Message from the Chair of Governors
Dear Parents and Carers,
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Mike Milne and this is my first letter as the new Chair of Governors at Oak Tree Primary School. Whilst writing, I would like to acknowledge the work and contributions of the school’s Board of Governors: a group of professional and highly motivated volunteers, each an expert in a specific area whose collective role is to support and challenge the school. I would particularly like to pay tribute to Liam Wareing who steps down from his role after over 6 years as governor. Liam was my immediate predecessor as Chair and worked tirelessly to support and develop the school and to enrich the experience of the children and staff at Oak Tree.
At the end of the Summer term, we say farewell to Mrs Blindell who will be retiring after more than 24 years at Oak Tree (and Orrishmere). Much of this time has been spent in the role of SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) supporting those children facing the biggest challenges. We know she will look back on her time at Oak Tree with pride and fulfilment and we wish her a well-deserved long and happy retirement.
In September, we look forward to welcoming 2 new members of the Oak Tree teaching team; Mrs Berkeley (Y1) and Mr Martin (Y3).
We have now reached the end of the 5th full school year since Oak Tree Primary School was founded in September 2015. I hope that there will be an opportunity to celebrate our 5th birthday at some stage during the year ahead, and I am sure that Mrs Slater and ROOTS will work together to organise a special celebration when things return closer to normal.
I remember seeing the Oak Tree School building standing unfinished and empty in the grounds of the former Queens Road Primary School. That image contrasts starkly with the exciting and vibrant place it is today with around 600 inquisitive children exploring, learning, playing and making friends.
Whilst we wave an emotional farewell to a 5th cohort of Year 6 children (which this year includes my own twin boys), it seems like a good opportunity to reflect on where we are now as a school and remind ourselves of the qualities that make Oak Tree Primary School special.
As the school has grown over the last 5 years, so too has its reputation and esteem. The recent Ofsted inspection rated the school as “good” and recognised strong leadership, effective teaching and good progress of the children. According to Ofsted “Pupils are safe and well supported, and school supports pupils’ personal development and welfare needs well.”
The performance of pupils in tests is well above average compared with Stockport and England, and continues to improve year on year. Attendance is also well above average and the behaviour of pupils is commendable! (Ofsted again, “Pupils’ behaviour, attitudes and conduct around the school are exemplary. They are polite, sensible and kind to one another. Incidents of poor behaviour are very rare.”)
All of this happens because of the hard work, skill and professionalism of Mrs Slater, all the teachers, teaching assistants and support staff at Oak Tree. This was exemplified when teachers rose to the sudden challenge of managing distance learning technology during lockdown, and the short notice changes in Government guidance as children began to return to school. It was impressive to see the innovative ways teachers have supported children’s learning with a variety of online platforms, activities and videos whilst providing motivating feedback. I was also very impressed by the skill of our teaching assistants as they stepped in front of classroom bubbles when required. Well done to everyone!
Of course learning during lockdown could not have happened without huge efforts of parents and carers at home. Home-schooling was an exciting prospect in March when it began with our daily 9am P.E. sessions, Class Dojo, Google Classroom, My Maths etc. but I suspect we all soon developed a renewed respect for our children’s teachers as the weeks / months rolled by.
Oak Tree is fortunate to have a superb relationship with parents and carers, who have demonstrated amazing cooperation, patience and trust throughout 5 years, but this has strengthened immeasurably during this pandemic crisis. I would like to thank all parents and carers for your continuing goodwill and messages of support and positivity.
Whilst on the subject of parents / carers, where would Oak Tree be without ROOTS?
For those who may not know, ROOTS stands for “Representatives Of Oak Tree School” and is a group of parents and carers who go the extra mile by giving their time, hard work and enterprise to organise a wide variety of events and activities to support the school and the children.
These events include Christmas Fairs, Summer Fairs and Easter Egg Tombolas, not to mention the implausible but amazing “Oak Tree on Ice” event last February!
As well as creating enjoyable and memorable events for children and their families, ROOTS events raise funds used to enhance children’s experience at Oak Tree. The list of items sponsored and supported by ROOTS include:-
- Book bags for all Reception children
- Funds for each class teacher to spend on materials for their children
- Outdoor Play Equipment
- Souvenir packs for Y6 leavers
- PHSE online resources
- Silent disco equipment
- And many more.
I am not going to name names as there are many people involved in ROOTS, and none are motivated by a desire for personal individual recognition. Besides, YOU know who you are!
Members of ROOTS, please take a bow and accept a sincere thankyou from the school Governing Body on behalf of all the children and the whole school community.
Oak Tree is a school where children can learn reading, writing and mathematics and so much more! They can learn to grow flowers and vegetables in the school garden, care for our chickens, learn about nature and building dens in Forest School, learn to play sports or a musical instrument, play on the outdoor equipment, go on trips to farms, museums, sporting events and residential stays, and learn to relate to children who are different from themselves.
This year has been far from normal as the Coronavirus Pandemic has caused major disruption to normal school life as well as in the wider world, and my thoughts go out to anyone who has lost a loved one to this appalling infection. This letter is not intended to minimise the ongoing struggles and tragedies many of us are currently facing, and indeed Oak Tree will face many challenges in September with new ways of working, and learning and supporting any children who may have lost motivation or confidence or whose progress may have slowed.
Instead, my intention has been to celebrate some of Oak Tree’s strengths that leave the school so well-placed to face the challenges and obstacles of an uncertain future. I have confidence in Oak Tree, and can promise that the Board of Governors will work diligently to promote the best interests of all our children.
I would like to finish by wishing all children, parents, carers, teachers and staff a pleasant Summer break to return to School in September recharged and refreshed.