16.6.21 Sue Blakeway, Vice Chair of Governors

The Foundation provision at the school was discussed at the most recent Pupil Progress committee meeting and my visit to this part of the school is a follow up action. Staff have expressed concern that many children in this cohort have fallen behind in their development during lock down, particularly in the physical aspect. There is also a larger number of children with SEND; Grace Atherton, Foundation Lead, is determined that all of these needs will be met whilst also ensuring that all children can progress well.

The visit on a very hot afternoon was enlightening. All children were engaged in activities and there was an industrious atmosphere in both F1 and F2. Children are happy and enjoy their time in school. In F1 the children were just finishing their lunch break with water play and it was evident that they had all had fun. They were settled outside by the staff who read stories and sang songs, then they returned into the unit ready for the afternoon of learning. In F2, the children were all involved in purposeful activities based on play. A member of staff was working with a small group of children on writing, an activity that all children access throughout the week.  Another member of staff was working on number with a group of children, a fun game with large numbers on the floor.

In both year groups the children are allowed to choose their activities and they can play with any other children in the class. This teaches independence and good social skills. More targeted work takes place in the smaller home groups and on an individual basis, with the focus of ensuring all children will be ready for more formal learning in Year 1.

There is a large amount of outdoor space which is used daily and well. The F2 area has a garden growing; children have potted plants and are tending them over time. There is a wide range of apparatus alongside the more traditional educational activities and toys.

Grace advised that the children are developing their physical skills really well, quickly getting back to the level expected for their age group. The unit is serving the larger number of SEND children very well, and this will be monitored by Grace and the Head Teacher throughout the year.

It was a pleasure to see the children so engaged in the life of the school. They were busy and happy, enjoying all that is offered to them. It is evident that the Mellers’ values are instilled on entry to the school.

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