Please click on the link below to download the Oakhill Newsletter of Thursday 29th September 2016.
Click on the following link to download the Oakhill Newsletter of 23rd September 2016
Monday, 19 September 2016
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the Head of the Opossum Federation and explain my role within the Oakhill school community.
My name is Lisa McIntyre, I am a member of the leadership team of the Opossum Federation. For the past 7 years I have worked closely with Ms Barnes-Kemp initially as Deputy Head, then Head of Schools (Dawlish and Newport) and, as of the start of this academic year, Head of Federation.
As most families are aware, Oakhill Primary School works in partnership with Dawlish and Newport schools in an arrangement known as a soft Federation. This means that the schools work together; sharing practice, enriching learning and supporting leadership. This year, in my role as Head of Federation, I will work across the three schools, spending time in each every week supporting the further development of each school. Prue Barnes-Kemp remains the Executive Head Teacher and therefore holds overall strategic responsibility for all the schools in the Federation. Due to the demands of her role, which includes wide ranging consultancy and advisory work- both nationally and internationally on behalf of our Federation, Ms Barnes-Kemp is not able to spend as much time in the schools. Working closely with her, I assume this more operational role this year and report directly to Ms Barnes-Kemp. Our successful partnership has been noted across the years by Ofsted, most recently in the Dawlish Ofsted report.
Mrs Brandon has been appointed as the interim Head of School and as such, has operational responsibility for the daily management of the school. Mrs Brandon should be your point of contact (after the class teacher) if you wish to raise a concern or query.
I have visited the school several times and have been welcomed very warmly by the children and parents/carers I have already met. It was a pleasure to be introduced to many of you at the parent/carer meetings last week and I look forward to working with the children, parents and staff at Oakhill over the coming year.
During the year, as a leadership and staff team, we will be reviewing routines and expectations as necessary. We will do our very best to ensure that parents/carers and children receive clear communication about any changes and that, where possible, changes are planned with sufficient notice to enable parents/carers to make any necessary arrangements.
You will be aware from last week’s parent/carer information sessions that the expectations of the recently updated national curriculum have increased and that the government’s expectations are higher in terms of academic standards and progress than was previously the case. We recognise that there are challenges ahead and that, this year, our very clear focus must be centred on ensuring any gaps in learning are addressed and that all children further develop their learning behaviours and strategies to help them achieve the very best outcomes. There is a strong sense of partnership
within Oakhill School so we look forward to working together with you to promote the skills and knowledge the children need to build successful, happy lives.
After an interim period of support, Oakhill Primary School entered into a soft federation with Newport and Dawlish Schools – both of which are located in Leyton, Waltham Forest.
Federations of schools are becoming increasingly common as the government’s preferred model of school to school working has become more firmly established.
What is a Federation?
A federation is a group of schools whose governing bodies decide to agree a formal partnership to advance common goals. Each school retains its own character, budget and performance tables and will have separate Ofsted inspections. Admissions processes will not change. Federation is possible between any schools in the maintained sector, including community, church and foundation schools.
How is a soft Federation different to a hard Federation?
A soft Federation is non-statutory – schools can set up soft Federations without having to follow regulations. Each school in a soft Federation has its own governing body. All schools within the Federation share common goals but it is up to the individual governing bodies to authorise decisions/plans. Schools within a Federation (hard or soft) retain their individual budgets and make decisions about spending based on the local needs of the specific school. From time to time, recommendations may be made across the federation to collectively purchase goods or services to obtain best value for money. Leadership positions may be shared across a soft Federation.
Oakhill Primary School is partnered in a soft Federation with Newport and Dawlish Schools.
Newport and Dawlish Schools entered into a hard Federation in July 2014.
The overarching name of our federation is the Opossum Federation.
What are the benefits of federation?
Partnership working facilitates the sharing of educational practice and professional development for staff. This is particularly useful in the small school context as it promotes wider thinking and opportunities to explore new ways of working. Joint planning and moderation sessions are practical examples of the way this operates within the Opossum Federation.
