House Afternoon – 7th February 2017
Today I’ve had the privilege to attend the first ever House afternoon. Led by the PE/PSHE/RE Faculty, the children were exposed to a range of different activities. This was inspired by the 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ challenge.
I spent the afternoon with one of the groups of St Patrick House, led by Ms Jewitt. Our first activity was to make a bird feeder. Most children have never made their own bird feeder and they really enjoyed making it.
One of the students of our group, Leo, surprised us with his version of breakdance. What really struck me was the children who at first were very shy, but it did not take long for all of them to join in! Samuel said that it was the first time he danced in front of so many people and really enjoyed it.
We had a number of other activities, and throughout the afternoon, the students displayed our school values. They were responsible – the older ones took the younger ones under their wings and I saw some “big” year 6 boys looking after and helping the little ones. They were determined – students participated in everything. Some of the younger ones were very worried about the kickboxing, but they quickly mastered it. They were successful – children worked together to help everyone to feel that they have mastered all the activities on offer. The team spirit was great and the students had so much fun.
I want to thank Mrs Evans and her team for all the effort that went into this day to make it such a success. A lot of hard work and planning went in behind the screens, but the success of the day was visible on the faces of the children.
Governor link for PE/PSHE/RE Faculty
New year, new role
“We need a new teacher governor.” Mrs Phillips announced at the beginning of the INSET day. I remember hearing about governors when I went to primary school and had always thought it would be an interesting role to take on either at RD or my children’s school at some point. Before I could stop myself out it came.
“I’m up for it, I would like to be considered for the teacher governor position.”
Three members of staff went for the position in the end. Because it was a co-opted governor role, it went to a vote by the other governors who selected me to take on the role.
Before long it was the first full governing body meeting of the year. I was actually quite excited about the meeting and was keen to find out what topics would be discussed, which committee I would be added to and what, if any, input I could bring to my first meeting. I walked into the small hall and was greeted by some familiar faces – as a teacher you often see governors as they conduct their visit in school. The meeting began and I actually found it easier to get involved than I thought. Eventually we got to the point where committee roles for new governors came up. I ended up on the resources committee. This committee is responsible for many areas including school budgets. I saw it as a good opportunity to get to know the inner workings of a school including how much some of the things as teachers we may take for granted cost.
By the end of the meeting I had also promised to write a blog – I thought it would be good to share my experiences in case anyone reading was thinking about becoming a governor themselves. So here are my top tips on surviving your first meeting:
Bring grapes – they went down well with my fellow governors!
Read the paperwork – it does make it easier to follow the meeting.
Be ready to get involved – you never know when they might turn to you for an answer!
They get tea and biscuits – always good to know!
Brush up on lingo you may not always use – ‘the deck’ was a new one on me!
Don’t be afraid – the governors were very welcoming and actually there were a few laughs to keep them meeting in good spirits.
Know what area you would be interested in – this will help find the right committee to associate with.
I plan on writing another blog by the end of the year reflecting on my impact as a governor so if your keen to read more about my progress keep checking back on the website. Thanks for reading.
Celebration assembly: Friday 21st October 2016
What an experience; so many happy, positive moments this morning.
The children all arrived promptly for assembly, sat and settled to await the start.
It was great to hear so many positive achievements made by the children; both in and out of school time.
The attendance trophy was awarded to Monet class, the children were so excited!
It was lovely to be able to share this experience with the children!
When writing or discussing about the latest primary school SATS results (July 2016) I find very difficult not to think about that day when my son (then in year 6) came back home from the first day of SATS. He said, “I had the reading test today, it was very difficult”. We tried to find the right words to motivate and get him ready for the next day test... not an easy task.
The tests were different. The curriculum has become increasingly challenging and the results of the tests reflect this. As communicated in the RDS “news flash” sent to parents last July, all the school results are above the national or equal to and above Hertfordshire averages. Well done!
As part of my activities as governor and specifically as Pupil Premium Link, I visited the school on the 8th of Sep to discuss the performance, results and actions taken for the school PP children. I spent time in the BASE and met with Mrs. L. Evans (Assistant Head for Inclusion).
At the BASE I observed and participate at the early morning reading intervention, where I had the opportunity to meet the NHS Speech and Language Therapist (the school benefits from this specialist contribution four days a week). The children were enthusiastic about their reading which was adapted to their different levels and all were more than happy to participate during the interactive phase of the lesson which was about the “bossy verbs”.
