Parent Forum Meeting 11.10.18
Attendees: Emma Evans (chair), Mrs Waddington, Bex Turner, Lydia Baker, Kaarina Ruta, Vicki Judd
- School catering
There has been feedback that children have been complaining that they are still hungry after having school dinners and that portion sizes have decreased. AW reassured that this should not be the case and gave a brief outline as to the lunchtime routine. The catering staff are employed by the Vale and not the school. They have recently incorporated a number of changes, namely the children helping themselves to the salad, fruit and bread and the removal of trays for key stage 2 children.
It was mentioned that the Vale are looking to get volunteers to help them assess school meals and it was suggested it may be a good idea to have representation for Sully School. VJ confirmed that she has already volunteered and agreed to report back to the forum.
Examples were given to AW of children’s complaints surrounding smaller portions in particular meatballs. AW is to monitor this.
ACTION POINT: VJ was asked to raise value for money. Are we paying the same as other schools in Wales? Are they using seasonal food?
AW to monitor portions.
- Sports and Clubs
LB asked why sports only seem to be available to year 5 and 6’s and more emphasis is placed on Netball as opposed to football. AW explained that it is mainly down to staff time and pitch space. It is above and beyond what is expected of teachers to give up their spare time to be able to offer more clubs to all years. They already run a rotational system between boys football for year 5 and year 6. Netball is open to boys and girls. Weather permitting the school operates a year group football session on the field. These sessions are self-refereed and if problems arise and behaviour untoward it is sometimes necessary to withdraw the privilege of lunchtime football on their allocated day.
BT asked if the daily mile was happening? AW confirmed that it has not been happening as often as the school would like. This is partially due to the start of the year being spent settling children into the routines of their new classes. However, it was agreed that this needed to be addressed and teachers reminded of its importance. AW said that it should not be called the daily mile as it does not happen on a daily basis but it should be a regular part of the week.
KR raised the issue of a lack of information regarding extra-curricular clubs. VJ and BT confirmed that they had received letters home and that notification had improved. It was suggested however that the clubs should be added to the curriculum letter. Popular clubs such as cookery which demand lower pupil numbers are being run on rotation to give all those who want to attend an opportunity to do so sometime throughout the year.
Discussion about sports kits particularly when representing the school. VJ fed back that apparently at a number of events last year Sully’s children did not look as smart as other schools. The sportswear policy was not strictly adhered to (plain white t-shirts and short). LB mentioned that there is a problem with older year groups as more and more branded labels are coming into school and this is being allowed.
VJ asked whether a child followed the same house throughout the school and if so whether we could incorporate a coloured t shirt policy. Unfortunately, children can change houses throughout their journey in Sully so this is not viable. Suggested that we therefore ask PTA to provide bibs for Sports Day or the like. Also suggested that if children are representing the school that we may consider more formal kit or insist that only a plain white t-shirt be worn.
ACTION POINTS: find costings of bibs SW/AW
Ask teachers to reinforce school uniform policy for PE lessons
Reaffirm importance of the Daily/regular mile of all pupils.
- School Leavers Concert/Christmas concert
EE mentioned that she had received some really positive feedback from the leavers’ concert and especially the anecdotal parts, however she had also received some comments stating that it only let a small portion of the year shine e.g pupils who were musically gifted or talented in sport.
VJ mentioned that she had been privileged to attend several leavers’ concerts in the past few years and had to agree that this year it was very musical orientated, especially as there had been a musical concert only a few days before. AW explained that usually the music evening was earlier in the Spring Term so it was noted that this year it was regrettably very close together.
It was suggested that whilst it will be noted not all children would like to get up and speak more children may have liked to get involved. VJ suggested in this digital age whether the year 6 could take more charge of the assembly digitally. Maybe their ICT project throughout the year could be to collate photos from private collections, school resources (maybe at the end of each year photos of that class could be stored to be used for leavers). Those children who did not feel comfortable to speak publicly could create videos, children who had outside school activities could produce videos etc.
KR mentioned the Christmas productions and whether a fairer system could be introduced as it has been felt by some children and parents that the productions have been overly dominated by only a few children. It was agreed that this is a time-consuming project for teachers and they try very hard to enable all those that want to speak to have a line or two. AW mentioned the alternative could be to do a Christmas carol service. On the whole it was felt that this may be the way forward. There could be smaller groups singing, some solos performance, poetry recital etc… AW informed the parents that a similar method is used at the Harvest festival where each year learns a different song.
ACTION POINTS: AW to feed back to year 6 teachers and consider comments above. VJ happy to assist if required.
AW to consult with staff regarding Christmas productions
- Year Six Prom
LB mentioned rumours that the year 6 leavers’ party may not happen in school which was a concern as she liked the idea of the kids having the party on familiar surroundings and saying goodbye to the school itself. AW advised that there is nothing to stop them having it in the school but in the past some people have preferred to have off premises. This is for the Year 6 parents to decide as the school does get not involved in the decision making for this event but is more than happy to facilitate the event.
EE raised that a question of changing the report style and whether more specifics could be given on how a child has been progressing and how they compared with their peers. AW advised that all reports should provide targets. However, written reports are more for a positive evaluation on a child’s development and wouldn’t want a report to be negative by having written confirmation if a child is struggling. AW reiterated that fact that during parents evening teachers provide parents with information such as reading ages, discuss targets and areas of strength and areas for further development.
AW said the school was planning to change the style of reports but was waiting for the new curriculum changes as they could find themselves in the position of having to alter them twice. VJ mentioned whether the school would consider generic banding as a number of other schools do locally for example expected, exceeding (VJ couldn’t remember the third at the time but has since remembered it’s emerging). BT mentioned the third may be below expected. AW advised the school would be reluctant to use such words in written format and that Reception and Year 1 children are too early in their development to be banded (labelled) and further reiterated the fact that there is a lot of fluidity in their learning at this age. EE confirmed the school’s ethos of nurturing and supporting was important but noted that parents battled with wanting to know how they are getting on and whether more support was needed. VJ highlighted as the report comes out just before the summer holiday it would be nice for a parent to know where their child may need some support. AW reassured that the school has many processes in place that identified underperformance and where this was the case parents were swiftly made aware of concerns. AW also reminded the forum that pupils from year 2 to year 6 undertook national testing in reading, procedural maths and reasoning within maths and as such parents were provided with a statistical assessment of their level of progress. The prospect of delaying the spring parents’ evening until later in the year was voiced but it was agreed that that the spring parents’ evening was important as it gave an update especially for those parents who have children about to sit national tests.
- Parent Workshops
General conversation of their success and disappointment of reduced footfall. Agreed numerous issues relating to this were: assuming parents would hear same stuff as last year (not realising tailored to specific year groups), timing and people’s work commitments, being run on consecutive weeks. AW advised that going forward the plan is for teachers to create a video of the presentation that can be watched at people’s own leisure. They are also hoping to offer a welcome meeting to all year groups to meet the teachers and get an overview of the year to come. This was welcomed by the members of the parent forum who thought this would be an excellent idea.