What a busy 6 months we have had at school – with lots of exciting events both large and small!
In February school took part in E-Safety Day. As governors we are proactive in working to ensure that children and parents know all they can about using the internet safely. E-Safety Day included each class being presented with their own ‘Hector the dolphin” which the children take home and use to share information on e-safety with their parents and grandparents.
In March we had our Ofsted Inspection and as governors we worked hard along with everyone else to ensure that the inspector had a very clear view of everything special about our wonderful school. We were all delighted that he recognized what an outstanding school we have here in Flax Bourton. As well as keeping staff supplied with copious treats over the two days, the governors all used their talents to provide a ‘Thank You’ lunch for the whole staff on the last day of term.
In April I joined a special service that was held to bless the Lords Prayer banner donated by the church and beautifully decorated by Oak class during their Church Day. Also blessed was a Trinity Candle holder that had been especially commissioned and crafted by Simon Steel in oak and mahogany. The triangular shape holds three night-lights and the children light all three at the start of worship as they read their special prayer to remind everyone of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Simon Steel and ten of the people involved in running the Church Day joined school for the service.
In May governors were finally able to share the fantastic news that we were going to be able to offer places to all the pupils who wanted to join us in September 2015 as North Somerset were going to build us a new Early Years classroom. We are indeed privileged to be in a village where the school is expanding due to there being so many young families now moving in to the local area.
Also in May we waved off the Flax 3 Peaks Team, including two governors, as they set off for their challenge. They raised an enormous amount of money for which the governing body is extremely grateful. Alongside this is the huge amount raised by the stalwarts of the FBSA this year – a truly incredible achievement for a small school. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Autumn as a School Governor
Being a school governor is a very enjoyable and varied task. This autumn I have been lucky enough to be able to visit the school on many occasions.
I have worked as a Class Helper in both Chestnut and Willow classes. Being a helper is great fun as you learn such a lot from the pupils and the staff. My subordinate clauses have much improved since September! It is a great way to make a contribution to school life.
As well as meeting with our two head teachers on a regular basis and attending meetings I worked alongside our School Improvement Adviser from North Somerset when she made one of her visits recently. She works with the school to ensure that standards are being met and provision is good. I am please to report that she agreed completely with the head teacher’s Self- Evaluation of the school.
Strong links with the church have continued and in November Oak Class visited for a Special Day organized by members of the church community. They took part in a range of activities including making mincemeat; discovering the church building; designing a stained glass window; creating a clay sheep and decorating a Lord’s Prayer banner with collage. This has been given to the school and will soon be on display in the hall. I was lucky enough to be providing the Hand bell Workshop and the pupils were soon very proficient and played ‘Jingle Bells’ during the service at the end of the day. Wonderful letters of thanks were written by the children and these are now on display in the church.
Governors provided refreshments at Parents Evenings and also manned a Tombola Stall at the Fireworks Event. This fabulous event was one of many organised by the FBSA, who work so tirelessly to raise funds for the school.
Oak Class again visited church in December to share ‘Souper Lunch” with members of our village community ranging from 2yrs – 82yrs! They also sang carols to them. Very favourable comments were made about their beautiful voices and good manners.
Finally, I have been to the nativity by Chestnut and Willow Class; Carols by Candlelight with Beech and Oak and the whole school Christmas service at church. These are all truly wonderful events which reflect the true meaning of Christmas as ‘A Present for the Baby’ reminded us all; it’s not the size or cost of the present but the love we have for each other that is the most important.
I can’t wait for the fun next term will bring!
(Chair of Governors)
Learning Walk with School Council and Chair of Governors
Today we were tasked by Mrs. Bennett to look all over the school for:
Learning Walls, Anything that helped with spelling, Any other ‘Whole School’ items which stood out
The pupils decided to work in three pairs, each looking at a different area. We visited all classrooms and also looked in the library, IT suite, hall, corridors and outside. We collected evidence both as images and writing.
There was lots of learning on the walls with bright interactive displays for everyone to use. Oak Class council representatives told us that Learning Walls were where you could go to get ideas or help if you were stuck. They were also to display the work you were most proud of.
In Chestnut class we found foam letters to play with in the water play and some children had been writing letters on the playground with chalk.
In Willow there were Bees and Honeycombs that showed all the different ways to spell one phonic sound.
In Beech there were words on the walls to help you spell and in Oak class there were dictionaries and words hanging down from the ceiling.
