Brill Church Of England School

With the Wind in our Sails

We are delighted to share news of the outcome from our recent Ofsted visit. Many highlights are included in the letter on our Ofsted tab!

School News

Mr Gore, Mr Gore!

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Staff vs Year 6 Rounders!

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On Monday, the annual (and keenly contested) Staff vs Year 6 rounders match took place on the field with the rest of the school looking on from under gazebos. Our leavers have had some superb sporting successes this year but, thanks to some expert fielding by Mrs Baker and Miss Chenery, with accurate bowling from Mr Dickson, the staff won by two and a half rounders. Watch out, Year 5, we're ready for you next year!

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This is Art! A Gift for Some of Our Team

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This morning, during collective worship, Mr Baker's Art Club presented a gift to three very special people in our amazing staff team; Mrs Hart, Mrs Chadbone and Mrs Harding.

The club have been working on several different artistic techniques over the last 6 weeks from using rollers and inks, blowing paint and layering techniques alongside using old t-bags within art! The many skills utilised in producing this one piece of art, is a bit like the way our school is able to function as it does. There are lots of different skills being used by lots of people every day. There are lots of different ways we all contribute to making Brill brill. We layer abilities, skills and ultimately the drive that we want our school to be the best it can be for everyone who belongs here (adults and children alike) and it is a bit like how Mr Baker has helped us to produce this piece of art.

So, thank you, Mr Baker, for teaching us more about art and about how art can help us understand other things too. And thank you Mrs Hart, Mrs Chadbone and Mrs Harding for EVERYTHING you do for us.

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Summer Reading Challenge

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This summer we are supporting the Summer Reading Challenge 2019. This is a national initiative, designed for 4-11 year olds and hosted by local libraries to encourage reading across the holidays - supporting and encouraging a love of reading for pleasure.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, this year’s theme is ‘Space Chase’. Children are invited to join a special mission to help the super space family called The Rockets to find books stolen by mischievous aliens. As children read six or more library books of their choice they will receive special stickers to their collector’s folder. Once they complete the challenge, they’ll get their own medal and certificate and we will celebrate this achievement at the beginning of the new school year. Some of the staff are also going to join in and there is also a mini-challenge for pre-schoolers!

The children have been hearing about the reading challenge in assembly this week. Long Crendon, Bicester and Thame libraries are participating and on signing up, children will be given a special folder to keep a record of their reading mission. The reading challenge is free and launches on Saturday 13 July. Further information, including recommendations can be found at: summerreadingchallenge.org.uk - good luck everyone!

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Digestive System Investigations in Year 4

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What a brilliant morning with the inspirational input of Maya's mum! Year 4 spent time creating their own digestive systems as a way of understanding what happens within the human body. Thank you so much, Mrs Soden. The children LOVED the lesson and benefited from your expertise too!

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School Games Day 2019

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It was a great day of sport on Friday as Bernwode, Rushbed and Chinkwell houses competed for the House Trophy on our School Games Day. Year 5&6 sang a rousing number at the opening ceremony, the school flag was raised and the event was officially open! All children took part in a carousel of activities during the morning, with each team led by two of our Year 6 pupils – congratulations to Sophia Haw-Cook, from Bernwode, who won the Sports Leader award. Events included shot put, cricket throw, water transfer, the zigzag pass and javelin.

After lunch, the races began – pupils from each year group competed in either a distance or a sprint, before the eagerly anticipated relays, all showing enthusiasm, determination and our school value of courage. As ever, there was great support from staff and parents on the sidelines, and it is always heart-warming to witness Brill children’s support of each other – not just their friends and peer group, but their fellow pupils right across the school. A teachers’ race and the infamous parents’ dressing-up race concluded the day before the final scores were counted. Congratulations to the eventual winners, Chinkwell! Can Bernwode or Rushbed claim the crown next year?

On a final note, a big thank you to Miss Butler, our PE coordinator, whose meticulous planning ensured that the day ran so smoothly.

 Ready, steady... dress up!

