Owslebury School Governors Newsletter - 2017 Summer

Owslebury School Governors Newsletter - 2017 Summer

Governors Summer Term 2017 Newsletter  – Rounding Up This Year

End of KS2 National Tests

We are now in the second year of the new KS2 SAT regime – and as with last year, our children have achieved excellent marks as reward for a huge amount of work. Congratulations to them, Miss Watson and all the staff that have achieved such impressive results – which have been years in the making. We hope you will agree that they are very strong both in their own right and set against the national averages.

12 Pupils % at expected or above Greater Depth / High Score 110+ Average Scaled Score
School National % School National %
Reading 100% 71% 67% 110.25 104
Writing 92% 76% 42%    
Maths 100% 75% 67% 112.17 104
GPS* 92% 77% 75% 112 106
RWM Combines 92% 61% 42%    

*Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Developing our vision and strategic planning

In the last newsletter we shared the first phase of our vision and strategic planning work. This set out an important landscape for the direction that the school will take over the coming years. We have since been working on phase 2 of this process which converts our strategic aims into tangible priorities and actions for the next 1, 3 and 5 years. To see the full plans at this high level please have a read of the attached document. You will see in the document a detailed breakdown of how we will be achieving our short term goals over the academic year ahead as well as setting in place firm foundations for our 3 and 5 year ambitions. The detailed actions of what will be happening across the year at an operational level will be published in our 2017-18 School Improvement Plan. You will already be aware that Ofsted recently confirmed us as a solidly ‘Good’ school with lots of areas of strength which has been a key milestone towards our ambition of becoming an Outstanding school over the next 3 years. So that you can see the sorts of areas that we will be focusing on strengthening as we undertake this journey, we have included the Ofsted criteria for Good and Outstanding schools as an appendix to the attached document. Whilst we are driven by our Vision rather than by Ofsted, the criteria provide a useful set of prompts which amongst many other influences guide our thinking and discussions as a Governing Body.

No update yet available on new school funding plans

In our last newsletter we described the Government’s plans for a new national funding formula. At the time we were expecting an update by now on how these plans were going to be taken forward. However, due to the General Election, the update has not yet been made available to schools. We are hoping to receive guidance soon and will update you when we do. In the meantime, do please be aware that there continues to be a lot of speculation on the impact of the formula including some wild claims about the amounts that individual schools will receive. As the final details have not yet been released please treat all news on this topic with a degree of caution (and healthy scepticism). As we stressed in our previous note, please be assured that we will act to make sure we can deliver our shared vision with the budget we receive. Further reading is available on the DfE website.

The sound of music

What a delight our School Concert proved to be. It was truly wonderful to see and hear our children playing and singing with such skill and confidence. Great too to have a performance from our adult choir under the direction of Karen Williams – this is such a nice addition to the musical celebrations. As the final song said, “we’re (really) all in this together”.

Our new playground

Opening the new School Playground
The children have all been enjoying the new playground equipment installed at the beginning of last term. First of all thanks to the parents who devoted their time to preparing the surface area and cutting back the plant growth to make the installation as easy as possible. The school council and governors reviewed a number of choices for this area and finally arrived at the arrangement you now see which combined the best types of play equipment for all age groups. All of this, of course, comes at a cost. We were very fortunate to have been supported in this project by fundraising from the Friends, to whom we extend our thanks. Their contribution was added to a portion of the School’s sports funding to provide an enduring play environment which we hope will give many years of fun and exercise to the children. We plan to develop other areas of the existing playground in the future, so watch out for updates.

