Mr Bates Blog – September 2016
Four weeks back at school and it’s like we’ve never been away! I hope that you had a good Summer – I’m pretty sure that I saw at least one of you in St David’s, West Wales, in the holiday (queueing for an ice cream) and we certainly couldn’t complain about the weather.
Over the break we have had works undertaken to the front face of the Junior school building which had various issues including guttering (blocked and broken), soffits (asbestos) and timber (much of it rotten). The wooden panels have been replaced with Croesy blue tongue and groove strips that, unbelievably, are made of rock! As such, they should last well into the future and it should be the end to our rotting issues! We need to fix a couple of roof leaks in both buildings over the coming weeks and we are getting the drains surveyed and cleaned as this has been on ongoing problem on the whole site.
The push towards refurbishing the building is a conscious decision by the governors as it now appears clear that the school will be here for the foreseeable future (the plan to close Llanyravon and this school and replace with a new build on the Comprehensive site seems to have been shelved indefinitely). As such, we will look to spend approximately £30k a year on the building over the coming years, initially on the fabric of the building but working inwards, so hopefully you and your children will see improvements to the environment over the stretch.
School improvement / Seesaw / Dojo
Each year, we have a school improvement plan and this year’s plan is now in place and, in addition to the school building, we are working towards, in particular, higher order reading skills and IT (with a focus on using IT to control simple systems and on writing computer code).
I am also trying to free my own time up to spend more time on school issues such as improving the electronic communication with parents. As such, I am limiting my Estyn inspector work, have dropped working as a Challenge Advisor for the region, have turned down the opportunity to be a ‘Pioneer’ school and have resigned as chair of the Torfaen Head Teachers’ Association! (all of which should mean you should see a bit more of me!) This is about spending all of my time on this school and a priority for me is sharing more with you about our school, our challenges and also celebrating what is going well here!
The website still needs some work and I’ll be able to share with you soon the progress so you’ll be able to use this place to go for all info on the school that you might need. Next week, Year 5 and Ms Francis are looking to start up our own news publication (yes our own mini team of journalists!) so this should be with you in the near future so you can see more about the children in class and some of the activities that happen in the school.
On this note, whilst Seesaw and Class Dojo have been fabulous successes, I’d ask that that any contentious issues are not put onto these 2 apps. Please keep anything more involved that you’d like to discuss with a teacher or myself, to the more usual lines of communication – call the office, speak to a teacher or get in touch with me. This will also help our teachers and the work life balance of staff who do need to have time outside of the school too.
We’ve also been discussing the idea that all the pupils that pass through the school should have certain ‘life’ experiences; perhaps going to a beach, flying a kite, going to a sporting fixture, climbing a mountain etc. Many of the children will experience many of these things already with their parents / carers and we’d really like to provide this for everyone. Good idea? If so, what would you include? Let me know at email@example.com. Alternatively, join us in the staffroom at 5.00p.m on Wed 9th November to discuss this and any other school issues that you would like addressed or discussed at the Annual Parent Governor Meeting. You’re very welcome to come along!
If you want a copy of the School Improvement Plan, I will happily send it to you as an attachment. Likewise, any clever ideas for school improvement are always welcome.
On a personal note…..
…the full beard has gone and the flip-flops are put away for another year! I had a great summer holiday and was lucky enough to go to a couple of festivals during the summer- you’re never too old!
The children are back and well into the school routine and we’re all looking forward to this term, the school trips and to more success for our local school.
All the best – SB (29/09/2016)