Dear Parents and Carers
As the end of the academic year approaches, we’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the work the governors have been involved with at Joseph Hood. As I’m sure you’ll all agree, it’s been a year like no other. Few of us could have predicted what the year would have in store and the challenges we’ve faced as a school, as families and pupils have been unprecedented.
I’d like to begin by thanking all of you for your continued support, kindness and patience during this challenging time. We know how tough things are for many of you and appreciate all of the effort you have made to keep your children learning and in supporting each other through this. It is the community that makes Joseph Hood what it is and that has been evident this term.
I’m sure you will all support me in thanking the unfaltering effort, passion and commitment of all the staff at Joseph Hood. Almost overnight, Mrs Saville and her team organised the virtual classrooms to ensure the continued learning of all; whilst, keeping the doors of Joseph Hood open to our key-worker and vulnerable families. I have been in constant touch with Mrs Saville since March and know that she and the staff have been working ceaselessly both in school with the children of key workers, and out of school, preparing work for children at home, as well as contacting parents and supporting our more vulnerable pupils and families. They have also kept the school open and welcomed our children of key-workers throughout the Easter holiday and the May half term. Just like so many of us, a number of the staff have also had the challenge of working whilst looking after and homeschooling their own children and have had all the health concerns and worries that have dominated this time. This has been a term that we could not have foreseen and prepared for and I’m sure you’ll agree that the leadership, resilience and professionalism of the school staff has not faltered.
It might surprise you to learn that schools don’t get any advance notice when the government makes its announcements. So within moments of us all hearing about the plans for wider-reopening, the new guidelines and the implications of them, our Senior Leadership Team began planning and preparing. We are very proud that Joseph Hood was ready to safely open its doors to more children at the first possible opportunity.
The normal school business hasn’t stopped and in the midst of dealing with all these new challenges, Mrs Saville and the school leaders have hired three fantastic teachers, have remotely welcomed all our new Nursery and Reception families, are creating plans for September and are organising a special, COVID safe leavers’ event for the Year 6 children.
Plans for September
It is the school’s aim that we will be able to reopen to all in September; however, we must prepare for every eventuality and plans are being made accordingly. As Mrs Saville has said, a school without all of its children feels like a strange place and we hope that all children are able to return safely, next term.
When the children do return, staff will assess and address any knowledge gaps individual children may have and are planning creative and engaging ways to begin the school year that will focus on ensuring that the children feel secure and happy at school. The School’s aims and expectations remain high and staff will be striving for high levels of academic achievement.
The health and safety of all remains our priority and we will await further government guidance regarding wider reopening and update you in due course. As soon as the school has any updates from the government about September, they will be able to implement their plans and give you all the information you’ll need. They are also looking at ways they could further improve the home-learning should there be a situation where it is needed again.
Governors on our Finance and Premises Committee support Mrs Saville and Despo Doel (our School Business Manager) who together manage the finances of our school very closely. Since the end of March, Despo has worked harder than ever, managing our school budget, the admissions for September and all of the additional admin that has been created as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Through her diligence, our school has been able to set a tight but balanced budget for this financial year. Considering recent circumstances, this is an incredible achievement and we would like to specifically acknowledge and thank Despo for all her hard work and commitment to the school.
In my last report I drew your attention to the relationship between funding and pupil numbers and I am delighted to say that we are not only full in Reception for September but also have a notable waiting list. As well as having a positive impact on our budget, this is obviously a very positive reflection on our school’s reputation.
Since the end of March we have continued to meet, mostly via video conferencing, by phone and email. Our support has been focussed on the school’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have helped analyse the comprehensive risk-assessment for the wider-reopening, reviewed and approved the school budget and supported the school’s plans for managing staffing at school and home-learning. Our school leaders have had to make a huge number of important and difficult decisions over this time and as a governing body we fully support all the decisions made.
Moving into the new school year we will continue to support the school in adapting to the guidance issued by the government and ensuring that we fulfil our duties as governors with an emphasis on supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of the children, families and staff.
