Parents and Carers
The news and photos on the website, in particular, were so welcome! And the notes on the sandwich board by the gate. I was conscious all year that we were being asked not to dally in the playground for Covid reasons, so it was really helpful to have those little windows into the school world. And the ‘virtual well done’ sticker you gave my child at the end of the autumn term made her feel really chuffed. I appreciate how time consuming these things can be.
And of course there was the great teaching from the staff, who we got to ‘know’ a bit during the lockdown too. I loved the pattern of having both teachers involved every other week, I thought that worked really well, and we felt privileged to have our child being taught by two such excellent teachers with different styles. The Seesaw app was a useful addition for uploading photos and videos. It was lovely to have staff phoning to check in on us. And as for the Zoom meetings!! We loved them! My child had missed her class and teacher so much during the lockdown. The first time her teacher sent a video through after his paternity leave, she watched it five times in a row :) The Zoom chats really helped. And watching 20 odd small children playing musical statues on a screen is priceless :)
So yes, we really felt supported during the lockdown. The lessons were so well done and smoothly presented, we certainly never ran out of material. I was delighted to get more insight into things like the phonics sounds, subitising etc. Helping to teach your own child to read is quite magical, and it still helps me now to continue supporting her at home: I can say ‘what was your sound of the week?’ and encourage her to watch out for it. Having the various log-ins for Oxford Owls and Education City were great too.
I could go on at length, but basically, thanks again for a great introductory school year, from all our family. Everything was so well organised we had nothing to worry about, in a year that otherwise had its fair share of worry and anxiety.
The best indicator of the whole thing is that our child has loved her first year at school. Yesterday I told her that next year she’ll have an extra half an hour at school every day, and she said, ‘hooray!’
From the mum of a child in Early Years, reflecting on her first year in school, including Remote Learning during Covid lock down
My child enjoys doing his work, which makes a big difference. We're also hugely appreciative for all the effort the school and staff are making to provide engaging materials - the teacher videos have been really beneficial, making lessons feel much more like a classroom experience. He has also really enjoyed the weekly Zoom calls with his classmates. Like everyone he's very much looking forward to when he can get back to school - we often get a "I wish I could go to school today"!
From the dad of a Year 1 child, reflecting on Remote Learning during lockdown
I've been meaning to write for some time to express my gratitude and thanks to the school and all the staff for how well they are rising to the challenge of remote learning (at the same time as teaching face to face in the school!)
We are very happy with the way the learning has been delivered to date. The pre-recorded videos are spot on - just about the right length to set the children up for their work and give them the guidance they need. And we really appreciate the flexibility they give us in managing when the kids do their work. The workload is really manageable too. It's so nice to have the broader curriculum addressed too with 'Wonderful Wednesday' and Mrs Ford's 'Arts and Drama'. (Not to mention, Mrs Rawlins' assemblies which are always a pleasure to watch!)
From the mum of two children, one in Y1 and one in Y3
Dear Mr Tull and Mrs Whiting,
Just a quick message to say well done to all staff at school for all your hard work this term (during covid). Thank you for standing out in the rain daily, for providing an education for our children, for the constant hand washing routines, for keeping spirits up, team work, for still going even when you are faced with challenges, for putting yourselves at risk for the sake of our children and families. I could go on. I speak on behalf of everyone when I say ‘Thank you’ and a huge well done.
This week the teaching staff have worked hard (as usual) to provide us with resources and home learning, sending us videos, activities, stories, even exercise challenges. This has meant that my daughter could continue her valuable learning while isolating.
From the mum of a child in Year 2
- I think you are doing a brilliant job under such tricky conditions. We really appreciate everything you are doing to allow the children to get back to school. Thank you for making the transition to Reception fun and safe.
- I really like that the letters from school are emailed rather than printed (so many trees saved!)
- It has all been handled brilliantly and our son settled in perfectly and is loving it. Thank you for making everything so easy.
