Our recent success
Below you will see some of the changes we have made in the recent past, but we are very pleased to say that there has been lots happening even since we came back to full school this September!
Over the summer we created a special new area for our Year 3 children. As a Junior School we recognised that some children found the move up from Infant School a challenge, and we wanted to make a special, welcoming space for them to ease the transition. We also commissioned our friendly artist to make a mural in the entrance foyer, showing lots of ideas for their future studies, and also reminding the of some of our community links. The children love it!
Our partnership with the Ogden Trust has resulted in a brand new Science lab. We are now planning our grand official opening during Science week after Christmas.
Our partnership with the One Can Trust has continued to support some our families who are going through a tough time. We have now launched a brand new initiative, with a chef from the One Can Trust working with groups of our parents and their children in our teaching kitchen. They spend the afternoon enjoying cooking together, and get to take home all the food at the end of the day. One Can Trust are now planning a whole series of sessions in the new year.
We have launched a brand new partnership with a number of local organisations, including especially Ercol furniture. Our local community has strong links with the furniture making industry, including the fact that their original factory was located only a few hundred metres from here, at Spring Gardens. The project, called "One Community, Many Voices, one Chair" will involve as many people from our local community, starting with our children and t families, telling a story from their Covid experiences over the past 18 months. We are delighted that we have been successful in an application for funding from the National Heritage Lottery fund! Filming has just begun and we will start to post updates after Christmas. As ever, special mention must go to our partnership through the Marlow Education Trust with Sir William Borlase's Grammar School. This term we have had no fewer than 62 Borlase Sixth Formers each spending an afternoon per week working with our children especially listening to them read on a regular basis. Along with our super volunteers from School Readers, with are very lucky to be able to offer this level of face to face support, especially for children who have had extended periods of working from home, which can be a very isolating experience
Back to school post Covid has also meant that we can get back into proper on site contact with parents, and also to relaunch our after school clubs and school trips. So, that has meant that after school sports and activities are back up and running, with everything from football, to cooking, to singing all taking place. Trips out of school are back, and our partnerships with the Oxford Story Museum and the Country Trust are both linked to trips out to Oxford and also to local farms, but it also means that visitors are back on site, including story tellers and authors, to gardening experts and even the Mayor of High Wycombe. Perhaps best of all we have been able to invite our parents back on site, with assemblies and a "stay and play" day and lots more planned for Christmas. All have already been on site in this busy autumn term with many more planned for the rest of the year. It is wonderful to be back, busier than ever.
Section 1: Safety and welfare
What have we done to make the school a safer and happier place for our children?
Over the past two years we have:
- Introduced lots of assemblies, and other events for children that are designed to increase their understanding of important issues, such as bullying, cyber safety, wellbeing and mental health, etc. Many of these events are also reflected in the Safeguarding section of our Website www.beechview.bucks.sch.uk/safeguardingwellbeing/
- We have revised our PSHE programme to ensure that our children are learning about how to keep themselves safe, and about sex and relationships education.
We have changed our Behaviour Policy and strategy with an increased link to positive behaviours and enforcing good relationships between children. Have a look at our new “Behaviour summary” here:
What have we done to try to support our families and carers?
Over the past two years, the work of the Safeguarding and Behaviour Leads, the newly appointed Attendance Officer and our whole Welfare team has had a huge increase in wider support for our families. This has included:
- Regular contact by our Attendance Officer, and others, to support parents and carers where there have been issues linked to pupil attendance, ranging from long term illness, outbreaks of Covid, incidents of pupil anxiety, and even cases where families have become “stuck” out of the country owing to Covid restrictions. Despite Covid our overall attendance continues to be over 96%.
- Working closely with One Can Trust, over the past 18 months we have directly supported nearly ⅓ of our families, through food parcels and other practical support.
- Through our various other contacts with charities, such as the Greggs foundation, we have helped families with everything from school uniforms to other school supplies and even such things as helping to get children a bed, shoes, non-school clothing and even a washing machine. One way or another nearly 40% of our children and/or their families have received some form of practical support in the past 18 months. Of course most of this, quite rightly, remains completely confidential between the school and the individual families.
