I keep mentioning our website (sorry to be a bore) but it is now flourishing under Mrs Saeedâ€™s expert eye and as a result of her tireless efforts. I have recently drawn your attention to both the â€˜Curriculumâ€™ and â€˜Important Informationâ€™ tabs as useful sources of information for parents about how we teach and how you might support your children at home. I need to put a word in now for our blogs which are now all up and running. There are blogs for each class and for myself, writing and values. Ultimately we want our pupils blogging their writing â€“this to give them a wider audience and plentiful feedback. I have seen this working brilliantly in a few schools- with children becoming highly motivated writers as a result. Essentially we have to accept that another bloggerâ€™s opinion in say Australia is far more exciting and engaging than just teacher and peer feedback day in day out â€“ however well given. We are not yet ready to make this leap and our commitment to blogging class news is partly by way of preparation for the leap when it comes. However, thus far, where it has worked well our class blogs have proved very positive â€“ not least because they give parents a window into what goes on in school and pupils the chance to show off what they have done. And yet, in most cases, we are still missing a vital ingredient: your comments. We can write away, all the time assuming and hoping that people are reading the blogs, but blogging really relies on feedback, and this means your comments. The staff crave them to help justify time spent preparing the blogs but of course they also means a great deal to the pupils themselves. So I am here making a plea to all of you out there in the ether- parents, governors and pupils alike- to make sure you look at the blogs and that you comment when you look. And of course, the more you comment the more the blog will be updated- and hey presto we will have a well-rounded, reciprocal relationship developing beautifully across cyber space.
Dear Parents/ carers
Â Parent Forum
To reiterate, the general picture from the parent surveys we received was very positive. I am particularly pleased that more positive percentages regarding behaviour, bullying, praise and happiness in school have been maintained. We have also seen a marked improvement in the percentages for clubs, for â€˜school listening to the viewpoints of parentsâ€™ and for â€˜how I can best help my child.â€™
We have organised two Parent Forums but unfortunately have had no take up from parents. This could mean one of two things or both- either parents are too busy or too happy. Either way I feel I must feedback to parents now about our thoughts and any plans we have drawn up.
Only 88% of you agreed that â€˜My child has work that is right for his/her ability,â€™ and agreed that homework was appropriate. When I have spoken to parents informally about this issue, often the concern has been around maths homework which is usually designed to practice basic skills. It is not therefore a reliable window into all the learning that is going on in the classroom. We have done this because two years ago our Parent Forums voiced concerns about maths homework that was difficult to understand as well as concern about their childrenâ€™s basic skills in maths. We will continue to look for ways to improve homework but it could remain an area of contention between school and home, given peopleâ€™s opinions about homework can be greatly varied. We have worked hard our end to improve our reliability and our feedback when it comes to homework and parents have got a lot better at ensuring their children complete it. Perhaps we should be satisfied with that and sometimes agree to disagree on the issue.
One area I am particularly pleased with has been the number of you who agreed that â€˜I am kept well informed about how I can best help my child.â€™ We have gradually built this over the years and I hope you have found the latest information on the website under the â€˜Curriculumâ€™ tab has improved the quality of information yet further. We have also provided you with home learning suggestions on the website and we will soon be publishing activity suggestions to accompany the pupilsâ€™ maths target cards.
One other area that regularly has a lower percentage is â€˜parents feeling informed about their childâ€™s progressâ€™ (88% agreed and 50% strongly agreed). To address this in recent times, we have adapted the way we conduct parents evenings to ensure you come into the meeting already better informed. The Report Card or the Report (which now comes out mid-year) both give a clear indication to parents about their childâ€™s attainment, progress and effort. Parents Evenings can then be used to qualify and reflect on these judgements. We also now conduct longer parent meetings twice a year where we feel it would benefit the child. We have also introduced Open afternoons over the last few years so parents get a chance to come and look through their childrenâ€™s books and displays with them. This year we will be looking to improve communication further by trying to improve the quality of our parent meetings. All teachers will be receiving training in how to manage meetings better so that parents get more out of them (see our Achievement for All initiative on the long term plan).
Given we have now not had Parent Forums this year, the consultation process feels incomplete. Please do come and see me if you have any feedback that you feel might be useful.