To Children, Parents, Staff & Bellevue Education Group
It is hard to believe that we have just completed our very first year at Wandsworth Prep. This time last year, the builders were just putting the final touches on the building, and there was a constant stream of deliveries arriving. The halls and display boards remained empty and we all were looking forward to welcoming our first intake of children and their parents to the school in September. The academic year 2012 - 2013 has been a momentous one for Wandsworth Prep School. In the course of the last 18 months, the school has emerged from the rubble of The Old Library, and has come to life with the laughter, songs and smiles of our first Reception class. Fast forward 12 months, and we have now just received the results of our first Ofsted inspection against the new 2013 framework; Outstanding in all areas.
The result of the Ofsted inspection means that my membership with the Independent School’s Association has been approved and fast-tracked so that both the children and staff can enjoy the benefits of membership from September. From now on, my membership with the ISA means that our future inspections will be carried out by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, and we look forward to welcoming them to our school in the future to show them the progress we have made.
Thanks to inspiring teaching across the range of broad subjects on offer, the children have all made great progress and have thoroughly enjoyed their learning. The terms have been busy, with a wide variety of activities, educational visits and experiences to make all the children’s learning both creative and fun. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Wandsworth Prep’s talented and dedicated staff. Each and every member of staff has taken on a new challenge this year and they have been quite remarkable and I would like to personally thank them all. You make the days brighter and better and Wandsworth Prep is truly an inspiring, exciting and successful school.
Number of pupils currently on role for September 2013:
Reception: 14 (7 Boys : 7 girls)
Year 1: 14 (5 Boys : 9 girls)
2. ACHIEVEMENTS AND SUCCESSES
I am immensely proud of all the individual achievements and successes that we have celebrated this year with the Reception children. This year has truly been a year of firsts! First Day of School, first PTA, first school trip, first school show, first Sports Day, and the first Forest School in the Prep environment in South West London, to name a few. Most recently, I was thrilled to find out that we have achieved our first Sporting Success – as the Gambado Exercise in Disguise Challenge winners!
A true highlight of the week for me personally is the opportunity to accompany my Hot-Shot Choc award winners to Barmouth Kitchen for a well-deserved special treat from the Head teacher for a job well done.
On Fridays, our Achievement Assembly always proves to be a celebration the children look forward to and it has been wonderful to see the children genuinely excited for their peers when they are awarded with stickers and certificates. From September, we will expand our assembly provision through the use of a whole school sing on Monday mornings to start the week off on the right note, plus timetabled Wandsworth Prep School Community Matters forums, where children in Reception and Year 1 will work together on school improvement initiatives and the development of roles of responsibility at the school.
On Friday 7th June, two members of the Wandsworth Borough Early Years education team visited the school in order to make judgements on the attainment and progress of the children in the current Reception class. The Local Authority has a statutory requirement to ensure the accuracy and consistency of the assessments made by Early Years providers by ensuring moderation of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile is carried out in all schools. The purpose of moderation is to promote accurate and consistent judgements. Judgements are agreed through professional dialogue between practitioners within a school and moderators.
The moderators scrutinised children’s Learning Journeys for evidence of levels of attainment in all seven areas of learning and across the 17 Early Learning Goals. The moderators discussed children’s progress and sampled other pieces of evidence, led by Polly Hazlewood, Early Years Foundation Stage Co-ordinator.
The moderators agreed with the school’s internal judgements and concluded that 100% of children who started at the school in September have made outstanding progress compared with national expectations across the seven areas of learning and Early Learning Goals. Children’s attainment is strong in the Prime Areas of Communication and Language and Physical Development with 50% of children exceeding national expectations in Speaking and Physical Development.
The judgements of the moderators were confirmed by Ofsted inspectors, who noted that: ‘children’s achievement is outstanding. Children make outstanding progress in all areas of learning in relation to their varying starting points’.
The Early Years Foundation Stage profiles show that attainment is strongest in the prime area of Communication and Language and the specific area of Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World. In Communication and Language, 57% of children currently on role exceed expectations in Speaking and 50% of children exceed expectations in Understanding. In Expressive Arts and Design, 43% of children exceed expectations in Being Imaginative and Exploring and using media and materials and in Understanding the World, 43% of children exceed expectations in the World.
