Welcome back to all of you and your children and a special welcome to those of you who are new to the School.
You all will be pleased to know that last year our children did very well in their learning. I was reminded of this as I was driving around Paris on the first part of my summer holiday. My mobile rang and it was the Director of Children’s Services in Lewisham, Frankie Sulkie. Her first words to me were “Fantastic results Graeme. Well done to you, your staff and your children.” Out School certainly did extremely well in the Early Years Development Profiles - the Year 1 Phonic Screening, the Key Stage 1 (Year 2) SATS, Y5 banding (63% of our children were Band 1) and the Key Stage 2 SATS. In all cases, our school will be above national averages and those of Lewisham. I am also pleased to tell you that we have been re-categorised by the local Authority to 2A (very good), and it has been noted that if we continue to deliver such high levels of pupil attainment and progress, we will be moved to a category 1 (outstanding). Leadership and management, behaviour and safety have already been graded as this by our School Advisor.
It was wonderful to see the children arrive and leave school yesterday being so enthusiastic. We welcomed back several families who had left us temporarily whilst our overall numbers remain around 200, most of the families who moved from the school last year, did so reluctantly because of the pressures of secondary schooling outside Lewisham.
With this in mind Year 6 parents should now be looking closely at secondary places for next year. Last year we ‘fed’ eleven schools in four Boroughs. It is very important to go and visit your choices to make an informed decision. Mrs Saunders is available to speak individually with you, should that be necessary. Please contact school to make an appointment.
As you will know from the curriculum webs elsewhere on this website, our main focus this term will be the commemoration of the First World War. All classes from Years 2–6 have a class reading book relating to this theme and we have planned some very exciting and stimulating learning experiences for the children, both in and out of school. Children will also be asked to undertake research at home and I ask that you support them in doing this.
One of the most remarkable changes over the last three years (since I joined the School has been in the children’s own ambition and determination to challenge themselves. On Monday teachers, teaching assistants and our Chair of Governors undertook various tasks on the theme of what makes an ‘outstanding learner’. We concluded that the following are recognisable characteristics and it is our job in school to nurture these in all of our children:
- excitement and enthusiasm
- high self-esteem and the knowledge that it is acceptable to make mistakes
- sound spiritual and moral values
All of us as educators (parents, families, school staff and peers) must encourage these characteristics and it is incumbent for us in school to have sufficient enthusiasm ourselves, in what we do and the lessons we deliver, in order that our children are consistently provided with good or outstanding teaching. Your support is vital. It is therefore necessary to make sure you:
- Send your children to school on time, so that they are not late for lessons and have to ‘catch up’.
- Ensure that they complete their homework on time. This year we have homework folders which you are asked to sign to say your child has completed their work.
- Hear your children read every day and complete their reading record books.
- Ensure that school rules relating to uniform, hair styles and the wearing of jewellery are kept. You agreed to these when starting at SMM and they are what sets this school apart from many others.
- Attend parents’ days, but also understand that sometimes your child’s teacher needs to meet with you on other occasions.
- Support this school by joining in with our Parent Teacher Association.
- Remember we are recognised by Ofsted and the Diocese as a good school and by the LA as very good. What is good now would have been outstanding several years ago. If you have concerns it is far better to come into school and speak with us, than raise these with other parents on the school playground.
- Liaise with your class representatives. A list of these is on the parent’s notice board in the playground.
I will be sending out an updated school events diary next week, so that you can plan ahead. I wish you a very good weekend.
Graeme West, Head Teacher