8th December 2014
Read Vice Chair of Governors, Jeff Martin’s, letter detailing the ongoing process of the School’s Travel Plan. So far parents and carers have met on three occasions to share views and feedback, since which two risk assessments have been carried out. For further information see the letter in full, attached.
Yesterday, I arrived in School to find an invitation on my desk:
How could I resist? At 2:00pm I went to the play deck entrance to find the terribly excited Reception pupils ready to watch me cut the ribbon. Everyone in the School heard the countdown 10, 9, 8…1 Hurrah! All the pupils had the chance to explore the wooden play blocks, the media centre, construction, hoops and bean bags and a course for twisting and turning.
Janet led an assembly on what bullying really is – how it is persistent and cruel and what we need our pupils to do to keep themselves and each other safe.
Assessments across the School have been completed this week for phonics, high frequency words, reading, writing and mathematics. We are looking forward to seeing how the teaching has ensured that pupils have made demonstrable progress.
Children in Need
Thank you for your generosity in sending in money that will be sent to the BBC appeal. Our superheroes – pupils and staff, thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Paradigm Trust Conference
The Year 3 pupils, 2 parents and our Governors joined all the staff at Solebay at our yearly Conference. This gave everyone an opportunity to find out more about the Trust and our vision. The Solebay group worked together on our School Values and then our staff had further training in EYFS and Mathematics Mastery.
Drop off and collection
Thank you to those of you who gave your views, opinions and comments regarding our arrangements. The Travel Plan group have been meeting a wide range of stakeholders and developing clear risk assessments in order to prepare the Travel Plan by 9th December.
Two out of the three Parent Governors have now had an induction session with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Governors. The next LGB meeting is on 3rd December.
Hook day (years 1, 2 and 3)
The wet weather hampered our educational visit looking for human and physical features in the Local Area, but we finally got to make our way to Victoria Park. The pupils were very excited about being ‘out and about’.
The play deck
The Trust decided to pay to prepare the play deck for the Reception pupils, so that we can deliver the expectations of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. There are further discussions still happening with Wilmott Dixon, and within the Board of Directors, to find a lasting solution to the workmanship issues.
Tahreena led the Assembly explaining the importance and relevance of remembering those who give their lives in conflicts.
Janet has spoken in Assembly on how we can keep ourselves safe when in School.
Our marketing and branding partners have taken a whole host of images to reflect what happens in our School so that we can build a useful website that showcases our School community and the education we provide.
The result of the election is that Angela Kunjiraman and Adam Redgrove have been elected Parent Governors. I have congratulated both and the current Governors look forward to welcoming them to the next meeting of Solebay’s Governing Body. I have also thanked Rachel Baliddawa and Michael Paulin for standing for election.
Michael, who received significant parent/carer support, has asked if the Board of Paradigm Trust would consider appointing him as a Governor. The Board can decide, if it so wishes, to co-opt a person to be a Governor where, in its opinion, that person has the skills required to strengthen the Governing Body. The Board is meeting next Tuesday, 18th and I will raise this at that meeting and report to you on the outcome.
I am delighted to inform you that the Paradigm Board of Directors resolved, at its meeting last night, to co-opt Michael Paulin as a Governor of the school.
It was a condition of planning permission being granted, for the change of use of 11, Solebay Street from a warehouse to a two-form entry primary school, that within 3 months of occupation for the permitted use (i.e. by 9th December 2014, when the school opened), we review, complete and submit to the local planning authority the school’s travel plan. As you know, Paradigm Trust only took control of the school on 1st September 2014 but Local Authority officers have told us that it is not possible to extend this deadline.
The travel plan covers a number of initiatives concerned with encouraging safe and healthy means of travel, in particular initiatives to encourage pupils to walk, cycle and use public transport and to reduce the use of cars to travel to and from school. This is necessary to comply with Tower Hamlets’ requirements and government policy.
We have a number of steps to complete before the 9th December filing deadline.
We have met on three occasions a group of parents and carers and have listened to their views and we have received a petition signed by a number of you. We have met Local Authority officers responsible respectively for School Travel Plans and for Transport & Highways (one meeting with the officers was attended by the group of parents and carers) and we have talked to rangers in Mile End Park.
This week, we conducted surveys involving pupils and staff respectively and we have received your written comments regarding any travel or transport issues, for which many thanks. We need to seek views from a number of other people including the Police/Safer Neighbourhoods Officer, the Head of Arts and Parks at Mile End Park and representatives of local businesses and residents’ associations.
As I mentioned, in my letter to you dated 5th November 2014, the safety of our pupils, your children, is paramount. Part of the work we are doing on the travel plan, involves re-examining all of the risks associated with: (1) the current drop-off and collection arrangements and (2) drop-off and collection at the school’s entrances. These risk assessments will include a consideration of the steps that can reasonably be taken to reduce any of the identified risks.
Work on drafting the travel plan is progressing. The plan has to cover a description of the school (including pupil and staff numbers, hours of operation and facilities), its location (roads, nearby residential housing, commercial enterprises etc.), the school catchment area (i.e. the distances our pupils live from the school), the nearest public transport links, the Trust’s ethos, the school’s policies and practice to promote healthy living, personal safety and sustainable transport (i.e. what we can and will do to discourage use of cars for environmental reasons, namely to reduce congestion and save money on parking and petrol), the results of surveys and consultations we have carried out and it will set out detailed, measureable, targets (to reduce use of cars and to promote healthier forms of travel to and from school). We also have to identify who will be responsible for monitoring progress against the targets and reviewing the plan going forward.
We are making good progress but we still have some way to go. Our timetable is:
- Week commencing 17th November: complete consultation.
- Week commencing 24th November: complete work on the risk assessments and drafting.
