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Newsletter 18

Newsletter 18
February 10, 2017 Sandy Pike

Dear Parent/Guardian                                                                   9th February 2017

The staff have been working hard over the past six weeks making progress towards the Ofsted recommendations. As this half term comes to an end I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on a couple of items.

Following the Parents Evening – Post Ofsted, that many of you attended, I promised that I would get back to you with expanded answers to some of the questions you raised during the evening.   A copy of the questions and answers session is attached.  You will note clarifications in italics and I hope that my responses give you clarity and you can see that we have reacted positively to suggestions made at that meeting.

I would also like to inform you of the new strategic vision for the school and the mission statement that will become our mantra for the school in the future. Work began on developing this in the Autumn term.

The new school motto is ‘Be your best – Together we Grow’ and new mission statement is: –

‘For Stower Provost to be an outstanding school where high expectations, best practice and a stimulating learning environment enables our children to grow into confident enthusiastic life-long learners who achieve their very best.’

Much time and thought has gone into this and it is felt that it encapsulates the strategic vision and the core values of the school and this will unite us all in moving the school forward rapidly.

Under pinning this is the school ethos of:

Learning – To achieve high academic standards through inspirational quality teaching and learning, delivering a creative and enriched curriculum with equal opportunities for all.

To provide a stimulating, supportive and happy learning environment which promotes challenge and adventure where pupils are inspired to achieve and exceed their full and unique potential.

To nurture a ‘can do’ attitude where all children believe that they can achieve more than they thought possible.

Environment – To provide a school environment, which is welcoming, engaging, safe and secure that enhances and enriches the curriculum both inside and outside.

An environment which supports all children to become self-disciplined and self-confident in order to equip them for life ahead.

Relationships – To foster relationships within our school community which are respectful, tolerant, kind and forgiving.

To develop, encourage and expect Pupils, Staff, Parents and Governors to be Resourceful, Resilient and Responsible Leaders and Learners.

Much of this is already established in the school and the rest we have begun to develop and build into everyday school life. Once it is all achieved we will have an outstanding school!

Kind regards


Martin Marshall

Attachment 1


Questions asked at Open Parents evening 19th January

Below are the questions posed by parents on the night, followed by the answers given by Mr Marshall. Any follow up to these answers are in italics.


  1. Does the same Ofsted Inspector come back for the second inspection?
  2. Probably, but not always.
  3. Can he change the Ofsted result when he comes back?
  4. He will come back in six months time to see how we are progressing, but will not do another full inspection for another 24 months and will give a rating after that inspection.
  5. If we are confident that we have improved in less time than 24 months, could we request that they come back early?
  6. That is doubtful, but Mr. Marshall will find out.

Schools can request an inspection

Paragraph 23 of Ofsted’s handbook for school inspection says:

Schools are able, via the appropriate authority (normally the school’s governing body), to request an inspection.

If Ofsted carries out such an inspection, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) may charge the appropriate authority for its cost.

Where Ofsted carries out an inspection in response to a school’s request, the inspection will be conducted under section 5 of the Education Act 2005. This means it will be a ‘full’ inspection rather than a ‘monitoring’ inspection.

The scheduling process is complex because of the need to balance inspection priorities (including Ofsted’s legal requirement to inspect certain schools within prescribed intervals) with the resources available to carry out inspections.

Schools should be aware that this will determine when a requested inspection may take place. Schools that request an inspection will be notified of the inspection in the normal way, receiving one day’s notice.

Schools cannot request a date or time of inspection.

  1. Audits can be motivating. How many of the inspection recommendations were we working on before the Ofsted inspector arrived?
  2. All of them
  3. What are you doing to motivate the team?
  4. We are already working more as a whole school team through staff meetings and everyone is on board with it.
  5. Are there any one or two recommendations that you consider the biggest challenge?
  6. Teaching and Learning and Raising Expectations and Standards. There are some quick fixes and some that will take longer.  It is all data driven.

Our main focus is to raise the standard of teaching and learning. This is being achieved through professional development of teachers and TAs in Maths and Writing. Visits have taken place to outstanding schools in Dorset to observe good practice and from this, best practice is being developed in classrooms. Also a skills audit has taken place and a training programme has been developed and weekly input has begun.

  1. You have talked about the children who should be stretched, what are you doing about the less able children?
  2. Children are being identified early and interventions put in place.
  3. How are the staff going to be held more to account? How do you measure their performance?
  4. The head teacher is conducting regular drop-ins to classrooms and checking books to ensure that progress is being made and feeding back his findings to the staff. The governors are rigorously holding the head teacher to account as well as conducting termly visits to the school in their Link Governor capacities to ensure that progress is being made.

After the first half term early signs are good that teachers are developing their practice to be in line with the recommendations from Ofsted.

  1. You talk about holding teachers to account, but what about TAs? How is the need for improvement being filtered down to them?
  2. Meetings are taking place with them to identify any training needs and through the class teachers they work with.

Weekly meetings are being held with TAs with the main focus being professional development. The current focus is Maths teaching and support. TAs are given a ‘gap task’ to go away and implement and then feedback their practice at the following meeting. To monitor the impact on the learning of the pupils.

  1. You talk about wanting to get the word out there about the school to encourage new pupils. Some parents can’t commit time to being a governor or on the PTFA, however, they might be prepared to give some time to be part of a publicity and PR team. Is it something you would consider?
  2. We are already talking to some parents about this and we will take the idea forward.

One parent offered her time to take photographs and look for publicity opportunities.

Hopefully you will have seen the letter recently appealing for parental support in various areas of the school life. There is a marketing plan in place, with the aim to increase pupil numbers.

  1. What are the big challenges?
  2. Time and money. Training costs are expensive, because we have to buy in cover while staff are doing training.  We are trying to do training on site where we can.
  3. You have adopted the New Curriculum, how long will it be before it is changed again?
  4. We hope that it won’t change too much in the near future, but you never know especially if there is a change of government.
  5. Teachers must have lesson plans, could they communicate them to parents, to enable parents to help their children? Parents want to know what their children are doing in the day, could teachers share those lesson plans with the parents?
  6. We are planning to work closer with parents in the future. In Year 1, we have already started using “Help at Home” books which parents are finding very useful.  The curriculum Jigsaw is on the website.

We currently send home guidance about homework when set and will continue to do this. We are also exploring other ideas.

  1. Parents want to know more about calculation methods. How can parents be more involved with maths?
  2. We plan to run workshops for parents so that we can communicate with them to understand better how maths is being taught.

Thank you to all of you that attended the Maths morning and parent workshop last week. It is our intention to continue to do mornings/afternoons like this in the future. To help parents support the learning we devised a parent handbook for Maths. There are paper and e-copies available.

  1. Is there a communication method that could be devised so that parents within a group can communicate with each other over school matters? For example: if their child is having difficulty in understanding something that has been taught in school that day?
  2. Mr. Marshall is talking to a parent who may be able to help to set up some sort of system to extend communication to parents within a group;

There is the ‘Friends of Stower Provost School’ Face Book Page

This is currently used mainly by the PTFA to give notices. But this is a really good way for parents to communicate with each other over school matters.

The post section is not used regularly at the moment but this is a perfect place for you to share, communicate and support one another.