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Henry Maynard Primary School and Nursery

Learning, Working and Achieving Together

Governors' Blog

November 2019

Information Technology now enhances all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional, to such an extent that programming knowledge is expected of candidates in most fields nowadays. Henry Maynard Primary School continues to develop and improve the manner in which children are taught computing. Scratch, developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is widely regarded as the best primer for programming. Underscoring the fun component of writing a game, children learn about the logic processes that govern all higher-level programming languages. Key Stage 2 children now have access to all new Chrome Book laptops where they can develop the knowledge gained from Scratch into languages such as Python, which since 2012 has taken over the world of programming and whose popularity continues to rise. Whilst the access technology gives certainly enhances our lives children must be trained to navigate the web safely. Henry Maynard Primary School deploys internet safety training for both children and parents as part of the integrated Safeguarding program. This program continuously develops as Safeguarding is one of the school’s principal pillars.

June 2019

Early language development is a crucial life skill for all children and a key determinant of broader child outcomes. Many children start school without meeting age related expectations in language development. This can hamper a child’s ability to understand what a teacher is saying, to express what it is they need help with and to make friends with other children – all of which put them at a disadvantaged from the start. It is really positive to see the efforts that staff at Henry Maynard are going to (despite decrease in funding), to help support children’s language development and also to help parents and carers better understand the important role that they play in that development:  From birth, parents and carers can foster children’s early language skills through responding to their babble and gesturing, playing games like peekaboo, making lots of eye contact and talking to them about everything and anything!  As babies become toddlers, parents and carers can support language development through time spent talking to children about the things they are interested in – whether it’s a bus, a leaf, a spoon or a nappy! By hearing words in context children are more easily able to learn the correct names for objects.  As children start to say the words for things themselves, parents and carers can repeat and expand on those words so that children build a richer vocabulary and also understand how the same words can be used in different contexts. Rather than telling children they’ve made a mistake in their use of language, parents and carers can recast what their child says more accurately so that they hear the correct expression without feeling like they’ve got something wrong. This also helps to keep the conversation flowing and shows the child that they’re being listened to. Supporting children’s language development doesn’t require any money or specific toys or structured activities. It’s all about spending quality time engaging in conversation with children, listening and responding to them - at home and whilst out and about doing everyday things like visiting the park or the supermarket. If any parent or carer would like support or advice on how to support their child’s early language development during the early years then please do speak to staff who can offer advice or provide information on other available services.

March 2019

As a Governor, one of my link roles is Healthy Schools and PE. During Governor’s Day in March, I met with Ms Thomas who leads in this area. We discussed the work the school is doing to ensure children are active during the day. The Government Childhood Obesity Plan sets out the ambition for all children to do 60 minutes of physical activity every day, with schools being responsible for delivering 30 of these active minutes. Active 30:30, developed by the Youth Sport Trust, helps schools to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity outside of timetabled curriculum PE. We use colour-coded timetables to monitor how active children are in lessons at various times of the year. The school also looks to influence the remaining 30 active minutes outside of school. This includes after school clubs and connections with local community groups. As parents, we also have an important role to play. The school is working towards the Healthy Schools London silver award, with a focus on inclusion to promote mental wellbeing and ensure all children feel accepted for who they are or who their family are. Ms Thomas is leading efforts towards an LGBT friendly schools award with the East London Out Project. It was great to hear about the work being done to understand stereotypes and to address these through teacher training, improved anti-bullying policies and monitoring activities. In addition to meeting with Ms Thomas, I observed two PE classes (year 2 and year 5) and enjoyed a lunch with children in year 4. It was fantastic to see the children engaged, happy and working and socialising well together. As always, the school community felt incredibly welcoming.

November 2018: IT

Developing good computer skills will be fundamental to our children’s education, careers and personal lives whichever paths they choose to follow in the future. At Henry Maynard Primary School, computing is both a subject in its own right as well as a tool to enable greater learning in a number of other subjects. Over the last year, our Senior Leadership Team have been working hard to transform both the IT infrastructure across the school and the level of computing learning provided to the children. All classrooms from year 1 through to year 6 now have visualisers. Visualisers allow teachers and children to demonstrate work which is then magnified and projected onto the white board for the whole class to see and learn from. A year 6 teacher told us: “It allows me to give feedback to the whole class instantly.” A year 6 pupil said: “We get to share our work with everyone and we can work together to celebrate it and improve it.” Following successful fund-raising events, the Friends of Henry Maynard School (FoHMs) have been able to purchase 15 new laptops for Addison Road. These will make a real difference for our children’s learning and get them ready for greater computer skills required as they prepare to start secondary school. The school is migrating to the Office 365 on the cloud and this will support reducing teacher workload through shared planning and resources online and ensure compliance with GDPR in not using USB sticks. The new school app is now live, if you have not updated your devices please contact the office for more information.

