St Peter's Church Of England (VC) Primary School and Pre-school

Myneer Park, Coggeshall, Colchester, Essex CO6 1YU

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Governors' blog

Leavers Service – Thursday 21st July

This morning I was very pleased to be able to be at the Year 6 Leavers Service in St Peter’s Church, and as a very recently appointed Governor (28th April) I have felt moved to write just a few words about my impressions.

It was a real pleasure to be in the presence of so many delightful young people of all year groups; lively and excited yes, but also so well-behaved and polite. Presentations were made and farewells said to several dedicated staff members, and we wish them all the very, very best for their futures, but of course the real focus was on our Year 6 leavers. Most moving to me was the personal testimony given by our leavers about their time at St Peter’s: their proudest moments; their funniest moments; their happiest moments; their always to be remembered moments. And perhaps most moving of all, their impressions of what their last full day at St Peter’s would mean to them; as the hours gave way to minutes, and as the minutes dwindled to the last few seconds.

 I am certain that if, as our Year 6 leavers step forward into their futures, whatever and wherever they might be, they can keep close to their hearts the St Peters ACE values of Aspiring, Caring and Enjoying, then all will be well with them. God speed to all of them, each and every one.

Brian Meads – Foundation Governor

Open The Bible Team

I don’t normally post anything about a ‘thank-you’, but we were invited to school on Friday 15 July for a tea and cake morning as a ‘thank you’ for all volunteers in whatever capacity.  However, it was a joy to be there as first the Pre-school came to sing to us (oh, so lovely); and then we were entertained by Mulberry Reception class singing (again, so sweet);  a well-rehearsed Recorder group;  a ukulele group (and also singing)  and then Year 6 leavers giving us a rendition of two of their favourite songs from their production ‘Oh What a Knight’.  It didn’t end there – an extremely talented young lady played the piano.  A wonderful ‘thank-you’ – far exceeding any expectations.  So, to the children who entertained, to all the staff who supported and served tea/coffee, to Mrs Cole and Mrs Sullivan  -   we all so enjoyed it  -  THANK-YOU !

The Open the Bible Team

Jean North – Governor

 

       Chair of Governors Update - 16 July 2022

As we draw to a close in this academic year,  I would firstly like to wish the Year 6 leavers good luck in the next school.  I hope that your time at St Peter's has prepared you well for the next important step of your education.

I would also like to thank all the teachers and staff who have been so committed to the school and its pupils over the last year.  I know at times, it has been incredibly difficult, but your positive attitude and determination to provide a quality education has shone through.  From all the governors, our sincere thanks.

To all the parent and carers - thank you for your support.  The fundraising events organised by FOSP and supported by the parents and carers, is invaluable at not only making it fun for the children, but also in providing valuable resources.

On behalf of the governors, I wish you all a safe (and not too hot!) summer break and a much needed rest.

Jayne Robertson

 

Oh What a Knight! - July 2022

Indeed it was - what a night!.  Not only the hottest evening probably in school but a real 'hot' production.  The talent of these year 6 pupils is incredible in their slick delivery of a thoroughly entertaining production.  Whatever school you transition to in September, they are jolly blessed in having you.  Well done to you all and not forgetting the wonderful singing of Year 5 (and Year 6 as well).  Finally a well-deserved accolade to the staff who have brilliantly coached and led you through it all.  I so enjoyed it - thank you.

Jean North

Chair of Governors Update - 3 May 2022

Since taking on the role of Chair in July 2021 I must firstly apologise for not updating this blog sooner.  

Despite the country's mantra of 'living with COVID', the school has continued to be challenged by the pandemic during the first two terms.  Fortunately it appears to be improving lately and we all hope this continues.  It has obviously been terrific that children can now mix with each other and normal school activities have resumed.  This has also meant that governors can now visit school and hold some meetings in school too, although the vast majority are still held online.

The governors attended, (for the first time in a many years), a joint governor visit to school.  We heard from the School Council members (see blog below) and we were updated on Trauma Perceptive Practice, disadvantaged children and the school's church and spiritual strategy.  We finished the morning with a school lunch (and very impressed we were too!).  This was a very successful meeting and will repeat this idea in future.  

One of our priorities as governors is to ensure the schools finances are wisely spent.  We recently had a budget meeting and discussed this in detail for the forthcoming financial year.

A clear priority for governors is to see the school development plan taking place, particularly with regard to any pupil catch up learning due to the pandemic.  We have been prioritising key subjects and meeting up with subject leads to explore their action plans in more detail, and have been observing lessons.  We are pleased to report that these visits have evidenced progress and have witnessed the clear enjoyment of the pupils in learning.

Safeguarding is another priority for governors.  We receive regular updates from Mrs Cole and one of our governors has been into school to discuss this in detail.  

