked out for the children and helped them when they were upset and worried by arranging for them to see a counsellor and join a great young carers group, where my children can meet other children in the same position caring for there parents, and also for them to have some fun away from the house.
“I just want to say thank you for all they have done.”
Pupils put themselves in the shoes of autistic children
PUPILS at a Swindon primary school donned onesies yesterday to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society.
The day, at Moredon Primary School, was the brainchild of assistant principal Helen Wollington who saw the success of a similar event held by the Swindon Autism/ADHD support facebook group on April
It was held to coincide with national autism awareness month, held annually in April.
Helen said: “We saw the work they do and thought it would be fun for the kids to get involved. There’s been a great atmosphere today and everyone has had a lot of fun.
“We have a number of pupils at the school who have autism and we thought it was important to do something that will highlight the challenges they can face every day.”
Multi-coloured, animal and minion onesies were spotted throughout the day with school head teacher Claire Leach pulling on patterned pyjama bottoms in the hopes of raising £500 for the charity.
The youngsters also participated in ‘silent challenges’ which involved them having to solve puzzles without using verbal communication Helen said: “Children with autism face challenges with communication so we wanted to give the kids an insight into how difficult that can be. They were given problems to solve and they could only use their body language or whiteboards to convey that to their partner.
“It applied to the teachers as well so I could only give them a thumbs up or a headshake to tell them they were wrong. The children were able to understand the difficulties that that children with autism face on a day-to-day basis.”
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how sufferers communicate and relate to other people. It also affects how sufferers make sense of the world around them An estimated 700,000 people in the UK are on the autistic spectrum, with the National Autistic Society providing information, support and services for people with autism.
For more information visit twitter.com/SwindonAsdADHD or autism.org.uk.
Letting them sparkle at Moredon school
First published Tuesday 17 March 2015 in Swindon Advertiser. For Full article and photos please click here
CHILDREN at Moredon Primary School revel in having numerous extra-curricular activities to get their individualities sparkling.
As well as focusing on developing a strong academic performance in reading, writing and maths, every pupil at Moredon learns how to play a musical instrument and can be involved in one of several initiatives run by the school aiming to broaden their learning experiences.
Claire Leach, headteacher at Moredon, said: “We are continuously working to develop a curriculum that inspires and challenges the children and allows them to have a range of experiences, trips and visits.
“We try to give the children opportunities to learn things beyond reading writing and maths and try to provide a range of activities which really enrich the curriculum.
“We have a very active pupil voice, where the children can share their concerns and voice their opinions and ideas for the school, and we also have forest school and an eco council and do a lot around caring for and nourishing our environment.
“We also host a number of fundraising events throughout the year, like for comic relief and the British Heart Foundation.”
Part of the White Horse Federation of schools, Moredon takes on many of the values and principles set down for them as well as maintaining its own strong identity.
A values-based school, lessons are actively built on a foundation of British Values as outlined by Ofsted and through the school, children learn about the importance of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance.
Claire said: “At Moredon Primary and Nursery School, we value the diverse ethnic backgrounds of all our pupils and families and undertake a variety of events and lessons to celebrate these.
“Being a values-based school means we want to equip our children with the skills and values we want them to take with them into adulthood.
“We focus on different values during the year, for instance fairness, and use their in-school experiences for them to learn more about what fairness is and why it is important.
“We are also constantly trying to raise their aspirations, for instance when we hold careers week and have visitors from the University of Bristol to talk about going on to further education.”
Children also have the chance to take part in several trips away with the school.
School honoured for supporting young carers
MOREDON Primary School’s dedicated work supporting their young carers was honoured yesterday. The school has reached level three status in the project overseen by Swindon Carers Centre.
“It has seen increased staff training and support for our young carers.
“We have been working towards this criteria since November, achieving our level one then, and the latter two and three standards this month.
“This has really helped us raise awareness of our young carers. Providing this support is really essential and all the hard work has paid off.”
Swindon Carers Centre is based in Sanford Street and provides help to carers of all ages.
For more information visit www.swindoncarers.org.uk or call 01793 531133.
Day the town turned red as pupils and staff took part in BHF fundraising day
First published Friday 6 February 2015 in Swindon Advertiser. Click here for full article and photos
SCHOOLS and workplaces united to help beat heart disease by wearing red on Friday.The effort was part of the British Heart Foundation’s national Wear It. Beat It campaign, which was taking place for the fifth year.
The themed day saw pupils, workers and members of the public don their best red garb and raise money for the charity. Among those contributing was your Adver, which donated 1p from every copy sold to the fund, as well as holding a series of fundraisers in the news and advertising departments, including a cake sale, a raffle, and a bingo session, raising a total of £580.
