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.