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3rd place at Buckingham Football Festival

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On Thursday 11th of July, our League-winning boys’ football team from Y6 travelled to Buckingham Secondary School to compete in a whole partnership festival. They were up against seven other teams, playing 6-a-side. Olly C reports: “It was our last event of the year, and our last as a team before we leave Brill School, so everyone wanted to win! We drew our first game but then started a winning streak – Jack W, Freddy H, Leo V and I all scored goals, ensuring a wild reaction from the parents who were there supporting us. In the end, we lost 1, drew 2 and won 4; it was enough to finish third overall.” Well done to the whole team - Olly C, Freddy H, Jack C, Leo V, Jack W, Sam G-H, Jasper D and Dennis T - we will miss you and your golden boots!

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All the fun of the fête!

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From 'Guess the Teacher's Baby Photo', to Penalty Shoot Out, Splat the Unicorn, Tombola, Tin Can Alley, Ultra Mini Golf, Netball Hoops and a visiting fire brigade, lots of fun was had at the annual PTA school fête on Saturday 6th July. Mrs Baker and Mrs Green stepped up to judge the Best Cake - a tough job but someone had to do it!

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Brill teams in the top 10 at Lv 3 County Games – netballers win Bronze!

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On Thursday 4th July, we took four qualifying teams – High 5 Netball, Hockey, Golf and Dodgeball – to the Level 3 Schools’ Games Festival, a county championship held at venues across Aylesbury. Having  qualified through competition at the Lv 2 Area festivals, all our Brill teams were there to represent the Buckingham Partnership, participating against the winners from the other partnerships in our county.

The day began with a spectacular opening ceremony at Stoke Mandeville stadium featuring inspirational film clips, music and dance, mascots and speeches. From there, teams were transported to their different venues and the Games began.

Dodgeball

We got off to a brilliant start in Y5/6 Dodgeball at the stadium, beating Haddenham and High Wycombe. Unfortunately, we lost a decider against Bourton Meadow which meant we didn’t get through to the semi-final but we came 6th overall. Well done to the team on a super achievement at this level: Poppy T, Evie T, Leo V, Jakey P, Bryn G, Edward D, Isobel S and Leah G.

  

Golf

Our Yr 3/4 golfers played on the astro pitches at Meadowcroft, in sweltering conditions, to finish in 10th place. They had to hit their targets, putting and chipping to score points, and Mr Dickson, a keen golfer, was very impressed with their performance. Congratulations to: Ava B, Grace T, Maisie H, Lillie K, Sophie P, Ewan M, Lucas M, Arthur H, Harry C and Tyler M.

  

Hockey

Also playing at Meadowcroft were our Y5/6 hockey team who demonstrated terrific teamwork throughout the competition, finishing in a fabulous 6th place. “Every team member gave it 110% out on the pitch,” says Mrs Harding, adding that Tijmen P demonstrated “cat-like reflexes in goal” to make the save of the day. Well done to all: Joe G, Tijmen P, Jasper D, Dennis T, Jack W, Ivy H, Nina B, Freya J and Georgia A.

  

High 5 Netball

Our Y5/6 netball team took a game to settle in at the Aylesbury High School venue, losing their opening match to High March Prep but, thereafter, they played like the fast, skilful team we know them to be: by the close of the afternoon, they had lost two, drawn two and won four of their eight matches. In the end, they’d done enough to secure third position and Bronze medals – Brill’s best-ever result at this level – including a draw in their match against the eventual winners, Chesham Prep.  A particular highlight was meeting former England netball captain and Commonwealth Games medallist Ama Agbeze MBE (pictured) who spent time chatting with all the players. Congratulations to our parent coach, Andrea Keegan, and our netballers on this wonderful achievement: Annabel W, Ayjah S, Sophia H-C, Sam G-H, Olly C, Francine E and Freddy H.

  

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International accreditation approved!

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Under the stewardship of our International Coordinator and Modern Languages teacher, Madame Tate, Brill has achieved reaccreditation of the International School Award, which lasts until 2022. Assessors from the British Council carried out an Impact Evaluation of the school, highlighting where our application was particularly impressive and how we can continue to develop our international dimension.

