Mary Elton Primary School

Mary Elton Primary School

 

Governor's Blog

The Romans

"Some parents will be aware that the Year 4 children have been studying the Romans this year. Just before the end of term I was privileged to be asked to meet with all of the Year 4 children to tell them about my experiences of visiting and helping at an archaeological dig near Hadrian’s Wall. 

Miss Brown and Mr Flory suggested that I might like to speak to them from 9am until break at 10:30. I thought that an hour would probably be plenty and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure I could fill that. I have done many presentations to big audiences but the idea of keeping the attention of 61 Year 4s was one of the scarier things I have been asked to do. In the end, we ran out of time and I enjoyed every minute of it.

We talked about what Hadrian’s Wall looks like now, how we know what happened in Roman times, why we do archaeological digs and what has been found over the years. I showed them some of my photos taken at the time (and some that I didn’t take – which they spotted!) and talked about the experience of finding items that haven’t been seen for nearly 2000 years.

It was a real pleasure to hear how much the children had learned. Every time I asked a question a sea of hands went in the air and everyone had a story to tell. They clearly enjoyed studying the Romans but, more importantly they, remembered a lot of it. Most impressively they were able to articulate their ideas and apply what they had learned.

I would like to thank Mr Hudd, Miss Brown and Mr Flory for the opportunity to share some time with the children. If anyone is thinking that they might have something interesting to share with the children then I would encourage you to do so. They are not as scary as they seem and you will have a ball."

John Reeve

Attendance

"Parents and Carers will be aware that one of the measures that the School monitors is the level of attendance. In the past the School has reported to parents and carers on attendance by class on a regular basis. At the end of last year, the School also provided information to parents and carers about their children’s attendance record. The data that we now have allows us to look at this in various ways to help us understand what we can do to improve the level of attendance.

Why is this important? 

Whilst we fully appreciate that there are always reasons why pupils may not be able to attend school it is important that absence is kept to minimum for the sake of the children. A significant number of studies have shown that there is a direct link between attendance and achievement in schools (if you are interested I can recommend this link https://attendancemattersmagonline.co.uk/what-is-the-link-between-absence-and-attainment/). Good habits learned at Primary School also follow through to Secondary School and beyond.

As part of the end of year reports that parents and carers received last year there was a table to show the level of absence that any percentage represents.

Attendance percentage

Number of DAYS missed in an Academic Year

Number of WEEKS missed in an Academic year.

100%

0

0

99%

1.9

0.4

98%

3.8

0.75

97%

5.7

1

96%

7.6

1.5

95%

9.5

2

90%

19

4

85%

28.5

6

80%

38

7.5

75%

47.5

9.5

70%

57

11.5

 Even a 96% attendance rate (which might, at first, seem to be good), represents absence for nearly 8 days in the academic year. That is a significant amount of learning to miss.

The school will be doing all that we can to encourage attendance whenever possible and to help pupils make up for lost time if they do have to be absent for any reason. If any parent or carers wants to talk about how they can improve the attendance of their child then please feel free to talk to your child’s teacher or to Mr Hudd. Every extra day at school increases their educational opportunities."

John Reeve

The importance of School Data.

 "One of the main roles of the Governors is to use the data that we collect to help the School’s leadership team to do the best for the children.

 Parents and Carers will be aware that the teachers monitor the progress of the pupils periodically during the year. Over the last few years we have built up a library of data that allows us to follow the education of the children through the school and to measure progress. By collecting data regularly and monitoring trends we can see what works best and improve what we do. The School then use this information to agree the teacher’s focus for the coming terms, to ensure that every child gets the best possible education over the year and through their entire time at the School.

 Not only can we monitor how the school is doing and take action to improve standards generally but the teachers can also monitor the progress of individual pupils, set targets that are appropriate for each pupil and ensure that we support them to be the best that they can be. It is not appropriate for Governors to have information about individual pupils nor would we look to interfere with the relationship between the individual pupils and the teachers. It is our role to focus on the bigger picture. However, we do work with the School’s leadership team to understand how the teachers balance the need to improve standards generally with the needs of individual children which will always vary from pupil to pupil.

Whilst the data is critical in helping our understanding, we always remember that behind the numbers are the children and every one of them is important. Understanding the data helps us have better discussions about the education of the children. However, the most important thing is that they achieve the best that they can while they are with us and that we support them to do that."

John Reeve

STEM Conference

"On Monday (26th November 2018) we both went to an amazing STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) National child-led summit of primary schools at the Doubletree Hilton hotel in Congresbury. There was even a Skype link to a companion event in the North of England.

There were 100 students from a range of year groups and their teachers from 25 local schools across North Somerset, Somerset and Bristol. The 2 hour session involved schools "pitching" their ideas of what the schools might work on next term as an environmental science project. There was opportunity for discussion and debate and a great demonstration of how any action of an individual can be felt all over the globe. There were many interesting and worthy proposals but after a democratic vote "reducing plastic pollution in the oceans" (Mary Elton children’s idea) was the clear winner both here and at the twin event in the North. This amazing event was initiated, organised and led by Mr Thurgur with teachers from some of the other schools and he managed to secure guest speakers from Bristol airport, Nissan, and two local engineering companies Hydro International and Edwards.  They all told the assembled students about how their work links to STEM and how science and engineering could be an exciting and rewarding career choice for girls and boys. Jago attended with dual purpose as a governor at Mary Elton and also representing Edwards, explaining how we remove harmful gases used to make computer chips and use electrostatics to remove particles from gases. Each student was able to see what it was like to be a store for electrostatic energy by using a van der graaf generator and some found it a 'hair raising' experience.

We were so impressed by the enthusiasm and maturity of our young people and the passion with which they spoke about the need for action. Our future is in their hands!"

 Hilary Neal & Jago Snook

Whole School Assemblies

"Governors have been attending whole school assemblies to talk to the children about themselves and what Governors do. It’s provoked some interesting debate including what it means to be a volunteer! Helen Shallcross and I went in on Monday morning (18th June 2018) to talk about democracy. We were very impressed by the range and depth of the children’s knowledge. They were especially knowledgeable about the suffragettes – and how unfair it was that only half the population were allowed to vote. They were sure that wouldn’t work in elections to the School Council!" 

Hilary Neal