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Keinton Mandeville

The Governor's Blog!

Maths Governor Learning Walk - Pam Brown July 2021

I completed a maths walk through the school this week seeing 4 out of 5 classes over 2 mornings. It was lovely to get back into the classrooms to observe the children working and to see what was being taught. The teachers are working so hard trying to catch the children up, ensuring that the curriculum priorities are covered and the foundations for the next school year are in place.

It has been such a difficult year and parents can be assured that despite the children being at different stages in their maths learning, it is being addressed in all classes. It is not something that can happen overnight, the staff are continuously evaluating their classes and working to meet all children’s needs.

The atmosphere in the school is one of calm and it is evident that the children are happy to be there. The children were pleased to see me in and enjoyed the interest from an adult who was not on the school staff.

Hopefully I will be able to shed the mask the next time!

English Subject Leader Discussion - Ruth Landrigan June 2021

I really enjoyed visiting the school this afternoon to find out more about the school’s English curriculum from Miss Govier. The changes that are being introduced are well thought out, thoroughly planned and should benefit students, while simultaneously fostering a genuine love of reading and writing. We also discussed potential enrichment opportunities related to reading, spelling, writing, public speaking and drama, which Miss Govier will discuss with her colleagues in due course. I look forward to hearing how the new English curriculum evolves over time as Miss Govier and her colleagues develop it in response to feedback from staff and students alike.

Staff, parent & pupil wellbeing surveys - Pam Brown - May 2021

Over the last few weeks, Martin Lister, a new governor, and I have worked on 2 surveys, one for the school staff, the other for our parents and children. Governors have a responsibility to consider carefully the wellbeing of the staff team (May 2021 DfE document, ‘The Education Staff Wellbeing Charter’). In addition, it is useful to know of any problems/concerns of our pupils and their parents/carers.

In both cases, if we do not realise that there are any issues, then we cannot help. Hopefully all who are sent the survey will complete it, it should not be a lengthy exercise, but will give us a better insight.

SEND Governor's Blog - Laura Vernoum - May 2021

It was fantastic to take the opportunity to sit with Mrs Bird for an hour to get my first insight into the detail of what KMPS does for children with special educational needs.

As a parent of children who access this support, I have a good understanding of what is available (and in fact was one of the reasons I selected Keinton for my children). There has been a huge amount of work done already by Kelly and other members of staff to ensure that the children are able to thrive, and I am looking forward to stepping up to support Kelly as SEND Governor on the journey to further enhance and develop what the school offers for children who access this support.

Governor’s blog - Pam Brown - April 2021

I had a meeting with Bob Jesshop, maths subject lead, on Monday 19th April for over 2 hours. He briefed me on the progress of maths teaching in the school. The main focus for him and the rest of the staff under his direction is establishing the areas which are priorities for all children post lock down/home schooling. This will continue for the rest of the school year. He is working hard on giving clear guidelines, finding resources for this teaching and giving support for all staff.

In addition to this, there is also the necessity for developing the curriculum in maths. The school is developing a clear vision of how maths is to be taught and ensuring that the resources required for this are available. He showed me the Department for Education and the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics documents used in primary schools and generally discussed the way the school was moving forward. The work he is doing on top of his “ordinary” job of teaching Falcons is excellent.

All of the teachers are working so hard to enable all children to reach their full potential in maths (and all the other subjects) we are very lucky to have such a dedicated staff.

Dinner hall visit - Ruth Landrigan - October 2019

I was delighted to pop in to the hall at lunchtime today (Thursday, 24th October 2019) and see all the children eating such a delicious-looking lunch together (chicken and ham pie with mashed potatoes and peas). All the children were eating and chatting away to each other really happily, and the overall atmosphere was just lovely. I particularly loved seeing older and younger children sitting together, and being completely comfortable in each other’s company.

Maths Walk - Pam Brown - October 2019

Four out of the five classes were doing maths at the time of the walk.  I spent time in all classes to monitor the processes.  In all classes the children were using their tools/toolkits to to assist in their work, different teachers were using a wide range of terminology, that the children were used to.  This was obviously the norm for the children.  The teaching assistants were all engaged in positive ways, including the removal of small groups to work in a more focused space.

