On Saturday, 25th April we hosted our second open day. The event was sponsored by Polish Village Bread who supplied us with delicious cakes, doughnuts, breads and many give-aways and promo products for this occasion.
Thank you very much for such generosity! Thank you Polish Delicatessen “Sówka” in Old Kent Road who donated canapes and drinks and the owner of Esthetique Hair and Beauty in Lewisham who funded raffle ticket prizes.
Special thanks to Lewisham Polish Centre in Forest Hill and Paweł Dokurno for lending us access to the premises 🙂 It is much appreciated.
Many thanks to all volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this event happen.
All parents present registered their interest to add to our exiting base, and bring us one step closer in our chances of success in application to the DfE in October 2015 and not in May as we originally planned. Our plans got delayed because we are urgently looking for an educational leader to complete our group. We need an individual who has experience as a head teacher or deputy head in primary school to help us construct the educational plan for our school. Please forward this request to your friends or maybe even the Heads of your children’s schools. We were really pleased to see some familiar faces we met during our previous events. Your involvemenent and support is crucial in further development of this project.
Thank you all those parents who arrived and contributed to the lively conversation we had on different aspects of our school. Please find some answers to the questions you asked below:
1. Will there be a nursery provision? Generally groups are not be able to establish a stand-alone nursery free school because the independent school standards, which all free schools must meet, require that independent schools have at least five children over the age of five. However, free schools are able to offer nursery provision if they wish and the government is keen to encourage more schools to offer nursery provision, whether directly or in partnership with private or voluntary early years providers. At this stage the founders are not considering the bilingual nursery provision.
2. Will the school follow the same half-term dates as other schools? Yes, the school will follow the same half-term holiday dates as local schools.
3. How long will be a school day? Free schools have a number of freedoms they can use, amongst them is the freedom to have an extended day. Over half of existing free schools run an extended school day. Following their example and in order to accomodate additional curriculum elements Joseph Conrad Academy will most likely run an extended day, too. (Probably an early start e.g. 8.30am.)
4. At what age will the children start the school? The school will initially open from Reception (aged 5). If there is enough interest from pupils aged 6 and 7 (Year 1 and 2) the founders will consider furher intake providing that the DfE approves the project.
5. Who will teach our children? Joseph Conrad Academy as a free school will be funded by and accountable to directly the DfE. The teachers will have to hold a current QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and will be subject to criminal checks (DBS). The candidates for the positions will have to go through the same recruitment process as every state school in the UK and follow the DfE’s regulations. As 70% of the curriculum will be delivered in English main ckass teachers will not be required to be bilingual speakers. However, for the purposes of the remaining 30% delivered in Polish, some teachers will be bilingual.
6. Will the school be subject to Ofsted inspections? Free schools will be subject to the same inspection arrangements as maintained schools.
We were able to listen to a very informative lecture on cognitive benefits of bilingual education in Polish context by Kasia Franas, an Oxford graduate in Applied Linguistics.
Well done to the winners of the drawing competition which took part during the Open Day: Zuzia – aged 5, Karolinka – aged 4, Anna – aged 3 and Agatka- aged 6 and the raffle tickets winners who received vouchers to spend at a beauty salon funded by EsthetiQue Hair and Beauty Salon.
Most children had an opportunityu to have their faces painted and nobody left empty-handed.
We are very grateful for the support we have received over the past months and now we would like to ask all of you dear Parents to become the Polish culture and language ambassadors in your communities. Our school will be open to everyone regardless of race, religion or the country of origin. Please encourage your friends, especially non-Polish speaking ones, to register their interest on our website and come to our events. We hope to create a multicultural community school where we will all share the same passion for excellence in education of our children, through giving them the gift of bilingualism and the enormous long-life benefits that go with it.