Sign2Sing 2020

Children from the Federation came together for a second year running, to join in with national Sign2Sing day. Over the last few weeks children have been learning the words and signs for a specially written song (‘Get Up and Sign!’), and on Thursday 6th Feb the whole federation filled the halls to perform.

The event, which was organised at Toftwood by Reception Teacher and KS1 Music coordinator, Hannah Tataryn, is to raise awareness of deaf health and promote sign language. It is the only mass participation signing event in the UK with thousands of children in schools across the country taking part.

There are several children at our school who are deaf or have hearing impairment and many others who have deaf friends or relatives. This was an amazing opportunity to celebrate the beauty of sign language and the importance of being able to communicate with everyone in our community to learn about one another.

(SignHealth was founded in 1986 as the Anastasia Trust, and relaunched as Sign in 1991. In 2005, the charity was renamed SignHealth, and offers a range of services, projects and support to improve the health and wellbeing of Deaf people.)

Jack and the Beanstalk Pantomime 2020

Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, prepare yourselves for lots of fun!

What an entertaining start to the Federation New Year thanks to the amazingly talented actors of M&M Theatrical Productions. The children had been waiting in anticipation for this exciting day to arrive and they were certainly not left disappointed with the colourful pantomime which was packed full of fun, adventure and age appropriate humour.

The children were thoroughly engaged by the hilarious antics from the characters: Jack, Jill, Jack’s Mum, Buttercup the Cow, The Scary Giant, Squire Bogey (Booo…) and not forgetting the Giant’s 7 foot baby! Their adventures took them to the dizzy heights of Nursery Rhyme Land where they met even more interesting characters along the way, including the infamous Humpty Dumpty. The climb was well worth the effort as they found a sparkling, golden egg which paid off their rent debt to the dastardly Squire Bogey (Booo…)

The enthusiasm from the audience was a wonderful sight to see, the broad smiles on the children’s faces were contagious as they laughed, booed, cheered and clapped along. They especially loved singing and reciting their multiplication knowledge to the times tables song!  

Jack and the Beanstalk was a great hit with its wonderful costumes, superb scenery and magical special effects all combined to deliver an electric atmosphere and guarantee our young audience a truly imaginative, enthralling journey into the world that is Pantomime. Every year group engaged well with this live theatrical performance.

Julia Edwards Author Visit January 2020

As part of promoting a love of reading and extending our reading experiences, we were lucky to have a return visit from the author Julia Edwards. Julia writes time travelling novels for different periods in History, many of which we have studied. She has written three new books since she came last time!

Julia spent the morning with all of the year 6 children. She introduced to them her new book The Ring from the Ruins, which is the last book in the series of The Scar Gather. The book is set in WW2 Liverpool. The children learnt all about the main events leading up to the start of WW2 and were introduced to the main character Joe Hopkins, who is a time traveller. This was a very exciting session for Year 6, as they will be learning about this in more depth later in the year. They really benefited from her workshop and we could see what the children knew already and what we will focus on when we study it in History.

The children were able to read the first chapter of the book and talk to Julia about the events of the story.

In the afternoon she spoke to all the children in the school. Julia told them about her inspiration for her first book with Joe Hopkins and about him travelling back in time to Roman Times. She read from The Golden Cage her first book, she shared facts and events from her book about Joe and the Romans.

Julia introduced the other books in the series they cover the Vikings, Tudors, Great Fire of London, Georgian and Victorians.  She told the children that each time Joe time travels, he meets Lucy, he remembers her but she does not recognise him.

The children really enjoyed recalling the facts they already knew about the different periods in history, showing that they have remembered what they had been learning and they enjoyed hearing about how Joe dealt with all the differences of each time period.

The children were able to buy her books at the end of the day, this was very popular. There was a huge queue to meet her and have eight books of each title in our Junior library so that everyone can enjoy them.

You can check out her website at  Her books are available from her or from Amazon 

December 2019 – Art at Dereham Windmill

All through the month of December artwork from every year group in the federation will be on display at the Dereham Windmill. The gallery opens on the 6th of December 2019!

The theme of the gallery is Christmas, and every year group worked on applying the skills they have been learning and revisiting in their art lessons to create the art. There are 5 pieces from every class across the federation on display and if your child’s artwork has been selected they are able to go and visit the windmill free of charge!

We think the gallery looks amazing and are so proud of everyone! We hope you love it too.

Please visit the Dereham Windmill’s website for more information.

Autumn 2 2019 – Community Carol Singing

“Sing we joyous altogether! Fa la la la la la la la la!

Heedless of the wind and weather, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

On Thursday 28th November, Toftwood Junior School Singing Club helped celebrate the switching on of the Christmas Lights at Dereham’s Dencora Shopping Centre by performing a selection of traditional Christmas carols.

I think we had all imagined a Christmas card scene of crisp glistening frost and perhaps the first wispy flakes of snow. Instead, as we arrived on the evening we were met with driving rain and gusty winds which turned umbrellas inside out and sent song sheets tumbling through puddles.

Undaunted, and with the kind cooperation of the manager of QD who allowed us to shelter in the shop’s doorway, the children gathered together and performed to a hardy and appreciative audience.

This was the children’s first time taking singing out into the local community and they did a fabulous job. It was a joy to hear the group performing carols like ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘We Three Kings’ that are so much part of our national heritage, and to know that these are being kept alive by a new generation.

We would like to say a massive ‘Well done!’ to all of the children who took part and our heartfelt thanks to the family members who stayed, ‘heedless of the wind and weather’, to show their support.

Live music Autumn 2 2019

The Marvellous Music of Film

What better way to end a week than being entertained by talented and engaging musicians?