As a governing body we are pleased to have welcomed Ben Fullbrook as a new parent governor, and voted Gemma Anderson in for another four years as co-opted governor. A brilliant addition to our team, Ben is a barrister with a background in education and planning law. Ben's daughter was in our Nursery last year and will be starting Reception in September. Gemma is a senior leader at a local private prep-school, and brings with her a fantastic insight into the broader education system.
Update on the PTFA’s fundraising for the new classroom
Finally, we have an exciting update from our PTFA.
Thanks to all the fundraising efforts that took place up until March, they have been able to place the order for the new outdoor classroom and it will be arriving over the summer break.
Thank you to everyone on the PTFA team for all your efforts and contributions, you have done an incredible job; this is such brilliant news to hear and we’re all looking forward to seeing updates about it over the summer.
The funds raised so far have been spent on the building itself and so once the building is in place, the PTFA’s fundraising efforts will be re-focussed on equipment and furniture for the new space.
Wishing you and your children a safe and healthy summer.
Chair of Governors
on behalf of the Joseph Hood Primary School Governing Body
March 20, 2020
We understand that you are all in the midst of trying and uncertain times yet we would like to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for your support of your children, the staff and the school. As we know, what makes Joseph Hood special is the people and the community environment that we foster. Now more than ever, we must band together to support each other, be patient and remain positive.
As governors we must extend our thanks to the entire staff body for their tireless efforts and quick thinking in what has been and continues to be an ever-evolving situation. We’re sure you’ll agree that they’ve acted with kindness and professionalism throughout and in your children’s best interests.
Even though the school building may be closed to most of your children, the staff and governors will continue to work. Please be reassured that we are in close communication and will monitor the situation carefully, keeping you abreast of updates as and when they occur.
Our PTFA’s Facebook page will continue to be active and you can use it as an opportunity to keep in contact with fellow Joseph Hood families. Please can we draw your attention to the group’s rules so that this remains a positive forum.
Once again, thank you for your support and patience. For the children now at home, we look forward to seeing you as soon as we can and in the meantime – a little challenge from us. Please draw your own version of the school’s logo and display it in your front window. That way when people go out for a walk, they can play ‘I Spy’ and be reminded that we are all still part of the Joseph Hood community.
With best wishes from the Joseph Hood Primary School Governing Body
Harriet O'Connor, Anita Saville, Gemma Anderson, Chris Fox, Jo Grinter, Clare Alder, Kirti Mehta, Sam Soo, Claire Hudson, Ben Fullbrook, Joe Foulds and Sophie Ireland
Dear Parents and Carers
As the Autumn Term draws to a close we would like to take the opportunity to update you all on what the governors have been doing. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, children, PTFA and all of you for the ongoing commitment and enthusiasm you show to our school, particularly at this busy time of year. The Christmas events have been truly wonderful and we really appreciate the time and effort that has been put into them behind the scenes. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful school community.
Governors have been in school a lot this term. We’ve attended full governors meetings, meetings about the curriculum, safeguarding, finance and personnel. We’ve also been in to the school for governor visits where individual governors have met with external advisors, parents, councillors, staff and our school council. As always our focus is to support and challenge the school to deliver the best possible education to all of our pupils.
The Governing Body is delighted to welcome three new governors to our board. Ben Fullbrook, a parent at our school and Joe Foulds and Sophie Ireland who are both from our local community. All three governors bring with them an exciting skill-set and experience. As well as being a parent and a local resident, Ben is a practising lawyer with experience in education and planning law. Joe comes from an IT and technology background and has recently sold a company that he started and ran himself. Sophie has a finance and commercial background and currently leads the strategy team at a well-known European travel company. All three of them have expressed how impressive they think Joseph Hood is and what a friendly and positive atmosphere the school has. You can find more information about all our governors on the school website. We also say goodbye and thank you to Dave Archbold, who is our outgoing Parent Governor. Dave has made a significant contribution to the positive growth our school has seen over the last four years and we shall all miss working with him.
Once again, our school achieved an impressive set of Key Stage 2 results. 75% of our Year 6 pupils achieved expected levels in Maths, Reading and Writing combined. This score is 6% higher than Merton’s average and 10% higher than the national average. We also achieved a fantastic score for children working at a ‘higher level’ at 21%; this is compared to the Merton average of 16% and England’s average of 11%. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the staff, parents and of course pupils in achieving such excellent results.
