Feedback from parent, carer and student evening

Kay Wood, the Headteacher of The Swan, sent this email last night to parents and carers who have applied for a place for their child at the school this September. It followed an information event on Monday evening.

Thank you to all parents, carers and children who came to the information event at New Marston Primary School last night. It was great to have been able to talk to you and then meet many of you.

Those of you who were unable to attend might like to know that we handed out a leaflet explaining how the admissions process will work after 1st March, when you will find out if your child has a place at The Swan in the first round of allocations.

We also had a board up at the event on which people could write any questions that would they like answered. Below is a list of those questions and our responses to them.

How many co-curricular activities will there be on average for each pupil, each week? Students will take part in four co-curricular activities per week. Two of these will be ‘electives’ where students can choose to take part in a range of different enrichment activities. Two of the sessions will be supervised study or ‘prep’ time when students will be able to complete homework in calm, focused conditions with teacher support.

What colour will the shoes need to be? Shoes will need to be plain black, flat, and polishable. No trainers will be allowed. We recommend choosing something durable and comfortable enough to participate in a wide range of different activities, including cycling or walking to school.

Is Mandarin a possible foreign language? It is unlikely that we will be able to offer Mandarin as part of our core curriculum but would love to offer it as an elective. If there is enough demand and we are able to get the teaching expertise, we may be able to include it in our GCSE offer at a later date.

Can the girls’ PE kit have skorts instead of skirts? Yes, absolutely – in fact, the item we have chosen is a skort, but it is a bit hard to see from the picture! Girls can also choose to wear shorts if they prefer.

How many options will there be for the school meals? We think it is really important that children are encouraged to try a range of different foods, so children will not have a choice about what they eat at lunchtime. Special diets, for example allergies and religious restrictions, will also be catered for but families will need to let us know at the start of term. There will also be a vegetarian offer every day. We understand the importance of making sure our food is high quality as students will have a choice of whether to eat it or not! That is why we have also started having in-depth meetings with caterers as well as considering an in-house option so we can make sure our food is tasty, healthy, nutritious and affordable.

What electives do you have inked in so far? Nothing has been 100% confirmed yet, not least because the passions of our staff and interests of our students will guide some of our decisions. However, there will be some experiences, such as public speaking, that will be compulsory for all students to take part in at some point during the year as we believe they are vital for developing a child’s confidence and social skills. As far as possible, our electives will be linked in some way to the values of our school, for example students may get involved in community projects to instil our value of kindness.

How will individual music lessons work? Will there be visiting teachers? Will the lessons be at Cherwell? Will it be done in electives? We hope to have a specialist music teacher in September who will coordinate music in our core curriculum and electives. They will also organise peripatetic music teachers who will provide individual tuition. We are exploring links with the Oxford Music Service and other local schools and organisations to ensure that music at The Swan is of the highest standard.

Do you have to have a Swan School bag? No.

The references to the sports kit and bag in the questions came about because we displayed images of the uniform last night. These will be going up on the website in due course.