Alison Adams, the British Heart Foundation’s community fundraising manager for Wiltshire and West Berkshire, said: “It’s massive for us. It’s our biggest fundraising day of the year and it’s really easy for people to get involved.
“We are asking people to hold red-related events. It’s a great way of raising awareness as well as fundraising at the same time.
“This year it’s just got massive. We have had a TV advert, it has been phenomenal.
“We have gone from 8,000 people signing up across the country to 22,000.
“We have just tried to raise the profile whilst reminding people it’s still really important to raise those funds.”
Also taking part were schoolchildren at Moredon Primary School, who created a heart shape out of pennies as part of their activities, which included a visit from a charity representative as well as youngsters wearing red clothes instead of their uniforms.
Headteacher Claire Leach said: “The representative added to it because they were able to actually tell the children why this was all going on the reasons for why they were taking part, rather than just aimlessly taking part.”
Fundraising at the school totalled between £450 and £500.
Youngsters at Rodbourne Cheney Primary School also took part in the effort, with pupils donning red throughout the day.
All ages turn out to remember Holocaust
First published Wednesday 28 January 2015 in Swindon Advertiser. For full news article and photos click here
DOZENS of people gathered at the town centre war memorial yesterday to remember the atrocities committed during the Holocaust and other genocides across the globe.
Words were spoken about the importance of the day and then wreaths were laid both by the Mayor and then local school children.
This year marks 70 years since the liberation of the concentration camps in Germany, giving extra poignancy to the occasion, and remembrance events were held across the country.
Swindon’s event, marking Holocaust Memorial Day, the day the Auschwitz camp was liberated, was organised by Matt Holland.
And he said this year’s was one of the most well-attended in recent years.
He said: “On the 70th anniversary since the camp liberations it is good to see so many people. We have not had this big a turn-out before.
“It is often said we should move on from pain but I think it is important that once a year we remember what happened during the Holocaust and all other genocides, such as in Rwanda, Bosnia and Armenia.
“As well as it being a key anniversary year, there is increased tensions and fears in the country of a rise in anti-semitism.
“I think it is always important to mark this event because there is a noticeable undercurrent of tension,” said Matt.
Pupils from Rodbourne Cheney and Moredon Primary Schools laid wreaths which had been made in class.
Mayor Teresa Page said the inclusion of children in the event was seen as an important part of the occasion.
“It’s very important for the young people to find out and learn about what happened several generations ago,” she said.
“They must be able to pass on the lessons to their children to avoid a tragedy like this ever happening again.
“We are very lucky living in Swindon where we are a safe and never have to face something like the Holocaust but it is important we remember the horrors that took place.”
Youngest children tuck in to free lunch
First published Tuesday 23 December 2014 in Swindon Advertiser. For full news article and photos click here
THE youngest children in primary schools have taken up the offer of free school meals with gusto after the new government scheme was introduced in September.
In 2013 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that all children in Years 1, 2 and Reception class around the country would be entitled to receive free school meals from last September, which could realise parents an annual saving of £400 a year for each child as well as ensuring their children received adequate nutrition to study.
In Swindon, many primary schools expanding their kitchens to meet the expected demands.
Across the White Horse Federation of schools – which include Mountford Manor, Drove, Croft, Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney primary schools – more than 90 per cent of children took up the offer of free school meals.
A spokesman for the White Horse Federation said: “The White Horse Federation has seen a huge uptake in UIFSM (universal infant free school meals) since its implementation in September, thankfully due to the beneficial improvements made to kitchens during the summer holidays ensured that we are able to cope with this increase in demand.
“At a number of our schools the uptake has been very successful. At The Croft Primary school, where currently children on roll are in years Reception and KS1, the uptake is over 90 per cent.
At the end of April, Mountford Manor Primary School was awarded Academy Capital Maintenance Funding (ACMF) of £60,508 by the Education Funding Agency to refurb its 1950s kitchen.
Rachel Skates, principal at Mountford Manor, said: “We have noticed better concentration levels during the afternoon with these children and have received very positive reports from both parents and teachers on how well received Universal Free School Meals have been at Mountford Manor.”
Candida Hutchinson, principal at The Croft, was also pleased: “Everybody sitting down together to eat is a great social experience. The children enjoy being celebrated when a member of dinner staff praises them for a clear plate.”
Moredon Primary School’s tasty pie is a fruitful creation
First published Thursday 23 October 2014 in Swindon Advertiser. For full article and photos click here
CHILDREN at Moredon Primary School proved themselves to be a dab hand in the kitchen before breaking up for half term.
The youngsters at the school were all tasked with creating a class pie. To create their masterpieces, the children used locally sourced produce taken from gardens, orchards and allotments.
Each class took part, with lots of different tasting pies, from sweet to savoury. Once the baking was completed, a tasting session took place and after much deliberation, the Year Five class were announced as the winners with their fruit pie.