Welcome to my blog number five for Summer 2017.
When I look back and realise I’ve been part of the Governing Body for 10 years, it makes me feel really old and to say that I am humbled and privileged to serve as a Governor and that I have had an amazing time is an understatement. I have learnt so much. I have made a few mistakes and I’ve made some very hard decisions too. I truly love our school and without the support of my wife and children and the educational experts and advisors around me it would have been a lot harder.
As a result, my challenge this summer is to find some a new Community Governor, to add to our already excellent group. If you fancy giving something back to the community, can visit school three times a year, attend a maximum of five meetings a year, if you know you can pass an Enhanced CRB check and you want to help be part of a group of people making decisions for the good of our school can you please contact me or the Headteacher at the start of the new year or leave your contact details with the school office and I’ll get back to you with further details. To be clear, we are not looking for a parent governor, as we have a full complement of those, but we are looking for a community governor, who has links to the Brickhouse Estate and community and wants to give something back to the area.
With all that said, I’m going to start this blog on a very disappointing note. I was very unhappy to hear of an event that happened on the 30th June 2017, our Sports Day. I want to send a very strong message to anyone who acts inappropriately towards any member of our school staff. Please understand that this will not be tolerated and the Governing Body will not think twice about banning people from the school site. School operates a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ with regard to any incident that takes place in school. We, as a school, are trying to educate your children that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and as a result we expect our parents and carers to be setting a positive example to your children while you are on our school site.
A big, thank you again, to everyone who has helped us try to achieve our target of 96% attendance this year. I know you will ensure that your children keep up their attendance when we return in September. Remember the Government’s target for attendance is at least 96%, and as a school we are very robust in following up unauthorised absences, and we will not hesitate to recommend cases for prosecution.
Now that Mr. Platt has settled his case, in court, for taking his child out of school in term time to go on holiday, as a school we will continue to look seriously at holidays in term time, as do Sandwell. We will pass cases to our Attendance Officer, Dawn Thompson for review and this could then result in prosecution and a fixed penalty fine for parents taking holidays in term time. Remember if they aren’t here they can’t learn!
Thank you to all of you that have fully supported the wearing of school uniform throughout the year and similarly thank you for your support with haircuts and colours. Can I also say a big thank you for all of those of you who get your children to school on time.
From September, when we return, I will be turning my attention to challenging those parents that repeatedly turn up late with children for school. Remember, the more time your children spend in school, the more education they can get. This also sets the tone for children to understand rules and certainly prepares them for high school, where late attendance is dealt with very swiftly and with serious consequences for the child.
On a more upbeat note, Karen Williamson and I were in school, all day on 30th June 2017, to review a number of areas of school life. We were very encouraged to see the hard work your children are doing to meet a very challenging but wide reaching curriculum. We saw some lovely work from Early Years to Year 6, which showed us the improvement that a number of children have made since September 2016.
Presentation skills have improved, as well as writing skills. We learnt about pen licences and how that works. We saw evidence of your children’s independent learning and challenge from teachers asking questions and advising children of their next step action. We also witnessed some very good behaviour. We held a pupil conference with twelve children to discuss what they thought of Mathematics across school. We asked them a number of questions about the subject, including what they liked, what they disliked and how they used the equipment in Mathematics lessons. The children gave us some very clear, detailed answers. We also had lunch, which highlighted good behaviour from the children in the dining hall. I really enjoyed the chocolate pudding with my lunch. My thanks go to the kitchen staff for an excellent desert.
On the 30th, we also held a Strategic Management Meeting, where amongst the things we discussed, was how and on what we spend school’s money. Over the last few years we have done different things with our budget. This has included:-
paying for a new roof over the last five years, which was very expensive
double glazing the school
modernising both classrooms and furniture
purchasing lots of reading books to give us a well-stocked library
creating and building our success centre, to improve the one to one learning and group work support we can provide
improving our playgrounds
improving technology provision for the teaching staff and children
In our meeting, we agreed a modernisation of our interactive whiteboards in upper key stage two and Nursery. We hope in the next couple of years will be able to upgrade every board in the whole school. This will mean that Year 5 and 6 will get a new state of the art whiteboards. We are also spending a relatively small amount of money in upgrading staff facilities over the summer to ensure we are meeting our wellbeing requirements.
