Parents' Forum...Your Voice.
A Parents' Forum Group was set up in 2014 so that termly meetings could take place between interested parents, senior teachers and Governors. The small group of 2014-15 was involved in reviewing Policies and providing a lead on school developments. We thank any parents who can attend for one or any of the meetings for their time and valuable contributions.
As part of a request from this group in 2014-15 we have reviewed our Homework Policy, restructured the planned Parent Teacher meetings for this year, dedicated time into celebrating National events and increased the number of visits/visitors that enhance the curriculum and make learning memorable for the children.
The Forum continues to meet termly, so that whole school issues can be openly discussed and School can gain an informed view of parents impressions.
November 17th 2016 at 9.00
The following matters were discussed:
Parents felt more needed to be made of reading success. It was suggested that children moving up a book band etc. should be acknowledged to offer more encouragement for children to progress.
Parents were not aware of the access children had to the school library on-line or to bug club resources. HT is to remind parents of what is available.
Parents would prefer school to send more one off letters about events rather than rely on the newsletter. They also felt that more use should be made of the text system to remind them of events etc.
It was suggested that school could make use of the noticeboard up by the lower school access and egress point. Parents remarked that they spent a lot of time looking at it so it would be good to have something on it to read.
Parents did not find the school website very user friendly. It took a lot of effort to find things. It would be better to have a news style page you went to as soon as you logged on and also a successes tab so parents could see the good things going on more readily.
Parents were supportive of the idea of school fund being introduced to school. They were also supportive of the enterprise ideas discussed and would support children in raising funds for trips etc to enable them to go ahead.
HT asked parents what experiences they would like their children to have during their time at HJS. Ideas put forward were theatre trip, museum visits, Birmingham library trip, art/dance, more in house speakers for topics and more outdoor learning opportunities. Parents would welcome an opportunity to get involved in these activities.
Parents were very keen to get involved in schools jubilee next term. They were supportive of dressing up across the decades. They thought it would be interesting for the children to learn about the life of a child across the 8 decades and what the experience of school was like at various times. Parents would be keen to be involved in some sort of committee set up to organise events for the jubilee.
Homework was raised as an issue with parents asking for some sort of homework planner. We explained the issues we have had with these in the past and referred to the information on the website as to what is due when. HT to make sure this is re-issued to parents and for the timetable for each class to be reproduced inside reading records.
Key issue for parents was better communication. Better use of texts, better website, better explanations of things in simpler language.
Issues were raised with respect to the older children and how they were behaving towards the younger children. HT was asked how school regulates the relationship between the different age groups. HT explained how this worked.
Parents suggested some sort of creative writing workshops for parents and children would be welcome. Something that enabled them to work alongside their child in school and which could perhaps be linked to the governor writing challenge for next term making it a family challenge centred around the jubilee with governors acting as judges.
The School performance data was discussed with parents saying that the results should be celebrated more widely.
Parents Forum March 11th 2016.
The following matters were discussed at the last Forum meeting .
The meeting was attended by Mr Bowen, Mrs Howard and seven parents.
Mr Bowen explained what we have done recently to promote reading for pleasure and reading within school. A parent asked whether children have an opportunity to read out loud in classes and stressed how this can build confidence. Another parent suggested that children could be picked to read aloud during assembly or in the classroom. Mr Bowen explained that this is the purpose of class assemblies and that all classes have class readers which children take turns to read aloud.
Mr Bowen asked how school can get across to parents that we want children to read even more outside school. A parent suggested that school could give parents reading lists for each year group with suggestions for books within different genre. This could include biographies of suggested authors and other role models that children might want to read more about.
ACTION: Since the meeting a list of recommended reading books (Book Trust) has been publicised in the weekly newsletter pointing parents to visit the lists on the school website
Mr Bowen explained that children are introduced to ‘harder’ books covering difficult issues e.g. Pig heart boy in year 5 and the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in year 6. For lower ability children these are books that they wouldn’t otherwise access or comprehend. Mr Bowen also stressed the difference between ‘popular’ books and ‘classic’ books.
Parents felt that their children were bringing home a variety of different books.
Year 3 parents at the meeting were asked whether they felt there was a big enough difference between the books children had been bringing home in year 2 and those they now bought home in year 3. Parents felt that at the beginning there wasn’t a significant difference but now there was.
Mrs Howard asked about the use of electronic books. Parents’ views were mixed. It was harder to ensure a child was actually reading if they were on their tablets etc. as they could be doing something else. On balance, parents preferred proper books. Parents would however appreciate knowing more about the electronic resources available to them.
Suggested Action Points:
Parents would appreciate reading workshops. To be arranged.
Parents would like to know more about the Bug Clubs. Bug Club notes on website and access will be better explained in 2016-17.
