25 Jan Mr Choueke’s Newsletter – January 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
Welcome back to the new term, we hope you all had a very restful break and that your children have settled happily back into school.
School Development Priorities (SDP)
On February 22nd I will be running workshops for all parents and carers providing more of an update on school priorities as well as an opportunity for parents to feedback on different aspects of school life, for example, teaching and learning, parental partnership, DEI, extracurricular and enrichment opportunities. The meetings will be held in the hall on Coleridge West at 9am and then again at 7pm. Feedback from these meetings will be used as a part of our school evaluations.
SDP Update – Parents Session
Using evaluations from the previous year, we select a number of school development priorities. These are central to our work throughout the year. I believe that it is important that you, the parent body, are clear on the direction of the school and what we are currently working on. I have therefore summarised below our priorities and progress to date.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
At Coleridge Primary School we are committed to working with children, staff, governors and parents/carers to create a school community where racism is not accepted. We aim to celebrate inclusivity and embrace diversity. All members of the school community (staff, children, parents and visitors) have a right not to experience racism at school, regardless of whether this is directed at them. Our DEI work continues to be a high priority, and is woven through all school development priorities.
Last term a DEI parental group was set up. In our first meeting we had a useful but honest discussion where parents spoke openly about their experiences of their time at Coleridge and where they had experienced racism and racial inequalities. This group has since met together separately from the school. Discussions with this group will support the school in shaping and directing our work around DEI and anti-racism. Since the meeting we have revisited, with all staff, clear guidance that should be followed when dealing with racism in school. We have updated our Racist Incident Policy, which will be presented at the next governing body meeting. We have ordered additional resources to support teachers’ ongoing work around educating about racism.
We also now have a staff DEI group who will be meeting regularly to further progress our work on DEI. The next step will be to form a DEI children’s group.
We are also continuing with our themed assemblies ‘Finding a Voice, Telling a Story.’ This term Isaac Anoom (or Mr Numbervator as he known by children) will be speaking and working with our children. We are also in the process of booking Ifeoma Onyefulu to come into school. Ifeoma is an author whose books are renowned for their positive images of Africa, celebrating both traditional village life and contemporary urban life. As well as running a couple of assemblies for Year 1 and Year 2, Ifeoma will be running sessions with some of our children. We are also in the process of booking Patience Agbabi to come and talk to our Key Stage 2 children about her latest book, The Circle Breakers, a part of the Leap Cycle Series.
We are running our annual Cultures of Coleridge event earlier than usual this year. This will take place in the week of March 27th. More information and details will be sent out later this term explaining how you can get involved and the sorts of activities that will be taking place for the children.
Wider Curriculum Development
Over the last four years we have been working to improve our school curriculum. We want to ensure that all our children have access to an exciting, broad and balanced curriculum which sparks children’s interests and curiosity in the world around them. Central to our work is ensuring that our curriculum is representative of our school community and modern Britain.
Throughout the curriculum, children repeatedly examine multi-culturalism and diversity across the globe, and in Britain. Children study civilisations in Asia, Middle East and three African civilisations – Egypt, Aksum (Ethiopia) and Benin. In Geography we have depth studies on India, South America, Ethiopia, Jamaica and a changing, diverse Birmingham. We study migration through several units of geography and look at real stories of migration and the contributions people make to our country when they choose to settle here. This thread of multi-cultural Britain is woven throughout the history and geography curriculums, and by Year 6 the curriculum includes a study of the diversity of London, focusing on the rich contributions that different communities have made.
Provision for Pupil Premium Children
Nationally, schools receive pupil premium funding for children who are eligible for free school meals and children who have been adopted from care or who are looked after by the local authority.
Educational attainment is the best predictor we have of a child’s long-term outcomes. However, evidence highlights that pupil premium children face additional challenges and often do not perform as well as their peers. Since the pandemic and multiple school closures, we have seen the gap between our pupil premium children and their peers widen further. This is also a national pattern. In line with our school vision and current DEI work, we are resolute as a school that all our children can fulfil their potential at Coleridge without any barriers to their learning.