- I especially liked that we were shown the Stonewall (Different Families Same Love) display on our tour. It is nice that LGBTQ+ families aren't ignored.
- We really appreciate the enormous efforts you have made to help the children settle in, and the warm and approachable welcome we receive every day when we drop off and pick up. I particularly like the cheerful messages on the board by the gate, and the photos on the website.
- Really pleased with how quickly my child settled in. She loves going into school with a big smile.
- The atmosphere in the playground for drop off and pick up is welcoming. My child is enjoying experiences offered to him.
- We have nothing but good things to say about the staff and school.
- I really enjoy seeing the pictures of what the kids are doing, even the older ones, as it helps give me an idea of what is going on when we can't go into school ourselves.
- Our daughter absolutely loves school and asks to go every day (even weekends!) The school is wonderful and we are happy to be part of the family. Definitely made the right choice of primary school, 100%. Thank you so much for being so amazing!
- Thanks for the written messages on the board at pick up, they're very nice to read, and thank you particularly for receiving everyone with such warmth (even behind a mask!)
- Very good communication with staff.
- The eSchools is a great resource.
- We couldn't ask for anything better- well done!
"My son often asks me 'do you wish you went to Arbury School?' and every time I say 'yes'. In fact when I drop him off in the morning I often want to stay. The school is a welcoming community of kindness, respect and good humour.
The school has high expectations of the children and supports everyone in fulfilling their potential. I have enjoyed attending class assemblies, where the whole school comes together to watch one class review their work from that half term. I find it very moving to see my child in his element and taking pride in his achievements. I particularly like listening to Mr Tull celebrate children's small acts of kindness, honesty and bravery when he reads from the 'well done book'.
Of course assemblies are on pause right now because of COVID 19 but the teachers and leadership team are in the playground at pick up and drop off times, as welcoming and caring as ever, continuing to nurture their community. I think that the many years of strong, consistent leadership at Arbury Primary has enabled the school to be resilient during this period and not lose sight of all the things that make it such a wonderful place for our children to grow up. "
From the mum of a child in Year 4.
"Dear Mr Tull, Mrs Whiting and team,
Just a quick message to say well done to all the staff at school. As parents we were a little worried about coming back after lockdown. Needless to say we were reassured from the get go and everyone in this first week has done so well. All the staff have been working so hard.
From the beginning of Covid, you’ve worked hard to make sure we had home learning resources every week. You prepared the school and put procedures in place. Everyone has played a part in doing all they can. You have gone above and beyond to make sure everyone is safe, not just the children and staff.
So on behalf of our family a big thank you and well done to all! What an amazing team you are!!"
From the mum of a child in Year 2
"You’ve all worked tirelessly to help the school through the recent challenges (of Covid) and we admire you all for that. We are so grateful that our child has been able to finish her primary experience with you all. There is so much you have given her, and us as a family, that will just last forever. What a gift you all are!"
From the parents of a child leaving at the end of Y6
"It takes a village to raise a child. The school has been an enormous part of creating the community that has raised our kids. Thank you so much for all you do to make it such a special school."
From the parents of a child leaving at the end of Year 6
"Super leadership has meant that our child’s first year has been calm, consistent and good fun".
From the parents of a child just finishing Reception
"Thank you to you and your wonderful team for continuing to provide such an amazing education and care for all our kids locally. As our first child moves up to KS2, and our youngest settles even more into school, we continue to feel so fortunate to benefit from your expertise. I met a neighbour earlier this week whose child will start in September, and I felt a peculiar sense of pride to be able to share with her what an amazing school Arbury is. And you have certainly risen to the challenge set by Covid-19. THANK YOU!"
From the parents of children in Early Years and Year 2
Message about Covid and lockdown:
"I just wanted to say a massive thank you. I can only imagine how challenging it must have been for all of you. Thank you for providing a safe and caring environment for the children. These last few weeks of being back at school have been brilliant for all of us."
