Another excellent year at Brabyns is nearly complete.
It never ceases to amaze me how much is achieved by everyone in the Brabyns family each year. I hope whatever role you have you feel that way too, and are aware of all the amazing things that happen here on a daily basis. It is the day-to-day lessons and activities that make Brabyns so special, coupled with the wonderful ‘big’ events that we run throughout the year.
The individual care and attention of the children along with their engagement and achievements in everyday and bigger activities and lessons is fantastic to witness. I regularly see how every child in the Brabyns family has benefitted tremendously from the support they receive during the year, whilst enjoying so many opportunities.
In terms of the activities around School, trips continue to benefit and supplement the children’s education and development. These weekly occurrences are an integral part of the children’s education, providing lasting memories to support their work and reflect upon in general. To give just a couple of examples from our youngest and oldest parts of the School; EYFS life has developed wonderfully over the year in so many ways and has included a greater breadth of trips, visitors and activities. The dinosaur visit and our own planetarium are just two highlights! While Year 6’s Life Skills activities have included a trip to see how Decathlon runs as a business and them having First Aid training similar to what we as staff receive! As you are aware we place a high importance on all areas of School life and in Performing Arts the Year 2 class must have a special mention for being National, yes National, Champions in Drama following their wonderful performance in the ISA Festival. In sport we have added Dodgeball, contact Rugby, Under 9 Tennis and Girls Cricket to our fixture calendar and have had pleasing success in these. and various other competitions.
Alongside our core lessons and trips, the residential programme works fantastically and I know is one being replicated by many other Schools. The Year 1 children enjoyed their first Sleepover with their friends in Year 2. Year 3 and 4 had an amazing time at Lockerbrook with some amazing individual achievements! While the Year 5 and 6 children took part in a variety of activities in Llandudno, a new residential location for us, that was more like the ‘French Riveria’ than Wales with the weather we had! These were supplemented by the Junior Ski Trip to France, which was a truly amazing experience for all involved. Lots of these activities go towards our ‘101 Things to Achieve Before Leaving Brabyns’, something we introduced back in September. We are proud of this initiative, and were delighted that this was praised during our recent inspection. We really do provide a wonderful range of opportunities for the children to engage in.
Our nurturing ethos is at the core of all we do and this is demonstrated excellently by our Year 5 and Reception Buddies. Both classes gain so much from this partnership and it is a joy to see the way the Brabyns family works and how all of the children, whatever their age, interact together and care for each other. Year 5 have carried out their roles with great responsibility and I know they will make a wonderful ‘top’ class next year and relish the responsibilities and challenges it will bring.
Our Year 6 children leave us having had a wonderful start to their lives and education. I know they will take with them so many happy memories and the foundation to be able to have a successful, enjoyable and fulfilling future: and possibly most importantly with the confidence to know they can do anything! They have all worked to the best of their capabilities and that is something we aim to instil in every child. If everyone does that, in my eyes they are all a big success. We’ve hopefully given them the foundations to do what they want in life and overcome the various challenges that they’ll come across. Talking to previous leavers, many have reported back that our work at Brabyns has helped them achieve something after they’d left us. Year 6 will always be members of the Brabyns family and are welcome back to see us any time. They are great role models for our Nursery and Reception children and it is reassuring to know that the younger members of the Brabyns family can aspire to be like their elders as they progress through the School.
Around School the children have enjoyed designing Phases 3 and 4 of the Tree House in the BFG. Ensuring the children are stimulated at playtime is part of our success. A happy child at playtime with lots to do, ensures they are then ready to learn when it comes back to lesson time, and also helps stimulate play without giving one set direction. A child’s imagination is a truly wonderful thing and one I don't think we as adults can ever fully match! Some of the children’s ideas are amazing. They often come up with things I would never have thought to introduce and I love that aspect of our relationship. As I often say to them; it is their School and I want to ensure they have the opportunity to mould it in the way that fits them and their needs. It was great that the inspectors concurred with this and that the children felt it was very much their School and they are an integral part to Brabyns’ success. We as a staff and parents are here to provide the opportunities we can, but it is up to the children to grasp them and make the best of them, both in and out of the classroom.
Our use of Social Media has continued to thrive and keep parents (and the world at large) in tune with what is happening at Brabyns via an inside view of daily School life. It also helps parents with that question of “what have you done today?”, already having some insight and a snap-shot of some of the wonderful things the children have achieved.
We have continued to meet many aspects of our School Development plan to further enhance our parent communication and relationships, especially with regards to what your child/ren is working at and what they can do to further improve. Staff have all been using ‘Swivl Cams’ to video themselves teaching as we have used this for coaching analysis to help us ensure the children receive the best possible learning opportunities and are suitably challenged.
Finally, I’d like to be able to finish with a few quotes from our recent ISI inspection but as the report isn't with us as yet I’ll give you a brief insight into the process and hopefully whet your appetite to read it when it is published. I think every member of the Brabyns Community will be delighted with it and it will reinforce so many of the excellent things I have the privilege of witnessing every day.
We had a full Education Quality and Compliance Inspection. This was given to us at a day’s notice and the first day concentrated on our paperwork and ensuring we do all we should to ensure the welfare of everyone in the School community. (It was pleasing we do many things above and beyond the requirements to further aid the children’s welfare). The following two days concentrate on the educational aspects, with particular focus on children’s Achievements and their Personal Development. The four inspectors spoke at length to the children (many were formally interviewed twice, as well as completing a questionnaire) many lessons were observed, staff spoken to, as well as the parent questionnaire which so many of you completed and gave valuable feedback. This was especially appreciated as we had already had our mid-year questionnaire. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and additionally offered some useful suggestions which we will look to implement. The result is an inspection report which details whether we are compliant (a simple yes or no) in various sections, and then grades on the two aforementioned areas, which can be rated excellent, good, sound or unsatisfactory. The grade descriptors to reach excellent are quite vast and demanding and a school reaching such a standard should be rightly proud of themselves.
Brabyns is a wonderful place to be a child, to work, and hopefully, you feel, to be a parent. We can all be rightly proud of our input into making it such a special place. I thank you for your continued support, and as always a great big thank you to the children and staff, who are 'excellent'.