** Notes for Parents ** Thank you and Farewell to Andy Ellam
Published: 08 February 2017
We welcomed a number of new faces around the table and - in his absence - said farewell to Andy Ellam. He has been a fantastic and diligent servant to the school as governor and chair of the finance committee as well as applying his IT expertise to support the school in both developing IT strategy and helping implement systems.
We wish Andy all the best and thank him for all his hard work.
We reviewed the report from the Resources Committee (the newly combined Finance and Premises Committees) and noted the continued pressure on the school’s finances. This year’s budget round is likely to see further funding cuts. Though every year we look to do more with less, this is becoming increasingly challenging.
The school is looking for other ways to increase revenue. Once management arrangements for the new hall are sorted out that should lead to rental income opportunities. In addition, the School Fund appeal will be going out shortly (which you are most encouraged to support if you are in a position to do so) and we can look at other ways to learn from other cluster schools in terms of sharing costs for support services and through Merton’s shared procurement initiatives. Sustainable funding is one of the key areas of concern for the Governors.
In terms of the seemingly endless building work, the playground should finally re-open on 10 February and the MUGA soon after, once works to rectify ‘puddling’ have been concluded. Inevitably, there is a long snagging list to sort out and further work will take place in the school over the half term break.
Merton Educational Partner Report
The meeting went on to review the report of the Merton Educational Partner in some depth. This is an independent professional view of the school’s performance. It challenges and supports the Senior Management Team’s self-evaluation of its performance against the school strategic plan. Although the content is Confidential, encouragement was taken from the continued progress of the school against the plan and recognition of high quality teaching.
School Development Plan update
That report set the backdrop for the Headteacher’s report on progress against the School Development which touched a number of areas:
·Staff survey results. The most unifying motivating factor for all is seeing children’s progress and there was total unanimity that the school strives for excellence, with a high percentage willing to recommend the school to others as a place to work. Other points taken from the survey include the need to be mindful of staff well-being; the job is a stressful and demanding one.
·Writing. The continued focus on writing has seen a range of measures being implemented, including working with the six other primary schools in the local cluster to attain a consistent understanding of what constitutes above-, at- and below- age related expectations. We discussed how the children feel about writing as an activity; maintaining their excitement and enthusiasm whilst recognising the curriculum assessment needs. The Governing Body was conscious of its continuing wish to see Dundonald deliver a ‘whole child’ education rather than excluding non-assessed activities to game the assessment system.
·Behaviour. Much work has been done on behaviour, including improved recording systems to provide better quality data and creating a range of activities and supervisory measures to improve behaviour at lunch times.
·The ever thorny topic of school meals. The Headteacher is working with the Council's providers to improve the quality of provision. Those providers will be meeting with the School Council soon to get further feedback from the children directly.
·Parental involvement in learning. The ‘Shared Learning’ days last week on Wednesday and Friday were well supported. The format offers a useful way, along with the new format parent teacher consultations, for parents to get involved with and contribute to their children’s education.
·EYFS. The new systems and processes for early years in their new building continue to bed down well.
Governor of the Month ‘Learning Walk’
To support Governor engagement with the school, we operate a ‘Governor of the Month’ scheme. Two or three governors each month come into school for a morning on a structured learning walk, devised by Mrs Waters. This includes a discussion of a particular aspect of the school’s work, followed by visits to classrooms to see how the School Plan is implemented in practice. Last month, the focus of the visit was on ‘Writing’ and ‘Metacognition’ (“thinking about one's thinking” – yes, I had to Google it too…) and included a meeting with the School Council and seeing pupil voice and responsibility in action across the year groups. On Early Years, the Governors present commented, “It was striking to see how well adapted the new environment was considering 80 children are now in Early Years.”
Enjoy your half term break!
Chair of Governors
Published: 27 January 2017
Thank you to all parents that attended the Year 2 SATs Information Workshop
. We hope that you found the workshop helpful and informative.
Please click here
for a printable pdf version of the presentation.
Published: 25 January 2017
We are proud to be supporting Safer Internet Day
We will hold a whole school assembly about online safety and run special workshops in class. There will as well be a competition to design an online safety related screensaver for the school laptops.
Published: 24 January 2017
Thank you to all EYFS parents that attended the workshop 'Developing Early Numeracy Skills' that was held by Jane Wheatley (Assistant Headteacher/EYFS). Please click on the picture below for a printable pdf version of the presentation.
Published: 24 January 2017
Thank you to all Year 6 parents that attended the KS2 SATs workshop.
Please click here
for a printable pdf version of the presentation that was held by Mr McGavin (Assistant Headteacher Upper School).
Wednesday 11th January 2017 (7.45am and 9am)
Published: 05 January 2017
KS2/Year 6 SATs/Transition WorkshopThe workshop will cover the structure and content of SATs and how you can help your child prepare. We will also be discussing the school's transition programme for children to prepare them for Year 7 and secondary school.
