Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Trust CEO’s “lack of representation” gibe triggers schools minister visit

Posted on Tuesday 16th April 2019 at 10:57 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of schools minister Nick Gibb MP (centre) on a visit to Patchway Community School.

Schools minister Nick Gibb MP has paid a flying visit to several South Gloucestershire schools, including Patchway Community School, following criticism from a local academy trust leader that the district’s MPs aren’t doing enough to push for an increase in the level of school funding.

The visit came just three weeks after Dave Baker, CEO of the Olympus Academy Trust (OAT), appeared to be critical of Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti for not attending a debate held in parliament to discuss a public petition titled ‘Increase funding for schools’, which had attracted over 100,000 signatures.

Mr Baker tweeted: “We are in the lowest-funded local authority area in the country and our MP was apparently not present for the debate about school funding. Looking forward to meeting with Jack Lopresti on Friday to talk this through.”

Following his subsequent meeting with Mr Lopresti, Mr Baker wrote in an article published on the OAT website that he had shared his “concerns about our lack of representation in regard to inadequate school funding in our area”.

Mr Baker went on to report that Mr Lopresti had “committed to requesting a meeting with Nick Gibb (minister of state for schools) in the coming weeks to share the serious concerns of school and trust leaders in South Gloucestershire.”

He also reported that Mr Lopresti had pledged to liaise with other local MPs, including Luke Hall and Chris Skidmore, “so that they can show a united front in highlighting concerns from across the education sector in South Gloucestershire”.

Noting that the Castle School Education Trust had recently been awarded £14 million in additional capital funding, Mr Baker added that he was looking forward to “an update in regard to the financial support also urgently required for schools within the Olympus Academy Trust, and specifically at Patchway Community School”.

More: Minister invited to "discuss the challenges of funding…" »

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School kicks off 20th anniversary celebrations

Posted on Thursday 11th April 2019 at 9:44 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of current headteacher Phil Winterburn and former heads Lois Haydon and Chris Dursley cutting an anniversary cake.

On Saturday 16th March, Bradley Stoke’s Wheatfield Primary School opened its doors to ex-pupils, families and members of staff for an open day to celebrate the school’s 20th anniversary.

Over 200 people attended the event and took the opportunity to explore the school and catch up with old friends and colleagues.

The hall was decorated with pictures from throughout the school’s history and videos of key events were played in classrooms.

The day was organised by Hazel Boyes, a teaching assistant who has been in post for 19 years.

It forms part of a series of events throughout the school year to mark the 20th anniversary.

The culmination of these events will be ‘Wheatfest’ on Saturday 13th July, which will be a day of activities, rides and performances to celebrate this important time for the school.

Photo of guests mingling in the hall.

More photos from the event »

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Primary pupils share research on local area

Posted on Monday 1st April 2019 at 9:20 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of centre manager Andy Wynn (left) with pupils and staff from BSCS Primary Phase.

Children from ‘Maples’ class (Year 3) at Bradley Stoke Community School have staged an exhibition at the town’s Willow Brook shopping centre to proudly show off all they have learnt about the local area through working on a ‘settlements’ theme.

The exhibition, in the main shopping mall, ran over a number of days in the second week of February, with the children being present to engage with shoppers during two periods of an hour each on 12th February.

The project, running over two school terms, saw the children explore the history and geography of the local area by going on a three-and-a-half mile walk, taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Willow Brook Centre and meeting the town’s mayor, Cllr Ben Randles.

The exhibition included photographs, artwork (inspired by looking at aerial photographs of the area) and written work produced by the children throughout the project.

BSCS primary phase head Sharon Clark said the children were shocked to learn that Bradley Stoke didn’t feature in a recently published list of the ‘top 50 places to live in England’ and chose to write about why it should be included, hence the title of the exhibition – ‘Brilliant Bradley Stoke’!

Visitors to the exhibition were asked to complete surveys about their own views about the town.

More photo from the exhibition »

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Disappointment at Stoke Lodge Ofsted verdict

Posted on Monday 11th March 2019 at 9:28 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the entrance to Stoke Lodge Primary School, in School Close.

Senior staff at the Olympus Academy Trust have expressed disappointment at the latest Ofsted report for Stoke Lodge Primary School, which has been given an overall grading of ‘requires improvement’ for the second time in just over two years.

Inspectors who visited the school in early January once again judged its Early Years provision to be ‘good’ but rated the other four standard areas of assessment to be in need of improvement.

At the time of the last assessment in September 2016, the school had just joined the Olympus Academy Trust and the headteacher at the time told parents he was confident that access to additional expertise and resources through the trust would allow the school to “fast-track areas identified for improvement”.

However, in his key findings, the inspector reports that leaders at the school “have not tackled issues identified for improvement at the previous inspection quickly enough”. As a result, pupils’ progress at the end of Year 6 has remained in the lowest 20 percent of schools nationally for English and mathematics.

The reports goes on to say that “middle leaders do not yet have the skills to improve teachers’ practice” and that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in Key Stage 2 is “inconsistent”.

It adds: “Weak teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling has led to gaps in pupils’ knowledge. This weakens progress in pupils’ written work.”

Communication with parents and carers is said to be in need of improvement and it is noted that a “large majority” of parents who responded to an online survey said they wouldn’t recommend the school to another parent.

Strengths identified by the inspector, in addition to the good Early Years provision, are the quality of teaching in Key Stage 1, which is leading to stronger outcomes for pupils, and the provision of a “broad and balanced” curriculum.

Pupils make particularly good progress in geography, history, art and religious education and the inspector noted evidence of improvements this year in both writing and mathematics.

More: Governing body replaced with ‘standards board’ »

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