In terms of new governors, we are delighted to welcome Chris Barry, Katie Glegg, Dan Greenwood and Leanne Horcox to the board, all of whom bring additional strength and skills to be able to utilise in improving our school.  Additionally, we are delighted to welcome Brian Meads as a new Foundation Governor, who has just been appointed by the Diocese.

Jayne Robertson - Chair of Governors

School Council - 22 April 2022 

The governors were delighted to meet the School Council recently and to hear about some of the projects they have been working on.  It wa great to see representatives from all year groups, with the exception of EYFS who were enjoying Forest School at the time of our visit.

The children were split into groups and were very eloquent and keen to share some of the topics they have been involved in as part of their school council duties.  These included thinking about what the school's values "Aspire, Care and Enjoy" meant to them, to the forthcoming Queens Jubilee celebrations and the Walk to School initiative as well as the Time capsule which will be buried in the school grounds.

It was also great to hear about the process for being elected to the council which includes elections and even hustings.  All the children are great ambassadors for the school and it was a pleasure to meet them.

LIz Keig - Parent Governor

Reflections from the outgoing Chair, 21st July 2021

Another school year closes so does my time as a governor and Chair at St Peter's School.

Again this school year has been a very difficult one.  I have said it before but I will say again just how much I continue to remain proud of the entire school community working through the impacts of the pandemic on our usual ways of doing things.  Staff have adapted to the challenges, parents and carers have been patient with being back to home learning and disruption from cases that have materialised and the children have been so flexible, quickly responding positively to new ways of working.

I have also been delighted to see that, although parents were unable to attend, many of the usual end of term celebrations have taken place like sports day, the leavers play and leavers assembly.

On a personal note, I have very much enjoyed my time as a Governor at St Peter's.  Over the last 5 years I have seen the staff grow and develop under Mrs Cole's leadership, incorporated the Pre School as part of the school (during a pandemic) and continually strived for on-going improvements.  I am pleased to be leaving the governance at St Peter's in the very capable hands of Jayne and Amanda and the rest of the governing board - you are all amazing!

I wish all of our staff, parents, carers and children a wonderful summer and the best of luck to all those moving on from St Peter's in the next stage of their educational journey!

Linda Weston (Co-opted Governor and Chair)

Summer Term Full Governing Body (FGB) Meeting, 1st July 2021

Last night was the final full governing body meeting of the school year.  Once again we have reflected on what an unexpected year it's been.  As a governing board we remain proud of all of the staff at the school, their resiliency and creativity which has continued to work with the guidelines to create an environment that was as normal as possible for the children.  We were pleased to see how much professional development staff have undertaken to keep their skills up to date too.

I made my intention to step down as Chair of Governors at the end of the school year known, so we brought forward our annual election of the Chair and Vice Chair positions.  I am absolutely delighted that Jayne Robertson was elected unopposed as Chair.  Jayne is a proactive member of the governing board and will be an exceptional Chair.  I am also very happy that Amanda Jackson will continue as Vice Chair.  Amanda brings such a wealth of experience to the team which we find incredibly valuable.  We also said goodbye to Helen Wilkins who has been a governor for many years.  She will be greatly missed but she'll still be part of the "Open the Bible" team so we get to still see lots of Helen.  Finally we welcomed Michelle Castle as a co-opted Governor.

Linda Weston (Co-opted Governor and Chair)

Spring Term Full Governing Body (FGB) Meeting, 17th March 2021

Tonight was our latest FGB and marks a year of holding our meetings virtually.  The meeting covered our usual topics but with extra focus on the finances which have seen a very different profile due to the pandemic. We also had detailed discussion on the plans for utilisation of the catch up funding to ensure that we were satisfied that the proposals for spend generated the outcomes we were trying to achieve. Mrs Sullivan and Mrs Wilkins also updated us on their plans for worship over Easter taking into account the restrictions in place.  The Governor's were pleased to see connections being maintained with the Church during this time through services and videos from the "Open the Bible" team.

With Easter coming up soon I hope everyone has a wonderful break and hopefully we will be in school again soon.

Linda Weston (Co-opted Governor and Chair)

Welcome Back.....virtually, 5th January 2021

Oh I wish we were welcoming everyone back on the school premises.  Mrs Cole and the staff have been planning for this eventuality so we are well prepared.  As governors, we will be continuing to meet regularly with Mrs Cole so we can provide support and guidance during this unique time.

Good luck everyone!

Linda Weston (Co-oped Governor and Chair)

 

 

Mulberry Class Christmas Nativity,  18th December 2020

I was lucky enough to be sent a link to watch the Mulberry Class Christmas Nativty play.  What a wonderful solution to not being able to watch in person in this extraordinary year and would enable all parents / careers to see their children to perform.

I was captivated from the start.  It was set outside and it was so lovely to see the children in fabulous costumes, but also wrapped up warm for this time of year.  It made me fell Christmassy for the first time and I particularly liked the interpretation of the classic Christmas story, but with the modern touches (such as references to the Rule of Six!)