There was evidence of independent learning, the children were choosing what level was appropriate for them.  It was clear that the children were focused on their work, keen to respond to their teacher and wanting to do well.

A variety of teaching methods were seen in the classrooms and all seemed to be having a positive response.  The children were responsive when I spoke to them and willing to explain what they were doing and why.

In all this was a positive experience, giving me a clear picture of maths teaching within the school.

Changes to the Governing Board - March 2018
The Board welcomes two new Governors; Pam Brown and Anthony Rogerson.  Pam is a retired teacher who worked to create the Mid Somerset Consortium, a teacher training centre based at Crispin School, before retirement.  Anthony is a police officer, who currently works on organising policing for events in the region.  Both answered our advertisement for new Co-opted Governors and came to meet the board and discuss the roles.  We were delighted that both wanted to join!
The two vacancies were made available by Catherine and myself stepping down from our roles as full Governors and as Chair and Vice chair.  After careful consideration we feel that we cannot continue to give the time and commitment to the roles  they both deserve and demand in the constantly changing education climate.  Catherine and I will stay on for a short while as affiliated Governors who can still attend Full Board Meetings.  We are handing over our roles to a newly elected Chair and two  Vice Chairs.  The new Chair of Governors is Malcolm Collins and Vice Chairs are Iain Hooper and John Cooke.
Library Grand Opening - September 2017
Following the opening of the new Library on Monday, I went to hear the Storytellers – Thanasara Storysharer ( Anne Harvey) and Arabella Storyteller (Annie Fischer) hold the children of Kestrels Class spellbound with their story of the King who was always late for meetings.
With a great deal of mime and a minimum of props, but with much participation by the children, the story gradually unfolded. The storytellers really connected with the class, remembered the name of every child who took part  in the story, and held their attention for an hour! Quite an achievement –and extremely enjoyable for everyone.
Judy Herten

Writing, writing, writing! - February 2017

On Wednesday I went into school to look at how KMPS are supporting each child in raising handwriting standards in line with the National Curriculum expectations. The school has invested in the Nelson handwriting scheme, which all children and staff now work from.  I took a learning walk through the classrooms to look at each class' handwriting wall; this is a new initiative, started last term, where each child in each class displays their  best piece of written work. Children are encouraged to critique their own work and identify areas for improvement.  Improved pieces of work are then put up on the wall on top of the last to show the progression in the children's writing. Each class also has 2-3 handwriting lessons a week to ensure skills are well embedded. 

All classrooms display posters showing pen grip, examples of perfect presentation and examples of good handwriting.  

As always it was lovely to look at the children's hard work.

Lizzie Stolworthy - Chair of Governors

Celebration Assembly was a real treat to watch!

There was a real excitement in the air at both the Infant and Junior assembly this week. It was a lovely opportunity for each and every child to take part and show their work to an audience!

There was a variety of children's work delivered in different and exciting ways including dance, singing, artwork, storytelling and even an very amusing demonstration from the YR6 children who have been learning about the Maya period and sacrifices.
It was great to see the children looking smart, happy and confident.

The children and staff have worked hard to deliver two fantastic celebration assemblies.

Ian Hooper - Parent Governor

Infant Celebration Assembly: 15th November 2016

It was great to see so many parents and small siblings at the first of the ‘new style’ assemblies on Tuesday.  Owls class looked as though they had been at school for years – full of confidence, they spoke really clearly and showed us what they had learned about colours and mixing them, ending with their take on Kandinsky painting, and a song about colours.

Kestrels showed us a whole leap forward in learning: they told their ‘Monkey’ story with lots of expression and action; then showed us how to make a puppet theatre, from the start to the finished product.  Ending with a song from the combined classes, this was a most entertaining & informative morning.

Judy Herten - Community Governor 

Safeguarding Training - Friday 2 September 2016
Judy Herten and myself, joined KMS staff on their second inset day to complete the Somerset Safeguarding Children Board training 2015/16.
All Governor’s as part of their training have access to Governor Safeguarding course, but we really appreciated joining the staff and looking at the school policies from the staff point of view.
It is not a legal requirement for Governors to complete this training however we believe a knowledge and understanding of safeguarding is "fundamental" in fulfilling our duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of the  children at KMS. 