Ofsted inspectors also noted that: ‘children achieve particularly highly in reading and writing owing to systematic teaching that meets their individual needs. Children’s speaking and listening skills are extremely well developed through consistent opportunities to discuss their ideas in pairs, groups, or conversations with adults. Children also achieve highly in the mathematical area of space, shapes and measures, their knowledge of the world, and in their personal, social, emotional, physical and creative development’. Inspectors also noted that children who speak English as an additional language are particularly well served by teaching methods and make exceptionally rapid progress in English.
3. EDUCATIONAL VISITS
High on the agenda has been our commitment to Educational Visits and Experiences for our children. As a school, we aim to engage with children in educational visits at least once every half of term. Visits have included special guests, such as Canine Partners, Living Eggs, Brookwood Partnership and David de Rothschild coming in to talk to the children, or wider ventures in both the local community and wider London area. Educational visits are always tied to our curriculum and provide a valuable and meaningful experience for children to apply their knowledge to the wider world around them. This year we have enjoyed the following Educational Visits:
Autumn Term: All About Me
Reception trip to the Tate Modern - Karel Appel’s Questioning Children. Gallery Workshop
Reception trip to the London Fire Brigade - Fire Safety and People who Help Us
Reception trip to the Dulwich Picture Gallery - Emotions as conveyed in Artwork,
Visit from Canine Partners - School Charity - Disabilities and importance of Charity
Spring Term: All Around the World
Parent Workshops to discuss the cultures, nationalities and religions celebrated in our school. (France, Italy, Wales, Devon, Pakistan, Canada)
Reception trip to see Wolf Tales at the Lyric Theatre
Reception host Valentines Lunch for Mum’s and Dads with help from Mr Adel.
Living Eggs Arrive at Wandsworth Prep
Reception trip to Dean City Farm - What do Animals Need to Survive
Summer Term: Protecting our Planet
Reception trip to Natural History Museum - Explorers
Reception trip to Dulwich Picture Gallery - Learning through Expressive Arts Workshop
David de Rothschild Visits to talk about Plastiki and how we all can help the environment.
Forest School Picnic with Parents at Wimbledon Common
Exercise in Disguise Challenge at Gambado Chelsea
Reception end of Year Trip at Hobbledown Farm, Epsom Surrey
4. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS TO TEACHING AND LEARNING
From September, we begin our second annual assessment cycle in order to ensure that standards across all of our broad subjects on offer continue to be monitored and progress in line with the School Development Plan. Peer and self-evaluation for teachers will be further introduced and timetabled in order to ensure best practice both within Wandsworth Prep School and schools in the Bellevue Group. Following a successful launch of the platform at the school this year, in September all the Bellevue Schools will take on board Pupil Asset as our group’s tracking and monitoring system, which will provide the opportunity for schools to scrutinise their own teaching and learning, and attainment and progress of pupils in comparison with the results of the wider group of schools.
From September, we will also ask each subject specialist to feed into Pupil Asset, to electronically collate using iPads, a fantastic on-line evidence log to further demonstrate children’s successful learning across all subjects. It is our hope that we will also be able to allow parents to access their children’s profile on Pupil Asset to enable real-time reporting on attainment, progress and behaviour.
From Year 1, Miss Jessica will work with the children to set individual targets in Reading, Writing and Maths and these targets can best be supported by parents at home through the use of Maths Whizz and Bug Club. Bug Club, both on-line and in print, launches in September as part of our Phonics and Reading programme and will work alongside the Oxford Reading Tree resources currently in the school. Both these web based systems provide parents with a valuable learning resource to use at home, by which the children are excited and motivated. These programmes can be accessed throughout the year and the school provides parents with all the log-in details necessary.
As part of our Maths approach, which focuses on discovery, thinking and problem solving, Year 1 will be introduced to the Singapore Maths approach in September. Singapore Maths develops pupils' mathematical ability and confidence because the emphasis is on understanding. You can view more details on this approach by visiting the Maths No Problem website.