Here are some of the assessor’s comments:

  • “The international dimension is firmly embedded in the curriculum and whole-school ethos. It is clearly well coordinated, providing an extra dimension of enrichment.”
  • “Your partnerships with schools in India, France and, recently, Rwanda are providing rich learning opportunities for pupils and staff.”
  • The assessor singled out our ‘Life on a Hill’ activity, in which pupils gained an insight into life in Delhi and the differing significance of hillside living. “This activity was strengthened by the subsequent postal exchange of cutouts of leaves from native trees bearing snippets of information about lifestyles and the local environment.”
  • “Spanish is brought to life in your ‘Fiesta’ activity with pupils learning about Spanish culture whilst practising Spanish vocabulary and phrases, thus adding context and motivation to the language acquisition element.”
  • “During ‘Earth Matters’ week, pupils gained citizenship attitudes and attributes and an appreciation for cultural diversity, as well as increased curiosity about the wider world.”
  • “The required ambassadorial role is fulfilled via your support for other schools in their progression towards International School Award accreditation as well as sharing your expertise regarding international school links.”

Congratulations to all who have contributed to this achievement in the 20th Anniversary Year of the International School Award – and thank you, Madame Tate!

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Our Year 1 Safety Spokespeople Go Live!

Brill Highlights

Brill Results!

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Brill School in the top 10% of Buckinghamshire schools for progress and attainment!

Our school has gone from strength to strength with outstanding results for our 7 and 11 year olds in SATs. Did you know their hard work puts Brill’s results in the top 10% of the 229 Buckinghamshire primary schools for reading, the top 7% for writing and in the top 6% for maths? We’re especially pleased because these percentages are based largely on progress (how much children develop between entering and leaving the school) rather than just the scores they got.

We are ambitious for all our pupils and aim to be in the top 10% or higher over the coming years. Yet this isn’t all we are ambitious about.

We are not satisfied with only great results in core subjects. We want resilient, creative learners guided by strong values and we want to give them enriching, happy and secure primary school years.

We think what makes Brill special is the work we put into developing a curriculum and learning environment that means pupils develop in all these ways, flourishing as individuals, and leaving Brill ‘with the wind in their sails’.

Our priorities for the coming school year are rooted in our belief that our pupils will do best when we get this balance right, when we create a caring environment rooted in our Christian values and when we work together as a whole school community.

If you would like to see more detail on the school's results, then please read this blog post on how we did last year - or go to the government's Compare Schools website here.


Parent Survey 2018

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Thank you to all the parents who took the time to fill in our survey. We had a great response. Over 70 parents replied and 97% would recommend our school!

Your answers indicate that almost all of you are very happy with most of what we do. We are particularly pleased about the overwhelmingly positive response to questions about how happy, safe and well taught you feel your children are.

We had positive comments about changes made last year including:

  • Improvements in communication, especially the online booking system
  • The daily mile - you would like us to keep it going!
  • The improved safety of the school site
  • Regular guided reading

It’s also very helpful to hear where you think we could improve. Four main themes came out of the suggestions this year:

1) Communication

Last year we made lots of improvements and you liked these. Some of you would like there to be fewer emails. We’re trying to work out how to reduce these and communicate more using the website.

Some of you asked for more notice of events, particularly those that involve transporting children and anything with fancy dress! We have already sent you all the fancy dress dates for the year and staff are timetabling other events as early as they can. Some sports fixtures and other events are only organised with short notice but we hope you understand we want the children to be able to take part in as many as possible and do our best to tell you as soon as we know dates.

2) Children’s progress

We hope you’ll think the school's results speak for themselves, but we are going further to ensure children make rapid progress in core subjects. Classes will now be doing maths, guided reading, literacy and wizard maths in the mornings and the management team are reviewing every child’s progress in science with their teachers half termly in the same way as we do for maths and literacy.

A few parents wanted to be sure their children were being stretched enough. Growth mindset is a big focus this year and will help pupils challenge themselves whatever level they are working at. To hear more, read about our priorities for 2018-2019.

Some parents want to understand their child’s progress better. We had very positive feedback about the new format for parents’ evening last year. This year we’ll look at how we explain the way progress is communicated and make sure it’s clear and useful.

3) Homework

This is a tricky one. 24% of respondents don’t feel their children get age appropriate homework. What’s difficult is that people disagree on whether it’s too much or too little and on what type of homework would be best! We’re having a think about homework and we plan a parent information evening and some other communications to explain our approach and how best to help children. Look out for a request from your parent council rep to tell us what you most want to know about.