As, I look back over the last school year and review some of the visits, trips and events offered in school, I realise what a lot we have covered. We have had:-
Children in Need
A Christmas Fayre
A Carol Concert
A MacMillan Coffee Morning
Young Voices Choir Trip
A Mexican Themed Lunch
Safer Internet Day
A Book Fair
A World Book Day
Three sets of INSPIRE workshops
A Comic Relief Day
Easter activities including an Easter Bonnet Parade
Three Cinema Mornings
A Sports Morning
Best of British Day
Year 6 Prom Night
Space Centre Trip
There have also been residential trips to Ingestre Hall and Edgmond Hall. There have been more than I have named here and I think you would agree that we have provided opportunities for everyone!
Can I thank each and every one of you for your continued support over the past year. To those who have visited us in school, attended an event and for all of those behind the scenes working tirelessly to ensure these activities happen.
I want to say goodbye to my Governor Class (Year 6). Thank you for the work you have produced for me this year. One thing is for sure, you are very talented and I wish you all the very best as you look forward and move onto High School. I know you have all worked really hard this year and your SAT’s results shows this.
To Team Brickhouse (collective name for all staff in school) I want to THANK YOU ALL for everything you do and continue to do to ensure our school is the best it can be. I know you are all very tired, but tiredness comes from dedication, a dedication that means we try our very best for our brilliant young people, so I would like to wish you all a very happy summer vacation and hope you get a chance to recharge your batteries ready for September.
To the Headteacher and his Senior Leadership Team, I extend my thanks for your continued drive, ambition and dedication through good times and not so good times. The result of this drive, I believe, is a school full of young people who enjoy school life, are safe and have a sense of belonging.
Finally, to Cath Evans, our outstanding Clerk to the Governors and to all the other members of the Governing Body, thank you all for your hard work and contribution behind the scenes over the last twelve months. We are in the best place that I can remember for a long while.
Remember, we have a Parent Support Advisor in school, if you need a chat, talk about a problem, help with personal or child issues she is available for you. Mrs Newby is contactable via the school office if you need her help.
All that is left is for me to say enjoy your summer holidays! I hope you and your children have an enjoyable time and stay safe and we look forward to seeing you in September.
On behalf of the Governing Body
Brickhouse Primary School
Welcome to my fourth blog for Spring 2017. 2017 is passing us all by at a rate of knots and I’m sure you will all be pleased that Spring is fast approaching and that Summer is just around the corner.
It’s a really busy time in school with children and staff working really hard to ensure they get the best results they can in their upcoming SAT’s. The Governors are continuing to work hard too, whether it’s attending school to sit on interview panels, by visiting the children or by attending meetings.
Karen Williamson (Vice Chair) and I were in school all day on the 3rd March, where we did a full book scrutiny of your children’s maths books. We witnessed some excellent learning and some really high standards in the books. We looked at the hot and cold tasks, which show how your children’s progress is monitored in over time. We were impressed, that all the books we looked at showed good progress. At the end of the day we completed postcards for the staff, to highlight the good practice we had seen!
In the next couple of weeks, we have a Provisions Committee Meeting and a Full Governing Body meeting that will keep us all busy. Last week in school was our Outcomes Committee, which looks at the quality of teaching across school and progress and attainment of your children.
So to keep the theme of my other blogs I’m going to show you the rogues gallery of your Governing Body so if you see us in and around school, please say hi.
In the next few weeks, all Governors will be arranging class visits, where I’m sure your children will be pleased to see us. I popped into Class 6 last Thursday (09-03-17) to set the class a new challenge for Easter, which will see them design an Easter Egg and written a piece of work about introducing a new bank holiday and what would it be for. I look forward to letting my wife judge, which boy and girl are going to win a £10 gift voucher and I might buy Mr Smith an Easter egg to cheer him up, because his football team aren’t doing very well either!
I would like to say thank you to all parents and carers that attended this week’s INSPIRE workshops. I had the opportunity to attend the Year 5 one and was really taken by surprise when Mrs Newby introduced us to Well Being and Emotional Coaching, which the whole school is taking on. School is also currently working towards their Well Being Charter Mark and this will be a big support to this. More importantly, however these areas will support and enhance our school in school and support us to deal with children’s emotions in conjunction with their behaviour.
