Summer Newsletter 2022
It is that time of year again when we say goodbye to our children and families for a little while whilst we evaluate the year and plan for the next stage of our academy’s development towards becoming a GOOD school.
I hope you can see the changes that are being made to put learning and education at the heart of our community and really impact positively on our children’s decisions in life.
I have appointed high-quality, high-energy new teachers to join our experienced team in delivering a dynamic and fast-paced curriculum, and a new comprehensive programme of creative arts, music and sports.
A trauma-informed approach to our Behaviour Policy and investment into our play-times is also currently underway, along with the development of a clear staffing structure to support our parents with their queries.
PSHE and SRE
We are developing our PSHE curriculum currently with the government’s renewed focus on healthy relationships and healthy life choices i.e. tackling domestic violence, the role of women, knife crime and sexual violence and sexual harassment. We have recently had workshops from the Anfield Boxing Academy on ’Real Men Don’t Carry Knives’ and the Liverpool Football Academy on ‘Powerful Women’, and we have completed a series of sessions looking at recognising a healthy relationship. This work will continue next year.
I have now been the Headteacher at the academy for 2 years, since Covid reopening, and my most important mission has been to support and protect our families at a time when the world was at its most vulnerable. From full time fully-funded nursery places, free lunches, free wraparound care, free holiday clubs, limited requests for money from our families, positive parents evenings and big Nativities and productions… It is now time to revisit my strategy following discussions with parents and pupils.
Our community is now asking me to get back to trips off-site, to plan again for visits to exciting places and put on enrichment clubs and big school events that our children have missed out on. I am listening.
Year 6 Residentials 2023 and 2024
Following discussions this week with some current Year 6 parents, I am ensuring that a ‘proper’ overnight adventure holiday is booked and planned for our Year 6 pupils for the Summer of 2023, and the following year in 2024 (and beyond). I have made provisional enquiries into this with Mr Jenkins’ links to Barnstondale Activity Centre and an approx. fee of £100 will be requested by May 31st 2022 from our current Year 5 parents.
A payment plan on ParentPay will be set up as soon as we can to help support the cost of this residential spreading payments across a longer term i.e. 10 monthly payments of £10.
For the current Year 4s an optional payment plan will be set up to accommodate saving for the Year 6 holiday in Summer 2024 in order to maximise the time to save i.e. 20+ monthly payments of £5.
Trips, visits and Workplace Opportunities
Following our community feedback this term I think it would be a good idea to liaise with Co-op Academies Trust about potentially buying a minibus to help support our families with the costs of these excursions. This might not happen straight away but we can work towards this; it would also help us to give real-life workplace experiences to our children as part of their SkillsBuilder curriculum.
[Our SkillsBuilder curriculum is a career programme which focuses on the essential skills for securing an amazing job when they’re older. It is new on our timetable and is delivered every day after playtime.]
PA (Parent Association)
I would love to invite the parents who have had the most wonderful ideas in bringing the extracurricular excitement back to Portland to be bold, brave and courageous and help us to plan and deliver those events that make memories for our community – the fairs, discos, ‘Afternoon Teas’, Christmas events… and the money-making teas/coffees sold at our Nativities and Summer Productions, all help in putting Portland on the map and supporting our children’s wider development.
Our incredible team will help you but we need that external driver (the PA) to get the party started!
Our academy has grown this year from 157 children (including nursery) to 196 children which is a percentage increase of nearly 25%. This shows us that we are an improving academy and our community is having a little more faith in us. I hope you feel like that. This year I will be asking for your opinions on lots of things to try and build up a bank of evidence to show Ofsted (they are due) that we are beginning to get things right.
One area that Ofsted will not be commending us on currently is our summer term standard of uniform! I know our children look wonderful in the Autumn and Spring terms but next year we will be supporting our families in looking super sharp in their full uniforms all year round. This of course includes the appropriate PE kit (blue bottoms and white top).
We are very flexible in the style and make of our uniform to maximise the opportunity to ‘bag a bargain’ but we do insist on a logo blue cardigan/jumper (School Uniform shop). Black shoes or trainers too please.
Following our parent voice and pupil voice this term influencing the next steps of the academy, I am going to postpone my Head’s Update until September. This way, the team and I can work with our governors to put some key actions into place for the new academic year and we can update you with how we are meeting our community’s needs.
The rules are changing from September and sadly Mrs T would not have the authority to authorise any holiday from September 2023. She is working on a letter informing our families in the new year but any request for absence has to be declined. There is very little wiggle-room for special considerations. The Local Authority has been directed to fine parents poor attendance or for holidays taken in term-time. This is not our decision but it will affect a good number of our families next year if similar low attendance occurs.
We know that good relationships affect attendance positively and not living in fear of a fine, but this is our harsh reality. Please work with Mrs T and the team and we can help you avoid these hidden costs.
Co-op have agreed to fully fund 30+ hours free (term-time) for another full academic year but a full two term’s notice will be given if there are any changes to this.
I will be asking our nursery parents to provide their children with a packed lunch from September. The Free School Meal programme does not apply until Reception, but please do speak to Mrs T if you need support with this request.
If there is anything that you would like to share with us, or indeed ask for within our new curriculum, please do. We are a community partnership and it’s my job to listen.
Please keep your eye on your emails and our Facebook page for any further reminders, and I hope you all have the most wonderful summer holidays. I hope you enjoy reading your reports – please complete our Parent Voice and return after the weekend!
Any problems or concerns, please do let us know.
Thank you everybody.