Mrs Curtis discussed with the group the first handwriting project from home has now been completed. The feedback from teachers regarding engagement was mixed and she welcomed additional feedback from the group.
One of the issues raised was around it being given out during half term. Children were tired being the first term back and some expressed holiday time is their free time.
On a positive note the instructions were really helpful, and the children enjoyed completing it. Spreading the work over the week made it easier. It was recognised for some children the writing project was quite challenging however other parents welcomed the idea.
Mrs Curtis informed there was around a 60% take up.
Moving forward the plan is to find the half way point between each half term That week will be a writing week and will not include any other homework. This will give the children an opportunity to enjoy the writing task and parents will be aware when it is coming.
Teachers will set the writing that link to their termly projects and the recent writing work completed at school. The idea of sharing these weeks before was explored but this will prevent teacher’s using current work as a springboard, so they will be sent as normal through MarvellousMe.
Mrs Curtis expressed that it is not school policy to give homework in holidays as we firmly believe holidays are for holiday/family time. If families would like additional work during the holidays we provide workbooks free of charge.
The next writing task next week will be part of the children’s homework and will not be an optional choice. Children will be expected to produce a piece of writing.
Question is it possible to have some form of feedback once the work is completed?
We would share feedback through MarvellousMe - Gold Silver Bronze recognition as the children love that and it will encourage them. Feedback from parents on how much time spent on a particular piece of work will support the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. Mrs Curtis will investigate how we can get this information from parents, any ideas please share.
Bethan fed back to the group, parents were concerned about the volume of work Reception were getting in relation to other year groups. This was addressed earlier in the term and Mrs Mohammed has a 30 minute expectation per week, the set tasks are clear and identified and of course children can do more if they would like to but this is not an expectation.
A parent was concerned as her child had not completed everything she may have been losing her breaktime.
Reception would never lose their breaktimes, they don’t have breaktimes in that sense they have a continuous provision. So for Reception they don’t stop at a certain point to have a break therefore they are not accountable in the same way.
Question (Year 2) When children are kept in at breaktime, please can be parents be informed of why they are staying in? Parents fully support the school but often are unaware of the reasons why.
Staff often catch parents at home time or phone the parent after school so this incident sounds like an anomaly but Mrs Curtis will ensure all staff are aware of this policy Also, for children who attend Funzone it is not always possible to complete 10 minutes’ homework every day due to lack of time, with the Computer Suite closed children cannot use their free time if they so wish.
Mrs Curtis explained the difficulty we have is the Computer Suite is used during the school day. We close the Suite at the end of the school day to ensure it is deep cleaned every night.
Mrs Curtis will explore if the children could get their Ipads from their classrooms. She did want to emphasise Funzone is not a homework club and if the children did not want to do their homework during this time they wouldn’t be asked to. Mrs Curtis will also talk with teachers to track if children who attend are falling behind with completing homework.
Question A couple of times I have logged into Reading Eggs and there is no assignment on there. Is it right that sometimes the children are given their pads in class?
We have had a few issues this term where children have attempted to get on. Teachers can see if a child has tried to log on. Children should not be doing their homework during the school day all assignments are set on Fridays.
We have now completed our online video. This term we have used a lot of technology for various events like the Open Day and tours. The plan in relation to Christmas and the nativity which isn’t going to happen is we are going to do a recording of the children essentially doing the carol concert that we would normally do at the church; all classes will have a song to sing for children who cannot be visually present they will be out of view.
Admin Team will update the website calendar to reflect the above.
Question Can the children bring in Christmas cards?
A parent asked if each class could have a mailbox. Children could post their cards to their class mates if they wished. The cards could then be distributed later to avoid cross contamination.
Mrs Curtis loved the idea. This has now been communicated to parents, the window is from 1st December to 15th Dec and then all class cards will be distributed on the last day.
Question Is it possible to have a class list?
The view of Parent Council was yes first names only with no representation to which class. This could be send out via Groupcall along with information about how and when the cards will be distributed.
Question When a new child starts is it possible to let welcome the child by informing parents of a new child in their child’s class?
Mrs Cutis agreed it was a nice idea and will chat with the office about the process.
