Heathside is a vibrant school community with many exciting activities taking place on a regular basis. News regarding school productions, upcoming trips, parents' evenings, assemblies, guest speakers, sports events, chess tournaments and so on is sent to parents via weekly update emails for each section of the school.
A full-colour general newsletter is also published at least once a term. Recent newsletters and a detailed school calendar are available on the Parent Portal.
We are delighted to let you know that Celestine Keise has been appointed Chair of the School’s Advisory Governance and Safeguarding Board. Celestine has a wealth of experience in education and leadership and was, for 14 years, a Local Authority and Ofsted inspector.
As we announced last month, Tracy Shand also joins the Board as Boarding Advisor responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Boarding provision. Tracy is a global expert on boarding and has assisted setting up of boarding schools overseas as well as a known voice in boarding wellbeing and personal development.
Current Board members Radha Chakraborty, Robert Callow and Alex Smith remain in position as Advisors.
We would like to thank hugely our previous Chair, Anna Burrage, and advisors for all of their contributions and advice in setting up the Board in its initial form.
The composition of the Board now reflects Ofsted best practice, with a smaller number of advisors and an appropriate balance of independent experts and parents.
We are delighted to have two new Board members join us who are both highly regarded in their field. Their willingness to commit to Heathside demonstrates their belief that the school offers something of real value to pupils and has a bright future ahead. In September, the Board will be strengthened further with the appointment of a Head Teacher from an independent school.
The Advisory Board has a clear focus on driving improvement, providing strategic direction and returning the school to an Outstanding rating as soon as possible. We very much enjoyed our first board meeting together last week which was both productive and very positive.
Heathside School recently underwent a full inspection, covering all the Independent School Standards. The overall judgement of the inspection was that the school Requires Improvement (the rating which replaces Ofsted’s former Satisfactory rating) but the Inspectors noted many areas of excellent practice, in particular in our Lower and Middle Schools.
Whilst there were many positive aspects in the report, there is work to do and the school is committed to getting things right for its talented students and the local community.
Following the previous inspection, the school's new leadership and governance bodies drew up and began implementing an action plan to address the areas it needed to improve and which will ensure sustained progress. These actions were already well under way at the time of the latest inspection and we therefore expect to deliver them swiftly.
The school is committed to achieving the highest standards across all aspects of school life, and is grateful for the support of parents and the dedication of the Headteachers, Deputy Heads and staff who work hard to deliver for students every day.
We’re delighted to announce the launch of our new website. The new site is designed for easy access on the go.
Our latest stats indicate that almost 70% of our website traffic is via mobiles and portable devices this year. So we’ve made the new site primarily smartphone friendly to reflect the way people more regularly access websites these days. This means a responsive design which adjusts automatically to differing screen sizes and which way you are holding your smartphone.
The new design is consistent with the Parent Portal of which you are all familiar with. We’ve made the site easy to navigate with shortcuts to the most used sections shown on the footer. On computers or landscape screen layouts, the menu bar is at the top with sub menus to expand sections for more detail. On smaller screens or portrait orientation, a ‘hamburger’ menu is shown at the top right for compactness and easy access to the menus and sub menus.
There is fast access to the Parent Portal, Homework Portal, WisePay Portal and the Report an Absence form throughout the website using shortcuts on the footer. A new FAQ's and News section have also been added.
Leaders have been working hard over recent months to add more information on the new site and we will gradually be adding further sections over the rest of the summer.
Award winning author Paul McVeigh spoke to Heathside pupils on the importance of creative writing.
Author of ‘The Good Son’ and friend of Heathside School, Paul McVeigh visited the school to speak to Year 9 and Year 4 children about the importance of creative writing in all its many forms. Paul’s debut novel, ‘The Good Son’ won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award. He began his career as a playright and writer of comedy shows. He has taught creative writing and is co-founder of the London Short Story Festival.
In the school’s January 2019 Ofsted report, the government department stated that Heathside School met the specific necessary Ofsted standards for independent schools that were checked by three inspectors during their visit to the school.
In the new report, Ofsted confirms that Heathside School is fully compliant in all the standards they checked in:
· Welfare, health and safety of pupils;
· Suitability of staff, supply staff, and proprietors;
· Premises of and accommodation at schools;
· Boarding provision.
The report highlights that since the previous inspection in September of 2018, school leaders have worked to ensure greater consistency between school sites.
Several experienced and highly competent Heathside School staff have been appointed to join Heathside School’s key leadership team. This team is focused on the continued strengthening of consistency of health and safety and all of the provisions required by Ofsted, as well as the ongoing development of excellent boarding and accommodations for both students and staff. In addition, the Heathside Governance and Safeguarding Advisory Board has been established with 10 governors in place.
Nick Shaw, Head of Boarding at Heathside School, says, “The staff at Heathside have put in a great deal of hard work and dedication in order to ensure that all the pupils, both day and boarding, know that they are in a safe and happy school.”
Heathside School Principal, Melissa Remus, says, “We take Ofsted very seriously, and I am delighted to report that we met all of Ofsted’s targets on 10 January. This is great news and a very important milestone for the school. I want to thank the Heathside teachers and staff for all their dedication, hard work and continued excellence and I thank Heathside families, especially our parents, for their continued support and loyalty. Everyone at Heathside School is looking forward to the next chapter.”