In February, Edward Oatley, our governor, has set himself a gruelling but thrilling 500km cycle ride in Vietnam and Cambodia. This is a challenging 8 day cycle with plenty of early morning starts. Challenging for any of us but please remember Edward is a sprightly 73 years old! He is raising money for the new St John’s minibus. This is an outstanding test and one I’m pleased to say Edward does with his wife Jane’s blessing!! We plan lots of learning and in school challenges to run alongside Edward’s, all of which we will launch at the start of Term 3. In the meantime anyone wishing to donate please follow the link below.
One could go on and on about the success of yesterday but the overriding
success was the Family Atmosphere of total teamwork,with the pupils,
staff ,parent and governors all pulling together to do whatever job was
needed to make it a highly organised day of pure enjoyment and light
hearted fun for everybody. However the Father Xmas Grotto was actually
up there on another Planet. We obviously have a highly talented Group of
Parent artists and designers who are helped by a group of “workers” who
are sensible people and don’t interfere & do as they are told. This
resulted,after days of talks & then work at the coal face, with a Grotto
that should have been on view for a 6 weeks show at one of 2
venues—Harrods—-John Lewis followed by a Royal Visit on Xmas eve
for Prince George to collect that car he wanted! There was pressure to
keep it in school for Monday so that everyone could see it & for the
pupils to be inspired to write about all their different emotions going
through the Grotto. Our talented Choir sang for us toward the end to
bring the event to an end in the Xmas Spirit. I am sure most of us went
home feeling somewhat tired but just on a very confident high with being
part of a very special school.
We all enjoyed our visit from Pudsey on Friday!
Another very professional Quiz Night was held yesterday.The Hall was
packed with 11 tables of teams of 6. A huge thank you to Ace & Emily
Chandler, Mark & Amy Semple, Dave Stringer & Helen Copp for putting
together a testing and entertaining Quiz with the added bonus of making
some of the question St John’s School based. In fact one Round, put
together by Helen, saw the children themselves on video asking the
questiuon. An enjoyable evening with the St John’s spirit well & truly at
it’s very best, so much so that when I left at 11.00, with most of the
Hall back to normal, the party was still on !! All the money raised is
going to the new School Bus.
In the afternoon, just before the end of school, the whole school took
part in a very well put together and moving 15 mins Remembrance Service
in the school Hall. A candlelight paper Cross was in the middle with the
pupils all around. Sally went over the reasons for the service and we
all left one by one singing the Remembrance Hymn.
Almost all of you will know that St John’s has a Governing Body, but not many people tend to know what we actually do, or indeed, what we are for. The roll of the Body is to set the strategic vision and direction for the School, but what does that really look like? The first thing to say is that Governance is a partnership between the Headteacher and the Governors. Together they become part of the leadership of the School.
The most important thing is that we know the School. That means everything from knowing about reading attainment in year 3, the range of clubs on offer after school, to ensuring the relevant health and safety legislation has been met! It is a huge, and never-ending task. Of course, one person can never know, or cover all of this, so the Governors work as a team, each with areas of responsibility.
There are twelve Governors appointed and recruited from a variety of areas. Mrs. Quirk is one as Headteacher, in the same way I am one as the Vicar of St John’s. Two are elected from among the parents, one is nominated form the Local Authority, one from Staff members, one form St John’s Church, and one from the Diocese of Rochester. The final four are co-opted, and appointed on their skills. From time to time ‘Associate Governors’ are appointed for their skills. Whilst not voting, they can contribute valuable expertise to the body; Martin Palmer, our previous caretaker currently acts as an Associate.
The Governors meet three times a year for their formal meetings. These are long and busy meetings, often with long agendas! In a sense these meetings, whilst the formal decision-making body, are not where the work happens.