School to develop suggested reading lists for each year group. Completed
SIP (School Improvement Plan)- Outdoor Learning
Mr Bowen explained that this was to be an area in the new SIP and asked parents for views on how we could make better use of our outdoor areas. Parents felt that we were not making as much use as we could of our wider outdoors areas i.e. the local community. Parents suggested that children could get out and about more to areas within walking distance of school suggesting the local canal network and exploring the mining history of the area. There were also suggested for visits to local historical places such as Soho House and Oak House.
The following matters also arose:
Parents would like advance notice of netball matches to enable them to attend. Parents would like to see a netball team in school. It was stressed that team sports are as important for girls as they are for boys. Mr Bowen explained about there being less opportunity for competitive ‘netball’ as few schools played instead preferring to play ‘High 5’. Mr Bowen explained the opportunities for team games within school.
Suggested Action Point: How about an inter house netball competition to which parents could be invited
Action Local Netball league competition entered.
Football league and cup arranged.
Inter House Matches involving a variety of sports to commence May 2016
‘Star of the week’
A parent asked what was the aim and objectives of ‘star of the week’. Children can feel discouraged when they see someone who normally doesn’t ‘behave’ being rewarded for acting as they do every day. Parents felt that it needed to be clear what it is about and that their needs to either be consistent application of the aims and objectives throughout school or it should be scrapped. Mr Bowen agreed that it needs to be for all children to make sure it does not act as a disincentive for children.
Suggested Action Point: School to consider how ‘star of the week’ is used.
Action: reward system to be reviewed for new academic year.
Increased expectations for children in new curriculum
Parents raised some concerns about the learning of maths in year 3. Mr Bowen explained how expectations had been increased considerably for year 3 children. A parent asked how school was moving children to the increased expectations. It was explained that school had had advance warning of the new expectations and some time to try to do this but that it is difficult as children were addressed against a different set of expectations to those they are now to be tested against. Mr Bowen then explained to parents how age expectations now work. Parents also discussed expectations of handwriting as they felt they were unaware of what they now were. It was agreed to put a note together for parents of what was expected at what stage.
Suggested Action Point: School to produce note for parents of handwriting expectations under the new curriculum.
Action: Website now includes full programmes of study and expectations.
Action: New child friendly ‘I can…’ statements now devised for all books in all years for implementation in 2016-17. This should further inform both children and parents
Parents of year 5 girls explained how their daughters felt about having to change in class now that they were older. There was a consensus that parents wanted separate changing at an earlier age than year 6. The logistical difficulties were explained but it was agreed to action separate changing for the upper school children.
Suggested Action Point: HT to ensure year 5 use changing rooms on the top corridor for PE.
ACTION: Changing for year 5 and 6 children is now segregated.
Children to have ‘settling’ time after break
Parents are still concerned about children having to settle to work straight after play without 5 minutes breathing time being given. It was suggested that this could be a sharing time on a rota system with a different child each day sharing a joke, fact or a short reading. Parents felt this would engage children and get them researching things at home to share. Mr Bowen explained that we just don’t have the time in the school day for this to happen. This led to a discussion of the importance of helping children learn to plan their thought processes and how to take notes. This was an area everyone agreed was important for children’s development.
parents were asked whether they felt their children were safe when on-line. The consensus was that they did.
The canteen was raised as an on-going issue with children not wanting to have school dinners anymore because of the state of the cutlery , plates and trays. it was noted that there was also an ant problem at the moment.
Suggested Action Point: HT to visit the canteen and see what is currently going on.
ACTION HT has viewed canteen. Ant problem was resolved and canteen are aware of concern over washing procedures.
More maths workshops throughout other year groups.
ACTION Maths workshop for year 4 arranged and delivered.
More clubs for children in particular lower school. There were a lot of clubs available in year 2 but nothing for year 3 when they join us.
ACTION Club information published on website. School to look at external providers but this would include a revision of the Charging Policy as clubs would then have to be paid for to cover all costs.
School to make more of children’s wider experiences – their backgrounds, their language, the countries they were born. Also for school to make more of famous people from the midlands to celebrate our own area.
ACTION To be include in curriculum planning/ learning journals etc.
School Improvement...An overview for parents.
The first Parents' Forum meeting of 2015-16 was held on Thursday 15th October. The group of parents who attended met with Mrs Howard (Chair of Governors) and Mr Bowen. The documents that were discussed were:
A School document, 'How well are we doing?' showing the results of 2015 SATs tests.
The draft policy on the School Health and well being offer.
The Behaviour Recovery procedure used within school.
Parents also discussed other whole school issues with existing members informing new members that they had noted real change, developments and improvements since the setting up of the informal Forum.