Lots of exciting things have been happening at school, and I can’t believe we are about to start our third week of the term! Again I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support for the changes that have been put in place. I thought I would go over some of the questions that have been asked of me this week.
The new Reading Diaries went out last week. However, I understand that a number of them (KS1 mainly) have a fault with the binding. We have been using this printing company for years and this is the first time that we have had a batch of defective items. I will contact them tomorrow and order replacements. If you diary is defective, please return it to your class teacher and they will replace it free of charge. Unfortunately, there are a number of typos too. This is because to speed up their production we used the same contents as Heavers Farm. This has meant that the diary contains their school timings and term dates (both of which are different to ours). Our term dates can be found here on the blog.
The diary has three functions, one is to enable home and school to communicate with each other, the second is to encourage reading at home, the third is linked to our behaviour policy. In the back of the diary there are sheets for your child to collect their merits. Children will earn badges linked to their merits, which will be handed out in the Celebration Assembly on Fridays. You are all welcome to attend these assemblies.
Lateness and Detention
There have been a number of comments on here about the new rule on lateness i.e. if a child from Year 3 to Year 6 is late, they will be given a lunchtime detention. I have had a look at the number of ‘lates’ so far this term and compared this to the equivalent period last year. The number of ‘lates’ has halved. Whilst this might be due to other factors, the staff on gate duty have reported a marked change in attitude to lateness. They have spoken to many parents who have said that this has helped them immeasurably as their child now understands that there is a sanction for poor punctuality. I understand that there are circumstances that might make a family late, for example medical conditions, or unforeseen circumstances. In these situations there would not be a detention. The purpose of this policy is to teach children an important life skill; to understand the importance of good punctuality. Also, every class has a reading lesson for the first thirty minutes of the day, if a child misses part of this regularly this could have an impact on their progress in reading.
This has come up as an issue in several guises this week. I have had cause to speak to several parents, and to edit the comments on this blog, for making unkind and provocative comments about the staff and each other. I take a very firm stance on this. I believe that we should all behave in a way that sets a good example and demonstrates to children what we expect of them.
Several people have complained about the behaviour of adults at the local bus stop and outside the school gate. Whilst I don’t have any jurisdiction over the behaviour of parents on the street, I do have responsibility for the pupils’ behaviour on their way to and from school. In the spirit of this I would respectfully ask that adults refrain from smoking immediately outside the school as some may see this as setting a bad example.
I have also received complaints about the difficulty in walking past the bus stop outside school. Again, I would appeal to those waiting there to show consideration for the families attempting to walk past and to wait by the wall, leaving space on the pavement for parents to be able to push their buggies past.
Special Educational Needs (SEN) Provision
A number of parents have spoken to me about this; there still appears to be the belief that our SEN provision has been scrapped. In fact the opposite is true. I believe that children who have additional needs need the highest quality teaching to enable them to make outstanding progress, along with their peers. This is why I am putting a more rigorous system of support in place to ensure that our most vulnerable pupils receive the highest quality provision. If anyone is at all concerned about the provision for their child, Kate Jenkins, our SENCo, or Helen Mosley, our Parent Support Worker, are always available to meet with you and review your child’s provision.
Whilst there have been many changes in school in the past two weeks, I have not made (nor am about to make) changes to the school uniform. With the exception of the plimsoll/trainer request, everything is exactly the same. I do not have any reason to change the uniform. We are currently exploring the option of being able to provide the option of being able to order uniform online, but this is still very much in the planning stage.
We apologise for the lateness in opening the gate on Friday. Our Assistant Caretaker was on holiday and I had been told that our Caretaker was taking over his duties, including opening the gate. Unfortunately, this was not the case and Mrs Realis leapt to the rescue! We will ensure that the gate is opened at the normal time on Monday.
Wet Weather Wear
Could I ask that all children are sent to school with a waterproof coat or jacket. We like our children to spend as much time as possible outside. We would not send children outside in torrential rain, but there is no reason for children not to play outside when it is raining lightly. Therefore, they will all need waterproof shoes and clothing, preferably with a hood.
If anyone would like to speak to me in person, rather than leave a message here, I am available. Just have a word with one of the office staff and they will book you an appointment. Alternatively, I do try to be in the playground at the start and end of the day, so you can have a word with me then.