Big Schools’ Birdwatch!

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On Tuesday, Year Six were fortunate enough to be visited by Don Fuller, the South East Region officer from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He helped us to take part in this years’ Big Schools’ Birdwatch, which helps the RSPB to track the number of different bird species found across Britain. Don introduced the Year Six children to some of the birds that they might be likely to see in the local area. He then took us on a walk through the eco-garden and to Mint Street. Although we didn’t spot an enormous amount of birds, we were able to record plenty of Feral and Wood pigeons; some long tailed tits; blackbirds; great tits; blue tits; magpies and a crow. The data will be inputted into the national survey log and we’re looking forward to seeing how our efforts compare with those of other birdwatchers across the country!

Information Update – Design Proposals for New Buildings

Thank you to all the parents who have already had a look at the proposals and given their feedback. If you have not seen the proposals, they are available on the school website . I would like to reassure parents that there will be no overall loss of playspace; the new hall will have a landscaped play and learning space on the roof – the same space as below just one floor up from the ground, This new space will be designed to allow more outdoor learning as well as creative play such as den building, play construction, quiet reading and drawing areas and more opportunities to be involved in planting . These activities were voted most popular in pupil surveys and focus groups in July.

There will be a walkway between the new and old building – the height of this walkway is anticipated to be 5.5m tall. The height of the new building, including canopy at the southwest end of the building, will be approximately 8.5m.

The main playground will also be transferred to the Lant Street playground. The temporary classrooms (currently housing year 1s) will be removed and replaced by green landscaping and retaining of the sports pitch. This new playground will include lots of opportunities for climbing and trails (also requested by the children) as well as simple run around space. It will be in this new playground space that parents of children in years N to Year 2 will drop off in the morning, using gates at both ends of Lant Street.
Overall we are gaining higher quality play space as well as two purpose built halls for PE, dance, assemblies and shows. This is in addition to the internal works to create more classrooms.

Finally, the proposals include a new bespoke nursery classroom on the site of the old school keeper’s house. This additional one storey nursery space will allow the school to offer free 2 year old provision to local families.

As soon as we have updated architectural drawings, these will be shared.

Are you feeding the birds?

A little robin, eating his breakfast of bird seed in Mrs Buchanan’s garden this morning!

It is still very cold outside and lots of the ground is frozen. Children at Charles Dickens Primary School have been feeding the birds in the school garden, spurred on by our participation in the RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch.  During half term, remember to feed the birds in your garden, your balcony or your window sills. You can put out bird seed or you could try to make them this delicious  (according to the birds) cake!

Feeding the birds at home – the speedy bird cake

Make this quick and easy cake to keep the birds happy.

Stuff you need : Good quality bird seed ( you can buy this from the super market); raisins; peanuts; grated cheese; suet or lard; yoghurt pots; string; mixing bowl; scissors

Seeds Raisins Peanuts Cheese Lard String Bowl Scissors

Important notes : Not suitable for children with nut allergies.


1. Carefully make a small hole in the bottom of a yoghurt pot. Thread string through the hole and tie a knot on the inside. Leave enough string so that you can tie the pot to a tree or your bird table.

Make a speedy bird cake - Step 1

2. Allow the lard to warm up to room temperature, but don’t melt it. Then cut it up into small pieces and put it in the mixing bowl.

Make a speedy bird cake - Step 2

3. Add the other ingredients to the bowl and mix them together with your finger tips. Keep adding the seed/raisin/cheese mixture and squidging it until the fat holds it all together.

Make a speedy bird cake - Step 3

4. Fill your yoghurt pots with bird cake mixture and put them in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

Make a speedy bird cake - Step 4

5. Hang your speedy bird cakes from trees or your bird table or from your window. Watch for robins, blackbirds, greenfinches and tits.

Make a speedy bird cake - Step 5

A bird on a painting is worth two in a bush.

Wow! Look at all the wonderful entries we have had for the Bird Art competition!

We have been celebrating our feathered friends for the last two weeks as part of the RSPB Big School’s Birdwatch and through making additional feeders we have attracted more wildlife to the garden. Some of these birds have been captured brilliantly in clay, sculpture, paint and coloured pencil!

The competition ends this Friday and winners, from different ages across the school, will get prizes which have been kindly donated by the RSPB!

Charles Dickens Primary School Council on ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show’ – Launching ‘RSPB Big Schools’ Bird Watch

Today the Key Stage 1 and 2 members of the school council were invited to to appear on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. The children helped to launch The RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch alongside, Kate Humble ( TV presenter and President of the RSPB) and David Lindo ( writer and broadcaster – David is known as The Urban Birder).

Here we are on set, with Alan, Kate and David ( as well as Mr Mackinnon – who knows quite a bit about birds as well).

Our wonderful school councillors shared their knowledge of birds and told viewers what they have been doing to get ready for the Big Schools’ Bird Watch. We showed our apple bird feeders and talked about our bird artwork. The School Councillors were polite, interesting and we felt very proud of each of them. If you missed them in action, catch up here on ITV player – we are quite near the end ( after the last ad break)

Alan Titchmarsh Show

The whole afternoon was really exciting – we got our very own dressing room with mirrors, TV and sofa. Here we are getting ready for the show:

We learnt how a TV show gets made ( it is very very busy!) and we were lucky enough to meet some really inspiring people.

David Lindo told us how easy and exciting it is to watch birds, right here in London. We really hope that David will be able to visit all the children at our school – in the meantime, David gave us a copy of his book to read – all about growing up in London and becoming a ‘birder’.

Kate Humble told us all about counting birds in school garden and playground. We are going to look for and count birds from now until 30th January then we send our results into The RSPB and they can see which birds are living in London near us and work out which birds are growing and declining in population. If you are a school, there is still time to get involved – just click on this link ‘Big Schools’ Birdwatch. You can also take part at home with The RSPB: Big Garden Birdwatch

So, thank you Mr Mackinnon for organising such a fabulous opportunity and watch this space for birdwatch news…