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
Our second day in school was a really interesting one as we spent the morning observing the funeral of a local well respected woman of 92 years! It was a moving occasion that was very different from funerals in England.
After that we visited some of the local people in their houses and shared with them some local honey, which they had turned into a sweet drink. Debele, the school’s English teacher, showed us lots of different fruits that we eat at home, including: passion fruit, bananas, mango and anchote!
Finally we returned to school and recapped our phonics project from last year as Miss Williams delivered a phonics lesson to Grade 1 children.
All the best,
Mr Beevor and Miss Williams
BCPShas been awarded the British Council’s prestigious International School Award in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom.
The International School Award is a badge of honour for schools that do outstanding work in international education, such as through links with partner schools overseas. Fostering an international dimension in the curriculum is at the heart of the British Council’s work with schools, so that young people gain the cultural understanding and skills they need to live and work as global citizens.
Our international work includes teacher visits to schools in other countries, such as the trip to Ethiopia being undertaken in the October 2015 half-term by Mr James Beevor and Miss Bronnie Williams, and our Microsoft-supported annual Global Enterprise Challenge.
British Council Chief Executive, Sir Ciarán Devane, said: “The school’s fantastic international work has rightfully earned it this prestigious award. The International School Award is a great chance for schools to demonstrate the important work they’re doing to bring the world into their classrooms. Adding an international dimension to children’s education ensures that they are truly global citizens and helps prepare them for successful future careers in an increasingly global economy.”
The award is now available worldwide in countries such as India, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan as part of the Connecting Classrooms programme, which is delivered by the British Council and supported by the Department for International Development (DFID).
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:“Young people must be at the heart of our work to create a safer and more prosperous world for everyone and we need to ensure their voices are heard if we are to win the fight against global poverty. That is why I am delighted to celebrate the international work of Broadclyst School and the energy and passion of the young people involved.
“The International School Award is a great way of highlighting how young people have the potential to change things for the better. I’m sure that schools getting involved will be broadening the horizons of their students, which will not only help their careers but benefit their wider lives in the future.”
Around 5,000 International School Awards have been presented to successful schools in the UK since the scheme began in 1999.
We are launching an exciting opportunity for the children in year 6 to be part of a global enterprise community! From now until March 2016 they will be working on the GlobalEnterprise Challenge (GEC), a business enterprise project. You can follow their progress on the website, on Facebook and Twitter.
The children will be working in small teams learning basic business skills, putting their learning into a real-life context. In their groups, they will be designing a product and pitching their business plan to ‘The Dragons Den,’ a team of investors including Mr Bishop, Mr James and Mrs Rothery. If the children gain their start-up funding from the dragons they will be able to invest in materials to create their product.
The challenge includes product design, market research, manufacture and marketing, and encompasses many different elements of the curriculum. The exciting part is that not only will the teams be creating their own successful small business in school, they will be working as part of a larger international company, with many schools from around the world, discussing their ideas every step of the way using Yammer, email and Skype for Business.
We already have 21 schools from around the world taking part, from countries including Jamaica, Lebanon and India. There will be a winning team for the most successful final presentation. Last year, the winners - the bookmark team from R N Podar School, Mumbai, India - were rewarded with a trip to Seattle to meet Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s vice-president of education.
This project has been funded and supported by Microsoft, which has allowed it to go global, enabling
On Thursday we held a sponsered Dance-athon to raise money for the school Ethiopia Project. It was great fun, there was dancing going on all day long, and hopefully we will have raised lots of money.
Throughout the day, from 9.00am to 2.30pm each of the year groups had a session with Kari Brooks, the dance teacher learning the moves for the routine that they would perform as a whole school. At 3.00pm all of the children and staff gathered in the hall and after a few rehearsals they went through the whole routine. There is a clip on the school Facebook page and Twitter feed.
It was filmed by Hayley Burrows and will part of this week's BTV News. You can access it via ClickView.