Dear Parents and Carers

Thankfully the snow is not an issue today and apologies to those pupils and families who were affected by the snow and transport related difficulties yesterday. West Oaks will rarely close for snow or adverse weather but sometimes decisions are taken out of our hands by Leeds City Council school transport. The issues yesterday could have been prevented with better communication and rest assured we will  be taking this up with the relevant people to rectify for the future.

As we approach the half-term break, I wanted to thank-you for your ongoing support and it was great to meet several of you at our three Parent/Leadership forum events this week. It is good to talk and to catch up and to share our current educational thinking and practice but more importantly, to listen to your views. For those who were unable to meet up this time with myself, Keeley, and the Heads of School these were the key headlines:

Currently West Oaks has 445 pupils across our three sites, and we continue to operate a one school/three site model as we grow to five hundred pupils in the next two years.

We are very oversubscribed and will have 480 pupils on roll in September 2024. Headingley Learning will be in its third year!

West Oaks is in constant dialogue with Leeds City Council and SENSAP and both Keeley and I have met the new Leeds Deputy Director for Education, Dan Barton who has also visited our School to discuss how we can help improve the Leeds SEN system.

Last week West Oaks led the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) Outstanding Schools Leadership inset session on teaching and learning.

We have also hosted a visit from Den Corrall from the Leading Edge high-performance schools programme this week and have been asked to complete a case study for publication in the spring edition of their Leading Change national magazine on our “Magical 7” initiative.

As mentioned earlier; the demand for our places is exceeding what we can realistically offer new parents and children. We are seeing an increase in tribunals and SEN place pressure in Leeds and from neighbouring areas. In 2007 when I first started at West Oaks School we educated 109 pupils, and now teach 445 pupils.

A key priority for us is to refresh and reorganise from within our school structure and continue to focus on the mapping of Foundations, Footsteps, Stepping Stones, Reaching High, Moving On curriculum areas to meet our growing school population.

These are exciting times for our school as we continue to sustain our high quality provision whilst striving to develop/improve elements. Inevitably, there will be changes but they will always be linked to improved outcomes for all our children.

We also discussed communication and our use of class dojo, twitter, parent/carer updates, parent’s evenings, family support coffee mornings, Friends of West Oaks network, Big breakfast etc and whether we could use other forms of communication i.e. WhatsApp.

I am really grateful for the positive feedback we received about our provision from those present and will look at how we can create “locality activity menus” to signpost people in our school community to activities, how we continue the West Oaks conversation and how we factor in a “West Oaks Gathering” so like-minded parents/carers have opportunities to access activities with their children whilst also networking with each other. This will require some thought, but we will explore ideas with you.

We have a strong group of over one thousand parents/carers in the West Oaks School community and we need to find new ways of harnessing the skills and knowledge base of our parents/carers to help support each other.

We also discussed the relatively new Leeds Parent Carer Forum and some of you may wish to get involved in that network. They have a parent/carer wellbeing event at Headingley stadium Friday March 8th, 2024, 10am-2pm for those that are interested.

I hope you have a positive half-term break, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Monday 19th February.

Take care everyone.

Best wishes



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.