Our evening parent workshops, which have taken place throughout the year, started off well attended with topics on Phonics, Reading and Forest Schools, however the Maths evening in January was a less well attended evening. We have certainly not sat back on our laurels and our attitude has always been one of continual improvement for all. The school will run further workshops in the coming school year for parents and will work with the PTA to ensure maximum attendance on these evenings.
5. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELL-BEING
This year we have worked alongside the children to create our 'How We Work’ motto to promote good behaviour and establish an ethos for how we all need to contribute in a positive way to the learning environment at the school. This was supported by our Bucket Filler initiative, which both children and staff have wholeheartedly embraced. I look forward to the Year 1 children working with our new Reception class in the Autumn term to revise and build on this initiative.
A successful Harvest celebration was led by the children, Miss Polly and Mr. Matt and we were able to make a valuable contribution to Wandsworth Women’s Aid. WPS families further supported this local charity through the contribution of Angel boxes at Christmas time, providing a valuable learning opportunity for the children about being grateful and the importance of charity in our community. We had a brilliant Christmas Fair which was organised by Miss Fi, and raised £800 for our school charity, Canine Partners. It goes without saying that we were all entertained by our Reception children during their performance of The Christmas Story, and special mention must go to the Star of the show, Miss Bridget. The Living Eggs came to Wandsworth Prep as part of our Animal Inquiry unit and the children loved learning about the lifecycle and care of our little chicks, as well as petting, feeding and building a chicken run for them!
As part of our drive to be a sustainable school, Reception children took part the Scooter Training offered by Wandsworth Council and in May, we completed our first annual Walk to School Week. It has been lovely to see the children so inspired by this topic, and so many bikes and scooters outside the school day, before and after school. On the topic of healthy living initiatives and personal challenge and development, Sophie Long, mother of Maddox, completed a personal challenge and ran the London Marathon in Aid of our charity, bringing the school’s charitable drive to £2141. A fantastic achievement for Sophie and for our small school! Well done.
Next year we look forward to supporting our new school charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Parental involvement at the school has proved to be a huge success and the children have loved learning about the different cultures, backgrounds, heritages and interests of our school community. The staff and children have particularly enjoyed tasting delicious foods from around the world and the south of England as part of our parent visits. Miss Melissa proved her pancake making skills in the kitchen on Pancake Day and later engaged the children in some traditional Canadian Folk Songs and Canadian Symbol Bingo on Canada Day on the 1st July. On World Environment Day, our catering providers, Brookwood Partnership were on hand to lead a special assembly for the children about Food Miles and where our food comes from as part of our focus on healthy living. Sports Day was a huge success, and I am pleased to report this was an injury free day... for the children! A huge congratulations to all of our children who impressed with their sportsmanship and effort on the day. Well done!
6. IN AND AROUND THE SCHOOL
I hope that you will agree that, as the children have learned and progressed throughout the year, the school has come alive with pieces of their work and their experience at WPS on display. As a new school, one of our biggest hurdles has been to make this building feel like a warm, caring learning environment, which tells the children’s story of their time spent with us here. Over the coming weeks, our outdoor area will continue to be developed in line with our Forest School Philosophy and I look forward to seeing Miss Jessica’s Year 1 classroom in September. New teaching and learning resources, iPads and exciting equipment, and library books are arriving every day, and I look forward to seeing the look on the children’s faces when they return to us in September to see how we have transformed their school.
We have no plans next year to change any of our school premises however, we are already making future plans for 2014 - 2015 so please watch this space!
I am thrilled with our new teaching appointments, who have already spent a number of days in the school and I have no doubt you will join me in welcoming them to our school in September.
7. TRAINING AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT
Staff development is always a key factor in moving the school forward and ensuring the continued progression and success of our pupils. This year I have been placed on the interim membership with the Independent Schools Association (ISA) which will see us in the future inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Given our Outstanding Ofsted Inspection, I have been informed by the Chair of the ISA, that my membership has been fast-tracked for approval which will take place immediately so the school can take advantage of ISA membership from September.
