Message from the Chair
Chair of Governors’ Message
The past year has been a time of tireless investment in the academic progress and success of the children from the Isle of Dogs who come to St Luke’s C of E Primary School. The results of this effort, I believe, speak for themselves.
In previous years, I have commented on the gradual shift from one form of entry school to two forms of entry, and how it made me proud as a governor and a faith leader to see more and more families being able to access wonderful education. The process of school growth is now complete, and the School roll is as full as it is likely ever to be, given the transience that is always a feature of our community. What I think is remarkable is that the school experience for the children is not diminished by this growth. The senior staff and the teachers still know every child by name, even when they are not in the same class, and more children in the school means that we can do more, within the resources that we have.
It also means that the Headteacher and staff are working with more families, all of whom have something to offer. This year has been a time of consolidating what we do together as a community of parents and staff through support workshops for parents and through creating a robust PTA. The PTA has successfully raised funds for new, imaginative playground equipment, and each event it organises raises more funds to enrich the school experience of every child.
St Luke’s is a very stable school - we seldom lose staff to other schools because the standards, the values and the community feel of the school fulfil, I believe, the professional needs of our teachers and support staff. As I have said before, but it bears repeating, the inspiring leadership of our Headteacher has been crucial to this stability. However, that stability in the staff often contrasts with surprising mobility among our families - this is a community on the move. The drivers behind this are at least two-fold: the need for larger homes as families grow, and the wish to get children into areas near London that have grammar school provision, particularly Essex and Kent. It won’t surprise you to know that the most able children are often the ones that leave St Luke’s in year. The children that come into the school in year are often below the age related expectations (ARE) for their year group (though they quickly catch up). Our outcomes at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are all the more remarkable for that: at Key Stage 1, 70% of the children achieved ARE in Reading, 72% in writing, 76% in Maths and 68% Combined. These percentages are at or above the local and national figures (apart from Reading - English is an unfamiliar second language for many of our children who join in year). At Key Stage 2, 83% of children achieved ARE in Reading, 74 % in Writing, 83% in Maths, 79% in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) and 66% Combined. These figures, apart from Writing which is still a challenge, are at or above local and national figures. In the past one of interventions has been to run Easter Holiday classes to ‘up the game’ of those sitting the KS2 Sats. We no longer feel that this is necessary or appropriate, since the children consistently perform at this level, and we don’t need to force feed them to achieve excellent results. I’d like to congratulate our current Year 3 children and the Year 7 students who have now gone to secondary school on these results. They have clearly caught the education bug, and that will set them up well for adult working life. We continue to track the progress of groups in the school that often struggle, giving them the understanding help and intervention that they need.
Reading, Writing, Maths and GPS are important, but they tell you very little about the character of the school. St Luke’s has always recognised that it’s the enrichment activities that make the difference, but since the appointment of Mr Richard Griffiths as our Enrichment Lead these have felt more considered and intentional, including the newly formed link with Reculver Church of England School in Kent. The list of enrichment activities is long; I would want to single out some of them: The Bible Bee competition, a visit to the East London Mosque, swimming at the newly reopened Poplar Baths, a trip to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill (including looking at the wrongly modeled stuffed walrus), a religious dance workshop for every class, a cycling day with Bikeability and the creation of new artwork with Christian concepts for the ground floor corridor. Extracurricular clubs are important at St Luke’s, and there is fierce competition to get into the most popular ones, among them Street Dance, running, gardening and quicksticks Hockey. Music provision and take up continues to strengthen, encouraging children to be confident and proud of their achievements.
In 2017, the Statutory Inspection for Anglican and Methodist Schools rated St Luke’s as ‘Outstanding’. Even if we wanted to rest upon these laurels we would not be able to - SIAMS itself is changing and making more and more demands on how we teach RE and how we organise collective worship. If you speak to anyone who remembers how it was thirty years ago, the school came to church every week for its Mass. That is no longer possible, as the school has grown so large. It is now enough of a challenge to get all the children into and out of the main hall on Mondays in time to begin their lessons. So we are adapting the worship that is we share with the children, making it, I hope, more focussed and more at their level. We have been working with the leadership consultants from Grow, part of the London Diocesan Board for Schools, to be ready for the searching questions we will face in the next SIAMS inspection. This will take into account every aspect of the School’s life, not just worship and RE.
The Governing Body congratulates the Headteacher and her staff for the school’s performance, and wishes them every success in the academic year which is beginning.