Parent Forum – Q&A – Summer Term 2022

F1, F2, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5

Are school hours returning from September?

We have decided to keep the staggered start to reduce the lining up process. This works really well for the younger children who may struggle with separating from parents and carers. However, there will be a change to the end of the day in that this will no longer be staggered. The end of the day and collection time for all children will return to 3.30pm, as it was prior to the pandemic.

Will there be a year 5 residential?

We are hoping that this is the case but we’re not sure how quickly this can come back. We are reviewing our options and will keep you updated.

What are you doing to improve the quality and choice of school lunches?

We are in constant communication with our caterers Edwards and Blake and have termly meetings to discuss the menu including what the children like and what they don’t. One particular suggestion is that we take pictures of the meals so the children see what they look like as sometimes macaroni cheese for example doesn’t look as it does at home. We encourage parents to discuss openly what the children like and don’t and are happy for feedback from home. We can open up a school meal survey in the next academic year as we have previously and discuss parent/carers comments with the caterers and ask for their resolutions on the quality and choice of school lunches.

What’s happening with PE Kit and trainers?

With the exception of the children in Early Years (F1 and F2), who should continue to wear their trainers daily, we are asking that, from September, children return to wearing their full school uniform, including shoes instead of trainers, every day.

In Early Years children will not require a P.E Kit for the Autumn Term – they will continue to take part in their P.E sessions in their uniform and trainers.

Key Stage 1 children (Year 1 and 2) will not be getting changed for P.E during the first half term; instead, they will just change into their trainers, which can either be left in school on their peg or can be brought in on their P.E days. We will be practising changing with the children in these year groups and ask for your help in increasing their independence with getting dressed and changed – this could be done by turning it into a fun challenge for them! This should enable them to get changed with greater ease and confidence when we come to using our full P.E kit after the October holiday.

In Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6), children will be expected to have a full P.E kit in school; they can leave this on their peg if they wish to but will be reminded to take it home each half term in order that it can be washed ready for the next half term.

Where do I go if I have a question for the office?

The lobby window (where Lucy sits) is wide open for business – please come and see us! There is no need to peek through the side window as in covid-times!

Will you keep afternoon breaks in KS2?

Yes. We have monitored the impact on learning both with and without a break and are confident that the short break in the afternoon has positive benefits.

How has the school caught up in covid terms? What steps are being taken to mitigate the covid gap academically?

This year, we’ve focused on skills that enable children to learn. While their ability to manage straightforward calculations and times tables seem largely unaffected, the childrens’ ability to solve problems and to apply their learning is less advanced. We have placed a large emphasis on reading this year. Maths will be a big focus in 2022/23.

Can anything be done to cap prices at Willow Garden – given the rising cost of living?

While we are sympathetic to the problems caused by the cost of living crisis (as it has affected all of us), the increase in prices has also hit schools as well as individuals. The school’s budget has not increased in line with the cost of living, so all of the costs to the school are now a significantly higher proportion of the budget than they used to be e.g. a box of paper (an essential for everyday use within the school) has now almost doubled in cost. While we would love to be able to reduce the costs to parents, any ‘savings’ made in one area will unfortunately and unavoidably have a knock-on effect on other areas of the school provision.

How does Willow Garden costs compare with other schools?

The costs for Willow Garden are regularly compared with the costs of other Breakfast and After School Clubs at other local schools to ensure that our prices are competitive with other providers. (Although it is worth noting that, in the same way that Willow Garden is only for pupils of Woodbridge Primary School, other schools do not have provision for children from other schools to attend their wraparound care). We have looked at the pricing structure many times and the current structure, with one club until 5pm and another to 6pm plus a third option for any children attending extra-curricular after school clubs such as tennis, football etc, is the simplest one that we can effectively manage without creating a huge amount of extra administration. (Some schools charge a blanket price for any amount of time in After School Club from 5 minutes to 2.5 hours).

Could Willow Garden tea be an opt in or opt out?

To make tea an opt in/opt out, we would need to provide additional registers of which children were entitled to food and would need to have all teas booked in advance for the month to enable the staff to shop effectively and the invoicing to be done correctly. It would also impact on the ability to provide food for children attending as adhoc bookings.

Most of the children are hungry after school and the light tea is intended more as a snack to keep them going rather than to completely replace the family teatime meal. The children are provided with a sandwich, (often made from one slice of bread folded in half), a small amount of fruit and a yoghurt. There is currently the option for them to have extra food if time and numbers allow and likewise no children are forced to eat tea if they do not want it! Parents can currently opt out of their child having the light tea, but the price of the session remains the same.

Could we hold a grounds clear-up day?

We recognise that our outdoor space could do with some TLC. Time and budget constraints have stopped us making any progress this year. However, if parents and carers wish to volunteer their time to clear up the grounds, then we would definitely be up for organising this! Jobs could be: removing the footballs from the pond, cleaning/mending the pirate ship, weeding the grounds, planting, watering, etc. This will be on the agenda for September and we would encourage a mass effort to get this done.