Sports day

I love attending sports day and Glad the rain managed to hold off as It's so lovely to see how excited all the children get for sports day! As usual, there was a fantastic atmosphere with lots of cheering But also so great to see them supporting each other in every race. The children really do take on board the school's ethos of good sportsmanship. Well done everyone!

Abbie Rood

Friday 8 July

Summer Concert

The whole school performed two concerts with the theme ‘Musicals’. The children had worked hard to learn their songs and recorder pieces along with some dance move!  In the older classes the students had voted to choose the song they wanted to sing.  Performances were by individual classes, split between infants and juniors and by the whole school.  Parents commented afterwards how relaxed the concert was and how much the children had enjoyed themselves.  As always the tickets went quickly and there was not a spare seat in the house!

Dragon’s Den

During the run up to the very successful Summer Fayre I was asked to visit Falcon’s class and be a Dragon! The children had been set a task in groups, to operate a stall at the fayre and to prepare a “Pitch” for funding.

To do this they had to: Decide what kind of stall they would run. Work out what equipment they need to hire, Organise prizes, Calculate the cash breakeven point and also how many goes to break even. They also had to calculate how much profit they would make if they reached different targets. The winners would be the team that had the greatest return on the money invested. This then became not just about taking the most money but also about keeping costs down.

From the very first group it was clear that the children had put a huge effort into the task. The ideas where all very good, some were very simple some were variations on a theme. There were games of skill and games of chance, thought had also gone into differing skill requirements for Infants, juniors and Adults. They children worked out who their target customers were and set their stalls accordingly.

The children spoke very confidently about their ideas and when questioned about their figures they showed that they done their research and had been prepared for different scenarios.

I hope the children had as much fun during this task as I did. It was great to see them using their ideas and maths skills in such a productive and interesting way.

AJ Hashmi

Assessing the way ahead! - January 2016

On Tuesday 26 January I attended the ‘Assessment Evening’. This was an open meeting for parents to find out more and ask questions about the Assessment model KMS is putting in place.  This was the second information evening the school had put on and was attended by 9 parents; I understand that over 20 parents attended the original evening.  Ceri and Fred gave a presentation and opened the floor to questions.

Assessment levels are out

Professor Tim Oates led a review of how levels were being used to assess and measure progress, both in tests and teacher assessment, he concluded:

  • Children could have very different learning profiles but still all be assessed as a particular level
  • Levels were a ‘best fit approach’ they did not mean that children had grasped all the key learning required
  • They often resulted in a ‘just in’ result i.e. a child could be working just within a Level 4 (sometimes by 1 point in a test) or at the top of a Level 4

As a result schools have been given the freedom to devise their own assessment systems linked to the content of the new National Curriculum. KMS has worked with the other primary schools in the Ansford Learning Partnership and Ansford Academy to put together a model that:

  • Identifies objectives that are important to ALP schools.
  • Can be shared between all the schools and in turn will feed the same information to Ansford to facilitate a smoother transition at the end of Year 6.
  • Ensures Department of Education expectations are integrated in the Year 2 and 6 ALP assessment frameworks

The joint working that ALP have undertaken as a group of schools has been recognised in one of OFSTED’s publications, praising the work that has been done to aid transition between Key Stages 2 and 3.

The children will be teacher assessed against year group standards and reported against their age expected learning:

  • Below
  • At
  • Deeper Understanding.

How will the children be Assessed:

  • By frequent, informal observations and Formative assessment
  • Periodical assessment tests
  • SATS

Welcome to our new Governor

On Monday 5 October the full Governor Board welcomed Malcolm Collins as a new Co-opted Governor.  Malcolm was one of two people who responded to the advert we placed in the parish magazine advertising the space on the board.

Malcolm and his wife have lived in the village for more than 30 years and his children both attended Keinton Mandeville Primary (at the same time as Mrs Lane’s children!).

Malcolm is now semi-retired, but has had a long and successful career in retail management which has given him a wealth of knowledge and experience in Finance and HR particularly. 