The children were all so engaged and enthusiastic and it really came across that hey enjoyed doing it.  I particularly liked the very decisive soldiers marching and the scene showing Mary climbing aboard her donkey to go to Bethlehem.

The songs were so good, loved the "clip clop" song and the Away in a Manger, which were sung beautifully!  There was also some very good dancing going on.

All in all a lovely production, big congratulations to the hard working staff who pulled this off with aplomb, especially the dancing at the end!

Well done!!!

Jayne Robertson (Co-opted Governor)

  

New Parent Governors,  5th December 2020

Earlier this team we announced that we were seeking nominations for new parent governors.  The nomination period closed on the 23rd November and we received two applications.  As we had two parent governor vacancies both candidates were automatically elected as parent governors unopposed.  

Therefore I am absolutely delighted to announce that Mr Irwin and Ms Savvouri have joined the Governing Board.

I am sure they are going to be a huge asset to team.  We are planning induction sessions early in January to get them up to speed ASAP.

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Autumn Full Governing Body Meeting,  5th November 2020

Tonight was the first Full Governing Body Meeting of the academic year.  We are continuing to meet virtually.  As is customary in the Autumn term we elected our Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year.  I was once again elected as Chair.  Dr Rev Bates and Mrs Wilkins stood down from their co-vice Chair positions.  Both individuals have been amazing Vice Chairs and have made a hugely valuable contribution to the school and the broader community.  Whilst Dr Rev Bates has left the governing board to pursue a pre career opportunity Mrs Wilkins remains on the board as a key member continuing to drive forward a number of activities within the school.  I am grateful to them both.  As such we were seeking a new Vice Chair and I am pleased that Mrs Jackson was elected to the position.  Mrs Jackson has been part of our governing board for the last 4 years and has a wealth of experience - I know she will be a great Vice Chair.  

Other key Board activity involved reviewing the School Development Plan for this year, discussion how we complete monitoring effectively in a COVID safe way and review and approval of a variety of policies.

Although this year remains a little different it's great to see the children back in school and how happy they are to be there.

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Welcome Back!  3rd September 2020

A huge welcome back to new and existing children, staff, parents and carers!!  I hope you have all had a wonderful Summer and have been looking forward to the return to School.  Over the Summer Governors have been continuing to support Mrs Cole as she continues to refine the Risk Assessment for the return of all year groups to school.  It has been a busy summer and I would like to thank staff and the parent volunteers who have been working really hard to get ready for the new school year.  I had an opportunity to visit before the start of term and the renovations to the summer house in the KS1 playground,  clearance of the wooded area and repairs to the windows in the hall have all been amazing and something that we are indebted to those who have given up their time to get these things done.   Staff have also been working really hard to organise the classrooms and carefully consider how we best implement the new measures required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whilst these measures will continued to be refined there has been a lot of effort that has gone in to making sure school is as safe as possible for parents, children and staff.  

As both a Governor and a parent I have been very much looking forward to getting some sense of normality back.  Many children they will not have been in school for six months but judging by the excitement I saw in the playground this morning, I was not alone - there were clearly lots of children pleased to be back seeing their friends and although things are not quite the same it's a little more normal.  The activities we perform as governors has obviously needed to change over the last few months as we have moved to a virtual meeting approach, not visiting school in the way we would and focusing on supporting Mrs Cole through what have been a very difficult time.  Therefore, I am also looking forward to getting back to our regular meeting schedule and focusing more on the strategic side of our role.  

The world is different to what it was but I'm embracing the new normal.  

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Reflections from the Chair, 21st July 2020

Now, I wasn't expecting that!!  I think it's fair to say (and probably and understatement) that this school year hasn't quite panned out the way anyone could have predicted.  Normality reigned for the first term as Governors we completed our usual meetings / monitoring in school we were gearing up for the SATS and reviewing school performance data, challenging Mrs Cole on driving performance and standards, we saw the school Christmas performances and then, not long after the return in the Spring Term everything changed....

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the world.  I personally never thought we would see the day where we'd see national school closures and total countrywide lockdown.  Schools were given a couple of days to prepare for a completely different approach to learning and to also provide on-site support for vulnerable children and those of key workers.  As Governors we have needed to shift our focus, away from some of the more longer term and strategic initiatives to supporting Mrs Cole with navigating through the myriad of guidance from the DFE and the Local Authority.  We quickly moved from face to face meetings to virtual meetings and changed the focus of those meetings to be on urgent matters and the COVID-19 response.  A smaller group of governors were also meeting (virtually) with Mrs Cole and Mrs Sullivan to check in on how the COVID-19 response was being executed and provide guidance, support and suggestions where needed.  Throughout this time there have been many things that have had to be planned for from establishing a Home Learning regime to planning for vulnerable children and children of Key Workers to be in school through to bringing back some year groups.  

We've has none of the assemblies, parents evenings, parent share sessions or the end of term festivities such as the picnic, Thank You coffee morning and the always fabulous end of term play by the Year 6 leavers and will never be able to regain those memories.