We have been able to secure additional funding to reduce or even eliminate the costs to a wider group of families for trips and other events including the following:
- We were able to reduce by nearly ⅓ the charge for year 5 to go on the Longridge trips this year and last, and, where necessary, to pay the entire cost for those families whose children would otherwise miss out.
- We have been able to organise farm visits for Years 4 and 5 for free.
- Years 5 and 6 will travel entirely free to Oxford to visit the Story Museum this year, thanks to grants secured by the school.
In total the school has secured in excess of £10,000 of grants from a range of charities to reduce or eliminate the cost to parents and carers of enrichment activities for our children. In addition, we have secured grants, government funding and donations that have enabled us to purchase nearly 150 additional chromebooks for pupils to use. During lockdown, of course, nearly all of these were either out on loan to families, or used in school by those children who were in attendance on site.
Section 2: Communications
What have we done to improve communications with parents and carers?
Over the past two years we have worked hard to improve the quality as well as the frequency of our communications with parents and families. Our improvements have included:
- We brought in SchoolComms as our standard way of getting hold of all parents. Over 97% of parents receive emails in this way, and so far over 60% have signed up to the School Comms app, which allows us to send free text messages.
- Each half term we create knowledge organisers to show parents the overview of their child’s learning. We now put even more detail for each year group on our website.
- The Newsletter, which goes out to all parents every two weeks has been revised and expanded, and covers both routine news and special events. Past newsletters are kept on the website in case parents want to check on any details.
- Last year we created the Beechview Academy Facebook pages. We now have nearly 200 regular “subscribers” and have made over 100 posts since September. https://www.facebook.com/BeechviewAcademy
- We have created a Twitter page, which is in its early days, but will provide another format for regular updates.
- This year we introduced Class Dojo. Over 98% of parents are now signed up to receive it, and in a typical week over 1200 messages are sent out. This number is growing steadily as parents and teachers become more familiar with its use.
- We recently established a parental engagement group. This group will be helping us identify where things are going right, and advising us how to fix any problems when they arise. If you would like to be involved, please let us know via the school office!
Section 3 Curriculum and learning
What have we done to improve the teaching and learning for all our children:
There have been massive changes to our curriculum, with direct benefits to our overall teaching and learning, in the past 18 months. These have included:
- The introduction of Mastery Maths across the school, from January 2020. This has now been fully embedded, and we are seeing rapid improvements in our children’s core maths skills as a result.
- Under the leadership of our new Deputy Head, Mrs Parry-Woolner, we have this year completely revised our curriculum. Although we have not yet been able to invite parents on site to hear from us directly about all of these changes, we have posted all the details on our website for you to look at. We look forward in September to welcoming you in to hear more from us about how this is working for our children. The initial feedback from our children, as seen in our recent curriculum surveys, has been extremely positive. (https://www.beechview.bucks.sch.uk/curriculum/)
- This term we have introduced our latest major programme of innovation, in writing. Working closely with the Writing for Pleasure team we have undertaken a full assessment of what has been working really well, and have identified our next steps for improvement. Our goal is that by the time we are able to invite you onto site in person we will be able to start to show you some of the exciting things your children are now creating. In the meantime, we are using Class Dojo as much as possible to give you an idea of these things.
- In addition to the introduction of universal 1-1 access to chromebooks and google classrooms as a learning resource, in the past 18 months we have also introduced the following online tools and resources; Purple Mash (for Computing), Times Table Rockstars and Mathletics (for Maths fluency)
- And for those who need additional targeted support we have introduced the Learning Village (for English as an Additional Language) and Nessy (for Phonics support)
Of course learning is not only what happens in timetabled lessons, so we have been busy finding ways of widening our children’s learning, including all of the following:
- Although this has been disrupted by Covid regulations for the past year, over the past few years we have developed strong relations with both Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School and Wycombe Abbey School, particularly with Sixth Form pupils volunteers who work with our children on everything from improving reading to maths, PE, Science and even helping them to think about their future careers. Before the first lockdown we had over 30 older pupils visiting each week last year, and plan to return to this as soon as the Covid rules allow.
