Together we nurture the genius in everyone
Important information about Alexandra School
Advance notice of extra INSET day at Alexandra School ONLY on Tuesday 5th September 2017. Pupils return to school on Wednesday 6th September 2017.
The building project is going very well, I am pleased to say. The completion date for the new building is Friday 1st September, which means that the Y4 children will be able to start the year in their new classrooms, the playground will be cleared and refurbished, and the admin block will be refurbished. It will be a fantastic start to the new academic year for the whole school, and we are all very excited about the prospect. However, it will be very difficult for us to get the school ready for the children to return to school on 5th September as planned, as there will be a lot of setting up and moving to be done between the 1st and 5th September before it will be safe for them to be onsite.
By the end of August, we will hopefully have received all the classroom furniture that we need to order for the 6 new classrooms, study zone, group room and library, but of course this will have to be moved from the school hall, where it will accumulate as it is delivered over the Summer holiday, into the newly built KS2 wing of the school, after September 1st. Equipment, including IT, will need to be installed in the new build. Once the hall has been emptied, it will need a deep clean, as no cleaning will be able to take place in the hall over the Summer, and building work will be taking place all around it creating dirt and dust. Inside the admin block, there will be 6 new offices to set up, new toilets to commission, and a new kitchen. The playground will also have been refurbished, and will need checking and setting up.
Given these exceptional circumstances, I have requested an additional INSET day at the start of the school year, and I am pleased to say that the Local Authority and the Governing Body have agreed to this request. This means that I am able to give you plenty of notice that there will be a one delay to the start of term in September. I do hope that this will not cause inconvenience to you and your families.
Thanks as always for your support and cooperation.
Online Plans for our school extension
The planning application for our school extension is now available to view online.
The planning reference is 15/12968 if you would like to comment on the council website. The plans are also available to view on our school website. (PDF below)
Alexandra School – conversion to Primary FAQs
Have the proposed year 3 teachers had previous experience of year 3?
Yes, both teachers (Mrs Jones and Mrs Horine) have experience as a TA or teacher in year 3 from earlier in their teaching careers. Mrs Carr has taught across the whole Primary age range, and was an acting head and then a head in the Primary sector for a total of 6 years. The teachers will be spending time over the next 5 half terms experiencing and learning from best practice in other schools. They will be able to attend planning, assessment and moderation meetings, observe classroom practice and attend formal training sessions aimed specifically at lower KS2 teachers. All primary teachers are qualified to teach the full primary age range, so there is no formal requirement for additional training, and in many all through primaries it is considered good practice for teachers to move between year groups regularly. The Local Authority is supporting our development with additional advisory input, and we also have our own in-house teaching and learning advisor who has experience across Kingston schools and is able to lead the development of our KS2 curriculum and pedagogy.
How will discipline be managed as children get older in the school?
From the moment children start school in nursery they are introduced to our school rules and behavioural expectations in an age appropriate way. We have high expectations of behaviour, based on our school’s values (the Olympic and Paralympic values) which we introduce to the children very early on, and which we continue to refer to and reinforce throughout their time in school. In the early years children are still learning how to be in a school environment. We often say that from this point of view that discipline is more difficult to manage the younger they are. As they grow up they have a better understanding and are more able to moderate their behaviour and exercise self- discipline. We believe that most children have a genuine desire to please and to make the right choice. The best way for children to manage their own behaviour is through an intrinsic desire to do so, combined with an understanding of right and wrong. We focus on rewarding the positive behaviour. Our sanctions for unacceptable behaviour are the same as you will find in any school- time out and withdrawal of privileges as appropriate to their age and stage of development. The school leadership team is closely involved in managing behaviour, supporting class teachers proactively so that behaviour improves over time. We also work closely with parents, and if a child has specific difficulties managing their behaviour, we are well supported by a range of specialist services.
What opportunities will there be for the first cohort of year 3s? They will be the oldest in the school for a considerable period of their education.
We believe that the opportunities that this scenario presents far outweigh any downsides of pupils being the oldest in a school. The first year 3s will be our ‘trailblazers’ and they will have a unique opportunity to shape the future of the school. As they grow up within the school, they will be involved in decision making and real-life problem solving – both essential life skills. We will be involving them in the creation of our Junior school house system, the design of our new school logo, the landscaping of our new playground areas, and the recruitment of new staff.
There will be many educationally sound and socially valuable opportunities for mentoring and leadership within the school, which we will be exploiting to the full. From Y4 onwards, the children will be working towards a Head teacher’s award each year. They will be given a set of criteria, and collect a range pf evidence as they go along to form a personal portfolio.
Will the school try to attract more male teachers?
It is on our ‘wish list’! We hope that a primary school will be more attractive to male applicants and when we grow our staffing (from 2017 onwards) we hope to attract excellent male candidates.
What will Alexandra be ‘famous for’?
When we extend our teaching team, we will be looking for exceptional candidates who bring a passion for something that can permeate across the whole school. We do not want to limit our field by identifying this in advance, but hope to recruit staff with a passion (e.g. music, sport, science, art, poetry, history) that we can build on, along with the passions of our existing staff and pupils. We will be providing excellent opportunities for children to develop their own interests and find their element.
What sort of disruption will there be for pupils during the building works?
For the summer term of 2016, the nursery children will move into a newly adapted children’s centre and ruby class(now Hedgehogs) will move into a demountable (temporary) classroom, to be situated on the snug play playground. For the first term of 2016/17 academic year (September to Christmas 2016), a year 2 class will take over the demountable classroom and works will continue. The current expected completion date is Christmas 2016.
Class teachers who have taught in demountable classrooms previously have confirmed there is no detriment to the quality of teaching and learning that takes place, in fact teachers and pupils loved their time in the demountables during the last major rebuild!
Will there be specialist rooms and room for group work / breakout space in the extended building?
Yes, a large teaching space will be dedicated to specialist teaching (art, science, cookery etc) and there will be two additional group rooms. Classrooms in the new 2-storey block will have areas outside (within large corridor spaces) for breakout work, use of ITC and independent learning. The completed primary school will have the same sized spaces as a new primary would be, if it were being built today to government standards. For the first few years the school will have surplus space, as the school grows over time, this will mean the first few cohorts will have a number of spaces we can designate for music, art and group work.
What about playground space?
Because the nursery will move to the children’s centre and associated outside space, the current large nursery playground, and area currently housing the chickens will be part of an extended playground area. This area will be landscaped at the end of the project and will be made fit for purpose for the older children.
What about homework?
We expect the children to continue their learning at home. As the children grow, the amount and time of home learning will continue to be age and stage appropriate, based on guidance and research about the most effective and valuable activities for children’s home learning. It will be directed in the way that will have the most impact on our pupils’ progress and motivation- and may vary from child to child. Parents and carers will be given the chance to contribute their thoughts to our Home Learning Policy and practice.
How will the children know that they have moved up to become Juniors?
Most schools are all-through primaries, and the transition from year to year is quite a gradual one. However, from day one the Junior children will have several separate assemblies each week, as well as special responsibilities coupled with higher expectations of behavior and independence. They will have the chance to become school prefects, and to develop peer mediation skills to help them support good behaviour and happiness on the playground. During their Year 3, they will move into their brand new classrooms in our new build – which will be their learning zone for the next three and a half years.
Will there be residential trips?
We are looking forward to these, and are investigating what is on offer for each year group. These will be planned to take place near the start of each year, so that children and teachers can build on their shared experience over their year together.
Alexandra – Proposed conversion to a Primary School
Kingston Council launched their statutory consultation on the 17th April 2015 proposing that Alexandra schools become a Primary school.
The Alexandra School Governing body is in full support of the Council’s proposal that Alexandra should become a Primary School. We believe that becoming a primary school will provide certainty to families of a high quality education through to the end of the primary school.
Governors, with the Council, have concluded that the full primary school could fit on the current Alexandra school site. We will share details of the proposed school building extension with parents prior to the formal planning process being commenced.
Governors are keen to ensure that there is minimal disruption to pupils and staff when the school building is extended.
The purpose of this document is to inform parents about the Governing Body’s support of the proposal and provide some further information about what it means in terms of the school building.
Kingston Council launched their statutory consultation on the 17th April 2015 proposing that Alexandra school, currently serving 90 pupils per year group (plus an extra 30 in year 1) from Reception up to year 2, become a Primary school, with a Reception intake of 60 per year. At the same time, a consultation is being carried out that St Paul’s makes a similar change from a Junior school to a Primary School, also with a Reception intake of 60 per year. The new Reception entry arrangements would apply from the September 2016 Reception cohort; there would be specific arrangements for the current Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 and their transition into Year 3 at either Alexandra or St Paul’s.
The statutory consultation is a Government requirement to propose the change in age-range of the two schools, and is separate from the Admissions consultation that took place during the Autumn term 2014. It is also separate from the planning consultation that will need to take place to get agreement on the building plans proposed for both schools.
Governing body support
The Governing body is in full support of the Council’s proposal that Alexandra should become a Primary School. We believe that becoming a primary school will provide certainty to families of a high quality education through to the end of the primary school without the uncertainty caused by having to reapply for Year 3 currently. We believe it will provide additional resources to the school and enable us to extend what we do so well for infants through to older children, through the development of an exciting and engaging junior curriculum and through the recruitment of additional teaching staff.
The proposed building solution
During parents meetings last summer, parents were generally very positive about the school becoming a primary, however, concerns were expressed about the use of the Barnfield site, specifically the distance between the two sites. Governors and the Council took these concerns on board, and carried out a feasibility to determine whether the full primary school could fit on the current Alexandra Infant school site. The study showed it could fit and could give us a very good solution.
The plans for extending the school building are still in development, but the current proposal being discussed between the Council and Governors would provide:
The 4 additional classrooms that we need to take the proposed number of children
2 further specialist spaces that could be used, for example, for science, music or art
Additional small group rooms to enable breakout teaching
Reconfigured admin and staff space, and improved circulation
Some additional flexible social / dining space
In developing the designs for the building, Governors have been keen to ensure that disruption to existing pupils and staff is minimised and that the new build elements have minimal impact on our very precious outdoor play space.
Governors and staff are working to ensure that the proposed school design builds on the positive elements of the building we have today and that the space available will compare favourably to other two-form entry primary schools across the country.
How to have your say
The consultation document from the Council is available on the Alexandra Infant school website and Governors would encourage parents to read it and provide comments through the routes described in the document. Governors are treated as another consultee during this process, and we will be providing our view that we are fully in support of the proposal, as long as we continue to be consulted on and have a right of approval of the building proposal.
Do remember that the plans for the building will be subject to a separate planning consultation process, not linked to the current consultation. When the plans are developed to a sufficient level of detail, we will share these with parents prior to the formal planning process being commenced. Governors remain available to discuss proposals with parents.
The statutory consultation is a four-week process, and after that the Council's Children's, Youth and Leisure Committee will consider the proposal (and the proposal for St Paul's) and any responses made to it; and make a decision whether or not to approve the proposals.
Louise Groves - Rachel Carr
Chair of Governors - Headteacher
Meetings for the parents/carers of children at
Alexandra and St Paul’s C of E Junior schools.
The meetings were led by Matthew Paul, Head of School Place Commissioning.
He outlined the current issues as follows:
Four classes in current Alexandra Reception year-group, but three classes at St Paul’s in Year 3 in 2016
No obvious location for additional Year 3 places elsewhere in North Kingston along with
continuing forecasts of excess demand for Reception places in North Kingston
The proposed solution:
Conversion of both Alexandra and St Paul’s into all-through two-form entry primary schools from September 2016 onwards.
This solution would create a fourth Year 3 class for September 2016 (and onwards), and it would create a fourth permanent Reception class - 60 Reception places per year at each school, i.e. 120 in total, compared with the current 90.
How would the solution be enabled?
St Paul’s Junior school would expend on its current site, with two new classrooms and some minor modifications required.
Expand Alexandra by the necessary 4 extra classrooms.
Reception to year 4 would stay on the Alexandra Road site, and years 5 and 6 would be accommodated in new purpose-built buildings that would be designed to accommodate classrooms, offices, a hall etc. Some minor modifications would also be required to the buildings on Alexandra Road.
What are the benefits?
Certainty of 120 places per year in two excellent local schools.
Enables both schools to forge new identities as all-through primary schools, on the same basis as Fern Hill, Latchmere, St Agatha’s and St Luke’s
Better choice for parents of children due to start Reception, enabling them to benefit from one ethos from 4 to 11
Removes the anomaly of a community infant school feeding into a Church of England junior school
Parents would need only to apply once per child for primary school admission. Larger budgets, enabling more staff, a broader offer and more economies of scale in each school
Having more staff would provide increased opportunities for:
collaboration on planning and developing the curriculum
sharing of skills and ideas
Autumn 2014: full feasibility studies for demolition and re-modelling of Alexandra’s and St Paul’s current sites
Autumn 2014: statutory consultation process; submit planning applications
15 January 2016: parents apply for Year 3 places
By spring 2016: complete work at both schools
17 April: Year 3 application outcomes known
Summer 2016: re-model Alexandra’s and St Paul’s current sites
Year 3 admissions 2016 to 2018
There would be a three-year transition, during which each Year 2 cohort would have to be split between the two schools: in 2016, 60-60; in 2017 and 2018, 60-30 and 60-30 (to be confirmed)
Published admissions criteria would be applied as necessary.
Year 3 allocations would be run before Reception allocations
The schools’ views
Both schools’ governing bodies, and the Diocese of Southwark, have given their in-principle approval, subject to:
- Full involvement in, and subsequent approval of, building plans
- Approval of fully-developed transition plans
- Financial projections during and after the transition period
- Approval of proposed building designs and available capital
There will be opportunities for discussion, consultation and debate over the coming months, and we anticipate that our communities will be very interested and involved in this process.
Meeting concerning Alexandra Infant & St Paul's C of E Junior- Proposed conversion into two-form primary school
Please see the attched power point for more information.
Transitional Model Chart
Kevin Edmonds and Rachel Carr.