Summary of the parent survey

Thank you to the 98 parents/carers who took the time to complete the online survey. This is the highest number of responses we have had so far. We have 334 children in school, approximately 237 families, so this equated to a response rate of about 41% of our families.

The survey asks for opinions on the following areas:

• Satisfaction with the school curriculum, teaching, behaviour and communication with parents/carers;
• Perceived effectiveness of the school’s approaches on key issues such as anti-bullying, homework and SEN; 
• Perceptions of how well the school encourages children to work hard at school, be healthy and treat others with respect;
• Perceptions on progression, standard of teaching, happiness of child and support when joining the school and overall feeling of safety and care;
• Satisfaction with how the school creates a safe environment and provides a healthy dinner menu;
• Perceived effectiveness of school leaders;
• Overall satisfaction with the school;
• Open responses to what parents really like about the school and what the school could improve on. 

Overall, we are very pleased to see that the responses are overwhelmingly positive. A vast majority of parents, when providing a response to a question, expressed agreement. Particular strengths are: 

• Staff have high expectations of pupils to work hard and do their best (100%)
• Pupils are taught well at William Ransom (100%)
• The school encourages pupils to attend regularly and punctually (100%)
• The school informs parents about their child’s progress (100%)
• Behaviour in school is good (99%)
• Staff encourage pupils to become mature and independent (99%)
• The school makes sure that children are well prepared for the future (100%)
• Pupils are happy and enjoy going to school (99%)
• The school is led and managed effectively (99%)
• The school has an effective Governing Body (100%)
• Parents are happy with their child’s experience at the school (99%)
• The school teaches children to persevere when they find their work hard (98%)
• The school teaches pupils to respect people from different backgrounds, races and religions (98%)
• Parents feel that their child is safe and well cared for at William Ransom (96%)
• Parents feel their child is making progress (99%) 

Thank you for all your comments on what you really like about the school. Mrs Driver and Governors read all the comments and take these on board when looking at ways to improve the school. 

Some topics which came up a few times were: homework in Reception, wraparound care provision, communication from school and equal opportunities for all.

1. The homework in Reception class can seem overwhelming initially, however, a consistent approach can make the experience positive for all and it is important that children get into the habit of doing homework. Please do not hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher if you need support, advice or different strategies to help at home. The outstanding success of William Ransom children is assisted hugely by the effort of the positive homework habits created in Reception. Our school community strives for our children to achieve an early solid foundation in literacy and numeracy because these skills allow children free and independent access to all curriculum subjects and act as the keys to unlocking a love of learning as well as success in KS2 and beyond. 

During this year, we received a letter from the Director of Education Services, HfL, congratulating the Early Years staff on their great success of getting so many children to “A Good Level of Development” by the end of the Reception year. They were so impressed that they sent an EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) advisor to find out what we are doing that is so successful and part of the success lies in pupils securing their knowledge and understanding through consolidated learning at home. In the new Ofsted framework for 2019, it states that inspectors will be looking for: 

‘learners who are committed to their learning, know how to study effectively (there are clear links here to the cognitive science research that Ofsted have been taking notice of), are resilient to setbacks and take pride in their achievements’ 

Please speak to your child’s class teacher if you feel your child is not coping well with homework and the class teacher will suggest ways of managing time and tasks effectively so that doing homework is a more positive experience for all involved. 

2. Wraparound care provision has been a key issue for many parents, particularly over recent years, and especially for working parents. Appreciating the increased demand for and limited provisions available in Hitchin, after a rigorous selection process, Mrs Driver and Governors chose Brighter Days as the wraparound care provider from September 2019. Places are limited to 30 children and priority will be given to working parents in the first instance. We completely understand the pressure on working families and we hope that this will be of help to many of our parents. Please remember that Brighter Days is a separate business and all questions/concerns must be sent directly to them. 

3. Parents are kept informed of latest news and activities on a regularly basis through emails, Twitter, school website, Headteacher’s newsletters, weekly Stop Press and letters. The school tries to send out information ahead of events usually via the school calendar. We are always looking at ways to ensure parents are kept up to date with events and news and would welcome any suggestions you may have. Communication is a two-way process, therefore, we urge parents to check their emails regularly to ensure emails from school are being received and if you are not on Twitter then it may be something to consider in the future; you only need to use it for school. We also urge parents to check their child’s school bag every day even at KS2 as often letters get lost at the bottom! 

4. At William Ransom, we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers receiving services from our school, irrespective of race, gender, disability, faith or religion or socio-economic background. We aim to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which all those connected to our school feel proud of their identity and are able to participate fully in school life. 

We value the individuality of all our pupils, and we are committed to giving all our pupils every opportunity to achieve the highest of standards. We do this by taking account of pupils' varied experiences, skills and needs. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum and have high expectations of all pupils. The achievements, attitudes and well-being of all our pupils matter a great deal. 

All pupils have the opportunity to participate in clubs, music, sports and drama. All KS2 pupils are given the opportunity to audition for parts in the summer show and all pupils are given the opportunity to participate fully in class assemblies and Christmas shows. The opportunity to be picked for a school team is given to all pupils and we often have A teams, B teams and even C teams to allow many pupils to represent the school at sporting events. We are always delighted to see many of our pupils taking part in competitive sports and auditioning for the school shows. 

Of course, not everyone can have a main part or be in the A team and part of a primary school’s job is to prepare pupils for life beyond Year 6 and as we know, life is competitive. Healthy competition inspires children to do their best as is evidenced when we meet other schools who have selected their best players to compete in Local, District or County competitions. When pupils compete, they will become more inquisitive, research independently, and learn to work with others. These abilities prepare children for future situations of all kinds. 

It is always a pleasure to see and read that so many parents/carers are delighted with the work that goes on in school. They appreciate all the hard work that goes into ensuring that their children are safe, happy and focused on their learning. 

‘Opportunities are created to encourage learning outside the classroom. Disciplined environment in the classroom whilst remaining nurturing. Children are encouraged to become more independent’ 

‘They seem to have a good understanding of my child, his personality, strengths and next steps for growth’ 

‘Education, the school culture, excellent teachers, rules, discipline, children respect their school and teachers. Children always happy to attend’ 

‘Level of commitment to the future of the kids. Strong headteacher who is visible and genuinely knows her pupils’ 

We value your comments and opinions and please rest assured that every concern is looked into and we hope that many more of you will take part in the next survey. 

Best wishes,
Funda Shibli
(Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of Learning and Teaching Committee)