Dear Parents and Guardians,

A huge thank you to those parents who came along to the academic review meetings on Monday and also to those who have spoken to me prior to and after the meeting. It was great to get everyone together to discuss the last academic year and to consider changes for the future.

First on the agenda was reviewing the changes that were made to the concerts regarding a KS1 and KS2 split. Feedback was positive and everyone was in agreement that this benefited the children as they did not have to sit for long periods of time. The café which was held alongside the concert was also deemed a success. This will continue this year and this system will be used for our Harvest Festival on Thursday 28th September 2017. We talked in depth about improving the spring concert and the transitions between each class, particularly the bonnet parade. Whilst we didn’t come up with a definitive answer, this will be rectified by the time the spring term starts.

We moved on to talk about homework and the new system we are trialling in school. Feedback has been very positive so far regarding the choice element to the homework although it was noted that some parents enjoyed the consolidation worksheets for maths and English so they could see what was being taught in school each week. I mentioned to the group that homework is a key focus this year and that an action team is being set up amongst the federation staff to review the homework structures in place, to produce a system which works for staff, parents and most importantly the children.

We moved our focus to the end of the year and talked about the changes made to the end of year celebrations. Once again, the split dates for the end of year assembly and leavers assembly was seen as a success. Although no parents were present who had Y6 children last year, feedback from parents and also staff was that the new structure to the leavers assembly was very positive and provided them with a suitably special way to finish their last day at primary school.  It was noted that no communication was sent to parents regarding certificates and trophy winners. This was an oversight on my behalf and I will ensure that this happens in all our future celebration events.

Clubs was the next issue to be raised. There was a lot of positively regarding the number of clubs running and I talked to the parents about trying to ensure that there was a good mix between KS1 and KS2 clubs. It was mentioned that it would be good to try and run KS1 and KS2 clubs on the same day to alleviate extra travel and childcare arrangements. Where possible we will always try and make after school arrangements easier for parents and we will look to review our clubs ready for after the half term break.

The next topic to be discussed was the quality of the reading books in class 2. The majority of children in class 1, 2 and 3 share those reading books and it was felt that they were uninspiring, particularly for the new children starting school. Whilst there is a very good selection of books across the variety of reading bands, they are old and this is something I have noted down and will look to improve in the near future.

The last topic to be discussed in depth was proposed changes to the start of the school day. I spoke to the group about my plans to increase the independence of all the children in school by having them come into the classrooms on their own in the morning. The proposed plan would see parents and children waiting in the playground until 8.45am upon which time staff would enter the playground to discuss any urgent matters. Any matters requiring more time could be addressed via a meeting slot booked through the office. A whistle would blow at 8.50am and children would line up in their class lines. They would then proceed to class and start their school day as promptly as possible.

Reactions were mixed and it was noted that some people would miss the classroom environment and seeing the working walls and displays. There were reservations over ensuring that enough time was given to help the younger children with their morning routine including dropping off bags, lunch boxes and also changing books effectively. Overall, there was a good understanding of what we would ultimately be trying to achieve although it was noted that it would take a lot of time to be fully implemented within the school. Further discussions have taken place regarding the change of morning routine and this is something that we will revisit when we move to the new school site.

If there are any issues included in this letter you would like clarification on, or you have other areas you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Wishes


James Akhurst

Head of School

Exe Valley Federation
Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary School

Cheriton Fitzpaine,
Devon EX17 4AN

01363 866456
Newton St Cyres Primary School

Station Road
Newton St Cyres

01392 851267
Thorverton C of E Primary School

School Lane,
Devon EX5 5NR

01392 860374