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Parent Forum Minutes 12/11/13

Ivydale Parent Forum


Minutes of first meeting: 12th November 2013



Introduction and purpose of the forum 


Following introductions of the members of the Parent Forum and parent representatives. These are:

Jessica Taplin (Parent & co Chair of Parent Forum)
Mark Plummer (Parent & co Chair of Parent Forum)
Heather Meyer (parent & secretary)
Nadya Smith (parent & secretary)
Hazel Claude (Parent representative)
Anna Townsend (Parent representative), 
Gemma Marshall (Parent representative),
Dido Hallett (Parent representative)


There was a short presentation above the aims of the Forum, its remit and the ground rules for participating in the forum. The Forum has a role in:


a) linking school and parents, bringing dialogue, opening communication channels, where parents can talk and listen to what the school is doing.


b) influencing if the school is seeking views.


c) assisting parents in supporting their children at this school. Sharing your experience of the school can help others and start discussion and debate, improving the quality of school life


d) enabling parents to get involved in school life;


Further detailed are on the Parent Forum webpage and in the presentation which accompanies these minutes. 


School presentation 


2.1 The Headteacher, Helen Ingham, gave a short talk to set out the main aims of the schools and the priorities of the leadership team for 2013-14. In particular it set out five priorities as part of its efforts to move from a “good” to “outstanding” school: 


Continue to improve the quality of teaching in all classes so that a greater proportion is outstanding
Further accelerate pupils’ progress by enabling them to be secure with basic skills, thereby raising standards for all, including the most able.
Continue to promote outstanding behaviour for learning throughout the school.
Improve communication throughout the whole school community
Review and enhance the Ivydale creative curriculum in preparation for the embedding of the new national curriculum from September 2014
Develop our vision for the future (proposed expansion comes under that heading).


Helen concluded by saying she was looking forward to parent forum feeding into the above.


Topic 1: Communication


3.1 Following a short introduction, parents split into four groups and were invited to comment on the subject of communication between the school and parents. There was enthusiastic discussion from each of the groups. Detailed feedback from the groups are at Annex A, but the main issues raised by parents were as follows:


-  basic key information should be made available to parents, for example who are the governors and leadership team, behaviour policy, complaints procedure, updates of curriculum and class activities and outings. A range of media should be used to disseminate this information; 


- Use of parentmail, newsletters and text were positive forms of communication and could be improved further with minor tweaks.


- the website needs major development. It needs to contain comprehensive, up-to-date and reliable information to both inform and assist parents engage with school life and development of their child. There were a host of ideas of what information the school should put on the website, and parents asked for assurance that it would be kept regularly up-to-date. 

- the noticeboards were under-utilised. These needed to be kept up-to-date and put in sensible places accessible to parents;

- there must be better communication between the school and new  carers/parents to introduce them to Ivydale school life. This should include a welcome pack and early meetings with key staff;

- there should be  improved access to teachers, for example through direct e-mail addresses;

- there could be more ad-hoc arrangements between the school and parents to build up relationships and share information. For example, coffee mornings with learning mentors.

- Use of social media e.g. twitter and facebook should be explored.


3.2 In the short feedback session, the following actions or commitments were made:

- Chairs of the Parent Forum would present findings to the Governors on 3 December 2013. The Governing body would feedback on what the school was going to do to address these points, what decisions were made, and that the governors wanted to ensure transparency.


- Any parent who was not on or could not access parent mail should contact the school office who would help them;


- Helen will set up a small group to improve communication with new reception/nursery parents;


- The school will develop an email policy.  Parents can get hold of teachers by e-mailing with the teacher's name in the subject field and it will be passed on confidentially.  


Topic 2: Provision of sporting activities


4.1 The Headteacher provided a brief introduction to set out what sporting activities were available at the school. This included the requirements of the national curriculum, as well as efforts made by the school to increase sporting provision (for example recruiting specialist sports teachers). 


4.2 . The feedback groups highlighted a range of issues. Detailed feedback is at Annex B, but the main issues highlighted were as follows:


- there was insufficient information available about the level of sports provision on offer. This includes how much was provided by the curriculum (and in reception years), how sports provision was being provided (and what activities children covered) and how the new sports premium funding was being used. This could be part of the regular or a separate newsletter;


- the perceived lack of responsibility or commitment for overall sports provision in the school. Who manages all the provision? How is dance provided? Are curriculum and extra curricula activities the responsibility of the same person? Is it being treated as an integral part of the curriculum?;


-  the school could usefully and easily engage the support of parents to help develop sporting activities, either in support of existing opportunities or for new opportunities;  

- the lack of suitable space/atmosphere in the school playground. They could be turned into more exciting places for children, and the proposed redevelopment of the playground should help facilitate sports/play. Equally could the Peckham Rye playroom be used as a base?; 


- how to nurture and develop those with sporting talent, especially those on low incomes. Could the school support children applying for sports scholarships, or pay for bursaries for extra curricular activities?


