Monthly Dispatches

When I received the call from Shirley a few weeks back to say that the inspectors were on their way (seems an age ago now, doesn’t it?) I won’t pretend that there weren’t a few butterflies in my stomach at the thought of being interviewed about being a governor at Long Lane.  The last (and only) time that I had been inspected by Ofsted was as a newly qualified teacher some eighteen years ago.  That experience of almost two decades ago had been a very positive one and so it was with this in my mind that I left my own place of work at St Andrew’s and drove steadily and resolutely down into Pangbourne and then up the long hill towards Long Lane.

     

But of course my butterflies must have paled into insignificance compared with how the teaching and support staff would have been feeling upon hearing the news of Ofsted’s imminent arrival.  A feeling of nervous tension may have existed, but I know from my own experience that this would have been mixed with feelings of anticipation, of excitement even at being given the opportunity to show Ofsted just how good a school Long Lane is.  The moment had finally arrived! 

The inspection team can only have been thoroughly impressed with how well the children are cared for and with how committed the teachers and support staff are to delivering an exciting, innovative and challenging curriculum that leads to the very best outcomes for all children in all years.  As we await the outcome of the inspection, all I can say is that I am proud to be associated with Long Lane and excited at the prospect of working more closely with the school in the coming months.  

 

Andrew Neil
Resources Governor

From bright bobble hats to emoji beanies, colourful headgear was very much the order of the day when I visited the school on a snowy January morning. Fresh from a bracing breaktime out of doors, the children were keen to kick off their wellies and get down to work, whilst efficient cloakroom captains made sure coats and boots were safely stowed and ready for lunchtime. Pupils clearly enjoy taking on responsibility and it was good to see our emerging leaders in action.

Curiosity and imagination, qualities that will take our pupils far at school and beyond, were much in evidence too, from the bold and beautiful mythical creatures on display in the library to the fascinating conversation about language and dialect in a literacy lesson. Mr Thorne and his staff are rightly committed to ensuring that the children develop their skills in spoken English, expressing their thoughts with clarity and confidence, so it was great to see enthusiasm for sharing their ideas in all the classes I visited. 

On a chilly day, a warming lunch of roast chicken with macaroni cheese and broccoli was just the ticket and the children were tucking in with relish as I set off. Walking back to the gate, I spotted the green shoots of daffodils pushing hopefully through the snow, signs of spring and of all the exciting times to come in the rest of this school year. I look forward to being part of it. 

jan cresswell

Jan Cresswell
SEN Governor

I would like to thank everyone for the warm welcome that I received when visiting the school back at the beginning of November.  Touring the school with Mr Thorne, I was constantly impressed with how on task and focussed all of the children were; each class that we visited was a real hive of activity thanks to what is clearly a well-embedded phonics programme.  

I also saw the track in action during break-time, albeit at a slightly slower speed than perhaps it was designed for, and it was great to see the myriad happy faces passing me by for the third, the fourth, the fifth time… 

Being new to the role as Governor I am enthusiastic to set the strategic direction of the school and ensure we spend our financial resources in a balanced way to impact every pupil in a positive way. 

Andrew Neil
Resources Governor

While writing this I am covered in dust and cobwebs having just taken my annual trip into the loft to retrieve the decorations. I have untangled the lights and am desperately

trying to prevent the children getting type 2 diabetes by limiting the number of chocolates they eat. It must be Christmas and I love it. Christmas songs playing, the tree is being decorated and the house is beginning to smell of cinnamon.
As a family we went to the Long Lane Christmas Fair on Friday. For me this always marks the start of the Christmas season. What an amazing event. Every room in the school was packed full of activities, games and Christmas cheer. Everyone shopped, played, ate cakes and won copious amounts of sweets on the tombola. On behalf of the governors I would like to thank the PTA, staff and pupils of the school for staging such a festive and fun packed evening. Not to mention all the parents for filling jars, donating prizes and baking cakes.

I would like to welcome Jennifer who will be joining the governor board as our new parent governor early in the new year and, on behalf of all the governors, wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy 2019.

simon bamford 001

Simon Bamford
Vice Chair, Chair of Operations and Pupil Premium & Sports Premium Governor

As staff governor, I really am able to see the importance of everyone working together in order for children to be able to succeed and make progress, both academically, and socially and emotionally. Whilst it has been another busy and challenging start to the academic year, all staff and governors have demonstrated the flexibility and adaptability that is key to the successful running of a school in the current climate.

There have already been numerous trips and activities in school (PGL, Wokingham Waterside Centre, Bikeability) which have seen Year 5 and 6 further develop their ability to show resilience, challenge themselves, work together and try new things; all skills that our school’s vision and ‘secrets of success’ set out as important for not only school, but life. All the children represented the school superbly and the impact that these opportunities provide children are priceless. This is especially true with an increasing focus of schools towards mental health and self-esteem.

I am in no doubt that this year will continue to provide plenty of challenges for both staff and governors. It is evident that if everyone continues to work together to provide a wide range of curriculum opportunities then all children will continue to flourish at our school.

It was a pleasure to see Lichtenstein in action for the first time this year.  Whilst the pupils were still full of energy following their PGL residential at the start of the week, poor Mrs Smyth was fighting off the effects of a heavy cold which she had brought back with her from Liddington. Thanks must go to all the staff who made the visit possible, particularly when it impacted on their own family arrangements.

