|Brookmans Park Newsletter
Brookmans Park School
Text edited by Jeremy
The PTA has had its ups and downs over the years, but the current committee is already shaping up to be one of the most successful ever. Since November, there have been three extremely well-attended events and £3,870 has already been raised.
The committee got off to a flying start with a new venture - a Christmas Crafts Fayre, which included stalls throughout the School, a visit from Postman Pat and a Grand Auction at which nearly fifty donated items went under the hammer. The event raised an amazing £2,800, and looks like being even bigger this year.
The Table Top Sale at the beginning of December also proved very popular and raised over £400, with another £670 coming from the Murder Mystery Evening held on January 29th.
The PTA has already contributed most of this hard-earned profit back to the School, having purchased Special Needs resources, dictionaries and word games, a video recorder, projector trolleys, netball skirts, computer upgrades and outdoor play equipment.
Well done to all who ran and supported these events - the effort is certainly well worthwhile, and much appreciated by staff and children alike!
Our Nursery Christmas party enjoyed a visit from Father Christmas (thank you Tony Grounds!) with each child receiving a present and a hug or handshake! They had earlier enjoyed a party tea and puppet show. For the first time the Nursery children were invited to take part in the Infant Christmas Production and thirty two very proud sets of parents enjoyed watching their children sing and recite their hearts out. Their two teachers were very proud of them too and would like to thank all parents for their marvellous support last term!
PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE Sat. 26th February Sponsored by Century 21
We are rapidly approaching the end of the School's financial year on March 31st and have already started looking ahead to next year's budget. As you know we have endeavoured over the years to keep our classes to a reasonable size and although there will always be some who maintain that even thirty to a class is too many, I feel that what we have is a reasonable compromise.
I do not yet know exactly what my allocation of funds will be for the next financial year but I know it will be insufficient to do all that we would like. Staff salaries take by far and away the largest slice of the cake accounting for something like 80 - 85% of the budget share. On top of that there are so-called ear-marked funds which have a specific purpose and cannot be spent on anything else. Such things as training, funding for statemented pupils etc.
Over the last four years we have managed to carry forward a small surplus into the following financial year. We carried forward less and less in each successive year and this year we shall probably carry forward a small loss for the first time.
We are not extravagant in our spending and the governors and school staff keep a very strict control on the budget.
I know you have been told by the politicians that much money has been poured into education. All I can say is that not a lot has been poured into our pot!
Less and less money can be spent on books and equipment as more and more is needed just to keep the school going. As you know we managed to obtain a grant to get half of the school re-roofed but we have had no success so far in getting the rest done. We have water coming into the classrooms when it rains - not so much as to necessitate closure but would you want to work in a leaking building?
There are more and more demands being made on schools but the resources do not appear to be there to meet them.
I know that Hertfordshire is a reasonably generous local authority and devolves most of its education funding direct to the schools. However until parents start pointing out to the politicians that they are not happy with the amount being spent on schools and, one has to say, Primary Schools in particular, then little will change.
Unlike the NHS, no one dies if the facilities are not there, but children will not perhaps be able to live up to their full potential in later life.
The internet was connected a little later than expected. However, since then it has been used by staff and children alike, and the School now hopes to communicate with an International School in Belgium.
The first internet for beginners group have all had experience of surfing the net. Many have now gone on to surf the net unsupported.
Over half of the children have used the net to research information for topic work. All have enjoyed learning and many feel able to help others. The children have visited a range of sites, from football to cookery.
The Grid for Learning is still running a bit slow at lunchtimes and after School. This is due to the extreme load at this premium time. So the children have also learnt that they need to be patient at these times.
After half term I will be starting the second course for beginners and I already have several names for this. I have had some requests from parents for a beginners class for them, so that they can catch up with this new technology and their children! Well perhaps this will be an option for some later date.
Mrs Nash and Mrs Lewsley, IT co-ordinator.
The Book Club is held in the Dining Hall between 1.45pm and 3.15pm on most Fridays. Books are purchased from the supplier in bulk at a discount; it is this discount which is used to buy books for the School Library. Last term Mr Evans was given a cheque for £400.
The aim of the Club is to encourage the children to save up for a book they have chosen from our range. Stamps in multiples of 10p can be purchased each week. These stamps are kept on their record card at Book Club until they have saved enough to buy the book they have reserved. Children can also buy the books outright if they prefer.
Books seem to be as popular as ever with our children, so please continue with your support. New Staff and Governors Since the last Newsletter, weve said farewell and thanks to Ann Kemp who left the Governing Body, although she remains involved as a classroom assistant, and we have welcomed a number of new Governors - Diane Bennett, Roger Watson and Caroline Grounds - all Parent Governors - and Ros Willis, who is our new Staff Governor.