- welcome greater opportunities for competitive sport. Could existing competitive sports and how they work be explained further? Could the parent body be more involved with this?  


- welcomed the energy from the teacher co-ordinator of the annual sports day, but could it be moved to Peckham Rye Park and be more imaginative? 


4.3 Following the feedback provision, Helen:

- agreed to provide more information on competitive sports;

-  pointed out that the KS2 Playground is a current focus and there are plans for it to be improved this year.  Parents had the opportunity to contribute their ideas at a recent ILOF meeting;

- stated that every year the school does a program where the older children are trained as play leaders, to work in KS1 playground. Training starts later in November. 


Next steps


5.1 Following the feedback sessions, the Co-chairs of the Parent Forum thanked all parents for their contributions and helpful feedback. They set out the next steps:

- Feedback to next meeting of Full Governing body planned, and meeting with Helen to be held to discuss the findings of the Forum;


- A Parent Forum email account was being set up, and noticeboards put up in both playground for parents to look at and feed in any comments;


- More information about the Forum to go on the Parent Forum webpage on the school website.


5.2 Date for next meeting not set but likely to be a school day morning in late January/early February. 




Jessica Taplin  Co Chair – Ivydale Parent Forum 

Mark Plummer  Co Chair – Ivydale Parent Forum


November 2013




Helen Ingham (Head Teacher)

Jeremy Hayward (Chair of Governors)

Jessica Taplin (Parent & co Chair of Parent Forum)

Mark Plummer (Parent & co Chair of Parent Forum)

Heather Meyer (parent & secretary)

Nadya Smith (parent & secretary)

Hazel Claude (Parent representative)

Anna Townsend (Parent representative), 

Gemma Marshall (Parent representative),


Jo Roebuck, 

Ruth Maclennan, 

Emma Wines, 

Gary Levart, 

Rebecca Clow,

 Stuart Lyons, 

Sarah Buck, 

Robin Watts,

Nicolas Lee, 

Jonathan Breeze, 

Leah Mullen, 

Robyn Ferguson-Smith, 

Sacha Naylor, 

Hannah Fisher,

Kendra Furcher, 

Babette May, 

Sara Amlani,

Amanda Gough,

 Andrew George,

Zoe Palmer, 

Tiffy George

Fiona Russell (Governor), 

Polly Russell (Governor), 

Jasmin Nuttall, 

Clare Lawler,

Charlotte Llewellyn,

Anna Delis, 

Adnan Saritcke,

Sammy Linton, 

Tahlia Woollatt, 

Giles Mayall


Annex A

Feedback on communication



It is important for marketing the school but was not kept up to date enough, and that some of the information was missing. There could be more content on it and it could be made more user friendly.
There was the view that many parents may be experienced in writing, IT design or web build and could they volunteer time to make the website better


Suggestions for how the website could be improved included could streaming information by year group, ensuring homework, curriculum and learning resources and information for each term were put up online.
Several parents suggested there could there be a parents section.


Information for the website

Everyone agreed that it needed a live calendar on the home page with staff introductions and photographs.
It was also felt there should be more accessible information on school policies, everyone believed that the website needed to be a great introduction to the school.
Other basic information included:

-  Who are the Governors and staff;

- Information such as “What to do if my child is ill”; Contact numbers for after school club etc. 

- Term dates 

- Up–to-date overview of the curriculum 

- Updated class pages

- Photos of class trips;

- Photos/pictures of workshops/all-school activities (e.g. day with the Poets/the Big Draw);

It needed to contain the same information that was on noticeboards etc;



These were seen as a useful innovation.
It was felt that this could be developed so that Class teachers could text information - reminders about trips etc



General consensus that newsletters are good and the information was clear. Appreciation of the new format; the way it is set out, how much information there is in it; the column with upcoming dates for diary.






Encouragement to see a greater use of noticeboards, these were particularly important for those who don't have access to technology.
It was asked if they could they contain curriculum information such as what the children were learning this week.
Parents wanted each year and class to have an up to date noticeboard with someone in charge of updating them regularly.
There was also discussion about notice boards being in the playground, as this would allow all year groups to see the information – not just reception parents.