I really enjoyed my afternoon, spending precious time with my daughter and seeing how happy she was along, with all of the other Year 5 children and them showing us, their parents, their creative skills. I know you will appreciate that your child’s education is really important and the Well Being and Emotional Coaching programmes will just enhance that experience.
It was good to know that all the children enjoyed the re-arranged World Book Day event, last Friday (10-03-17), with some great costumes on display and much fun had reading their favourite books.
As you will know, our school building is very well maintained, however it is coming up to being sixty years old and that in itself brings its own problems, so I would like to pass my thanks onto you all, for ensuring that when we had to close the school recently to repair the broken down heating, it was done with the minimum of fuss and minimum impact on your child’s education. Thank you for your co-operation it was very much appreciated. Just for the record, the staff did work their working hours, when school was closed.
I am somewhat disappointed, that on occasion, as adults you do not set the standards of behaviour to your children. As a school, I believe we set high standards and have policies that need to be adhered to; I would hope that as parents and carers, you would want to do the same thing.
A BIG THANK YOU to you all, as we all push to see if we can make our attendance target for this year. Thank you for ensuring that your child attends school as often as possible and I’m so pleased to know I haven’t had to issue any final warnings letters to any parents and carers about attendance or indeed refer any cases for prosecution. Let’s see if together, we can make that 96% figure, remember if your child is not in school they cannot learn.
A BIG THANK YOU for ensuring that the majority of your children attend school in the correct uniform and without patterns in hair. Uniform gives your children a sense of belonging and proud to attend Brickhouse.
A BIG THANK YOU for the majority of parents not parking illegally on the zig-zags outside school. These markings are there for a reason, to keep your children safe! Please bear this in mind, so if you are the parents or carers with a White Fiat, an Orange Ford or Silver Vauxhall that keep breaching the law by parking on the zig-zags, then I won’t hesitate to ask the local Enforcement Team to visit even more frequently, to fine and prosecute for this illegal parking.
A BIG THANK YOU for the majority of parents and carers who obey the non-smoking rules that we have in place in school. Please, can I remind those parents or carers, who use E-Cigarettes that these are also not allowed be used on school grounds either, as they fall under the non-smoking site laws.
A BIG THANK YOU for all your fund raising efforts so far this school year and don’t forget we are celebrating Red Nose Day on the 24th March 2017, which I know you will fully support. We have raised a massive £2100 for good causes this year so far! What a fantastic achievement!
I would like to receive any parental feedback and any views and opinions about my blogs. I would also like suggestions of anything else you would like me to include and any areas you would like to know about. If you are a member of staff, your feedback would be appreciated too. If you leave your comments, in a written form, at the front office, I look forward to hearing from you. You don’t have to leave your name, but if you want a response this would be helpful.
I’ll be back in school very soon to collect any suggestions, and apart from visiting on an as and when basis, I look forward to spending the whole day in school again on 30th June 2017.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and in the meantime good luck to all those children taking SAT’s soon.
Have a very Happy Easter, enjoy the next holiday period and see you all soon!
Hello and welcome to my latest Chair of Governor’s Blog!
The second half of the Autumn Term is a really busy term for all the staff and children alike. Not only is it busy from a work point of view, but of course it’s a time when temperatures change and the usual colds, flu, sickness bugs and viruses come around. I would like to say a really big thank you to you all for continuing to make the effort to ensure your children attend school, as often as possible. I know by your hard work that our attendance is on track, fingers crossed to make 96%, by the end of the academic, which will be a fantastic achievement.
The next few weeks are really, really busy with so many Christmas events going on. We have the Christmas Fayre on Friday 9th December, Christmas Dinner and Christmas Jumper Day, KS 1 and 2 Nativities and Carol Concerts and I know you will support them in large numbers, just like you always do. I’m hopeful I will be able to attend the Christmas Fayre, so that I can meet and greet as many of you as possible.
So, what has happened since my last blog! The Governor Body has changed its name to the Governing Board of Brickhouse, but even with that change, we have continued to work hard. We have held our Provisions and Outcomes Meetings, two Full Governing Board meetings, a Strategic Management Group Meeting and in addition to that, Governors have been visiting school and talking to staff and children about what goes on at Brickhouse.
