Dear Parents and Carers
We are now at the end of the first half of the Spring Term and therefore half way through the school year. The time is flying, but it is good to see how much progress the children are making. I hope you will be able to come into school after half term holiday, on Friday, 1st March, from 2:30pm for the Curriculum Showcase afternoon to see the children’s work for yourselves.
There will also be the usual, more formal opportunity to look at your child’s books and talk with the teachers at our Spring Term Parents’ Evenings. This year, these will be held on Tuesday 19th March, 3:30 – 6:00pm, and Thursday 21st March, 4:30 – 7:00pm. Appointment request slips will be sent out nearer the time.
Many thanks go to the parents who came to the meeting on Wednesday. Attended by two of our school Governors, we had a wide-ranging discussion with lots of very positive comments about what is going well at school, as well as suggestions for how we could make things even better.
A recurring theme of the Forum is ensuring the safety of the children at home time. As parents, you have said you like the way we only release your child once we have made eye-contact with you, that way you can make sure they are safe coming towards you. However, the gathering of parents and children does now spread right across the entrance way, reducing visibility and giving children a false sense of security. As a result of our discussion and a number of suggestions, I have bought some temporary barrier chain and stands. Please stand inside the barrier to collect your children, and use the gap provided to return to your car. That way, children and adults should appear from only one place rather than from between cars. I would like to trial this for the first couple of weeks after half term, then I will ask for your views again.
I will be amending last year’s Parent Survey ready for the Parents’ Evenings – do come along a few minutes earlier than your allotted time to be able to complete yours! These can be done entirely anonymously, and by handing in a completed form you will have the chance to win a £10 WHSmith voucher. During the Parent Forum Meeting, we also discussed the findings from the last survey, essentials of which I have summarised at the bottom of this newsletter
The school’s next inspection by Ofsted is due within the next few months, and many of our questions are taken from the ParentView questionnaires on the Ofsted Website. You can complete the on-line version whenever you like between inspections; along with the information on our website and the results of previous assessments such as SATS, this gives the inspectors a broader view of the school before their inspection starts. Please feel free to complete the ParentView questionnaire (found at parentview.ofsted.gov.uk) in addition to our school survey.
Many thanks to all of you who hear your children read regularly – it is so important for the children to have that time with you improving their fluency and comprehension. We do reward regular reading, and I would like to clarify how these rewards work. We ask that you hear your child read at least 3 times per week. Staff will keep a note of how often you have signed the book, and will read any comments you make. If you hear your child read at least 3 times per week for 10 weeks, a bronze certificate will be awarded. If you keep up this achievement, your child will be in line for silver, then gold and, if you read regularly during the holiday, the platinum certificate. Please always remember to balance the reading aloud with lots of questions about the text, including reviewing and predicting, or empathising with the characters, for example. If you would like another prompt sheet with the suggested questions, please make a note in the diary and we’ll be happy to provide one.
Our long-awaited building works begin on Monday, with new windows, toilets and internal and external decoration starting. These are due to carry on into next half term, so please be aware of more vehicles having to be on site. Organising a lift-share or, if your child is eligible, taking advantage of free transport on the bus could ease any parking issues.
I hope you all have a very happy and relaxing half term holiday, and I look forward to welcoming all the children back to school on Monday 25th February.
With best wishes
Summary of Feedback and subsequent actions based on last year’s Parent Survey:
Please note, not all answers were completed in all surveys, so some of the calculations are based on different totals. Where marks were put across two choices, they have been discounted. Approximately 40 responses were received for each question – 2.5% per response.
100% of you agreed or strongly agreed that your child was happy and felt safe at this school, was well looked-after and that the school ensured pupils were well-behaved.
95% of you felt that the school dealt effectively with bullying (or were unable to answer the question), and that your child was well-taught and received appropriate homework for the age
93% of you felt that your child makes good progress at this school
90% of you felt that this school was well-led and managed, that we responded well to any concerns you raised and that you received valuable information from the school about your child’s progress
88% of you would recommend this school to another parent.
You also made very many valuable comments which have helped shape the work we have been doing. Comments about the curriculum have led us to change some of the ways we teach, and we are currently looking into a completely new framework for our curriculum which should be ready for implementation after Easter. Homework and home learning projects also received some negative feedback, so we will be putting out more guidance as to the range of projects your children can do. Many of you wanted to see the return of Forest School, which we have reintroduced, and to see more opportunities for the older children to do drama and music (The Wind in the Willows was a first step in that direction, with another musical due for this summer term).
Several of you felt that the combined strap-line ‘Be your Best – Together we Grow’ gave a confusing message, so we have reverted to the original, simpler ‘Together We Grow’. You liked the way the staff know your children, but some of you requested more opportunities to find out about their progress – we still have work to do on this, but I hope you feel welcome to come into school to talk to the teachers whenever convenient and use the reading diary for day-to-day messages. Following your requests to know more about how we teach the children, we have put on maths and English workshops and held an Internet Safety briefing for parents; we will be putting on a writing workshop after half term to help you see the learning journey of our writers.
Overall, the responses to the survey were hugely positive and I hope that the few of you who were not so happy about certain aspects of the school have seen improvements. If there are more things you wish us to work on, please don’t leave it until the next survey – come and talk to me! I can then deal with any issues much more quickly, and please know that anything you do say will be addressed with absolute confidentiality. If you want to help shape the direction of the school, there are many opportunities for you to become involved, whether it’s working closely with the PTFA, becoming a governor, or coming along to the Parent Forum meetings. Gaining a better insight into your children’s learning by coming along to the parent workshops will also help you support with homework and by coming into school for Friday’s Celebration Assemblies you can see for yourselves how proud we all are of the children.