- We have also set up an excellent link with School Readers, a national charity who provide volunteers to work with children on their reading. We now have 6 volunteers visiting each week and several others who will be starting soon!
- Under the excellent leadership of our PE and Sports coordinator, we have widened our sports programme, including everything from our first competitive boys football team (in 2019-20) and our first girls’ football team (from 2020) as well as bringing in specialists to work with children on everything from rugby to skipping, and along the way, some one off visits by world class athletes and current Olympic runners.
- We have particularly developed our relationship with Wycombe Wanderers, who have supported us in a wide range of ways, including visits by some of their top players, and coaching sessions, and even a sponsored Christmas gift day last December.
- Our most recent partnership is with Bucks New University, who have been working with us to get our library and all its wonderful resources back up and running after being closed during lockdowns.
- We have become a hub school for the Ogden Trust to support not only our Science teaching and learning but also across a network of local schools.
- We have worked with the Country Trust to support everything from Science to learning about food and nutrition.
- We are one of only two schools to establish a three year project with the Oxford Story Museum’s Page Turners project and one of only a tiny number of schools nationally chosen to provide Blue Peter judges this year, both to support our children’s English.
- In order to strengthen our ability to evaluate how well our children are learning two years ago we joined Partners in Excellence (known as PiXL), which we now use to provide us with better assessments of how our children are doing, especially in core subjects. The PiXL network of over 3000 schools also gives us access to staff training and a wealth of resources.
- To give the school and the governors a better, external, assessment of how our leadership and our learning are progressing, last year we joined Challenge Partners. Each year through Challenge Partners we get an external assessment by a team of three professionals, led by an Ofsted trained team leader, who give us feedback on how well we are doing. We have now moved from “emerging” to “effective” on their ratings, which is broadly equivalent to Ofsted “good”. Next year we are aiming to identify areas of excellence, and will hope to be recognised as a centre of excellence in one or more of our areas of provision. Here is a short extract from their report after their assessment this February:
“The head teacher has developed a hard-working, enthusiastic senior leadership team (SLT) that is committed to improving the school. The vision and drive are shared across the school and recognised by all staff, who acknowledged higher expectations, constant drive and an improving reputation.”
“The clear curriculum rationale ‘removing the ceiling to learning’ is shaped around specific high-quality texts, an open enquiry question and a core value. Whole school topics link progression across year groups. Planning is based around the principle ‘We are geographers, scientists or artists’ to enhance the development of cultural capital and professional aspirations. Carefully chosen texts support diversity and equality within the curriculum.”
Section 4 Our site
What have we done to make the school site safer, more friendly and more welcoming for our children and families
With lots of help from the Marlow Education Trust we have been amazingly successful in improving our site, to make it a more attractive and safe place to work and learn. Over the past few years we have
- Installed new roofs to over 80% of the site. (at a cost of just over £500,000)
- Replaced all of the fire doors and upgraded all of the site’s fire safety equipment, such as the fire alarms. (at a cost of nearly £300,000)
- Completely replaced the fresh water supply throughout the site, so that all water is fresh, clean and safe to drink. (at a cost of approximately £200,000)
- Redecorated, upgraded and re-supplied the Library (photo)
- Transformed the Hall to make it a friendly and welcoming place to use throughout the day
- Redecorated all of our classrooms
- Created new outdoor areas, including a Solar Dome, over a dozen raised beds, a polytunnel, a small orchard, and an outdoor classroom.
- Installed security fencing around the entire site to ensure that everyone on site is as safe as we can possibly make them. (at a cost of nearly £200,000)
- We have transformed the separate building at the bottom of the site, to create a special “transition” space for Year 3 to help them make the move from Infants to Junior school. This work has included installation of new central heating, the creation of a "reading corner, and installation of a Beechview Community mural in the entrance.
- At the same time we created a new Science laboratory, as part of our role as a local Science hub for the Ogden Trust. The official launch of our "Phizzy Lab" will take place during Science week in March 2022.