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Wye School Parent Voice

Parent Voice Meeting, Tuesday 27th November 2018

Issues discussed:

  • Buses - some parents expressed dissatisfaction with the promptness of the service buses, the times of the Stage Coach public buses, the lack of interaction of some drivers with parents if there are issues on the bus and the price increase of the Young Persons Travel Pass. The school explained how to contact Kent County Council and the individual bus companies, who are the decision makers for the bus services. 
  • Behaviour Policy - some parents wanted to know if the school supported students who were being sanctioned under the behaviour policy. The school explained how we support students and steps that happen if particular students are regularly being sanctioned.
  • Communication - some parents expressed that they had issues with the format/explanation of reports sent home, the ability to communicate with teachers about homework issues and unanswered emails. The school asked that if a parent is having issues contacting a particular member of staff they copy in the school office who will ensure their line manager knows. The school also committed to including a better explanation of grades and numbers used with the next report sent home. A question about parents evening led the school to make it clear that it is optional whether students attend with their parents or not, we are happy to talk to the parent about their child, or to the child with their parent, to suit the family preference. 
  • Mental Health - a parent asked if we have anything in place to support the mental health of our students, and recommended an NHS programme if we do not. The school explained that we work with the school nursing service, particularly for Year 11 and 12 students experiencing exam stress, and that our school safeguarding team are alert to the signs of emerging mental health issues for students and will contact parents if we have any worries.
  • PTFA - there was discussion of how the PTFA will operate going forward. The next meeting date will be sent out as soon as arranged.
  • Attendance - two parents expressed opinions/asked questions about the more formal letters and requests for medical proof of absence that the school has been using this year. The school explained that in the past we had not fully followed the Kent County Council attendance system but now that we are full size and have an attendance officer we have come into line with the way the county and other Kent schools work, as we are required to do. 
  • Mobile Phones - parents commented that they liked the new mobile phone policy. The school replied that it was working well and social media related issues at school had virtually ceased as a result of it.

Parent Evening Surveys 2018/19

United Learning Wye School

Year 11


Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Don't know
1 My child is happy at this school 18


2 My child feels safe at this school 17

1
3 My child makes good progress at this school 18


4 My child is well looked after at this school 17

1
5 My child is taught well at this school 18


6 My child received appropriate homework for their age 17 1

7 This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved 16 1
1
8 This school deals effectively with bullying 17 1

9 This school is well led and managed 17

1
10 This school responds well to any concerns I raise 16 1
1
11 I received valuable information from the school about my child's progress 17 1

12 Would you recommend this school to another parent? 17

1
United Learning Wye School     Year 7    


Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Don't know
1 My child is happy at this school 13


2 My child feels safe at this school 13


3 My child makes good progress at this school 10

3
4 My child is well looked after at this school 13


5 My child is taught well at this school 12

1
6 My child received appropriate homework for their age 12 1

7 This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved 13


8 This school deals effectively with bullying 4

9
9 This school is well led and managed 13


10 This school responds well to any concerns I raise 11 1
1
11 I received valuable information from the school about my child's progress 11

2
12 Would you recommend this school to another parent? 13


Wye School Parent Survey Findings – 2016 (139 respondents)

Thank you to all respondents.  Your views are valued by us and allow us to reflect on our practice and how we communicate it to you.  What follows are headlines, some areas for development and reflection and some of your comments.

Headlines

  • 90% say their child enjoys school.
  • 88 % say their child is happy at school.
  • 93 % say their child feels safe at school.
  • 86 % say their child learns well at school.
  • 81 % say behaviour is good at school.
  • 88% say the school listens to their views, rising to 92% with ‘don’t know.’
  • 88% say the teachers do a good job.
  • 85% say the school is well led and managed.
  • 63 % say the school deals well with bullying. This rises to 85% with ‘don’t know.’
  • 73% say teachers explain to them how their child can achieve more.
  • 71% say their child receives appropriate homework. 

You had many lovely things to say about the school and the staff and what follows is a very small selection of these.