Wednesday 18th January 2017 (7.45am and 9am)
EYFS Maths WorkshopWednesday 25th January 2017 (7.45am and 9am)
KS1/Year 2 SATs Workshop
Tuesday 28th February 2017 (7.45am and 9am)
PSHE WorkshopMonday 12th June 2017 (time tbc)
CHILDNET Online Safety Workshop
All workshops will take place in the hall upstairs. Please sign in when you enter the hall.
Published: 07 December 2016
We tested an unusual format this week at our half-termly Governors meeting. As we have been through a period of reconstituting and reorganising the Governing Body to best meet the school’s changing needs, we are focussing on improving the pipeline of potential new governors. On Tuesday, we were joined (for the first half of our meeting) by half a dozen highly skilled, passionate and curious potential candidates as part of a renewed succession and induction process.
One key skill that we need to replace is George Stokes who has stepped down after over 6 years of service as a school governor. George has taken the lead in overseeing the School’s management of safeguarding issues and has established the school’s reputation as setting best practice in this area. It’s not a glamorous role or one that we discuss much – but it is a key part of delivering our responsibility to the children entrusted to the school’s care. We thank George for all of his hard work and quietly excellent contribution.
In the first half of our meeting we reviewed progress in implementing the School Development Plan (‘SDP’) – and as ever, there has been a lot going on. ·Surveys have been conducted of both pupils and staff to inform the continuing development of the SDP;·The new Vision and Mission statements have been finalised and are about to be rolled out to the school community;·Work continues on reinforcing and integrating the ‘thinking school’ and ‘growth mindset’ work across the whole curriculum.
The key committees reported back:
·Personnel committee had been appraised of the changes in the school’s staff complement and the increasingly important role of the Teaching and Learning Assistants. The Pay sub-committee had spent time reviewing the assessment of pay awards to fulfil our duty of ensuring the school’s finances are properly managed.
·Finance continued its review of the school’s financial position. We remain in a position of marginal (as in, ‘tiny’) surplus – every penny is watched and carefully spent.
·Teaching & Learning had spent time in deep review of the academic attainment and performance data with Head and Deputy Headteacher. Using that data, the school is able to adjust resources and create specific strategies to ensure every child’s needs are addressed.
·Premises continues to mop up the practical problems left behind by the Council-run building project over the summer. The snagging list runs to over 200 items. Eventually that list will be cleared down. In addition, the school will submit bids for funding to refurbish two of the unmodernised classrooms next year.
In the second half of the meeting, we dealt with the adoption of a number of policies, as required legally. Much of the legwork on these policies is done in the various committees – and it is hard, painstaking work. At the Full Governors’ meeting, we get a chance to debate some of the bigger issues that arise from the policies – all of which can be found on the school website and are commended to you.
Key policies discussed included:
·Behaviour – as we integrate the Rights Respecting School approach into all of the school’s activities, we will see a move from ‘Golden Rules’ and ‘manners’ to using Rights Respecting based language. Importantly, the children are understanding this language well and adopting the concepts.
·Anti-Bullying – we discussed what ‘bullying’ means and what the school does about it. Reported incidents of bullying are low – though responses from the parent survey indicate a higher level of incidence. This week was ‘Anti Bullying week’, during which this topic has been discussed throughout the school.
·Others discussed include Pay, Child Protection and Safeguarding, and Early Years.
As part of our review of data, we discussed how few eligible Dundonald parents complete the paperwork that allows the school to access extra funding to support their children’s specific requirements. We have asked the school to look at ways to highlight the availability of Pupil Premium funding and ways of making it easier for eligible parents to apply.
It would be remiss not to highlight the fantastic achievement of appearing in the Sunday Times Top Primary Schools survey. (56th= in England). That is a tremendous accolade and recognition of years of hard work by the school’s teaching staff and leadership. However, as a word of caution, the kind of ‘snapshot’ data of a single age group that creates these kind of surveys doesn’t reflect the phenomenal job done by the teaching staff providing a ‘whole child’ education at all age groups – regardless of whether that happens to be the chosen measurement of the month. It is also difficult to repeat year in, year out when the data sample size is so small, so a pinch of salt is required, please!
Lastly, do join me and all your Governors in raising a glass of Christmas cheer to all of the teachers and staff at Dundonald. We wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone in the Dundonald community.
Chair of Governors
Published: 06 December 2016
During Anti-Bullying Week the new Anti-Bullying leaflet for pupils was presented. It was written by members of the School Council 2015/16 after consultation with all classes.
Published: 30 November 2016
All parents/carers were invited to attend the Anti-Bullying Workshop
on 29th November that was hold by Fiona Duffy (Headteacher).
Please find below a copy of the presentation.
Published: 19 October 2016
Thanks for attending the Literacy Workshop for Reception Parents
that was hold by Jane Wheatley (EYFS Assistant Headteacher) earlier this term. Please find enclosed the presentation for your information.