In October, each Governing Board member became responsible for an individual class and they wrote to your children. The children were very responsive to these letters. Some classes were set projects and the Governing Board received some excellent pieces of work back. We would like to thank the children and staff for their effort in making this happen.
On the 11th November, myself and Karen Williamson (Vice Chair) came into school for the day and we really enjoyed our visit. We got to look over the work in your children’s books and we were very impressed with the standard achieved in them. During that day we also held a pupil conference, where we met with some children who answered our questions about school, with excitement and positivity. Karen and I, had a lovely lunch, where we observed excellent lunchtime behaviour in the school hall and then we attended a Strategic Management Group Meeting in the afternoon. Karen and I will be back in March and June 2017, we know, to enjoy another two excellent days!
My colleagues on the Governing Board have continued to visit school and will return in the New Year to ensure that all aspects of school life are looked at, whether it is visiting a subject leader or a class. In the coming months, more of the Governing Board hope to meet with more of you, at school events, such as parent evenings, sports day or INSPIRE workshops.
A regular feature in my blog is to feature some of our Governing Board victims . . . sorry members, who contribute to our school, below are pictures of Sandra Politio, who responsible for Years 1 & 2 and Parental Engagement and SMSC and Jane Bissell, who is responsible for Year 5 and Behaviour and Attendance. Remember all our Governing Board members appear in the reception at school, so if you have five minutes please take a look at our photos, so that you can see who we all are. All your children are also able see there too!
Mrs. Jane Bissell
Mrs. Sandra Polito
I was lucky enough to attend the last INSPIRE workshop, which I really enjoyed and took part in. Thank you to those parents, who allowed me to talk to them at the end of the session too. It is really important that you get to see me, as often as possible and in this blog I will summarise the message I gave that day.
Firstly, the children really appreciate the interaction with you, their parents, carers and family representatives, where they can show off their skills and knowledge in school. Secondly, it’s a great opportunity to meet our Parent Support Advisor. If you have any problems you want to discuss, you can always make an appointment with Mrs Newby via the School Office and finally, please keep supporting our award winning events and if you have any ideas for improving them, please put them forward to us. In the coming twelve months, I have some ideas of my own, that hopefully will lead to even more increased family and school interaction!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank ALL our staff for their continued hard work and efforts in ensuring your children get the best education possible, to thank the Leadership and Management team who work tirelessly to ensure our positive learning ethos is supported across the whole school community.
Can I also thank you, too, for your continued support with so many issues that affect your children’s education. These include, wearing uniform, ensuring appropriate haircuts and colours are adhered to, ensuring you send your children to school as often as possible to reach our challenging attendance figure of 96% and ensuring they don’t bring distractions to school such as mobile phones e.t.c.
One final reminder, as parents and carers you have a responsibility to your children to set a positive example, so please can you ensure that when you are on the playground that you behave appropriately. As a school, we operate a “Zero Tolerance” policy, with regard to that type of behaviour, as some of you are very well aware of!
Phew!! Times flies and so as another year has passed us by. It’s been a difficult year at times, so let’s take time to reflect and think about those loved ones who are no longer with us but are forever in our hearts. I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please enjoy the festivities and keep your selves safe and I look forward to seeing you very soon!
Hello and welcome to my third blog.
Well, Summer looks like it’s finally arrived and this is my favourite term because there is so much going on around school. This includes the many Year 6 activities we have i.e. their Leaving Assembly, the Leaver’s play and their Prom. Sports day is also just around the corner and I hope to see lots of you there. There will also be the transition INSPIRE workshops, where you have an opportunity to meet your child’s new teacher or teachers. For the Headteacher and his senior leadership team, contrary to popular belief, this is a very busy term where they are finalising this school year and preparing for next year. As Year 6 leave, I wish them all the luck in the world and congratulate them all for their hard work and effort preparations for their SATS. We will know their results in a few weeks’ time.
Since my last blog, the Governors have continued being busy attending meetings and looking after their areas of responsibility within school. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the latest addition to our Governing Body, Mr S. Edmunds. He is a local person and is keen to put something back into local community. He has already taken a very keen active interest in school life and we all wish him well as a Governor and thank him for joining us.
