Welcome from the Governing Board
Dear Parents/Carers and Stakeholders
Last academic year saw our pupils move forward with renewed confidence after the challenges of the pandemic and lockdown. The governors were delighted to be able to visit the school in person once again and to celebrate the brilliant work done by staff and the fine achievements of our pupils. In April and June, we discovered on our curriculum visits to Subject Leaders just how fortunate we are to have staff with such a high level of commitment, expertise and ingenuity. Their enthusiasm for the broad and balanced curriculum, which they are delivering, was infectious and clearly communicates itself to our pupils. Governors were able to experience this for themselves in the summer term during a Y2 re-enactment of the Great Fire of London. Equally, the ‘Myth Makers’ in Y3 and the bridge builders in Y5 were only too happy to talk to us with a quiet confidence and sense of pride in the work they were doing. During a governor visit to EYFS, it was impressive and quite humbling to hear our youngest pupils talk knowledgeably about their collage work. This year we look forward to seeing how the collaborative efforts of the EYFS and KS1 teams will help to secure an even more coherent and effective curriculum for our pupils. A visit to the school council in the spring term and a follow-up visit to the Spelling Bee, which they organised, demonstrated just how well our pupils work together and the respect they have for one another across the year groups. It was also a pleasure to attend The Race for Life and to see how the school community comes together and is in touch with issues, which affect us all in the wider world.
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.
The 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.
For the first time in two years SATs took place, and despite the impact of the pandemic within the UK, our 2022 statutory data was inline or higher than national 2022 data in all areas: Foundation Stage GLD (Good Level of Development); Y2 SATs (reading, writing and maths) both at expected standard and greater depth standard; Y6 SATs (reading, writing, maths, grammar, punctuation and spellings) both at expected standard and greater depth standard.
Sports and the Arts continue to thrive at Downsway. In the summer term alone, there were notable successes in inter-school competitions in Football, Netball, Cricket and Rounders. Other sporting activities during the year featured Swimming, Cross Country, Tag Rugby, Basketball and Badminton. In the summer term, the Choir took part in Young Voices at O2. For Y3-6 there was a Soundstage performance by Berkshire Maestros. Y2 had Recorder lessons in the spring term. Last year, there were also some memorable school productions: Bugsy Malone (Y6), Pantastic (Y3 and 4) and the Christmas production (Foundation ,Y1 and 2). Foundation Stage and Y1 and 2 also took part in a Drama workshop in the spring term. The school now boasts a small Art gallery, which literally showcases pupils’ work and will be an ongoing feature. The school continues to offer a range of clubs, which further enrich our pupils’ experience. Last year they ranged from Judo to Chess, from Street Dance to Gardening. Last year pupils were also able to take part in school trips including to Marwell Zoo (Y1), Waterside Centre (Y3) and Reading Museum (Y5). Additionally there were residential visits for Y6 (Isle of Wight) and Y4 (Ufton Nervet)
We would 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