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Parent’s Voice

The Parent Voice meetings are held monthly to give parents a say in the everyday decision making process of running the school. We try to include as many parents as possible by holding them at different times.

The minutes of the last meeting can be viewed below:

Reflections from the meeting on 21st January
Thank you to the parents who called in for the meeting. We had a varied discussion about the new class structure, the language used by children and parents about school. I have also had a number of parents who have ‘popped in’ to update me on the difference in the learning attitude of their child since the change in class structure – which I am very happy to hear – although I recognise there are still some parents who are concerned about their child. I asked one of the parents to review material we are organising about our learning culture at school with a view to sending it to parents via the website and email. We will also be organising an evening to discuss this wide topic.
If you would like to come and discuss school in general (we do not discuss individual children) then the next meeting will be held on Friday 4th February at 9.15am.

Friday 6th March 2015

The meeting was the best attended yet with 12 parents.

TRIPS – The school has changed the residential visit provision. There will now be mixed age groups going. The full schedule can be seen on this web page. We discussed the timings for the trips and parents shared their children’s experiences – which were very positive.

Communication – We discussed communication of information and the speed that the school can keep parents up to date with developments. There have been a couple of events in this term which parents have not been advised of early enough. Parents can access the NEWS on the school website for immediate information. Parents should subscribe via the school website. Subscription is via email and the form can be found on the bottom left of the site

The Friends of Combe Martin School addressed the meeting asking for new members. 

One parent shared the recent article about Y6 in the Journal.The write up was very good from the parents view. Mr Guyler is very well thought of by parents

We discussed commensurate opportunities for mixed age group classes.

Home learning was discussed. There is always a mixed view from parents on this topic. Research has shown homework to be most effective when work is competed by a child in anticipation of a new topic at school (in addition to reading and general maths).

My Maths – setting home learning has been happening for a while now. Some parents may need assistance with the site.

The school undertook to provide Numicon maths info sessions and Phonics sessions as parents want to help support their child. We will try to gauge interest by sending out an invite to book places.

There were parents who want to take their Maths / Literacy GCSE – Mrs Brown said that SWSF can look into running this provision from the school base.

DR talked about Growth Mindset – the parents were interested in information evenings on this topic.

SB talked about gender and sexual exploitation and girls aspirations. To look for them being airline pilots etc. 

Twitter was discussed as well as how we post as well as safeguard.

Sports Kit was discussed – re shin and mouth guards being an additional parental choice.

Thank you to all who came. If you have any questions the next meeting will be Friday April 17th at 9.15am.

Friday 17th October 2014

Thank you to the parents who came to Parent Voice. As always we’d like to see more parents coming, so if you can make the next meeting – on Thursday 20th November at 9.15am in the ICT suite – please come along.

Tapestry online Learning Journal

Tapestry is a way of creating a Learning Journal and sharing with parents. You need have access to a pc or tablet that is on the Internet.

There were 2 parents from Class 1 at the meeting. I have asked them to have an advanced trial of Tapestry. They were quite excited by the concept of interacting with the assessments made by the Class Teacher. They will come back to report on their experience.

Residential visits

The main subject of our meeting was to discuss educational visits:

School is trying to develop a culture of new experiences and opportunities for the children. We offer, at the moment, four trips starting in Y3 and going up to Y6. There is also an annual trip to Barton Hall for a ‘Outward Bounds’ weekend residential.

Parents said that it could get quite expensive for families with more than one child. They suggested shorter trips.

The parents wanted the range of trips to stay at four – with one per year group. They were quite passionate about this.

The parents would like the school to provide a long term calendar of events coupled to an opportunity to save up over a longer period of time so that they can choose which residential visits they’d like their child to attend and have longer to save up. They though a saving club within school would be a good idea.

In addition to the trips we visit Barton Hall. It is in South Devon but I explained that we go there because of the quality of facilities. The parents also thought that the school could offer trips over a day to places like the Calvert Trust to take advantage of lower cost activities in our locality.

The parents all said that the value of interventions and individual learning is important in school when the school is planning on using it’s Pupil Premium money. However, I did say that all parent’s with children eligible for PP circumstances are considered when offering financial help. Parents need to come into school and ask about this.  The parents suggested a trips booklet either online or as part of the for welcome pack. Not such a shock for newer parents and they could save up.

One parent spoke of the value of the Residential in terms of experience and education. She had been very impressed with the range and breadth of the visit, offering her child more opportunities than just a family visit.

On Line Payments:

On Line Payments will be coming soon. The office staff are being trained at present.

PE

Some children are saying they don’t have PE kit. The parents urged the teachers to insist the children get changed. The concerned parent’s child has a PE kit – just doesn’t want to get changed!

 After School clubs:

We discussed the changes to the club payment system. Due to some parents not paying we have decided that a child’s application to a club must be accompanied with full payment for them to be allocated a place. The parents agreed with this practice. They also mentioned the range of activities that are in the community: Mondays Brownie, Tuesday – judo 6pm, swimming at Stowford, Wed – Rainbows.

 

Key Points for Meeting on 19th September 2014

School dinners

The children are enjoying their dinners.

There was a lot of enthusiasm for parental dinner times for the children to eat with their parents.

 

The parents asked about how the school would remain connected with the church after Rev. Chris leaves at the end of the year. The school is committed to educating the children in all aspects of life and we aim to give a wide range of religious experiences. We will continue to work with the local churches as much as possible.

 

The Reading Push

The parents were very pleased with the reading provision they had experienced. The information that was given by the teacher was very useful at home.

 

“Mr Guyler rebooted our reading at home. It was fantastic! He was so enthusiastic and really informative.”

