Annual survey of parents / carers 2018 – results

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Thank you to all of you who completed the Summer 2018 parent / carer survey. This year, the number of responses dropped a little: 77 of you gave us your feedback, and these spread very evenly across all the classes.

Below is a summary of what you’ve said. Lots of you added some comments after each question; we’ve included here just one or two that represent typical responses.

Please do remember that what you say is important to us. We can’t guarantee we can accommodate everyone’s wishes or opinions expressed in the survey, but we do guarantee we consider each one. And don’t forget: if you have any questions, comments or concerns, do speak with your child’s class teacher or to Miss Hague, our Head of School. They’re often around at the start and end of the school day.

1. My child is happy at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School.
92% agreed or strongly agreed – this is just a little lower than the 2017 figure.
Of the eleven comments, seven were positive:
‘My daughter has lots of friends at school and is happy with the teachers and staff she has currently.’
‘My two [children] have just started this school and they love it. It feels so much better than at their old school.’
The remaining comments were also positive, but with some apparently minor concerns that didn’t seem to be causing the respondents undue concern. However, we encourage any parent / carer to alert us if their child doesn’t seem as happy to come to school as they might: we want Scholes (Elmet) Primary to be a happy and healthy place to learn.

2. My child feels safe at this school.
96% agreed or strongly agreed and the remaining three respondents indicated they weren’t sure. This is a slight increase from 2017, which is encouraging.
All the comments were positive. It’s also really encouraging that some commented about staff addressing issues effectively:
‘If there are ever any issues I and my child feels there are many valuable support mechanisms in place.’

3. My child makes good progress at this school.
We’re really pleased to see a marked improvement here: 91% agreed or strongly agreed, up from 74% in 2017. The increase reflects the efforts we’ve made since our Ofsted inspection – new initiatives and hard work from all the teaching staff.
Despite the much better results here, this statement also prompted comments which included some concerns. Not all of the concerns related to progress, but those that did were often quite specific to one area. Some were apparently contradictory, too – one parent described progress in Maths being strong and another thought her child had progressed better in English.
We’ll review the comments, especially if they can be traced to particular classes.

4. My child is well looked after.
97% agreed or strongly agreed – another slight improvement. One respondent disagreed (please talk to us about your concerns so we can try to resolve these) and one wasn’t sure.
Comments here are varied. One area that was mentioned twice is more adults to supervise at lunchtimes – we agree and we’re trying to address this in two ways: new teaching assistants are expected to work at least part of the lunchtime, and continued recruitment of lunchtime supervisors.

5. My child is taught well at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School.
92% agreed or strongly agreed. This was another statement that has seen the proportion in agreement jump considerably: it’s up from 76% last year, and again reflects the big improvements we’re making in school.
‘There is always room for improvement which you seem to be implementing all the time. Keep up the good work.’
It’s great to read praise for individual teachers, such as…
‘Miss Bainbridge has done a great job getting them prepared and confident for SATS.’
‘Mr Gathercole is a brilliant teacher…’
‘Mrs Flynn is a fantastic teacher; when they have stay and take part session I always feel she is great at capturing the children’s attention and my son speaks so highly of her and with such excitement of everything he learns.’
It’s also important to note positive comments about things which can concern some parents / carers…
– mixed age classes: ‘I was worried about Mrs Latham’s split class but [my son] has done very well there.’
– part-time teachers sharing a class: ‘At the moment my daughter has two excellent teachers.’
Out of many positive statements, there was only one that was critical, and it concerns an incident we would have been able to address at the time. If you have any specific questions, comments or concerns, please do raise this with teachers or Miss Hague at the time.

6. Adults in school make sure pupils are well behaved.
Positive responses to this statement have increased steadily over the past couple of years. Now, 90% agreed or strongly agreed – an increase of seven % points from 2017.
As with statement 4, comments here also referred to lunchtimes – we’re trying to address this (see previous response).
Other comments referred to specific individuals and it would be unfair to include any remarks here, other than say we work closely with many different support agencies with the aim of making sure all our pupils are as well behaved as possible.

7. Scholes (Elmet) Primary School deals effectively with bullying. (Bullying includes persistent name calling, cyber-bullying, racist and homophobic bullying.)
58% agreed or strongly agreed.
Of the remaining respondents, all but four indicated they weren’t sure. It’s quite typical that there is a large proportion of parents / carers who indicate they are unsure  – respondents cite the reason for this being that their child hasn’t encountered bullying: ‘My children not had any experiences of the above for me to be able to answer’.
We’re also reassured that comments included some that expressed confidence that we would address the issue: ‘Luckily, neither of my children have been the victim of bullying in the extreme. However, whenever there have been low lying issues and I have needed to speak to school, I feel that any issues have been dealt with and concerns listened to.’
Around the same proportion as in 2017 disagreed with the statement. We want to address these sort of concerns – please do make sure you speak with Miss Hague about concerns you may have.
Incidentally, it’s always worth mentioning two core ‘STOP’ messages about bullying. We define bullying as upsetting or harmful behaviour which is Several Times On Purpose, and we encourage children to Start Telling Other People before it becomes a problem. Please help us reinforce this message at home, too.

