Our Table Tennis Squad travelled to Eggbuckland College, in Plymouth on 11th November, for our first ever Table Tennis Tournament. We took a squad of four boys – Jack, Sam, Ethan and Lucas– and a squad of four girls – Jess, Talia, Charlotte and Chloe, who have been getting increasingly involved in Table Tennis within the school. They played against four other primary schools, who even had some children in National Table Tennis teams.
It was a very difficult competition for our squad and the tournament provided them all with the opportunity to really improve and develop. As the day progressed they began to win more sets and even some games against opposing schools. Their continual progression over the day resulted in the boys’ squad drawing against their final school, Stover, and the girls’ squad winning against St Peters.
On the second day of our visit, each school had prepared a lesson to teach to the four grades about their country. We introduced the children to Broadclyst Community Primary School and showed them a video as well as lots of photos. The children were fascinated by the range of sports that the children in year 5 and 6 take part in, as well as the amount of technology we have.
As Volksschule only has 58 pupils, with around 14 in each class, the children were also astounded by the amount of children in each class. We then talked about the UK and the children took part in a quiz to test their knowledge. Miss Farrant and I were very impressed with the amount of English the children knew; with the help of the Austrian teacher’s translation we were able to teach the children one of our Harvest songs.
Class 4LL had recorded ‘Do the Dough’ from this year’s Harvest Performance and the Austrian children joined in with actions. We are very much looking forward to Wednesday when we will have the opportunity to job shadow the Austrian teachers, and watch the art lessons which we will be bringing back to Broadclyst.
Bye for now!
Mrs Lees and Miss Farrant
After travelling from Vienna to Graz on Sunday, we met with the teachers from Austria, Denmark, Finland and France in the evening and got to know one another.
On Monday morning we made our first trip through the beautiful Styrian countryside to the Volksschule in Gutenberg. We had a welcome from the children from each of the four grades. They performed songs and dances and read in English to welcome us. There was also a boy from the third grade who played the accordion, which was fantastic! After this, we went to each of the classes and spoke to the children; they had made gifts and were very excited to have all of the different teachers in their school. The school day begins at 7.45 and finishes around 2.00. They have a similar structure to our day, however they go home for their lunch instead of having it at school. The school has 58 pupils in four grades and also has a large kindergarten. The pupils range from 6 to 10 years and all come from the surrounding countryside, in the village of Gutenberg. After meeting each of the children and spending time in their classrooms we then had a project meeting, to discuss how we would share findings and information from the project with other teachers in our schools.
On Monday afternoon we had a guided tour of the city of Graz, which is around 20 minutes from the school. The tour was fascinating and explained how the city had changed over the past 800 years. The city lies in a basin, surrounded by mountains, and there was once an important castle controlling the area. However, during the French revolution, Napoleon ordered the castle to be taken. With its high position over the city it was very difficult to attack and over 500 French lives were lost. When the castle was eventually taken, Napoleon decided, in revenge, that it should be destroyed. After paying a huge amount of money, the people were allowed to keep just the clock tower and bell tower, and this now remains.
We found the day fascinating and gained a real insight into both the school day and structure and also the local area. We are looking forward to the rest of our week!
Here is the video blog to accompany Day 1:
Today we were invited to observe English being taught in Grade 8, the eldest class in the school, by the English teacher Tekalign. We happily joined in with teaching a section of the lesson teaching the pupils about some of the features of a poem, and writing our own impromptu honey poem!!
In the afternoon we began our Broadclyst vs Bekumsa Biya Olympics with great success, taking the children of Grade 4 out to measure themselves completing a long jump and timing themselves running the 400m! We had brilliant time out on their sports field in the sunshine and the children all recorded scores for the children of Broadclyst to compete against when we come back to school next week!
This morning we completed our recordings for our Olympics, taking a Grade 3 class this time! The children of grade three, around 9 to 10 years old, also really enjoyed getting out and recording their times and distances!
At break time the students were setting up a Volleyball pitch and so we joined in playing Volleyball to great amusement of everyone, and before long most of the staff joined us for a game too!
We finished our time at the school catching up with the two new link co-ordinators, Debele and Tekalign, organising projects to continue throughout the year and planning possible projects that we could focus on in future years.
Mr Beevor & Miss Williams
Approval has been given for Broadclyst Primary Academy Trust to change status from a single trust that ran BCPS to a Multi Academy Trust in readiness for building and running the Digital Primary Academy, a second primary school due to open in 2016 nearby. This new trust is called the Cornerstone Academy Trust and its trustees are responsible for both schools.
The name change will have no impact on you or your child; Broadclyst Community Primary School will not be changing its name.
If you want to find out more about the new school, you are welcome to call in to any of the following sessions:
Tuesday 3rd November 9.30am – 11.30am
Wednesday 25th November 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Tuesday 1st December 6.00pm – 8.00pm
The new trust is also a designated teaching school, the Cornerstone Teaching School, which is responsible for the training of new teachers and the development of existing teachers across an alliance of schools regionally.
There are currently 13 trustees on the board, with a variety of different skills that will support in the strategic planning and efficient operation of the services delivered across both schools. These include the areas of financial accountability, HR services, admissions, ethos and strategic planning. Each school will have an additional local governing body that includes parents and staff and will focus on curriculum opportunities.
Broadclyst Community Primary School engaged Kirkland Rowell, for a second year, to conduct surveys of both pupils and parents in July 2015. The resulting reports measured levels of satisfaction among the pupils and their parents for a range of criteria which have been identified as being important to the parents of school pupils, as well as for the core subjects taught at the school. For the first time, teachers at the school were also surveyed.
