Please find attached our latest Ofsted report.
Firstly, can I say a huge thank you to those people who were supportive of the efforts of the school on Parent View and also when the inspector spoke to parents in the quad. Also I need to say a huge thank you to all staff and pupils who worked tirelessly and represented the school so well during what was the most stressful and negative Ofsted experience we have had to endure during my time at the school. We have shared our views on the way the inspection was carried out and also about what we consider to be an extremely unjust headline with the Lead Inspector during the inspection and Ofsted after the inspection, and await Ofsted’s response. However, it is what it is and we move on more determined than ever to ensure that all or pupils get the best education we can give and one that is relevant to them. We also retain the confidence of the Local Authority and the Diocese of Chester who have both been extremely supportive and complimentary about the work we do and the direction we have taken at St Thomas’.
Whilst the headline does not read well, if you read the main body of the report there are many important positives and we are proud of the school we are and the curriculum we offer.
Ofsted explain that Requires Improvement means satisfactory. It also means that they will revisit the school within 30 months. However, as part of my contact with Ofsted, and having spoken to staff, I have requested an immediate re-inspection by a different Lead Inspector. Again I await a response.
With regards to the bullet points on Page 4 of the report data clearly shows that although by the end of Y6 our results are below National (compared with every child in all areas of the country) we are closing the gap year on year and our progress measure, which measures how much progress our children make from starting school to leaving school, is comfortably within the average band Nationally: and some children make well above average progress.
With regards to subject leaders, staff inform me that other than for Reading, Science and Art no other subject leader was spoken to; and all leaders have received training from the LA and internally during the past 12 months. As part of our Narrative Immersion curriculum we have spent two years ensuring that our children are given the skills associated with learning, and since the beginning of the school year all staff have been working hard on ensuring that the knowledge element of the curriculum is built into our curriculum, so pupils will have the knowledge part of it. We feel the way we have approached this is sound.
An individual is asked, “Who invented the bouncing bomb used by The Dambusters?” They may not know the answer – that is the knowledge part. However, if they are able to use multi-media or an encyclopaedia or other reference material to find the answer – that is a skill. And that is education – encouraging children to be able to find out for themselves rather than feeding them the answer! They remember more if they ‘do’ or find out for themselves.
(The answer is Sir Barnes Wallis (26.09.1887 – 30.10.1979) – and I have that knowledge as I was taught the skill of using reference materials when I was at primary school)
You would also help your child HUGELY if you listened to them read, if only for 5-10 minutes per day and also read to them. Recent research shows that children who are read to regularly make more progress in reading than those children who are not read to.
Finally – attendance! Having spoken to staff and colleagues from throughout the Authority I am at a loss to know what more we could do to improve attendance. We are VERY aware of the children who have the greatest impact in our attendance data regardless of what “group” Ofsted consider them in and we work very closely with the Authorities Attendance Officers. This is where we need your help!
You MUST ensure that your child attends regularly and is on time. From our return to school after the holiday we require you to produce evidence that your child has attended the doctor should they be off school ill; and if your child has an appointment during school time we will require sight of an appointment card. Holidays taken during term time has a huge impact on our attendance figures, and whilst I fully understand why people do it we have to have zero tolerance and will issue Educational Penalty Notices to any parent taking their child out of school.
After half term we will be working on a post-Ofsted Action Plan as required and I will update you once that has been completed. Meanwhile, we carry on developing the knowledge part of the curriculum and ensuring that all our children receive the best curriculum we can offer, delivered by a skilled, hard-working and committed staff team.
If you have any comments about the report the report gives details of how to contact Ofsted.
On a much brighter note . . . . . . . . WE WON SIR LOVEALOT.
Thanks to Miss Gee’s tenacity and the generosity of the many people who donated to our GoFundMe appeal we are now the forever home of Sir Lovealot. Miss Gee explained that the on-line bidding was fierce – going in up in £50 jumps – and we were against two other bidders who also wanted to give him a forever home. However, Miss Gee held her nerve and made a final bid of £1000, which was as high as we could go, and WE WON!!!! Staff were eagerly awaiting the result at the end of their telephones and are all delighted!! We must also give a huge thank you to John and Lee from Bespoke Constructions, a local firm, who contacted school out of the blue and donated £500. We have £40 left and will be donating that to The Tree House at Stepping Hill Hospital which is where all other monies raised by the auctioning of the Frogs will go.
Due to the confusion about whether today is a Non-uniform Day and half the children being in school uniform and the other half not I have decide that our first day back after half term, Monday 28th October will be a free Non-uniform Day for all. From now on, if we are in Church on the last Friday of a half term children will be expected to wear full school uniform, but we will have the Non uniform day the day before, on the Thursday. Our Christmas Service this year is on Thursday 19th December so Friday 20th will be Christmas Jumper Day.
We are currently working with a new website provider to build a new much more dynamic website which we hope to launch next half term. Our App is already available from the App Store for free but we plan to have an all singing all dancing launch of the two at the same time.
Mrs Holt has recently updated our Medical Conditions Policy and that is now available on the existing site along with some other new policies.
Parents/Carers Consultation Evening
Thank you to all those parents who attended yesterday evening. If you were unable to attend and want to know how your child is doing in school please approach their teacher to arrange an alternative appointment. Children thrive on their adults taking an interest in what they are doing at school and we welcome your interest in your child’s education – it does make a difference.