One of my regular blog features is introducing you to Governing Body Members. Below is a picture of two of our Governors, Mr. S. Purcell and Mrs. L. Purcell. Both of them have certainly impacted on Governance in school since they started last year, with both of them taking a real interest in school life, making excellent contributions and taking time out of their busy schedules to improve outcomes at Brickhouse.
Mrs. L. Purcell (Parent Governor)
Mr. S. Purcell (Co-opted Governor)
Now that we are close to having a full Governing Body, I thought it would be an interest to you to see how the Governing Body is structured.
Although the majority of parents generally respect and support school rules and policies, to whom I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU. However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all about some rules that help keep us ALL safe when in and around school.
The nicer weather usually means that people do things differently, so for example people bring bikes, skateboards and scooters into the playground. Could I ask that this stops immediately, especially as there are smaller children or pregnant ladies in the vicinity.
Please could you also refrain from sending children to school with loom bands. These will be confiscated by staff as the use of them can distract pupils in class and cause arguments with regard to who they belong too!
Adult behaviour on the playground also needs to be appropriate. I’m happy to support the banning of those people that cannot behave, from the school site. We all need to set our children an example of good behaviour!
Could I also ask you to take care when using the Ice Cream van opposite school, some children are still coming from behind the van and stepping into what is a very busy road between 3.15pm and 3.30pm. Unfortunately, we cannot invite him onto the school site, and as he operates off school premises and neither can we tell him where to park to make things safer.
Thank you for the continued support from the vast majority of parents, who continue to send your children to school on a regular basis and on time. I would like to remind you all that it is important for you to keep sending your children to school as full attendance is still very important, irrespective of recent news articles. Each day your child is absent, is a day lost to them reaching the best standard that they can attain and is potentially harmful to their future education. If you have any concerns about your child’s attendance please do not hesitate to talk to the school’s Attendance Manager or the Headteacher.
Can I also a reminder you, that school uniform is an all year round requirement, so it is expected that normal uniform is still worn until the end of term. Although I appreciate in Year 6, this might prove a little more difficult. The Headteacher and the Governing Body expect that school uniform is adhered to at all times - the policy can be found on the school website. Wearing uniform gives us a sense of belonging and pride that we attend Brickhouse. Again, thank you to all of you that support school with this.
As another school year disappears, we wait with eager anticipation for the results of the Year 6 SAT’s tests. We continue to strive towards the improvement of your children’s education and I want you to know that our staff are working tirelessly to ensure school continues to do the very best they can for your children. Within the next year, we will be inspected by OFSTED, but I can say with confidence that we are ready to face an inspection and the challenges that this brings, with the Headteacher, senior leadership team, teachers and all the other staff and Governors working towards a common goal of giving your children the best. We all know what our priorities are and how we can make our school better!
I look forward to seeing you all on Sports Day on the 22nd June and I will be in school all day on the 15th July to continue with my responsibilities as Chair of Governors and really look forward to handing over the prize to the most improved pupil, as we celebrate the Sylvia Newby award for the seventh year.
So all that is left for me to say is, have a very great Summer holiday and I hope you and your families enjoy yourselves. As always, if there is anything you want to discuss you can book an appointment with the Headteacher or myself (via the school office) and if there is any help you need on personal issue, we can arrange a meeting (via the school office) with our Parent Support Advisor in school, to help with a whole range of family issues.
Hello and welcome to my second Chair of Governors blog!
Since the last blog, the Governors have been busy working behind the scenes. We have all written to our designated classes and set them a challenge, which were all completed. We were very grateful to all the hard work every class put in and especially to those classes who told us what they like in school and what they dislike. All their comments have been forwarded onto Mr. Newby and his team to see if we can make any further improvements to your child’s education!
By the time you read this, since September, the Governors will have held two Full Governing Body meetings, one Outcomes meeting and one Provisions meeting.
