I have a number of whole school items to update you on.
Parking for parents at start/end of day
This is proving difficult for approximately 26 of our families. The problem is that there are no allocated parking spaces outside the school. Peter, Chair of Governors, and myself have finally met with Officers from the Council (they cancelled before). They tell us there is no quick or easy solution unfortunately. However, following our meeting, I have written to the relevant Officers/Councillor to explain why we need help with this. I will update you as soon as possible. I had an immediate and positive response from a Councillor so I hope that will lead to a resolution.
Our target is 94%. We are currently at nearly 91%. This is an improvement but we still need to do more. 19 pupils have hit 100%, which is fantastic. Class teachers and Heads of School will be working with you to help you improve your child’s attendance, if that is needed.
Our last meeting was held on 26 November. Some actions we agreed were to:
- explore family access to the school at weekend. Dahlia, parent of Layanne in Yellow class, has met with Clare, Business Manager, and will be contacting you re planning some Sunday sessions as a trial in the New Year;
- improve our communications systems – we have taken action in school to make sure letters go home on time and events are published in advance; we are pushing RM, our IT providers, to get Fronter working more easily, so you can see your child’s work on line;
- set up “resource making” groups in each school – we need help with this. Our children need “tailor made” resources and that is time consuming. What we want in each school is a group of 6-8 parents who can come in regularly eg once a fortnight for 2 hours to make these learning resources. You will have the benefit of learning what to make and how and then being able to use them at home; we will have the benefit of a continual resource making group to help our children learn even better; it will be fun and you will get to know each other better – everyone wins. Parent reps will meet with Heads of School to get this established in the New Year;
- identify training/research, offered by the school for our staff that might be of interest to some parents – shared learning. Margaret, Director of our Development and Research Centre will be in touch;
Two pupils came to ask if we could have a school uniform. I agreed to carry out a survey of parents, staff and students in each class. Please would you complete the attached questionnaire and return it to school before the last day of term.
This term, we have been recognised by the British Council for our outstanding international partnerships, with schools in other countries. In addition to being reaccredited for the International Schools Award, we won the special needs category for the HSBC/British Council ‘Link2Learn’ Award, which acknowledge us as the 2013 UK Special Needs School of the Year with the most effective and successful global links. Since September 2012, our international work has been led by Tracy, our Leader on Curriculum and Assessment. Highlights of our international work have included connecting with schools in other countries through Skype and e-twinning, and organising exchange visits between a group of our learners, and young people from Sweden.
We have links with countries all over the world, including Sweden, Bangladesh and Ghana, and have a teacher from Denmark, currently on a 10-month placement at Swiss Cottage. In addition, we are part of various international networks, committed to the continued development of special education everywhere, and we hold an annual International Evening at the school to celebrate the ‘global’ nature of the Swiss Cottage school community.
This year for the first time, our learners have designed Christmas cards which have gone on sale, professionally printed, in packs of 12 for £5.00. There has been great interest and we have raised £192. There were also mugs and gift tags for sale which were available to view via a website link. Thank you for supporting us.
Swiss Cottage Christmas Fair
As you will no doubt know, our Christmas Fair is on Sunday 15 December from 12 – 3 and parents are working hard to make it a really nice day. Please join us if you can! We are also seeking donations of surprise jars (filled with sweets or other small treats) for our Surprise Jar Tombola and donations of things in bottles (wine, ketchup, bath oil, etc) for our bottle tombola. Raffle tickets are on sale and we have lots of great prizes so please buy some and sell to your friends and family.
Raffle tickets can be bought from the main reception and are £1 each. The prize draw will be held on Thursday 19 December. Raffle prizes include a top prize of a 3 night weekend or 4 night mid-week break for four in a holiday cottage; £500 worth of John Lewis vouchers; £50 voucher to Banana Tree Restaurant; five £65 vouchers for a family portrait and print; 1 meal platter voucher from Nandos; a £30 voucher from Yo Sushi; £50 worth of vouchers from Me Love Sushi; 2 cinema tickets for Everyman Cinema; 1 hour session with a celebrity personal trainer; whole foods hamper; Kiehl’s gift basket; 3 bottles of champagne and many more prizes.
All classes are busy trying to make this an enjoyable and memorable time for our children. Staff and children are busy rehearsing for our Christmas concerts. Performances will take place on the following dates/times and I hope to see as many of you as possible:
Tuesday 17 December @ 11am
Middle School: Palm, Beech, Sycamore, Oak, Elm and Chestnut classes
Tuesday 17 December @ 2pm
Middle School: Willow, Maple, Holly, Redwood, Spruce and Pine.
Wednesday 18 December @ 11am
Lower School: All Lower School classes
Wednesday 18 December @ 2pm
Finally may I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy and peaceful two week break and I look forward to seeing you all back on 6 January.
Very best wishes
Dates – reminders
Last day of term: Friday 20 December 2013
First day of term: Monday 6 January 2014
Christmas Fair: Sunday 15 December 2013
Next training day – school closed to pupils: Monday 3 February. Staff will have focussed learning visits to other relevant organisations, or be training in school