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Governing Board

Welcome from the Governing Board

Dear Parents/Carers and Stakeholders

Welcome to the Governor pages of our school website.  We hope they will give you a useful additional perspective of the school and an insight into the work we do to support our pupils and our staff.

As governors, it is always a pleasure and a privilege to go into school to see what our pupils have been doing. We never fail to be impressed by what they know, what they can achieve and the way in which our highly skilled and committed staff take them on an exciting learning journey. When we conducted a Pupil Voice just before Christmas, we were most forcibly struck by the enthusiasm, confidence and maturity with which pupils discussed their work. They naturally enjoy doing well in their studies and Downsway creates an environment in which they are not afraid to say so and to be proud of their achievements. But we also see that this ambition is not at the expense of others’ wellbeing:  Governors noted, for example, at Sports Day in July how pupils supported and encouraged those competitors who found the going tougher. And this atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation is always in evidence whenever we visit. During our Learning Walks and other visits, we are invariably impressed by the way staff never make assumptions about our pupils’ capacity to absorb new concepts and to deal with ‘difficult’ ideas: a visit to Foundation Stage getting to grips last autumn with Phonics would be a case in point; similarly, some work from Y6 which tackled the downsides of Victorian Imperialism. The skilful manner in which staff nurture our pupils’ creative skills means that the visitor is almost certain to see on any given day thoughtful, imaginative and technically accomplished writing and artwork of all forms.

Downsway offers children a safe and nurturing learning environment whatever their individual needs and in which all can thrive. Whilst all teachers are equipped and trained to develop the abilities of each and every pupil and to confront and minimise any barriers to their learning, they are also effectively supported in this by a well-trained and committed team of LSAs (Learning Support Assistant) and ELSAs (Emotional Learning Support Assistant) under the skilled guidance of the IM (Inclusion Manager). Our LSAs and ELSAs are highly knowledgeable practitioners in their own right and develop nurturing relationships with our potentially more troubled children, which help them to feel and keep safe. Whole school initiatives and practice based on sound educational research such as SNUG, Forest School, Therapeutic Thinking ensure that the work of our caring and committed staff is well directed.

This safe and nurturing environment is only possible with the help and support of the non-teaching staff and we are exceptionally fortunate in our Business, Maintenance and ‘Front of House’ teams who work to ensure that the school is a clean, safe, well-equipped and welcoming place in which to learn.

Once again this year, the headline attainment data shows that our 2023 statutory data was inline or higher than national 2023 data in Foundation Stage GLD (Good Level of Development); Y2 SATs (writing and reading/writing/maths combined) for expected standard and in all areas for greater depth standard; Y6 SATs (reading, writing, maths, grammar, punctuation and spellings) both at expected standard and greater depth standard. 

Sports and the Performing Arts continue to thrive at Downsway. Pupils had professional coaching in Swimming, Didi Rugby, Cricket and Freestyle Football. They also took part in inter-school fixtures in Football, Cross Country, Tag Rugby, Netball and Cricket. Outstanding sports achievements include our netball team for reaching the netball league finals and winning a local school tournament; Year 5 & 6 mixed rugby team winning two local schools tournaments; Year 3 and 4 girl football team for winning a football tournament against schools in Berkshire and for winning the Berkshire football league finals. Last year, there were also some memorable school productions: Holes(Y6), Cinderella Rockerfella (Y3 and 4) and the Christmas production (Foundation Y1 and 2). The school’s Art gallery also continued to showcase pupils’ work with a varied and regularly changing display.

The school offers a range of extra- curricular clubs, which further enrich our pupils’ experience. It is a particular and ongoing focus to ensure that as many pupils as possible can access these activities.  Last year they ranged from Judo to Chess, from Nature to Spanish. Pupils were also able to take part in a range of school trips including:  Zoolab and Little Street Role Play (Foundation Stage); Ella’s Kitchen (Year1); Reading Museum (Year 2); Living Rainforest (Year3); Cinema trips (Years 2, 4, 5); Baylab (Year 5); Battle of Britain Bunker and Wind Turbine at Green Park (Year 6). Additionally, there were residential visits for Y6 (Isle of Wight) and Y4 (Ufton Nervet). Whole school events included Children in Need, Comic Relief, National Poetry Day and Remembrance

If you are reading this page for the first time, we would particularly like to welcome you. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all parents/carers, Friends of Downsway and professionals from other settings for their continuing support and collaboration and to wish you all the best as we embark on another inspiring year, ‘Challenging Minds and Changing Futures’

The Governing Board

Downsway School

Autumn 2023