Parent Forum feedback
ACADEMIC YEAR 2020-21
We are not currently able to host meetings on site at school. Should this change, we will look to invite parents to attend the monthly meetings once again.
ACADEMIC YEAR 2019-20
Parent Forum, Wednesday 5th March 2020
Thank you to all those parents who gave up their time to come along to share their views at a very well attended and positive parent forum meeting.
Items discussed included:
- Using the courtyard with Year 1 in the better weather – this is currently being re-set up and both classes will be able to access the outdoor space later this term (weather permitting!)
- Y2 children talk positively about using the Purple Mash program in their computing lessons during school. It is not possible to share the login for home use.
- Swimming and PE lessons – how these are timetabled in Keystage Two was discussed as parents of younger children were unaware that from Y3 all children go swimming as part of their PE curriculum. We use the Boys’ School pool and swimming instructors.
- Communication from school is very good. Parents feel very well informed about upcoming events and the school website is very helpful for checking dates, trips etc.
- Little Breakfast and Little RASCals for children in the Early Years is working very well. Parents are very pleased with the provision as their children enjoy going so much and parents value the flexibility of booking both in advance and adhoc. As a polite reminder could we ask all parents using either breakfast & RASCals clubs to remember to book online by 1.30pm each day. Please avoid calling the office unless it is an emergency – try to plan ahead as it is unsettling for children if they don’t know in advance what time they are being collected.
- The buddy system between Year 6 and Reception works very well and both the older and younger children gain from the experience. Y5 and Y1 are also enjoying going to Circle Group meetings together each week.
- School lunches are working well – a question was asked about gravy for roast dinner day. Gravy is offered separately so children do not have to have it unless they wish to. Parents welcomed our School Cook's efforts at gently encouraging children to try new flavours.
- Class Photos in the summer term. We will be using the same company as we trialled in the Autumn term and following a parent survey where the majority opted for the ‘traditional’ class photo these will be taken in the summer term.
- Year 1 – Queen Elizabeth immersion day – children really enjoyed this, although Queen Elizabeth was quite stern!
Parent Forum, Wednesday 5th February 2020
Thank you to the parents who came along today and joined in such a positive discussion.
Items discussed included:
- Parents who persistently and dangerously park on the horseshoe at the front of the school. Please could we remind all parents that parking on the horseshoe or pulling in to drop off children is dangerous to the majority of parents who do follow the school’s request to park elsewhere (eg. Waitrose, in the parking bays across the road). There is a large number of young children walking to and from school at the same time each morning and afternoon and many parents are worried that an accident could occur. Please DO NOT park in the horseshoe and please DO NOT pull in to drop children off. This applies during the school day, especially at lunchtime when our very youngest nursery children are leaving school after their morning session. It is also difficult for deliveries during the school day and for staff who do sometimes need to drive in or out of the school car park during the day. Your support in keeping everyone safe would be very much appreciated.
- Wow Badges. The children are thrilled to receive their badges each month for walking or parking & striding to school. We are thrilled with the increase in the number of children, and their families, making an effort to be more active! Just a reminder that the WOW badges are made from 100% recyclable materials. Look out for the WOW badge competition information Mrs Paine is sending home at the end of the week.
- Shade / wind sail in the courtyard. The cost of this has been explored and shared with the PWSA. It will be discussed again at the next PWSA meeting.
- PWSA plans- Could parents know a little bit more information about what the money is spent on? The weekly PWSA email keeps parents up to date with news, upcoming events and enrichment items bought for the school. It was suggested that if parents want to know more then this is shared in detail at the half termly meetings and the annual AGM. There is also information on the PWSA website page.
- Bench outside nursery needs fixing. Now this has been brought to our attention it will be attended to.
- Recycling Bins on the playgrounds. We use fruit bins at break and lunchtime on the playground and then general waste is for general (non-recyclable) rubbish eg. cereal bar / snack wrappers. Cans and plastic bottles (with the exception of water bottles) should not be brought to school by the children anyway. The Eco-Warrior group will look into whether there is a need for other recycling bins on the playground (paper bins are already in classes).
