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SEPTEMBER 2018 - NEWSLETTER FROM THE CHAIR OF GOVERNORS, MAGGIE CARROLL

3 September 2018

Dear parents and carers

On behalf of all the governors I would like to welcome you all into the new school year and hope that all, children, teachers and parents and carers alike, are able to settle into the routine after the long break in the summer.

Since I wrote to you this time last year there is again much to celebrate and to remember.

I was privileged to be a guest at the year 6 Children’s leavers assembly in July – oh my goodness! – it was a reflection of the achievements of an outstanding cohort – our first through the school since its inception. The children were so articulate, mature and confident – and had clearly enjoyed their time at BPS, and the deep and sustained learning evidenced in their presentations. I was thrilled by their Spanish competence and their joy in using their considerable language skills. This was evident also in the splendid GCSE and CFER (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) outcomes for the class. Well done to the children, to the staff and to their parents and carers who had been so supportive of the school in so many ways. Thank you to all and I wish the children every success as they enter their secondary schools.

Of course another ‘end point’ was Wendy’s leaving – a sad time in some respects but a celebration of her leadership which has brought the school to its current successful place. Our ‘reportable outcomes’ (children’s achievement: Early Years/phonics/KS1 and KS2) were very good indeed.  – well above national average (as we should quite rightly expect) - but this does not just happen. The drive for progress and improvement is tangible – and everyone has benefited from this. So again, very well done to all concerned – a final big thank you to Wendy and her leadership team.

We had a lovely farewell ‘do’ for Wendy – and then welcomed Jo and Jon as our new leaders for this year. The governors are excited about working with them as the school continues to thrive and grow –and as we pursue our journey towards bilingualism.

As I mentioned in my welcome newsletter last September, one key statutory aspect of our governance role is to hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils. Our monitoring plan reflects the priorities the school has in its annual School Improvement Plan. We did this in different ways: speaking with staff, holding pupil voice discussions with children of all ages, observing behaviour in the playground, scrutinising performance data, checking on safeguarding and health and safety matters...and so on. In this way, we know the school well, and are ‘visible’. This has built trust and mutual respect.

Other things to celebrate are the continuing popularity of the school as evidenced by the high numbers of parents and carers who wanted their children to attend BPS. I know that we are no longer seen to be rather isolated, and are a positive preference for families in the city. Staff and governors are now closely linked with schools in the Hove cluster, and more broadly across the city and beyond. We share good practice in much of what we do – and we learn from each other. It was great to welcome, in July, colleagues from Hove Park School to talk with (then) year 4 and 5 parents to explain how the school from September 2019 would be able to make special provision for our children as they move to secondary which would take account of their Spanish language competence and acquisition. This meeting will be repeated on Weds 26 September.

And of course I must congratulate the PTA on the amazing work they have done again in supporting our school. The effort to raise funds – and the sum raised is stunning! I have already thanked the PTA through Caroline, Jo and Olivia – but the ongoing engagement of parents and carers (and their friends and families) is really appreciated. Last year I was anticipating the bank development to begin – this year we can see it it in all its glory. The children love it.

Finally, may I draw your attention to an advertisement on the school website as we are seeking two new governors with very specific expertise and experience? I was wondering that through your own networks you may be able to draw the advert to the attention of any person whom you think may be interested and who has the particular skills.

I would like to thank again Jo, Jon, the teachers and all staff at the Bilingual Primary School for their commitment, positive attitude and their enthusiasm for their work. These make all the difference to the children. I also want to repeat my thanks to all the parents and carers, and voluntary helpers, who make an effort to enrich the children’s experience in the school. This is greatly appreciated by us, the children and staff.

With best wishes

Maggie Carroll

Chair of the Board of Governors


 

September 2017 - Newsletter from the Chair of Governors, Maggie Carroll

1 September 2017

Dear Parents and Carers

On behalf of all the governors I would like to welcome you all into the new school year and hope that all, children, teachers and parents and carers alike, are able to settle into the routine after the long break in the summer.

Since I wrote to you this time last year there is again much to celebrate about the continuing progress and achievements of the school. After the truly successful Ofsted Inspection in October we have been able to drive forward with ambition and high expectations.

Let me mention a few key things that the inspection evidenced:

  • Parents are exceptionally positive about all aspects of the school’s work.
  • Spanish is taught well and pupils at different stages of fluency in Spanish develop their skills.
  • The successful work of the headteacher, deputy headteacher and senior leaders, including governors, has resulted in rapid improvement.
  • Pupils are well behaved in lessons and around the school. They feel safe and happy at school and are well looked after.

We are still beaming about this – but are mindful of course of the (few) areas for improvement. These related to:

  • embedding the new curriculum;
  • a focus on the challenge or support for particular groups of pupils;
  • improving the attendance of children with higher levels of absence.

Following this, one key statutory aspect of our role, as you know from my letter last year, is to hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.

So this year, we have kept these Ofsted issues at the forefront of our monitoring duty, but have used different ways to find evidence of improvement. We have done this, in part, through our monitoring visits, where we set out to focus intensely on the ‘pupil voice’. I imagine many of your children have reported this to you over the past year.

We spoke to your children about the learning they had gained through the Theme Weeks and about their understanding of the four curriculum drivers: curiosity, collaboration, perseverance and autonomy – and also about their enjoyment of the subjects taught through the topics. The children spoke to us of how the school trips supported what they were learning in school.

The children’s love of learning is evident in the way they speak about their work – but also it is clear that they really appreciate their school. They are not afraid of challenge or hard work – indeed they seem to relish it.

Through these visits, we are able to report that the new curriculum is certainly beginning to be embedded and that staff know how to take this forward next year.

Another aspect of our work is to examine, with Wendy and Jo, the achievement and progress data of all the children in the school. We are able to ask questions about particular outcomes – and to identify trends. So at the final Full Board of Governors meeting in July, with Wendy and Jo, we were able discuss the good end of year results that had been achieved from the clearly validated evidence gathered over the year. There has been strong and rapid progress. From that pleasing position, we have been able to agree the priorities for school improvement for next year.

One of the governors agreed to monitor attendance data with the staff in the school office this year. This was reported at appropriate intervals to the Full Board of Governors – and we have seen some improvement in attendance this year.

So it is well done to all of your of course!

Ofsted aside, a key part of our support for the school this year has centred on how we will achieve the vision and strategic direction of the school (this is on the website). We will be sharing where we are on this with you at the meeting on 18 September. Our commitment to the vision, and to the recruitment of good teachers, underpins our strategy for the future.

Other things to celebrate are the popularity of the school as evidenced by the high numbers of parents and carers who wanted their children to attend BPS. I know that we are no longer seen to be rather isolated, and are a positive preference for families in the city. Staff and governors are now closely linked with schools in the Hove cluster, and more broadly across the city and beyond. We share good practice in much of what we do – and we learn from each other.

And of course I must congratulate the PTA on the amazing work they have done in supporting our school. The effort to raise funds – and the sum raised –for the exciting bank development is stunning! I have already thanked the PTA through Caroline, Jo and Olivia – but the ongoing engagement of parents and carers (and their friends and families) is really appreciated.

I hope we will see the work begin next term.

Finally I would like to thank again Wendy and Jo, the teachers and all staff at the Bilingual Primary School for their commitment, positive attitude and their enthusiasm for their work. These make all the difference to the children. I also want to repeat my thanks to all the parents and carers, and voluntary helpers, who make an effort to enrich the children’s experience in the school. This is greatly appreciated by us, the children and staff.

With best wishes

Maggie Carroll
Chair of the Board of Governors


 

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