Head Teacher's Comments to the Parent Survey 2016
- Stretching the more able
Each and every day the lessons that the children experience are 'differentiated.' This means that every Literacy and Numeracy lesson has 3 different ability groupings and the work is tailored to each of these groups needs. Every group also has a 'challenge', so if the children work especially hard, they are challenged to move on even further in their learning. We are currently planning some exciting opportunities for our 'talented' children in Writing and Maths.
- Communication regarding what is being learnt and how to help at home
At the beginning of each old term (3 times a year), the class teacher sends a newsletter with a detailed listing of the learning to take place that term. These are very prescriptive and are adhered to throughout the term. We are planning on adding each year groups' yearly plan on to the school website very soon. This will provide you with the topics, themes and learning that will take place for each class for the whole year! I will notify you once they are published.
- Information on Progress
We feel that we provide a good range of information regarding each and every child's progress and attainment. You have the opportunity to formally meet with your child's teacher 3 times a year but you are always welcome to make an additional appointment if you are concerned. The reports that we send mid way through the year are very detailed, especially in the key areas. However we will discuss this issue as a school and determine a strategy for improvement, We have plans for something new already!
- Learning difficulties to be shared more immediately
We absolutely agree with this statement and will endeavour to improve in this area. All colleagues will be reminded of the importance of sharing promptly any concerns during the year, rather than waiting until the formal parent meetings. We have already agreed this year that children with SEN need longer/alternative appointments at parent evenings in order to discuss and difficulties and how best that you can support your child.
- More encouragement for children to complete their homework
We do offer many rewards for the completion of homework and these work incredibly well for the majority of the school. Children unfortunately do miss playtimes if they have not completed homework to a good standard and there is the deterrent of detention with me! We do not like to use negative strategies and hope that children grow to learn that homework is part of school life and helps the children to cement their own learning as well as develop a life long healthy work ethic.
- More after school clubs and sporting opportunities
We have more opportunities than any other local school. (I have done my research!) During a school week, we have 13 different clubs both sporting and non sporting. We aim to be fair in the selection of the children who attend these clubs and for the first time this year, we are holding waiting lists to ensure that these children are offered places first at any new clubs to be formed. More and alternative clubs will be added as the year progresses. For instance, there will be a Maths Club and Book Club this term which will be invitation only due to the nature of the tasks and levels of books being experienced.
- Opportunities for all-music lessons/breakfast club
We have 3 outside music teachers who provide piano and guitar lessons. Anyone can ask for their details, Of course all of KS2 are given the opportunity to learn the violin each week. This experience is quite unique amongst all local schools. Breakfast club was provided at Cobham a few years ago, but there was a low level of uptake. It would now interfere with our brilliant sensory circuit sessions and BEAM sessions which are supporting a group of children first thing in the morning, which truly has more benefit!
- Too much homework for their age
The homework given is in line with Government guidelines. We, as a school keep the homework quite systematic across the school. The children are often given time. especially first thing in the mornings to complete parts of it. The homework is usually linked to the differentiated learning of the week. The children should be familiar with its content. If any child is truly struggling, please speak to the class teacher as soon as possible.
- Honest conversations/proactive plans for average child
We aim to be honest about every child's progress and behaviour and have taken this comment on board. I hate the term 'average' as no child is thought of in this way at Cobham. Our school performance data clearly demonstrates that we have extremely high achieving children whose results are always well above national averages and local averages. The school data proves that the longer the children are at Cobham, the greater their achievements are! We have the highest percentage of children locally securing a place at Grammar school and were placed 1st out of 25 local schools in 9 out of 13 disciplines judged nationwide. Other schools are most envious of our children and teaching! This is no doubt due to the fact that we truly do not label our children as 'average' children. All children will achieve their full potential whilst they are in our care.
- Use of outdoor facilities at other schools
We do! We have used Cobham Hall in the past as it is not too far to walk. We have also used Meopham Leisure Centre. We regularly ferry Year 6 to the Cyclo Park in the summer months. Children regularly visit Ashenbank too for a whole variety of foci. Often the main problem is getting children to and from venues and the time factor that eats into other areas of the curriculum! We are very lucky with our facilities. We have extensive grounds that we utilise fully! Staff have been known to use the back field beyond school grounds too! We are lucky compared to many schools in the area.
- More 11+ preparation
It is not our responsibility at all to prepare children for the Kent Tests. In fact it is most definitely frowned upon by KCC. Children are taught incredibly well at Cobham and children will achieve a place at Grammar School if they deserve to. Many parents find tutors for their children and that is of course their right. However Cobham prepares the children by providing them with a quality first education that will stand them in good stead for their future, wherever that may be.
- Car parking and Uniform
Not much that we can do about either of these! Having visited many local schools in my role as head, we are clearly lucky to have the parking that we have. Many schools are on main roads and simply have nowhere safe to park. My wing mirror is a witness to this statement! Uniform has been decided upon and finalised and the children really truly do look smart. Whatever the changes were to be, not every one would agree, but thank you for adopting the changes in time. We do appreciate it.
I hope that I have provided additional information to explain some of these areas. Where we need to make improvements, we will do our very best.