Dear Parents/ Carers
Thank you for all of your valiant efforts to complete homework. The new homework timetable comes out today (see minchacademy.net/important docs/day to day)Â and, as you’ll see,Â the amount of homework increases asÂ our children get older. Some schools will give more out, others less. We do try to make it a sensible amount but it will always be a source of some contention. In English lessons, I’m sure you can imagine, itÂ reliably makesÂ for a good debate withÂ the children.
As a parent I sometimes bemoan the fact, that with four children, I am constantly chasing one of them to finish their homework or being asked to help. When, on the same evening,Â one is writing an essay on Macbeth and another is still ploughing through a reading scheme, my brain begins to ache.Â Our householdÂ begins to feel like a boot campÂ where my sole interaction withÂ the children involves the issuing of orders or instructions and it is only when I get to a weekend of holiday thatÂ we get back to a more relaxed and level footing.
That said I see homework as important. As a parent it gives me anotherÂ opportunity to support my children with their learning and demonstrate to them that I see learningÂ as important. I also see it as not just an opportunity but my responsibility to show them that their school and I are singing from the same hymn sheet and that they need to do what has been asked of them by the schoolÂ (even if,Â privately, IÂ don’t always completely agree with it).
I can’t expect you to all agree with homework or even with the way we manage our homework here but if we can do our best to work together in the eyes of the children, then I know this will help them thrive.
I know how much time and energy you put into your children’s learning and it is very much appreciated.
Please have a read of:-
Amelia poem 05 09 14
Amelia has come up with some wonderful images here. My favouriteÂ is the final line-Â ‘silent storm stumbling across the sky.’
We always like to start a term with poetry because it allows children to explore and revel in the language; allows them that freedom of expression sometimes lacking in other writing forms.
5th September 2014
Thank you for last year- for your ongoing commitment and support. There is no doubt that a schoolâ€™s ethos and approach is, in part, a reflection of its community and there is certainly no doubt that this school thrives because of your enthusiasm for your childrenâ€™sâ€™ learning and because of all the goodwill and creative energy you pour into the place. It has been a pleasure to re-acquaint ourselves with your children- they have come back ready and willing and as engaging as ever. The atmosphere in school is calm and friendly.
The next year could be busy. The proposed move towards Academy Status will continue to demand of us careful consideration and will not happen any earlier now than November 1st. One aspect of joining DGAT I am confident would have a significant impact on the school is the increased scope for sharing practice and support with a tight-knit group of other schools. The opportunities for staff to develop their teaching and leadership within this context are extensive.
Our need for a new build to house burgeoning numbers of pupils has been taken well in hand by the governors. They have worked with â€˜Thinking Buildings,â€™ local architects, to generate a realistic development plan for the next few years. This plan factors in possible housing developments in the area and their likely impact on the school. For the short term the music room has been temporarily converted into a classroom to allow us to teach our year 3/4 pupils in three groups. It is working very well and in fact provides our pupils with more support than they would have had otherwise. In the medium term the school will be seeking funding to help build an extra classroom.
In terms of the curriculum one of our main priorities is to continue developing our approach to maths; an approach based on the work of Ray Maher, a well-respected provider of teacher training and in-school consultancy, with a strong track record of helping schools to achieve the highest possible standards. A push to improve childrenâ€™s basic skills (including the use of the target passports) has been part of this approach. Also please keep a look out on the school website for a presentation about the calculation methods we use and for upcoming information about the problem-solving methods we are now teaching each week.
18th July 2014
Dear Parents/ Carers
So there we go- another year slips by quicker still, it feels, than the previous one. I always crowd our school development plan with ambitious objectives in September because a year feels like a significant wad of time to be working with but gosh, does it flit past. In school each day is so full, so varied and in such â€˜fast motionâ€™: it is hardly surprising that the year disappears in the blink of an eye. I spoke to an ex-employee recently who said she was intent on going back into education again (having tried something else) because she had found herself â€˜clock-watchingâ€™ in her present job. One never clock watches in school â€“ I know the adults donâ€™t and I would hope the children find little time or inclination to do so either.
In terms of the school development plan, we are constantly looking to develop the best practice we can- to develop our individual teaching and also to develop very good practice as a school that is consistent across all classes. This consistency is vital if we are to ensure our children build, as effectively as possible, on their experiences and achievements of the previous year. I think we have come a long way in this respect in the last 2 years. We have gone out to educational experts and other schools to search for the very best practice; have then brought it back and made it our own. The childrenâ€™s achievements in English in the last 2 years have been testament to the progress we have made and maths is following hot on its heels. We also put a great deal of time and energy into our recruitment process because, letâ€™s be honest, in any organisation, it is a lot about having the right people in the right place. Minchinhampton now has a strong team. I believe the governorâ€™s recent decision to move towards academy status was a good one because it gives us an excellent opportunity to continue to improve our practice.