 

“The teacher went through the sounds we need to be using. When my child came home and said “a” [the sound] I always said, “no it’s A” [the name]. Now I know my daughter was right!”

The EYFS parents were very positive about the opportunity to share in the READING experience regularly in school.

 

Clubs

We discussed clubs and the opportunity for children to get places. We discussed the method we use to ensure equality and opportunity. School is working hard to have clubs running as often as possible BUT we need to get the children to take them up. Some clubs run by outside providers [like musicians] need to have a certain number of children in order to make it viable for themselves. If these clubs are to run we need more uptake.

 

Overall the parents were happy with the start to the year. Remember, if any parent has a question or issue come into school to see the teacher as soon as possible.

2013-14

Class Procedures in the morning The group discussed the morning procedures for dropping off the children. The school has had an open door policy for over a year now and it is interesting to see how it is developing. The teachers put on registration activities for the children to start off their learning for the day. The parents are welcome to work with their children as they settle into the morning.There was concern over parents dropping the children off too early and some children coming into school by themselves. The doors to school are open to parents from 8.30 and they are welcome to come in from then and supervise their children. From 8.45am the teachers and TAs are in the classrooms and are available for a quick discussion or to make an appointment for a longer talk at a more convenient time.The children once in school must stay in school. If a parent drops off their child into class at 8.45am they should stay in the classroom until the ‘proper’ school day begins.
Helmets The group were concerned about a few individuals who weren’t wearing helmets when cycling or skating to school. The policy of school is that helmets should always be worn in skating, scootering or riding to school. From September the children will only be able to bring a bike or scooter if they have had it checked out and proved they have a helmet. We also discussed the need for manners when riding on or around paths with pedestrians.
Dogs Some parents still are leaving their dogs at the school gate. The parents at Parents Voice would like them, if they must bring their dogs, to tie them up away from the gate and away from where the public walk.
Healthy Week The views of the parents were very interesting on this matter. The parents highlighted a differing viewpoint over the two years that Healthy Week has been developed in school. They were happy with the material being taught and the manner in which it was being taught. The question arose about the knowledge and experiences of different age children. They questioned how some children in the community could have such explicit knowledge compared to their own children. They did say that the children with ‘additional awareness’ did bring up more discussion on the playground. This is an area I have discussed with the teachers at briefing and we will continue to be considerate of in our delivery.

This was a shorter meeting than normal. However, the Parents Voice is a representation within the school community that I want to grow. If you can attend the new meeting we’d love to see you.

Previous Meetings

Support for Friends of Combe Martin and fund raising at CMPS. The group discussed possible ways to support the FOCM. They decided that class representatives would be a good move forward. We will hold elections for parents to come forward and represent their class at FOCM meetings.It was also decided that the parents would like to raise money to develop the outdoor areas around school – like the playground.
Home Learning We are going to look at homework across the federation. How we extend or reinforce work in the classroom and how we encourage families to use learning at home.
Knowledge of teaching practice and current methods We are currently looking at the new curriculum and how it will change our teaching provision. We plan after that to produce guidance for parents, in line with the new curriculum.
Marking of Home Learning If teachers ask for home learning to be completed it should be clear how that will be used in class. The teachers will recognise the time and effort that has gone into the learning and respond accordingly.
Requests from teachers for children to complete home learning on the computer at home. Not all families have computers or internet access. We can offer access to the www in school. We will look into running a homework club for children AND their parents to attend. This can give parents the opportunity to use the computers in school and to ask a teacher about how best to support their child.
Feedback from swimming We will look into reporting on the progress of swimming on a more regular basis.
Language in letters The parents spoke of a need for school to use more direct language to get parents to understand that either attendance or support is required and expected rather than ‘optional’.Also, at times, letters home have not been as descriptive as possible. The parents asked for more opportunity to have meetings in school so that information can be passed on in person.
Dogs in school and at the fence. Parent Voice have asked that we remind parents not to leave animals tied to the fence while they are in school.
Smokers Smoking is continuing outside the school grounds. Parent Voice have asked that we politely ask smokers to walk away from the ‘open’ areas around the front of school.
Times and Accommodation of Parent Voice Meetings We have been holding Parent Voice Meetings during the day. To encourage more participation we will look into holding meetings after school.
School Dinner Time Parents have expressed concern about the time their children are being allowed to eat. We have investigated the best way to get children through the school dinner hall in a relaxed manner. One of the biggest barriers is the speed children eat. We encourage children to hold conversation while they eat in a sociable manner. There are a lot of children who take a long time to eat.The dinner chairs WILL NOT be cleared away until all the children have finished eating at that table.
Pre-School start and finish times Parents have asked us to be mindful of the times that Pre-school require their children to be picked up and collected when planning events.9.15am drop off and 3.15pm pick up.
Expensive School Some parents were concerned with the amount of money it ‘costs’ to send their children to school.We discussed the running of the school and how we decided what to do to ‘enthuse’ the learning of the children through ‘big experiences’. Due to the budget we are unable to put on events like this to compliment the curriculum without asking for a voluntary parental contribution. Events like swimming could have to stop if we are unable to fund the provision from PE money and contributions.School Residential visits: It is not expected that all parents will either want to send their children on every visit or be able to afford to. As a family you must decide on your priorities. If you choose one residential visit over the four Junior years then that is more than acceptable – and a discussion you must have as a family. The experiences provided work out as great value for money and give the children unforgettable life experiences. Please keep in mind, simply booking a bus to drive to Ilfracombe costs in the region of £200.

The date of the next meeting can be viewed on the front page of the website.