How can you get involved?

If you’re part of the school community and currently work in IT, programming, film etc and would be willing to come in to school to show the children your work and raise their aspirations about the type of work they could do in the future with good computing skills please contact Nicola Wilson, Head of School for Maynard Road or Dan Crome, Year 6 Lead and Year 5 and 6 AHT through either site office.

Does your company have a corporate social responsibly scheme?

Would they be interesting supporting our school to buy more equipment for our children or target IT learning?

If they would please contact Nicola Wilson, Head of Maynard Road site, Dan Crome, Year 6 Lead and Year 5 and 6 AHT through either site office or Louise Brent, Parent Governor and link governor for computing (l.brent@henrymaynard.waltham.sch.uk).

October 2018: Science

Science is an important subject that enables all pupils to explore the world around them. At Henry Maynard Primary School, science is one of our core subjects. Children are encouraged to question how things work, make predictions about what might happen, use evidence-based justification, develop analytical skills to interpret each experiment result and learn how to use equipment safely. In May 2017, four children in year six entered into a science competition at Forest School. The competition involved our children applying their scientific enquiry skills to a range of different problems, including investigating poison apples for Snow White! All staff and governors were proud when the children returned to school having just missed out on first place by a fraction of a point - achieving second place across eight schools. We are looking forward to participating in future completions throughout the borough. Other projects from 2017-18: The school held a Key Stage 2 (year 3 to 6) wide science exhibition commemorating the life and contributions to science of Stephen Hawking – it was fantastic to see all the amazing creative efforts of the children and the exhibition was well received from the parents who came to look during the last open evening of the academic year.

How can you get involved?

This year the school are exploring creating an outdoor learning space at Addison Road for the use of all children across the two sites. We are looking for help in designing and building the area, as well as looking for ways to raise funds for the equipment required. If your part of the school community and have skills and knowledge that could support this project please let James Ellis, Head of Science or Louise Brent, Parent Governor know. (The best way to contact us is through the school office at either site).

Some ideas for Science at home:

 https://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/blog/easy-cool-science-experiments-forkids

 

 http://www.rigb.org/families/experimental

June 2018

It is always a pleasure to be invited into a classroom to observe the quality of teaching and students learning. I was able to observe a trainee teacher and a qualified teacher during the course of the day and was impressed by the high standards achieved by the trainee. 800 words max. What is so obvious is the level of enjoyment and engagement of the students in lessons. It is good to see the ‘forest of hands’ that go up in response to the teachers questions. Students display the confidence in their understanding to give extended answers and make conceptual connections. The use of ‘talk partners’ means that even the boys approach written activities with enthusiasm. It is good to see school policies being applied in context and the students’ books show evidence of the use of formative assessment and targets to improve work. Even at lunchtime students proved keen to discuss their learning and homework assignments with two young girls demonstrating a knowledge of the names of a remarkable number of Shakespeare’s plays. In the playground a group of students practiced together singing ‘We will rock you’ for a performance at the end of the year, without a teacher being present to supervise!

March 2018: Online Safety

At Henry Maynard, we take the safeguarding of children very seriously. The use of technology is a significant component of many safeguarding issues and the school has a distinct online safety policy here. This empowers us to protect and educate the whole school community in the use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate.

As technology now reaches every aspect of our lives, we as Governors want to support parents to help keep your children safe online. We hope this post provides some useful guidance on online safety for parents.

What are the risks online?

There are three areas of risk, known as the 3 C’s:

  1. Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material (views or receives). This includes hate content, lifestyle websites that promote harmful behaviours and ‘fake news’.
  2. Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users (participates). This includes cyber bullying, grooming (sexual exploitation, radicalisation etc.) and identity theft, including passwords.
  3. Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm (acts or behaves). This includes aggressive behaviours (bullying), sexting, privacy issues (e.g. disclosing personal information), digital footprint, online reputation, and health and well-being (time spent online, gambling, body image).