Tom Hunt
Staff Governor

Governor Visit  - Friday 28 September 2018

It was a pleasure to see Lichtenstein in action for the first time this year.  Whilst the pupils were still full of energy following their PGL residential at the start of the week, poor Mrs Smyth was fighting off the effects of a heavy cold which she had brought back with her from Liddington. Thanks must go to all the staff who made the visit possible, particularly when it impacted on their own family arrangements.

The pupils were working in their residential groups and tasked with raising awareness of the visit to the curent Year 5 children.  It was proving a great way to promote the use of persuasive and ambitious language as the children worked with focus on their posters or their booklets.  The tasks had been divided up in the groups so that every child had a clear role and knew what they had to complete in the alloted time.  Photos were available from the network to copy and manipulate and stylistic choices had to be made about presentation.  It needed a bit of persuasion to encourage some to stop their work and go out for some fresh air at breaktime, such was the enthusiasm to finish the task.

It was interesting to hear first-hand from the children about their experiences at Liddington.  Clearly they had enjoyed a great time and were eager to tell their stories of Jacob’s Ladder, the Giant’s Swing, raft building and the many other tasks that had been packed into their busy days.  It had been a huge personal challenge for some and it gave them great material for their writing.  It also clearly supported the work that Mrs Smyth has done with the class on stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks to boost personal performance.  This could be seen to have been achieved by many in the course of the residential, but also in the classroom as children were encouraged to use higher-level vocabulary to ‘sell’ the visit to Year 5.

It just so happened that I was also in school on the day when the Macmillan Coffee Morning took place at breaktime.  It was nice to see a number of parents in the hall, having found time in their busy days to come along and support the school and the charity fundraising. The cake was good, too!

Mike Boys
Link Governor, Lichtenstein

We would like to welcome you all back to Long Lane after the summer holidays and also welcome the new parents and pupils to our wonderful school. 

Last year we introduced a new award to a Year 6 pupil called the ‘Governor Community Award’. The cup was donated by the Chair of Governors to thank a year 6 pupil for all their hard work for the school community and for making an impact at Long Lane.  The community got together and we were able to make a hamper full of donated items to give to Anisa Johnson with the cup to say thank you. The local businesses included: The Beauty Box, Waitrose, Tesco’s, Nando’s and Jamie’s Italians. 

We are ready for the new school year and getting everything into place. We have performed our skills matrix and done a 360 review on the chair of governors. This data has enabled us to make our governance plan for the new year. We are looking forward to our Ofsted visit this year and showing the inspectors everything that we have in place and how Long Lane positively impacts all the pupils.

We are all looking forward to the new year and making sure we are on the up and working our way to outstanding. We have a very diverse team of governors and fulfill all the skills sets to continue growth and excellence at Long Lane Primary. We are looking for a Co-Opted Governor to join our board, please if you know of anyone in the local area that would like to make a difference to our school then please ask them to contact the Chair of Governors via the office. 

For more information please  read our September Governors Newsletter

Shirley Wilkinson  
Chair of Governors

I was excited to begin my role as a governor back in October 2017, and, as ever, the year has flown by.  Now that we are approaching the end of term, this seems an excellent point to reflect on what the school has achieved in the last year, and as a governor, I am particularly interested in how well the school has fulfilled its vision to its pupils; that each child will leave with a love of learning. 

Of course, learning is not just about facts, figures, and exams, it is about learning practical, social, and emotional life skills through experiences inside, and outside the classroom.  The school website’s ‘news’ section contains a record of just some of the activities undertaken over the past year, and I am pleased to see that there is a wide range of learning on display - there is learning about teamwork in winning the Berkshire Primary School’s Cup, learning about independence at PGL, learning about practical science in the paper aeroplane competition and science festival, learning about the environment at Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre, and learning about equality with International Women’s day – to name but a few.

I am always impressed when I visit the school at the overriding sense of support that pupils give each other, and the way that the school recognises the efforts of pupils in all aspects of their education, and sports day was a fine example of how well the pupils work together, and support each other.

Alongside my general governor duties, I took over as safeguarding governor a little before Easter. I have been to the school to ensure that the staff and governors are up to date with their safeguarding responsibilities and are always alert to their responsibilities.  I am pleased to see that the school is maintaining its ‘outstanding’ work in safeguarding children and I will aim to ensure that this continues; ensuring pupils are safe must always be our top priority.

I hope that pupils keep enjoying their learning right up to the end of term, and continue to learn new skills at the same time as enjoying their summer holidays. 

Edward Barham   
Safeguarding & Resources Governor

This academic year my link class is Year 4 with Mrs Rushent and I was thoroughly impressed with the learning environment during my visit at the end of the autumn term. Being a fellow musician, I particularly enjoyed the Tudor music piece and I can see the inspirational impact, Mrs Rushent, is having on the children. I have now been a governor at Long Lane for just over one academic year and in this role, I have now taken on the responsibly of Chair of Resources. With education funding continuing to be a challenge, it is the purpose of the Resources Committee to ensure that the school continues to flourish with the funding it receives. We fully appreciate the efforts of all the staff at Long Lane and can continue to see the hugely positive impact they are having on the children.

I think June is definitely going to be my favourite month this year not only because of the World Cup but the annual Long Lane School sports day that takes place on Wednesday 27th June. I was there to observe it last summer on the hottest day of the year and the children competed well in challenging conditions.  As a Head of PE at St Andrew’s, I understand the efforts that go into organising such a wonderful whole school event. I know myself and the governing board are thoroughly looking forward to seeing the children and school all out together for a united celebration of achievement.  

James Mortimer  
Year 4 Link Governor