Parent Forum, Wednesday 22nd January, 2020
- The use of the blinds in the Y2 classrooms - it was explained that the blinds are used to shield the sun on the interactive whiteboards as the glare can be quite bright depending on where in the classroom children are sitting. It was also explained that at the end of the day the blinds are closed to minimise the distractions outside when the children are getting ready for home time.
- Homework in Y2 - could parents know the topic in advance and possible places to visit so they can plan ahead? It was explained that the long term topic plans for each year group and each subject are on the school website under the 'curriculum' tab if a parents wanted to check forthcoming topics. Parents felt it was beneficial and appreciated being given some suggestions on places to visit with their children. Topics are for this academic year only and will be subject to change from September 2020.
- Spellings in Y2 - could children have a word of the week? It was explained that all children are working at different points and are learning different spellings but that the National Curriculum spelling words for each year group are available on the website under the 'curriculum' tab. Terminology such as 'suffixes' are not always understood by parents - again it was explained that the key vocabulary is available under 'curriculum' or by looking at the National Curriculum documents from the DfE which are available on-line and that we don't expect parents to necessarily understand all the terminology that is now taught in the curriculum as they were probably taught very differently when they were at school.
- Homework in Y4 - systems for handing in homework, what happens if an item of homework is not completed or becomes lost, consequences for not handing in homework? The merits and perils of homework was discussed once again. Some parents want homework, some want more, some less and some don't want any homework at all. It was explained that research evidence suggests that homework at primary age has limited impact on improving children's academic performance but that the skills involved in the homework process are valuable in preparation for secondary school eg. building resilience, organisational skills, managing time frames and deadlines etc. It was explained that in Years 1-3 children really rely on their parents to organise and help them to complete homework tasks and that these tasks are often to compliment learning in school and to give parents an insight into what children are covering in school. Moving into Year 4 children are becoming more able to manage themselves and their time and to complete tasks independently and therefore there is a shift in expectation over the year where children are expected to complete a set amount themselves, to hand it in on time and they are encouraged to speak to their teachers themselves about any difficulties etc. We often say in lessons, children only learn something new by making a mistake first and that mistakes are good because they help us to learn. This is also true with development of children's social, emotional and independent skills; sometimes children need to forget or make a mistake or for something to go wrong so that they can work out how to solve a problem themselves, realise that it's not a disaster and that it is these experiences that help them to learn in the long run. Consequences may entail a child having to complete several pieces overnight and then handing in the following day or staying in for 5mins of break to finish something. Consequences may be different for different children depending upon the situation at any given time.
- Mrs Sheppard asked how parents were feeling about the introduction of the new Relationships Education and Health Education subjects which will come into effect in September 2020. Mrs Sheppard explained that staff were spending time this term exploring the new curriculum requirements and would be meeting with governors later this term to discuss further. A parent information meeting will take place in the summer term, where it is hoped that one of the Well-being Advisers form the Local Authority will be present to discuss the information with parents and answer questions. Parents attending the Parent Forum were positive about this approach.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 4th December, 2019
Thank you very much to all who attended a busy meeting this morning. The topics discussed included:
- In-class learning and systems, such as Y3 spellings and YR/Y1 learning partners. Mrs Sheppard talked about the different systems of spelling and how they develop from Y3 in to Y4, and confirmed that learning partners as a concept is discussed at Curriculum Meetings. School is aware that they do not wish to bombard parents with too much info at these meetings, but always happy to explain further when needed.
- Recent school photographs. Mixed feedback was given with some parents very happy and others complaining that some of the portraits showed the children with eyes closed, or the poses were not to their exact tastes. It was suggested that a survey be conducted for feedback, although school did state that we are happy to receive feedback when introducing the new company. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that we had chosen to work with Pret-a-Portrait having researched thoroughly- including speaking to schools who already use them. The idea of making all of the images available is to give parents a choice but there is, of course, no obligation to purchase them. As a school with 422 pupils on roll it is a challenging task to take on in a way which will please everyone.