8. The school is well led and managed.
88% agreed or strongly agreed. Whilst there’s still room for improvement, this statement is one which has increased a lot: 62% in 2016 and 73% in 2017.
In Miss Hague’s first full year as Head of School, it’s great to note that most of the comments praise her:
‘Miss Hague and Mr Roundtree lead the school well and are making great changes. They are both available to speak to and I particularly like that they spend time outside at the beginning and end of the day.’
‘I also think Miss Hague is an excellent head and is very approachable.’
‘Miss Hague is a very approachable and responsive head.’
Two other comments raised some concerns about our school being part of a federation (for example: ‘I think more can be done to communicate the benefits of being a federation’). The federation is something that governors and school leaders review regularly, and it was mentioned by our School Improvement Advisor in his final report of the year (June 2018): ‘The federation has benefited each of the three schools involved – allowing the sharing of good practices, CPD, leadership development and moderation. The Executive Headteacher utilises the skills of his extended middle and senior leadership team well’. As well as the benefits listed here, there are economies to be made when we share resources or buy a service as a group of three schools (theatre groups visiting us, for example).

9. The school responds well to any concerns I raise.
This is another area that’s increased quite a lot: 73.0% agreed or strongly agreed in 2017, and now 86% do (9% didn’t know, presumably because most have not had any reason to raise a concern, and 5% disagreed). Concerns include what the respondent felt to be an unsatisfactory outcome and the need to follow-up an issue. Most comments were positive: ‘I feel confident to give feedback and things have been changed as a result’.

10. I receive useful information from the school about my child’s progress.
83% agreed or strongly agreed – this is almost 20 % points more than last year’s 64% figure, and that was almost double the 2016 proportion.
Most concerns stem from parents’ / carers’ meetings, and we’re acting on what you say. Concerns often referred to the time gap between updates on your child’s progress. To help, we’re going to tweak what we do so that parents’ evenings are still towards the end of Autumn 1 and Spring 1, but we’ll supplement this with the Learning Updates being sent home in Autumn 2 and Spring 2 rather than during the parent-teacher meetings. This means you’ll be updated on progress five times in the year: every half term in Autumn and Spring, and then the annual report in Summer (and you’re welcome to make an appointment to discuss the report, too). Realistically, we can’t act on every comment: one suggestion was longer time slots, but we’ve already increased these from five to ten minutes – a change that stemmed directly from last year’s survey. (You’re also welcome to arrange a longer meeting at a different time.)
There was quite a lot of praise for our website, which is great, because teachers invest time to post class news stories to keep you updated with the learning going on.

11. Would you recommend us?
 91% would recommend us. This is another area that shows a substantial increase – thank you. We’ll keep trying hard until we achieve 100%!

Finally, we asked you to tell us about things you like and the things we could improve on. 32 suggested areas we could improve on while 50 respondents listed something positive.

The things mentioned vary quite a lot in both lists. It’s worth noting that some things appear in both lists (especially homework, after-school clubs and communication), suggesting we’re not always going to be able to please everyone all the time!

Many of the areas that could be improved according to respondents have been mentioned already (communication, for example). Others include the cost of school trips, moving away from 2.30pm finish on Mondays and more competitive sports. We’ll review all the suggestions.

However, one thing we can’t change is the fact we currently have an intake of 45 and that means we have to have mixed age classes. We don’t see this as a major problem, other than in Maths and we’ve taken steps to address this in Key Stage 2 by employing a fourth teacher. We could change the organisation of classes (for example, we could organise to have fewer mixed age classes), but that can lead to just as many problems and concerns. Over time, we’re working hard to organise the mixed age classes more fairly, but if this is something that causes you concern, please speak with us to explore the issue.

Things you liked include the friendly atmosphere, the Living and Learning statements (and other values we promote), and the fact Miss Hague and teachers are visible:
‘I like everything about the school! Teachers and support staff are friendly, caring, supportive, approachable and deal with any issues quickly.
I also particularly like the new system of a specific homework book, and books for other subjects – it’s nice to be able to look through and see the progress your child is making during the year.
The management team/SLT are also fantastic!
Thank you :))’