3rd May 13 – Newsletter Highlights Parental Behaviour
You may recall that I wrote to you all in this column a few weeks ago regarding incidents of inappropriate behaviour towards members of my staff team by parents. The response to that message was one of tremendous support from many of you, who were rightly outraged that the behaviour of a tiny minority of parents was souring the great relationship we enjoy with our parent community. It is therefore somewhat depressing to write to you today to inform you that on Thursday afternoon at the close of the school day, we had an incident where a member of my team was subjected to aggressive and abusive behaviour of the most appalling nature. This incident took place in front of children, other parents and other members of staff.
Clearly such behaviour is intolerable on school premises and so I am also writing to inform you that I have dealt with the matter by reporting the incident to the police and also banning the parent concerned from the school premises. Please be assured that such action is taken neither lightly nor without full investigation of the evidence, and I am satisfied that the action I have taken is fully justified. It says everything about the otherwise superb relationships between staff and parents that this is the first time in nearly twenty years at Longlevens Junior that I can recall such action being necessary.
22nd March 2013 – Newsletter Highlights
After one or two less than inspiringly upbeat contributions from this corner over the past few weeks, I want to end this term on a positive note. Today, it was my turn to lead our weekly Celebration Assembly, and what a wonderfully uplifting reminder it was of all the marvellous achievements and continuing efforts of the children and staff within our school community. After listening to our Glee Club open the assembly with some beautiful singing, we were able to reflect on, and celebrate the success of our children across a whole range of activities: pupils who are transforming their attitude to their writing or mathematics and seeing their progress and attainment flourish; amazing artistic work, drawing, drama and dance; effort and achievement on the part of our sports teams, the list went on and on! Such occasions are so important in the life of the school, the opportunity to draw collective pride from the continuing success of different individuals and groups each week. The occasion also served to give me some much needed perspective on one or two less than positive recent events. Yes, there have been some incidents of undesirable behaviour recently, but they have been down to the wrong-headed choices of a very small minority of children. Children will, I guess, always make some mistakes in their choices of behaviour and actions, that’s how they learn – we hope! But what also always comes from children – in this school at least – is their continual capacity to surprise, delight and amaze us with the richness and variety of their achievements. I felt inspired after today’s assembly, and reminded of all the reasons why working in a school is such a fantastic experience.
I will close by wishing you all the best for a peaceful Easter holiday and thanking you for your continued support for the work of the school.
8th March 2013 – Newsletter Highlights
We have received a report of a parent parking dangerously outside the school while dropping off a child in the morning, half on the zig-zag markings and half on the pavement, obscuring the vision of the crossing patrol lady and hampering other children walking along the pavement.
Unfortunately when challenged the parent became abusive. This behaviour is both unnecessary and unacceptable. Please consider the safety of all pupils when parking or just stopping briefly outside the school before and after school.
25th February 2013 – Newsletter Highlights
As you know, shortly before the half term holiday we received a visit from Her Majesty’s Inspector Sue Frater to inspect English at Longlevens Junior School.
We have received the final report, which rates English as “good” overall. The published report rates a number of areas as “outstanding”, including the English curriculum and the pupils’ behaviour.
Attitude to learning was identified as being exceptional. These are all areas that we have worked hard at since our last Ofsted inspection in October 2010. During the feedback, the inspector held her finger and thumb just a few cm apart and told us that we were “this far from being outstanding overall”. So… there is the challenge! One of the key areas for us to review and improve is our spelling programme, and I will be writing to you all shortly to inform you of the direction this will be taking.
I am delighted for all involved with the school with the outcome of the inspection, we work hard to improve the quality of education at LJS, and it is great to have it recognised by HMI.
Here’s the letter – LJS – Ofsted inspection programme: English
8th February 2013 - Newsletter Highlights
Half Way There!
Incredibly we are half way through the school year already! Where has it gone? I would like to thank all parents and members of the school community for your continued support. This past week has seen the conclusion of our recent parent consultation meetings, and once again, it has been lovely to have the opportunity to chat to you and hear the (for the most part!) incredibly positive experiences you and your children are having at LJS. I would also like to thank the hordes of parents who came along to watch the Y4 performance of Where The Wild Things Are. It means so much to the children to have a big audience, and it really helps them to produce their best.
Pause for thought?
After all the positivity above, it may seem odd for me to have something negative to say about parent:school relationships, but I feel that I do have to bring an issue to your attention.
At LJS we hope to provide a supportive environment for all the children within our care, to provide sensitivity to individual issues, and a proactive approach to solving problems. As Head I accept that we don’t always get this 100% right, but we do listen and we do want to work together with parents to achieve the best possible outcomes for your children when difficulties arise. We also hope to provide a real partnership approach in working together with parents and carers, we are grateful to you for your support and hopefully the relationship between school staff member and parent or carer is one of mutual respect. Unfortunately, there has been an increase, since late autumn really, in the number of incidents where a member of staff has been treated to behaviour that is verging on the abusive.
I must stress that such incidents are very rare and are far from being common occurrences. However, I find the fact that they happen at all to be unacceptable, particularly if a member of my staff team ends up in tears and in need of support after such an incident. We all understand that if your child has been victim to bullying behaviour, or a perceived injustice that you will feel upset and possibly angry, but please remember that all of the staff are here to help you and your child and the best way of achieving this is for us to be able to have a calm and considered conversation round your concerns. We don’t want to turn the LJS reception and office area into an environment littered with posters warning of consequences for “abusive customers”. We want to keep the look and feel of our school vibrant, happy, warm and welcoming. Please help us to achieve this, and if you have any concerns or comments with regard to anything I have said above, then please do get in touch.
2nd February 13 – Newsletter Highlights
Pupil Attendance & Absence
We have recently reviewed our pupil attendance and management procedures in line with local authority guidelines and advice from our Education Welfare Officer. One result of this review is a new procedure for contacting parents by letter if a pupil’s attendance dips below 90%. I understand from speaking directly with some parents that the letter has caused anxiety in some quarters and some have questioned to what extent our absence records are cross referenced with serious medical concerns or other circumstances which may contribute to pupil absence. My response to this is that we do endeavour to cross reference absence with family or pupil circumstance, but that sometimes we are not aware of these circumstances. I have today reviewed the wording and content of the absence letter and have adjusted it to reflect both the possibility of extenuating circumstance and also a polite request to keep us informed.
Neither I, nor any of my staff team have any desire to antagonise parents over pupil absence, neither are we insensitive to family or individual circumstance. However we do have a statutory responsibility to monitor and promote high levels of pupil attendance and this does need to be done rigorously. It is my hope that we can achieve our objectives in this by working together with you and should you have any comments, queries or suggestions in this respect then I would appreciate hearing from you.
25th January 13 – Newsletter Highlights
Can I thank all parents and members of the school community for your understanding during the past week. We have done our best to try and keep disruption to a minimum, and will continue to do so in future should the bad weather return. The only further request I would make is that children do need to be sent to school with suitably warm and dry clothing for the duration of this weather – a change of socks is not a bad idea, as we have had a few cases of cold, wet feet! As always, in the event of deteriorating weather, keep your eye out for updates on the Gloucestershire Emergency Schools Closure site and keep your mobiles switched on for text updates.
Next week we are playing host to Her Majesty’s Inspector Susan Frater who will be carrying out a one day, single subject inspection for English. Susan will be looking at the standards achieved by the pupils of Longlevens Junior School, the quality of teaching of English, the quality of the English curriculum, and the effectiveness of leadership and management of the subject. We are looking forward to our visit and will share the findings with you as soon as we are able.
21st December 12 – Some Christmas Reflections!