Governors on our Finance and Premises Committee support Mrs Saville and Mrs Doel (our School Business Manager) who together manage the finances of our school very closely. We continue to work in a strong partnership with Merton Local Authority which has a high level of confidence in the way that money is managed at Joseph Hood. Nonetheless school funding is very tight and particularly so in schools which are not full, like ours. School funding is allocated per number of pupils and so it is vital that we maintain our high level of Reception admissions. One of the strongest drivers of applications to our school is through personal recommendation by current Joseph Hood parents. Your personal connections to prospective Joseph Hood families in our community are vital and powerful. Thank you all for being such great champions of our school and please do continue to share your views and recommendations in the community; they really do make an impact. If you have any ideas about new ways in which we might connect with prospective local families please do let us know.
Governors continue to support Joseph Hood to maximise income through letting the school premises when possible and through looking for ways of attracting alternative sources of funding to our school either directly or via the work of the PTFA.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of your contributions to our school whether through donating to our School Fund, through purchasing items from our Amazon wishlist, through supporting our PTFA fundraising events or through volunteering your time to support school activities like trips and weekend gardening/fixing days. Your support in all of these ways is wonderful and our school is stronger for it.
I know that this has also been a very difficult term for many members of school community with the incredibly sad loss of a wonderful and much loved parent at our school. Our thoughts are with all those affected, particularly the family at this time. I know that our school community will do everything they can to support them.
I would like to wish you all a happy, peaceful and restful Christmas break and look forward to many more achievements in 2020.
Chair of Governors
on behalf of the Joseph Hood Primary School Governing Body
Dear Parents and Carers
As the end of another academic year draws to a close, the governors would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, pupils and families for their continued hard work and dedication. It is the community that makes Joseph Hood the success that it is and as governors, we are very grateful to be part of such a thriving school.
Below is an update of the work the governors have undertaken this academic year.
We have spent the year continuing to improve on the skills and experiences within the team. A number of the governors have been on external training and we have also had some in-house awareness sessions led by the staff. We continue to self-appraise the board both from a membership perspective and in terms of the skills we have in the team.
Our clerk, Katy Collins, continues to provide a first-class service and ensures that the board are satisfying the requirements and guidelines that come from central government and Merton Council.
Aside from the more administrative activities that we are involved in as governors, we have also been attending our regular governor Drop-In Days where we can see the school in full operation and are able to conduct discussions with both staff and teachers. These are immensely enjoyable especially being able to lunch with the children and really get a feel for how the school is running.
We try and support Mrs Saville and the staff as much as possible throughout the year and this year we have been involved in a number of ways such as greeting Early Years parents on their first day, supporting PTFA events, and our particular favourite, helping out at the Year 6 Breakfast Mornings before the SATS.
We also say goodbye and thank you to Stephen Hatherall, who has chaired the finance committee brilliantly for the last four years. Stephen has made a significant contribution during his time in this role, and has been an invaluable member of our governing body. We wish him and his family all the very best in the future. Kirti Mehta has expertly stepped into the role and with her commitment and professional background in finance and risk-management, is an excellent new chair of finance for our school.
As governors we are responsible for reviewing and approving a wide range of policies that cover all areas of school life. Policies that we have focussed on this year include ‘positive behaviour’, ‘complaints’ and a number of policies relating to safeguarding, including one for volunteers in school. Policies are available on request from the school office and key school polices can also be viewed on the school’s website. Please do have a look at these if you are unsure about any of the school’s procedures.
Teaching, Learning and Safeguarding
This year, we have spent time looking at the school’s curriculum review in line with new OFSTED guidance and ensuring the delivery of skills across the year groups. When we meet each half term, we review the school’s data and reports from the Merton Education Partnership to discuss ways of ensuring the school’s high standards are maintained. The school website has remained a hot topic and we are investigating ways of making this more interactive, whilst allowing staff to have greater management of it. Safeguarding remains a vital part of our agenda and we have discussed and reviewed several procedures, including volunteers on trips and visits.