However, I have been immensely proud to see the entire school community come together to make the best out of the situation.  I would like to say a massive (up in lights) kind of thank you to all staff, children, parents and careers who have been so resilient, supportive and adaptable during this difficult time.

I would also like to say a very special 'thank you' and 'good luck' to our year 6 leavers.  It has been really difficult to not get to do the normal ceremonies and say goodbye in the normal way but you have been an amazing group of individuals and I wish you the very best of luck in the next stage of your educational journey - you will all be great!

Finally, we have had a few of our governors step down from governance at the end of this year so to Sara, Martin and Paul thank you for everything - you will be missed!  

I hope you all get an opportunity to relax over the Summer and I'm keeping everything crossed for a return to normal by September.

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

COVID-19, 20th March 2020

As you know at the end of today we close our doors to the majority of children with just a small group of children continuing to attend school.  It's hard to believe we are where we are.  The governors we will be continuing to work closely with Mrs Cole to provide support during this time and as the situation continues to evolve, all be it in a virtual way.  

I wish everyone the best of luck with adapting to this new way of operating and hope to be welcoming everyone back to school soon.

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Spring Term Full Governing Body (FGB) Meeting, 12th March 2020

Last night was our latest Full governing body meeting.  Outside of the usual policy review we discussed the emerging Coronavirus situation and how Mrs Cole is being kept up to date with the latest information and using that to inform decision making as a result.  In addition we covered a detail report from Mrs Cole on key metric such as attendance as well as initiatives that have been completed by staff since our last FGB.  As part of our standing agenda we reviewed the minutes from the committees and an a update on the school budget position was provided.  Other points for discussion included staff wellbeing, Year 5 / 6 residential trip and support for those sitting their SATs this year.  

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Follow the Star, 12th December 2019

Well, Christmas has really commenced for us after attending the production put one the children in Reception and KS1.  The clarity of the narrators and those with speaking parts was excellent and the singing was amazing - however did you learn all the words to all of those songs?  It was catchy and told the age-old story of Jesus born in a stable but with all the actions of the Wise Men, the Stars and the Shepherds (not forgetting the camels and the sheep) leading p to that momentous occasion.  The Children clearly had a great time and enjoyed learning and performing their production.  Well done to your all and a big thank you for making our Christmas!

We must not forget the high thank you to the incredible staff who worked so hard, not only in the preparations, costumes and scenery but also with their enthusiasm which portrayed itself to the Chtrold.  I think I went home humming the song 'Follow the Star'

Thank you!  

Jean North & Helen Wilkins (Foundation Governors)

 

Merry Christmas, 19th December 2019

With the Autumn Term drawing to a close I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all staff, governors, children, parents and careers a wonderful time over the festive period.  

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Autumn Term Full Governing Body (FGB) Meeting, 5th November 2019

We held our first FGB meeting of this academic year.  As a customary we elected our Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year.  The Governing Body unanimously elected me to continue as Chair and Revd Dr Batts-Neale and Mrs Wilkins and Co-Vice Chair.  We also welcomed Mr Adams and Mrs Robertson as co-opted governors for a four year term.  As part of our standing agenda we reviewed the standing orders and code of conduct for how governors operate along with the minutes from our sub committees and various policies.  Mrs Cole presented her Head Teachers report which covers key updates for governors on staffing, training, attendance and other pertinent information.  The governors asked questions and challenged the approach where needed.  We also received an update on the budget position.  This is covered in a lot of detail in our Resources subcommittee but it's important that all governors are aware of the latest status and have an opportunity to provide challenge.  We also reviewed and approved the proposed non-pupil days for the year. 

Overall a really great meeting with lots of discussion and debate.

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Reflections from the Chair, 23rd July 2019

As the school year draws and end it's natural to start reflecting on this year and the progress we have made and what's still to happen.   Mrs Cole and her team spent a lot of time and energy in developing a clear development plan for the school.  As governors, we spend a lot of our time reviewing how the school is performing against that plan, that's sometimes reviewing data and others completing monitoring visits.  Looking back over the reports and speaking to other governors a feel really excited about how all staff are engaged in the plans and totally believe in it.  Consequently they are aligned in making sure the objectives are achieved.  Following publication of the results of the SATs and Phonics test for year 1 I am really pleased to see that performance achieved was greater than expected - a testament to the hard work of the staff and children at the school.  I also feel hugely proud that the school actively promotes a broad and balanced curriculum meaning that children get to experience all aspects including languages and arts.  This is a key part of our ethos as a school and is clearly evidenced in what we see around the school.  A big challenge for this year has definitely been the budget.  I'm sure that the funding crisis is not unknown to anyone and as governors we have spent a lot of time determining how to spend the limited funds we have in the best way.  The support we have received from parents has been amazing whether that's by attending FOSP events or answering other requests for support.  The funds generated by FOSP and all that support them ensure they can help us to buy the things that really help to enrich children's experience at school.  Looking forward to next year, it's great to start the planning for the development plan for next year (there's always ways in which performance can be improved), learning from the things that worked well and not so well this year and planning for the longer term.  I also can't wait for the much anticipated library project to be complete!  Instilling a love of reading and books will really make a huge difference.

