Please find below notes from the Governing Body meeting on 5 July:Summary:· Increased burden on teaching staff this year· Supportive feedback from Merton Educational Partner· Parent feedback- recognising concerns over understanding measurement of progress· Thorough implementation of the School Development Plan
Published: 12 July 2016
· School Travel Plan
· Thank you and farewell to Mrs Bazley
The Governors used the opportunity of the last meeting of the academic year to review all the work that has gone on in the school during the year – and the list was long and impressive.
What is clear to all of us is the dedication of all the staff, particularly the teachers. I simply hadn’t appreciated – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – the burden imposed by the changes in the national curriculum and in the assessment regimes. Most of our teachers are working an 11 hour day – and are often taking home work overnight and at weekends. Yet the quality of teaching, the detailed knowledge of the potential of every child and the contribution to the ethos of Dundonald has never been better. We all have to find ways to reduce this burden to retain and nurture the talent we have – and I ask parents to play their part in that.
We reviewed the report of the Merton Educational Partner (“MEP”), who inspects Achievement, Priorities and Planning on a termly basis. His comments included favourable discussion of the strength of Pupil Voice within the school, the high profile of science, consistency of classroom practice (especially in giving verbal feedback and using ‘working walls’ in classrooms). Especially pleasing was the feedback that pupils were found to be ‘confident to talk about their learning’ which is a key element of developing a growth mindset.
Over the summer we will review the findings of the Parent Survey. Thank you to all who completed it. We were able to discuss immediate feedback to the comprehensive new report formats. What is immediately clear is that despite the many opportunities provided to explain both the changes in the assessment regime and the raised expectations within the primary curriculum, the change from the old ‘levels’ has caused some anxiety. We are committed to working with the Senior Leadership Team to continue to provide parents with the information they need at a time of difficult transition for all involved – and we welcome ideas about how we can do this in new and better ways.
Child Protection and Safeguarding is a vital yet often unseen part of the management of the school’s operations. We reviewed the reportable data to understand both the trends and to get a sense of the sheer quantity of time and effort involved in managing these issues. We were pleased to see the MEP confirm the effectiveness of the school’s arrangements.
I wrote in the Autumn term about how we work with the Senior Leadership Team to shape and monitor the School Development Plan. The plan drives the implementation of the school’s strategy across six key areas. In our recent session, it was remarkable to see just how much had been implemented during the course of the year and to identify the areas of learning and adjustment to take into next year’s plan. We use a ‘Red-Amber-Green’ rating system to spot issues and challenge progress. The report was a sea of green! We discussed the few areas of amber/red and these items will become part of the planning for next year, which is already underway.
The expansion project remains on track. We know that parents are very keen to explore the new facilities but please bear with us – the builders will still be with us until Christmas! When we have the changes all bedded down, there will be opportunities to tour the expanded campus. Meanwhile, please keep your fingers crossed that good progress is made by the builders and the Council in refurbishing the ‘old’ building over the summer so that it is fit for re-occupation in good time. The timetable is tight!
Governors recognised the large amount of work involved in maintaining the School Travel Plan by Jessica Morton and wished to thank her for this.
Lastly, this meeting was the last to be attended by Joanna Bazley as governor, as she has decided to step down after 20 years of service to the school. I cannot speak more highly of the inspirational way she has conducted herself, courteously challenged the school leadership and other governors, and made a huge contribution to the outstanding performance of Dundonald not just as a school but as an asset within the local community. She epitomises all that is good about public service. We will miss her.
Chair of Governors
Published: 28 June 2016
Read about the exciting events that were going on in the Road to Rio
week in the latest Weekly News
that can be found in the newsletter archive.
Published: 28 June 2016
In the summer term, the key task for the Full Governing Body (“FGB”) is to approve the 3-year rolling budget for the school. This is prepared by the school’s Finance Officer, scrutinised by the Finance Committee and then presented to the FGB by the chair of that committee. The key theme is that the School’s slight year-on-year surplus is reducing. Over the next three years, the school is being asked to do more with less, potentially moving into a slight annual deficit.