- End of year school trip and buddies. There was some discussion about the annual whole school visit and what aspects of the day children enjoy.
- Maths and Times Tables Rock Stars. Mrs Sheppard answered some questions about this online learning platform and described the useful tools for children and teachers that it provides.
- School Dinners. Did puddings run out once? Fruit is always available.
- Christmas Fair- great feedback received for a really successful event, thanks to the PWSA and all involved in organising it.
- External clubs cancellations and childcare provision. Some parents expressed concern that when external clubs are cancelled the offer to book them into our extended childcare provision of RASCals incurs a charge. Mrs Sheppard explained that when a PW club is cancelled (eg. due to poor weather) we can always endeavour to provide supervision until the end of the club time as the member of staff is likely there but, when external clubs need to cancel, we naturally do not have the supervision and/or space available as the teacher does not then attend site. We will always make sure that RASCals can accommodate children on these occasions so that childcare is in place for parents if they are not able to get back any sooner. External clubs will refund any sessions missed.
- More notice for Parent Forum invitations. One parent felt that the week's notice of invitation to attend was not enough. We will trial inviting with 2 weeks notice.
- Prospective Reception tour- one of the dates coincided with our non-uniform day ahead of the Christmas Fair. Concern was expressed that this did not give visiting parents a true reflection of the usual day-to-day operations at the school.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 6th November, 2019
Thank you to the select group of parents who gave up their time to come along to Parent Forum today and for your positive comments! The topics discussed included:
- Congestion on the KS1 playground in the morning - we discussed the limitations of the school site once again and how it can be very busy (and overwhelming for some children) still. Teachers and teaching assistants come out each morning to collect their class and walk in with one adult at the front and one adult at the end of each line. Once the bell goes please can ALL parents move away from class lines so that staff can see their children and wait until the lines have been brought inside before leaving the school site along the Y1 and Y2 pathway. Please DO NOT walk down the steps alongside the children. If parents wish to leave straight away then please exit via Corinium Gate or the top gate or walk up around the back of Redwood and along the astroturf pathway towards the KS2 playground / Waitrose gate. Please do not wait at classroom doors - all children must join their class line on the playground each morning.
- Daily Mile - very positive comments about how much children are enjoying this. Every class has a 15mins timetabled session three times a week on the days they do not have PE. Year 1 do go out at least twice a week as well as twice weekly PE as they are still working in keyworker groups but this will evolve during the year and some weeks they have been out three times (timetable dependent!). It was also mentioned that during the winter months when we have very wet or cold weather younger children may not want to go out some days or for quite as long. We also talked about the edge of the field and muddy patches - so all children will be reminded of the need to walk / run on the astroturf pathway and not to cut the corners!
- School Dinners - much improved menu, although beans are no longer on the menu? - This was discussed and it was explained that the catering company have to provide a whole menu which is nutritionally balanced according to the different number of choices available each day and that currently the new menu doesn't include baked beans but that this can be reviewed next time the menu is updated.
- Rascals children being collected after other children have been handed over to parents. This was discussed once again and it was explained that safeguarding is the most important factor in organising the handover as well as the teaching commitment for Rascals staff who are with classes until the end of the day. Also there is one adult to collect from 4 different classrooms in KS1 so children going to Rascals do have to wait a couple of minutes at the end of the day. This is also the same for KS1 children attending activity clubs as they need to be safely handed over to the staff running those clubs.
- Breakout is very busy and not all children get to go inside sometimes. Breakout is held in the summer house on the KS2 playground for children in KS2 at lunchtime. Mrs Velasco runs this and due to space does have to limit the number of children inside at any one time. However, she does rotate the chidlren through during lunchtime so as many children as possible are able to access this but she does also have to take into account different children's individual needs at lunchtime. During the summer months it is easier to incorporate more children as the activities can also be set up on blankets on the grass outside but during the winter months space is restricted.