From the mum of a child in Reception
"I'm honestly blown away by the support the kids are having from teachers via the internet. I am so touched by some of the things the teachers are doing - reading out chapter books, for instance. Everything is so warm and thoughtful and encouraging.
Made me realise, for the umpteenth time, what a wonderful job our school
is doing. Thank you so much."
From the mum of two children, one in Y2 and one in Y6.
"When we were looking for schools for our son, we felt spoiled for choice with three well-performing schools in walking distance. We visited all of the schools to see the facilities, see some of the children at work and play and to hear what the staff had to say about their offer for their pupils.
All of the schools had something to offer and we felt welcomed by all but from the moment we arrived at Arbury, we were assailed by the work of the children and by countless messages telling us "you are welcome here" including more than one "Different Families, Same Love" poster which immediately made us feel that this was the right place for us. Our positive feelings for the school grew as the Headteacher took us on a tour (where we continued to see how images, books and other materials with the "Different Families..." message permeated the entire estate) and we watched as endless children of all ages crowded to him as someone they knew and were excited to see and share their work.
We were almost overwhelmed by how right the school was for our son and we have been proven right in our choice time and time again during his time as a pupil here."
“Every time I come to a school event I fall in love with the school a little bit more. It’s such an obviously happy place. Thanks for everything you all do for the kids. ”
From the mum of a child in Class 1.
"We chose Arbury Primary because it lives its inclusion and equality policies, rather than just speaks about them. All people are welcome at Arbury Primary, it doesn't matter what race, beliefs, ability, socio-economic or family background, all children have the chance to grow. The 'different families same love' posters are displayed throughout the school. I've often heard parents refer to them and the warmth the images bring to the school hallways. My child has quoted the 'different families, same love' slogan to support a friend whose parents had recently split.
Arbury Primary manages to keep the focus on developing the children's love of learning and enriching them with varied experiences whilst still getting great National results. They seem to have the balance and focus right. When picking a school, I was advised to see if the teachers were happy. Not just smiling for prospective parents, but smiling after no-one is thought to be looking. After a few years of being at the school, I still see happy teachers.”
“Huge thanks and credit to all the teachers and staff at Arbury Primary School, who took a little girl who could not read when she started there in Year 3 , and helped to make her into this confident, capable and successful young woman.”
- Parent whose eldest child achieved a First in English at Canterbury University.
“When my daughter turned 4 and we had to choose a primary school for her, we visited many schools in the area. Arbury Primary School visit revealed that the school had massive green fields and even a forest at the back! The inside of the building was colourful and inspiring for kids. The children looked very happy and well behaved. The staff felt welcoming and passionate about their job. We were very impressed, decided to put Arbury on the top of our list, and were lucky to be given a space there.
Before our daughter started school, she had the opportunity to come three times to meet her future teacher, play with the toys and look at what the pupils had created... She was ready and eager to start school two months later!
This was almost 2 years ago.
Now our daughter is in Year 1. She is happy to go to school and excited to learn new things every day. We couldn't be any happier, we feel like she's been flourishing; the kids and the staff care about each other, respect each other, look out for each other. It's the perfect environment for growing up and learning.
We are French, and it's not something we experienced when we went to school. The French system is very-much about markings, passing tests and fitting into a mould. Here the teachers will adapt to their pupils, adapt their teaching to their interests, value their talents and their efforts.
I would recommend any parents to visit Arbury Primary School and discover that the school is bursting with love and has a staff fully dedicated to turning shy 4-year-olds into confident, respectful and well-rounded teenagers.”
"I just wanted to let you know that I showed the online picture of the children making a rainbow to a friend of mine who has unfortunately been on the receiving end of some really unpleasant homophobic abuse in their time. They felt really encouraged and supported that this was happening, and felt that things like this might have made a real difference when they were growing up. The supportive environment you foster extends well beyond the school gates - thank you very much for making it happen."