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15.5.17

So much has happened over the past few weeks, what with Bank Holidays, SATs (KS2), successful sporting events and numerous meetings! However if you have been keeping track of the school activities through Twitter or the website you will be aware of what has been happening across the school.

 

How fabulous have our footballers been? Both KS1 and KS2 have had many successes, the latest being our KS1 team getting through to the finals, because of their unbeaten record. They felt very proud and important in the new team kit and were certainly over the moon by the time they got back - it was the talk of the evening. Take a look at our Blogs and Twitter feed, and the comments about Wembury. (It appears we are talk-of-the-town - watch out Wembury are about!)

 

Last week saw Year 6 SATs take place. These are a national test; all schools take the same test on the same day. This is of course is a daunting and stressful time for all involved (children, staff and parents) and we make it as 'enjoyable' as possible, with a free breakfast, lots of sweets, throughout the test, and working in smaller groups. The children are also allowed to bring a mascot or cuddly toy. Year 6 were amazing and appeared to cope well with the pressures and the test, having had the opportunity to speak to other headteachers. A massive well done to our Year 6. Unfortunately this does not mean their work is done! So it is back to the timetable and encouraging them to maintain their level of learning, to ensure they are secondary ready. 

 

It is now the turn of Year 2, but as their tests are not as formal, they do not have to take their's to a set timetable or day, so they will be working on these as part of the everyday classroom routine, and over the course of the next two weeks. And then Year 1 take a Phonics Screening test! (Thankfully this is again in an informal way.) Despite the school NOT being test driven and all about Mathematics and English, we are assessed and inspected against these results and how we are addressing areas for development. We were pleased that Ofsted recognised what we are doing, yet keeping a broad, rich and exciting curriculum, and suggested we carry on doing what we are doing! So our development plan will have a number of similar elements to last year's and we will continue to provide a diverse and varied range of activities, both within and outside of school, in the hope of capturing the interests and strengths of all pupils.

 

We now have a waiting list for a number of year groups. Foundation Stage for September 2017 is over-subscribed and Year 2 has a long waiting list. If you are not sure of the criteria for gaining a place at school, which has changed slightly regarding siblings, please follow the link to DCC Admissions. Having a sibling in school no longer guarantees a place offer - however you have preference if you live in catchment and have a sibling. School offers are a very stressful time, especially if you do not get the school of your choice, however the school will assist you as much as they can to a successful resolution, even if it is not possible to attend our school.

 

MAT (Multi-Academy Trust) - as you are aware there continue to be many discussions and meetings regarding the possible future status of the school. Last week there was a parental meeting, for Wembury, Oreston and Dunstone primaries, at Plymstock School, to which a few parents from each of school attended along with some  governors, the heads and Rob Haring. 

The outcome of this meeting was that parents would like updates, further details, when available, and for information to be presented using less educational wording/jargon. Hopefully the following will provide this?  

  • Wembury Primary is continuing to explore the WeST collaboration. (Westcountry Schools Trust.)
  • Each school within the MAT will keep its unique identity, culture and ethos, and be responsible for the provision of its own curriculum. (No school will become a carbon copy of each other - however some good practice may adapted within each school, in a way that best fits that school and community.) 
  • Wembury would retain its own local governing board and have representation on the MAT board of trustees
  • Parents should see little difference in what is happening day-to-day in the classroom.
  • Procurement and some back office costs should be reduced, therefore enabling more funding to benefit pupils and outcomes. 
  • The school's budget remains the school budget, despite going into one MAT account. The school would plan and monitor use of the budget as previously.
  • All current staff would transfer across. (TUPE.)
  • Whilst there is a cost attached to additional MAT senior positions, beyond the current school management, this should be no more than the slice (top slice) already taken off by the local authority, and for those additional services we choose to buy in to. If anything the school should be in a slightly better financial position.

 

Whilst the benefits are easier to see, there are some unknowns and possible risks.

