Although the formal consultation has ended, governors remain committed to ongoing opportunities for you to raise further questions and offer any comments about this proposal through an online form.
Governors will review all comments and questions and then publish, on the school website, further information and responses. All the previous letters from the Chair of Governors, FAQs, links and information continue to be available below.
At a meeting held last term the Headteacher, Mrs Weeks, emphasised two key points about the proposal:
1. Why DCAT?
Having researched the work of DCAT, met with key members of their improvement team and developed an understanding of how they challenge, support and celebrate their schools, I am confident that I would retain the autonomy I have as Headteacher of St. John’s Meads. That means I will continue to develop and shape the school in line with my vision for the children, building on the successes that have gone before. This includes:
- Maintaining our Christian ethos and its distinctive elements such as Pastoral Care sessions in House Groups, which have such a positive impact on our children in terms of both their learning and their relationships with one another;
- Protecting (in spite of funding cuts) the excellent curriculum opportunities of specialist art, music and Spanish teaching and access to swimming for all year groups;
- Continuing to engage with enrichment opportunities on offer, such as first aid training, fire safety, themed days at local schools, sporting events, bikeability and visiting speakers/artists/sports coaches.
This year, we have also begun to develop our provision to support children’s emotional health and wellbeing, including developing the playground and activities, creating a Thrive Room and training a Thrive Practitioner. This will become embedded as part of our whole school practice next year, alongside implementing a new PSHE curriculum and supporting one of our teachers to become a qualified forest schools leader.
2. So why be an academy at all?
There is no escaping the fact that we MUST improve outcomes in reading, writing and maths for children leaving Key Stage 2 who are not achieving their full potential. Of course, we currently are doing everything we can to address this, but we still need to make improvements. Collaboration is a proven method of professional development at all levels - from class teachers having the opportunity to view each other’s lessons and give feedback, to subject leaders working to implement whole school projects, to Headteachers supporting self-evaluation and holding each other to account for performance. DCAT can provide the structure in which we could do this, as well as the additional capacity of ‘lead teachers’ within their school improvement team. There is a ready made network of schools for us to access. We simply cannot achieve that level of professional development opportunity and support as a ‘stand alone’ school, or as a federation or partnership.
That is why I believe converting to an academy within the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust is absolutely the right way forward for St. John’s Meads CofE Primary School.