Work continues offsite preparing our new modular building, and now over the last few weeks we have started to see some of the early preparation work in the school grounds. During February half term a few trees were removed (new ones will be planted after completion of the project) and at the beginning of March a new pathway built. We were fortunate in securing the services of a volunteer from The Hedgehog Hospital at Shepreth Wildlife Park, who together with our site manager from Willmott Dixon (WD), inspected our old mobile classrooms to ensure there were no hedgehogs living underneath. We are pleased to say we have been given the all clear in readiness for their demolition.
There has been plenty of other activity over the last few months, most of which goes unseen. This includes :-
– Mrs Driver has met with Herts Catering, who provide all our lunches, and Herts County Council (HCC) about the kitchen facilities to ensure there is sufficient equipment and capacity to cater for over 400 children.
– Mrs Driver and Ian Hankin have been meeting every month with the Architect, representatives from WD and HCC and will continue to do so, with the next meeting scheduled for during the Easter break.
– Ian Hankin has met with the SPA to discuss plans for the summer fete, in view of the reduced field space.
– Mr Burrows has met with numerous representatives from companies and the local authority, all who are involved in this project.
– Mrs Driver and Mrs Brown have selected colours for the flooring and walls in the new classrooms.
During the Easter break, it is planned that the constructor’s access road and compound will be established.
For those who are unfamiliar with a module build project, we understand from WD that it can be erected in a number of days and not weeks. Currently this is scheduled for around the end of May, but we will confirm the exact date nearer the time.
For such a large project some flexibility will be required, however we do continue to stress the importance in minimising disruption to the school and also to the local community at all meetings with WD and HCC (and would of course appreciate your patience/assistance with this).
Willmott Dixon have a dedicated site manager, Jack Wells, allocated to this project. Therefore, should you have a need to contact him on a building related matter, you can do so by calling 07976 548788 or emailing Jack.firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, Richard Wheeler, who is the Operational Manager of WD on 07813 444217 (Richard.email@example.com).
In January all Governors attended a Herts County Council (HCC) led course on Effective Governor visits. This provided insight into the good practice in Governing Body planning and reporting visits, in conjunction with Ofsted guidelines. Our next group training is in June, when HCC will deliver their Safeguarding Children/Child Protection course, which all Governors must complete every three years.
Ian Hankin, Funda Shibli and Catherine McIntosh have been involved in three recruitment days held over the last few weeks. On each occasion a number of candidates were assessed and interviewed. Congratulations to Miss Ayliffe who was successful against a very strong field of candidates and will become our new Deputy Headteacher from September. We are also looking forward to working with Miss Barnett, appointed as our new reception teacher and to Miss Vivian as our new Year 2 teacher, both will join us from September.
Thanks and Goodbye
We are sad to be saying farewell to Mrs Grundon, who has been clerk of the Governing Body for 14 years and a valuable member of staff for 27 years. We wish Janet well in her retirement and would like to thank her for the tremendous contribution she has made to the school.
We are again indebted to our excellent SPA, who have held two fantastic events in recent months. The first was a family bingo night in February (with a very dodgy caller) and the second, a Race Night in March, which we understand raised £1,000 for school funds. Our sincere thanks to the committee for organising the events and to all who attended.
Congratulations to everyone who has represented the school in any recent event. In particular well done to our Table Tennis team who attended the Zonal Final in London and the Lacrosse team who won the local tournament and are now waiting to see if they progress onto East of England or National Finals. Our thanks as always to the teachers and teaching assistants who give up their own time to organise and attend these activities.
Budget announcement – Academisation
We are mindful of the recent Government budget proposal to legislate that all schools in England should become academies by 2022. Ever since the first academies were established back in 2000, the concept has been an agenda item for us on a yearly basis, so that we ensure we continue to monitor if there would be significant benefits in changing to academy status. At this point in time, we have no plans to do anything different than to continue to monitor the situation and discuss as a Governing Body.
Please be mindful of our neighbours, when dropping off and collecting from school, by not blocking the pathways or parking across driveways. Thank you.
We hope this newsletter has been of interest to you. Please email us with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.