Another school year starts, and this one has begun with a bang. Followers of Beechview will know several important things have occurred over the past few months. First: in June we had our latest Ofsted Inspection. After nearly a decade of being in Special Measures Beechview has taken the all important first official step by getting a Requires Improvement judgement . While this means we have taken some important strides forward, we are definitely not complacent, or satisfied with this! We knew we had lots more to do, and in fact all of the things that Ofsted told us were things we were already working on. This year we have started with a new, broader and more challenging curriculum, with more pace and challenge opportunities, and targeted support in key areas. We have an excellent Artist in Residence, who works alongside all of our classroom teachers to support their delivery of this important creative area. We have a new Performing Arts teacher, who is delivering our expanding Arts syllabus. We have a specialist Science teacher, from our partner school Sir William Borlase's, who is working alongside our year 5 and 6 teachers while our own Science lead, Corrina Crocker, is supporting Years 3 and 4. Both are helping to deliver our newly expanded Science curriculum, with a major focus on practical experiments and investigations. We were absolutely delighted recently to receive confirmation of our improved Science curriculum and teaching, in the form of PSQM - Primary Science Quality Mark. Our new Deputy Head, Mrs Reeves, takes over leadership of Maths, and will be ensuring that the Mastery Maths curriculum, introduced last January, begins to have full impact on our children's learning. Finally, we have launched our two new projects, one focused on ensuring that all or learners, including those with the greatest levels of learning difficulties, make rapid progress, and the other to ensure that the huge improvements we made last year with children's writing continue to accelerate. So, in our core activity of children's learning, we are rapidly moving forward from our Ofsted judgement!
There were two other major changes this summer, one very visible to any visitor, and the other almost totally invisible, but equally important. Over the summer almost every bit of the school's roofing was replaced. Out with old, uninsulated, asbestos sheeting on the roof and in with brand new, highly insulated steel roofing. It will make such a difference to the warmth and comfort of the school, and, we hope, help to keep our heating bills down. The less visible change was the complete replacement of our entire fresh water supply, which goes into every classroom in the school. Our old water supply was rusty brown in colour, and it is a such a pleasure to go into a classroom, or down into the Breakfast Club kitchen and see pure clean water coming out of the taps. This work cost nearly £1.4 million in total, and represents a major vote of confidence in the future of the school by the DfE as well as a big triumph on the part of our Multi Academy Trust sponsors, the Marlow Education Trust, who secured the funding on our behalf. It is also a joy to confirm that all ofthe work has been completed, with builders off site by the end of the first week of term, and on budget. We still have a small amount of money left from both projects, which we are hoping will allow us to do some other much needed improvements to the school - more about these in my next Blog.
Finally, the children have also been enjoying our newly revised lunch and after school programmes After school activities ahve expanded, and now include Football (junior and senior teams),Netball (juniors and seniors), Drama (juniors and seniors), Cricket, the Zone and Fencing. We are hoping over time to continue to expand this selection. Now, at lunchtimes we also offer a similar programme of activities, with at least four different clubs every day, covering a very wide range of choices - we hope something for everyone - including Football, quiet reading in the library, cooking, "culture club", creative writing (for juniors and seniors), knitting, science club, maths club and art club. It is a very busy lunch time for many children, while others continue to simply enjoy playing outdoors.
This is the time of year when many parents are looking round at their school choices for next year. We all look forward to welcoming visitors either at our various open days, or simply by calling the school office number and making an appointment to come and see our school. I look forward to meeting you.
The start of a new calendar year and the annual excitement about possible snow days. We will always try to keep our school open, but with local roads all on steep slopes and a school site that has lots of potentially dangerous external stairs, this will not always be possible. Watch our website, and the Bucks County Council School Closure website for official notices of any closures or changes to the school day.
Our Beechview Hub work continues to develop. We had a very exciting meeting with two of our partners, Marsh and Micklefield and Empower to Cook recently and enjoyed sitting in our newly refurbished kitchen. Fit and Fed have already been using it, as has our own Breakfast Club, and we agreed two weeks ago with another new partner, the Country Trust, to launch a new project with our Year 4 children and their families, this term. The Trust will be helping to run sessions in the kitchen, and in our raised beds and poly tunnel, to ensure that Year 4 get a real understanding of growing and eating food, and learn more about the countryside and healthy eating.
We were delighted to hear that no fewer than SEVEN of our children were national winners in a recent writing competition. The "what would you bring" competition sponsored by Strangely Magical Competitions, challenged the writer to imagine what they would take along with them if they suddenly had to go and live in a strange new country. Well done to all our children but special congratulations go to Nikki 5W, who was a grand prize winner for her story 'Lucy and the Necklace'. You can read all of the prize winners on their website: www.strangely magical.com/competitions.
Some recent comments from visitors to the Academy:
I have noticed a huge improvement in the school and it is a much happier place. - PARENT
I am really pleased with the help and support the school has given our family. - PARENT
What a great welcome to the school, I can see how much it has improved since I came here last. - BUCKS SOCIAL WORKER
Your school is like a Genie's lamp, not so good from the outside but magical on the inside! - PARENT
The school has got a totally different feel to it, much more positive and you can feel it throughout the school. - 6 to 7 Transfer Support
The school is moving in the right direction and we can see that the welfare and well-being of the children is being fully supported here. - School Nurse
The school is much more approachable than it used to be. - PARENT
I'm hearing very positive messages now from neighbours with children at the school - and good reports of the new Headteacher! - Local resident and ex Headteacher (Different LA)
My child is in Year 6, could they go back to year 3 and start again? - PARENT
Thank you, you have already implemented so much support for this family - Family Resiliance.
I was very impressed with the support already in place and the ideas you have to develop this further to support mental health among pupils.
Your wealth of knowledge, clear understanding of mental health needs and passion will go a long way to supporting the children in your School to learn and grow in a safe environment.
I feel the work you are doing is a great model that could be shared with other school as best practice. - CAHMS
The garden project is well under way,it would be great if there were any parents who were able to give up a little time to help us with this project. We have very limited tools to do this, so if you are able to donate any tools, we would really appreciate it!
Fantastic news, our outside classroom was installed last year and since then we have been making the most of the good weather and using it to it's full potential!