  • ‘It is an excellent school which caters for all abilities and aspirations.’
  • ‘My daughter is getting on very well and has built her confidence since she has been there.’
  • ‘Wye School is how a school should be -there is mutual respect between the pupils and staff therefore the children enjoy school and when they enjoy, they learn.’
  • ‘Homely! Fabulous school with fabulous teaching staff.’
  • ‘Wye School is a very good school, a very thoughtful, caring, positive environment to be educated in, I would highly recommend the school to prospective parents, our son is very happy at Wye and this is reflected in his work. He always looks forward to attending school. Very pleased indeed.’
  • ‘My son is growing at Wye as a learner and a person. The staff are amazing and create a caring, inspiring and creative atmosphere.’
  • ‘I would say that I have been really impressed with Wye School, the atmosphere and ethos of the school are wonderful. Whenever I attend school functions I am definitely pleased that we chose this school for our daughter.’
  • ‘Innovative teaching styles with lots of practical activities that make learning fun and therefore more meaningful.’
  • ‘The perfect choice. The children are happy, the curriculum is varied and the staff know the children well.’
  • ‘A brilliant foundation building school for pupils. They look after the whole well-being of all pupils with a very high level of care and are always pushing forward to improve. Very happy that I was able to place my daughter in such a fantastic school.’
  • ‘A fantastic school with clearly defined principals of learning and pupil conduct. Fosters a great environment for learning for all personalities and abilities.’
  • ‘We already have recommended to several prospective students/parents. The education provided is to a high standard and varied.’
  • ‘It has a firm but fair feel to the school. Benefits from being small as the children all feel comfortable around each other. I have stated 'don't know' to bullying as I can happily say that this has not been an issue for my child. I am sure it is handled very well.’

 

From the survey, we have identified a few key areas for further exploration and work:

  • Homework / ILPs
  • Explaining how a child could achieve more

 

Homework / Independent Learning Projects

We noted that a contributing factor to the figure above is some parents of older students considering demands for GCSE.  We have already begun a different model for Year 9 Core subjects in the latter part of this year and students have responded well. We will have a completely revised bespoke GCSE model for independent learning which fits the demands of specific subject areas. 

With regard to the Independent Learning Project model, we see the first-hand benefits of original and considered work, along with extremely high submission rates.  Although it is an unusual model, it was developed to increase student engagement and engender the independent learning skills necessary for long term success.  We do not believe that giving three or four pieces of work a night, answering questions, finishing pieces and the like achieve this. The projects involve developing ideas, planning, researching and producing a final project.  The weekly tracking means they meet deadlines and also inspires competitiveness as they become aware of what others are doing.

We are also aware that we operate a long day compared to some other schools and are mindful that a move towards a more traditional homework model for lower years could restrict the many clubs and pastimes which they enjoy pursuing outside of the school day.  We will be reviewing the model this summer and consulting parents, and may make some adjustments.  However we are not planning on any pendulum shift as we know that the existing model is valued by many of you.

Explaining how child could achieve more

We have changed assessment and reporting twice this year, the second time in response to feedback to the first reports.  With the introduction of Key Performance Indicators in English and Mathematics (with other subjects to follow for September), we will take time to refine our reporting and educate parents about what the assessment means, as was needed with National Curriculum levels when they were introduced.  The benefits of this new KPI system though is the clarity it brings about what a child can and cannot do.  This enables teachers and parents to be precise about what areas a child needs to develop and generates personalised targets. 

As other subjects, including Science, History and Geography, move from levels to this approach in September, we will again be reviewing our reporting. We are mindful always of the need to provide clear and useful information which can help you to support your child/ren.

Along with all schools nationally, we are mindful of the importance of standardising our results and comparing them with those of children from similar starting points so we can measure progress.  For this reason, we have been using the United Learning tests for English and Mathematics this year and are holding formal examinations using papers prepared by AQA, along with other United Learning schools, in Summer 2.  The results of these will provide us with these important progress comparisons.  Our Year 9 Science students are also taking part in an AQA pilot examination which measures their Science skills and preparedness for GCSE, so we look forward to those findings which will provide us with valuable information for GCSE planning.

Dealing with Bullying

Although the initial figure is low, we note that nearly a quarter of parents put ‘don’t know’ implying that they have not had any occasion to find out how we deal with this which supports findings with students.

On our most recent Review and Support Visit from United Learning, the students told inspectors that there was no bullying at the school and anything that did happen was dealt with well, with students coming together to discuss and resolve difficulties. Incidents do occur of course as we are working with growing teenagers but it is not helpful to divide young people into bullies and victims as most of them and us are capable of being unkind to others at one time or another. 

Our definition of bullying is very clear and detailed in the Information Booklet for Parents and the Student Planner. It is not issues arising from friends falling out and it not anti-social behaviour. This is a useful distinction when considering how to approach issues and resolve them.

Cyberbullying is a national concern and we do hear from parents regarding social media exchanges in the evenings and holiday time.  We offer regular updates on social media in our newsletter and contact details of organisations that can support students and parents under the Parents section of the website.  What we cannot do however is restrict usage of these nor ensure that students are of appropriate age to access these. We rely on the support of parents to do this.  It is simple for your child to block people and exchanges that trouble them and this is the approach we encourage, as well as educating them about privacy settings and being safe online.

Going Forward

You also identified some areas for our reflection, including those discussed above.  Some referred to elements which are being developed as the new build gets underway.  Other points of interest were your thoughts on:

  • Enrichment and trips
  • Catering
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Communication
  • Assessment and reporting

We will be reflecting carefully on your comments as we develop the school’s action plan for 2016-17 this summer.

Thank you.

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