PARENT FORUM

Our Parent Forum held its first meeting in June 2016 in response to feedback from a number of parents who hoped to engage in a dialogue with the school about how we could improve the service we provide to students, parents and the community. We meet on a termly basis and discussions have already brought about some important improvements to the way we operate. Parents and governors have enjoyed the healthy and open dialogue about many aspects of the school’s provision which has been valued greatly by members of the Parent Forum who see us as a school that listens!

Over the years, the Parent Forum has been instrumental in securing improvements at the school. Meetings have been a source of positive conversation about the future of The Lakes School with a focus on supporting parents and students. The Parent Forum was instrumental in helping the school secure a judgement as a GOOD school following our Ofsted inspection in November 2019 and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with parents.

After a short break, we reinvigorated our Parent Forum meetings in the spring of 2021.

If you would like to join the Parent Forum then please contact Mr Cunningham via admin@lakes.cumbria.sch.uk or you can register your interest via your child’s Arbor Parent Portal or Arbor Parent App.

Parent Forum Meeting Guidance
Introduction

The Lakes School Parent Forum provides an opportunity for parents to shape the future of our school. Our Parent Forum was instrumental in helping us to secure a rating of Good from Ofsted in 2019 and the conversations that we have with parents continue to shape our work today. 

Through our Parent Forum, parents are able to talk to each other and share their thoughts about the way the school feels for parents and students in the knowledge that forum meetings are attended by members of the governing body and our headteacher, Andy Cunningham, who will typically host parent forum meetings. The school welcomes new members and we look forward to working closely with you in the months and years ahead. 

Meeting Schedule

We aim to meet at least 3 times in any academic year during the autumn, spring and summer terms. Ideally, we would always like to meet in person but we recognise that meetings via Microsoft Teams enable more parents to take part so we will typically conduct our meetings remotely. Parents who have expressed an interest in being part of the forum will receive a Microsoft Teams invitation via email. Typically, meetings will be scheduled in the evening from 6.00pm to 7.30pm. 

Joining a Meeting

You will receive a link to the meeting via the email address we hold for you on our system in school. You should just then be able to click the link and this will take you to Microsoft Teams which you can easily install on your computer or mobile device. Please try to join the meeting 10 minutes early so that we can begin promptly. You might need to wait in the lobby but we will admit you as soon as we can. Finally, please remain on MUTE when you join the meeting. This will ensure that we avoid feedback or disruption from noises in your home. You will then be able to switch on your microphone when you join the break out rooms for discussion.

Valuing Your Voice: Breakout Rooms and Chat Facility

The topics for discussion will be shaped by parents and the leadership of the school. We firmly believe that all parents who attend forum meetings should have the chance to share their views and opinions – to have a voice. Whilst this can be difficult in large groups, we will always look to make use of breakout rooms on Microsoft Teams. 

Breakout rooms are managed by the meeting host who will be able to send attendees off in to virtual rooms so that you are able to enjoy conversations as a small group on a specific topic. 

Whilst in a breakout room, you will be able to use the chat facility to capture your thoughts and ideas which will be saved in the meeting. Your chat comments will be available after the meeting which will be read by the leadership of the school. 

Meeting Etiquette

During a Parent Forum meeting, it is vitally important that all members behave respectfully towards each other. It is also important to recognise that everyone has a different experience of the school and that this may be different to your own. Parent Forum members must be courteous and respectful towards each other and take care when commenting on the views of others or when expressing views about The Lakes School. The names of students, staff, governors and other parents should not be mentioned and discussions should focus on the strengths and areas for improvement that you would like to see at the school. 

Reporting Abuse

Everyone at The Lakes School has a right to be free from abuse of any kind as it is important for members of the Parent Forum to monitor and report the conduct of others. All members should report abuse to the school via our admin@lakes.cumbria.sch.uk email address. 

After a Meeting

A summary of each meeting will be posted on the Parent Forum page of our website. Thoughts, ideas and chat comments will always be recorded anonymously. Staff and members of the governing body will be kept up to date with Parent Forum meetings and a summary of key ideas and actions will be shared with all parents via our newsletters and our Facebook page. 

Here are the notes from our Parent Forum meeting on 30th March 2021.

