Governor Update - Spring 2016

Welcome to our new governors

In  Autumn 2015 we had an election for 2 parent governors and received over 100 votes for our 5 candidates. As a result we welcomed Louis McCalla and Danny Salmon to our board, who bring with them valuable experience from their backgrounds in IT and Policing. The co-opted governor position was given to Dragan Jaksic who works for a large multinational and specialises in IT in education and Nicki Read has joined us as an associate (non-voting) member bringing with her experience in finance and special educational needs. Consequently we now have a full complement of governors with a broad range of skills to help the school develop.

Assessment without levels  Graph

2015/16 marks the first year that schools in the UK are operating a new scheme to move away from level assessment towards a new system that looks at Age Related Expectations (ARE). Children will be measured on their coverage of the curriculum using a banding system that looks at what they have learned that year. (0-33% = Emerging, 34-65% = Developing, 66%+ = Secure). In the absence of government targets at this stage, we have set an aspirational goal for 85% of children to have reached a secure level of coverage by the end of the year. In addition, children will be measured on their depth of understanding using mastery ratings in individual objectives. To help teachers monitor and share children’s progress a new software system has been installed. This is already proving invaluable in generating a clear and accurate view of achievement and will enable us to continuously improve in the new environment.

2014/15 RAISE results

One of our key focus areas for last year was to improve the children’s writing scores, which includes composition, sentence structure and flow. The official results for the school have now been published and demonstrate that we made very good progress in writing, moving up from 79th percentile to 45th percentile vs other schools. Phonics and KS1 trend was also above average, demonstrating that where we focus, we achieve. For this year we are continuing our work on writing and focusing on English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (EGPS). In addition we are looking to see an improvement in Mathematics, especially to increase the depth of understanding in the new assessment scheme.

Re-verification of dyslexia award

We recently had our dyslexia award re-verified, demonstrating that the school has maintained its facilities and approach to helping such children over several years. This is a good demonstration that the processes we have in place are effective at sustaining past progress over a period of time.

Academy status  Mortar

Many of you will have heard that the government has announced that all schools must become academies (or have a plan to become one) by 2020. We believe there are some benefits to being an academy, especially if we can choose our own path. To this end the school has been working more closely with other local schools this year to see what would be the best path for us in future and which, if any, Multi Academy Trust (MAT) would suit us. Another much discussed aspect of the government’s plan has been to remove the role of parent governor. However this does not mean that we will not be able to have governors who are parents. We are very lucky at Lawn Primary School to have 7 parents who are governors (of which 4 are parent governors voted for by parents), all of whom bring strong skills and support to the governing body.

KS1 Toilet refurbishment

We allocated budget this year to replace and renew the Key Stage 1 toilets and this work has now been completed providing a more hygienic and odour free environment!

IT Infrastructure upgrade

We have developed a multi-year budget plan to renew and update the schools IT infrastructure to provide a foundation for future growth and development of teaching approaches. The first part of this plan is now being implemented which includes renewing the schools WiFi to give better coverage, increasing the onsite network speed, replacing the staff server and renewing staff laptops to reduce workload. We will also significantly increase the school’s broadband speed to enable whole classes to access better content on the web simultaneously. Looking ahead we have plans to gradually swap over the existing whiteboard/projector system for a more modern approach using large touch screens.

Web site

The new web site went live in March and as you may have seen we are having some teething issues with it, with missing links and part built pages. We are working closely with the company who developed this for us to make changes and improve the site and believe that once complete it will be a step up from our prior system.

Office automationPCBook

To improve the experience for parents and reduce the office staff workload we are moving towards a cashless system. The first step here was to introduce a way for all parents to order their child’s meals online – either via PC, mobile phone or using the PC in the school foyer. This is now complete and all parents should be using this method to order meals. The next step will be to introduce online payment for meals enabling parents to pay via debit, credit or top-up cash card. Later in the year we will move all other payments onto this system which should streamline the process of paying for dinners, events and school items for everyone. Please help us to make this a success by signing up and using the system regularly.