• “Beechwood Primary School is Always Doing Something Good”

Headteacher’s Blog – 15 March 2017

Following on from the last blog, I said I would talk about funding in schools in layman’s terms and not try to bluff parents with educational jargon.  Right now the topic of underfunding is all over the news and more so on social media as heads and parents join the throng to protest to their MP about budget cuts.

Schools are public sector service industries and although we are small businesses we are largely reliant upon taxes. We are a non -profit making organisation and until the Government funds schools properly and in a fair way we are going to see:

  • a shortage of teachers,
  • schools unable to sustain present work force resulting in redundancies,
  • schools with growing budget deficits making recruitment hard,
  • schools short of leaders to mentor new recruits to the profession

To put it bluntly until this country improves the image/ profile of our teachers then we can’t recruit enough quality. Teachers in India, South Korea, Japan , Singapore and Thailand all enjoy huge respect  from their parents and the public. Their teachers are much more valued in their culture. We need to make the job more attractive along with other Key workers such as Doctors, Nurses, Policemen and women, to our own young British talent. Recruiting from abroad is not a long term strategy nor is it fair to rob other countries. This country needs to have teachers to produce Doctors, Engineers, and Computer analysts and we need to grow our own.

Next week I’ll be talking about “the road crossings” which Wokingham are planning to cut. I have written to the press and  Wokingham and expressed my dismay.

Bye for now Gordon Davies

Headteacher’s Blog – 8 March2017

Hello everyone,

So we’ve entered spring or have we? The crocuses and snow drops are disappearing, watch out for that cold wind, a return to winter I predict! The winter has been unusually dry although it never  feels less than damp in this country.  It is important to make our young people more prepared for changes in our weather pattern so that they are not caught out; be it walking to school or having the right outer wear for playing games or learning outside.

School security and safety is something which I occasionally bring up. I just want to re-iterrate the need to recognise the workings of a school in that no adults should be entering the building whilst main school operates (i.e. 8.35am – 3.25pm) This is to protect all staff and children from intrusion. We can’t keep all of our doors locked or manned at 3.15pm which is our most vulnerable time with so many adults on the playground.

Please can I ask parents or friends of family collecting your children not to enter the building before the end of school day. All doors must not be obstructed so teaching assistants  can release the children from within the classroom easily and safely.

Please may I ask all parents to park in Headley Road car park or Arundel Road, where you can park and walk to the school gates. Thank you to all the parents who do help to make every child safe.

Next week I’ll be adding to the chorus of headteachers sharing their concerns about the chronic lack of funding in the state sector. I’ll will also be talking about the removal of the lolly pop lady from the Headley Road crossing – another example of council budget cuts.

Talk to you next week,

Gordon Davies

Headteacher’s Blog – 20 February 2017

Hi again,

Well the news is full of gloom and doom – what’s new I hear you saying. The media are picking up the ills and pressures that both health and education are enduring because of government cuts. We like many schools are suffering from teacher shortages and a crippling budget. It’s easy to lie down and accept your fate but on the other hand it’s the time to be innovative, resourceful and creative. Surely something needs to be done to help schools keep teachers in the profession and look to raise the profile of the teacher in our country. The first thing I would change is the image of our profession in the eyes of the public, we need to respect the role of  the teacher in our society. In countries like South Korea, Singapore and Thailand they are respected as pillars in society. I would love to see the job being made more attractive to our young children so that they can aspire to be teachers or even a policeman/woman, doctor or nurse etc.

When faced with dwindling resources and a constant response from the local authority and the government saying; “We haven’t got any money to fund projects” then we have to pull on each other and bring the community together. We need to find other ways to fund what you need. Why not come along to one of our promotion meetings listed in the 6th February edition, you would be most welcome.

Please note it’s a Self help day this Saturday 25th February from 9.30am- 2.30pm. We have lots to do and the good news is that we have won another £250 in a competition for the third time called “Kitchen Garden” run by Caterlink our schools meals contractor. We have previously won amounts of £500 and £300 and for our efforts we have constructed 11 planters, purchase 3 water butts and guttering. We are now going to purchase a new large garden shed with tools. Do come along and help your children’s school by putting in a small shift even, I will be very pleased to see you.

Three little news items:

  • Our Boccia team of Gracie Casey, Mark Smith and Xander Wallis have become District Champions
  • The School Council gave excellent feed back to the Governors recently (Tuesday 7th February 2017)
  • Mr Lovegrove gave another reminder to all pupils about being staying safe on line on Tuesday 7th February (Safer Internet Day 2017), by giving two excellent assemblies (for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2)

Write again soon,

Gordon Davies

Headteacher’s Blog – 6 February 2017

Hello everyone,

Following on from my appeal for parents to come forward and use their advertising, promotional and entrepreneurial skills to help our school in difficult times here are three dates for parents to come forward and help us launch the “Business hub” which I referred to in in my edition of 30.01.17. Please have a read on our website to see what I was talking about.