Mrs. K. Williamson (Vice Chair of Governors)
On the 20th November 2015, Mrs. K. Williamson (Vice Chair of Governors) and I, spent all day in school, as part of our termly visits to school. While in school, we reviewed children’s maths books for all classes across school to ensure that children are improving and making progress via their hot and cold tasks. We did a learning walk of the school with Mr Smith, the Brickhouse’s Maths Leader, which included asking pupils at random to demonstrate their maths skills. We also did a pupil conference to find out pupils view with regard to Maths across school.
During Lunchtime, we sat and spoke to the children and then attended a Strategic Management Meeting in the afternoon, which included talking about our day in school, a report of our days findings will be submitted to the Head & Full Governing Body meeting next term.
We were lucky enough to have a school lunch on that day and I have to say I really enjoyed my fish and chips and cornflake crumble. It was great to see first-hand how well behaved the children were at lunchtime and how they have adapted to new lunchtime rules introduced in September. In fact, one of the consistent factors of the day in school, was how polite and well behaved all the children in school were from Nursery through to Year 6.
A few weeks ago, I was happy to attend an INSPIRE Workshop, where I got chance to talk to staff, parents and children and had a really messy time with the cornflour and water!! It was great seeing how Science is being taught in school and I know all the parents who I spoke to were very proud that we had achieved our Leading Parent Partnership Award for a second time. Well done, Brickhouse!
I will be in school again all day on the 10th December to do some more Governor work.
I know that the majority of you adhere to our school rules, but there is a small minority of those who don’t. For those people, I would like to bring to your attention a few areas that I require your support with.
Firstly, it appears, when on the occasions I’m walking out of the school gates in the morning, there are still a number of parents and children walking into school. Can I remind everyone that school starts at 8.45a.m and this is when your child’s learning time begins! The Government, Mr. Newby, Senior Leaders and Governors set clear guidelines and policies for attendance for a reason, so please be punctual and attend school! Remember attendance is the key to learning!
My second issue is with parking. Please do not park on the yellow zig-zags outside school, it is illegal and there is a clear sign that tells you this outside school. I will not hesitate in calling the parking wardens to patrol and fine offenders. This is for the safety of you and your children both before and after school. Similarly, please do not let your children climb the school gates or crawl underneath them. School will not be held responsible for those parents who allow this to happen, particularly if they are injured doing this!
Thirdly, swearing on the playground is not acceptable; neither is the use of bikes, scooters and skateboards. I have also witnessed E-Cigarettes been used, which are also prohibited. We are a non- smoking school site. Please ensure you adhere to the rules and set a good example to your children.
Finally, we need to continue to improve attendance after Christmas. 95% is the absolute minimum we need to achieve. For those persistently late or whose children are not attending, I will request that proceedings are commenced to ensure regular attendance is achieved by way of visits and a meeting with Dawn Thompson, our Attendance Officer. If this does not succeed, then we will have no other alternative but to refer you to the Prosecution Service, which will end up with you being fined, attending court hearings, and could eventually lead to a custodial sentence.
I am very pleased to report that I am impressed with the standards maintained in school uniform and hairstyles, on the whole it has been very good term, so long may this continue and thank you for your continued support. Uniform gives us a sense of belonging to Brickhouse and clearly shows our identity!
I would like to congratulate the staff involved in obtaining two awards in school recently, our Leading Parent Partnership Award and Early Years Quality Mark. These awards really show how we continue to improve our provision and ensure the best possible education for your children.
We are very proud of our school choir, for your performances on Free Radio and at Merry Hill and we look forward to seeing you at Brickhouse Community Church on Sunday 13th December 2015 at 10.30a.m.
I would like to thank all of the parents and carers that have supported the Choir at Merry Hill and to all those that will attend school and support us in your numbers over the next few weeks with our various Christmas activities, such as our Nativities and School Fayre.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. If you have concerns about any aspect of school, you can always book and appointment to see Mr. Newby, via the School Office. Mrs. Newby, our Parent Support Advisor is also in school to help you with anything you have concerns about. You can also book an appointment to see her via the School Office. Please remember she is only in school on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday!
All that leaves me to do then, on behalf of myself and the Governing Body, is to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and peaceful New Year and I look forward to seeing you in 2016. I would also like to say to the school staff, a big thank you all for your hard work and continued persistence in driving school forward to improve, it doesn’t go unrecognised!
As always, please support us and your children to ensure that we strive to learn and grow together!