We noticed a cross in every classroom and even in the Hollow and we know they are there because we are a church school. There was a display about Ruby Power in Oak, Beech and Willow. Beech council representatives told us that Ruby Power is about supporting each other. School Council asked if Chestnut could have Ruby Power too but they thought that Chestnut would be able to understand ‘helping each other’ better than ‘supporting’. Mrs. Bennett thought this was a great suggestion.
She told us that all the information we had gathered would be used as part of the monitoring (checking) for the whole school.
School Council representatives were extremely polite and worked very well together all afternoon.
Ruth Newton (Chair of Governors)
Governor learning walk looks at phonics, spelling, maths and Christian Ethos in the classroom
As part of the Whole Monitoring Cycle governors visit classrooms on a regular basis. During their time in the classroom they help in any way they can whilst also being able to develop a deeper understanding of the complex work undertaken by the staff as they provide all that is needed for the pupils. In January, four governors spent a morning taking part in a Learning walk with Lorraine Woollven (head teacher). They visited all classrooms where they were particularly focussing on Phonics/spelling; maths and Christian ethos – all three areas of the School Development Plan for 2013/2014. Staff and children happily shared their learning and many positive opportunities for learning were noted.
Self evaluation helps shape school development plan
Members of the governing body worked with the school leadership team at the start of the new school year to perform a thorough school self evaluation which has been used as a key driver in identifying priorities for the ‘school development plan’. The priorities agreed for the year ahead include an increased focus on spelling and maths, across the school and an external review of the delivery of phonics in KS1.
Sports for all
In response to the Government’s new competitive sports fund for schools, Flax Bourton Primary governing body’s strategy committee worked alongside the school leadership team to agree plans to use the new sports budget in collaboration with other local schools, by forming a competitive alliance which will allow primary school aged pupils to experience more competitive sports in school. The initiative will also allow the School to form closer strategic links with other similar small schools in the locality. The four schools in the sports alliance are Flax Bourton, Wraxall, St Mary’s and Tickenham.
Improving attendance rates
In an attempt to further improve our pupil’s attendance at school and to ensure that lessons start promptly at the beginning of the school day the Governing body voted to change the school’s attendance requirements. A letter was sent out to all parents detailing the changes. A copy of the letter is available from the School office.
Governing Body appoints new Chair of Governors
Following a number of super years under Chair Rob Hall’s guidance, Gerry Thomas has been appointed the new Chair of Governors at Flax Bourton Primary School. Gerry Thomas, is a community Governor and a former Headmaster, and has served on the Governing body at Flax Bourton for 5 years. The Governing body is delighted to have such an experienced Educator as its new Chair of Governors. Gerry will be assisted in his duties by his new deputy chair, and by the rest of the Governing body.
Governing body appoints a new Associate member
Toby Henderson joins the Governing Body at Flax Bourton Primary School as an Associate Governor with a special interest in Finance. The strategic appointment was made following a skills audit amongst the serving Governing body members which identified a need for strengthening the finance expertise on the governing body, in order to continue to meet the demands of increasingly complex budgeting remits.
Welcome to our new Parent Governor
Michelle Cole has replaced Dominic Brodrick as a Parent Governor at Flax Bourton School. Michelle has experience of school governance, having previously served on the Governing Body of Northleaze Primary in Long Ashton. Michelle is a member of the Governing Body’s Finance and Premises Committee. She is also Secretary of the Flax Bourton School Association. Michelle is parent to Stanley Cole, a pupil in Year 2.
Welcome to our new Foundation Governor
Ruth Newton joins Flax Bourton Governing body as our new Foundation Governor. Ruth will be responsible for monitoring the school’s focus on its Church of England spiritual foundation, providing a vital link between the School and the Diocese. Ruth is former Head Teacher of St Johns and neighbouring Wraxall and now also works for the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Ruth is Chair of the Governing Body’s Curriculum Committee. Chair of Governors Rob Hall, said: “We are delighted to have Ruth join the Governing body at Flax Bourton – we know she will bring a wealth of expertise both in the delivery of primary education and in providing a vital link between the school and the church. We are very lucky to have her.”
Ruth’s breadth of experience includes the following:
* Trained at St Matthias Church of England Training College (Barrow Court)
* Taught across the local area, all primary ages for past 40 years
* 16+ years in headship including 6 months secondment to support a school in Somerset
* Over 30 years experience as a governor
* Church of England member of North Somerset SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education)
* Designated Person for Child Protection for over 30 years
* Past member of Flax Bourton PCC
* Trained School Crossing patrol Person (Lollipop Lady!)
* Married with two daughters, one aged 33 (secondary school science teacher), one aged 34 years (lawyer).