Friday 6th May 2022
Mr Eardley, the Headteacher, writes...
Dear Parents and Carers,
It’s been a bit of a funny start to the term.
The first week was only four days long because of the bank holiday, I was out four days last week leading my first Ofsted inspection in over two years and then this week is shorter too. I’m looking forward to a regular week next week.
I should also mention here that it won’t be a ‘regular week’ as our Year 6 children will sit their SATs. These are the first national SATs since 2019 as two years of Covid meant that they were cancelled. I have mixed feelings about SATs and their value but now isn’t the time to share my thoughts. What I do want to say is that the Year 6 team has been absolutely amazing in preparing the children during the run-up to next week. The children have also risen to the challenge and, like athletes preparing for an event, they are ready to make their way to the starting line. We don’t know what the test papers have in store as we cannot open them until the day of the test. Whatever awaits the children next week, I know that they are ready and that they will give it their best. I am, as you can see, immensely proud of them and their teachers.
I have enjoyed getting back into inspecting. It is a privilege to be so involved in the life of a school for an intense few days. I get to look at what makes the school tick and always come away with new ideas that I bring back to Orton Wistow to discuss with staff. However, the saying that ‘there is no place like home’ is completely true, and I am always glad to come back to OWPS. Visits to other schools make me realise how special our school is and why I have not considered other headships. The calibre and commitment of staff at Orton Wistow are exceptional. I find myself filling with pride when teachers and support staff share the initiatives they are driving forward. I wish my children had had the chance to come to OWPS, and then I would have had the chance to experience what it means to be a parent at the school as well.
We have been so out of practice with having parents in school that the crowds who joined us for Foundation Stage Stay and Play and Year 3’s 2 Can Learn this week caught me by surprise! I found myself wondering who they all were. I know that the parents who joined us have been equally pleased to be able to share in their child’s education. One parent mentioned to me recently that it was the first time that they had been able to come into school and how it had opened their eyes to what we do. They enjoyed the chance to see our amazing teachers in action. We feel a bit giddy with excitement to be able to have you back in school and I hope that you will join us whenever you can.
Whilst on inspection last week, I still felt connected to OWPS thanks to our various Twitter feeds. I almost felt that I was part of the Grafham trip! Thanks to the exciting posts I was able to share what they were doing without having to navigate wearing a wetsuit! What a relief!
I have always believed that communication is key to building a strong partnership between home and school. We have always been a school that has moved with the times and embraced new communication opportunities. I was delighted to see that, in the recent survey on communications with parents, 84% of parents said that they read the school newsletter every week or most weeks. In the same survey, it was also clear that fewer parents access the website and our Twitter feeds than we had hoped. We will always write a weekly newsletter, but the Twitter feeds give you an added insight into what we do as a school. The class Twitter accounts in particular give you a fantastic insight into what the children are doing in school.
In the last week you could have seen these tweets:
I suspect that quite a few parents don’t have Twitter accounts which is why they don’t follow us. If this is the case with you, I do recommend that you consider joining just to follow the school account as well as the class accounts you are interested in. If you aren’t ready to join Twitter, do check out our website as our Twitter feeds appear there too on the homepage! You can even pick which classes you want to see.
We don’t intend to reintroduce the Facebook account, but I will look into whether it is worth creating a school Instagram account that picks up our tweets. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding ways to communicate. 😊
I hope that the sunny weather is a sign of things to come for this term and hope that you have a lovely weekend.