14th February 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I wanted to write to you to thank you for taking the time to complete the parental survey we recently circulated. I thought it’d be useful to provide you with some feedback from the survey but also to respond to some of the specific points raised in the free text questions.
Firstly, it’s pleasing to note that the responses to questions were so overwhelmingly positive. It’s especially pleasing that the vast majority of respondents have identified that their children are happy, feel safe and do well at our school. These points, in particular, are important for us as we want our young people to be happy and successful.
We’re also pleased that the vast majority of our parents feel as though we’ve either dealt with concerns quickly and effectively or that they haven’t had to raise any concerns. Again, this is an exceptionally important strand as the home school relationship is so important in us supporting pupils to be happy and successful.
The majority of parents indicated their children have not experienced bullying at Penketh. We know that some people perpetuate outdated opinions about the school – usually through social media – and the results of the survey serve to demonstrate what we already know from our experiences on a daily basis at school, the vast majority of our pupils don’t encounter unkind behaviour.
Unlike some schools we don’t present a case that unkind behaviour is not present at school, it’s present in every school, but we work hard every day to address any concerns quickly and robustly. We’re pleased that where we have had to do this the majority of parents responding to the survey are confident in our actions.
I thought it would be useful to respond to some of the helpful suggestions and responses so that you can see where we’ve put actions in place as a result of your comments or where we already have things in place that you might not be aware of.
Some parents have identified that when they contact reception the call sometimes doesn’t connect. We know this can be frustrating. If the receptionist is on another call, they will be aware of your call but obviously need to complete the call that they are on before connecting to your call. We have taken two actions to better improve this process. We have added an overflow line so that calls being held will be directed to another office in school and also shortened the length of time before the voicemail service kicks in so that you can leave a message for a return call.
Some parents have indicated that they would like to receive information as to what pupils are studying. We already produce a document for parents called the “curriculum bulletin”, this document provides information as to the topic areas that are being covered in each subject area across the term ahead. This is issued to parents at the start of each term. Ordinarily, we issue these to parents as a hard copy distributed to pupils to take home and place a digital copy on the website under the curriculum section. This term, following the survey, we sent parents a text message with a link to the section of the website that contains these documents so that you know where these are for future reference.
A small number of parents wanted to know a little more about the climate for learning in our classrooms. Most parents recognised the improvements at the school over the last two years through their responses, especially around expectations and behaviour of pupils. We’ve strived to drive standards and expectations at the school and this has provided us with the platform to drive other areas of improvement at the school.
We know from speaking to older pupils who were at the school prior to September 2017, that we have significantly improved expectations and standards, they have reported to us that they can see a tangible difference in this area. Our learning scores allow us to monitor the application of pupils in all lessons and, crucially, learning scores focus on attitude to work not behaviour. 98.6% of all learning scores at our school are 2 or better, demonstrating that 98.6% of our learners are engaged in good learning or better. The percentage of learning scores classed as 1, representing “outstanding” application in class stands at 17% in comparison to the learning scores of 3 or 4 which represent only 1.4% of all marks across school.
As a senior team we navigate the site daily, popping in to lessons and this is always a rewarding experience. I’d like to congratulate pupils on their drive and commitment towards their studies. It’s fantastic for us to see pupils engaged in learning in such a purposeful atmosphere in lessons. Each year, following our open evening, we invite prospective parents to tour the school during the day, which many of you will have done, and feedback is always so positive about our pupils and the climate for learning around the site.
Finally, some queries were raised around the option process. We recognise that there has been a historical model which has seen some of the older year groups pick one creative option as part of this process. This was something we were mindful of as we took over the management of the school. Last year, pupils picking their options were able to pick two creative subjects as part of their option process as we modified our curriculum. As we move forward as a school, improving year-on-year, we are making changes and enhancements in a number of areas. Curriculum is something that the staff have been working hard on for a number of months, in the background, developing curriculums so that the Key Stage 3 delivery at the school builds on what pupils have undertaken at Key Stage 2, ensures preparedness for Key Stage 4 and best prepares pupils for a future beyond Penketh.
There were also some specific comments and requests that related directly to individual pupils. As the survey is anonymous we can’t identify who you or your child are and therefore can’t respond to these comments individually. If you contact the school directly we’d be more than happy to discuss these aspects with you.
Can I thank you for taking the time to complete the survey and for the comments of support and encouragement for what it is that we’re doing. We’re absolutely determined to continue to drive improvement at the school to deliver the best possible experiences and education for our pupils. Your feedback is important to us as we look to continue moving forward and it helps to inform our decision making.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their hard work and dedication to our pupils. The significant improvements at the school, which resulted in our best ever outcomes in the Summer, are testament to their commitment and appetite for improving the school on behalf of our outstanding young people.
Mr J Carlin.
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