What can parents do?

Your children’s interactions online can feel like a sensitive topic. However, technology plays a huge role in every aspect of their lives, so don’t be afraid to take the same active interest as you do with their offline activities. Talk to them about their digital life and agree ground rules that balance the need to keep them safe and the benefits that technology offers. Use tools available to you and know where to go for more help if you need it.

 

Here are five actions to consider:

Open and honest dialogue. Connect with your child by talking regularly about how they use technology.

· Find out what their digital life is like – What do they do online? How does being online makes them feel? Ask them to share with you their favourite things to do online.

· Show an interest in who their friends are online and ask how they decide who to be friends with. Children don’t think of people they have met online through social networking and gaming as strangers – they are just online friends. Point out that it’s a lot easier for people to lie online than it is in real life.

· Discuss the risks (the 3 C’s). Talk to them about what to do if they see worrying or upsetting content or if someone contacts them and makes them feel anxious. Encourage your child to tell you if anything makes them uncomfortable or upset.

· Talk about the importance of not giving anyone any personal information, such as their phone number, school or address, or meeting up with anyone they don’t know in real life.

· Encourage them to think critically of online content and discuss how to check its authenticity and accuracy.

 

Family agreement. The online world is an increasingly large part of modern family life, so it makes sense to approach it as a family. Make a pledge together on how as a family you’re going to use the internet safely and positively.

· Consider the amount of time they can spend online and times for switching off (e.g. nighttime and mealtimes). Remember that to model good behaviour, the same rules also need to apply to you!

· Consider the websites they visit and the activities they take part in – what is acceptable and not acceptable?

· The minimum age for using most social media accounts is 13 years old (Whatsapp is 16 years old) so pupils at Henry Maynard shouldn’t be using them. Twitter is the only one that doesn’t ask your age when you sign up. For older siblings, try to be ‘friends’ with your child on social media. If they resist, ask a friend or family member you both trust to try.

 

Tools available. There are lots of tools to help you manage access to online content and devices used by your family. Ensure that your child knows how to make use of safety tools such as blocking and privacy settings on any communication channels they use.

· Install parental controls to filter or restrict what your child can see online.

o All mobile network providers provide parental controls (some will have these on as default, but others you will need to request to be turned on).

o Internet service providers (ISPs), such as Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Sky or BT, also provide parental controls devices that connect to the internet.

o Some devices also have options to switch off the internet browser.

· Keep devices secure by setting a password or PIN to protect personal information such as photos, videos and email and social media logins.

· Consider turning off location services.

· Keep personal information private by checking the privacy settings on your child’s social media accounts

o Twitter: You can ‘protect your tweets’ so the account is private. Your child will get a notification when someone requests to follow them, and they can accept or decline.

o Instagram: You can choose to only share with people approved to follow – select ‘Private Account’ in the options. Even with a public account, photos or videos can be shared with only a select group of people by tapping ‘Direct’ and selecting up to 15 people to send to.

o Facebook: NB Check the privacy settings to control who can see content and how your child connects with other people. Consider only letting ‘Friends’ see everything, ensure your child approves being tagged in posts (‘Privacy’ – ‘See More Settings – ‘Timeline and Tagging’ – turn on ‘Review posts friends tag you in’) and don’t allow them to appear in internet searches (‘Settings’ – ‘Privacy Settings’ - ‘Who can look me up?’ – remove tick so other search engines can’t link to the timeline).

· Ensure only minimal information is shared on social media accounts e.g. it is not recommended to share their mobile phone number on their Facebook profile even if their profile is private/set to ‘friends’ only.

 

Know how to report abuse.

· Try not to overreact if your child tells you about something they have seen. It’s great they have turned to you as a trusted adult. You might feel shocked and angry, but by dealing with it calmly your child will know they can turn to you again.

· Ask your mobile operator how you can report and block unwanted or abusive calls or messages.

