Dear School Councillors,
Thank you for your letter dated the week beginning Monday 30th June 2015. As you know, as part of our School Improvement Plan work, we ask children what they think about the school and then ask for ideas on how we can all work together to make it an even better place. Ms Knutsson has been working with you, the school council, to gather feedback on the recent surveys
In the results to the survey, we were worried that only 87% of children felt that the school “responds well to any concerns I raise”. This is a low number of children who feel that their voices are heard and we wanted to know what you felt we could do to improve this.
In your letter, councillors have come up with ideas that we are going to trial in the Autumn Term.
- Each classroom will have a “Worry Box” so that children can raise concerns about anything which affects them or the wider school.
- Each Key Stage will have a “Suggestions Box” in the corridor which children can use if they have any ideas to improve things or to raise concerns about whole school issues.
I will ask our School Councillors to implement this during our Establishing Weeks curriculum time when we come back to school in September. I would also like to say a very big thank you and well done to our School Council and to Ms Knutsson for supporting children with their work this year.
Friday 24th April 2015
Dear Year 6 children and staff,
I would like to thank you for your correspondence regarding the issue of playtime and Year 6. When I received the letter from staff on Monday of this week, at first I was sure that the solution would be clear. Ms John, Ms Elliott and Mr Cuthbertson raised very compelling points about the need to maximise learning time for our children. It’s also true that the learning in a game of football or a chase around the fort is not immediately evident to an observer. I also agree that staff at TBP are dedicated, hard-working and have high aspirations for children.
However, on reading the impassioned responses from children, I feel I have to reconsider my original decision. I admit that I was going to agree with staff that playtime would be cancelled from Monday 27th April 2015 for Year 6 children (and perhaps also Year 5 classes). Such was the clarity of thought and persuasive argument from children that I have changed my mind. The main reason for this “volte face” relates to our commitment to the articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of a Child. As stated by many, Article 31 makes clear the right of children to play. Whilst Article 29 highlights children’s right to education, I feel we have to respect children’s right to play and also consider the advantages of being in our wonderful playground.
Not all children, however, held the same views. Some children argue strongly to support the view that playtime should cease. They believe that every minute in school is valuable and that 15 minutes of extra learning time would make a significant difference. I admire their determination to do their very best and agree that every moment in school should be a positive learning experience. On the other hand I was reminded of these lines by a favourite author of mine,Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women;
“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”
Therefore I have decided that playtime for Year 6 children will continue as timetabled for the remainder of this school year. The benefits of exercise, fresh air and fun are proven to have a positive impact on learning. Such is the boost to learning that I am authorising Year 6 staff to award extra playtime as they see fit. Thank you all for your hard work in persuading me that this is the right course of action.
Ps You might have a look at this link to photographs of playgrounds around the world: