Category Archives: News

The Importance of Reading

This year, in a bit of change to our usual World Book Day celebrations we opted for a dress up day with a theme. Kindness. All of our children were asked to dress up with a ‘kind character’ in mind.

As the first time in a few years that we dressed up it was really great to see children and families being so enthusiastic. There was an added incentive of team points for characters who were ‘unique’ which meant that some of the children attempted some of the lesser known characters. We had a fun assembly in the afternoon where each class presented their characters. Key Stage 2 also took part in drama sessions in their lessons.

To go a bit deeper into World Book Day, we also carried out a survey amongst the Key Stage 2 children into their reading habits and what they enjoy about reading. This told us a few interesting things:

  • The older children (Class 4) don’t always read with an adult at home – but they would like to.
  • Most of the children enjoy reading a wide variety of text types – website, blogs and magazines for example.
  • Almost everyone at Castle Carrock School enjoys reading! Yay!
  • They enjoy hearing their teacher read to them – and both classes could name books that their teacher has read to them.
  • They would enjoy the chance to read more of their own books in school.
  • Lots of our children talk to their friends about books.
  • They like the variety of books that we have in school.

This is really positive for school – we always spend lots of money on new books and we make time to both read to our children and to hear them read, no matter what class they are in. The whole school has reading sessions at 09am – 09:40 and we put a huge emphises on reading in all areas of the curriculum.

It’s worth thinking as well, even if you know your child can read, it can be a real confidence boost and an enjoyable way to spend time together to just share a book. If you want some hints and tips for reading with your child – you can look here.

Next year we may not dress up – the School Council always tell us that they enjoyed the sleep over – and the Clue Treasure Hunt. As ever, we are always open to ideas!

Writing with a Purpose

Writing with a purpose, and an audience, can really bring our creativity out. Class 4 have recently been working on their own books – and all they had to do was to write about something they have been working on in class.

They used an online app called ‘Book Creator’ 

 

 

 

 
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Meet our new Chair of Governors

Guest post by Christian Judd – Chair of Governors

Firstly, I would like to thank my predecessor, Mark Hetherington, for the fantastic job that he has done over the past four years. As I now take over as Chair of Governors from Mark, I feel that the school is in a strong position to continue to provide an excellent standard of education for our children.

 

For those of you who do not already know me and my family, Sarah and I live just down the road in Cumrew with our three children. Bella and Alice are currently in the school, with my eldest child, Jamie, having just “graduated” from Castle Carrock School in July. I am a director of an architectural practice in Carlisle and I have been a member of the governing body for a little over 2 years now and for the last 12 months have been the Vice Chair of Governors.

 

My focus as Chair of Governors over the coming years will be to support Rebecca and the excellent teaching and support staff as we strive to address the issues raised by the recent Ofsted report. It should be noted here that, although the final judgement of the assessment that took place in June was disappointing, there was a significant amount of praise for the school’s Early Years and Special Educational Needs provision as well the overall approach to learning that the school adopts. A number of improvement plans and strategies are now being developed and implemented that will address the issues raised by the latest Ofsted Report.

 

Whilst our focus will always be on maintaining and improving academic standards, we continue to face considerable restrictions and constraints from a funding regime that does not adequately reflect the requirements of a small rural school such as ours.  Despite this, I thoroughly intend to enable the governing body to provide the focused support, management and leadership that puts the best interests and learning experiences of our children at the heart of all that we do.

 

Please feel free to contact me about any issues that you may have in relation to the school. I can be contacted through the “Meet the Governors” page of the school’s website.

 

Review of Homework Policy

Thank you all for taking part in our homework review last half term.

It is good to hear feedback and as a consequence we have slightly changed the policy. As expected there will be always be contradictory points of view – but there were some common themes:

Parents appreciated the advice given for the younger children – for example to concentrate on conversations, or share books with your children instead of formal written homework. Activities such as counting; helping with shopping and practicing times tables were also advised.

The amount of homework given as the children move up the school is something that parents disagree about – and as a school it is important that any homework we give is manageable for staff and useful for the pupils.As such we have increased the amount of homework Year 5 and 6 receive – and changed the structure of any half-term projects in Key Stage 2. This is so the children are better prepared for the demands of secondary school. Year 6 will now be given both maths and literacy each week.

In Key Stage 2 the children do have access to Google Classroom – which on occasion will provide some of the work that can be done. There is also regular reading which needs to be completed, and spellings. All of Key Stage 2 have diaries which can be used between home and school to support this. This is the same for all children in Key Stage 2.

It was also thought that perhaps parents are not made aware of expectations – particularly in Class 4 – and so this will be shared more frequently – usually in the form of emails to parents with holiday homework or impending deadlines.

The updated policy can be found here:   Homework Policy Sept 2019