16th January 2019
Procedures for Severe Weather School Closures
Whilst we really hope that we do not have to follow any procedures to close the school due to severe weather conditions, it seems prudent, with rumours of a cold snap, to send out a reminder about our procedures.
The decision to close school is never one that is taken lightly. The overriding consideration always has to be the safety of pupils and staff. Whatever decision is taken, we know that it will not suit everyone. Some parents prefer us to close as it means it takes the decision away from them as to whether to make the journey or not, other parents prefer us to stay open regardless of the implications. Whenever possible, we will endeavour to stay open, but sometimes contributing factors prevent this.
A compromise that appears to have been reached over the past couple of years, that parents appear to prefer, is to open slightly later as this means the roads have started to thaw and are slightly less busy, making the journey easier – and to close slightly earlier before the snow starts to freeze again. But even arriving at this as a decision, is not always possible.
Should the weather suggest that there is a question as to whether school will be open as usual, the following should be noted:
• We will endeavour to post a tweet on our Twitter page
• We will endeavour to post up to date information on our own school website www.eppinguplandcofeschool.co.uk
• We will endeavour to make sure that the school phone is manned to answer your queries
• We will endeavour to post a notification on the Essex County Council website
Past experience tells us that sometimes some of these methods fail, but not all have failed at the same time! Therefore if one method is unhelpful, there is hopefully a back-up one to notify you as to what is happening.
Our main aim will be to notify through our own school website and Twitter to keep you updated as to the situation. It is also helpful if parents are able to pass on information they receive to each other as not all parents choose to access these methods.
Once the school does reopen, please ensure that the children have appropriate footwear and clothing so that they are comfortable and dry when they are in lessons.
17th December 2018
Dear Parents and Carers
Just a couple of reminders:
Carol Service –Tonight
Our Carol Service is tonight at 6:00pm at All Saints Church, Epping Upland. This is a lovely service and for many, it heralds the start of the Christmas period. Children do not have to wear uniform and they sit with you, their family. We really look forward to seeing you there.
Christmas Lunch – Tomorrow
The children may wear their own clothes to school tomorrow. However, the playground, no matter how hard we try otherwise, is very muddy, so please do not send your child in clothes that are important or matter if they get a little dirty.
Last Day of Term – Wednesday
Term finishes at 12:00 noon on Wednesday.
If you have any donations for this very worthwhile charity, please could you bring them in no later than 9:00 am tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
Start of the Spring Term
We return to school for the start of the Spring Term on Thursday 3rd January 2019 at the usual time.
Snow and Extreme Weather Conditions
In case of extreme weather conditions, please check Twitter and the school website for information as to whether the school is open. We will endeavour wherever possible to stay open but staff and pupil safety have to form the basis for our decision making. Regrettably, it is one of those times when we are unable to please all of the people, but try our hardest to inconvenience people as little as possible.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and New Year, with hopes that they will be kind to you and those you love.
28th November 2018
Epping Forest Schools Partnership Multi Academy Trust
As you will recall, we converted to Academy status on April 1st 2018 as part of the above Multi Academy Trust.
Six months in, it seems appropriate to give you an update on what this has meant and means for our school.
There have been two ‘waves’ for conversion. Phase One schools, like ourselves converted in April and Phase Two schools converted on 1st July. As such, the schools which are a part of the Trust are:
Epping Upland C.of E. Primary
Ivy Chimneys Primary
Hillhouse C.of E. Primary
Staples Road Primary
Oakview Special School
Alderton Junior School
Alderton Infant School
St John’s C.of E. Primary. Buckhurst Hill
High Beech C.of E. Primary
Theydon Bois Primary
Limes Farm Infants
Chigwell Row Middle School
It has also been agreed that Coopersale and Theydon Garnon C.of E. Primary, Matching Green C.of E. Primary and Leverton Primary could join as Associate Schools.
Apparently, as it stands, we are the only Primary School only Multi Academy Trust in the country and as such, the DfE are observing us ‘with interest’.
Revd Lee Batson, who you will doubtlessly have heard of from your children in school in his capacity as Rector for the Epping District Team Ministry and Area Dean for the Epping Forest and Ongar Deanery, was voted in as Chair of Trustees.
Interviews were held for the leadership positions with the MAT and Peter Tidmarsh, formerly the Headteacher of St John’s, Buckhurst Hill was appointed CEO, which was an extremely popular choice among Headteachers and staff.
Some Key Features about the MAT, which might interest you:
• The CEO is in the process of, through meetings and events, addressing every member of staff within the MAT.
• The CEO has arranged an individual visit to each primary school
• MAT Governor Events have taken place and will continue to do so. Epping Upland’s Governing Body remains largely unchanged, although it is now known as a Local Governing Body. We continue to meet half termly.
• The Trustees of the MAT have scheduled in visits to each individual school so that they can gain an understanding of each school’s ‘uniqueness’. If you recall, each school maintaining their own identity was one of the big attractions in joining EFSPT
• The October non-pupil day saw all teaching staff within the MAT meet together in year groups, which has initiated all the staff from each school agreeing to share expertise and good practice with each other among their individual cohort as well as more widely with colleagues. We anticipate this being the start of regular contact and communication with the Year Group teachers from all the other schools in our Trust.
• Subject Leader meetings are also starting to take place, where all the Subject Leads in each school are meeting together to gather and share expertise and support each other. Senco’s (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) have also adopted this approach to collaborative working.
• School Improvement Hubs have been created. The Hubs between them cover all aspects of school life and will be the generating part for much of the MAT work.
• EFSPT have shared our academic data with each other to see whether there are any Trust wide issues that could be supported by joint training.
• The HT’s from each of the Church Schools have met, alongside Revd Lee Batson to explore how we are able to support each other. It was also agreed to have an event where some of the pupils from each of the church schools come together in St John’s Church, Epping as an activity based experience. Should this be successful, this type of work could further develop.
• One of the IT support companies used to support some of the schools within the MAT, including Epping Upland, went into liquidation literally overnight. The MAT is now exploring a MAT wide IT support company, which with ‘bulk buy in’ will provide financial advantage as well as a more bespoke service.
• The MAT has produced a training schedule for Professional Development and School Improvement that specifically meets the needs of requirements identified by MAT schools. This has improved significantly the quality of training. Through the Teaching School arm of the Trust, I have been trained to deliver sessions on creating Mentally Healthy Schools.
I am very happy to report that thus far, everything regarding the MAT feels positive and exciting. Schools are really engaging and seeing the potential and opportunity it has to offer and are looking forward to being a part of it as it grows, develops and unfolds.
If you have any questions or queries, as always, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.