On Friday 15th November, the children of Toftwood Infant and Junior Federation were treated to an amazing performance of music from the movies played by musicians from Norfolk Music Service to celebrate Live Music Week.

Over the whole afternoon, our visitors gave two concerts (first for the Infant pupils and then for the Juniors) which were not only entertaining but also educational. By blowing through a straw and cutting bits off the end, the children could hear how the length affected the pitch. Brass instruments were stripped down to their most basic form of mouthpiece, tube (hosepipe), and bell (plastic funnel) and then this was used to play the theme tune to Superman! A violin bow was opened up to show the horse hair and reeds removed from oboes and saxophones to bring home that all sound comes from vibration.

The music itself was amazing and the children were thrilled to recognise the themes from James Bond, Frozen, Star Wars and many more. For year 5 children it was doubly exciting as they had been having Viking Day, and the musicians even played some Viking music with bells, drones and the oboe demonstrating circular breathing (a technique where you can breathe in through your nose while still blowing out through your mouth, so creating a continuous tone).

Here is what some of the children said:

(from reception)

“I like when they are playing the instruments. I like Wallace and Gromit.”

“I like the sounds because I wondered what sounds they made, cause all together they made one sound.”

“I like it because it made me laugh because it was so much fun.”

(from Junior School)

 “It looks like it takes a lot of practice to play an instrument.”

“It was brilliant! They made the instruments vibrate to make the noises!”

“It was fabulous! The instruments were loud and perfectly in tune!”

“Film music – it was really nice – we could sing along!”

“I wish we could see musicians every Friday.”

“I liked the different instruments of the orchestra.”

“It was inspiring! Now we could do what they do!”

We would like to say a massive thankyou to the Norfolk Music Hub for offering us this fantastic opportunity.

If your children are feeling inspired why not have a go at making your own instrument from recycled materials? With ideas from simple shakers to a copper glockenspiel, here are 27 projects you can try at home.

Neatherd Roast Dinner day November 2019

Dereham Neatherd High School invited a group of children across the federation to enjoy a roast dinner at their school! The children loved visiting the high school!

The children were wonderful hosts to the residents of Eckling Grange residential home, who were also invited to this event. Each child went and asked the residents what they would like for their dinner, collected their plate of food from the kitchen and then served the residents their wonderful roast. The children were amazing at this and listened really carefully to them.

The food was very tasty and the children had gammon, mash and a variety of vegetables. We were all very excited to have dessert which was lemon sponge and custard!

The children were all so well behaved and were an asset to our federation!

Thank you to Neatherd for inviting us – we had a great time.

Harvest Donations!

As part of the Federation’s Harvest Thanksgiving celebrations staff, parents and children were invited to bring donations of packets and tins of food and toiletries in to school to be collected for the Mid Norfolk Foodbank.  The Foodbank is part of a national network supported by The Trussell Trust and it is one of many foodbanks set up in order to help families and individuals who are struggling with poverty and hunger across the UK.

Both the Junior and Infant Schools collected items as part of a Federation wide initiative, and the children were very proud of their collection of things that will contribute to helping those in need.

“We are always encouraging the children to think of others and talk about their emotions and how they might feel in different situations” said Mrs Reeve, RE and Assemblies Subject Leader at the Infant site.  “This is a great way to help them reflect on giving to others, and they really enjoyed contributing”.

James Campbell – Author Visit Autumn 1 2019

As part of our work on inspiring children to read more and extend their reading choices, we had a visit from the writer, author, story teller and comedian James Campbell. He told all of us about being a writer, about the things we may find tricky and how to get our ideas down.  He asked us where ideas come from and we discussed the world around us, stories and books, and ideas that just come to us. He encouraged us to use our imagination, such as what if we could take the stripes of a zebra.

He also showed us his book Boy Face. He asked where did the idea for stripy super powers come from?  Back to taking the stripes off

The children came up with some really interesting questions:

How long to finish writing a book? Sometimes up to a year! Sometimes only 3 hours (but editing might take a bit longer!).

What was your first book? The pale blue egg.

James then introduced his new book, “Funny Pets” and gave us some anecdotes from the new book.

He did sessions with all of the children from Year 1 to Year 6 across the federation, and in the afternoon some of the children from Years 1, 2, 3, 4 were lucky enough to take part in a writing workshop with him where he talked about using a picture as a starting point for a story. The children designed their own machine like the boy face book to design some wonderful machines. One child designed a machine that did your hair for you, and another designed one that created sausages.

The children then used verbs and adjectives to describe their machines and then finally started to write the beginning of their story where there was a problem with the machine.

Speaking to the children, they were excited to read some of his books. There was a chance to buy some after school, but we have purchased sets of the books for all children to borrow and enjoy from our library in Juniors and in classes in KS1.

Some of the children wrote this report on the visit.

‘’On Friday, the whole school was lucky enough to take part in an author visit from James Campbell who calls himself a comedian, a lollypop lady and an author. James Campbell is currently selling his funny books named Boy face (including the magnetic banana on the cover), the funny life of pets including the hamster conspiracy theory. He was really funny with his presentation.

The children at Toftwood Junior School watched his amazing performance, the Infant children came as well to a session where James, showed them how to improve their writing, and brought the funny side into writing for them. The children came back to class full of ideas and excitement. James Campbell achieved his ideas for Boy face by making an image in everybody’s minds which made them laugh so hard some of them cried. Our favourite parts of the show was when he said about the wild lollypop lady’s and the funny life of pets especially the hamster in the cupboard eating crisps. Everyone enjoyed the visit, because he was so funny and made everyone laugh lots.’’

-Isabel WS6 and Amelia WS6.

You can visit James’ website