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We have started this academic year with the ‘Collaboration’ learning power as our focus in assemblies and talking groups. With the children going in to new classes it is an appropriate time to think about the importance of working together with different children. We have been thinking about how we all have different skills and knowledge to offer the group and that we need to use our strengths and develop in areas where we are less confident by listening to others. The Year 6 children were given a particularly tough challenge of going on a treasure hunt around the school in groups of six while holding on to a hoop. They all had to be touching the hoop at all times. While getting through doors proved quite challenging, the team ethic this developed in the first few days was really important and has set them up for the year ahead. Year 5 have also collaborated closely for their toilet paper fashion show with some wonderful results as you can see below. We will be thinking about some of the challenges that are faced when working collaboratively over the next few weeks and how we can overcome them. Closer collaborative working with other local primary schools is also an area that Mrs Hinstridge and I have been trying to develop over the past couple of years, to share skills and expertise across the town. We are excited about the future opportunities in this area where we can work more closely with these schools; sharing the skills of the Summercroft staff and learning more from others.
Many thanks to all those who contributed. The participation was very creditable, with 104 responses on the Ofsted Parent View website and 12 on the paper version. This compares well with Summer 2016 when there were 90 responses to the Ofsted website and no paper version. It falls short of the 160 responses to the Ofsted website in December 2016 but that was under different circumstances as it was during the Ofsted inspection.
You can view the results of the online responses on the Ofsted Parent View website. Out of the responses on paper there was one disagree that the school deals effectively with bullying and one disagree that their child receives appropriate homework for their age but they were otherwise favourable.
To assist us further, we should be grateful:-
if those who disagreed or strongly disagreed that their child receives appropriate homework for their age could let us know why they think the homework is not appropriate and what they consider would be appropriate and
if those who disagreed or strongly disagreed that they receive valuable information from the school about their child’s progress could let us know why they think the information they receive is not valuable and what information they consider would be valuable and
if those who said they would not recommend the school to another parent could let us know why.
Please email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the school.
Michael Kirby, Chair of Governors
In the last year the school’s governing body has seen four of its six parent governor positions refreshed with new parents. The new parent governors are Chris Adams, Tim Hyams, Joanna Quinlivan and Iain Playle who join the two existing ones Kevin Goodeve and Simon Williams. The four of us who are new to the role wanted to tell you a little bit about what a parent governor is, how we help the school and our first impressions of the job.
School governing bodies have existed for over 600 years with the first ever being at Winchester College. Nowadays, pretty much every school has one in some form or another. You can think of them as being a bit like the board of a company, broadly doing two important jobs. One is to provide strategic leadership (what should the school be like) and the other is to ensure accountability (making sure that everything is being done properly) for the school.
The governing body is made up of different types of governors. Some are from the wider community, some are staff members, some are the leadership team of the school and some are parents. This variety ensures a healthy range of views and opinions in the governing body. Parent governors are no different to any other type of governor – we just have children who attend the school and part of our role is to make sure that a parental viewpoint is reflected in the governing body.
It is still early days but all four of us have really enjoyed our time so far as parent governors. It has been more work than we expected, a lot to read, a lot to learn, training sessions to attend in evenings and induction training at the weekend, lots of discussions over email on issues, policies and challenges the school faces and probably more meetings than we would like.
We now have a much better appreciation of the work and effort that all the staff put into making your school work and how many little extras so many people contribute through volunteering their time in one way or another. After seeing this it is very rewarding to know that we can help do our bit by being governors trying to make a great school a little bit better.
Being a governor is rewarding and never boring. It does mean giving up a decent chunk of your spare time but if you are prepared to do this none of us would hesitate to recommend becoming a governor the next time a vacancy comes around.
The learning power for July is Adaptation. Assemblies, Talking Groups and class PSHCE sessions are all focusing on preparing the children for the transition to their new year groups, new classes, new teachers and how to adapt to these changes. Many of the children are excited about moving up to the next year group but have some concerns about the changes this will bring. The transition process is well under way through these discussions and next Thursday the children will get to meet their new teachers. The children have been discussing the positives about change and how they can turn any worries into opportunities by adapting to the transition. We have also been thinking about how some changes are out of our control but what we do have control of is how we adapt and deal with the change by discussing our feelings and getting support from peers or adults around us. Focusing on the fresh start and seeing it is an opportunity can be a much more positive way of dealing with it.
The learning power for June is persistence. The children have been thinking about the importance of being persistent in their learning and how important it is to keep going even when things get difficult. Over the past fortnight we have had a focus on sport and music in the build up to our orchestra concert and Sports Day. We have looked at famous musicians and athletes and thought about how they would not have been successful if they had given up. I was impressed by the range of ideas the children had on how to overcome potential barriers, showing they are able to apply their problem solving skills when required. In Key Stage 2, we used the Invictus Games and a particular focus on Dave Benson as a role model for being persistent and overcoming life changing injuries to become successful in athletics. A true inspiration to us all. This persistence was clearly on display at the orchestra concert and on Sports Day, with all the children keeping going even when they were finding it challenging.
On Friday 18th May the children and staff of Summercroft came together to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The sun shone while we enjoyed our BBQ lunch followed by a cooling ice cream from the ice cream van. We were royally entertained with music from the Friday lunch time choir, a very energetic display from the Summercroft Cheerleaders and a medley of songs from the Year 6 O2 choir. After a break on the field we were then treated to a display of Maypole dancing made even more entertaining by the staff joining in. Just when we thought we were coming to the end of our cel-ebrations there was a flutter of excitement as a small group of Year 5s appeared on the playground and started to per-form a routine to Paloma Faith’s, Make Your Own Kind of Music. They were quickly joined by another group and then another as our very own Summercroft flash mob developed, such fun.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this such a happy, memorable event for our pupils at Summercroft.
The learning power theme for May has been Risk Taking. We heard about our clown fish’s risky journey to get to the reef and how she overcame all the dangers to finally arrive and celebrate with her wiggle dance. Some of these risks included sharks, anemones and a maze of tangled seaweed. This has been followed up by reflecting back on the story of ‘The Man Who Walked Between Towers’ and thinking about why people take risks. The children have also thought about risks they may have taken at school with their learning and how they have grown in confidence after they have given something a go. We will also be discussing ‘bad risks’ and making sure that we always think about the consequences of what we do and understand that not all risks will be good.
Some food for thought on children taking risks from Adrian Voce, 2008:
We mustn’t wrap our children up in cotton wool, but allow them to play outside so as to better understand the opportunities and challenges in the world around them, and how to be safe.
Children’s play has long been understood to have a key role, both in their wellbeing and satisfaction as children and in the development of their future life skills. Research indicates how vital to each of these functions is the uncertainty – the sense of danger, even – that children are impelled to seek out when they play. It is not the “theme” that attracts them to theme parks, but the scary rides. Such entertainments, though, contrive the sense of danger without allowing children any discretion in their response, or requiring from them any development of skill. Just get strapped in, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
At real play, children are in charge, instinctively making hundreds of decisions as they assess and determine the levels of risk they want to take, physically, emotionally and socially: mastering, day by day, an increasing repertoire of skills, adding to their bank of experience.
So, through play, children acquire confidence, but also an awareness of limits and boundaries. They learn, in short, how to be safe. As the popular American educator and broadcaster, Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood”.
Please be aware that the school will be going completely cashless from the new term in September. This means that all payments will need to be made using the School Gateway. We will not be accepting any cash or cheques in the School Office. Further details will follow after half term regarding how to register for a School Gateway account and how to download the Summercroft branded school app onto your Smartphone.