- Week commencing 1st December: Governing Body meeting to review and approve the revised travel plan (including the risk assessments).
- 8th December 2014: file the revised travel plan with the local planning department, for final approval.
We will report to you on the outcome in due course.
Artwork from the Year 3 Art and Design project is proudly displayed in the front entrance. You will all receive a postcard momento.
Assemblies began this week. The entire School comes together each day.
- Monday – Reba brings attention to topical issues across the World;
- Tuesday/Wednesday – Anna-Marie conducts whole School singing assembly;
- Thursday – Janet is leading on safety issues such as road safety, water safety, safety in the home and so on;
- Friday – Tahreena will award Star Pupils and attendance certificates and then focus on British Values and Festivals.
Assessments across the School will start next week. This will enable us to be able to tell you exactly how much progress your child/ren has/ve made since we started teaching them.
Attendance – congratulations to 1R for best attendance this week! Well done!
Building progress has been slow and disappointing. We expect the highest standards of finish and this has not been reached yet. The playdeck is still not open as there are health and safety concerns and management issues. We are in discussions with the DfE and Wilmott Dixon. We are also exploring all other solutions. Year 1 have moved to the second floor.
Conference – the School is closed on Monday to most pupils. All the staff, the Year 3 pupils and the parent/ carer Governor nominees have been invited to attend Paradigm Trust’s yearly conference.
The core knowledge document for the Year 1 and 2 Geography topic will be sent to you next week. This is to help you work with your child/ren on what they need to know/learn about the Local Environment. Year 1, 2 and 3 pupils will take a canal walk to hook them into their learning next week.
Half term homework and teaching was completed and attended by most pupils. This really helps pupils to either catch up or keep on top of what they need to practice or consolidate. 12/13 pupils in Year 1 had x2 mornings in School over half term.
Governance – the election for the two parent/carer Governors is underway and you shall know next week who has been elected. The Local Governing Body (LGB) met last night to address all elements of effective Governance.
Letters/ communication – are sent home regularly via the book bags – please look, read, check!
Parent/ carer consultations – will happen after we have completed and analysed a wide range of assessments. You will be offered a ten to fifteen minute slot during the day to hear about your child’s progress.
- 08/12/14 – Year 1 Blue
- 09/12/14 – Year 1 Red
- 10/12/14 – Reception Red and Blue
- 11/12/14 – Year 2 Red
- 12/12/14 – Year 2/3 Blue
If you require an appointment outside the School day you will be able to organise this with your child’s teacher.
The School Nurse team visited this week to review the medication, storage, training and application. Some of you may receive telephone calls to review your child/ren’s need/s.
Star Pupils have been identified this week and twelve pupils will receive Star pupil cards through the post.
Staffing – two new class teachers have been appointed. Welcome to Louise (Year 1 Blue) and to Carmel (Year 2/3 Blue). Both teachers are committed to long term placements, are enthusiastic and capable and Tahreena and Janet are working alongside them every day. Stacey has done a good job teaching in Year 2/3 Blue, however she was never going to be the class teacher as she releases teachers across the School for their preparation, planning and assessment time. Mohamed has left Year 1 as he needed to move back home; we have replaced the teaching assistant in Year 1.
Travel plan working party – much work is being done in order to submit the Travel Plan by 9th December 2014 by parents/ carers, Governors and staff. Meetings are continuing in order to enable discussion and to debate issues.
Website imaging and photography for other purposes – this will happen regularly, such as video shoots at Solebay for enhancing the website next Thursday during the day. Please ensure your child/ren is/are in their full uniform.
The Winter concert will take place on Thursday 18th December. The time is to be confirmed.
You will have received my letter dealing specifically with the process to elect two Parent Governors and I, and the other Governors, look forward to the outcome.
As you would expect, our attention has been and will continue to be focussed on those areas that Ofsted identified as requiring improvement, in its report last February and its letter following the monitoring visit last May. The most important of these is improving the rates of progress of the pupils who were in the (predecessor) School when these inspections took place. Our teaching staff are making considerable efforts towards ensuring all our pupils progress at least at the rate expected Nationally.
Another bit of good news is that last week our new management information system was delivered to the School. The IT system is used to record essential information about all our pupils and it makes it much easier to track the rates of progress of each of them. The job of entering accurately all the necessary data is nearly complete.
There have been three meetings with a group of parents/carers about the drop-off and collection arrangements at Mile End Park and I should add that we were grateful that they came to discuss such matters with us. We have been told that a large number of you are concerned about risks to both safety and health associated with these arrangements. Rest assured, the safety and well-being of the pupils at our School are paramount. In fact, the current arrangements were established because of concerns about the risks to the safety of the pupils posed by a drop-off/collection arrangement outside the School’s entrances and, in particular, road safety.
We decided that the proper course of action is to re-examine all of the risks (including those mentioned to us) associated with: (1) the current arrangements and (2) drop- off/collection at the School entrance(s). This includes, and would impact if implemented, on the safe and orderly management of the School.
We are making enquires that might throw light on how probable it is that the matters, giving rise to some of these risks, are likely to happen. We are also considering (with others such as LBTH Traffic & Highways) whether there are practical things that could be done to seek to reduce the level of certain risks to an acceptable leave – as it will not be possible to remove them entirely.
Part of the work that we are doing on this and in reviewing the School’s draft Travel Plan will involve seeking information from a number of you. Please see the attached form, which asks for your comments.
As you will appreciate there is a lot of work involved but it is important, for obvious reasons, that whatever we decide to do, it is in the best interests of all the pupils at the School. We will be in touch with you as soon as we have completed the tasks.
In the meantime, Amanda and the teachers will be hard at work giving your children the education they deserve.
Chair of Governors