Parent Forum Response
Thank you to the parents who attended these two sessions in the summer. As always it is good to have the views of parents and the forum is one way in which we try to engage with as many as possible.
The main topics that came up are addressed below.
Points raised were mixed with different people saying too little, too much, too late, too soon. Most liked the variety of ways we communicate and welcomed the options.
There were also a feeling from some that we should engage sooner with parents over areas of concern and this we have done already with Road Safety; getting a group of interested parents to discuss with us and attend meetings with Council representatives and the police.
A reminder of our methods of communicating what is happening
· The Redfieldet app is our main source of messages and news items. The newsletters and other class letters go in the files part of the app which is also where you will find the term dates and menus. You can set notifications to remind you if there are new items.
· The text is used only for emergencies or urgent messages eg clubs cancelled. This costs us 5p a text so we try not to use texts.
· Newsletters come out as and when we have enough to go out to parents – we would prefer not to send this by paper but many parents have requested this still happens. The newsletter is also put on the app and website at the same time.
· Website – this features school and class information, news and notes. It tells you what the children are learning each week and has photos etc.
· Staff will give all parents at least 4 weeks notice of something involving a payment. We haven’t got the space if everyone came! Outside events are weather dependent and will therefore usually be short notice. Anything else you will have as much notice as possible and all things are voluntary and if you do not have time then you do not have to respond – only some people do, not everyone. This is OK and considered normal in schools.
· Some have asked for a reminder to be sent out on the day for events. Regretfully we do not have the staff to always do this and recommend that you put an alert on your phone to remind you.
· We know some parents struggle to get information from their children about what they do each day in school. This is perfectly normal and children will tell you if they want. School staff can’t update you as frequently as some parents would like as they have lessons to prepare for the next day and we are trying really hard to be aware of work-life balance.
2. Road Safety
We have done a lot on this and you should start to see the benefits of this work.
· To clarify - school staff are not allowed to direct traffic or parking outside the school site. This includes the road and parking outside.
· We are working with the Modeshift STARS Scheme towards our bronze award.This is aiming to encourage more walking to school. The vast majority of parents live close enough to walk so we encourage all to do this.
· We have a series of road safety and Bikewise events in school to teach children how to be safe around traffic, crossing roads and on scooters and bikes.
· Bristol Highways carried out a survey of traffic and pedestrians around start and finish times in July and did not find the traffic heavy enough for them to to fund any changes. The Police have also advised us and have attended several times already this term to speak to parents who are concerned about traffic.
· The new morning system of dropping and going has reduced illegal and carelss parking so that has helped. We remind all parents not to park on the zig-zags or double yellow lines as that endangers the children.
· Please make sure that you hold your child’s hand, or keep them close.
· We would like to start a Park and Stride where parents park further away and then walk in. We are trying to find a location for this.
· The Traffic Wardens have been asked to attend more frequently on several occasions – this is completely outside our control
· The Eco-club have begun to work on ways to reduce those driving to school.
· At lunchtime the playground has several playworkers organising play activities for those who want. There are usually at least two different games going on. Children play a variety of football, basketball, parachute, games, obstacle course etc.
· The playground is too small now for all our children to have enough space if all classes are out at once so we have now staggered the playtimes so they have more space. It is usual for schools to separate the older and younger children so that they can run around more easily.
· FORET are going to be paying for shade canopies and benches to improve the quieter areas for the children.
· Fixed play equipment would not fit in the playground as it takes up a lot of space and we have to allow for 420 children (we are 300 now) and children getting much bigger as they get older. We cannot not afford the staff to supervise it as we are not able to let children on this sort of equipment unsupervised. There would also be a problem before and after school as we would struggle to keep children off and we could not supervise them.
· Playpod – a group of parents have set up and filled a playpod with all sorts of things to stimulate creative play. Classes are taking turns with this.
4. Some people queried why we need volunteer helpers for the park etc. We have very little space as the school was squeezed into a very small site. The nearest space requires walking down the road and we do not have enough staff to accompany the children which is why we need help. This is normal for schools on off site walks. We just have to do them more often than some schools as we don’t have enough space.