Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope everyone continues to be well and you are enjoying the mini heatwave we have had over the last week.
Last summer when I wrote to you, we were only allowed to partially open our schools as we moved towards the summer holiday. I think we were all hoping COVID would disappear from our lives in the Autumn of last year – how wrong we were. Thankfully, we have had very low numbers of cases in our schools with only 12 occasions we have needed to close class bubbles this year. All children have been allowed back in school since March and the NHS vaccination programme has been rolled out to almost all adults. As you will have seen from communications from school heads, despite the law changing this week with the relaxing of some measures we are keeping everything in place in all our schools until the end of term, just to be safe.
Children are making better than expected progress
We have all adapted to the new circumstances using remote learning during the year where needed and utilising the small amount of additional catch-up money to ensure children make rapid progress. Normally we aim for 3 points of progress in an academic year one for each term but this time last year, with some children not having been able to be in school – we talked to staff about increasing expectations to help children to close any gaps staff could see. I am delighted to report that overall children have met this increased expectation with most children making more than 3 points of progress, some have made more than 4. Considering the amount of time schools were closed to all but children from critical workers where we were working remotely, this is an incredibly strong picture and helps all the children in readiness for the next academic year. We have some extremely hard working and talented staff who have brought this about by working in partnership across the trust. Thank you for helping to get children to school at the allotted time, following the guidance in place and supporting children with home learning. This has all helped to keep our attendance figures high and enabled us to make this amount of progress with your children.
Remote learning has been a big success this year. Despite reduced income we protected IT budgets over the last two years, which turns out to have been a good decision. Our IT Team of one and 2 part time technicians were almost there with capability before lockdowns were announced but COVID hastened our plans. We learned from the parent questionnaire over 700 of you kindly completed for us and adapted our approach. By the time lockdown 3 came we switched overnight to remote learning after opening schools for just one day. Everyone has worked through new learning and the new opportunities this method of delivery provides. Microsoft Teams has enabled us to run whole Trust INSET days as well as keep all staff and children in touch with each other. The Executive Heads and I can quickly update all heads and schools on new guidance as well as sharing ideas to fresh challenges. During the last year we have invested £218,000 in IT infrastructure and hardware for children in all our schools including:
iPad case x470
iPad charging / security trolleys x9
Desktop PC x28
Desktop monitors x28
Staff laptops x23
Servers x3 (moved to cloud)
Smart screens x19
Telephone systems x2
Wifi systems x4
Webcams / headsets x50
Gigabit broadband x4 schools
Total investment: £218k
Our small buildings team have stretched themselves to keep maintenance in buildings to a good standard. We are still advertising for two caretakers to join the team to increase capacity. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of someone who is interested in joining the team.
We apply each year to the Department for Education for CIF (Condition Improvement Fund) money to improve our buildings. Due to the skill of the team in writing the bids, we have been successful every year. This year we will receive grants totalling: £441,311 to add improvements to our school buildings on top of over £5,500,000 we have received in previous years.
Brunel window and door replacements = £326,436.36
Darite safeguarding = £ 41, 593.01
Pelynt safeguarding = £ 44,632.58
St Cleer safeguarding = £28,650.49
The criteria are very tight, we aren’t able to apply for everything we might like but it all helps to improve the environment for our children, families and staff in which to work and learn.
Parent questionnaire about communications
Thank you to everyone who filled in the latest parent questionnaire. Almost 70% of you prefer email as the best method to send communication, to read on a smartphone. We are obviously keen to reach an even higher number of you to keep you informed. One of the items raised in the questionnaire was some parents felt there isn’t enough information about the trust. I try to put as much as I can on the website www.bridgeschools.co.uk and limit the amount you receive here by email to be the latest updates. We will share more information in the Autumn Term.
Farewell Year 6 – Class of ‘21
Thank you for all your best efforts working with us this year and the previous years. For listening, working, reading and writing, adding, multiplying and dividing, experimenting, singing, spelling, understanding and giving, running, painting, acting and climbing – the mountain that has been your final year of Primary Education! We hope you have learned all you need to. Remember us and go on to achieve great things, we all wish you the very best.
We have an extraordinary group of people who have chosen to work with your children in Bridge Schools. Staff have gone above and beyond again this year to ensure your children have the very best opportunities possible. I would like to thank them for working through another extraordinary year to achieve great things for all the children in our schools. Governors, trustees and members have all given a great deal of time this year to test, challenge and support our ideas in delivering the recovery curriculum, my thanks also go to them. To you as parents working with us, I am also grateful. My greatest thanks and accolades go as ever to the children. This has been another topsy turvy year for them to navigate but they have done it, the assessments show their determination and ability to succeed despite the odds supported by all of us: staff, governors, trustees and parents working as one big Bridge Schools Team.
Our plan is to open all schools in September as normal, but we will see what happens with the Delta COVID variant and watch the news for the Prime Minister’s updates towards the end of the holiday. In the meantime, I hope everyone is able to stay safe and enjoy a lovely summer holiday, ready to face fresh challenges in the autumn.
With all good wishes,
Adrian Massey and everyone at Bridge Schools.
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Class 1 and Class 3 will be using African percussion instruments this half-term in their music lessons. We have rented the instruments from the Cornwall Music Service and the children will be composing and performing their own compositions with expert tuition from Mrs Butlin.
More blogs from Duloe C of E School
Based at Bodmin in Cornwall, Bridge Schools Trust serves 14 academies in the Trust. We currently work across a wide area of Cornwall. Our schools vary in size from 421 pupils in the largest to 23 in the smallest and include voluntary aided Church Schools.
By working together, Bridge Schools Trust is ideally situated to face both educational and operational challenges. With a dedicated central team we can provide schools with a range of specialised services and support, allowing leaders to focus on providing excellent teaching and learning opportunities for all our learners. The Trust is committed to delivering high quality educational provision across all academies whilst encouraging our partners to reflect the individual needs of local communities.
Bridge Schools Trust,
21 Callywith Gate,
Phone: 01208 503103
The Trust welcomes the approach of any school interested in joining Bridge Schools, regardless of size, location or status.
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We are bold and innovative in our approach to find new solutions to the challenges we face.
We are the best we can be.
We take responsibility for our actions in an environment of mutual respect.
We overcome all barriers to reach our potential, developing a capacity to improve further.
We are passionate about learning.
© 2021 Bridge Schools trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Registration number 7736425. It is an exempt charity.