As a parent myself, I really value the opinions and concerns of Holly Park parents. I hope that together we will take the school forward and make Holly Park the best it can be. Ann Pelham – Headteacher
There are various ways that you can give feedback to the school.
- You can speak directly to the class teacher about any concerns relating to your child. Teachers are in the playground at the start and end of the school day.
- Office staff are always on duty in the foyer at the start and end of the school day to answer questions.
- Mrs Puzey our learning mentor is in the playground at the start of a school day if you need to speak to her informally
- The Senior Management team are in the playground at the start of each school day if you want to speak to one of us informally
- We hold termly informal coffee mornings for parents to come along to find out more information and ask questions. We like to hear your thoughts and ideas.
- Governors hold termly parent coffee mornings for parents to listen to feedback, ideas and questions.
- You can contact governors by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parent governors tend to be in the playground for informal chats at the start and end of the school day.
- We run tours of the school for existing parents in the Spring term to come and look around the school and give us feedback
- We do an annual parent questionnaire to find out parent views
You can contact the school office on – email@example.com
You can contact the Headteacher on – firstname.lastname@example.org
What do parents say about our school? Here are some recent comments:
Comments from reports 2018
‘Thank you for all the support that you have given my son throughout the year. I really appreciate your hard work.’
‘We are delighted that our son has enjoyed nursery so much.’
‘Thank you for your hard work. Our daughter is very happy and has learned so much.’
‘Our son has loved his time at Holly Park nursery. He has made a lot of progress and it is a credit to all the wonderful staff, they really are amazing.’
‘I am very proud of my daughter’s report. She has really enjoyed her year in reception and I have been amazed at her progress and confidence in reading and writing.’
‘We are delighted with our son’s progress this year. He has enjoyed his first year at Holly Park, made friends, grown in confidence and seems happy and full of energy. A huge thank you to all of the staff for providing such a fun, creative and happy learning environment.’
‘A very descriptive report which helped us build a picture of our son at school. Thank you for such a productive reception year.’
‘As a result of all your support and teaching and our daughter’s determination and willingness to learn, she has met the expected standard and we are thrilled in the way she has settled into school and have been impressed with her attitude to learning.’
‘It is with great pleasure that we are happy to see that our daughter has made such improvements.’
‘Thanks for a great year of teaching. Our son has learnt a great deal and enjoys going to school. He is developing into a confident young man and we are grateful for all your support.’
‘Our son has really settled down in Y1 and matured under the care of his teacher. He loves school and learning. The report reflects this.’
‘Very pleased with our son’s report! He’s had a fantastic year with his teacher who he is extremely fond of.’
‘Really helpful report and nicely personalised.’
‘Thank you for a lovely report. Our daughter has enjoyed Y2 and made big progress.’
‘Our son has had a brilliant time in Y2 and the report reflects that. The teacher is really inspirational and our son has flourished.’
‘Another great year of teaching at Holly Park and our son has thrived again with the support, encouragement and challenges from his teacher.’
‘Our son has really enjoyed his time in Y3. He enjoyed the learning projects and has been enthusiastic about them at home.’
‘My son has enjoyed this year particularly the sport and the maths.’
‘We were delighted to read about our daughter’s achievements. Thank you for giving her an enjoyable year.’
‘Another excellent year at Holly Park. Our son has hugely enjoyed the breadth and variety of learning experiences. I have been particularly pleased with his reading, spelling and vocabulary development this year and he is clearly embracing the extended writing opportunities.’
‘I think Holly Park is a well balanced school. My son is very confident and always happy to come to school.’
‘My daughter has really enjoyed Y4 especially your kindness and teaching. We loved reading the report. You know her very well.’
‘My daughter’s report was very accurate. She has learned a lot in Y5 both emotionally and educationally.’
‘The Holly Park focus on supporting children to be well rounded individuals means my son has had another really good year, not just academically but in terms of his general development too.’
‘Thank you for recognising the effort puts into her homework every week.’
‘A lovely report that reflects my daughter’s capability and interest in learning.’
‘The teacher manages to bring out the best in my son.’
‘A lovely report about my daughter. I have seen her grow from strength to strength this year, making good progress and correcting her own mistakes.’
‘Thank you for a lovely year, a lovely report and for the progress my daughter has made. She has had a lovely time in Y6.’
‘It was a pleasure to read my daughter’s report. It was also nice to see her reflecting on things she could improve.’