A year in the life of a new Governor – Chris Westwood

12 Months ago, I knew nothing about Owslebury Primary school other than it existed about 5 miles away from where I live, in a village I had occasionally run through. Over the summer of last year, I decided to pursue becoming a school governor. I had for a while liked the idea of doing something like this where I could hopefully put my professional skills to use to help the local community. The catalyst making was my daughter starting (at a different) primary school in September. I’m the kind of person who likes to understand some of the background as to why decisions are made. I knew I didn’t need to be a governor at my daughter’s school – just at a primary school in the system so I could get a better understanding of how it all works. I therefore applied to SGOSS which is an independent charity dedicated to recruiting volunteers to serve on school governing bodies. I was provided two schools in the area that were looking for governors, one of which was Owslebury primary school which I chose mainly because it was easier for me to get to and I liked the idea of a small rural school as my first governor experience. I was invited into the school to meet with Mrs. Smith and have a look around the school – and I liked what I saw. Everyone was friendly, and you could really feel a community spirit around the place. Throughout the last year working as part of the governing body I have come to realise that good schools do not happen by accident, but they happen with the co-operation of the staff, governors, parents and of course the pupils themselves. I discovered that the community spirit I had sensed on my first visit was in a large part created by having the values play such a central role to the school’s way of life. You will have all hopefully seen these values throughout the school. Part of my role as governor this year has been to monitor the integration of values throughout the school, and on walking around I was delighted to see them embedded around the school and throughout the work the pupils are doing. Values help to drive culture – and by having importance placed on the values helps to drive the behaviour of the pupils (and the staff!) which in turn creates the great community spirit of the school. Just as important in helping to drive the culture and success of the school is the vision and strategy for which I know members of the Senior Leadership Team and some of the Governors have worked very hard on. I have been involved in a lot of vision creating and strategy discussions in my professional career and I can honestly say that when I was taken through the work completed so far around the vision for Owslebury Primary School I have rarely seen such a clear path from the high level vision down to the individual action points that were documented in the school improvement plan. This to me showed that the school knows what it wants to achieve and has a solid plan on how to achieve it which was also backed up by the recent OFSTED report. I’ve enjoyed my ‘introductory’ year getting to know the school as a governor for Owslebury Primary School and I look forward to continuing learning and helping the school achieve its goals and more over the coming years. As quoted in the OFSTED report, which in turn was a quote from a parent! – Owslebury Primary School really is ‘a jewel in Hampshire’s education crown, which offers something very special to its children’.

From the Chair

It has been a privilege to be Chair of Governors at Owslebury over the past years – ones which have seen a lot of very significant changes. For me, the most notable of these was the recruitment of Wendy Smith as our new head. It was such a pleasure to see Wendy’s strong leadership recognised and praised in our latest OFSTED report. Appointing a new head is the single most important job a governing body can undertake and we expended a lot of time and energy doing so, two years ago. We were always very confident in our choice of Wendy but it is fantastic to have that recognised by our inspector. This OFSTED report is very positive and for have to say a sad farewell. Jenna has me confirms that this is a school that been a smashing teacher and we wish continues to go from strength to strength. her nothing but the best; how brilliant that We have a wonderful school team – staff, this last year with us has resulted in such pupils, parents, governors – working excellent KS2 results. together to provide the best we can for every child that comes to us. It is so apparent when you enter the school – so well encapsulated by events like the summer and Christmas Fairs, our musical evenings and school productions, sports days and celebration assemblies. This year the Friends added a Summer Ball to the calendar and what another great success it proved to be. Governing has changed hugely over the past decade and today it is recommended that chairs are replaced regularly, allowing new leadership to inject fresh energy. I whole heartedly agree with that advice. It is time for that change – although I know that the guiding principles of our values, vision and strategy will provide the foundation of continuity. In September we will have a new chair and I look forward to supporting them in that role as the school takes its next steps forward into a bright future. They can look forward to working with a vibrant school community – full of dedicated staff, governors and parents and – best of all – smashing children that make everyone’s hard work so worthwhile. Thank you to everyone that has served on the governing body during my time as chair. I have appreciated your support, time and sense of humour. We’ve got through critical recruitments, curriculum changes, reconstitution, an assessment revolution, the threat of a mandatory change to academy status and an OFSTED inspection. After all that, I am confident that we can continue to face up to any challenge ahead.

Fond Farewells

Year 6 Sportsday Photo 2017

Goodbye Year 6

They’ve been real stars – and now they are ready to shoot off to their new secondary schools. We know that our departing Year 6 children will go on to do great things and we wish them luck, happiness and success.

Goodbye Miss Watson

It seems like only yesterday that Jenna Watson was teaching haikus to Class 3 as part of her interview. Now she is moving on to her new role at St Bedes and we  have to say a sad farewell. Jenna been a smashing teacher and we wish her nothing but the best; how brilliant that this last year with us has resulted in such excellent KS2 results.

Fabulous fundraising and fast feet

The Friends have raised a staggering £9000 this year. Just extraordinary – what generous families we have. HUGE thanks to Tracy Archibald and the Friends team for all the events they organised – we appreciate the time and planning they all take. Thanks also to all our children and particularly Kierran Lakeland and Eva Mar Molinero, in Fire Class, for running their marathon challenges. Not only will all the funds raise make a huge difference to teaching and learning at the school – hopefully the running events will have inspired some to keep it up. Check out parkrun.org to find out more about the regular and junior parkruns in the area – a great way of supporting runners of all ages.

And finally – some of our favourite pictures

We hope everyone has a smashing summer holiday. We look forward to seeing everyone again in September.

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