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Feedback from Parents of P2 & P4 Students

Dear Parents of Primary 2 & 4 Students

Some of you have responded to the Parents Survey which was uploaded online from Wed, 23 Aug 17 to Sun, 3 Sep 17. We would like to thank those who have written compliments about the school programmes and your appreciation for the teachers who have taught your child. We will relay your messages to the relevant teachers. We would also like to thank those who have shared your concerns and have provided some suggestions. 

When reviewing feedback and suggestions from parents, the school takes into consideration the following:
  • Implication to students' well-being.
  • Implication to curriculum which is guided by subject syllabuses.
  • Focus and direction of the school.
  • Availability of resources in the areas of funding, time, facilities and manpower.
  • Age-appropriateness and suitability of programmes in terms of developmental stage of students and possible progression.
  • Sustainability and scalability of programmes when the enrolment increases.
  • Duplication of efforts/services which are already offered by other organisations.

The school will review the feedback and implement viable solutions where possible. Below are the school’s responses to some of the more common concerns raised:

1. School Hours 
Our school hours, 7.30am to 1.30pm, is planned based on the time needed for the teaching of the curriculum and the conduct of Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) to provide a well-rounded education for our students. The school did explore the possibility of starting school later in the day but that would mean that school day would also end later. At the same time, that would require lunch breaks to be added to the school hours - lengthening the school day for our students. 

2. School Bus Services  
School bus operators are usually invited to submit their bids on a competitive basis to the school based on their understanding of the school’s requirements & needs. The school will then select the bus operator who can best meet the needs. Individual bus operators usually submit the bid based on a number of considerations such as bus capacity, number of students taking school buses, distance travelled, insurance premium, operating costs, etc. Thus, school bus fares are expected to vary from school to school.

It remains a challenge for the school to find bus operators that can offer more competitive bus fares and the school seeks the understanding of parents in this matter. While the school will encourage more vendors to bid for the job in the next bidding exercise, parents may, in the meantime, consider engaging other bus operator if they are able to find one that meets their needs.

The school has noted the transport constraints for students who are staying back in the afternoon for optional programmes and activities. In view of that, the school has worked out with the bus company to offer an alternative arrangement which is subject to cost and the number of students taking the same route. Parents may approach the Bus Vendor directly to check if there is sufficient demand for the company to start a bus service for non-standard hours.

3. Canteen Food & Snack Break 
The school has a School Canteen Committee (SCC) that oversees the management of the canteen stallholders. It takes reference from MOE, National Environment Agency's (NEA) and Health Promotion Board's (HPB) stipulated guidelines in managing the stallholders.

All schools are now on board HPB’s Healthy Meal School Programme (HMSP) which stipulates the serving of canteen food from the four main food groups; namely brown rice and wholemeal bread; fruits; vegetables; and meat and others in recommended portions for every main meal served. Under the programme, HPB advocates students to eat healthily and have a balanced diet. 

In our school, set meals of Small, Medium & Large size are available at affordable pricing of $1.20, $1.50 and $1.80 respectively. Students may then select any of these healthy set meals to meet their individual requirements. It remains a challenge for canteen vendors to see how they could further reduce the food prices given the rising cost of ingredients. The school will continue to monitor the price, portion and type of food sold to ensure canteen food remains healthy and affordable for students.

Snack Break
Bringing food for snack time is optional. For students who might feel hungry, parents are encouraged to pack healthy fruits and snacks for their child. We strongly discourage parents from packing unhealthy snacks like chips and crackers for the snack break. 

4. Co-Curricular Programmes: CCA & Enrichment 
When planning for the range of Co-curricular Programmes, be it enrichment programmes or CCA, the school takes a long-term view and seeks alignment in its offerings so that what students learn at one level is further developed and honed as they progress to the other levels.

As the school continues to expand, more CCA will be included. Students will also be participating in more inter-school competitions. The planning and implementation of these programmes are constrained by availability of manpower and facilities. Students’ safety and quality of the programmes cannot be compromised at the expense of providing more choices. The school strikes a balance between breadth of options and resource availability so that students’ learning and well-being remain topmost priorities. For example, for each programme, even for those that are run by external coaches or vendors, teachers are always present to ensure students’ safety and to facilitate their learning. 