4) Extra-curricular clubs and events

We had lots of positive feedback about the number of clubs and extracurricular events on offer.

Some of you want to understand more about how children are selected and how we make sure all get a fair chance to be involved. Staff try very hard to help all children take part in activities and keep a record of who attends what. We agree we could be clearer about how and why we select pupils in different ways for different events so children and parents understand. You’ll soon get some information on the principles we use to select or encourage pupils to take part in different sports events.

You also asked us to consider more clubs like choir as well as all the sports clubs. We have listened and drama club is starting this term. Maths club is on the way and choir will be back. Can you help with this? Do you have a passion you could share with the children in a lunchtime or after school club? Chess? Gardening? Knitting?

Enormous thanks to all of you who took part. If you haven’t seen the issue you raised in this summary, please be reassured we have taken account of all your comments.

Keep telling us what you think: your feedback and willingness to come and talk to us straight away with problems helps us get better. You can always talk to staff or to governors. You can also contact your parent council representative or even leave a comment on our news posts!


Brill School Priorities for 2018-2019

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Progress

As you’ll see from our results, last year was the latest in improving progress for pupils.

Last year we focused on improving guided reading with regular class sessions and homework to prepare for them. With the help of our amazing volunteers, we encouraged even more use of the library. We also developed wizard maths to include number facts for younger years and put in place short, daily sessions in spelling, grammar and punctuation which are fun and engaging.

This year writing is a big focus. Teachers will be finding exciting stimuli and contexts for writing to motivate children. There will be lots of work on editing and improving writing so that children understand the process or ‘journey’ and have fun with it. Classes have been involved in naming their books for this: they have ‘Brilliant Brainwaves’ books for drafting and ‘Wicked Work’ books for final drafts. Teachers are also changing the way that literacy is assessed with the larger focus on grammar and handwriting that is now expected in schools.

In maths, we will be using more ‘hands-on’ maths equipment to help all children get a deep understanding of number. Have you seen Mr Gore talking to Sky News about this? Maths equipment especially helps children with ‘dyscalculia’ (the number equivalent of dyslexia) but is very important for all maths learners.

Did you know that children’s progress is tracked very carefully each half term? All class teachers meet with the leadership team to review where every child is with maths and literacy and what challenge or support they need next. This year we’re going to track progress in science in the same way.

Growth mindset

Making rapid progress is partly about children having the confidence to challenge themselves. Our pupils understand growth mindset but we need to go further and help all of them rise to a challenge, take risks and see failure as a learning opportunity. We’ll be running an evening for parents about how to help with this - dates coming soon.

Supporting every child

Last year we started using our highly skilled teaching assistants slightly differently in some classes. We organised their time so they could support all children, including those with additional needs, and to actively help children develop their independent learning skills. This approach has really helped children of all abilities and needs tackle more challenging learning tasks, make rapid progress and feel successful.

We have also learned that many strategies for helping children with specific learning needs can help all learners, whether it’s hands-on maths equipment, different coloured backgrounds to help reading, or using different shapes to teach about word types. More and more of these powerful strategies will appear in all our classrooms.

We are tracking the impact of our new timetable for specialist support and continuing to improve how we work in partnership with the parents of children with additional needs.

We will also be offering some workshops and information evenings for parents who want to know how to support their child at home, whether or not their child has any additional needs.

Improving our learning environment

After successful development of the library and the ICT suite, the process of transforming our Year R space has begun this summer. Our new teacher, Gill Salt, has created an imaginative and purposeful outdoor space. Parents and children now come in together at the start of the day through our new entrance and more is to come. Read more on the new Year R blog!

We remain keen to tackle our smallest classrooms in Year 3 and 4 and expand the hall next. We’re very constrained by budget as you can imagine but we’re exploring all the options we can.

Finding out more

If you'd like to hear more about our plans for 2018-19, please watch the videos of our Parents Update evening from September 2018. You can see Mrs White's introduction here, our chair of Governors Liz Cotgreave here, our Deputy Head Mrs Baker here and our Assistant Head Mr Gore here.