Parent Forums

Since the Spring term 2013 parent governors have hosted Parent Forums as part of our ongoing commitment to listening more effectively to your views. The aims of the Forums are to:

  • Enable parents and carers to meet, share ideas and feed back to the school
  • Give parents and carers a voice and enable them to contribute to school decision-making
  • Help develop the partnership between parents and carers and the school
  • Consult parents and carers and advise the governing body of parents and carers’ views

Outcomes of these forums have included the development of our Learning Agreement, further opportunities for communication between parents & staff and a new Uniform Code.

Spring Term 2016

This term’s Parent Forums focussed on changes to National Curriculum levels and raised expectations at the end of Key Stages. Prior to sharing end of autumn term reports, all parents and carers received a letter from the Headteacher explaining the Government’s changes to how schools now report on pupil progress. The letter also pointed out that we have adopted the current government attainment terminology which will be used in all end of term reports from now on.

In summary, parents and carers who attended the forums:

  • Were very reassured to find out about the amount of detailed assessment that teachers carry out on a daily basis for each child and how this is checked against national expectations
  • Found it particularly helpful to hear classteachers explain how our assessment tools enable children to learn more effectively
  • Were positive about our continued commitment to supporting parents and carers to support their own children’s learning
  • Reported that our open door policy of teachers being available for conversations and via email throughout the year was always helpful and specific to particular needs
  • Also recommended regular use of classteachers’ This Week’s Learning section on the class update pages of our website.

How can I be sure that teachers really know what my child can already do?
Teachers use a range of very detailed formative assessment tools on a daily basis including Pupil Asset and PM Benchmarking. This enables teaching staff to then set the appropriate next steps for learning.

How do I know that my child is making good or better progress at Heathbrook?
Because we put such a strong emphasis on staff knowing each child, specific activities related to previous learning are constantly planned to challenge children. We have incredibly high expectations and therefore welcome the government’s new raised ‘expected standards’ at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, whilst simultaneously providing support for pupils with particular learning needs. [In 2015 our pupils achieved in the top 6% of schools for progress nationally.]

What do you use to ensure my child achieves the necessary standards?
We use GL Assessment’s CAT tests, the most up-to-date online summative assessment software, which benchmarks results against thousands of schools to ensure accuracy. In addition, we also use Testbase materials as well as moderate with colleagues in our local collaborative of schools. At Year 2 and Year 6 curriculum meetings staff shared SATs samples for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

How can you aim to meet every child’s needs in a culture where testing takes precedence and children can ‘fail’ a government test at the age of 5?
We are passionate about children developing a love of learning and the necessary skills to become lifelong learners. Although testing is something schools work within, we believe that every child can make exceptional progress with the appropriate support and challenge for their needs. The progress itself is what we celebrate irrespective of what mark a child gets in a formal test – our Be the Best you can Be! values are integral to this.

Where can I find out more about how Heathbrook staff use assessment to progress learning?
Please read our full rationale in our Assessment Policy.

Parent governors invite parents and carers attending forums to explore the implications of these government changes for all Heathbrook parents and carers and suggest any further information that would be of benefit.

Autumn Term 2015

Following your feedback, the focus of our Parent Forums in the autumn term was e-safety. Thank you again to everyone who participated. The discussions were extremely comprehensive and ranged from sharing practical tips about how to restrict screen time to compiling questions for the Headteacher to respond to in person.

Following analysis by the parent governors who facilitated the sessions, here are some of the key points came out of them and an initial response from the school.

You (parents and carers) told us that you want your children to benefit from the positive opportunities the internet provides, whilst learning how to manage their lives online safely. At Heathbrook we (staff) use technology to inspire learners and recognise our role in supporting children to learn about e-safety.

You told us that you wanted greater clarity about what the children are learning in their Computing lessons and how e-safety is addressed in class discussions. We will share more information about the Computer curriculum and related e-safety issues.

You told us that the Pupil Internet Use Agreement form that children sign is too broad and needs to be more specific for different year groups. We will write new forms which will clarify children’s specific responsibilities at the beginning of Computing units of learning.

You shared your own experiences and told us that you are looking for more advice and for further opportunities to learn from each other about e-safety. We recognise the huge responsibility and challenge parents face regarding e-safety and we will provide both workshops and greater information.

There are no easy answers to e-safety issues, however all evidence suggests that maintaining an open dialogue with our children is the key to enabling them to manage their lives online safely. We all share the same concerns and, through teachers and parents working together, through parents and carers talking to each other and sharing what works best for them, we can all help each other. This helpful leaflet Supporting young people online from Childnet International was shared at the forum sessions.