As you are aware, Joseph Hood (like many schools), has the financial challenge of meeting its increasing costs and an important part of the Governing Body's work is to work closely with Mrs Saville and Mrs Doel (our School Business Manager) to actively support the school in maximising its budget. Governors have led discussions with Merton Local Authority on how they can support us and are pleased to report that Merton continues to show active support for Joseph Hood and acknowledges the school's approach to controlling costs and maximising income, albeit there is still work to do.
Governors are therefore instrumental in considering all the ways in which the school can be entrepreneurial. Some initiatives from this school year include:
The Governing Body is both aware and grateful for the significant contributions parents make to the school, be it through donating their time, their support and through financial contributions. We work hard to support our school leaders in making best of all these resources and are very proud of the strong partnership spirit which exists between the school and our community.
We would like to wish you all a relaxing and refreshing holiday and we look forward to seeing you in September.
Chair of Governors
on behalf of the Joseph Hood Primary School Governing Body
Dear Year 6
The Governors and I wish you all the very best of luck with your SATS exams next week. We know how hard you have been working and how proud everyone around you already is. The progress you have made this year has impressed us all and we know you will do your very best.
We’d also like to thank you for being such a phenomenal Year 6 class. You are brilliant role-models to the rest of the children in the school and represent us so well every day. Each one of you helps to make Joseph Hood the fantastic school it is.
Don’t forget to stay calm, stay focussed, believe in yourselves and be the best you can!
Good luck – It’s your time to shine!
Harriet O’Connor, Chair of Governors
on behalf of the Joseph Hood Primary School Governors
In February our school was very pleased to receive a letter from Damian Hinds MP (Secretary of State for Education) and Nick Gibb MP (Minister of State for Schools Standards). The letter congratulates us on Joseph Hood’stest results for 2018 that place us in the top 3% of schools in England for the progress our children make between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.The staff team at Joseph Hood work really hard to support all our children to make as much progress as they can irrespective of their starting point and it is wonderful to celebrate that hard work by staff and children. Thank you to all of our staff for their commitment and dedication andcongratulations to last year’s Year 6 children for their fantastic achievement.As I write I know that families and school are now focussed on the support and encouragement that we can give our current Year 6, as we move towards the Key Stage 2 SATs (the end of Key Stage 2 national tests) in May.
Our total number of pupils continues to rise and next school year we will be two-form entry in every year group. Our school is increasingly popular among prospective parents: as well as being impressed by our results, parents are attracted to our strong community and passionate teachers. Mrs Saville, Mrs Wright and Miss Harrison have led some successful open mornings that have received fantastic feedback and we are looking forward to our next one on Wednesday 1st May. Do pass on this date to anyone you know who is considering applying for a place at our school. We are also planning on promoting this date on social media, so it if you see it, please give it a share or a retweet.
Governors meet twice every term to support Mrs Saville and Mrs Doel, our School Business Manager, in making the budget go as far as possible at Joseph Hood. Governors are confident that our school budget is managed very closely and that the school is actively following up all possible ways to increase revenue and funding. However, the funding situation for our school continues to be very difficult (as with many schools in England). Budget cuts, increased outgoings and rising costs have all contributed to the situation.
We are looking to recruit one or more governors from outside of our school community, particularly those with a background in finance or law. If you know someone who is interested, or who may be suitable and willing to act as a governor, please do let us know and encourage them to get in touch.
All Governors are contactable through the school office or via Katy Collins, our Governors’ Clerk (email@example.com). You can either leave a message or email and it will be passed it on.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey about future use of the Adult Education/Harris building next door to us. Governors have engaged extensively with Merton Authority officers and councillors to ensure that the interests of Joseph Hood are considered at the forefront of decision making about future use of the building once the Harris Academy moves to its permanent site (expected to be in August 2020). We remain excited about the potential opportunities that this development could offer our school and will continue to press Merton to ensure our school’s best interests are at the top of their agenda.