- Year 3 reading scheme books - some fact books are out of date? We do have a programme of replenishing the rolling stock of reading books. This year the top up of books was focused on the end of Reception / beginning of Y1 levels but we will look into this and remove any books which appear out of date. If you feel any outdated books come home (often the children in Y3 self select from their colour box so an adult may not always notice what's been taken) please do just return it to the class teacher and we will remove it from our stock.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 10th October, 2019
Thank you to the parents who were able to attend the first Parent Forum meeting of this academic year. The topics discussed included:
- Maternity Cover sometimes doesn’t work well for the children. This was discussed and Mrs Sheppard explained that staffing is always reviewed and organised to minimise disruption to the children and their learning as much as possible but that as with all employment staff are able to say when they wish to begin or end their maternity leave and sometimes circumstances beyond the schools control dictates when this actually happens. Mrs Sheppard hopes to be in touch with parents in both Y1 and Y3 towards the end of next week regarding maternity leave related issues.
- WOW Launch & badges. This was discussed as being a positive initiative in theory although a concern was raised around working parents not being able to walk to school everyday and therefore not all children being able to take part. It was re-explained that by taking part in the Living Streets Wow project this year we are asking children to walk to school a minimum of once a week in order to gain their monthly badge and that this can include the ‘park-and-stride’ approach whereby adults park 5-10mins away from school and walk the rest of the way. We discussed that although we recognise that it is difficult for working parents to commit to walking daily that this initiative is an important one in encouraging children to be fit and healthy as well as consider our environment, reducing vehicle congestion and pollution around the school gates. We hope that as many families as possible will take part and that we don’t expect everyone to be able to achieve this every day but once a week would be fantastic.
- Homework; Can children in Year 6 have more homework? The topic of homework was discussed and Year 6 parents expressed a wish to have more traditional style homework similar to that of secondary school in order to prepare children for the transition. A secondary transition project is in place during the summer term where children will have a ‘homework’ week similar to what they may experience at secondary school and it was also discussed that all secondary schools have different expectations in Year 7 so this is difficult to replicate in primary school. At the meeting we all agreed that the issue of homework is one that divides all parents – some want more, some want less and some would prefer none at all! As homework at primary age is not statutory we will continue with our current system of tasks being sent home on a half termly basis so that families can make their own decisions about what works best for them.
- Waterbottles: Can we remind children to drink more water? We can and we do. All children are encouraged to have a cup of water at lunchtime in the dining room. Waterbottles are taken out at break and lunchtime, as well as when participating in The Daily Mile activities. Water is available in class and from the water fountain on the playground.
- Recycling Bins: Can we have recycling bins on the playgrounds? Mrs Sheppard will ask Mrs Chapman and the Eco-Warrior group to look into this.
- First day at school It was very busy on the first day at school on the playground and this was difficult for parents to manage when needing to drop several children off to different places around the school site. It was agreed that the first day is always very busy as everyone wants to bring their child/ren to school that day. It is always a little more chaotic as parents and children are finding out where their new lines / classes are etc. It was suggested that teachers wear a hi-viz top for the first week so that parents know who staff are. We will consider this for next year.
- Year 1 toilets & bands The band system was explained to parents of children in Year 1. Unfortunately, the Year 1 classrooms are away from the toilets and so to keep track of how many children are going at any one time the children ask an adult and take a band with them. This system has been in place for a number of years now and works effectively to help the teachers to keep track of who is where and ultimately to keep everyone safe.
- Bullying We discussed the upcoming Anti-bullying Week in November and how school can better support all parents to understand and realise that bullying between children does happen from time to time and that as parents we all need to work together to help children to resolve difficulties and to move on in positive ways. This includes on-line activities at home too.
- Curriculum Maps on the Website It was acknowledged that it was useful for parents to be able to see the year mapped out and to know the topics being covered in each year group.