The dates for the Promotions team are as follows:

Thursday March 2nd 7.15pm

Thursday March 30th 7.15pm

 Thursday April  27th 7.15pm

Finally why not get your children to try out some of our new clubs such as Decopagh (Mrs Stock) and ICT (Mrs Bolton) which are proving very popular. Our Dance (Miss Ford) and Gymnastics (Mr Gunbie) groups are on the road competing in Wimbledon and Pinewood over the next few weeks. There’s just a rumour that the school might be offering fencing in the near future?

Write again soon,

Gordon Davies

Headteacher’s Blog – 30 January 2017

A business plan for Beechwood School, ‘Always doing something good’

As a result of my commercial experience many years ago, I would love to create a business hub of small businesses which exist within our school community (i.e. parents). The idea is to advertise your businesses through the school community, on an annual basis, for the possibility of connecting with potential customers. Each business that joins up would become a business partner of the school and for every transaction that is made, for goods or services, a small commission would be payed to the school. I am sure that parents would be happy to pay for a local mechanic, painter and decorator, hair dresser to name but a few.

To make this happen I need volunteers to start up the data bank of local businesses whom we could begin to advertise. Please let me know if you could help the school in this way. The school needs to find alternative money streams to supplement all that it does and with the government cutting the funding to schools life is becoming very difficult. If I’m honest I have always wanted to break the mould and start a scheme such as this.

My next thought is to open up the school for parents and other bodies to attend evening and weekend classes/courses. Here are some suggestions which could make better use of our facilities:

  • IT based courses in our suite
  • Return to the world of work or retrain
  • How to manage money (Sponsored by Barclays Bank)
  • First Aid training courses
  • Cycling for the family
  • Archery
  • Talks and presentations by local people
  • Walking expeditions from Beechwood
  • Cricket on our field in the summer
  • How to improve Maths for everyday use in the work place.

Finally, another idea is to run a franchise at school which would bring in some regular income and serve the needs of staff and parents and visitors alike. If you’re enthusiastic about some of these entrepreneurial ideas or you have something else to bring to the table why not come along to our next Promotions Meeting at school on Thursday 9th February at 7.15pm or email me with your ideas head@beechwood.wokingham,sch.uk

Have a good week where ever you are.

Gordon Davies

PS. Don’t forget Self Help Day this Saturday 4th February 9.30am- 2.30pm and the start of the Six Nations Rugby Championship this weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog – 27 January 2017

Enterprise and hard work go hand in hand

Last Saturday, I was thrilled with the response from parents who came to help on Self-help day, “Every little helps” to coin a phrase from Tesco. With your help, we managed to paint half the length of the school corridor as well as the outside cladding, maintenance work on the building never stops! We all know that the public services are stretched and that is why I like to be self-sufficient. That sense of pride needs to be engendered by everyone whether it’s your home, garden, car, workplace and of course school. It’s about keeping up standards. My thanks go out to the many parents, over the years, who have added so much to our building and grounds.

Many thanks to Peter Narancic, Alison Chapman, Stella Chatzianagnostau, Callum and Cathy Fraser, Chris and Shirley Stride and Sonia Jain for braving the weather last weekend.

Back to news about the school expansion. Building is likely to start after Easter and will continue through the winter of 2017/18. The small playground and one netball court will be out of action through this period. To stave off damage to the playing fields and keep the school in full operation the new Foundation department will be the first addition with the two new Year 2 classes following on quickly behind.

Next week, I will share with you, my plans for raising income through the setting up of a business hub amongst parents, who may like to increase their businesses throughout our school community. If people buy and sell their services, then there is a possibility that the key promoter/advertising agent i.e. Beechwood could benefit and that means your children could benefit. Parents like Anish Pandey, Darren Mortimore and Neil Whitehead already help the school. If any parent is willing to help me set up this business hub and could help with inputting data either at school or from home please do get in touch with me.

Gordon Davies

Headteacher’s Blog – 18 January 2017

Hi everyone,

The term has got off to the usual hectic start as always and the clubs began this week. There is an excellent choice of 30 clubs this term for your children to access and I must thank my staff for offering their time to lead them and share their knowledge and talents with your children. Please do encourage your children to take part in these clubs.

It’s getting harder and harder to keep staff motivated in these difficult times. With the public services being stretched to breaking point, and what we are hearing about the prisons and hospitals currently is the same for schools where standards and pressures are making some of our best young talent turn away from the profession. Recruitment is hard and I would love the opportunity to speak to someone in government about this increasing problem, it has never been so bad in all my 40 years of service as a teacher and Head teacher (20 years).

At Beechwood, we can look forward to better times in the future as we build numbers and the challenge to appoint good quality teachers and support staff goes on. There is so much turbulence in the school system caused by shortages and pressure coming from government yet we must soldier on and make sure the children do not lose out.

