It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the end of term and the end of the school year. During the past months since I joined, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with children, staff and parents, listening to what they love about our schools, and the areas they see for improvement. I’m working closely with the staff and governors on our plans for our schools, under the federation, and am excited to share these with you when we return after the summer holidays.
In the meantime, I’m delighted to be able to share with you the first steps will be taking in September 2021.
A key part of planning for any school year is to create the class and staffing structure for the year. We have three clear priorities:
Deliver excellent teaching;
Meet the learning needs of the children; and
Provide a stimulating curriculum that challenges and excites!
The full staffing structure is listed below, based on close working with staff and governors. But first, I want to explain the educational reasoning behind this plan. The schools are adept at teaching children across mixed-aged classes. Teachers plan to differentiate the work carefully to each individual, regardless of their age. This will continue next year. This is the practice today in both schools as well as in many other schools around the country.
The Year 3 group of children arriving at the Junior School in September is smaller than in previous years. This allows us the opportunity to have this cohort of children remain together as one class, allowing for a very smooth transition for the class. It aso means that we will now run five classes at the Junior school for next year. This new class structure will enable us to smooth the transition between the traditional ‘Lower’ and ‘Upper’ schools, with a new Year 4/5 class bridging this gap.
Teachers and senior leaders have engaged in many conversations in the past few weeks and used their professional judgements to create balanced classes in which pupils can thrive. Academic ability has not been used as a selection criteria. Instead teachers have considered social factors such as friendship groups and emotional maturity when grouping the pupils.
Staff have been informed about their new classes and are excited to meet the children at next weeks ‘move-up’ events. Teachers will be liaising in meetings across the Federation to ‘hand-over’ to the new teacher and ensure that a variety of important information is passed across.
If you have any questions about these plans, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Mrs McManus, Mrs Liriano and Mrs West will continue their excellent work running the admin offices at both schools and Mrs Day will continue in her role of Cover Supervisor at St. Thomas’.
It is always sad when valued members of our staff team move on to new challenges and opportunities. I have already informed you that Mrs Wallace will be leaving us at the end of this term to take up a promotion at a larger Primary School in Berkshire. Mrs Dickens and Mrs Purton will be leaving Woolton Hill Junior School at the end of this term. Mrs Dickens has done a fantastic job as SENCo for five years and leaves to take up teaching role at a school for pupils with Special Education Needs. I wish her all the best for this exciting new opportunity. Mrs Purton has worked with us throughout her teaching career, so it is with sadness that she moves on to new opportunities. I’m sure you will join me in wishing both members of staff the best of luck for the future. Mrs Dickinson is still scheduled to begin her maternity leave in September.
We also say goodbye to three members of our LSA team at the Junior School. We wish Miss Openshaw luck as she begins training to be a teacher. Mrs Hockedy is taking up a new role as a Learning Mentor at a secondary school and Mrs Bate has chosen not to return from her maternity leave. I hope they all keep in touch.
I am very excited to introduce you to a new member of our team. Mr Tom Scott joins our Year 4/5 class. Tom is an excellent teacher, who is joining us from Kingsclere Primary. I have been really impressed with Tom’s knowledge and understanding of how children learn and am pleased that he will also be bringing his expertise to our leadership team.
The Federation is lucky to have excellent staff team and we are all looking forward to working hard to produce the best outcomes for your children.
I realise I’ve covered a lot of material in this note and that you may have questions. If this is the case, then please either speak with your child’s teacher, drop me an email via the admin office, or arrange a time to speak with me, through the admin office.