Parent Forum Feedback
It was good to see a group of parents yesterday for our Parent’s Forum. I will try to summarise the discussions we had:
Mr Carrick, our Sports Leader, brought along a sample of our new PE kit. The aim is to have a kit made from modern, durable materials that are fit for purpose. In the same way that uniform has an impact on learning, the PE kit is one which children will be able to wear with pride. If the children represent the school at other sporting events, they will be able to wear their PE kits too. For Key Stage 1, there is a new T-Shirt and shorts, with a bag. For Key Stage 2 (and optional for Key Stage 1), we have a tracksuit too. We are proposing to run the new kit alongside existing kit until September 2020 when it will be compulsory. The kit will be bought directly from school so that we can benefit from bulk buy discount. The price for the Key Stage 1 kit is anticipated to be around £15 with the full kit including tracksuit at £50. The kit is available to view in the office area. The old kit is now withdrawn from sale and we will be taking orders for the new kit after half term.
Parents present commented from experience at Inter-School events that Bidborough stood out as not having a standardised, modern kit. Another parent also said that the material used was one that was quick and easy to wash and dry. There were some concerns about cost. We are sympathetic to this and will endeavour to bring costs down by bulk buying the uniform. In addition, we have allowed quite a long transition time. If families are finding the cost prohibitive, please do speak to me in person.
Home learning, Individual Planners, Website
We discussed our new approach to Home Learning at depth. Whilst there are always going to be contrasting opinions on this subject, the school has adopted an approach which accommodates most families. Parents shared their experiences and thoughts and were, on the whole, positive.
Parents are reminded that all children are expected to read daily and that this would preferably be best with an adult. This should be recorded in the planners with book title, pages read and an initial from parents. Spellings are set each week and will be recorded in the planners. After the children have been tested on these, you should be able to see how they got on via the planners, too.
At this age, there is little proven benefit to written homework. What is far more beneficial is the interest shown in the children’s work and fostering the love of learning. The planners are crucial to our communication with you and should prove to be a window into your child’s learning. Both these and the class website pages should give useful points for starting conversations about your child’s week in school.
Some questions were raised:
- Can we know in advance what is going to be taught, in Maths, for example?
- Whilst the National Curriculum broadly outlines what is taught in each year, the teachers plan weekly and adapt their plans daily, in order to meet the needs of the children. The programs of study for each year group will be available on the school website shortly. In Maths in particular, it is important that the children are taught all the little steps that build up to the traditional methods that most of us are familiar with. It is not helpful to pre-teach many of the areas covered and best left to the teachers as different methods can be confusing for the children.
- How can we get our children to do the homework if it is not compulsory?
- We do not want to force children to do homework. By giving the children the choice through the Home Learning Menu, we are seeing many children bringing in work that they can be truly proud of. We have listened to feedback and now display this work and encourage children to add it to their published workbooks. Anecdotally, we heard from parents relieved not to have the battle and those whose children did not participate first time chose to the next time after being inspired by others.
- How does the Weekly Learning Lens work?
- All children self-evaluate their attitudes to learning against the Bidborough Behaviours. These behaviours have been carefully selected in order to develop a growth mind-set. Through these behaviours, children build their problem solving skills, independence and self-motivation. The children will then share something they have learned, something they have loved and something to question. Often, the children will share the question they have been thinking about in our RE lessons. As the children get older, they take a greater role in completing these. We have been encouraging the children to set their own targets but accept that perhaps the children need a little more guidance with these. We will be looking at this over the coming weeks.
We had some discussion around the new report format. It is important to see these as just part of the communication picture described above. Both sides of the report are important and there should not be anything surprising in them if the rest of the communication has worked properly! If the teacher has any concerns about your child’s progress, they will contact you to discuss this. The statutory expectations is that schools “prepare annual reports for parents before the end of the summer term. The report must start from the day after the last report was given, and cover each pupil’s:
- general progress
- attendance record
In addition, schools are required to provide at least one opportunity per year for parents to discuss pupil progress with a teacher.”
At this school, we value the partnership with parents in your children’s education. We currently provide:
Term 1 consultations (raise any initial concerns and discuss how your child has settled in and coping with new expectations),
Term 2 Mini Report,
Term 3 Consultation,
Term 4 Mini Report and Consultation,
Term 6 Full report with opportunity to discuss any matters arising.
In addition, Year 5 parents are offered an additional consultation with myself and the class teacher regarding transition to Secondary School. Reception parents are met in their homes at the beginning of the year. Three times a year, we have open classrooms. Teachers are always willing to meet with parents throughout the year, by appointment at the office, to discuss any concerns that arise through the year.
By the end of Term 2, most children will be at ‘Emerging’ – even the most able children. You will be able to see from their targets and their prior attainment whether they are expected to progress to age related expectations or targeted to reach greater depth. If we had any concerns about their progress from their starting points and from the end of the previous year, we would discuss these with you. If their progress had slowed, it might well be reflected in the Bidborough Behaviours that we are seeing in the classroom.
The reports were developed with parents at a previous Parent’s Forum and we will review them again at the end of the year.