AN open day is being held by Dunster First School on Thursday (December 7) to show prospective parents why they should send their children there next year.
The day is aimed particularly at parents whose youngsters are due to start school in September, 2024, but anybody else is also welcome to attend.
Dunster headteacher Paul James will host an open morning from 9 am to 10 am, followed by an open evening between 4 pm and 5 pm.
The school is part of the Moorland Federation, a group ‘with a shared passion for educating the whole child’ which also includes first schools in Porlock, Exford, Cutcombe, and Timberscombe, and also works with schools in Dulverton and Langford Budville.
Mr James said the federation meant pupils and staff strategically benefited from a wider educational family.
He said Dunster enjoyed working collaboratively with all the other schools across West Somerset and many beyond.
Mr James said: “We are incredibly lucky having access to such a wonderful surrounding area, from the stunning local woodland and moorland, to the heritage of the castle with the beach and Bristol Channel falling to the other side of us.
“These outdoor areas form a huge part of our learning, with every class having access to half-a-day outdoor learning a week to utilise our outdoor environment.”
Mr James said this term the school had been regularly involved and leading with local community events.
The school led the village Remembrance service in the Memorial Hall, and would be singing at the Christmas bazaar, as well as the whole school carol singing around the village.
The children were leading a candlelight procession at this weekend’s Dunster by Candlelight, having made lanterns during a day’s craft workshop.
The school also had an award-winning eco team who worked closely with local people to help keep forests, moorland, and beaches in the best possible condition.
There was an active student parliament with a head boy and head girl, and sport was an important part of the school’s tradition, both locally and across Somerset, with pupils taking part in football and catchball galas, gymnastic competitions, and there was also a dance troop who performed at the Regal Theatre, in Minehead.
Mr James said: “Music and the arts are very important to us and we try to give the children as many opportunities as possible.
“We ensure a wide variety of experiences for every child in order for them to find ‘their element’ and succeed.”
Dunster pupils had performed their own opera with an operatic performance and had taken part in a concert at school led by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, as well as workeing with an ensemble from the Dunster Festival.
Mr James said a Friends of Dunster School group, which was still looking for new members, worked extensively on key community events, and had raised £4,300 from the traditional advent fair this year, which was added to £3,000 raised at the summer fete, to help enrich the children’s curriculum and maintain the school’s swimming pool.