Great things about The Lakes School

Welcoming, online learning, mixed year groups to support, rewards and amazon vouchers.

Reward scheme is a great idea, the trips are also good. My daughter is already looking forward to DofE scheme.

My daughter has been made really welcome by other children in her year. She also seems to be enjoying her different subjects and feels that most of the teaching staff have a sense of humour and are approachable.

Remote Learning – online provision was excellent. Communication was great. Lots of positive messages. Weekly form tutor chats were fab. Great catch up. Teams seemed to work well for children with minimal adult supervision needed. Technology was streamlined, with everything being done in one place. Children interacted will with it.

2nd lockdown was better than the first as lessons were learned from the first lockdown.

Friendly family environment. Close knit group environment with people knowing each other’s names. The smaller size helps with this.

Options for subjects at GCSE are very good. Small, but big enough for a larger pool of friends.

Meeting students from other villages is great.

After school sports clubs – quite a lot on offer. Also helps to expand friendship groups. Was pleased to see them start up again quickly.

Clubs are really important; physical and mental well being helped by clubs and keeping active.

Teaching is great. Lots of positive feedback. Clubs are in extra time and that is appreciated.

Curriculum

School seems willing to evolve with student needs.

Two week timetable gives good breadth.

Always an approachable staff member, pastoral staff are fantastic. Peer support in form groups is great.

From 1st lockdown to now, the school has grown in strength and really ‘found its feet’.

School is welcoming and inclusive. Always ready and willing to tackle things.

Curriculum seems to work with timetable being spread over two weeks. breaks up monotony and peer groups and gives a little space. Also means school can cover more ground. Maybe when things become more manageable, some more extra curricular clubs and different sports would be great to come back.

I personally would like to see more yoga, mindfulness and self awareness options

Geocaching is popular locally – could this be added as a club.

Could sixth formers help run or supervise clubs at lunchtime or after school.

Could bands or choirs, singing and performing be on offer?

Could we have a school magazine?

Question: how is the curriculum delivered? How do we find out what they are doing in a particular subject and how they can help them? What is on the website? Answer: the subject pages on the school website contain year group specific content about the curriculum. There’s more to add but lots on already across each subject.

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the curriculum? Is there an indication of how much the children have missed during the lockdown periods?

Does the school feel that children have made quite good progress during the lockdown periods? General feedback and targeted for your individual children

Will adaptations be made for Year 6 children transitioning into year 7? Primary online learning will have been very different to secondary. Is there guidance to help with this?

The mini options moving from Year 8 in to Year 9 are good and well liked by the students.

Rewards and Behaviour

Could school continue with online merit tokens, especially for older students and maybe more age appropriate or slightly different rewards for sixth form or older year groups?

Merit tokens – electronic or paper seem to be motivating and popular.

Year 13 – not worth having the rewards as they don’t get many of them. Very few compared to lower years.

Rewards system has helped to encourage children to work harder. Set targets for them to increase their rewards each year.

Ongoing feedback not just when reports are due both to parents and students. I have always had this but not sure if it is the same across all tutor groups. Consistency across all staff has been highlighted as a need.

Children seem to appreciate the validation of good work or support if struggling. Probably now more so with the loss of direct contact.

Negative behaviour was well dealt with. Parents were told in advance of the student coming home. Not left for the student to tell the parent. Some students won’t bother to tell their parents. Good that it has been dealt with during the school day.

Could there be a competition to get less C1’s than their peer groups.

Make it clearer what the C1 etc stands for and what you are given it for.

Make it clearer as to what you do to get a merit and how many would be ‘normal’.

Students like the money aspect of getting the vouchers.

Like the school badges as an extra challenge. Good that the Year 6 children were included as that helped with the progression to TLS.

Would be good to get the older students more involved with the badges.

Not many students want to wear the badges.

Is the profile of the badges going to be raised? Could be good to set tasks for the holidays.

Presentation of the badges in assembly?

Make it cool to have the badges!

What is next after they have done all the badges? A set per school year.

Good behaviour is recognised and bad behaviour is dealt with appropriately.

+44 (0)15394 40810

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The Lakes School
Troutbeck Bridge
Windermere
Cumbria
LA23 1HW

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