Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

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Aardman Live at Bowsland Green Primary

Posted on Sunday 19th March 2017 at 9:18 pm by SH (Editor)

Game designers from Aardman with Year 4 & 5 pupils at Bowsland Green Primary School.

Pupils at Bowsland Green Primary School in Bradley Stoke were the first in the world to trial a new computer game last term, which has been developed by the National Crime Agency and Aardman. The game’s designers, producer and a member of the Aardman agency wanted the views of young people to ensure their game was engaging and appropriately challenging.

Pupils in Years 4 and 5 were chosen by their teachers for consistently showing their ‘Bowsland Best’ in their learning during the preceding week. Staff at the school say their visitors were blown away by the pupils’ knowledge of online safety, their attention and focus, maturity, and appreciation of the work that has gone into producing the game.

The pupils’ feedback will inform changes to the game, which the school hopes to use across Key Stage 2 once it is completed.

Miss Harris, Bowsland’s Key Stage 2 leader, said:

“This was a fantastic afternoon for our pupils, who were incredibly inspired by the experience. Engaging with real-life experiences is a fundamental part of our wider curriculum and we are always looking for opportunities to learn alongside members of our wider community.”

Game designers from Aardman with Year 4 & 5 pupils at Bowsland Green Primary School.

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 21). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Trust warns of looming funding crisis at BSCS

Posted on Friday 17th March 2017 at 11:49 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke Community School.

Parents of students attending Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) have been warned of a looming financial crisis that could lead to the school day being shortened and/or class sizes being increased in order to save on staff costs.

Other “unthinkable” cost-saving suggestions being put up for discussion include reducing support roles, such as teaching assistants, and asking parents/carers to make regular financial contributions to the school.

The funding issues, which affect all seven schools operated by the Olympus Academy Trust, are said to result from historically low levels of government funding for schools within South Gloucestershire, in comparison with other areas of the country. This has left the trust with less money in reserves to fall back on in hard times. On top of this, it is claimed that government funding has not been increased to compensate for inflation and increased costs that have fallen on schools in recent years.

Trust CEO Dave Baker said:

“We have had to make cuts year-on-year for several years now because of the government’s ‘austerity’ policy, which has meant ‘flat’ budgets for education – in reality this has meant reduced funds to run our schools each year because we have had to pay for things along the way which previously we did not have to pay for, such as increased employer pension and national insurance contributions for staff, the apprenticeship levy (a new tax from April this year), unfunded cost of living pay awards for staff, inflationary costs, provision of services that were funded externally before, e.g. careers advice and guidance, behaviour and mental health support for students etc.”

Mr Baker predicts that the trust’s expected funding levels for the next academic year (2017/18) will make it their “most challenging year yet”. The trust’s two secondary schools, BSCS and Abbeywood, are likely to be hit hardest, with both having to “reduce spending by over 8 percent by September”, equating to £400,000 less in each school.

More: Parents encouraged to write to local MP Jack Lopresti »

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Local school seeks to build relationships with local employers

Posted on Friday 10th March 2017 at 11:16 am by SH (Editor)

Business Networking Breakfast at Bradley Stoke Community School.

Staff and students at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) are launching an initiative to build more dynamic, strong and fruitful relationships with business in the local area and beyond.

BSCS headteacher Steve Moir explains:

“We believe that education and business should be working together to ensure our students access the knowledge and skills they need to learn for the future.”

The school is launching the programme by inviting local employers to join them at a Business Breakfast, where they hope to talk informally about how to build robust and meaningful relationships that are a win-win for those involved.

Staff intend to plan dynamic projects that will be focussed on supporting students to develop the key employability skills that both they and businesses need.

The event takes place on Friday 31st March at Bradley Stoke Community School, between 7.45am and 9am.

To register interest, email celia.arberry AT bradleystokecs.org.uk

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Emotional send-off for Wheatfield headteacher

Posted on Tuesday 3rd January 2017 at 10:05 pm by SH (Editor)

Christine Dursley (centre) headteacher of Wheatfield Primary School, on her retirement after 18 years in the post. She is pictured with pupils who played leading roles in a special farewell assembly held on Thursday 15th December 2016.

Bradley Stoke’s longest-serving headteacher has retired after being in charge of Wheatfield Primary School for 18 years.

Christine Dursley, who has led the school since it first opened in 1998, was given emotional send-offs by governors, parents, staff and pupils at a series of functions held during the final week of the autumn term.

Miss Dursley had announced her intention to resign from her post in a letter sent to parents in early October, at a time when she was absent from school due to ill health. She was subsequently able to return to work on a phased and part-time basis from the beginning of November.

In her letter to parents, she wrote: “It has been a huge privilege and honour to be head of Wheatfield for over 18 years and to watch the school grow from its small beginnings and develop into the happy, diverse, thriving and successful learning community it is today.”

“During that time, I have worked with amazingly talented staff and governors, who have tirelessly endeavoured to make a difference for the many children, including yours, who have walked through our doors.”

“I cannot adequately describe how much I will miss being a part of the very large family, which is Wheatfield! I will especially miss our wonderful children, who each and every day, have never failed to make me proud, ‘warm’ my heart and bring many a smile to my face, but feel that now is the right time to leave!”

Speaking at a retirement party held on Monday 12th December, Sue Davey, chair of governors, said she had calculated that a total of 1,360 children had passed through the school since it opened in 1998.

Turning to Miss Dursley, she added: “That’s 1,360 children, just from Wheatfield, who are better for having had you in their lives. That’s 1,360 children who you have known as individuals and who will have happy memories of Wheatfield and you that will last a lifetime. That’s 1,360 children who have been able to flourish and grow in a safe and fun-loving environment whilst achieving their very best.”

More: Photos from the special assembly held on 15th December »

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Bowsland Green praised by Ofsted inspectors

Posted on Thursday 15th December 2016 at 10:05 pm by SH (Editor)

Teachers and pupils at Bowsland Green Primary School, Bradley Stoke, recently rated 'good' by Ofsted.

Staff and pupils at a Bradley Stoke school which was deemed in need of improvement two years ago are celebrating a remarkable turnaround after Ofsted rated it ‘good’ with outstanding qualities.

Inspectors who visited Bowsland Green Primary School in early October concluded that it has been “transformed” by the inspirational leadership of the new headteacher, Faye Kitchen, who was seconded to the school in November 2014 and took on the role on a permanent basis in March 2015.

The headteacher’s style of leadership is described as being “very strong and clear”. It is exemplified by aspirational statements in common use at the school such as ‘Bowsland Brilliance’, ‘Team Bowsland’ or ‘no lids on kids’.

The glowing report also praises the behaviour of pupils at the school, which along with their personal development is rated ‘outstanding’.

Inspectors noted that pupils “feel very safe at the school and like the staff very much,” while “the school’s clear approach to shared values creates a highly supportive and nurturing atmosphere”.
Disadvantaged pupils receive a good level of support and they make rapid progress in all areas of their development, add the inspectors.

Both parents and staff speak very positively about how much the school has improved in the last two years.

Inspectors say that the progress of all groups of pupils is now “at least good” in all year groups, although the oldest pupils have not yet caught up to achieve the expected standards in some subjects, due to the effects of the legacy of weaker teaching.

On the teaching front, middle managers were found to “lead their areas of work very well” and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment was found to have improved since the last inspection.

The governing body is said to fulfil its responsibilities well, providing a good level of support and challenge to senior leaders and managing finances well.

More: Comments from headteacher and chair of governors »

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