Annual Parent Survey
Frequently Occurring Comments
Breakfast Club/F.A.B./Holiday Club is too expensive.
Our charges are set by Governors and reflect our costs. Charges are reviewed annually and only increased when necessary. These extended school provisions cannot run at a loss and have to generate enough money to pay for staff and associated costs, for example purchasing and replacing resources. We only use qualified staff who are employed in other roles in school so that we can maintain our standards and have to adhere to pupil to adult ratios to ensure safety at all times.
Extended School Provisions should run for longer/Costs should be reduced.
At present there is not sufficient demand to enable us to open breakfast club earlier and, at the present time, we do not have staff available to facilitate this. We have, earlier this year, extended opening so that Breakfast Club starts at 7:45 am, however, this does not always operate due to insufficient demand.
F.A.B. currently operates until 5:45pm. Again, at the present time there is not sufficient demand for us to extend opening hours and we do not have staff available to facilitate this. Opening later impacts upon locking the school which also presents additional costs.
When children are booked into activity clubs and then go to F.A.B. at 4:20 it is, unfortunately, not possible to offer F.A.B. at a reduced cost. Staffing ratios have to be maintained and staff paid to collect children from the activity club.
Additional Teaching Assistants should be provided.
Unfortunately the School simply does not have the budget to facilitate this
School dinners are not healthy and are not as nice as they used to be.
School dinners are provided by Dudley Catering Services. The three-week menu cycle is something that is set and used across all primary schools in Dudley who buy into the Catering Traded Service. Your concerns and feedback will be sent to Dudley Catering Services.
More/more frequent information about child’s progress.
Currently we provide two parent consultation sessions per year and an end of year report. This is consistent with many primary schools. While it is not possible to provide more opportunities for parent consultations, the Leadership Team are currently investigating ways in which we can provide parents with more information about their child’s progress which we hope to be able to communicate with parents soon.
In addition, we do operate an open door policy and are happy for parents to make appointments to speak to teachers to discuss their children’s progress or any concerns they have. This can be done at any point within the year.
Provide more variety of activities/after school clubs.
This year we are offering more clubs than previously (currently 13 per week) and are actively investigating what alternative clubs we can offer. We are hoping to offer netball, table tennis, archery and bike-ability, as well as a number of other ‘indoor’ clubs. We are restricted in what we can offer, though, as we only have one hall, so can only offer one sporting club each afternoon.
Why is spelling homework not sent home?
At the start of the year we updated our homework policy. Within this policy we formalised the change made to spelling homework last year. Research shows that learning spellings for homework only tests short term memory and does not impact upon the use of those spellings in writing. Therefore, homework is based more on morphology and patterns, learning and understanding spelling rules and, in Upper Key Stage 2, etymology (the origin of words). This approach is proven to improve children’s spelling ability.
School should ask for less money.
School do not have funds to subsidise trips. Legally we have to ask for a ‘voluntary contribution’ and that contribution cannot be more than the ‘per head’ price when all costs are divided out amongst the children participating. However, if sufficient funds are not raised then the trip cannot go ahead. To this end we try to ensure that trips represent good value for money and are as cost effective as possible.
The Home School Association, Fairhaven Friends, work hard to raise money to benefit all children in school. More events than normal were organised in the run up to Christmas in a last push to secure enough finds to purchase 30 Chrome Books, costing over £7,000. However, Fairhaven Friends recognise that there were too many demands before Christmas and have already reviewed their programme of events.
Fundraising and Charity.
As a school we feel that fundraising opportunities are important. Children engaged in two in the Autumn term – one to raise money for sports equipment to benefit all, and a second to raise money for charity. Charity fundraisers are something that we organise every year to promote PSHE in school.
As a school we have raised over £70,000 (from external sources) over the last three years which we have ploughed into the redecoration of the school. We are currently working on a number of grants to help us continue this work.
Send home less paper/make better use of the website.
Earlier this year, in an attempt to reduce the amount of paper we send home and in turn reduce costs, we began sending newsletters to the eldest sibling only. This costs us £4.40 per week, £171.60 per year.
Following feedback on parent surveys we will hold an online poll open to all parents to see whether parents would be happy to just receive an electronic version. However, due to the inefficient method we have to use to send newsletters home (effectively an address book built up of contacts when parents have e-mailed to request to be added to the newsletter mailing list), we feel that a high percentage of parents will have to agree to electronic only communication to ensure that families are not being disadvantaged. Due to the already low costs associated with the distribution of paper copies, it would not be cost effective to send paper copies home to some families and electronic versions to others.
Currently all letters homes, newsletters, Breakfast Club, After School Activity Clubs, F.A.B. and Holiday Club forms are published on our website.
Some respondents felt that homework was too hard, while others felt it was too easy. Some felt there was too much, while some commented there was not enough. At the start of this academic year we revised our homework policy and it is this that dictates what homework is set when.
In an effort to try to better differentiate homework we have cancelled our subscription to Mathletics. Shortly after half term children will begin to bring home logins for Success Maker, on which Maths homework will be set. We believe that this is a better option and will provide more appropriate and interesting homework.
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks should be undertaken for all volunteers, including those helping on trips.
As a School we comply with the Local Authority DBS policy. All employed staff and supply staff have enhanced DBS checks conducted which are renewed every three years. Volunteers helping in school on a regular basis are subject to the same level of checks. If there is a break of three months or more between periods of volunteering the DBS expires and a new check would be conducted. However, under Local Authority policy, we are not permitted to conduct DBS checks on parents helping on a trip if it is a one off and they do not regularly volunteer in school. For us to do so would be unlawful.