I am delighted to attach below a summary of the parent survey results. We were very pleased indeed with the survey this year – firstly that it was our highest ever response rate, and secondly that over 90% of parents said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with almost every area. This shows continuous improvement on previous years, and something we are continuing to work on – as you know, my belief is that our partnership with parents is absolutely critical if we are to provide the very best for your children.
I am particularly pleased that, this year, 97% of parents told us their children were happy at school. As you will have almost all heard me say when we first met, I do believe very strongly that happy learners make great learners, and this is consistently proven by academic research. Of course, it is essential that we have high quality teachers and a high quality environment (and we do – and the survey confirmed that you agree!) but it is children’s love of coming to school every day that is the ‘X-factor’ in their success.
I am also very reassured at the improved scores in some of the areas that you have highlighted over the past couple of years. The satisfaction rate with ASA provision has gone up by 5%, with the library by 5% and with school meals by 10% (the latter in no small measure thanks to the excellent work of our Food Committee). We continued to have satisfaction ratings in every area that are on a par with, or ahead of, our other Nord Anglia schools, and I could not be more grateful for the fantastic support you give to us in making this happen.
There are of course some areas which you have identified as needing improvement and we are already working on these. This year, particular focus came on the information we are providing about academic progress, and giving parents information on how to support their child’s learning, especially (but not uniquely) for parents whose first language is not English. We are already taking action on this – Primary parents will know that we have set up a working group already on communication and reporting, and our Secondary leadership team are putting an action plan in place with the support of some parents. This is something we need to get right and we very much value the support of those parents who are giving their time to get involved in this way.
There are a couple of points in the survey on which I would like to respond now. Firstly, there were some comments from parents regarding teacher retention. In fact, we have a much smaller staff turnover than usual this year. I do of course fully understand the concern – because the Principal, senior members of the Secondary Leadership Team and Ms Corry in Primary (to spend more time with her children and grandchildren) are leaving at the same time this year, it does appear like we have a number of staff leaving. Most of those leaving have given years of service to the school and it is normal that they are seeking promotion to other posts after this dedicated commitment to BSB. We will only have 15 new teachers joining next year, out of a total teaching staff of nearly 100, so you will see the school full of familiar faces when you return in August.
Secondly, a number of parents commented on the need for more IT provision in school. As you may or may not know, there was a very significant investment in IT provision, particularly in the Primary school, in November and it is possible you have not yet seen the benefits of this. This summer we are also refurbishing our secondary IT teaching rooms to make sure they are up to the standard you expect. However, we will watch this closely and listen very carefully to parents’ views over the coming year.
I have already shared the survey results in detail with Richard Thornhill, our incoming Principal, and he is looking forward to continuing to focus on all and any areas for improvement, whilst looking to maintain the excellent overall satisfaction rating.
We are now nearly half way through the month of April and therefore our minds turn very much to our secondary students and the forthcoming examinations, which will set the course for their entire future lives. To every secondary parent who reads this, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or me, if you have any concerns in the coming months. Your children WILL find this a stressful experience, however relaxed they may seem, and we want to make sure we support them together. They are truly wonderful young people and every one of them deserves the very best. For our primary children, it is getting very close to residential time, which is always a really exciting point of the year – I look forward to hearing a lot more over the next few weeks.
I wish you all a very happy and successful term ahead and look forward to seeing you at the many spring and summer events in school.
With best wishes