On the teaching side, we have lost the services of Jo Nicol and Kate Wheeler, whilst Nancy Blatherwick, Jesie Halim, Jane Warburton, Sue Millinder and Elizabeth Nash have joined the team, whilst Gary Stubbs has been recruited as our new Chef. We extend a warm and sincere welcome to one and all.
The Chef's Special
There has been something of a revolution behind the scenes at Brookmans Park School. Pupils and teachers have been straining their necks to catch a glimpse of the new creations, and there is a growing sense of amazement at the achievements of one of our newest recruits. His name is Gary Stubbs and hes the new Chef. But if his current rate of popularity increase continues, his own TV series cant be far away!
Gary is very much a local boy having grown up in Enfield. Without any firm idea of what he wanted to do when he left school, he went on a work-experience course with an open mind. He found himself helping out in the kitchens at Bullsmoor College and enjoyed it. When the time came to look for a full time position, one of his applications landed at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel on Londons Park Lane.
In the face of hundreds of other applications, Gary got the job - blagged my way in! and began to work his way through the system. Taking advice from the army of experienced chefs at the Hotel, he progressed through the various specialist banqueting departments - sauces, pastry, veg., etc, and finally made it upstairs into the kitchens for the Hotel Restaurant, where he contributed to meals for the rich and famous, including the infamous Bill Wyman/Mandy Smith wedding (arguably his first experience of cooking for children!).
After three years of toiling all hours in the hotel world, Gary opted for a more civilised timetable by taking a series of increasingly responsible positions at company offices and residential homes, rising to Head Chef.
Then, earlier this year, he took the courageous step of joining Brookmans Park School. The weekly roast dinners are proving a big favourite, and the possibility of re-introducing beef onto the menu will give that a further boost. But Gary is a long way from being a traditionalist.
The biggest challenge? Trying to educate the kids - giving them a taste of things they might never have had, and encouraging them to enjoy something new. Gary seems to be achieving remarkable success, but this has brought another challenge: when Gary joined, he was serving about 90 meals a day. Already this has risen to 140, and for Friday specials the total tops 230.
Whilst there is no doubt that themed meals such as the Halloween lunch, new-look salad bar and the expanding range of options has contributed to the success to date, there is still plenty of scope for development. We have lots of plans for more theme days, and Id like to introduce new dishes - perhaps a few they might enjoy even if they cant pronounce the names! says Gary.
Gary has injected his own enthusiasm and humour into the kitchen along with a determination to be imaginative and innovative. Perhaps then it is no wonder that the tables seem to have turned for School lunches.
Books For Schools
I am very happy to inform you that due to your efforts collecting the tokens, the School benefited by £2,000. this money was spent on fiction books for infant and junior classrooms. Currently there is a similar scheme for collecting tokens from McVities, the Mirror and the Recorder Newspapers for Maths equipment. The Times, Sun, News of the World and Walkers Crisps have also relaunched their very successful Books for Schools as mentioned above. Finally a big thankyou to all who collected tokens. Please continue to do so - it is of great benefit to all our children.
Herts Primary Schools Badminton Championships
Brookmans Park School entered two boys teams and one girls team.
Round 1 - all three teams did extremely well, coming second in their groups. The boys A-team and the girls did particularly well, coming second to the current champions.
Round 2 - The boys B-team, who were placed in the second tier group, played very well and won their group, but being from the second tier, could still finish no higher than 6th overall. It was the first time for these boys to play in this tournament and to finish 6th out of 22 teams is a very good result.
The boys A-team had a good second round and found themselves in the bronze medal position for 3rd place. The girls must consider themselves unlucky, finishing in fourth place, just 2 points away from a medal; again a very good result considering there were 12 other teams from all over the county.
The results of the girls and boys events were amalgamated in the mixed scores, where we came second overall, collecting the silver medal.
After a mid-winter break of several weeks, the School football team travelled to New Briars for the first match of the Spring term. The A team achieved an emphatic 7-1 victory and the B team also won their match, 2-0.
Lesley Ragg, Football Coach
Thank you very much indeed to all those families who filled shoeboxes for the suffering children of Eastern Europe to open at Christmas. We managed to collect 178 boxes - a magnificent effort and one which I hope you will repeat next year. Thank you, Jenny Bertram
Parentline is a telephone helpline for parents. Call us on 0808 800 2222 if you need to talk anonymously to trained volunteers. No problem too big or too small. Parentline Herts is based in Hatfield and is looking for new volunteers. To find out how you can help, call 01707 270696.
Board of Governors