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Glad Tidings and Joy

This year, with term ending on Friday 22 December 2023, almost on the eve of Christmas, our schools have been celebrating the festive season with Nativities, carol services and concerts. In all of their activities, they have exemplified the Christmas spirit and bought us all great joy. 

Louise Lennox, Headteacher at Siddington C of E Primary School, our Church school, reflected ‘Christmas is very special and we make sure our environment reflects a time of year where people come together to share warmth and love.’


Louise Lennox took up her post in September 2023 and immediately responded to a request and promised parents a Nativity. Pupils in Reception and Key Stage 1, with the support of staff, delivered an amazing performance on Monday 18 December.


‘The village hall was full of joy. Our staff did an amazing job!  They helped make it a fabulous show. There was a lovely atmosphere. The singing was incredible. I feel so proud.’  Louise Lennox


Pupils in Reception and Years 1 and 2 at Kemble Primary School also retold the Christmas story in a delightful Nativity on Tuesday 19 December. Chiquita Henson, Trust Lead (CEO), joined some parents to watch the ‘dress rehearsal’ on Monday 18 December.  

‘The Nativity was an array of colour and sparkles. Everyone was involved and the pupils’ enthusiasm was infectious. It was a privilege to be invited to the performance.’ Chiquita Henson


Pupils at Chesterton Primary School also performed a Nativity, ‘Hey Ewe’, on Thursday 21 December.


‘It was a wonderful event to prepare for and pre-school children also performed their show on stage to their parents. There was also a surprise appearance from a special visitor, who may have come down the chimney early in time for the end of term.’ Libby Pringle, Headteacher, Chesterton Primary School 


All of the Trust’s Nativities featured pupils singing, but this year, their repertoires have extended well beyond their seasonal dramas. 


Pupils in Year 6 at Siddington C of E Primary School led the Christingle in St Peter’s Church on Tuesday 19 December, while the rest of the school sang contemporary carols. The Reverend Jennifer Mckenzie provided the Blessing and commended the children on their celebration of Christmas. 


‘The highlight for pupils and their parents was ‘Silent Night’ which was sung beautifully while the pupils lit their candles which they had set in oranges symbolically decorated with red bands, cocktail sticks, dried fruit and sweets.’ Chiquita Henson


However, their singing did not stop here. On Wednesday 20 December, the pupils returned to the village hall to sing more carols.


Pupils at Kemble Primary School also celebrated Christmas with an afternoon of carols on Monday 18 December at their Carol Concert. This was an opportunity for the school’s talented pianists to accompany some traditional and modern carols as well as the House Choirs showing off their musical talent. Each House performed to a packed hall of parents and the victors were awarded the inaugural House Choir cup. 


‘We really enjoyed working together as a House to sing Feliz Navidad and we were glad our practising paid off when we won!’ Georgia, Severn House Captain.


The week continued at Kemble Primary School with Christmas lunch and parties with lots of glitter for good measure. 


‘It’s been another busy but wonderful term at Kemble and this week has been the perfect start to the festive season. I know all the staff and pupils will enjoy a restful break and look forward to the new term.’ Emma Morrogh-Ryan, Headteacher at Kemble Primary School.


Cirencester Deer Park School’s annual Carol Concert took place a week earlier on Tuesday 12 December 2023 in the beautiful setting of St John the Baptist Parish Church, in Cirencester's Market Place. 


‘It was a great evening and it gave me the opportunity to sing with my friends at Christmas.’ Freya, Year 10

Pupils from all year groups participated in a selection of festive numbers, performed by the school’s Guitar and Flute ensembles, DP Players and Key Stage 3 and 4 Singers. This was complemented by pupils doing festive readings as characters from the Christmas story. Highlights of the evening included the premiere of ‘Merry Little Elves’, written and composed by Music teacher Miss Faux, and a moving piano rendition of ‘O Holy Night’ by Megan in Year 8. Read more... 


‘For me, the Carol Service marked the start of the Christmas celebrations. Despite the gloomy weather outside, the atmosphere inside the church was very festive. The pupils and staff, led by our Expressive Arts team, once again managed to bring our community together to celebrate the season of goodwill and the talents of our pupils. Thank you to all who participated.’ Richard Clutterbuck, Headteacher, Cirencester Deer Park School


While many pupils have brought good cheer by participating in these festive activities, pupils have also enjoyed pantomimes, whether they have been performed by staff at Deer Park in assemblies this week or professionally at The Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, or more locally, at The Barn Theatre or Baptist Church.

‘Christmas at Siddington is special because the fun is endless! We get to do so many exciting things like go to the panto and take part in services like Christingle. It makes me feel like we are all close together.’ Jack


Children at Chesterton Primary School and Nursery kicked their Christmas celebrations off with a visit from the Pantomine. The whole school enjoyed watching ‘Cinderella’ in the school hall followed by a community visit to the local Baptist Church to watch their annual Christmas performance of ‘Jilly’s Christmas Adventure’. Children and staff enjoyed their Christmas Lunch together. The pigs-in-blankets were especially popular! 


At Cirencester Deer Park School, Christmas Jumper Day was aligned with Christmas Lunch on Thursday 21 December. Pupils gave generously to the Cirencester Food Bank and were fed exceptionally well by the school’s catering team who provided a splendid roast, turkey with all the trimmings. Read more... 


We are immensely grateful to our schools’ PTAs and Friends for their commitment to fundraising. Each of our primary schools held Christmas Fayres while Cirencester Deer Park School’s Ghana 2024 volunteer team organised a Christmas Bazaar on Sunday 17 December, which had over 70 stall holders.

‘The Friends of Chesterton School arranged a Christmas Fayre on Friday 15 December with many activities and family fun, including the popular and much sought after Christmas Hamper Raffle.’ Libby Pringle, Headteacher


The festive break will come as a welcome respite for pupils and staff. Across the Trust our pupils have been working hard, with most completing interim assessments, including those in Year 11 at Cirencester Deer Park School who have just sat their mock examinations. As well as indicating progress, these assessments will also help inform our teachers’ planning for next term. I am grateful to all staff for their amazing efforts to ensure all pupils across the Trust have the opportunity to learn well and achieve more than they first think is possible.

‘I am looking forward to Monday 8 January when staff from across the Trust come together for our annual joint in-service training day. This year our focus is on equality, diversity and inclusion and the day will be led by Aisha Thomas from Representation Matters. Our schools reopen to pupils on Tuesday 9 January 2024.’ Chiquita Henson, Trust Lead (CEO)