240 completed questionnaires were returned representing a response rate of 94.9%, compared with 96.8% in the previous survey.
As last year, pupils awarded the highest scores for the delivery of computer access, library facilities and school discipline, and ‘Outstanding’ scores were also awarded for a further 16 criteria including community spirit, school facilities and caring teachers. Again, the only lower score was for levels of homework – because the school has a no-homework policy (see overleaf).
In additional criteria, pupils’ scores were judged as ‘outstanding’ in 17 of the 18 criteria, including e-safety, encouraging and listening to pupils’ views and the regular marking of work. The appropriate level of challenge in homework was judged ‘good’.
69 parents returned questionnaires, representing a response rate of 11.7%, a significant drop compared with 29.8% in the previous survey. However, these parents gave an excellent overall performance score - 94.0% (2% higher than in the previous survey).
Of the parents whose children were not in their first year at the school, 52% said the school had improved over the last year (14% more than the previous survey) and 5% thought that the school’s performance was worse (the same percentage as in the previous survey).
Of the parents of new pupils, 3% felt that the school had not lived up to their expectations (up 2%) while 71% said the school was better than they had expected it to be (up 7%).
Parents are most happy with suitable class sizes (judged ‘good’ last year), levels of homework (judged ‘attention advised’ last year, but parents now understand the no-homework policy) and out-of-school activities – almost all areas were judged as ‘outstanding’. They are relatively less satisfied with school facilities, happiness of child and social health education, but all of these were, nevertheless, judged ‘good’.
Throughout the survey, scores were measured as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ with no issues marked as requiring attention. The majority of parents’ comments were very positive. However, there was also some constructive feedback to which you can find Mr Bishop’s responses below.
Representative comments from parents
“The range and quality of the opportunities that you provide for learning are excellent and my child is always keen to go to school and talks excitedly about what he has done during the day.”
“We feel very lucky to have our children in such an amazing school! We love the range of opportunities available to the children, great facilities, wide range of after-school activities, fantastic dinner service and excellent standard of teaching.”
“I would just like to say my daughter has had a fantastic time at school this year. Miss Patchett has been absolutely brilliant and my daughter has grown in confidence and had such an enjoyable time in her class. She has learnt a lot and has improved in all areas of her school work. For me one of the most important things is that she is happy and she could not have been happier this year.”
“I am not sure that in some subjects my daughter is being stretched sufficiently. She often says she is spending time helping others on her table. I feel she should be improving herself.”
“Communication between school and parent has been particularly lax this year with letters/texts either not being sent at all or arriving last-minute.”
“I am concerned that this year a lot of what I would call the 'key' teachers are leaving. And there are a lot of new ones, some of which appear to have little experience. In my case, my child will have a new teacher for the second year running.”
Headteacher’s responses to issues raised
The school has always had a no-homework policy; we need to support children in their learning, and if they can’t do their homework, and their parents can’t always help, they are unable to complete it.
We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, enriching it with opportunities that develop the whole child, through 26 after-school activities. We also encourage a love of reading, and our library runs software that enables children to choose books with their parents. With work at school that really motivates the children, and the opportunity to access activities online that they can engage in at home, we recognise that parental involvement – doing supportive activities with their children, rather than assigned homework – is key.
The school currently offers 25 after-school enrichment activities three nights a week. These, combined with the many other activities that primary school-aged children are involved in outside school, extend and enrich the school curriculum and ensure that pupils enjoy a broad range of learning opportunities at school and at home without the need for more conventional homework tasks.
Parents can, using clear links on our website, be fully engaged in their children’s learning at home.
Our intention is always to send out notice of events or requirements in a timely manner, at least a week before. However, sometimes requests for a team, or other urgent opportunities, mean that our communications may be last-minute on occasion. In addition, the number of activities in which the school is involved can mean that a large number of messages will be sent at the same time. We appreciate that this is not ideal for all parents, but endeavour to be as communicative as possible.
Reaching a child’s full potential
The school has, over the past year, implemented a number of new assessments in light of the national curriculum changes that removed historic levels. These assessments look at children’s cognitive ability, perceptions and attitudes towards themselves as learners and towards school, and also at their progress in knowledge and understanding within specific subjects.
We have introduced a third parents’ evening this year, and the assessments that build a picture of the whole child are shared openly with all parents at all three events. This allows a good partnership between home and school, a partnership that ensures that each child has clear targets and his/her progress is tracked so that every one of them reaches their full potential.
The school endeavours not only to give children the knowledge that they need but also to develop key skills that will support lifelong learning. Such key skills cut across all subjects, and include literacy and numeracy but also good communication, problem-solving, helping others and teamwork. We therefore encourage children to work in teams to develop these skills in real-life situations. Life skills are fundamental to what BCPS offers – your child is still engaged in a learning process when collaborating with, or supporting, another child.
Changes to teaching staff
The school is proud to support teachers who want to further their careers, but this does mean that some of them leave to take up leadership roles elsewhere. We also support newly-qualified teachers and endeavour to encourage and inspire them to excel in this profession.
In addition, the last academic year saw a large number of our teachers leaving to have babies, and several who moved out of the area, leaving us with a greater need to change staff in the classroom than would be ideal.
We have taken steps to manage these issues better this year.
We have arrived successfully in Ethiopia, travelled to Nekemte and had our first day in school today! An eventful day catching up with the staff and organising our projects for the week before being chased off by a swarm of bees!!
We were lucky enough to enjoy some time in the library during an English reading lesson and took part in a coffee ceremony using coffee grown on the school grounds!
We'll be updating our blog throughout the week so stay tuned for further posts.
Hope everyone is enjoying Half-Term,
Mr Beevor and Miss Williams