Great teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for all children; research highlights that this has a particularly positive effect on children eligible for the pupil premium. Central to our approach is dedicating time and resources to improving teaching and learning across the school. We are about to undertake a school wide survey with our children to better understand their views on teaching and learning, but also their perceived barriers to learning. Last term the Senior Leadership Team also carried out observations across the school identifying areas for development. We have also been using a programme called Walk Thru, which provides teachers with access to a bank of effective teaching techniques based on nationally shared good practice. To date we have been looking at a technique called cold calling with our children. Cold calling aims to encourage all children to think and participate in lessons. At our INSET on 30th January teachers will be looking at best practice around modelling new concepts being taught in lessons. This year we are also evaluating and improving our current targeted academic support and interventions which we provide for our Pupil Premium children. Also, we are focusing on developing wider strategies to support of our pupil premium children and families, especially around attendance, behaviour and social and emotional support.
Behaviour and Attitudes
The emotional wellbeing of our children and families is central to our school vision and ethos. We know that unless our children feel, safe, secure and happy at school they won’t reach their potential at school. Following on from our observations across the school, we know that behaviour in lessons is excellent; children are focused and engaged in their learning. Little time is lost to poor behaviour. However, since the pandemic we have noticed that children do find it harder to name feelings and regulate their behaviour. We are about to relaunch an approach to support the children with this called ‘Zones of Regulation’. We have used this approach before in school to good effect but will be expanding it across the whole school. Teachers have received training on this and this term there will be sessions and assemblies on this approach with the children.
We have also seen an increase in the amounts of children and families accessing our wellbeing service. Therefore, this year we have expanded the offer. We now have additional therapists working in the school, and as well as 1:1 work with children and families, we are now offering more groups for our children, for example, nurture groups, girls’ groups, boys’ groups, music therapy and therapeutic yoga.
We are in the process, together with Coleridge Families (PTA), of planning a Wellbeing Festival for all children and families which will run later this year. More details to follow.
The School Play – Aladdin
Last term, Aladdin was a huge success, and we had wonderful feedback from many parents and grandparents who came to see the performances. The theme for my whole school assembly at the start of this term was around the power of togetherness. I spoke about what we achieve as a school community working collectively using all our skills and talents. I also spoke about how evident our school values are, both in the run up to and during the week of our performances, where our children have ample opportunity to demonstrate their creativity, resilience and caring natures. A special thank you to all those parents who were involved and who helped over the term. We very much appreciate all that the parent body do for us as a school.
Attendance and Punctuality
Please can you ensure your children are in school by 8.55am at the latest to give them time to hang their coats up and settle themselves ready for the start of their day. If your child is off school for whatever reason, we ask that you contact the school office by 9am, and leave a message letting us know why your child will not be at school. Last term we had quite a few families requesting time off to visit their families abroad who they had not seen for years because of Covid-19. A year on, we now ask that you now book visits abroad during the thirteen weeks of the school holidays. If you do struggle to get your child to school on time and are worried about their attendance, please do talk to your child’s teacher. Our wellbeing team are currently successfully supporting a number of our families around issues to do with attendance and punctuality.
The Coleridge – School Newspaper
I am so thrilled with the work that a group of our children and teachers have done in relaunching our school newspaper – The Coleridge. Please do keep an eye on the school website, as we will be uploading a copy of it for you to read.
Parent Engagement and Parents Consultations
Mid-way through the school year, there will of course be more to discuss with you about your child’s learning and progress. To ensure that all teachers have focused time with you all, we will be running this round of parent consultations online on School Cloud. These will take place on 28th and 29th March. More details to follow. (Please note that the final parent consultations at the end of the school year will be face to face.)
Prior to the consultations in March, there will be another opportunity for you all to visit your children’s classes, and to look at their books, along with your child. All sessions start at 8.50am until 9.10am. The dates for these meetings are as follows:
- Tuesday 31st Jan: Reception
- Thursday 2nd Feb: Year 4, Reception
- Friday 3rd Feb: Year 6
- Monday 6th Feb: Year 1
- Tuesday 7th Feb: Year 1
- Wednesday 8th Feb: Year 3
- Thursday 9th Feb: Year 2, Year 3
- Friday 10th Feb: Year 5
This term, together with the governing body, we are be evaluating how the school communicates with our parent body. A survey will therefore be sent out later this week. Please do take the time to respond; your views will determine the outcome of the survey.
All schools are required to have a member of staff who is a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). Their role is to:
- Take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection
- Support staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties
- Liaise closely with children’s social care and other services
At Coleridge, all our Senior Leadership Team have been trained up to be DSLs, and Corinna Phillips is the Lead DSL. If you have any safeguarding concerns that you wish to discuss with the school, then you can contact one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads using the following email address: email@example.com
Thanks you again for all your support over the last term.