Finally, I just want to say thank you to all the staff and Governors at St Peter's.  It's not always easy but they care deeply about the school and the more I do this role the more that becomes evident.  

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor)

 

Open Evening, 14th July 2019

A veritable delight to attend the School's Open Evening and to see such interesting and informative work compiled by the children from Early Years through to Year 5/6.  So important to see "Reduce, Re-use and Recycle and see the work on the amount of plastics in our oceans.

I was particularly impressed with the heuristic approach to learning and the interactive work going on in the Reception class.  In Years 1/2 I loved the 'Melting Clocks' (Salvador Dali) and the 'droplets' where the children were learning the art of sewing towards their project 'A drop in the Ocean'.  A lot of concentration going on there and also a lot of work went into their prayer lanterns and their Judean/Aramaic writing.  Years 3/4 classrooms were displaying some fantastic work on volcanoes; rivers and their source; the Blue Planet (plastics again) and WW1.  Then in Years 5/6 the many portraits of the stern face of Queen Victoria were staring down at me.  She was certainly recognisable and the children's work on the Victorians was excellent - with information on the many facets of the workhouse and their meagre food (gruel).  Oh and I loved the shadow pictures - very cleverly done.

Underpinning all this amongst all the classes was the work on maths science and English with art intermingled.  Yes a veritable delight.  Well done to all the children for their hard work and to all the staff (not forgetting the hard work of those who made biscuits and cakes) and a thank you from me!

Jean North (Foundation Governor)

 

Robin and the Sherwood Hoodies, 9th and 10th July 2019

Every year following completion of the SATs the staff and children of Year 6 get together to rehearse for our end of year production with Year 5 joining as the choir.  Here are some review's from a couple of our governors:

Year 6 and Year 5 - words fail me!  You were just BRILLIANT!  I have not enjoyed a performance so much.  You were slick, funny,  great timing, clear diction, jokes presented with such aplomb and the singing delivered with zest and enthusiasm - I felt like I wanted to get up and sing along with you!  Heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you and you should all be justly proud of yourselves.  From my point of view it was a joy and I walked away with a smile on my face.  Carry that deliverance on when you transfer to secondary school.  Last, but not least, a huge thank ou to all the staff - how you did that from the incredible scenery backdrop to the 'squished/squasher' I shall never know.  Amazing....

Jean North (Foundation Governor)

I'd like to extend huge congratulations to the staff for leading the splendidly entertained school production.  I attended last night and had a great time watching the show.  The retro-references and jokes-so-bad-they're-good were delivered with such aplomb by kids who surely didn't have a clue about The A-Team or many of the other themes, at least before they learned their lines!  The enthusiasm was infectious and the kids were clearly revelling in the roles.  Great work everyone and I'm sure that will be a defining memory of St Peter's for all of the departing Year 6ers.  Looking forward to next year already!

Martin O'Connell (Co-opted Governor) 

 

Full Governing Body Meeting (FGB), 26th June 2019

Tonight was our final FGB of this academic year.  At these meetings we come together to review what has taken place since our last meeting.  A key item on the agenda was to finalise the staffing structure for next year.  Given the pressures on the budget and staffing being a big proportion of the cost as governors we need to be in firm agreement of the number of staff that will be employed for the coming year balancing costs, effect on staff and the quality of teaching and learning.  We received a detailed update from Mrs Cole on what has taken place in school and on the key metrics we monitor, such as attendance.  I also provided an update on the governor activity that has taken place during the intervening period.  We also discussed the training and development of governors, reviewed and approved various policies and how we are distinctiveness as a church school.  We also welcomed two new governors to our board.  Stephen Hall has joined as Local Authority Governor and Liz Keig as a Parent Governor.  We sadly said goodbye to Helen Mulley who have been a huge part of our governing body for a number years and has really helped to shape us.  However she will be taking her governing experience to another board which is important for governors to do so they can benefit from her experience.  

Linda Weston (Chair and Co-opted Governor) 

 

Have you every wondered what happens in a staff meeting at the school?  Two governors get a look!, 25th June 2019

Perhaps you imagined teachers sitting around drinking tea and eating biscuits, perhaps you didn't realise that regular staff meetings even took place.  Did you imagine teachers engaged passionately about their class, the individual children and how well they have done?  Well, this is the reality.  A staff meeting that started with some investigation of attainment data, quickly turns into a conversation about how well a particular child has done, or how well a topic has supported them to develop their knowledge.  Of course there are some conversations about how some children have not done as well as expected, or how there is a variance in knowledge of the child and what has or hasn't worked for them.  Where there are gaps in the attainment of different groups, for example where girls have done better than boys, teachers consider why this might be - is the content right, was the approach they chose the best way to do it.  The aim of the meeting is to evaluate the sucesses of the work over the last year, with an eye on the priorities for the coming year.  We attended the meeting so that governors can work together on the next steps for the school.  It is clear that, whatever the outcomes, teachers care deeply about their pupils and work hard to help them be the best they can be.