Governor’s learning walk – October 2015

Abbie, AJ, Malcolm and I met to be taken around the school by Mrs Austin for a learning walk; a snap shot of a school day.  As reading governors, Abi and I were especially interested in the phonics and spelling work that was taking place, AJ as maths governor was looking at ... maths and Malcolm, our newly co-opted Governor, was being given a general overview.

I sat in with one of the phonics groups made up of 10 children from year 3 to year 6.  They were looking at how the sounds ‘ou’, ‘ie’ and ‘ea’ are used and sounded in words.  The children came up with some wonderful sentences for the words.  All the children across the school are in different phonic/spelling groups.  Groups are based on ability (the result of a whole school spelling test near the start of the school year) rather than age.  This encourages each child to work at a pace, and to be challenged at a level appropriate to the individual.  The groups meet three times a week; firstly to be given their new words, then to work on sentence writing with the new words and consolidate high frequency words and finally to have their spelling test.

I then joined the rest of the governors just before they reached Mr Shakesby’s class.  Osprey’s were looking at time and the difference between the 12 and 24hr clock.  The children worked from a time line on the board to compare the two ways of recording time.  There were also some very thoughtful questions from the children, which Mr Shakesby and Mrs Brock took time to answer. 

Lizzie Stolworthy - Chair of Governors

Harvest Festival

Last Monday the children went to the church for their harvest festival. It was lovely to see them all there and they sang beautifully! I had the "conkers" song in my head for the rest of the day. Their poems and readings were read with such confidence too and it's great that they get so many opportunities to stand up in front of an audience and speak.

Helping SATS go smoothie!

I went into school early on the Wednesday of SATS week to find Miss Govier and Mr Shakesby in the kitchen making fruit smoothies for the year 6’s – there was even the option of smoothies with or without ‘bits’!  First thing each morning during SAT week the children sit together and drink their super power smoothies, whilst Mr S reminds them what is going to happen that day.  The children all appeared very calm and ready for their challenge.

The SATS tests were all locked away in the school safe in a sealed bag and are only removed a few minutes before the tests start.  On completion of the tests the school has a relatively small amount of time to assemble all the tests and put them back in the bag before a courier comes to school to whisk them away for marking.

Lizzie - Chair of Governors

 Data meeting

Last week Mrs Herten and Miss Walton, our intrepid 'Data Governors' came in for a meeting with me (Mr Shakesby) to have a look at the progress of the children in the school.  This meeting is to ensure that the good progress of our children is maintained.   We looked through each class in detail, looking at the progress of the class as a whole, groups of children and at individuals.  We talked about trends across the school in the data and whether there were any Year groups that 'bucked' the trends of the school.  It was a really useful meeting! 

We also talked about how our data is going to work in the future.  Because of the changes to assessment and the curriculum over the last few years and over the next year, our current systems will have to change considerably.  The teachers are working very hard at the moment to identify their Key Progress Indicators for each year group, to enable us to identify what makes a Secure Year 3 in the new curriculum and so on.  Keep your eyes peeled for more details in the future!

What about writing?

At the end of the first term of this academic year, two governors, both of whom had been teachers, looked at a selection of pupils’ English exercise books and talked to pupils from each year about their responses to the teaching of English.

As the new marking policy had recently been implemented, we were interested to see if this had engendered any positive response from the children, and what strategies were being used to help them to improve their writing skills.

It was evident from the books that we examined that progress and improvement had been made; naturally, some more markedly than others. The teacher’s advice had been heeded, and in some cases the improvement in the work produced was truly impressive. We are in no doubt that the new marking policy is a success.

Speaking to the groups of pupils, we were struck by their articulate observations and their very positive attitudes to their writing, even when for some, it was not their favourite subject.

In conclusion, we are convinced that the teachers and pupils of Keinton Mandeville Primary School are working hard to fulfil the latest requirements in English issued by the Department of Education.

Dennis Powell & Judy Herten - Governors


9 & 10 March 2015

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I and other Governors have been in school assisting sixteen Year 5 and 6 children in taking their bikeability course.  The children listened intently to the instructors at the start of the first day, who explained how to check their bikes to ensure they were safe for use on the road.  This was followed by a session in the playground on bike control and the children took part in a “slow” bike race.  The winner was the person who could take the longest time to cycle from one end of the playground to the other.  The children were then split into 3 groups and were shown how to mount their bikes and set off safely.  There were also taught how to deal with parked vehicles, how to do a safe U-turn and road positioning.

