Crossways Federation celebrates successful first year in Thornbury
A NEW era of education has been heralded at two Thornbury schools, which joined up as a federation, and are celebrating a successful first year broadening pupils’ moral, cultural and social compass.
Crossways Infant and Junior Schools officially become the Crossways Federation back in September 2012.
One year on, the federation is still in its infancy, but already marked change has swept through Crossways, as staff and pupils across both sites have forged close academic and personal ties.
Although the schools have remained separate entities with different budgets and Ofsted ratings, they are now overseen by one common governing body and, as of last month, an executive head teacher.
While older children have taken on more responsibility, tutoring or helping their younger peers, teachers have been able to step into each other’s shoes, taking over for a short time or observing their respective classes.
“It is a very exciting time for the school,” executive head teacher Mark Toogood told the Gazette. “It could have been quite an anxious time for staff but they have been very positive. It has gone much better than I dared to hope.”
This has been in no small part due to the success of initiatives to bond staff and pupils and bridge the small divide between the infant and junior side, which count 159 and 210 children respectively.
“What we’ve tried to do has been successful,” added Mr Toogood, who lives in Frampton Cotterell. “We started having Year 5 and Year 2 reading buddies and we are going to be extending it to other age groups.
“If members of staff have a lot of junior experience but no infant experience they can now do some teaching with the infants.”
The pupils themselves have been encouraged to find new ways to interact within the federation.
“The junior children are very keen to take on the role of play mentors with the infants in the playground. It will be a good responsibility for the older children.”
The focus over the next few months will be placed on building on pupils’ involvement with their community.
The federation has worked with Thornbury in Bloom and has now partnered with the recently launched foodbank.
“Not only do we want to maintain positive academic standards but we want to offer a very enriched curriculum for them to develop culturally and socially,” Mr Toogood said. “It’s really important that the children see themselves as being part of the community.”
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