Amanda Jackson (Parent Governor) & Sara Batts (Foundation Governor) 

 

Curriculum committee, May 20th, 2019

The curriculum committee met for the final time for this academic year yesterday evening (May 20th), and we were delighted to welcome Stephen Hall, maths teacher and cohort leader at Honywood, to observe what went on, before he officially joins the governing body at St Peter’s. As usual, there was plenty to discuss in the meeting, from the annual review of policies to the plans being made by Mrs Cole and her team for moving our school forward over the years to come. At the recent parents’ forum, some questions had been raised regarding music provision, now that we no longer have a music specialist on the staff, so this had been added to the agenda for discussion. Providing a genuinely broad and balanced curriculum, including a strong presence for the arts in all their forms, has always been a core aim at St Peter’s, and the governors were delighted to hear about the many and varied ways that children at the school are able to experience music - including ukulele lessons, regular hymn practice, and the chance to participate in Young Voices. Finally, Helen Mulley confirmed that this would be her last time chairing the committee, as she is bringing her time as a St Peter’s governor to an end when this academic year is over… watch this space to find out who will take over the role for 2019/20!

 

 Parents Forum, 3 May, 2019

A well constructed and informative Forum took place in the School Hall to discuss:

  • The new framework to the curriculum and how the school is endeavouring to provide (within budget constraints) music, language and arts participation for the children.
  • Encouragement of reading fluency and the ability to enjoy reading at home.  A new Library is under way and already 500 free new books have been given.  Mrs Sullivan's "army of volunteers", who are helping children to discover, enjoy and talk about books (which is in addition to the many established volunteers who regularly hear the children read).   More are always welcome!
  • The new Behaviour policy - moving away from the 'traffic lights' system and explaining the 'marble jars' system and the restorative and consequence sides of behaviour (why are things happening and how can we improve the situation).  All staff, children and parents' views will be taken into account.
  • The distinctiveness of St Peter's being a Church of England School and the views of parents.  Wednesday's 'Open the Bible' definitely ranked pretty high amongst pupils and how they enjoyed the discussions and Easter Production (Resurrection Rock).  The emphasis is on teaching religion well which includes embracing all religions and non-religion (humanism).
  • A possible Summer Holiday  week(s).  This should go ahead given sufficient uptake.  Parents' survey on website and in the Newsletter.

It is always encouraging for me, as an 'older' Governor, to look in on these opportunities to hear parents' views.  If you were unable to attend, look out for the next one - they are worth the time.

Jean North (Foundation Governor)

 

        Curriculum committee, Feb 6th, 2019

The curriculum committee held its second meeting of this academic year on February 6th, and it was an extremely positive and productive session. Following the release of Ofsted’s proposals for its new inspection framework, due to be confirmed later this year, it was clear that ‘quality of curriculum’ is going to be a huge focus when it comes to assessing how well schools are doing in the future, so the committee was very pleased (although not surprised) to hear Mrs Cole confirm that this has always been a priority at St Peter’s! We talked about how committed the team is to ensuring children at our school study a broad and balanced range of subjects and topics, and not allowing tests and assessments to drive what teachers do. We also discussed communication, and particularly the ‘governors’ postbox’, which is situated in reception, with a supply of specially designed postcards to enable parents to contact governors easily with any questions, concerns, or praise. Expect a promotional push for this soon… we look forward to hearing from you!

 

The first full governing body meeting of the new school year

On the 29th November we held our first Full Governing Body (FGB) meeting of the school year.  As is customary, we held the annual election of chair and vice chair.  On this occasion, Linda Weston was elected as chair, with Helen Wilkins and Rev Dr Sara Batts as co-vice chairs.  Gillian Romano-Critchley was thanked by all governors for all her hard work and success during her time as chair and vice-chair.  As a governing body we plan to continue to drive performance in line with the development plan for the school and support staff in doing so.  During the meeting we also reviewed the minutes from the committees held since the last FGB meeting.  As not all governors participate in every committee this is a great way for us to gain a collective overview and alignment on what has been discussed and agreed.  We also reviewed and discussed a detailed report from Mrs Cole on key activities affecting the school as well as agreeing various policies and the recommended non-pupil days. 

Overall it was a productive meeting with lots of discussion and debate.