On day 2 the children learnt how to deal with road junctions, this included turning left and turning right whilst taking traffic conditions into consideration.  During our travels around the village the children were exposed to different traffic conditions culminating in a session on the high street where they learnt how to cycle safely on a busy main road. 

We finished our course with a de-briefing in the school hall where the instructors were pleased to announce that all 16 children successfully completed the course and will be awarded with a certificate.  The instructors praised the children on their exemplary behaviour.  The children thanked the instructors and the school helpers.  Well done to all the children who took part.

I had a very enjoyable two days with the children and since then I have received a number of comments from villagers who were pleased to see the children cycling around the village and were very impressed with how they conducted themselves. 

A very big thank you to the Somerset road safety team and to the helpers from the school.

AJ Hashmi

Visit to school to look at Reading

Abbie and Lizzie visited the school to look at how the new school wide procedure for learning phonics and spelling has been implemented. In the autumn term children were given a Single word spelling test the results of which gave them a spelling age. Children across the school were then divided into 12 groups. We sat with a few groups to see how the different groups approached learning and embedding new phonics and spellings in their reading and writing.  Mrs Austin and Mr Shakesby will report to Governors on the success on this new initiative at the end of the academic year.

We also joined the year 6 and the year 5 children for a workshop with ‘The two Annie’s’.  They were running a day long story workshop which all the classes visited at different times throughout the day.  We watched a very lively adaptation of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.  The children interacted with great imagination and hilarity. The Two Annie’s suggested that the Sorcerer needed a new apprentice and suggested that the children all apply by letter.  This then was taken up in classwork over the following week.

We then read with children from different classes.  Children were very happy to discuss how they felt about reading, their approach and what motivated them to read. This gave an informative picture as to the skills the children use to progress their reading as they move through the school.

Lizzie Stolworthy - Chair of Governors

LEGO Robotics Tournament

This term as part of my role as Governor I have had the pleasure of assisting the LEGO robotics team with their preparations for the LEGO league Competition.  This involved spending an hour a week at the after school club where the children practice for it and programme the robots to perform complex tasks.

On the day of the tournament we travelled from school on a coach to the HP centre in Bristol to compete against other schools from the region.  Despite having a few issues with the robot, the children stayed focussed and worked as a team to try and complete the tasks.  They gave an excellent presentation by way of a “News Report” about teaching the Teachers programme & code.  They were also observed during the day by judges looking at their teamwork.  Whilst this year we were unable to proceed to the semi-finals, we have taken away some ideas for next year so watch this space!! Although it was a long day the children were a credit to themselves and to the school and it was a pleasure to spend time with them. Well Done everyone.

AJ Hashmi - Parent Governor

Kestrel Class Wormery!

Following on from kestrels class trip to Carymoor environmental centre, where one of the things the children learnt about was wormeries, I offered to help them set up their own wormery at school. 

We talked about the types of food waste that could be put on the wormery - such as peelings, banana skins and pear cores and those that could not - such as citrus fruit, onions and cooked food. 

The whole class helped to shred some newspaper and egg boxes. I brought in some vegetable peelings and of course the all important tiger worms! Between us we added it all into the wormery. 

Everyday 2 children will help to feed the worms with apple cores, banana skins and any other suitable fruit and vegetables from snack time. 

Over the coming months they will watch to see how the worms turn the waste food into compost and in turn this compost can be used on the school vegetable patch. 

All the children were so enthusiastic about the wormery and asked lots of sensible questions. They also answered my questions very knowledgeably so they obviously listened really well when they visited Carymoor!

Well done Kestrels!

Abbie Rood - Parent Governor

Parents Curriculum meeting

Parents and Governors attended the New Curriculum evening presented by Mrs Austin and Mr Shakesby.  All Class teachers were present and had filled tables around the hall with the class curriculum planning sheet, classroom learning aids and examples of work.