- Minibus: Can the PWSA fundraise for a minibus for sports events? We discussed that with the increased participation in sports events both during the school day and after school it might be useful for the school to have a mini bus to transport children to and from events as currently we have to rely on parents to give their children lifts which can be difficult for working parents. Mrs Sheppard suggested this fundraising idea is brought to the next PWSA meeting.
ACADEMIC YEAR 2018-19
Parent Forum, Wednesday 19th June, 2019
Thank you to the parents who were able to attend the last Parent Forum meeting of this academic year. The topics discussed included:
- Y5 Public Speaking, which was very positively received by parents. They felt it was a great experience for the pupils and that the feedback from the guest assessors was very good. The preparation and support put in by the Year 5 teachers was very apparent and parents were really impressed.
- Y6 PGL trip. Parents expressed their gratitude both to Y6 staff who did an amazing job taking the children and to Mrs Haward in the School Office for her support in organising everything. There was some discussion as to why we choose this point in the year for the trip, when other schools go sooner in Y6, but Mrs Sheppard explained that we consider this a celebration of the year and preparation for next year, as opposed to the 'getting to know each other' trip that other schools run.
- Parents asked if children in the infants could be reminded to have milk each day. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that the cups and jugs are put out at break time for the children to access, and they are encouraged, to enjoy a drink.
- There was positive feedback regarding School Meals, with parents reporting their children are enjoying the food.
- The recent Beezee Bodies and NSPCC assemblies were well received. Parents asked if it would be possible to extend the healthy eating message given with a request for only healthy snacks sent in from home e.g. no crisps. We will reiterate this in September as we start the new academic year.
- Parents asked how plans are progressing for the new playground equipment. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that everything is on track and that we will aim to share some images on the website shortly- watch this space!
- Mixing classes; this will not happen this year but will be discussed again once all the year groups are full capacity (after the current year 4 have left).
- Parents like the competitive sports that pupils have been involved in recently (years 5 and 6) such as District Sports. There was lots of positive feedback about the opportunities afforded our pupils and thanks expressed to Mrs Paine for organising for Prae Wood children to participate in varied activities.
- Parents are looking forward to Sports Week (24th-28th June, don't forget that children should come to school in shorts/leggings, t shirts and trainers) and all the activities planned.
- Mrs Sheppard confirmed that the planters and flower beds that are causing a potential trip hazard around the site are on the job list for our grounds maintenance team. Planters will be put in in KS1 and the bushes will be reinstated shortly. In the meantime, please take care moving around the school and do not cut corners from the pathways.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 22nd May, 2019
Thank you to the parents who attended the meeting. The topics discussed included:
- We have been successful in a bid for funding for a Daily Mile track, planning permission for which has been submitted. We are hoping that it will be possible to install it over the Summer and then launch in September with more details.
- There was a request from Y1 parents for daily Mindfulness sessions. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that we approach this as part of our PSHE curriculum and we currently have a monthly Wellbeing Wednesday for all year groups and staff, as well as further activities in school.
- There was some discussion about the range of puddings offered at lunch time. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that fruit is available every day and other puddings should be listed and provided according to the published menu. She will speak to the catering staff to ensure that this is the case.
- YR parents asked if there could be a more regular change of word boxes. Unfortunately we are dependent on parent helpers to manage this system, and any support is always appreciated.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 1st May, 2019
Thank you to the parents who attended the meeting. The topics discussed included:
- Year 1 Road Safety: is this covered? The Autumn KS1 Science topic and assemblies given discuss light and dark and how reflective clothing plays an important role in keeping us safe. In Summer KS1 we cover concepts including how to cycle and scoot safely.
- The updated procedures for RASCals were welcomed by parents, who asked for the same approach for Breakfast Club. Mrs Sheppard will arrange for all parents using Breakfast Club to be messaged on protocol of dropping children in the morning and signage will be improved.