What is unique to the school is that all lower primary students are involved in co-curricular enrichment programmes that are carried out within curriculum hours. These programmes help to provide broad-based experiences before they start CCA in P3 onwards. The carrying out of CCA during curriculum time also enables all students in the school to have a CCA. 

While CCA is conducted during curriculum time, parents can rest assured that the school does not take away curriculum time from other subjects. In fact, it adheres to MOE’s guidelines for subject period allocations. For CCA that require additional training sessions to prepare students for external competitions, they will hold their sessions outside curriculum time. 

5. Academic Standards & Expectations 
All subjects adhere to MOE’s syllabus and assessment guidelines. The respective departments has mapped out the skills and concepts to be taught over the course of six years and introduced them to students in a structured and progressive manner. This is to ensure breadth and depth of coverage at appropriate junctures so that students are developmentally ready to learn them. Various strategies and techniques for the respective subjects will also be taught explicitly to aid students in coping with the requirements of the different components. 

6. Curriculum Coverage & Lesson Delivery  
The teachers adhere to the termly Schemes of Work (SOW) planned by the respective departments. These SOW outline what is to be covered every term, taking into consideration the spiral progression of skills and readiness of students. This is to ensure due coverage of topics and skills prior to each assessment. Having said that, teachers do customise their lessons to cater to the learning needs of the class.  Parents are encouraged to check with their child’s teachers if they would like to know more about the lessons.  

7. Learning Journeys & their Objectives 
Each of the Learning Journeys (LJ) is carefully planned by the teachers to provide students with opportunities for inquiry learning, character development, cultural immersion and/or for development of social etiquette. They complement what students learn in school and provide holistic education that goes beyond mere textbook knowledge. 

There is a wet weather plan for all LJ package in lieu of inclement weather where the students would still do up part of the package in the confines of the classrooms. The school is unable to postpone the LJ to another date due to the availability of these places and the impact it has on the curriculum.

8. After-School Programmes 
The curriculum for all subjects is covered within the school hours. Remedial lessons, known as ACE Programme, are for selected students who may require additional support for certain subjects or certain topics. Please be assured that if a child requires the additional support, the teachers would notify parents and get him/her on board the programme. 

Afternoons and evenings are meant for students to spend their time meaningfully in completing their homework, revising and consolidating their learning. Students are also strongly encouraged to read and exercise regularly to lead a balance lifestyle.  

9. Communication Channels & Updates on Students' Learning  
Teachers provide parents with progress updates during Parent-Teacher Conference (PTC) which the school organises at the end of T1, T2 and T4. Teachers would also contact parents directly at other times when the need arises. Beyond the PTC, parents are free to approach teachers should they have concerns or if they would like to check with the teachers on matters concerning their child.

The main mode of communication between parents and teachers would be via the Students Handbook. Students have been trained to note down the homework which is written on the class notice board. Parents are encouraged to work with the teachers in training the children to take responsibility for their learning.

All teachers would also have given their email addresses to parents at the start of the year and all staff’s email addresses can be found on the school’s website. However, in the event of an emergency, parents can still contact teachers by calling the General Office. The admin staff will relay the message to the relevant teacher. 

Some teachers may also choose to use Class Dojo to communicate with parents. Class Dojo was first introduced to teachers as a possible communication tool and it was not implemented as a school-wide means of communication between school and parents. However, feedback from parents has been encouraging and the school will look into the formal implementation of the portal as a mean of communication between the teachers and parents in 2018. We do seek parents’ understanding that teachers may not answer to parents queries outside office hours (after 6pm and on weekends) as these are protected time for teachers to be with their family. We also hope that parents continue to be open to contact the teachers via the various channels mentioned above. At the same time, we also seek parents’ patience should the teacher not respond to the queries posted via the portal as at times, the notification function may not work well on certain devices and the teacher may have missed the message altogether.

Lastly, the school does act on feedback given by students or parents. Parents are encouraged to alert and check with the relevant teacher to verify the information shared by their child should they have any concerns. This would allow the teacher to do the necessary investigation and avoid unnecessary misunderstanding between various parties.

Thank you once again for sharing your feedback and suggestions. The school values your inputs. Let’s continue to work together to bring out the best in every child!

Yours sincerely
Mrs Lee-Koh SC
Springdale Pri