New parents/carers

It was felt that a welcome pack should be created and sent out prior to term commencing for new September starters, this was especially important for nursery and reception pupils. This would help address the current shortage in key information on starting at Ivydale.
Beginning of term is a crucial communication point, parents should be given more information about the term ahead, curriculum agenda, any themes they would be focusing on, general activity, dates for the diary (trips, performances etc)
It was felt that it was important this was received well in advance of term commencing, at the moment information was circulated too late, and was not felt to be detailed enough leaving parents feeling in the dark.
There was also felt there was a need for consistency across the school.
Meeting Miles was a good introduction for Reception parents, but it would be good to also have a welcome from Helen.



Most parents felt that there was a fundamental need for a school email address for teachers, as there were privacy issues about emailing the school office. Also there should be a published email policy, (e.g. emails should be acknowledged and responded to by email)
There was felt that there should be a point of contact over holidays.
The homework book should be enhanced so that parents and teachers could write notes and comments, and that comments should be made on the children’s efforts and content. This should include Reception children. Parents generally wanted more knowledge of how their children were doing each week, and not just at Parent’s evenings.
The home reading and reading book notes were seen as a good example.




Parents wanted to know what the parent complaints procedure was and how issues were addressed
The use of the front door of the school was mentioned.
With regards to workshops and other events, it was strongly felt there should always be two options to accommodate parental schedules
People wanted a greater knowledge of the strategic direction of school and more information eg was the school definitely going to expand or not, and the timescale for decisions on this.

Annex B





Everyone agreed that there needed to be more consistent communication of sports provision.
Parents wanted to know what the rationale on sports provision was.
Parents were not aware that a lot of the items on the leaflet were actually going on – and felt that the information could be more in depth, and disseminated better. It was felt that some sports were not known about at all eg no-one there knew children who were doing cross country.
There needed to be greater clarity on what years the leaflet information applied 
Parents wanted to see information on the website about what is offered. Parents wanted input into what sport would be right for their child.


Sports coordinator

Parents wanted to know who was leading sports in school, it was felt that the school should have its own coordinator rather than external teachers.
Regular sport update would be really useful. At least once a month, but ideally weekly / fortnightly and by year group.


Sports Day/interschool competitions

Sports Day Should be for all years and it should be held it at Peckham Rye/Askes. Parents wanted to see greater imagination for sports day.
There was a need to utilise parents as volunteers , and Parents wanted to form a subcommittee to help run Sports Day.
Parents were also unaware of competitions between schools - more information please again a weekly update on a SPORTS notice board.


Gifted and Talented

What provision is made for G&T children; what help are year 6 children given for sports scholarships. It was felt that sports should be taken seriously like maths and english for talented children. Parents wanted to know how are G&T children moved through competitions


Everyone wanted to know more about what happens in PE lessons. Was there a PE teacher?  Is athletics on the curriculum? It was felt it was important for learning mentors to help with simple tasks eg child loses kit in cloakroom. Parents wanted to know about indoors and outdoors PE. There was a feeling that regularly scheduled PE lessons in PE kit would be good. 


How was dance been delivered?  This is now part of the PE curriculum and we would like to know how this will be delivered.  It was felt that music had been successfully incorporated into the curriculum (e.g. all Year 3 get a chance to play the recorder) and dance needs the same organising.  
Introduce something like BAGA



It was felt there was a good choice of activities.
Although it was raised that these were not inclusive as not free to everyone. 
Concern was raised that activities don't always happen, and that children don't know where to go and aren't collected
Bicycle safety training was felt to be good.



Parents wanted to see more structured supervised games, and wanted to know what provisions were made for children in the playground.
It was very important for parents to know how children were guided through play.
There was negative feedback about the playgrounds feeling uninspiring and miserable.
It was felt that older children, especially year 6 children should play more sport.
Play should also be encouraged in KS1 playground.
Ideas around activity-led games
Parents wanted to see a play policy at Ivydale.
It was asked if parent volunteers to help run playtime with younger children?


Sports day 

It was felt that the teacher who ran/organised the sports day last year did a really good job and we appreciated the energy; singing etc.  However it was difficult to have a sports day on tarmac, and could this not be held at Peckham Rye like other schools did, more space, grass to run on.  Parents could help with this.   Could there be some elements of sports day where individual children could win a race; and also carry on with the element of everyone taking part? 


Parental involvement 


Could we do a skills audit and find out skills that parents/carers have.  Could these then be used by willing parents/carers e.g. Amanda who was at our table had offered her skills in organising dance workshops.  Other parents have said that they could offer running; soccer coaching etc.  This skills base it was felt was not been utilised and could be a support to the school.



More opportunity for outdoor learning - forest schools and day camps.


People also wanted to see more swimming for all years.