During the meeting with Mrs. Evans we reviewed the latest results and discussed the plans in place for this year. My overall appreciation is that PP children are improving in all aspects in line with their individual needs. Most of PP children are tracking with the overall school attainment (levels of progress). The school has records for all PP children (and all children with specialised interventions) and puts in place personalised development plans for each pupil. Inevitably, PP children were also affected by the change implemented to the tests and although the overall results are positive and at or above national average, the year 6 SATS results show a gap for “Reading” (PP compared to school). The appropriate Wave 1, 2 and 3 interventions have been reviewed and different measures have been put in place in the action plan to address this finding.
CRM, Sept 2016
On Monday 16th May, we were fortunate to have Sherma Batson MBE DL into school. Sherma is a former Mayor of Stevenage, also an MBE and a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.
The morning comprised of a school walk, whole school assembly, where Sherma shared her incredibly journey with the children and answered many wonderful questions. We then went on to have a smaller group discussion with Year 6, using her life experience to inspire the children. We then finished off with lunch with the children, a great day and a worthwhile visit, so much so Sherma will be back in July!
Parent Liaison Governor
Congratulations to Round Diamond School from Herts for Learning lead strategist, Patrick McAteer!
Zoe Phillips received a wonderful letter early in January from Herts for Learning’s Patrick McAteer saying “Well done!” to her and to all the staff and pupils at Round Diamond School for the “truly outstanding” Key Stage 2 progress measures for 2015. KS2 pupils have reached and exceeded the national levels of progress in all the three areas of reading, writing and maths. He says that this “significant achievement reflects the good to outstanding teaching that the children are enjoying” at our school. Patrick congratulates Zoe on the significant role she plays as head of the school saying that her leadership at Round Diamond is the biggest factor determining success for the children and he praises her for her “resilience and determination in ensuring that our children at Round Diamond receive the very best educational start we can possibly give them.”
I have been a governor here at Round Diamond for nearly 8 years and I have seen the school go through many changes. This letter shows what excellent progress we have made over recent years under Zoe’s headship. You should all be very proud of yourselves to have achieved so much. Thank you to everyone for their hard work and dedication (especially the children) and thank you, Zoe, for all you do for us.
Sue Hardwidge (Governor for Inclusion and The Arts)
As member of the governing body at Round Diamond, at the beginning of 2015 I was assigned with the role of “Pupil Premium link”. Since then, I have visited the school once per term to look and monitor how the school is carefully spending the government funding for the benefit of the designated children.
The visits have included different activities with the intention of ensuring that the school has clearly identified the relevant pupils, that the school has put in place initiatives aiming to improve achievement and attainment of PP children (“close the gap”) and that the school is able to provide evidence of the results and progress achieved.
I have been taking the opportunity to observe activities belonging to the different Waves of intervention (1-3) provided by the school: group phonics, one-on-one better reading partnership, targeted SPAG lessons, in- lesson support (Maths, Science), to mention some. I also had spoken to PP children about the support they receive and they have been very open to express the benefits of the special attention they receive.
Specific (anonymous) case studies have been scrutinised and evidence of specific teacher or therapeutic interventions have been demonstrated. The school has explained the system in place that provides the children with opportunities to help them overcome the barriers they may have to learning.
The overview of the latest results (where the school as a whole has done extremely well) for the disadvantage pupils allowed me to have a better appreciation of the impact the different initiatives have had with a clear trend of improvement over the last three years. The high percentage of PP children in the school makes the task more challenging.
My personal perception is thus far that the school is implementing the available resources adequately to increase the level of attainment and achievement with special attention to the PP children as required.
Special acknowledgement goes to our inclusion manager (Mrs. L. Evans) who oversees all aspects related to Pupil Premium activities and to whom I am very grateful to have as a main point of contact for this important aspect of the school management.
Dr. Cesar Ramirez Molina
Teaching and Learning committee member; Pupil Premium, Science and Assessment Link
I was really pleased and proud earlier this term, when the governors met with Mrs Phillips as part of our regular meetings, and learned about the SAT’s outcomes the children achieved at the end of the Summer this year. Some of the results are amongst the best I’ve ever seen at the school, with improvements not, just in once area, but across subjects, year groups and classes.
To empathise the level of improvement made in recent years, is the letter you can see here from Nick Gibb MP from the Government Education Department received last week, formally recognising Round Diamond for being in the top 5% of all schools in the country for phonics achievement. This is a fantastic result and shows just how far we have come.
In my opinion, the school is now Outstanding in terms of its quality of leadership, teaching, and the improvement in personal development of all the children over the last 3 years, and the behaviour and welfare of pupils at the school. The governors and I will continue to support and challenge the school as we continue to build on this achievement.
In other news, the Governors now have a Facebook page, so we can engage further with parents, so please check that out, and give us feedback on what we do.
Chair of Governors