Headteacher’s Blog 28/1/16

The time to blog seems to come around quicker and quicker each time. This half term seems to be speeding past – it’s almost half term already!

The children are really enjoying our Outdoor Learning event today and thankfully we have some really lovely winter sunshine to make sure we don’t get too cold. There are lots of children with rosy cheeks and the whole of Team Tranmere is working hard to get our gardens and grounds shipshape and ready for the Spring planting season – I’ve put lots of photos on Twitter (apparently this is called live tweeting so I’m told!) so please have a look and see what the children are getting up to.

The leaking new roof continues to be a source of dismay – we have had the MD of the roofing company out to see what we are dealing with, and the roofers seem to be an almost permanent fixture at school, but we seem no nearer to being watertight. The leak in Kestrels class which caused us to close the classroom before Christmas has reduced to a drip but it still isn’t properly fixed and we have a very serious leak in the kitchen. Our catering staff are doing a fantastic job getting the hot meals ready every day, serenaded by water dripping into a number of buckets. We are 18 months on now from the roof being replaced and are starting to think it’ll never get fixed….

All the classes have been working on our new approach for teaching maths – the mastery approach. We’ve designed our own in house system which we let you know about earlier in the term. We’ve taken advice from our local ‘maths hub’ and the teachers and the children are feeling very positive about this new way of teaching – and learning.  We’ve also made some changes to our homework systems after some useful feedback from parent forum – all classes are now alternating weekly maths and English homework and ‘The Grammar Hammer’ has been causing a lot of debate on facebook! Some of those objectives are tough! Key Stage 1 homework is now being set earlier in response to parent forum feedback which gives families longer to complete the work, especially if you have a busy weekend. I hope these changes are helpful.

Teachers have recently been getting their tracksuits on for some PE training. We have invested in a new scheme to teach PE across the school – ‘Real PE’. The focus of the new scheme is to teach children the skills needed for all aspects of physical education, but also aims to teach children to focus on improving their performance every time. Mr Housden and Mr Joynson are as busy as ever with extra curricular sports … Sports hall Athletics this week.

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks meeting with other local Headteachers from our Trust – the Aireborough Learning Partnership – we’re looking at a number of aspects but one of the most interesting is how educational research can make a difference in school. We’re setting up a very high brow reading group to look at research papers!  I’ve also met with the other Headteachers from our Teaching School Alliance – Noctua. We’re all involved with supporting other schools, and Tranmere Park is currently supporting High Crags Primary in Shipley.

We are experiencing a turbulent time on our Governing Body at the moment. Usually membership is fairly static with a mix of more experienced Governors and newer Governors. We have worked hard on ‘succession planning’ with some of our long standing Governors staying on this year to allow newer Governors a chance to ‘bed in’.

However, some of our Governors have recently had to step down due to increased work commitments. Kirsty Spark, parent Governor, stepped down at the beginning of this half term – there is a parent Governor selection process currently underway. Anna Hull, our Chair of Governors, has also recently let me know that she will need to step down. Anna has been a Governor at Tranmere for 8 years and has made a great contribution to the smooth running of the school – we are sad to see her go. Anna is a Trust Governor – a Governor drawn from the local community, although she began as a parent Governor.

Community Governors are more difficult to get on board; we’re not looking for another parent Governor ( sorry parents!) as we have a high level of parent representation on our Governing Body but if anyone knows of a member of the local community they think would be interested, please talk to me on the playground about it – I’m keen to get our GB back up to full strength.