- KS1 SATs process: how is it managed? Prae Wood takes a very low-key approach to assessing the children in Year 2. During the month of May Teachers will carry out assessments of reading and maths, with the emphasis very much on maths 'activities' rather than 'tests'.
- Parents gave positive feedback on the Year 6 and Reception buddies scheme.
- Parents asked about the destination for this year's whole school trip. It was announced during circle time that we will visit Cassiobury Park.
- Parents asked about the venue for sports day, which is Westminster Lodge.
- How does the making of Mothers' Day cards fit in to the curriculum? In Early Years the making of cards is part of the continuous provision of developing colouring/cutting/art and design skills. In KS1 making cards is part of planned activities following PSHE lessons.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 6th March, 2019
Thank you to the parents who attended the meeting. The topics discussed included:
- School lunches; why is there an option for 5 days or a Thursday only? Mrs Sheppard explained that this is the most flexible offer that we can accomodate. Some other schools will offer the Friday, but it makes sense for us to offer Thursday as that matches our census submission and has a significant effect on our funding. Other than this it would be almost impossible to manage up to 400 children dipping in and out in terms of ordering, wastage and allergy requirements. Another parent mentioned that some of the food is spicy, but equally other parents did not consider this a problem. It was agreed that the Parent Taster session is eagerly anticipated, having been cancelled before due to the snow and poor weather. We will reschedule as soon as we have an available Friday that suits the catering staff and the school timetable.
- Teaching Assistant cover in year 1. Mrs Sheppard reassured parents that, whilst Mrs Mason is away, cover is in place in the class room. Parents asked when the maternity leave teacher will be announced, and Mrs Sheppard said that she would announce this information as soon as possible.
- Clubs clashes, parents asked again as to why clubs were run at the same time. This is due to the availability of space and staff, and their own commitments and timetables. Cooking Club has limited numbers due to the nature of the activity and only runs for a half term to enable as many children as possible to join in.
- Epi-pens in school. A parent asked why they should provide their own rather than the school holding one, as there is currently a shortage. This is a health and safety requirement and the single option that is in place for secondary schools has not yet cascaded down to primary.
- Drop off in the KS1 playground continues to be challenging, with some parents wanting to drop their children to their lines. Please stand back to allow space and movement.
- Y6 SATS boosters have been well-received, with the morning sessions appreciated by parents.
- Music Lessons- how do parents find out about these? Letters are sent to all parents at the end of year 2 to advise about the option to take recorder lessons. In year 3 a further letter offers the chance to take up a wind instrument. Details are also to be found on the school website under the tab 'For Parents'
Parent Forum, Wednesday 13th February, 2019
Thank you to the large group of parents who represented their childrens' year groups this week. We discussed a range of topics, including:
- Forthcoming Traffic disruption, details of which have been sent to all parents. We ask that you plan to assign more time for your journey to school during the resurfacing works, but understand that there may be times when traffic problems are beyond your control. We hope that by giving you the same notice that we have had, parents can be well prepared for this.
- New lunches. The menu is well-received and children are enjoying the system. There was some discussion about allergies and Mrs Sheppard was able to reassure parents that these are always at the forefront of planning for the menu and how it is delivered to the pupils.
- Eco Warrier meetings. Some concern was expressed that not many meetings had taken place. 3 meetings are planned each academic year, and the requirements of the role will vary according to what is happening at the time (eg Sustainable St Albans etc)
- Assessment of homework and recognition of work done was raised as a question, with parents wishing to further understand how this was managed by teachers. Some year 1 parents were concerned that children given a sticker for their efforts were losing them before parents had seen them. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that it is not formally marked but, depending on year group and class, the teachers will give over some time each week for pupils to share their work with the rest of the class, should they wish to do so, or they may even take them to key stage leaders or head teachers. All homework is looked at by teachers, but is not marked. Spellings are given to children for them to learn and then consolidate their efforts through their wider reading and writing. The role of homework at Prae Wood is designed so that children can have a discussion point with their parents/carers about their curriculum topics, and also so that they work towards self-management of time and effort as they progress through the year groups. School will look into writing and publishing a more formal explanation of this approach and ethos.
