Feedback on Spring 2022 Parents Questionnaire
I would like to thank all parents and carers for their responses to the parent questionnaire. Your responses help us with areas to improve and a chance to clarify what goes on in school and if possible the reasons behind the evolution of our curriculum and how the school functions. I will be responding with our actions over the coming weeks.
89% of parents agreed we gave a broad and balanced curriculum (some were indifferent) and one or two disagreed. The teachers and staff all work hard to ensure the children have a positive experience and always make progress, not excluding those children with special educational needs.
There were one or two parents who disagreed with most things – I would ask those parents to get in touch with me directly or their child’s teacher if you feel that the school or your child is not performing as well as you might hope. If you feel the school is not safe or happy you do always have the decision of where your children go – I know all the children here and it would be a shame to lose them as they enjoy school and we feel like a big family here at Wallace Fields Juniors. If you have a specific concern please contact your child’s teacher. We take safeguarding very seriously and 96.3% of children feel safe in school. 97.4% of children know how to get support if they are sad or upset.
Modern education has very significant pressures and so the timetable is carefully balanced to ensure that we are covering the whole of the curriculum. When science was dropped from the SATs testing a few years back, many schools dropped it or let it lose focus. We did not. Some schools focused on English and maths far too much – however, we have continued to ensure cross-curricular writing and reading, and maths were integrated into most subjects (often without the children realising). This whole curriculum approach has served us well and if the science SATs do return we will not be panicking to reintroduce it. All the subjects are taught according to statutory guidance and we are constantly trying to improve resources, use new resources and think of more inventive and exciting ways of ensuring learning.
Clubs and Extra Curricular
We have more clubs than any other primary school locally and the additional activities are integrated with our school day. 78% of the children attend at least one school club and 85% of parents agreed we have a good range of activities for the children to take part in. The children request more clubs at every School Council meeting though there are simply not enough rooms to do any more. Epsom community does provide more clubs so please do look locally as well. If you are in financial difficulty or your children are on free school meals then please do get in touch and we might be able to help with subsidising a school club for your child.
Peripatetic music lessons were moved out of the school day as teachers reported that children were losing a significant amount of time to these lessons. This ensures continuity and progress and piano lesson are available after school. Please see the website for details.
Lots of positive feedback about the music lessons. Thank you for those. We would like to welcome our new music teacher Mrs Johnston who has had a great week and we had a very successful Year 5 music assembly. We have now restarted the recorder club and as soon as Mrs Johnstone has settled in, we will restart the choir and other musical events. We hope to be part of the Epsom and Ewell Music Festival and details will be sent out soon. We have decided to postpone two of the planned music assemblies to a later date.
Sports and Inter-school Sports Matches
Parents were asking about more sport and more inter school matches. These have already started though until more other schools opt in, we are still limited for competitors. Mrs Louise Wilson is very active in pursuing matches against other schools and we have already enjoyed victories over St Martins (results are in the bulletin). The school timetable is crammed full as usual and every child completes a minimum of two hours of games and PE a week. In addition to this, selected developing swimmers in Year 5 and 6 go swimming and each class does the weekly mile using the playground and wider school grounds when possible.
Sport in school is at full speed and PE and games lessons are all happening as usual. Mr Sellars is a qualified sports coach and is extremely popular with staff and pupils alike. He is inspiring improvement in sport across the school – he is also hosting a very successful dodgeball and a gymnastics club.
Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Yoga
The children explore mindfulness and wellbeing every week and although many parents might not realise it from the verbal reports home, all the children are enjoying regular wellbeing Yoga sessions with our qualified Yoga teacher Danni. The children love her sessions and even the staff are interested in yoga sessions separately with her.
We have just had an additional 27 trees planted and created a wildlife copse on the top field for nature study and outdoor learning. Teachers use the eco area for lessons and we have a outdoor class ready in the woodland area for the spring when the weather is a little more forgiving.
Parent Consultation Evenings
We have had a lot of positive response to the blended approach of in person and virtual parent consultations. It has been a very even split of preference and so we have met the preferences of all parents. The time is a way of meeting with your child’s teacher and getting an update on your child’s progress and attainment. Some parents feel they would like more time – it is fine to seek an appointment with your child’s teacher at another time beyond parents’ evening if you would like even more detail, perhaps a phone call conversation. However, I am sure you can appreciate that with so many children to teach and assess their time is very valuable so this will be a set time also. Only three parents disagreed that the school is good at informing parents about their child’s progress. This was a pleasing result and remember parents will also get a full report at the end of the summer term on all subjects.
Special Educational Needs support / Challenge for more able
The questionnaire helped us look at attitudes to homework and to the demands on the children in school. All the children are given scaffolded tasks or challenges depending on what they need to access each task and to ensure they develop their learning in every lesson. Each lesson has additional challenges to take the more able even further and adapted tasks are available for those that need them. The programmes of special educational support are timetabled and reviewed regularly, so you should be getting a summary of all the support and input your child is getting if they have SEN provision. Most children at some time in their schooling will encounter additional support depending on the where they need it. Within school, and nationally, levels of SEN are rising and we are well above the national average for SEN children. This puts constraints on us as a school that has very low levels of disadvantaged families and so the additional adult support I have put in place is a drain on resources without the additional funding that would naturally with a disadvantaged intake. Please contact our SENCo if you have queries about your child’s SEN provision. 90.5% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that the school expects their child to work hard and do their best.
74% of parents felt that appropriate homework was set. Of those not agreeing, some want more and some want less - remember every homework is explained in the class before it goes out and there are a wide range of additional tasks to stretch the more able children’s’ potential and adapted tasks to help those that need more help. If you are in any doubt about the level and quality of the homework – please contact the class or group teacher, as some children are not giving their parents the whole story.
In response to the question “Does the school deal with poor behaviour and take bullying seriously?” Four parents/carers felt we did not. The school does take bullying very seriously and we have in place many systems and safeguarding measures to ensure that all levels of misbehaviour are dealt with and we work to ensure the children feel safe and happy in school. We encourage children to report any incidents immediately and to use the Mood Box or tell a member of staff – rather than take an issue home where time passes and investigating an incident fully and effectively becomes much more difficult.
We are very fortunate in that we have strong parental support regarding behaviour and respectful attitudes and therefore levels of behaviour are outstanding, so please encourage your child to raise their concerns or worries when they happen. Even if it is not a regularly occurring issue (bullying), feelings such as worrying about friendships, home life or self-esteem are the key things we always want to be there for the children with. All the children explore these issues in discussions during PSHE lessons and Circle Time.
PSHE and Circle Time
The timetable is also reactive so that certain topics can be discussed if there has been an issue in class or in school that week. The children discuss consent and talk about how they can have the say in who they socialise with and how they interact with others. This also covers important safeguarding topics such as inappropriate touching and personal space. Learning not to diffuse unkind words as ‘banter’ and encouraging a clear concept of mutual respect. This all goes to equipping them for high school and for adult life beyond that.
Further feedback on the questionnaire will follow later.
Please find attached the summary of previous pupil and parent questionnaires.