Newsletter Issue 11
Friday 2nd March 2018
Dear Parents and Carers,
You will shortly receive an email containing a link to this year’s parent questionnaire. We really appreciate you sharing your views. They are important in helping us identify ways in which we can endeavour to enhance your and your child/children’s experience of being at Ferncumbe.
An overview of your feedback last year and the governing body’s response was included in the second newsletter in May this year. This acknowledged that communication was an area in which you would like to see improvement and, as result, a number of changes have been made or are in progress, including:
· The addition of a further 1:1 parents’ evening in the summer term.
· Further streamlining of communication channels, including a reduction in the number of paper-based communications (this is now largely limited to Friends of Ferncumbe events and independently-run after school clubs).
· Payments and consents for most items are now managed through SIMS Agora, including trips, school meals and Wren’s Nest.
· InTouch has replaced Parentmail as the route for email and text communications when necessary.
· The school website has been expanded and improved (although is an ongoing work-in- progress), in particular including an advance calendar of key event dates for the full academic year. Further useful information is planned to be posted soon, including information for new users of Mathletics.
Last year many of you took the time to complete the questionnaire and we hope that even more of you will do so this year. We have considered the comments made about the format and this year have extended the response options to include “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree”. We would however still encourage you to make a short comment wherever possible after the question to give us better insight into the reason for your selection – this kind of specific feedback is particularly valuable.
We look forward to hearing from you,
The Governing Body
Haseley Class visit the National SPace Centre
Haseley Class had a fantastic trip to the National Space Centre. They learnt more about astronauts, planets and stars, as well as experiencing the amazing planetarium.
One World Link visit to Sierra Leone
Tuesday 27th March 4pm to 5pm
On Tuesday 27th March, I would like to invite you to a presentation about my recent exciting visit to our link school in Bo, Sierra Leone. This will include lots of photographs from the trip and I will be pleased to answer any questions that you might have about what I saw and learnt whilst I was there. I will also talk about fundraising ideas for One World Link. This invitation is open to parents, children and governors.
Wednesday 28th March - Wear Green, White and Blue for Bo!
After an exciting visit to our link school in Bo, Sierra Leone by Mr Bladon we are now fundraising to maintain this friendship and allow for a return visit by a teacher from U.B.C. Lower to The Ferncumbe!
We would like everyone at our school to dress in clothes with a green, white and blue theme on the last day of term (March 28th) to represent the national flag of Sierra Leone, and bring at least £1 donation to kick-start our fundraising and celebrate our link. Please join in on this fun day!
Ms Houlihan and Lowsonford's Bo Reps
message from a parent governor
Dear parents and carers,
In February 2017, I was elected to join the board of governors at Ferncumbe as a parent governor. The last 12 months have flown and I’ve learnt a great deal – about governance, both formally at training sessions and informally during meetings or in discussion with colleagues; and about the increasingly complex and challenging environment in which the management and staff of schools in England are tasked with delivering the best possible education for our children.
I have come to understand that the role of parent governor is both a privilege and often misperceived. We share equal collective responsibility with other governors for fulfilling the core strategic functions of setting the vision, overseeing financial management and holding school leaders to account for delivering against learning improvement and other key objectives.
Though well placed to draw attention to how matters discussed may impact on or be perceived by parents and carers, we vote as individuals, acting impartially in what we believe to be the best interests of pupils, not as representatives of the parent/carer body and are not expected to act as a “link” between parents and the board of governors.
A frequent challenge for new governors in particular is that of diplomatically fulfilling reasonable expectations of being a sympathetic listener, whilst not overstepping the very clear line drawn between the strategic (governors) and the operational (school leaders) management of school affairs. This is why, in most cases, having heard your feedback, we will advise you to address your comments or queries directly to the school office or relevant member of staff – it should not be taken as avoiding or diminishing the importance of the point raised, rather it is critical to good governance to establish that effective channels are in place for communication between parents/carers and the school on operational matters.
Having said that, topics raised in conversation are inevitably “taken on board” and as governors, we are alert to spotting common themes and asking questions, at the governing board level, about how those themes are being addressed in the day-to-day context.
As governor with particular responsibility for parent & community links, I do also have a special interest in understanding how I can support the board and school leaders in strengthening relationships with parents, carers and the wider community, to the benefit of our pupils – and listening to feedback, both informally and formally (please do make use of the upcoming survey!) helps inform this understanding.
In keeping with the school’s aim to make the website the go-to place for all school-related information, there is already a governors’ page with details of who we are, how we’re organised and how to contact us, which we will be updating and adding to over the coming year, as well as featuring comment from different non-staff governors from time to time in the newsletter.
Wishing you all a happy and successful remainder of the school year, in which I look forward to learning more and continuing to serve the school community to the best of my ability,
Angela van den Berg
Whilst the field is out of action at lunchtime, we have staggered timings in order that children have more freedom and space when it is their turn to play outside on the playground - this worked particularly well during the recent cold snap. We trialled the new arrangements before half-term and then consulted with all children, via School Council, to gather their thoughts on how the new arrangements were working for them. The feedback was generally positive, but we have made some changes, to incorporate the children's views.
Lunchtime clubs, run by parent volunteers, are still on offer to all children four lunchtimes a week.
We will, of course, return to normal lunchtime arrangements once the weather has improved and the field is back in action.
Mothering Sunday 11th March - Holy Trinity Church
Please join us at Holy Trinity Church, Hatton (Birmingham Road) at 10am for our Mothering Sunday Service. Children get to bring along decorated paper fish to hang on the tree (make at home or school or come along to Kaleidoscope Kids at 10am this Sunday, 4th March – for stories and fishy crafts).
On Mothering Sunday we celebrate informally with flowers amongst the congregation and refreshments after the service.
We’d love to see many Ferncumbe families, newcomers always welcome.
Fundraising event in Warwick
Market Hall Museum in Warwick have asked us to highlight a fundraising night that they are organising, which may be of interest to you. Please click on the link for further details...
'warwickshire music' events
There are a variety of exciting musical events taking place in and around Warwick this term, including two open events at Warwick Hall, Warwick School, on Saturday 24th March 2018. Further details can be found on the Warwickshire Music website...
With best wishes for a lovely weekend,
Tracey Webb, Deputy Headteacher