Governors visit the school:
Academic school year 2018/19.
Governors Day at Waterside Academy
We had a Governors day at the school on Friday the 29th of March. It all started with an assembly and afterwards we saw Maths and English taught throughout the school. On my walk I was impressed by the engagement and focus of the pupils. Very hands-on lessons, good to outstanding behaviour. The majority of books were neat, and handwriting is much improved throughout the school. Children were eager to tell me what they were doing.
In early years the children were excited about a frog in their little pond and I saw some very nice sharing between a group of children while they were playing in the water area.
Children in year 3 who got their pen licence were very proud to tell me so. They were eager to start writing a story about a picture they had to describe.
In year 5 I had some very interesting discussions about the correct use of speech marks in a written text as well how to calculate the area of a figure.
Maths in year 6 was taught in small groups according to their abilities. Mr Mills Bishop had a small cohort in his office where they were figuring out the result with the help of a graph. Later on in English they all played a game using active and passive sentences. Not an easy game to play as it turned out.
In year 4 the children had to use the cherry diagram to calculate times tables above 12. Since I didn’t know what a cherry diagram was they pupils explained it to me very well. In English they were very eager to let me see their description of an animal using a dictionary. I saw some very interesting describing words.
In year 1 the children sat on the carpet and learned how to turn a verb into a noun. The whole class was very involved in that learning.
Before lunch I went into year two as the last class I was visiting. Since it was reading time I sat down with some pupils and heard them read. I was very impressed with the ability to sound out the tricky words. And the children were very proud to tell me which reading level they were on. Well done!
When I asked the pupils of Waterside Academy if they preferred English or Math, I can’t really tell what there preference is. Both answers came up about the same amount. And no difference between boys and girls really.
I have to say a huge thank you to all the teachers and staff at Waterside for making us Governors feel so welcome. I had a fantastic time and I am very proud off all our children. They are putting a lot of work in their learning and their behaviour was excellent. Keep up the good work.
Chair of Governors
My name is Clare and I am the governor for reading. I had the pleasure of visiting the school when the author, James Mayhew, was spending the day with classes.
James is a celebrated author, having written/illustrated over 60 books. He spoke to the children, “I wasn’t very good at reading or writing stories but I was good at art.” He first made a book for children when at art college, and he showed everyone the prototype. He talked about his collection of Katie and Ella Bella stories. The children were very engaged and asked really interesting questions. He talked about his love of fairy and folk takes. He retold “The Firebird” to years 3 and 4, while drawing and painting a scene (upsidedown!). A child asked about making mistakes. James replied, “You’ve got to take a risk ... be courageous enough to get something wrong in order to get it right.”
With years 5 and 6, James reiterated, “I’m happy to make mistakes.” He extensively illustrated “Shakespeare’s Stories” so he retold “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Then, while the school listened to Mendelssohn’s prelude to the play, he sketched and painted a scene featuring Titania and Bottom. With excellent questions from the children, James talked about what books/authors inspired him (Tove Jansson, Quentin Blake, Maurice Sendak). He said you should always ask, “Why?” when you are writing a plot ie what is the reason for doing/saying something?
The visit of James Mayhew was truly inspirational to all the classes who were present. They were amazed at his illustrations, and were completely involved in his presentation. Many of the classes had done some detailed research beforehand about the writer which impressed him hugely!
On my next visit I will be looking at some of the work children produced in response to this inspirational visit.
Rowans School governors are considering acadamisation for the school in the future.
On 26th May 2017 a letter and survey was sent to all staff, parents and governors by email/paper copy to provide information and to offer the chance to respond to a survey. The local community is also welcome to return a survey. Paper copies are available from the office, upon request.
Clare Henry Our new English Link Governor
On Tuesday, 1st November I visited Waterside in my new role as English link governor. I spent the morning with Miss Wilson and Mrs. Tothill, finding out about what the school is doing to promote successful English learning for all our children. It was a most enjoyable morning: I visited all the years during their English lessons, joining in Year 4’s learning about stages of a story, and listening to how our Reception children understand that letters make words on the front cover of a book in guided reading. I was impressed with the displays in all classes, and how the alphabet then spellings are learnt and built upon rising through the school. Extended writing, linked to curricular topics, is evident both in the books and on displays, and I could see how staff and children engage in dialogue about their work. The updating of the reading books is impressive and I am sure you must have noticed the greater variety and quality of books in your children’s book bags. I recently attended a reading comprehension meeting after school and it is good to see the school offering these after-school talks to parents about different aspects of the curriculum. This is my first term as governor at your school and I am delighted by the committed efforts I see from all staff and children.
So, after being elected as parent governor at the end of last year, I thought it would be useful and hopefully interesting to share a little about what being a governor at Waterside is all about. I know that sometimes it's not always that easy a role to understand.
Before I get started on what I've learnt and experienced in my role so far (albeit it still only at the start of the journey) - who am I? Outside of my school governor duties I have a couple of jobs including running my own health and wellbeing business and working as a Continuous Improvement Director for a corporate company in London. However, my passion is my kids (of which I have 2) and in the development, growth, experiences and opportunities for all children, hence my interest in being a school governor.
I have to admit that I wasn't really sure (even after having done my research before putting myself forward) what a governors role was. What difference would I actually make? How would I fit in it? What did I know about education? Well I can assure you I'm getting there! Since joining the governing body I've been supported by Mrs Reed, our Chair of governor Monika and all the members of the governing body to help with my understanding of a number of these areas. These include what school performance is, how I support with development of the strategic direction of the school, looking at ensuring we spend our money wisely as a school, reviewing our school development plan and ensuring we are pushing ourselves to drive forward in all aspects of our aims as a school. The operational day to day running is left to Mrs Reed and the senior teaching staff, not us governors, but we are very much involved in the overall direction of the school and all key decisions.
I've attended some great training including learning about safeguarding children in recruitment, assessment and performance in schools and have some upcoming training in understanding data and understanding the role of governors in an Ofsted inspection. The governing body is made up from a variety of people including people from the local community, staff and parents all with a real mix of experiences to bring to the group. We meet as a full governing body once a term and then also meet within our subcommittee groups every 6 weeks. I'm part of the school development committee and the resources committee.
However, the thing I like best is being in the school, really feeling like part of it, visiting the lessons, supporting with events, being available for people to speak to if needed. Each of the governors are linked with a specific areas and mine is Maths which means that I come and visit the school to understand more about what we are doing to support the development of the children across the school in Maths. I have a few visits coming up this month so looking forward to seeing all the good work that has been going on and the resources in practice.
There is so much I could say about this really interesting and enjoyable role. I'm excited to be involved in taking the school forward and look forward to the rest of my journey with the school.