Staff regularly attend courses and training in order to improve their own knowledge and practice. Staff have participated in a variety of training opportunities which include:
First Aid/Epipen/Moving & Handling Training
Leadership and Management
Philosophy for Children (P4C)
Observations in the Foundation Stage
ICT Visit Day at Edenhurst School
Mantle of the Expert and Forests Schools will very much remain on the agenda for staff development and Miss Jessica, Miss Melissa and Miss Bridget will take part in the weekend residential training weekend in October. Miss Polly and Mr Matt will attend the advanced residential course in November, and we have also arranged for both Luke Abbot, Director of Mantle of the Expert, to visit, as well as study dates in the Autumn Term to view Mantle at work in other schools.
We are proud to be one of the first Independent Prep School’s in South West London to commit to being a Forest School from Reception through to Year 6 and next year staff, including Miss Jessica and Miss Melissa, will undertake Level 3 training to help embed this philosophy across the school. Miss Polly is currently looking into the final stage of training, Level 4, which following successful completion, will allow her to train other staff. In addition, Miss Polly will be offering a CPD session for local Nursery teachers in the Forest School approach at Wandsworth Prep next year.
As you can see staff are keen to continually develop their practice and improve their skills for the benefit of all children. All courses attended are shared with staff to ensure value for money and equality of access for all children.
8. BELLEVUE EDUCATION GOVERNANCE
It has been a wonderful experience to have been able to work within a supportive and experienced school group during our first year here at Wandsworth Prep. Many of you have met our Education Director, Chris Sanderson, who has provided endless advice and support and input into the set up and progress of our school. I look forward to the opportunities which lie ahead for us and our pupils to also engage in wider activities and events amongst schools within the Bellevue Group and we already have some wonderful events planned for next year.
Bellevue Education is committed to excellence in education. Each Bellevue school is run independently, built on the foundation of the same shared values: we believe in broad curricula, delivered in innovative ways that excite and engage children; we believe in investment – in teachers, buildings, and technology; and we believe that exceptional results should be a by-product of the education that we offer, not the exclusive focus. Bellevue pupils are encouraged to aim high and we aim to provide them with everything they need to succeed.
The governance model developed for Bellevue Schools establishes a unique framework to ensure that the group’s governance committee provides excellent support and well-focused challenge to the schools and to facilitate the sharing of best practice and resolution of challenges between the schools. It stimulates a strong focus on development through self-evaluation and incorporates a timetable of annual review to ensure regulatory compliance.
The overall framework for the governance of Bellevue Schools includes termly governance and head’s management meetings, regular visits to the schools by the group’s CEO and Education Director, the provision of training for heads and staff and the benefit of central services from the group’s head office.
9. SCHOOL CLUBS
This year we launched our first after school club, cooking with Mr Adel, working with the children as we aim to discover the next great British Chef! Ninjabeez, Smart Art and Tennis were added in the Summer Term and we look forward to the expansion of these offerings next year with Dance, Golf, Drama, Hockey and Ukulele clubs coming on board. Additionally, we will also be offering parents the opportunity for children to start 1:1 Piano lessons with our Piano teacher, Kris Bellière.
The PTA, led by Sophie Long and Rhian Lloyd, has put in a lot of hard work and time to meet with the Senior Leadership Team and act as a liaison during our first year with parents. In September we will see the PTA expand as we welcome two addtional parents from our Reception class and look forward to social events and fundraising initiatives run by the PTA for the School. We are extremely grateful for all their efforts. They have helped to organised many events already such as our Christmas Fair, Coffee Mornings, and Parent Dinners.
11. LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR
Planning has been well under way for September 2013, with the induction process now completed for our new Reception intake. A 2013 - 2014 Parent Handbook will be issued to all parents, and we will issue a termly date list prior to our start in September.
We do have some dates to already make you aware of in September:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for your support and input. I am immensely proud of the school we are today and the school we endeavor to become. As I have said to you many times before, I am grateful for the opportunity to work together with my colleagues, children, parents and the Bellevue Group to create a truly 21st Century School which leads rather than follows as we all work to help our children develop the skills they need to move from learners into leaders.
Best wishes for a wonderful summer holiday.