Head Teacher’s News

Headteacher News

The recent balmy weather makes us feel like Summer is still here, even though we are well into the throes of a new school year now. I have been extremely impressed by the industrious and caring approach of everybody working at Berkley and your children are very welcoming and only too keen to show me their good work.

I regularly pop into lessons and this week, it was a sight to behold: I arrived unannounced, to find one- to-one tuition going on in reception class, year 2 TAs were linking the pupils’ writing to their individual targets, year 3 were speaking French and Year 4 pupils were working in pairs, creating their own food webs. The challenge and the creativity were clearly embedded.

My first task has been to complete the School Development Plan, which drives our striving for even further success this year. You should be able to access this on the school website now. This has been a collaborative process, involving feedback from the pupils, parents, staff and governors.

The main headlines are:

  •   Under Leadership and Management: to improve communication with parents and amongst staff; seeking Dyslexia-Friendly re-accreditation; undergoing a mock Ofsted inspection in the Spring and further developing collaborative work with other schools.
  •   Under the Quality of Learning, Teaching and Assessment: to agree the ingredients of an outstanding lesson; to implement more strategies to stretch the more able; to review the homework policy and to further develop our teaching of literacy and numeracy
  •   Under Personal Development: to introduce a buddy system for reception pupils; to ensure the school’s behaviour system is clearly explained to parents; to include personal statements in reports and to further develop pupil presentational skills
  •   Under Outcomes for all: to show evidence of ‘deeper learning’ in books, to case study key pupils and to further develop global understanding.Please see the website for more details.Open DayWe are holding an Open Day on Tuesday 18 October for prospective parents whose children are due to start school in September 2017. If you know of anybody who may be interested in attending, please pass on this information to them. I will make a 20 minute presentation at 9.30 a.m. and again at 1.30 p.m. Parents will be able to tour the school and then ask any questions. Thank you for your support.Spare books

    As staff we are very keen to pass on our love of reading to each child. We are always on the look-out for books, to add to our collection in the classrooms and in the library. If you are able to donate a book to the school, please can you hand them in to the school office. Again, thank you in anticipation of your donations.

    Traffic issues

    As you will be well aware, this is an on-going problem for us, but we appreciate your patience and your efforts to help minimise the hold-ups. I know some of you car-share and the staggered start to the school day has helped, with some of you dropping off at 7.45, 8.15 and then from 8.45 a.m.

Welcome From Mr Kirby

May I take this opportunity to say how privileged and proud I feel to be your new head teacher. I am really looking forward to working so closely with your children, the staff, governors and of course you, the parents, so that we can all work together to make Berkley a wonderful experience for all concerned.

I trust that you have had an enjoyable summer holiday and that your children are looking forward to the new school year with everything that this entails, such as making new friends, learning new skills and making great progress.

Just to re-iterate one or two points I made when I met many of you last term: I want Berkley to be a school where the pupils enjoy attending, the staff enjoy working and the parents feel proud of their child’s achievements. The expression ‘Each child is my child’ encapsulates my philosophy. I want each child to feel valued and safe, to be happy, supported, stretched, listened to and cared for as we would wish for our own offspring.

My eldest grandson has just started school, so I am only too aware of the excitement of starting school and also the anxieties that any child may harbour.

One new strategy we have introduced straightaway is a ‘buddy’ system whereby Year 4 pupils will each buddy up with a reception child and with two new pupils in Year 3. Hopefully this system will help the new Berkley pupils settle in as quickly as possible.

Last week we started with two inset days, with staff and governors working together most productively to formulate the School Development Plan. During the school holidays I assimilated all the comments from pupils, parents, staff and governors, all of which has been shared at the inset day and has helped to shape the key issues that will form this important document. All the replies are now available for you to view on the school website.

We will share the SDP with you when it is completed.

I have also included the table of parental replies to the 12 Ofsted questions, so that you can see the overall picture for yourselves. We will share the School Development Plan shortly when it is completed.

As promised last term, I would like to continue with the Berkley tradition of holding a ‘surgery’ with parents, and I would like to make you aware of the first such meeting: I shall be available on Thursday 29th September from 2.00 p.m. onwards, including after school if you would prefer to meet then.

Of course, if you have a particular need to speak to staff about anything at all, please contact the school.

I am employed for two days a week, there needs to be some flexibility but Rest assured that, on the days when I am not in school, there will be a senior member of staff in charge.

For the first week of term I am attending Berkley on the Monday, as this is the pupils’ first day of the term and on the Wednesday, so that I can collaborate with Mrs Matthews on the SDP.

For the second week of term I shall be at school on the Wednesday and Thursday.

Of course, working most effectively for the good of each child is about a partnership between the home and the school. An analogy I use is the plate-spinning circus act, which intrigued me as a child: Without the hectic nature of this act, we are all working together to keep each child spinning in the right direction, ensuring that no child falls off! We each have a hand on the stick, keeping the plate spinning.

I look forward to getting to know your child, their individual personalities, their strengths and indeed their needs.