On reflection, so much has been achieved in the past few months by the whole community.
The premises committee saw the last, and final phase, of the school rewire. A decision was taken to tie this in with the refurbishment and redevelopment of the school kitchen. Barbara, the school cook and her team have worked in cramped, dated conditions, always providing a first class service. It was felt appropriate to coordinate the rewire with the decision to extend and develop the kitchen. Contractors worked over the summer and now the kitchen provides additional working and storage space. This was essential given the rising pupil numbers.
Further modifications and adaptations to the main building have been made to accommodate the rising number of pupils and staff. A break out room has been created for staff preparation, meetings as well as small group work. Many of our spaces are now required to be flexible and adaptable to meet the complex needs of our entire community.
The swimming pool continues to be a highly valued resource for both our learners and the wider community. Successful grant applications, as well as a contribution from the school budget and pupil premium funding have enabled us to invest a significant sum to achieve a totally sensory environment. Sound and lighting can now provide both relaxing and learning environments within a therapeutic context. This has allowed the pool to be a place for relaxation, learning and fun!
Last but by no means least, after careful consideration by the entire governing body and wider school community, it was agreed to host a preschool provision within our site. A separate entrance has been created allowing parents and carers immediate and safe access to the dedicated ‘Woodlands Nursery’ area of school. Children identified as requiring additional specialist assessment and support can now begin their learning journeys at the age of 2 or 3 years within the newly created Woodland Nursery provision.
The staffing committee have been busy planning and preparing for the growth of school. A total of 4 governors have been involved in the selection and appointment of a new phase leader for the FE building, a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) as well as supporting the professional development and career path of one of our longstanding Teaching Assistants to Trainee Teacher within school. A number of additional teaching assistants have also been recruited to support the growing number of children across school as well as within the newly formed nursery.
Leaders at all levels have had access to substantial and extensive professional development ranging from National Professional Qualifications in Middle Leadership and Senior Leadership, Leading from the Classroom, Closing the Gap, and Securing Excellence. All leaders have had recent and updated training on Performance Management.
Governors themselves have accessed PREVENT/WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent) training alongside school staff as well as attending training on Academisation, Safer Recruitment, Closing the Gap, Financial Management, SMSC and British Values and Prevent Training.
An audit of the effectiveness of Governors has also recently been completed by an external consultant.
The Curriculum Committee have met with the school Communication Champion in order review the progress made across school in this important area. A learning walk was held and it was very pleasing to be able to celebrate the many, many achievements by both staff and learners.
Along with Senior leaders, I attended a conference promoting Future Leaders, hosted by the Landmark Teaching Alliance of which we are a member. It was a privilege to listen to speakers such as Alistair Campbell and AP McCoy as well as local business leaders, recognising the important role that education has in preparing the leaders of the future, and wanting to work in partnership to support schools.
Our parent governors have worked tirelessly to ensure that regular coffee mornings are available and a warm welcome awaits everyone attending. These informal get-togethers are a chance to get to know individual staff in school, meet other parents and generally have a good time.
On a more general note it was really satisfying to see all of our school leavers proudly receive their final certificates and awards at the end of term. All of the students prepared heart-felt presentations about their years in school and they all, without exception, stood at the front of the large audience with confidence and pride, to say farewell to staff and friends, as they move on to their next stage of learning. Staff, governors and parents were all bursting with pride and admiration.
It was a fitting tribute to exactly why we all do this work!