Welcome back from the summer break, or welcome to Swiss Cottage, if your child has just got a place here.
You will get newsletters from all sorts of people at Swiss. Those from me give the overview. Others give more specific information.
BAM, our contractors, have been busy over the summer fixing some things that have not been working properly as yet. They still have a lot to do.
One thing we are very pleased about is our new café on the 4th floor set to open this week. Kath is our Café Manager. The café is for staff and visitors to the school. It will also provide work experience places for some of our Upper School students. Kath will shortly be advertising for volunteers and asking you, as parents, to volunteer some of your time to serving in the café. Please let me know if you are willing to volunteer some regular time. Café hours are likely to be between 8.00 am and 4.00 pm initially.
Our 3 bed flat will also come into use this year. We plan to use this resource to teach our Upper School students how to become as independent as possible. This will include some overnight/weekend stays eventually. As this is such a new development, we will take our time to make sure we get it right – pupil safety will be paramount. It will be used in conjunction with our Life Skills room, which is already timetabled for all students in the school, and our Vocational Room.
Some Key Curriculum Developments for this year
- Literacy/Communication/Numeracy – will be continued in the classroom spaces, so that this important work is more embedded in classroom practice and available to all students.
- PMLD/SLD/MLD curricula are being refined and further developed to ensure they meet the needs of our pupils, whatever their disability.
- 16-25 provision at the old Jack Taylor site: Camden have secured funding from the Government to develop this provision, which will be for some of our students with the most challenging needs. This is excellent news, and we are beginning work with Camden on appropriate provision for the rest of our 16 – 25 year olds so that all our students have appropriate pathways until at least 25 years old.
Health provision at Swiss Cottage
We are very fortunate in having a lot of Health funded provision on site. However, we have still much to do to make this as coherent and reliable as we want it to be. Work is continuing between Health and us, and I hope to be able to report significant developments shortly.
Parent – school relationships
Each class elects a parent representative to serve on the Parent Council. The role of the Parent Rep is to act as a link between the Council and the other parents in the class; and also to work with each class teacher, to set up a series of events across the year to encourage and enable all parents to get involved in their children’s learning experiences in school.
The first meeting is on Tuesday 24 September at 10.30 – 12.00. If you would like to be part of this, please let your class teacher know today. It’s urgent! You are most welcome.
If you haven’t already, you will also be hearing from your Head of School about how you can get involved with events they will be running, often linked to the class events.
Finally you will also hear from Lucy, Robert and Sandra about events they have organised across the school year.
Communication grid – who to speak to if you have a problem
- For day to day matters about your child = class teacher
- For concerns about your child = class teacher = Head of School
- For serious concerns about any aspect of provision = Kay
After school/holiday provision
Our longer term vision is that there will be after school, Saturday and holiday provision for all children at Swiss Cottage.
Where we are up to at present, is that we provide some after school, Saturday and holiday provision for some children. They tend to be for our children with the most complex needs who are funded through “short breaks”, and some of our Middle/Upper School more able children. This year, this provision will be costed and children who attend will need to pay something towards the cost. Joe will provide details of these costs and it will start in the week of 23 September.
A reminder to update you. 1% of our pupils last year attended every day of the year and 135 pupils achieved 94% or above. This is excellent attendance, and what we would like every child to do. We appreciate that some of our children have medical conditions which make this harder to achieve. Unfortunately we still have a number of families who take family holidays during term time. Although personally I understand why, as a school we are not permitted to authorise this absence. Camden has asked all its schools to notify parents that they intend to increase their fines for parents who ignore the advice and continue to take their children out of school in term time.
Parent contact details
It is essential that we have your current contact details – address, phone, email. Please ensure that you notify us if any of your details change. We particularly want your email details, as we want to use this form of contact more often.
All parents now have access to Fronter. This enables you to contact class teachers easily and to look at your child’s work online. If you need training, our IT team is rolling this out. Contact Ed on 020 7681 8080 extn 303.
Work is continuing on setting up the parent calendar. Access will be through Fronter once work has been completed.`
Staff training days
All schools have to close for 5 staff training days each year. We have used 3 already at the start of this year. We always try to attach them to holidays/weekends so that they are less disruptive to you and your children. Our next planned day is Friday 25 October ie just before half term. We have yet to schedule our final day, but will let you know in good time. At Swiss Cottage we provide high quality training and development for all of our staff on these days throughout the year, so that we can be sure that staff have the tools to deliver outstanding teaching and support to your children.
I hope that this newsletter finds you and your family well. We all feel excited at the prospect of a really good year at Swiss and working in partnership with you for the benefit of your child.
Action points for you now:
- Nominate yourself for Parent Council – if keen
- Book and pay for holiday provision – if applicable
- Aim for 100% attendance for your child – all
- Notify school of any changes to your contact details – all
- Try using Fronter or book training – all
- Put next training day for staff (25 October) for staff on your calendar – all