Linda Weston

Chair of Governors, 7th December 2018 

 

An Exhibition of Children’s Work

Well, I was completely won over when attending this Exhibition last Monday.  The amazing work produced by the children throughout the school for this History and Art evening ‘Remembrance’, was a joy to see and read.  It actually embraced more than history and art – science, poetry and pottery were all on show.  I was so taken with the ‘remembrance’ aspect throughout and the careful portrayal of all this through the children’s poetry, postcards and posters.  Oh!  I mustn’t forget the wonderful poppies from EYFS, and the display of clay poppies beautifully formed and decorated.   Yes, it was well worth the visit, and then I went into the Hall and encountered the ‘plastics’!  Great ideas for bird feeders and ingenious plastic ‘ribbons’.  If you couldn’t make it, you missed a treat.  Thank you to all the children and staff who worked so hard putting on this wonderful exhibition.

Jean North – Foundation Governor

 

Hitting the ground running

At the start of our 2018/19 school year, the governors would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a happy and successful year!

We have already begun in earnest our work governing, with our first meeting on 12 September. Traditionally this is a ‘housekeeping’ meeting, where we set dates for the year, decide who is on which committee and plan our monitoring visits. Monitoring is an important part of the role of a governor. Sometimes it involves taking an area of the school development plan – the document Mrs Cole and her team put together identifying areas for improvement for the coming year – and we gather evidence about the success of the plan. We also monitor specific areas – such as safeguarding and data protection – to make sure school is meeting statutory and self-imposed standards. We share our monitoring reports amongst governors so we all have a good and broad understanding of our school. We are going to be putting some of the outcomes of this monitoring on the school website for parents and carers to see, so watch this space!

This year, we began our housekeeping meeting with a session about how we function as a governing body. We talked about what we thought we did well, and celebrated those successes. We also came up with things we’d like to do better. We looked at this within the context of the school’s Christian values of courage, forgiveness, responsibility, aspire, care and enjoy, values we want us all to exhibit in our work for the school.

Gillian Romano-Critchley

Chair of Governors, 18 September 2018

 

From the Chair

 

As the academic year draws to a close, it seems a good time to reflect on this year at St Peter’s. There has been an extraordinary amount of hard work from pupils, staff and parents, and the governors would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ for this. This has paid off in so many ways; not least the successful outcome in our SIAMS inspection, some great SATs results in which our school is above the national average, the appointment of a great new deputy head and happy thriving kids!

FOSP has, once again, done super work, giving all members of the school community chance to meet and socialise, and build strong bonds between school and home. It’s done this whilst raising a fabulous, and much needed, £17,000 for school. Thank you FOSP!

Looking forward to next year, what can we expect? We’ll be a slightly smaller school as we lose our extra large year 6. Maybe the hall will feel a little more comfortable in assemblies with fewer bodies in it! The classroom that’s being freed up, the demountable, is going to be put to great use as a new permanent home for after school club and nurture space.

Finally, I want to say ‘goodbye’ to this year’s leavers. We are proud not only of their academic achievements, but also of the attitude they showed in approaching their work in year 6 and their amazing performance in Pirates of the Currybean. I hope they enjoy their last week at St Peter’s, particularly the picnic and leavers’ assembly. If previous years are anything to go by, we can expect a lot of mixed emotions as they leave us and look forward to new adventures at secondary school. We hope they’ll pop back to see us occasionally!

Gillian Romano-Critchley

Chair of Governors, 15 July 2018

Parent Maths Forum 25 April

As a new Governor to the School I thought I would drop into this to see what it is all about.  Wow!  As a Grandparent of two Kent primary schoolchildren, it helped me enormously to understand the concept of how Maths is taught at St Peter’s and the use of bar models.   The aim of the workshop was to provide parents with an overview of the ‘Bar modelling’ approach the school uses to support problem solving.  It outlined the clear progression of the four calculation methods and how these are taught and also the approach the school takes to times tables.  The way Mr Brennen delivered the Forum really inspired me and for those who were unable to attend, a copy of his presentation is available on the school website, under the maths section.

Well done to the School for putting this on to inform and help parents to ‘help’ their children.  Not forgetting, of course, the importance of children learning their times tables – for those in the know ‘REACH FOR THE STARS” and infinity!

Jean North

Foundation Governor

Curriculum Committee news!

April

On Thursday, April 26th, the curriculum committee met for the third and final time of this academic year - and we were delighted to be joined for this meeting by the Revd. Dr Sara Batts, who is the new curate at St Peter Ad Vincula, and the latest member of our school's governing body.

