Governor update from Kerrie Holland and Azhar Qayum, Co-Chairs of Governors
It’s been a busy time for the school and the Governors and we have lots to update you on. Firstly, we were delighted with the Ofsted report, which was extremely positive and found that Park Hill to be a resoundingly ‘Good’ school across all areas. This reflects an enormous amount of work from teachers and school leaders, as well as commitment from our pupils and parents. We would like to thank all parents who talked to the Inspectors, filled in the questionnaires and gave feedback. They said it was clear that Park Hill School is a strong community all working together and we can all be very proud of this. The full report is available on the school website for you to read if you haven’t already done so. Congratulations to our whole school community!
This good result doesn’t mean that we stop trying to make Park Hill even better, and we know we still have areas to work on. Governors have a focus on the provision for our children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), with a Link Governor focusing on this area to make sure all our children are achieving their potential. The Governors also look carefully at the progress and attainment of the children who are eligible for Pupil Premium (what used to be ‘Free School Meals’) funding - it is really important that these children make as much, if not more, progress than the other children and so we look at this data in detail.
We’ve just had some great results overall for our end of Key Stage 1 assessments, with the Year 2 children exceeding the national standard for their combined Reading, Writing and Maths scores - a fantastic achievement. Maths in particular has been an area of strength as a result of the school implementing ‘Maths Mastery’ teaching. Governors have been in to school to see ‘Maths Mastery’ in action and it is clearly producing some great future mathematicians! We have had external moderations of teacher assessments in both EYFS and KS1 and the external moderators agreed with the teachers in all cases, so we can be sure the teachers’ judgements are accurate and robust, and in some cases the moderator even asked if they could share our practice at Park Hill with other schools to help them improve. Year 6 have completed their SATs and the results will be shared with us in July. The papers were stretching but school leaders told Governors that our children approached the tests with a great attitude and a resilience we know will serve them well in the future.
We have a working party looking at the changes to Relationships and Health Education which includes school leaders and parent Governors. This is a strength of the school - as Ofsted commented, ‘Spiritual, moral, social and cultural education is very well developed.. The school is a happy, caring community where all are warmly welcomed.’ We are looking at what, if anything, will be different - for example ‘County lines’ and drugs education weren’t specifically included when we last did a full review of this area nine years ago. We also want to make sure teachers are given clear guidance and support where children are discussing what they have seen on the internet, for example. Once the working party has completed this assessment we will share and consult with our pupils and parents. We know RHE is an important area for parents and many have come to ask questions and discuss with the Headteacher - we welcome this and encourage you to please continue to do so if you would like to ask anything or have any concerns.
Governors are monitoring the school’s financial situation carefully as we are affected by both the reduction in funding to schools and by falling pupil numbers due to the birth rate dip across the city. This means that we will be a one-form entry for Reception in September. We then expect to return to two-form entry from 2020 as the birth rate recovers - our Nursery applications are high so we are confident that Reception numbers will increase the following year. The reduction in classes means that some staff on fixed-term contracts will leave this year, and senior leaders will take on some of the Planning, Preparation and Assessment cover. This will reduce costs but the financial security of the school, of course, remains a priority for Governors.
The school has had a great year in some challenging circumstances and we hope you are as proud of Park Hill as we are. As ever, we would like to thank all our families for their support and wish you all a sunny and restful Summer break when it arrives.
Kerrie Holland and Azhar Qayum
Co-Chairs of Governors