Each Governor is a member of a committee. These meet regularly and deal with set areas; Finance, Safeguarding and Behaviour, Teaching, Learning and Attainment, Health and Safety, The religious character of St John’s, and Leadership and Management. These deal with a vast range of decisions, such as setting the budget, looking at standards in key subject areas, setting ambitious academic targets for the year going forward, ensuring the School’s Christian values are embedded in all areas of the School, making sure Safeguarding is effective and a host of other things.
Each Governor is responsible for a curriculum area and a class. Here they will liaise with staff member responsible and have a knowledge of how a subject is taught, what attainment is like, how those with different abilities are helped and developed, and what the children think. They will come and do prearranged visits twice, or so a year. These are not to judge the quality of a lesson, but rather an opportunity to look and learn about what is going on. At the same time, they might have lunch with the children, or watch a playtime, perhaps visit a club; all opportunities to learn about St John’s and what goes on.
Governors are expected to complete formal training. These often consist of evening courses, or online training modules. It means Governors have the requisite knowledge to do their job, and to ensure the School is carrying out their statutory obligations.
All of this enable Governors, as I said, to know the School. Once they know it, they are able to help, to offer challenge, to be a critical friend to the School. It means the Governors become a key partner in driving the improvement of our School. Every year the Governors look at the School Improvement plan for the previous year and assess, with the Headteacher, what it achieved, and what is needed for the coming year.
It is a task that can seem endless, and often full of impenetrable acronyms! The truth is that whilst it maybe endless, it is also immensely satisfying because, in a small way, each Governor contributes to the improvement and development of the School. Each brings professional and life experience that, combined with knowledge of the School, drives our School forward.
St John’s is fortunate to have a dedicated group of Governors. Vacancies do arise from time to time. Do you have the time, energy, commitment, and desire to contribute to help us in our task?
This morning I went into St Johns for a Parents’ Forum meeting and had a great time beforehand walking around the school chatting to people and enjoying the wall displays. If as a parent or grandparent you have time to look at all the displays in the corridors and classrooms and to talk to the children about them you will find they have learnt so much from putting these displays together. In the corridor on the walls today there were displays on Stem Week, newspaper articles on Tudor times written by the children, Year 6 photos and profiles, a 3D display on building bridges, examples of good work, Spanish vocabulary and a great deal of art work. This continued into the classrooms with River Science, Creation and Science along with plenty of visual help for Maths and English. It is certainly one of my great pleasures to peruse and learn from all this work. So next time you are in school if you have the time look around and talk to the children about their fantastic displays of work. This is also yet another example of the impressive diversity of the teachers.
A great atmosphere on the fields in the sun during lunch break today.
There are Adele, Sam and Megan in the middle of a crowd of children who are watching them face paint or hair style with gel to look like famous footballers all to raise money for a great cause, the World Wildlife Fund.
I have to say it was all very efficiently organised, with lots of advice from the spectators on how it should be done. A great start to half term.
Another highly successful event organised by Clare Strange. Around 2pm
16 Schools start arriving at Ratnor House School with 400 children in 2
Age Groups ready for 4 Races.( Forms 3/4 Boys and Girls—– Forms 5/6
Boys and Girls ) Each team has 6 children, the 1st 3 count for scoring. It was a perfect
afternoon for the races in front of a large number of spectators. St.
John’s give their all and the outstanding team were the Boys 3/4 who came
2nd in the team event with Bailey coming 3rd in the race.
Always great to see everyone encouraging eachother and enjoying the afternoon.
The second New Parents Open Morning took place on Monday. Altogether
well over 60 families have now been shown round the school and there is
one more morning to come. Coffee,tea and cake prove a popular start and
Sally gives an overview of the school and it”s ethos and values with
Sophie Allen explaining the beginning of school life for their children
in Reception. It is then left to Form 6 to tell the families all about
life throughout their years at the school and take them into each
classroom to introduce them to the teachers.
This is always an interesting morning with many questions asked and
answered with everyone going away feeling much more relaxed about the
whole process. It appears they were certainly impressed with the home
made Sally cake as well as all they saw and heard in the school.