Consistency of delivery is uppermost in our thoughts and with that behaviour and the reputation of the school in the wider community. As long as I remain in charge I will continue to put your children first and lobby for improved service and conditions despite the economic struggles our country funds itself in. Will write again soon.

Please note that had the snow come last week I would have kept the school open so that the children could have enjoyed building snowmen and throwing snowballs and that’s my answer to the adults calling for a “Snow day” alas the snow never materialised.

Gordon Davies

Head of Beechwood

Headteacher’s Blog – 11 January 2017

Expansion and the growth of Beechwood

We are eagerly waiting for the first signs of construction and that sadly will be the taking away of three medium sized trees near the playground/walkways. New parents have been visiting us whilst choosing the right school for their children before the deadline of January 13th and many have commented upon the excellent facilities we have at our disposal and it is indeed fortunate that we will not be loosing any of our field, playgrounds or amenities! The school is to be enhanced further with a new library, staffroom, changing rooms as well as four new classrooms.

As a school we have drawn up short, medium and long term maintenance and new build projects which we self-manage on our ‘Self Help’ Saturdays, do look in our front entrance for reference. The building work is due to commence after Easter, even though we have no official dates as yet.

Just a reminder about children being Safe on Line

As a school we strongly believe in the safeguarding of children online (please talk to your children about the dangers of posting online). We have recently been made aware of some ill advised comments being sent between past and present pupils and we would like to remind parents to be vigilant about what their children are doing online. It should be noted that children under the age of 13 should not be using social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Mr Lovegrove who is a trained CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command) consultant is regularly teaching the children about staying safe online.

Have a good week….

Gordon Davies

Headteacher

Headteacher’s Blog – 30 September 2016

Volunteer to help your school

self-helpI am always looking for help when you run a school as big as ours. With a potential of nearly 1,000 stakeholders when you include pupils, staff, parents, governors and friends surely it’s not difficult to get help.

“It’s always the same few!” I hear you say- that’s the cry from the resilient ones who turn up on Self Help days.

A big thank you to Callum Fraser (father of Kaden) and Mike Comber (father of Harry). Mike kindly worked hard for two hours cleaning the windows for Class 1/2K and FS2N and Callum helped me for four hours excavating the area behind the PE store for more storage in our plans to protect equipment from the weather. Here is a picture of the huge volcano of soil we made with our barrows and spades.

Well here’s your chance to help across the school throughout the year. We need help in a number of areas:

  • PTA contact Mrs Hamer
  • Reading in School, Guided Reading – Contact Mrs Patel
  • Promotions Team – Contact Mr Davies
  • Self Help Days (Here are the next Self Help Saturdays 8th October, Saturday 12th November, Saturday 26th November, Saturday 10th December & Saturday from 9.30am – 2.30pm)
  • Business partner- Contact Mrs Blinco/ Mrs Cowan ( new Bursar from 31st October)

Under the heading of Business Partner I am looking for someone to build a hub of parents’ businesses both self employed and employees of companies who can offer the school skills, materials,  expertise in sourcing or procuring contacts, engaging sponsorship and even applying for grants.

As with all schools we are suffering from austerity and the government have a huge debt to clear so we all have to look after ourselves and it really is survival of the fittest. We have to find ways of saving money so as to continue developing our school. I believe that you should continue to develop and expand in a down turn to steal a march on your neighbours or competitors. Better still if you can link with another school and host teacher training you can save on costs – there are ways to save money.

If any parents would like to help the school in any of the above ways please feel free to contact me.

Gordon Davies

 

Headteacher’s Blog – Monday 26 October 2016

We’re now fully underway after three weeks of familiarisation at school and clubs started last week extending everyone’s day at school.  We have such a large choice of clubs that include 17 creative opportunities and 15 sporting activities. Our children are very lucky at as we have built up such a diverse range of activities to do. We keep replenishing the equipment and new staff offer new opportunities such as ultimate Frisbee, Mr Gunbie and first aid for everyone by Miss Norman.

The year 4’s today set off on the first of 3 residential trips, ran by the school, to Condover Hall in Shrewsbury (Year 5 will visit Pendine, Wales and the year 6’s will cross the channel to France in the summer).

The School’s KS2 results have come out better than expected and are above the government floor targets in terms of a value added measure. We still need to improve in Maths and put more emphasis on Reading Comprehension which are our targets for this year as a school.

As reported in the first bulletin the school has been given the green light for building improvements/extensions and I am looking forward to have four new classrooms, a new staffroom, library, resources area and meeting rooms as well as girls’ and boys’ changing rooms. It’s quite a project and the works starts in the new year.

Finally, if you would like to help out your school the please make an effort to turn up for our regular Self Help Days, the next one is on Saturday 8th October. Refreshments available for all the family.