Chair's Annual Report
Stepgates Community School 2019-2020
Mrs Ford’s ethos of putting the child at the centre of everything we do at Stepgates, alongside our core values of respect, collaboration, resilience, integrity, compassion, courage and pride has seen us through a lot of change this year. Unfortunately, it also seems that the uncertainty will remain for a while yet, but as a school we can be proud that we face adversity head on and we will come through it together; we will always put the child first. As the year progressed our school proactively amended its strategy and priorities. We set up new processes to manage social distancing and kept them fluid so we could be adaptable to new circumstances throughout the school. The teachers were able to change their teaching style; not only setting up a home-based learning schedule but also by being an extra support to all the parents that became home educators overnight. We are looking at more online learning tools next year, as this will be vital for continued learning for the children. As well as this, we will continue to have a huge focus on children’s well-being and mental health with our additional social and emotional interventions taking place across the school.
The most exciting piece of news for last year was that we finally finished the swimming pool. This has been a huge collaborative effort for the whole Stepgates community over 8 years. So whether you donated money, helped on a stall, sat in meetings or spoke to the wider community to help, well done and thank you! You will also notice that the scaffolding has been removed from around the school and we now have a new roof. The roof was completed ahead of schedule and will really help the school become more energy efficient and sustainable for the long term.
Towards the end of the school year we invited our year 6 children back to Stepgates for the last 3 days of term. Due to the size of the school and in line with government guidance we couldn’t accommodate all of our key worker, vulnerable, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children in school at the same time. Mrs Ford and the Year 6 team, did however organise it so that the Year 6’s were able to come back for the last week of term. I can happily report the Year 6 children were the first year group to use the pool. Although we couldn’t have our normal end of year whole school awards, the Year 6 children did have a leaving assembly, with their end of year awards. We have also introduced a new whole school award, the Ellen Taylor Attendance Cup.
To the ‘thank you's for last year; there are many. To all the staff at Stepgates - all of the governors are so proud and humbled to have every one of you in our bubble, your attitudes and commitment to go above and beyond, which is the normal in this school, shines through as our biggest asset. To Mrs Ford and the Senior Leadership Team; thank you for the extra hours of planning, then the extra hours changing the plans, as new guidance came out daily if not hourly. To departing Governors, Geoffrey Hackett and Lucy Taylor; Geoffrey served for 12 years on the Stepgates board of governors as governor, Vice Chair and then Chair. Geoff’s experience and work with Surrey Governor’s Association has been invaluable for Stepgates; especially in the last few months of Geoff’s tenure. Lucy Taylor was instrumental in making the swimming pool dream a reality. Our thanks also go out to Mrs Barnes, Mrs Drake, Mrs Scarrott and Mrs Allen - thank you for all your support, hard work and dedication to Stepgates. We wish you all good luck for the future.
This year has been a challenge, but also, we have achieved so much together as a Community. As we move into the next academic year, we need to hold on to that spirit more than ever; always putting the child at the centre all that we do.
Chair of Governors