PARKDALE NEWS & VIEWS
News & Views from the Head’s Office
Welcome to the new school year! It is great to be back and to be able to run school in a more normal way than we have become used to. A particular welcome to any newcomers, including new admissions to Reception and our brand new Nursery.
Thanks to all who have so kindly asked about my health. The shingles rash is clearing up nicely, but I’m left with quite a bit of nerve pain and bouts of extreme tiredness, that I’m told will possibly last for months. Lovely. I’ll try my best to be here and fully functioning as much as possible!
Here’s to a super year…
After School Clubs
You will have received an invitation to complete a form applying for a place in our new Multi-Sports Clubs which start next week. Places are limited to 20 per club. If your child does not get a place this half-term, they will be prioritized in the next one. The aim is that every child has the chance to attend at least one half-term per year, hopefully more!
Text and App Communications
We are trying to cut down on these as they become very expensive and we would like to save money to spend on other priorities to make school even better or the children. We encourage you to use the Scholarpack app, which costs us nothing to use and now seems to be fully functioning after some early teething problems.
P.E Kit 2021
A quick bit of ‘market-research’ suggests the children are loving coming to school in PE kit. Some have already realized that they are getting much more actual PE time. Others are pleased to have less to carry to and fro and less to lose! Some children, who found changing stressful, either for the general commotion and fussing or the having to undress around others, are particularly happy. A definite win!
Just to clarify as a ‘cut-n-paste’ error from me led some to believe that only black trainers were acceptable (my apologies): The Uniform Policy remains unchanged from that first agreed published; black or white are fine.
Friday 17th September is an INSEt Day – school is closed for staff training on Diversity.
OUR SCHOOL DAY
We appreciate that the first day of our new system wasn’t quite as smooth as anyone would have liked. We all survived though! Things seem to be running very smoothly now and we thank you for your feedback, suggestions and co-operation. It’s great to be seeing so many children here lovely and early to cram in more learning and more fun!
…and a reminder from our Pastoral and Attendance Team that the school day officially now starts at 8:45, so any arrival in class after that is late. The (second) bell goes at 8:40.
With the arrival of the new website, we feel able to ‘let go’ of our Facebook Group. That was set up really to get us through Covid and the torrent of information around that and it served that purpose really well. I think it also played a part in keeping the community together. More recently, it has perhaps lost its way a little bit. There have been some unacceptable negative comments about individual members of staff and the running of the school in general. A lot of staff, myself included, were beginning to suffer with anxiety around this as there was quite a lot of passive-aggressive posting (and a small amount of just aggressive!). It is easy enough to suggest that this is just ignored, but when these posts are popping up on your timeline in holidays, evenings and weekends, it is not so easy. We can’t just leave them hanging there unanswered either. So… we have made a tactical withdrawal. The group will be ‘frozen’ rather than totally deleted. This way we can re-assess in future and revive it if it becomes necessary.
Of course, there has always been a lot of positive posting and mutual support and we recognise that and thank you for it. We’ve really tried our best to be there for you and you have been great.
Upwards and onwards… We’ll do our very best to make the website relevant and informative and to still get as much information and news to you as we can. Each year group will have a little update of their own in the new Newsletter too, so you’ll know what’s going on there. There will be a full Newsletter fortnightly, with a shorter bulletin of reminders in between. Remember, we’re still on Twitter too.
We don’t rest on our laurels. Every year, we have to publish a School Improvement Plan, with a number of big, overall priorities. Then, each subject has its own development plan too. Our 4 main priorities for this year or shown on the graphic below. Staff will be focused on achieving these.
We are expecting OfSTED at some point. We have to maintain a self-evaluation against OfSTED’s standards and genuinely think we tick all the boxes for Outstanding. That is what we will be going for. It won’t be easy. The gradings have changed a lot in the last two or three years and Outstanding is certainly harder to come by. Of course, schools that got Outstanding under the old rules mostly have never been re-inspected (some now approaching nearly 20 years!) so have been able to hang onto that no problem. One real challenge will be that we have to show Outstanding results in national tests in the last three years. Of course, there haven’t been any for the last two! Our results certainly are Outstanding, over the past 5 or 6 years in fact, but much depends on whether OfSTED will risk upgrading us based on our own internal test results during Covid.
If your child is in Reception or Key Stage 1, they are entitled to a free school meal automatically. However… if you are on certain benefits you can still apply for your child to also receive the Pupil Premium. We need this! It is anonymous and there is no stigma. Lots of our pupils are entitled to it.
If you even think you might be entitled, please ask us. We can even help with the application, which is very simple and almost instant.
We receive additional funding for children eligible for Pupil Premium and this really contributes to what we can offer in school, not least of which being that all educational visits are free to Pupil Premium children and the Y5/6 residentials are heavily subsidised.
Who can apply?
You may qualify for free school meals if your child attends a Nottinghamshire County Council School and you receive one of the certain benefits.
Full details are available here:
IN OTHER NEWS…
We are changing our delivery of swimming. A review suggests that we have not been doing as well as we would have liked. We find ourselves left with too many non- swimmers by Year 5. There is a national expectation that all children can swim 25 m by the end of Primary and we are not achieving this. We’re not even really close.
So, a new plan. Swimming will start in Y4, not Y3. Y4 will go for a longer, more sustained block, in the hope that this will bring better results. Y5s who cannot achieve 25m will be expected to go swimming at some point later in the year to try to address this. We appreciate that this means a delay for the current Y3, but they will not get any less swimming -they’ll get twice as much in Y4 – and we think they’ll do better. In place of swimming, they will get more ‘other’ PE.
YEAR 3 REMINDERS
Y3 – PE days are Tuesday and Thursdays. Homework (spellings and times tables) Thursday
A very warm welcome to our new children and their families in Blossoms, our brand new Nursery provision
YEAR 5 REMINDERS
Y5 – Parent/carer meeting for the residential, 3:30 (ish), Tuesday 14th September. A letter has already gone out.
YEAR 4 REMINDERS
4 Poplar – PE days are Tuesdays and Thursdays
Y4 – Homework (arithmetic and spellings) set on Tuesdays
YEAR 2 REMINDERS
Y2 – PE Mondays and Wednesdays – a reminder to remove ear studs or make arrangements for a plaster to cover them, please.