Governor Visit Report
Who: Sarah Sprack
Date: Tuesday 3 June – Tuesday 8 July 2014 -1.30pm – 3.00pm
Purpose of visit: SHIP sessions -Shakespeare Induction Programme
I attended the school’s SHIP sessions with my daughter every Tuesday for six weeks, beginning Tuesday 3 June to Tuesday 8 July 2014. These sessions started at 1.30pm for registration and finished at 3pm. The school did other SHIP sessions for families and these took place on either Wednesday or Thursday afternoons.
Our first session took place on Tuesday 3 June 2014. We all arrived at the school office and collected our badges and paid monies to attend the sessions. Mrs Skinner greeted everyone as we arrived into the school. We then walked over to the main playground where we waited outside the music & drama room (the SHIP sessions were to primarily take place in 2 of the school rooms – the music and drama room, and the sunshine room). The children were all very excited and ran around the main playground.
When the doors opened we formed an orderly queue and went inside. Mrs Boughtwood and Mrs Spencer, two of the EYFS teaching assistants, greeted the children. The adults sat on the chairs that were placed around the outside of the room and the children were encouraged to sit on the floor and play with some toys that were put out. Most of the children congregated around the toys, and a few sat with their parents. Mrs Boughtwood then welcomed everyone to SHIP and explained how the sessions were going to work and the schedule for the day.
School policy was now that a member of staff had to take any SHIP family that needed the toilet to the toilets and you were not allowed to go off by yourself. Mrs Spencer was thus on toilet duty for the entire session! (In later sessions a system was set up whereby everyone would go to the toilet together at the start of session and just before storytime to avoid disruption).
Mrs Boughtwood then asked the children to put the toys way and asked them to come and sit on the carpet so she could do the register. A few children sat with their parents, but the majority of the children went to the front. They all sat beautifully and were very well behaved. Mrs Boughtwood then read out the register. Some children had to be prompted by their parents’ to respond, and some quite confidently put their hands up when they heard their name. Mrs Boughtwood then counted with the children.
After this, we were told we could now go off and have some free play for 45mins. Activities included arts & crafts, a home corner, a puppet theatre, sand play, building and playing with bricks and (a firm favourite) playing with toy cars and the garage. The children were also allowed to play in the playground. In addition, the children were allowed to take a library book home from the SHIP library (and this became part of their weekly routine, to return and choose a library book every Tuesday).
Between 2.15pm and 2.30pm we all tidied up and assembled back in the music and drama room where the children were then told they were going off to one of the Year R classrooms to have a story. The children were told to find a partner and line up in twos. The majority of the children needed help with this but when they were all ready they quite happily marched off, following Mrs Boughtwood. I believe only one child needed to be carried by a carer who was quite apprehensive about leaving.
The parents/carers then congregated in the sunshine room for a talk with Mrs Skinner. Mrs Skinner’s talk was primarily about who the staff members were in Year R; all about SHIP and why we have it; what happens when the children start school in September and how they are phased in; and finally all about the free school meals offer that starts in September.
After the talk, the children returned to us and the first session of SHIP drew to a close.
The structure of SHIP continued in a similar fashion for all the subsequent weeks. The arts and crafts activities changed each week (the session where the play doh was out was particularly popular!) but the other activities stayed the same.
Zoe Davies, the new Year R teacher, attended SHIP from session 2 onwards, to meet with the children and parents and it was lovely to have her in attendance each week.
We also received Book Start packs in session 2 that contained free books, which the children (and parents!) were excited about.
In the final session, we were given the opportunity to purchase second hand school uniform for 10p an item! A definite bargain which many parents took advantage of.
The talks in subsequent sessions were on as follows:
Tuesday 10 June 2014 – Session 2: Mrs Skinner gave a talk on how the school promotes positive behaviour and a positive approach to learning.
Tuesday 17 June 2014 – Session 3: Mrs Woodcock, teacher of class 2 and year R leader, spoke to us about the Foundation Stage curriculum.
Tuesday 24 June 2014 – Session 4: Mrs Woodcock gave a talk about a day in the life of a child in Yr R.
Tuesday 1 July 2014 – Session 5: Mrs Skinner informed us about what classes our children would be in for September. Mrs Skinner gave parents/carers the opportunity to ask questions.
Tuesday 8 July 2014 – Session 6: Parents/carers were taken to the hall where we were given a sample of school dinners to try. We had rice, mince, pizza, bread and a biscuit. We were then given a brief talk by the catering team. After this, Mrs Woodcock gave us a talk on family literacy and how we can support our children’s literacy skills at home.
Shakespeare Infant School’s SHIP sessions were excellent. Compared to other schools in our area, we offer the most comprehensive induction programme for new starters. It enables the children to really get used to the school setting and to some of the staff, and of course each other. It was lovely to see some of the little children already making new friends with each other.
SHIP was very well organised and it ran like clockwork. The information given out to parents was very good and useful. There were also plenty of opportunities for parents/carers to ask questions.
Session 6 of SHIP was particularly useful as were told, by Mrs Woodcock, how the school would teach our children to read and write. She used a story entitled “Jasper’s Garden” to show us how to read to our children at home. We were also told about phonics and shown the school’s handwriting script. We received a lot of information during this session, all of which was extremely beneficial.
The children became more and more confident in SHIP as the weeks went on. By session 5, my daughter Lucy was so confident that (when the children were told they were going to go off for storytime) she got up, found a partner by herself and queued up straight away. She went off for a story with the other children and did not even look back to wave goodbye to me like she had done in previous weeks! SHIP became part of our weekly routine, and one in which Lucy looked forward to going to each Tuesday. The Tuesday after SHIP had ended, Lucy asked me in the afternoon (after noticing that lunchtime had come and gone and we still had not yet set out for school), “Are we going to SHIP mummy?” to which I replied no, and that it had finished. She then looked briefly disappointed at me as if to say, ‘Well, what do we do now then?’ – and that was the success of SHIP, to get the children used to going to school to the point where it becomes part of their lives.
When September comes, these little 4 year old children will feel more confident and at ease when walking into their new class room than children starting other schools in the area who have not had the privilege of attending such a useful and positive induction programme as SHIP.