Chair of Governors
New Chair of Governors Welcome and School Fund Request
Following on from our full governing body meeting on Wednesday 17th October, I am delighted to let you know that I have been elected as the new chair of governors for Joseph Hood Primary School. I am lucky to know many of you already, as a parent, through my involvement with our PTFA and as a governor at our school. For those of you I haven’t met yet, I am currently a stay-at-home mum to two very happy children at Joseph Hood; Dylan who is in Year 3 Toucans and Alannah in Reception Wrens. Both my children started here in the Nursery and as parents we couldn’t be happier with the school we have chosen for them. I have been on our governing body as a co-opted governor for the last three and a half years. I’m often in the school playground and at school events, please do come and say hello if you see me.
Before I had children, I was a teacher and a governor at a primary school in Wandsworth, which achieved its ‘Outstanding’ ofsted while I was there. Prior to working in education, I had a successful career in the television production industry, mostly spent coming up with ideas for new Saturday night entertainment programmes!
I am very fortunate that I will be leading a strong and experienced board of governors with a broad range of skills who are all committed to achieving the best possible education for your children. As governors, we work with the school at a strategic level, helping to define the vision and ethos; monitoring and challenging the academic performance of the pupils; overseeing the financial budget of the school and monitoring the safety and welfare of the children. This work is carried out through committee meetings, full governing body meetings and regular visits to the school.Please do have a look at our section on the school website to find out more about us and the work we do.
As governors, we are extremely proud of the achievements of our children across the curriculum. I would particularly like to draw your attention to and celebrate the recent KS2 SATs results achieved by last year’s Year 6 pupils. These tests are measured by the government in two ways: ‘Attainment’ and ‘Progress’. Progress scores typically range between 3 and -3, with anything above 0 meaning that the children made higher than average progress. Our overall progress scores were 5.14 for Maths, 4.21 for Reading and 3.92 for Writing. These results are not only incredibly impressive but put us in the top 5% in the country for Progress.Our children also did particularly well in ‘Achieving Higher Standard’ in Attainment; scoring significantly above the national average in this for Maths and Reading. I would like to congratulate all the staff, past and present, who have been involved with those children since they started at the school.
Rising costs and changes to education funding continue to affect our school finances and we find ourselves ever more reliant on extra income from other sources. DespoDoel, our school Business Manager has worked extremely hard to secure a number of lettings to external clubs in order to increase our revenue and our PTFA is working harder than ever to fundraise for our school. We also receive financial support from the Joseph Hood School Fund. The School Fund is made up of contributions from parents and carers. Over the past few years, this money has been vital in protecting the education we deliver. The School Fund subsidises rising costs of activities such as trips and events as well as purchasing new resources to enrich the children’s learning and enjoyment of their school day.
Your contribution to the School Fund
For each family, the school is asking for a voluntary £60 annual donation. This can be paid either as a one off annual payment or through a monthly direct debit for £5 to our bank account. If you already have a direct debit set up, then thank you; this will continue to run as normal. Alternatively, we are happy to accept cash or cheques in the school office.
Of course, should you feel able to donate more, then you would not be limited to this amount, and equally we will be grateful for whatever help you are able to give us. This may be a fund that your children’s grandparents would like to contribute to.
Supporting our PTFA
As well as offering your time, there are also a number of ways that you can support our fantastic PTFA raise even more funds. If you shop online, you can shop via Easy Fundraising, at no extra cost and generate a donation to the school every time. As the PTFA is a registered charity, you could also help to secure grants, sponsorship and ‘match funding’ donations from companies. If you work for or have a contact at a company that offers match funding or grants, then please do get in touch with the PTFA at JosephhoodPTFA@gmail.com or via your class rep.
I would very much like to thank the outgoing chair, Posey Furnish for all her hard work and dedication over the many years she volunteered for our school. On leaving the school, her family made a generous donation to our school which has enabled the purchase of the Joseph Hood School Book Hut and new books to replenish book stock levels in school and in the book hut. Thank you Posey.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you and our staff for the support and dedication you give to the school. I feel very privileged to have been elected chair of governors at a school with such a wonderful community at its heart. I am very ambitious for our school and look
forward to working with the rest of our governors, our staff, our pupils and you in maintaining our high standards and raising them even further.
Lastly, thank you in advance for your contribution to the School Fund, which truly does make a difference to our school and to your child’s educational experience at Joseph Hood.
Chair of Governors