We close today for the Easter break. We return to school on Monday 15th April. I hope you have a safe and happy two weeks with your children.
A few updates:
Staff changes/new groups for September
You will have heard from your teacher/Head of School if there are changes to your son/daughter’s class after Easter. If you haven’t heard, assume that there are no changes and its business as usual.
We are also beginning to plan our class groups and teaching teams for September. This is a very complex process. We aim to match teachers/TAs strengths to the class groups and we aim to group children with others of similar levels/needs/strengths.
We are also being asked by Camden to go above our numbers as there are so many children who need a place here. We are hugely oversubscribed as always – places at Swiss Cottage are like gold dust!
Our 6th form provision
This was set up to provide places for our students with the most complex needs – PMLD, SLD, AS. Other students with moderate learning needs were expected to leave at 16 to go onto college places generally.
We are working with Camden on developing this provision further. We hope to be working with one or two local colleges to support the development of their staff in meeting our student needs. We are also beginning to work with Camden to make 6th form provision generally in Camden more accessible for our students.
The bottom line is as it has always been – we try to find the best placement for each student at age 16, and we are developing different paths to meet the different needs. This is a big area of development over the next few years, and we will continue to keep you informed. Eileen and Nikki are leading on this, together with Vijita.
Out of School Hours Provision
As you know, there is some after school, Saturday and holiday provision in place. We received funding for this from Camden through its Short Breaks Scheme, for children with the most complex needs. This provision is oversubscribed. We are also offering some provision for other groups in the school which we are funding. It is this provision we want to expand. Unfortunately it is very costly – approximately £1m per year – and we are working hard to raise the money. Some of it will need to come from families who use the scheme. We will ask parents who can afford to pay to do so. It will not cover the full costs, but will be a contribution towards it. We never want children to miss out on provision if parents really cannot afford it.
A good attendance at our last meeting. Next meeting is on Tuesday 7th May – we look forward to welcoming every class rep. Thanks to Joe and Robert for sharing their work with the Parent Council.
International Day/Evening – Tuesday 23rd April
This is being led by Tracy. All families are welcome. Tracy will send a letter just about this – she needs some cooks!
Four Swedish students plus their staff will be visiting Swiss Cottage the week beginning 22nd April and will take part in our international celebrations. Four students from Swiss Cottage will be visiting a city called Linkoping in Sweden in week beginning 13th May.
I will be working in Sweden on 15th, 16th and 17th May, speaking about Swiss Cottage at a very large (1,000+) international conference, and again from 20th – 24th May, working with groups of Headteachers.
Swiss Cottage is greatly admired in Sweden and they want to emulate us in their schools which is a great accolade. It generates a considerable additional income to the school, from me going there and then the number of Swedish staff who visit Swiss Cottage subsequently. I am booked up well into next year and am developing a new course for them in mentoring-coaching skills to improve the quality of teaching. I hope to secure that contract over the Easter holidays.
Good Schools Guide 2013 – 14
We had an article in the Good Schools Guide a few years ago. This is a prestigious, national publication. They asked to come in again last week to have a tour of our new school building, talk to some parents about their experiences of the school and talk to me.
They have written an even better article this time which we will share with you once it’s published. Many, many thanks to the four parents from the Parent Council who were able to give up over an hour of their time to speak to the journalist.
Details of how to access the Calendar for Parents can be found here.
Ed, one of our IT Curriculum Team is teaching parents in class groups to use Fronter, an online space which allows you to see your child’s work. We will be expanding the way in which Fronter works, allowing it to support photos and videos as well as written samples.
We greatly value you working alongside us. If we work together, it will mean the best opportunities for your son/daughter.
Parents – box making
Congratulations to the group of parents who have been working with City Lit tutors for the half term making beautiful boxes to keep treasured items in. I was very pleased to present them with certificates this week in their last session and to see the finished products.
Using our playground on Saturday
Some parents have suggested that they might run a group here on Saturdays. I need to find out if this is something you would like and also whether we can offer this to you (insurance etc). I will get back to you on this if there is enough interest.
There are still teething problems. BAM are working to get them sorted. We look forward to the day when all is working as we want it. When we reach that stage, we will have our formal opening ceremony – June or possibly September. Watch this space.
Our health provision is expanding and is currently recruiting three new nurses. We have two doctors and greatly expanded occupational therapy and speech and language teams. We also have new groups of staff starting – psychotherapists, a clinical psychologist and others. When all are in place, it will be a very large team and your child will benefit greatly.
We want our students to be as independent as possible and several senior students are currently having travel training. If your child is currently on Transport, and you think s/he could make his/her own way to school, please let us know. Places on the buses are only for our children with most complex needs.
•Thursday 28 March: 3:30 pm – last day of term
•Monday 15 April: 9:30 am – first day back
•Tuesday 23 April: International day/evening
•Monday 27 May: Friday 31 May – May half term
•Tuesday 23 July: Last day of term
•Monday 3 September: Start back to school. We will be planning some training days for the beginning of term, so we will notify you when your children return to school sometime that week.
Please check the Parents Calendar on line for more dates – lots happening!
Parents contacting the school
We know you like using the Home-School book. In addition, you can:
phone us: 020 7681 8080
email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
visit our website: www.swisscottage.camden.sch.uk