As a result, the school is actively looking at ways to maximise other sources of income and to increase further the efficiency of its operations. We urge the whole school community to continue to support the School Fund, PTA fund raising events and to come forward with ideas and opportunities to develop new sources of funding.
School Development Plan (“SDP”) update
The Headteacher discussed with the FGB the many streams of activity to implement the School’s Development Plan. Particular focus fell on the development of marking and verbal feedback schemes; developing further breadth and depth into the curriculum - particularly to reflect aspects of being a Rights Respecting School; a review of whether boys and girls respond to ‘challenges’ differently; and in the Early Years, an increased emphasis on phonics and developing writing opportunities.
Given the ever shifting demands of curriculum and assessment and the heavy workload on teaching and other staff, it is a constant balancing act for the school’s senior leadership to keep innovating and delivering the SDP priorities whilst making efforts to improve the wellbeing of staff members.
Special mention was made of the fantastic efforts of the nursery team to create a vibrant temporary nursery space in what is currently a spare classroom as a consequence of the Easter preparatory works for the summer holiday ‘makeover’ of the original school building. Many thanks to the staff for their efforts – external commentators thought this had been in place for months, not days when they visited!
The FGB is required to approve a number of policies over the school year. The Equality policy is worthy of a special mention. This is not just a statement of ‘compliance’ with statutory requirements, but sets out how we wish, as a school community, to reduce inequality. It sets out objectives for the school to obtain and identifies key data points to be tracked annually. All the school’s policies are to be found on the school website – please take a few minutes to see how comprehensive these are.
Mission & Vision
One of the three core functions of the Governors is to ensure clarity of the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school. The school – and the part it plays in its environment – has continued to evolve markedly. As a result the senior leadership of the school are reviewing its vision and mission to ensure that it truly reflects the progress the school has made across a number of fronts in recent years. Governors will contribute to that exercise and will act as ‘critical friends’ to the school in ensuring the required clarity of vision is captured.
Progress with the new school building remains on track. However, due to the complexity of works in refurbishing the existing school building, the timetable remains very tight. Parents will have seen that the Local Authority has advised that the school should be closed for an additional day in September. Staff will have very little time to prepare their classrooms for the new school year, doubtless causing them extra work and stress: very frustrating at a time when we want to be more mindful of their wellbeing.
The school does not control the building project – all we can do is to keep a very close eye on progress, which we can assure you is being done. Other aspects of the build are on track. The ‘Pavilion’ is scheduled for demolition in September, with the enlarged Multi Use Sports Area being completed by end November, creating a fantastic asset for the school and the community.
The Governors thank you all parents for completing the online survey with ca. 95% response. We will share the key findings and work with the Senior Leadership Team to consider your views and ensure they are reflected in the school’s activities.
Chair of Governors
Published: 25 April 2016
Please find below the article about our trip to Caesar's Well that was published in the WEEKLY NEWS on 22nd April 2016.
Published: 08 March 2016
Parents with children in Year 1 to 6 had the opportunity to attend a Writing
that was held by our English Subject Leader Mr McGavin.
Following areas were covered:
- Writing the new curriculum
- How to teach writing at Dundonald
- Ways you can help your child
Thanks a lot for the positive feedback received:"Very encouraging workshop to see the different methods that are welcome to help children.""There were many tips shared during the workshop. I will encourage to read more and praise the effort.""I really like the idea of sharing the writing I do during the day.""Mr McGavin gave useful tips on how we can help support our child's writing. He explained as well what the
age related expectations are for writing."
Please find the presentation here
Published: 29 February 2016
Many thanks for attending the Online Safety Workshop in January 2016, which was all about practical parenting in the digital age.
Derek Crabtree (London Borough of Merton) has kindly sent us an updated version of the presentation held in January.
Please click here
for the presentation.
Published: 12 February 2016
The Full Governing Body (FGB) met in the Hall on the evening of Tuesday 1st February.