How we are improving
Here the most frequently mentioned concerns that parents had from our last survey:
Homework is always a point of discussion amongst parents and children. As we were going through the questionnaire pile one questionnaire expressed the desire for more, the next one in the pile expressed a desire for less as they felt there was too much. Homework is the biggest contentious topic between parents nationally and everybody has differing opinions about what and how much!
If parents follow our homework policy, then there is quite a lot of homework to do. I would like to remind parents that as well as the weekly homework project (which allows all abilities to access it at their own level, suits different kinds of learning styles, gives children opportunities to use our Learning Skills and features different subject areas each week) there is reading for half an hour every evening and also practising times tables. In KS2 there is also the grammar and the maths homework. Y6 also have extra comprehension each week. It is very important that the reading and times tables are done. There are children in KS2 who are clearly not doing enough reading and are not progressing through the reading challenge at the appropriate rate. In Y2 and Y6 the children have to do a reading comprehension test and the level of reading is very sophisticated and there is a great deal to read in a short time.
- Ask the council to patrol parking during school hours. Currently it can be a nightmare to walk to school with badly parked cars.
I completely understand the problems and frustrations that parents and local residents have with this issue, however my remit is only on the school site up to the school gate. The school is not responsible for the parking outside.
On the other hand, as we are part of a community I am of course concerned for the safety of our pupils near the school.
So far we have already done a lot of work and communication with parents:
- I am constantly putting messages in newsletters and sending texts about considerate parking and dangerous driving and have been doing so for the last three years. Children have made and sent leaflets home to parents. We have stood outside and spoken to parents who have parked inconsiderately and moved them on (not really part of our role)
- We have called on the community PCSOs to come down to the school. We have made the problems clear to Barnet Council. We have called in the traffic wardens to visit. We have a School Travel Plan and Travel Ambassadors who think about how to improve road safety in the local area. Talking to my other Headteacher friends and colleagues in nearby schools and across Barnet the problem is not just outside this school.
- We also now have CCTV cameras outside the school and the council will send fixed penalty notices for people who pull up or park on the zig-zag lines.
- We also have 20mph signs around the school. If you have a concern you can also call the council and request traffic wardens visit more regularly or call the local PCSOs.
- School Lunch
We currently use ISS catering for our lunches. ISS serve over 85 primary schools in Barnet and many hundreds nationally. The catering service has to comply to certain standards, provide a balanced menu and nutrition and follow certain guidelines to do with health. Some parents have commented that their children don’t like the lunches, some that it is not cooked well, some that the portions are too small and some that they are not healthy.
I have been aware of some concerns about lunch and have raised this with our school governors. At present we are working with ISS to see if they can improve the service that they offer us. The children will be doing polls on the lunches, the school council and Healthy Living Council have met with the cook and the catering manager from ISS to say what it is they do not like and what they would like changed. There is a new menu coming out in April and on 28th March there will be a tasting session for parents to come and try the new menu – so please do come along. The catering company are coming to meet the school governors to discuss lunches at a meeting in March.
- Accommodate working parents slightly better
We always try to make sure that we give as much notice as we possibly can about any meetings, workshops or assemblies. Also for important meetings we always try to put the meetings on twice in the week at different times of day to accommodate as many parents as we can.
We cannot put on lots and lots of evening meetings as many of the staff are working parents and need to get back home to their families too. I am a working parent and obviously try to attend as many things at my son’s school as I possibly can, however I also realise that there will be things that I inevitably have to miss because of my work commitments. Many of the staff at Holly Park are working parents with children at other schools and as an employer of staff, I try my very best to allow staff to attend things at their child’s school. Being a working parent has to be a juggling act and I can only reassure you that we do our very best to accommodate as many parents as possible.
Feedback from the questionnaires was that communication from the school is very good and there were lots of ways that the school communicates with parents – texts, website, newsletter, letters etc. We do our best to send out lots of information in the newsletters and also to use our website, text and e-mail service.
A few parents are concerned that they receive too many texts. I can only assure those parents that we do limit messages and only send out to year groups concerned and only have a few people in the school who have access to the messaging service to avoid text overload. It is the nature of schools that at certain points in a term there is a lot going on and a lot of information to deliver – so I can see how there could be information overload from time to time. Other times however will be quieter. We give parents lots of notice at the start of each term with the dates that are sent out and also in the newsletter and on the calendar which is on the website– text messages are generally only sent as a reminder.