- A question was raised about changes to the the national Sex and Relationship Education policy, as has been reported in the news recently. School has not received any formal notification about this, but will inform parents once we do.
- Concern was raised about splitting into Girls' and Boys' teams for the recent Speed Stacking Contest. Mrs Sheppard explained that this was done in accordance with how the contest was run, rather than differentiating between the sexes, and their abilities.
- Some parents asked if reading books could be changed more frequently, especially across early KS1. Mrs Sheppard will look into this. She confirmed that the reading tier system is available for as long as it is supportive to children on their journey to reading fluency, and there is no arbitrary cut-off age.
- Music lessons and Recorders. A request was made to see if children could continue to learn Recorders, as well as another instrument (if they wish to take up the offer of lessons from year 4 onwards). Unfortunately the limitations of time and available teaching space, coupled with the requirement to support children catching up with the learning they've missed when they leave the class room for their music lessons, means that we are not able to offer this currently.
- Parent Contact- who receives information from the School? Emails and letters from the school are sent to both parents/carers for a child, according to our published policy and depending on the information preferences you have given us. Generally speaking this equates to both parents receiving information. You can also choose to download the School Jotter app, which gives access to extra notifications and quick links to the website, school gateway and the parents evening booking system. If separated parents wish to make bookings for Parent Consultations this is also possible.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 16th January, 2019
2 parents joined Mrs Sheppard for our monthly Parent Forum meeting, and discussed the following points:
- Congestion on the year 1 & 2 Walkways continues to be a problem in the mornings. We ask parents to either use the blue pathway once children have joined their lines, or to hang back on the playground until they have entered their class rooms.
- School Gateway, why do parents see what they see? Gateway is set up so that parents have access to book and pay for everything that their child can attend (whether they choose to take it up or not) so, for example, all Year 1 children had access to cookery club but not everyone took it up.
- Stickers for continuous support and affirmation on good work were requested. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that school does use this system, it just may be that some of them fall off before getting all the way home!
- Homework Discussion and request for an explanation. Mrs Sheppard confirmed that this was covered in curriculum meetings and details should be on the slides (see website curriculum page). Spellings are not a formal test and so marks are not made available to parents. The emphasis is on the correct use and spelling of the words within childrens' work.
- School Dinners, vegetarian option. A request was made for more sauces. All feedback is given to the kitchen and as we get used to the menus we can look further at this.
- Clash of clubs. Feedback was given that clubs that some children would like to attend take place at the same times, so a choice needs to be made between the two options. Unfortunately the timetable is set according to availability of space on site and the timetables of the club providers, so we are not able to change the existing timetables.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 5th December 2018
Thank you to the parents who attended our monthly Parent Forum this morning. We had a very productive discussion about the following points:
- Y3 playground games
- Breakfast Club – changes to timing and cost from January 2018
- Homework – explanation of how homework works across the school
- Y6 privileges works well
- Postcards home system is being well received by the children and their parents in Y4-Y6
- The volume of emails at the moment is huge! – we discussed how this is always a very busy time of year and that school emails and PWSA emails, along with all the various different PWSA rep group messages / class rep messages etc can be a little overwhelming, especially for parents new to the school.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 7th November, 2018
Thank you to the parents who attended today.
The following items were discussed:
- Confusion over Y1 Parent Reading yesterday – a communication oversight – apologies to Y1 parents who thought parent reading had finished before half term as originally advertised. As the session is so popular we have agreed to continue with this until the end of the Autumn term. In the Spring term Y1 will join Y2 in Keystage assembly.
- Lots of letters are sent out and lots of communication from school but this sometimes gets lost by parents as there is so much to remember and organise. It was asked if school could send a list of bullet points of the key info included in the letters. Mrs Sheppard explained that we try to give as much advance notice as possible. We are currently making a Letters to Parents 2018-19 Page on the school website with a chronological list and link to all letters sent, so that parents have another point of reference to use to check information. Also the key information is on the school calendar. (Some Y1 parents forgot about the Y1 trip yesterday) We would encourage all parents to use the website as a tool for information as it is constantly updated and may hold the information that you need. The calendar and app feed are available on the home page, and further info can be located using the tabs across the top.