Our main focus was to monitor progress in the implementation of the School Development Plan (explained in previous newsletters). The FGB’s strategic oversight of the plan is complemented by the more operational focus of the Merton Education Partner, who recently visited the school to review Achievement, Priorities and Planning.
The Headteacher briefed the FGB on progress with the School Development Plan using a ‘Red, Amber, Green’ rating system – with a pleasing amount of green and amber items identified and action plans in place to address the red ones. The FGB thanks all of the teaching and support staff for their efforts in implementing the plan, particularly given the backdrop of ever changing assessment systems.
We spent some time discussing the importance of the Thinking School and Growth Mindset concepts and in particular how the school can continue to engage with parents/carers to support these initiatives. Parent/carer support and feedback is critical – please do take advantage of the myriad opportunities to engage with the school and remember to complete the feedback forms. These are vital in assessing the effectiveness of the school’s communications.
Progress continues apace on the preparations for Two Form Entry. In physical terms, the new building is nearly wind and watertight – at which point the internal works can accelerate. Much remains to be done, especially in terms of refurbishment of the existing building over the summer, but the Headteacher and Governors are in active and frequent discussions with the
contractors and Merton Council (whose project this is) to ensure that delivery remains on track. The staffing structures are also nearing completion, with the appointment, effective September 2016, of two further Assistant Head Teachers, following a rigorous assessment and selection process in which governors played a key role.
Two policy documents were put forward for adoption – Whistleblowers and Governors’ Expenses. The latter is a key plank in our inclusivity agenda, ensuring open access to all potential governors. All policies are on the school website, which is a rich
resource of materials.
Last week’s newsletter contained details of the Emergency Plans. The Governors and the Senior Leadership Team are meeting with the Council shortly to review these further. Please access the website for further information. The website will be a key resource in the event that the Emergency Plan is activated, when parents/carers are advised not to contact the school but instead wait to be contacted. To support this, please ensure your contact details are complete, accurate and up to date!
Lastly, we heard back from governors who had held meetings since the last FGB meeting:
·The committees reported back on Finance, Premises, Personnel (including Pay) and Curriculum related issues
·Louise Aikman and Ben McFarlane had been ‘Governors of the Month’. They had undertaken a Learning Walk through the school to see the Development Plan in action, including meeting the School Council.
·Link governors, who act as the ‘link’ between the FGB and subject leaders, reported back on progress with English, Computing, Rights Respecting School initiative and Maths.
As ever, we are actively managing succession and the mix of skills in the FGB. Each of the Committees is looking to create succession plans, so in March I look forward to relating to you the skills we are looking to add.
Chair of Governers
Dear ParentThank you to the PTA and all the parents and staff who volunteered to make the Christmas fair such an enjoyable and festive experience.Well done to Year 1 and 2 children and staff for fabulous performances of ‘Prickly Hay’. I look forward to seeing you at the annual Carol Concert at St Andrews Church on Thursday.A big thank you to Mr Bonsu. We wish him well in his new IT role. A warm welcome to Mrs Reiersen who has joined the Dundonald Primary School team as a Teaching and Learning Assistant and Lunchtime Playleader.Yours sincerelyFiona DuffyHeadteacher
Published: 11 December 2015
On Monday we welcomed some of the residents from Kew House to watch the dress rehearsal of the Y1 and 2 Nativity. The PTA provided refreshments and children from Year 6 served and chatted with them. We were lucky enough to serve them mince pies, coffee and tea. Leyla Y6We had the chance to talk to them about our school life and what we do in school. Elsie Y6I was asked about the Christmas hoops and how we made them. Milo Y6
Published: 11 December 2015
On Tuesday we went to the Science Museum as part of our topic on space. We had the chance to look at the space gallery we also visited we looked at the Apollo 10.We then went to see a performer who acted as a famous astronaut. He spoke about spacecraft's and the day in the life of an astronaut. He spoke about everything from how you eat to how you sleep. It was very informative! He mentioned that he’d love to see another person go to the moon.
Published: 11 December 2015
We also went to Europe's biggest IMAX screen to watch a film about the international space station. This lasted for one hour. Elsie, Taisei, Leyla and Milo Y6