Ceri gave parents a quick quiz on the history of the education curriculum in the UK – which had most of us stumped.  Ceri and Fred then outlined the directives of the new curriculum and how KMS was proposing to implement them.  Feedback from parents at the meeting was very positive.

Lizzie Stolworthy - Chair of Governors

Remembrance Service & Hot lunches! Tuesday 11th November

As Parent Governor, I was extremely fortunate to have been able to attend the Remembrance Service Parade at Keinton Mandeville Church on Tuesday 11 Nov 14 where the Year 5 & 6 children laid Poppies and a wreath in remembrance of those fallen during the First World War.

Amongst attendance by other members of the local community, and despite the inclement weather, the children were, as ever, impeccably behaved throughout the short Service and were a great credit to the school.  On completion of the Service, the children were taken inside the Church and were given an extremely informative talk by Margaret Grundy on the background of those that had been specifically remembered during the Service.  During this period, the children were highly engaged and showed concern and  compassion throughout and we all left  feeling fortunate for having the opportunity to have learnt more about the local background, lives, personalities and the family devastation left behind as a consequence of the War.

Back to the warmth of the School, I was able to witness and assist the School Staff in the preparation of the School Hall for lunchtime.  Despite the immense, and widely unrecognised ‘behind-the-scenes’ preparation required to enable the provision of the Free Hot School Meals Policy, the process is now a pretty regimented affair but requires a great deal of additional support during this period, especially from the Teachers (during what would have been their own lunch break), in providing the necessary assistance and supervision of the children.   Working like clockwork to ensure the throughput of those taking both hot meals and packed lunches, I had the opportunity to informally discuss the content and process of Lunchtimes with some of the children.  The hot meals were unanimously welcomed and being considered very appetising – the majority of plates were cleared to the point that if the plates had been patterned, they would have been licked-off too!  A number of children took ‘second’ helpings where available and, in general, the time allowed for children to process through the lunchtime period was sufficient but more time was available for those slower eaters amongst the groups.  By the end of lunch, I was ready to go back to work for a well-earned rest!!  My hat goes off to all those involved.

Roger Burge - Parent Governor

Swimming - Wednesday 12th November

I went along with Years 3 & 6 to their swimming lesson today to help with water confidence for some of our younger swimmers.  I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and it was great to help them to develop their confidence further.  They are making fantastic progress!  Well done!

Abbie Rood - Parent Governor

Curriculum – sneaky peak – Tuesday 11 November

The curriculum subcommittee invited all Governors to learn from Mrs Austin and Mr Shakesby how the school aims to implement the new curriculum and the direction the school is taking in developing new assessment system.  Parents are invited into the school on Thursday 13 October 2013 to listen to the same presentation.  Hoping that lots of parents attend!

Hot meals - Monday 8 and Monday 29 September

The introduction of free school meals to all infant children has obviously meant a significant rise in the numbers of children having hot meals at KMS.  The logistics and financing of this change has been widely discussed in Governor Meetings.  We wanted to see how this change had affected the children and the school day, so I joined the children for two lunchtimes.  As always I was impressed at how well behaved the children are.  I enjoyed chatting to the children about their food and the choices they are given. I learned how the school give feedback to Figs regarding meals on a daily basis.  A report was fed back to the Governing board.

Governor Meeting - Reconstitution – 30  September 2014

On 30 September Governors came together for the first full meeting of the academic year.  In this first meeting we chose to reconstitute (remodel) our board. This is a statutory requirement by the Department of Education to be completed by 1 September 2015.

A list of the current board of Governors can be found on the Governor’s page.

Premises, Health and Safety – Tuesday 16 September

In the first meeting of the academic year Mrs Abbie Roode was voted into the role of Chair of this committee.


Welcome to our new Governor

On Monday 5 October the full Governor Board welcomed Malcolm Collins as a new Co-opted Governor.  Malcolm was one of two people who responded to the advert we placed in the parish magazine advertising the space on the board.

Malcolm and his wife have lived in the village for more than 30 years and his children both attended Keinton Mandeville Primary (at the same time as Mrs Lane’s children!).

Malcolm is now semi-retired, but has had a long and successful career in retail management which has given him a wealth of knowledge and experience in Finance and HR particularly.