The newsletter was full of Christmas events; the tree is arriving Friday 27th. We will have our Christmas tree decorating however, this will be done twice for KS1 and KS2 to ensure children stay in their bubbles. By splitting the assemblies, it allows more space in the hall for each class. Year 6 will be invited to both as it is their last year. From 1st December Christmas starts, there are lots of fun themes, Christmas jumper day, tights and hats (hats not to be worn in class)
Normally on the last day of term we have class Christmas parties. However, as we are unable to bring food in from home the suggestion is parents donate 50p for each child and the school will purchase in one shop. The group were asked what their view were; everyone was in agreement. This will now be added to Scopay. The children look forward to their parties; this way they wouldn’t know what selection of food was coming so it would be more of a surprise.
Question Are parents allowed to bring gifts in for teachers?
Yes, if parents and children want to bring in a gift teacher can manage them individually.
Question: Do the children have long enough for lunch due to Covid restrictions?
KS1 & Year 3 are first in at 12noon they will go out to play at around 12.25pm. Any stragglers will continue to sit at their table with supervising staff sending the children out once they have finished.
The children of KS2 go out to play at 12noon and are back in at 12.30pm and tend to leave the hall at 12.50pm. Again, any stragglers stay until they have finished.
The children no longer have to queue for food as it is all served at the table which saves a lot of time. We monitor the children daily, obviously if they need additional time after lunch has finished there is a table outside my room where they can finish their lunch
Question Do children feedback what snacks they like/dislike?
Every day we have a certain day for snack for example Popcorn is always on a Friday.
We do not offer alternatives; parents can book snacks depending on their child’s preference. A list of daily snacks is available on the website. Children no longer have to queue as our snack monitors deliver snacks to class. We will remind staff to let the admin team who manage this know if anything is unpopular
Question: Does school need to close for progress reports?
Yes, we do need a day. Previously the school was closed and parents would come into school for their meetings. Using the same booking system, we have paid extra so parents can book in the normal way and discuss their child’s progress remotely.
While teachers are in back to back meetings the learning assistants are in training. We are producing a different report this year, parents will now see a report in every subject. We look forward to hearing feedback from everyone.
It is important to note no staff members have a day off and the comment that the staff had lots of time off is totally inaccurate, the staff of Ash Grange opened the school every school day of Lockdown and throughout the Easter holiday.
Question What is happening about SATS this year?
The first assessment for Year 2 is the phonics assessment which should have taken place in June of Year 1.. At the moment we have nothing official as to whether SATs are happening so we are working on the principle they are probably going to happen. However, because of the national school disruptions it is just as likely not to happen. Logistically some areas of the country are in tier 3, lots of isolation so it isn’t fair across the board.
We always do teacher assessments, that will be given to the parents at the end of the key stage. So even if there aren’t any national tests to back that up we will have the teacher’s assessments. We are also a PIXL school, PIXL are an educational institute that are all about school improvement. Every term we do PIXL assessments that are standardised against national expectations. Each class has an assessment week at different times during each term, our results are then compared to see how we are doing against national expectations.
Question Is there a better system as some parents have to wait outside?
The only way we could do it differently is if we had an in and an out gate. We have looked at the costing for a fence and pathway. This has proven to be very costly as we would need to tarmac a considerable area. At the moment that is not an option.
Mrs Curtis will explore adding an additional out gate beside the current alley in gate.
Question Would the school be able to keep a business register of the school parents?
Yes, that would be a nice part of the induction process. We always seek to find local suppliers it would give parents an opportunity to find local services and products. Parents could complete an online register. We will explore how to action this in the next few weeks.
Feedback was positive about the quality of the photographs and how they captured the personalities of the children. Whilst some parents agreed the quality was much better, the cost was much higher.
The school explored several companies after feedback from previous photographs. It was noted due to Covid sibling photographs were not allowed to ensure bubbles were not compromised.
Photographs are not mandatory and there was far more choice in the packages available to parents.
Question Do the school receive a commission?
Yes, normally the school receives approximately £200 which is put in the fund for the children’s fountain pens. Interestingly, this year we received £400. Mrs Curtis investigated the amount of commission the school receives and if reducing this it would make the cost to parents slightly cheaper; the commission was the same for both companies. It was apparent the quantity purchased was far greater this year which accounts for the additional commission.
We will be using the same company for our Summer class photographs so it will be interesting to see if they capture that enthusiasm again. We will then make a decision if we will use them for the next three years.