  • The potential risk of other schools joining - their budget, standards and possibly pupil numbers. How are we protected from this risk? 
  • Some autonomy of purchasing may require an additional level of authorisation.
  • Currently all schools have their own headteacher or principal - whilst this is guaranteed for the forthcoming future what is the strategic thinking for 5-10 years time?
  • What process is there for building work across the MAT and how is this prioritised? (The MAT would attract additional funding that Wembury, a local authority school, cannot currently access.)
  • What additional MAT posts may be required in the future and how will these be funded? (There would be scope to provide leadership opportunities and training within and across the MAT, but this would have to be with the Head's, governors' and staff members agreement.)

 

At this stage there appear to be more positives than negatives, however this is in no way a 'done deal.' There are still areas that we need to negotiate and questions to be answered. However at this stage some answers will be unknown as this is so new; there are no real statistics to prove this is best and whilst Wembury is in a position of strength, and is able to co-create/shape this new MAT, standing alone looks like it will no longer be an option. If we decide this option not right for us and have to join another MAT, in the future, the likelihood is we would have to conform to what is already in place. This, as you can imagine, is a daunting task, and one that must be right for Wembury and its community. The consultation period is due to end on 6th June 2017 and therefore I urge for any further questions, concerns or comments to be forwarded to wemburyclerk@wembury-primary.devon.sch.uk                Thank you.

 

School Meals - price increase.

From September 2017 school meals will increase to £2.30 per meal (£11.50) per week, for KS2 pupils. This is in line with the national funding currently for KS1 meals of £2.30. If you think you might be entitled to free school meals, even if you have a child/children in KS1 (who are entitled to universal free school meals) please apply online. As an incentive for all parents who apply (and for those who continue to be entitled), from September 2017, should your application be accepted then the school will provide one free sweatshirt per child per year (subject to availability).

 

Fidget Spinners, Zomblings and other toys brought in from home. Please be aware that an increasing number of children are bringing in gadgets, toys and items from home, including the craze for fidget spinners and squeezy balloons! Unfortunately we also have an increasing number of fall outs, distractions, losses and upsets. As a consequence we have BANNED these items from school and should your child be found in possession of one it will be confiscated, and handed to the office for collection at the end of the day. Whilst the theory behind the spinner is purposeful, we have other, silent, fidget gadgets for those who require one.  Thank you for supporting us with this distracting craze.

 

On a much more positive note we have two bands (Years 5 & 6), and the rest of Year 5 who will be performing at the Devon County Show, this Thursday 18th. Hopefully the weather will improve for our talented musicians?

On Friday 19th we have a group of children entering a bell-boating competition, down at Oreston Quay and, weather pending, a football tournament here at school, with schools from across Plymouth and South Hams. I know our KS2 Football Team A are raring to go in the regional football finals, taking place in Newton Abbott, on the afternoon of 23rd May.  

 

After half term the pupils' Annual Report will be coming home, with an opportunity for parents and pupils to respond in writing and to book a consultation. This will be the final, official, consultation of the year. It is unbelievable how quickly this year has passed by - probably because it has been so busy! However there are plenty more events and activities yet to come. We aim to finish by 1.15pm on the last day of term (21st July), like so many other local schools and allow children to commence their holiday earlier than in previous years.  It will also be Year 6's final day so their fun could be prolonged? Let's wish for wonderful weather and a fun-packed rest of term.

 

Car Parking

We have been notified by the Parish Council that the Barton Park, car park is due to be enlarged, by Taylor Wimpey. Apparently there are notifications in the park informing the public of their planned extension, which was part of the original development agreement. The expectation is it could take up to five weeks to complete, which will obviously have implications on parking at the beginning and end of the school day. There is a further complication in that the Village Hall car park's surface is breaking up and in an effort to extend its life they will intermittently close it to users. We have requested that the Village Hall provide notification to us and parents, in advance, so that parents are able to adjust their journey; it is thought this will not happen during the Barton extension. We will obviously keep you informed as we find out but perhaps when there is good weather, walking or dropping off further away and then walking in might be a less frustrating alternative? Please remain respectful and courteous during what could be a difficult time and put the safety of pupils first.

 

On a final note, just a reminder that we have been nominated for token collection in Tescos, for our 'Learning Escapes' project. When shoppin' don't forget to drop 'em - in the box!

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 


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