I hope that you have found the answers to these comments interesting and informative. As a Headteacher I value your comments, concerns and suggestions as they are very useful to me as I reflect on how we can continue to improve as a school. We are not complacent as a school and continually try to think of how we can change things for the better.
Thank you again to those of you who took the time and effort to complete the parent questionnaire. When we have our next Ofsted inspection, a letter will come home asking you to complete an online parent questionnaire. This will involve answering six fairly straight forward questions along the same lines as the questionnaire that you have just done. The turnaround time for doing the Ofsted parent questionnaire will be very short and we ask that you support the school by filling in the questionnaire.
If you feel that at any time you have any further queries or comments about the school, or your child’s experiences at Holly Park, please do speak to one of our senior members of staff or one of our parent governors.
ARCHIVE – SOME PREVIOUS COMMENTS
- Water more readily available in the classroom
Every classroom has a sink in it. Every sink has tap water suitable for drinking from. There is no shortage of water available in classrooms. We also encourage children to bring in their own (named) bottle of water for the classroom. If this is empty they can refill it at the classroom sink. We have plenty of water fountains in all playgrounds. These are cleaned twice each day – at lunchtime and after school. They do occasionally go wrong or leak and we aim to repair them as soon as possible. At lunchtime jugs of water and cups are available and these are refilled when empty.
- Updating parents about what is being taught in school so that we can reinforce / support some things at home. I would like a better understanding of what is actually being taught and at what level
We do this every term. I have mentioned this in newsletters each term. You can find all the information on the school website. At the start of the school year a plan for the whole year is put on to every class page on the website. Every term planning for that term is uploaded onto each class page. This planning is very detailed for each subject and tells you exactly what the learning objectives that will be covered are. Also if you go to the learning page of the website under curriculum you will find learning journeys. There is a learning journey for every year group. Each year group has a page for every subject and this gives the exact learning objectives to be covered. From the learning objectives you can establish what level the teaching is at.
- Be invited to have a look at children’s work in school
Parents are invited in to look at their child’s work every term. It is advertised well in advance in the dates section in newsletters, in the termly dates leaflet that goes out to all parents and it is on the website. Parents are invited in to a ‘Book Look’ for either KS1 or KS2 about a week before each parent consultation session. Once all children are dismissed safely, parents and children can come back into the classroom to look at the work which is in neat piles on the tables. This is a chance for parents and children to look at books together ahead of the parent/teacher meeting. The session is between 3.45pm and 5.45pm. We are always surprised by how few parents take up the opportunity.
- More Swimming
Swimming is part of the Curriculum along with other sports activities and it is up to each school how they manage it. Over the years we have tried doing swimming in Y1 & Y2 ( the children found the walk and the changing very hard work and it took up an extremely long time) and also in Y5 & 6 (For really good swimmers St. John’s pool is quite small and this then involved coaches to larger swimming pools and extra cost). We have found from experience that it works best for us in Y3 & 4. The walk around to swimming, the changing, the lesson itself and the walk back takes about an hour and a half per group. This is quite a lot of time out of each week. Also the adult supervision necessary is quite intensive. As a school we do not ask parents to pay for this activity but pay for it out of the school budget. Each child at Holly Park is offered one year of free swimming lessons. Due to time, supervision and cost we are not able to offer swimming to more year groups.
Research has shown very clearly that learning lists of spellings each week does not improve spelling ability or the ability to spell the words correctly in written work after the test. Also, just because some other schools do weekly spelling tests does not make it the right thing to do. That does not mean to say that we are doing nothing about spelling, in fact spelling is a priority in our school improvement plan and teachers have received quite a bit of training this year from external specialists about improving spelling. Spelling at school is taught in an investigative way exploring spelling patterns and spelling rules. Children are learning about words rather than given words to learn! This year we have introduced a new system for helping children learn and reinforce words that they have mispelt in their written work so that the spellings they are practicing are personalised to them and not just a generic list. We will shortly send out a leaflet to parents explaining how spelling is taught at school and how parents can help at home.
- After school club
The after school club (Bellevue After School Club) is not run by the school. It has its own separate Ofsted registration and the club rents space from the school. The club is restricted to the number of places that it can offer because of adult pupil ratios and space available. We are fortunate that the club chooses to run at our school so that children can access it easily. I am aware that it is very popular and more and more parents want to use it to help them solve the problems of after school child care. The situation is also frustrating for Caroline who runs the club. She does have a waiting list that names can be put down onto.
You can give your views on our school to Ofsted by filling in this survey.