- We informed parents that a new catering company will be joining Prae Wood in January and that information to parents will be coming out shortly. This led to a short conversation about meal choices, especially for children who are vegetarian.
Parent Forum, Wednesday 10th October, 2018
Thank you to the large group of parents who attended the Parent Forum meeting this month.
Issues discussed were:
- The daily mile – will this be introduced? This is currently being considered and an item for the Sports Ambassadors group to investigate further.
- Rascals collection of reception children – our Rascals staff are also teaching assistants in school so they are unable to collect the children attending Rascals until 3.15 as they are working in their classrooms until this time. They then go over to Redwood to collect their register and the Reception children are always the first group to be collected.
- Breakfast Club children – are they signed in? Yes, an electronic register is marked by the staff on arrival. Any anomalies are noted and updated by the office staff
- Soft start in the morning – the school day starts at 8.50am and from Y1 upwards children line up to come into the classroom – some parents feel the walkway is still quite congested for the class lines coming in as other parents walk / wheel their pushchairs amongst class lines which is confusing for the school children trying to follow their line in. I will send out another letter to all parents on Friday explaining the process of dropping off and lining up in KS1 and would ask that all parents / carers adhere to this as it does work well once established. We discussed that it is always busy at the beginning of the year when parents are more anxious about their child going into class on their own in their line.
- Entering Nursery in the morning – again it was raised by a parent that in the morning the doorway to nursery is quite busy with sometime two parents and a pushchair seeing one child into nursery meaning other children are struggling to see their way in. The nursery session starts at 9am when the door will be opened and only children will be able to come into the cloakroom etc. Again it was agreed that this time of year is always a little busier when children and parents new to the school are settling. I will send a letter home to nursery parents on Friday to explain the dropping off process.
- Photos – were standard or contemporary photos taken last Friday? Standard photos are always taken for individual and sibling photos at the beginning of the year. Contemporary photos can be considered for the summer term class photos. With over 400 children to be photographed during the course of one school day it may not be possible for the photographer to get through every class using the contemporary approach but we will ask. If it is possible then we will ask parents to indicate their preference using a survey and we will go with the majority.
- School Jotter & Calendar – apparently syncing the calendar on some phones has been a problem. It may be the settings on individual phones need changing or older phones may not be compatible.
- Jacket Potatoes at school lunch – how does it work? – Children from Reception to Y2 are asked if they would like a half or a whole jacket potato alongside the filling, veg and salad and they are given what they ask for. Children in KS2 are given a whole jacket potato.
- Puddings at school lunch – how does it work? There is a daily pudding on the menu that has been baked as well as a variety of fruit and yoghurt everyday. Children are not offered seconds due to meals having to be nutritionally balanced and portion sizes carefully controlled.
- STEPS behaviour approach – would parents like more information? Yes please – we are in the process of organising an information evening for parents in early November – details to follow.
- Homework discussion – some parents would like homework set everyday, some parents would not like any homework at all – parents not sure what part of the curriculum will be covered when – We will make sure the maths activities, for example, are listed in the order they are being covered in school
- Reception Class Reps are finding it difficult to get hold of all Reception parents to collect their details for PWSA purposes. School are unable to put information in children’s book bags (GDPR) so I have suggested the reps put their information up on the class whiteboards outside Oak and Sycamore so that parents can make contact with their reps if they wish to.
- Nasal Flu spray – why are children at PW only being vaccinated now? Other schools have already had their vaccinations. It was explained that School Health notify the school of the date(s) of the school nurse visit and we don’t have any influence over the timing. It was confirmed that school nurses have a 6 week window in which to vaccinate in all schools in Hertfordshire.