April is a particularly significant point in the year for those involved in school management; budgets are renewed, and it's a good time, therefore, to assess progress made over the previous 12 months, and set out a route map for further improvement during the year to come, in the form of a document called the School Development Plan (SDP). Mrs Cole and her team have been doing precisely this, and updated the Committee on the process so far. Key objectives for 2018/19 include improving maths attainment, prioritising wellbeing and aspiration for staff and pupils alike, and raising the profile of reading for pleasure. It was good to hear about school's plans for achieving these aims, and to discuss ways that governors could monitor their impact. Mrs Cole also shared details of some interesting and innovative staff training that has been taking place with our partner schools, Earls Colne and Richard de Clare, enabling teachers to contribute their own ideas for improvement.
Finally, we spoke about our school uniform policy, and how it could be made clearer. We all agreed that a few simple changes could result in a smarter, more consistent appearance for pupils, better reflecting the pride they quite rightly feel in their school, and so Mrs Cole will be in touch with families before too long regarding the options.
January 

The Curriculum Committee met for the second time this academic year yesterday (Jan 30th), and it was great to be able to have a positive - and celebratory! - discussion about last week’s successful SIAMS inspection. Of course, there are always learning points to take away from these kinds of judgements, and as governors, we’ll be looking carefully at the way we monitor what’s happening in school, and how it reflects our ‘distinctiveness and effectiveness as a Church school’.

Reviewing school’s policies on all kinds of issues from home learning to health and safety is one of the Curriculum Committee’s regular tasks - and last night, amongst others, the Attendance policy was up for scrutiny. We’ll be amending it in order to incorporate the latest guidelines regarding unauthorised absence from Essex County Council; but it was also reassuring for the Committee to be able to check that school has robust procedures in place for when children fail to turn up with no explanation, given the terribly sad news coverage this week of Helen Daykin’s campaign to raise awareness of the importance of this, following a tragedy in her own family.

Our next CC meeting will include a debate about school uniform - both our policy and the implementation of it - and governors are keen to hear parents’ views on this potentially hot topic; so watch out for a link to a survey that should arrive in your inbox soon!

 

It’s been a busy week in the life of this school governor!

On Monday 22 January, we had our SIAMS inspection – that’s the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools. The inspector was in school for the whole day, and met with governors in the morning and the afternoon. She was interested in how we as governors monitor what’s happening in school, and how we ensure that school’s vision and values are embedded in all we do. There were some difficult and challenging questions – which I think governors answered well. And it was great to hear the inspector’s praise for our children; in particular, their respect for difference and diversity.

I spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on a panel interviewing for a new deputy head for the school. We were overwhelmed by the quality of the candidates and met some fantastic teachers and leaders. It’s an external appointment, and our new deputy head will start in school after Easter. We’re excited to be welcoming her to St Peter’s, and look forward to working with her!

Gillian Romano-Critchley, chair of governors
30 January 2018
 
 
Curriculum committee meeting, 4/10/17
The curriculum committee met for the first time this academic year on Wednesday, October 4th. Following Ofsted’s extremely pleasing report in the summer, which confirmed St Peter’s status as a ‘good’ school, Mrs Cole and her team are keen to build on that success, and much of the discussion focused on the specific ways they are planning to do that, and how the governors would be able to monitor the progress made. We also spoke about our collective commitment to developing a real ‘growth mindset’ culture in the school, which means encouraging everyone - pupils, teachers, support staff (and governors!) - to aspire with ambition, persist with resilience, and understand that ‘failure’ can actually be a fantastic learning opportunity, if tackled the right way. Look out for a parent forum on this topic later in the year!
 
Personnel Committee meeting, 18 October. 
At St. Peter's the Personnel Committee is part of the school's human resources system for supporting the recruitment, training, motivation, evaluation and retention of the staff team.  We believe that good HR practices should help to create a work environment that supports the vision of the school, the aims for and the safety of the children and encourages all employees to develop and thrive.  We meet once a term to review and report back on staffing matters.  
 

Finance and Premises Committee Meeting, Tuesday 7th November 2017The finance and premises committee met on Tuesday 7th November 2017 and, whilst it may not sound like the most exciting meeting to attend, it is central to many of the decisions made in the school.  In this meeting we reviewed the budget that was set back in April and discussed any changes that might need to be made to it.  One of the points for discussion was the unfortunate theft of some ICT equipment following a break-in.  We hope to replace the equipment, without too much delay, so that pupils’ learning is not interrupted.

Curriculum committee meeting - 8th November 2018

With memories of the previous weekend’s magnificent fireworks display, organised by FOSP, still in our minds, the curriculum committee got together on November 8th to catch up on how school is working to ensure that all St Peter’s pupils shine as brightly as possible, and blaze their own trail through life!

We talked about the importance of understanding all children as individuals, and meeting their needs as far as possible - and to that end, agreed to sign up to the Essex Inclusion Statement, which you can read here)

We also heard about English leadership following the departure of Louise Sage, and were delighted to learn that Jakki Styles is going to step into those particular shoes following a period of working closely with Katie Usher; we asked about how school is promoting children’s aspiration, and looking after the wellbeing of staff and pupils alike, and were reassured by what we were told; and we discussed how closely school’s home learning policy currently reflects what is really happening in terms of the nature and frequency of tasks set. Oh, and if you take a look next time you pass the governors’ postbox, you’ll see an update there about how we’ve been responding to your queries; please do feel free to get in touch if there’s something on your mind that you think also requires our attention...

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