Federation enables a sharing of leadership expertise and experience, enabling each school within the partnership to review their ways of working and improve effectiveness. At Oakhill, this is demonstrated through sharing an Executive Headteacher (Prue Barnes-Kemp), Head of Federation (Lisa McIntyre), Deputy Head (Leon Ojukwu) and experienced SENCO (Michele Moir). For the children and families of the partnership schools Federation, over time, strengthens a sense of community through shared events or collaborative learning projects.
What are the disadvantages of being in a soft Federation?
Studies have shown that when school communities have been asked this question, they have often struggled to find a response. Federations have been shown to be effective in advancing pupil progress, developing staff and refining organisational procedures. The most commonly held concerns in other federations have related to a fear of the loss of school identity and lack of individual head teacher. The governing body of Oakhill Primary School acknowledges that whilst there may be some similar views within the wider community, protocols are in place to allay those concerns.
Oakhill Primary School is committed to retaining and promoting our individual identity and place within our local community. Working collaboratively with others does not compromise the small school and closely knit community feel which exists. We welcome new ideas and the opportunity to share our good practice with others.
Whilst we now share an Executive Head Teacher (Ms Barnes-Kemp) and Head of Federation (Ms McIntyre) with the other schools in the Opossum Federation, we have a specific interim Head of School, dedicated specifically to Oakhill Primary School. Mrs Brandon is an experienced teacher and long standing member of the Oakhill community; she understands the school context – its strengths and needs. Mrs Brandon is the first point of contact for children and parents with concerns to share. As a recently appointed interim Head of School, Mrs Brandon is able to draw on the resources and experience of other leaders across the Federation.
As a school we feel very positive about the opportunities which are offered through participation in a soft Federation and we look forward to developing our relationship with our local school partners in the year ahead.
Chair of Governors
Click on the following link to download the Oakhill Newsletter of 16th September 2016:
Updated Newsletter 16th September 2016
The NSPCC’s Speak out. Stay safe. programme is visiting our school to make sure our pupils have the knowledge and understanding they need to stay safe from abuse.
I’m pleased to tell you that we will be working with the NSPCC, the UK’s leading children’s charity, who’ll be delivering their Speak out. Stay safe. programme on Friday 23rd September 2016. This is a nationwide programme for every primary-school-aged child in the UK and Channel Islands. With the help of their friendly mascot Buddy, they’ll be presenting an assembly to the children in our school as well as classroom workshops for Years 5 and 6.
"NSPCC has helped me to build the confidence to tell people about my worries and problems." Child’s feedback
What is the Speak out. Stay safe. programme?
Through child-friendly, interactive assemblies and workshops their specially trained staff and volunteers will give our children information about how to keep themselves safe from harm and how to get help if they have any worries, sensitively discussing issues like bullying and sexual abuse, without using scary words or adult language.
We have studied the content of the materials and heard from other schools who have participated and are extremely confident that they are appropriate for primary-school-aged children. By the end of their visit, we’re convinced children will feel empowered – knowing how they can speak out and stay safe.
"This service provides important information in a child-friendly way – it should be made mandatory in all schools. A brilliant service!" Teacher, Wistaston Primary, Crewe
If you would like any more information about the NSPCC Speak out. Stay safe. programme, including frequently asked questions, you can find it on the NSPCC website nspcc.org.uk/schools or please come into speak to me and I can provide more information.
Talking about the Underwear Rule with your children
The NSPCC’s work in schools will help encourage conversations about staying safe – and they have a number of child-friendly materials to help you carry on the conversation afterwards. That includes ‘The Underwear Rule’, a simple way for parents to help keep children safe from sexual abuse – without using scary words or even mentioning sex.
The guide uses the rules of PANTS to teach children that their body belongs to them and them alone. You can find out more and download the free resources at nspcc.org.uk/pants
If you’d like to know more about the NSPCC’s work, or take a look at the wide range of information and advice which is available for parents and carers, please visit their website nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/
Head of School
12th September 2016
Dear Parents / Carers
Year 3 Class Assembly – Thursday 22nd September 2016
On Thursday 22nd September Year 3 will be sharing their assembly with the rest of the school. It is a short, regular assembly and not an end of term performance.
We would be very happy for you to join us on this day. The time of the assembly is 10:10am, but we would suggest you be in school a few minutes before this time.
We look forward to seeing you then.
Mrs Lucy Coppin
Year 3 Class Teacher