· Make sure older children know how to report unwelcome contact. Many websites have tools to report abuse, as do social media:

o Twitter: To report a Tweet, go to the offending tweet, click on the ‘…’ and select ‘Report’. To report a Twitter user, go to their profile, click on the gear symbol and click report. You can also ‘block a user’ so they can’t follow or message you – click the gear symbol on their page and select ‘block’.

o Instagram: To report comments, tap Comment and swipe left (iOS) or tap on the comment (Android), and select ‘Delete and Report Abuse’. To block someone, go to their profile, tap the arrow (iOS) or vertical 3 dots (Android), and tap ‘Block User’.

o Facebook: To report posts, click on the drop-down in the corner of the post. To block a user, click on the cog icon on the front of their timeline. Children can get help from a parent, teacher or trusted friend by using the Social Reporting tool (helpful if the photo doesn’t break Facebook’s rules). It’s worth taking evidence using screenprints and then tracking progress of reports using the Support Dashboard.

 

If you come across illegal content, such as images of child abuse, you can report this to the Internet Watch Foundation at www.iwf.org.uk in the UK, and find details of other national hotlines at www.inhope.org.

If you suspect that your child is or has been the subject of an inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person you should report this to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre at www.ceop.police.uk in the UK, or internationally at www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com.

 

Get further help and advice. You are always there to help your child but make sure you know how to get support too. The school is here to help you, and here are some useful sources of further information:

· https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers

· http://www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers

· https://www.internetmatters.org

· https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk

· https://www.disrespectnobody.co.uk

 

Advice for devices:

· Smart phones: http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/beingsmart/

· Game consoles: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology/gaming-devices

· Tablets: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology/tablets

· Smart TVs: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology/smart-tvs

 

It’s natural to feel worried about the risks, but the online world is exciting and fun for young people, and it brings many opportunities. Like everything in life, it’s important to take a balanced approach. Enjoy using technology whilst staying safe online.

 

Post by Louisa Ziane, Parent Governor

February 2018: Happiness and safety

One of the Governing Body’s statutory (legal) responsibilities is safeguarding in the school. That means making sure that the school promotes the welfare of children and protects them from harm. To make sure that we are thinking about safeguarding from all angles, the safeguarding leads from the Governing Body met with the Henry Maynard School Council to talk about happiness and safety at school.

It was brilliant to hear that overall the pupils do feel happy and safe in school and in particular that they value the teachers and other staff and feel comfortable talking to them if they have any problems.

The members of the school council were articulate and engaging and the whole discussion was complementary and positive about all of the different measures that the school has put in place for supporting them.

One aspect of school that the council were particularly complementary about was the availability of the learning mentors and the Place2Be support network. Place2Be is the UK’s leading mental health charity who provide in-school support and expert training to help to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and staff.

The pupils said that Place2Be is good because:

“you can let everything out and talk” and;

“if you don’t want to talk you can draw a picture and sometimes they know what you’re feeling from that”.

As Governors we are hugely encouraged that students are so positive about how their wellbeing is supported at school and, as always, very impressed with the dedication of the school’s safeguarding leads.

January 2018: "Hello" from the Governing Body

Hi from the Governors at Henry Maynard. You may have noticed that we now have a Governors’ blog area on the website and I wanted to take a little time to explain the kinds of blog posts that you will be seeing from us. But first, it might be helpful to understand a little more about what the role of the Governing Body is. The role of the governing body is to set the strategic direction, vision and ethos of the school and to support the Mrs Adair as the Headteacher of Henry Maynard.

 

One of the things that parents said in the survey was that we as Governors are quite remote from parents and so we are launching the Governors’ blogs to help parents understand how we work with the school and also to show you some of the fantastic things that teachers at Henry Maynard are doing with the lessons and education that you may not be aware of.

 

There will mostly be two different kinds of blogs that we write as governors:

  1. Blogs based on Link Visit reports. Each of the Governors has a responsibility for different parts of the curriculum e.g. Science, Early Years, Pupil Premium. In order to understand how these parts of the school work we do a termly visit to see that part of the curriculum in action. For a full list of which governor is responsible for which subject, please have a look at the Governors page on the Henry Maynard website. The next link blog will be after a discussion with the school council about feeling healthy, happy and safe at school.
  2. Blogs about interesting resources that we may have found or topics that have been brought to our attention – keep an eye out for a blog on e-safety and making sure your kids are using technology and the internet properly. We may also use the blog to tell you about changes to government policy that could affect the school if there are big changes.

 

We look forward to you reading more about what we do as Governors and if you have any questions about the blogs or our work or any suggestions for information that you think governors should be writing about please drop us an email at school@henrymaynard.waltham.sch.uk.

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