The Cypress Parents Communication Working Group (PCWG) met on the 30th November 2018
The notes from the meeting are as follows:
Traffic and road safety in Cypress Road – this is an issue for parents worried about road safety, staff who experience rudeness from parents who park unsafely and residents who are regularly blocked into their driveways. Closing the road at dropoff/pickup (other than for residents) was discussed – parents volunteered to investigate with Croydon Council how this could be progressed as they have a ‘School Streets’ scheme which might be open to Cypress. The need for a crossing at the bottom of Cypress Road was also discussed.
School meal portion sizes – some children had told parents they were not getting enough food at lunchtimes, and we discussed whether this was due to the menu, time available for eating food, or portion sizes. Children should be able to have seconds if food was left over and if they are the last year group in the lunch session (this rotates weekly). Jolyon Roberts confirmed this was in the contract with the caterers. The quality and variety of food at the recent food tasting was praised, and a ‘parents’ lunch’ is planned next year so parents can come and eat with children. In the meantime parents who had particular concerns could contact the school to arrange to come in at lunchtime to get a better understanding of the lunchtime routine and offering for their child.
Afterschool stay and play supervision – afterschool stay and play in lower school is very much valued by the school community, and the leadership are very supportive of it, but there have been a few troubling incidents e.g. where equipment has been damaged due to lack of supervision. Parents agreed we would write up ‘dos and don’ts’, e.g. don’t play in reception playground and classrooms; no videoing; don’t play on/around the Y2 path (leading to Turquoise/Ruby class). Parents can also support each other to keep an eye on children, especially if they have more than one child to supervise. Also, the community room toilets have now been adapted so children can’t lock themselves in, so parents need to go with their children when they’re using those toilets after school.
Locking lower school gates at drop off – for safeguarding reasons and to ensure the school day can start promptly, school staff are asking lower school parents to please leave promptly at 9am. The lower woodland walk gates will be locked then, so parents should leave by the large playground gates by Little Cypress after 9am. Parents are very welcome to stay and chat in the area outside Little Cypress, but (especially now Orange class are in the community room) it’s important to secure the playground gates as soon as possible after 9am.
Drop off arrangements in upper school – although parents can bring children into the playground before 8:45, they should stay with their children until 8:45 as the classrooms are not open until then and children are still under parental supervision (except for older children where parents have agreed with the school that children can arrive and leave on their own).
Reading feedback in KS1 – expectations for reading and feedback were discussed, including the different types of reading books children should have each week. The accelerated reading scheme was discussed as children had not been consistently receiving certificates when they had read the appropriate number of books and parents queried this. The expectation is that children should be doing guided reading on a weekly basis and bringing a new book home after this session. They/parents can also change their accelerated reading book at any point in the week from the banded book sections in the reading corners. Further feedback about the accelerated reading scheme will be given at the next meeting, after discussion with Ms. Parker.
Approach to teaching handwriting – parents asked how handwriting was taught in the trust. There is general information on the website about this, with descriptive sheets of each letter. Claire Binks, the English lead for the Trust, will be invited to attend or give additional feedback on this for the next meeting to explain in more detail.
Timing of curriculum meetings – in response to a parent question, the Trust hold these meetings later in the autumn term to give teachers time to get to know their classes and adapt teaching approaches accordingly. The supporting information given out is to supplement the discussion at the meeting, so is finalised just before the meetings to allow teachers to adapt to their year groups. It also takes time for children to learn these approaches, so if parents were given this information at the start of term, the children would not yet be familiar with it – e.g. Year 1 had only recently starting doing addition and subtraction using the calculation system at the time of the November maths meeting.
After school activity choices – parents asked about sports activity choices for lower school, and specifically the lack of football for spring term. This was due to limited availability from the existing provider, and Suzanne (extended schools coordinator) also wanted to provide an inside club at this time of the year for health and safety reasons. She is aiming to bring new providers on board and hopes lower school football will be back on in summer term. Parents also discussed whether children could be encouraged to branch out and try new activities (e.g. ballet and gymnastics are both alternative physical activites) although understanding that not all children will be keen! Suzanne will also look into the possibility of a lower school choir depending on staff availability.
Organisation of music lessons – while the trust are working with teachers to improve the organisation of music lessons, parents suggested that the existing arrangements should be better publicised by a newsletter or news story, so those who aren’t aware don’t miss out.
Next suggested meeting date Fri 1st Feb, to be confirmed.