June 2020

Dear parents, pupils and staff,

I would like to start this message by expressing my thanks and gratitude to Peter, Kerry and the rest of the team at Long Lane. If someone had said, even two months ago that we were going to reinvent the whole process of teaching and learning in the school, surely we could not have imagined how successfully that transition would have been completed.

I do not mean to downplay how difficult that process has been or the challenges that still need to be overcome, but, from a personal point of view, the work we are receiving for both my children is appropriate, effective, varied and well planned. Most of us appreciate, in normal circumstances, as a teacher, you have the students in front of you and can see their reactions, judge their understanding and adjust the explanations and activities accordingly. It is much more challenging to create or source materials for students to access and use remotely. From what I have seen the Long Lane staff have managed this change with sensitivity, professionalism and empathy.

I also need to express my admiration for the way the pupils, parents and wider families have coped - having managed my first day of home schooling this week I can testify to the fact that it is all consuming, hard-work and tiring - and I am a teacher. However, it was also good fun, lovely and extremely rewarding - and I think my kids enjoyed it. I see evidence on social media of how families are coping with the situation with resilience, humour and creativity.

As speculation around the government’s plans for the reopening of schools increases, school leaders only know as much as the public with regard to the government’s intentions. We know that Peter and his team will keep you updated on plans to reopen. However, when schools are asked to open again, Long Lane will be required to ensure appropriate social distancing and probably will not have a full complement of staff available to work. Therefore any reopening will certainly be on a partial basis only, with selected year groups invited back in the first instance. While schools may be able to begin operating again at some point in the summer term, this may well be very different from ‘normal’ for quite some time.

In the meantime, I know that I speak on behalf of all staff and governors when I say that we look forward to reopening, but only when the government deems that it is safe and appropriate to do so.

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Simon Bamford

Co-Chair, Chair of  Operations Committee &Pupil Premium


January 2020

A very happy new year to all at Long Lane! 

I write this on the 6th January. It’s my three year old’s first day back at preschool and I finally have some time to think. And tidy the house.


So, while boxing up decorations, I got to thinking about new year resolutions, and the year ahead for the governing team at Long Lane. At our last full board meeting, we welcomed a new co-chair – Jennifer Folliard – who joins co-chair Simon Bamford. We also spoke about some of our resolutions for the year ahead, as set out in our updated Governor Development Plan.  


As a new Governor, the part of the plan I’m most excited about is our renewed focus on school visits. Ensuring we as a group take all the opportunities we can to get involved in the life of the school, and see Long Lane in action as often as possible.


On that note, I wish all at Long Lane a joyous and successful year ahead – and that all the Long Lane community take advantage of the many opportunities the school offers throughout the year.

Katie Holder
Operations Governor

December 2019

At this time of year, when the days are short and often chilly, it’s no surprise that many of us are drawn to all things bright, from the flickering of Christmas fairy lights in shop windows to the glitter and sparkle of Strictly’s weekly sequin-fest. Evidently inspired by Saturday’s glamorous contestants, Long Lane’s newly created ballroom dancing teams pirouetted into the finals of November’s competition at Holme Grange School. How fabulous that team Glitter and team Sparkle clinched first and second place: well done to everyone who took part!

I wonder what will be the most popular items on lists for Santa this year. (I must admit, I’m glad to be beyond having to queue for the must-have Harry Potter Lego / Toy Story character.) One of my children still sends me a list - these days with clickable links! - and it always ends with ‘and a book’. There is so much research on the brilliant benefits of encouraging our children to become readers for pleasure, in building their vocabulary and understanding and in enabling them to feel more confident socially and academically across the board. Definitely worth adding a book to that Christmas stocking!

Best wishes for a happy end to the term.

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Jan Cresswell
SEN Governor

October 2019

With the signs of autumn becoming increasingly apparent, the long summer holiday has become a distant memory and we have quickly got back into the swing of school life. The children have settled into their new classes and are enjoying an action-packed term with plenty of new challenges. At Long Lane, we endeavour to provide opportunities for pupils to learn new skills and to share new experiences. This term we have some exciting opportunities planned, which will see many children engaging with the wider community in a variety of ways. Our adventurous upper juniors have already been out and about - with year 5 learning new skills during some exciting water-based activities and year 6 journeying away from home for a residential visit at the start of their final year with us. Across the school there is buzz of excitement as groups of children prepare for the Maestros Junior Music Festival and the Berkshire Inter-Schools dancing competition, both of which will enable us to join with other schools in performances which celebrate our children’s achievements. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented team of teaching staff, assistants and parents, who give their time to enable our young people to make the most of these opportunities. I am delighted to be a part of this team and feel privileged to be in a position where I can help to facilitate these opportunities.

Kerry Penn
Staff Governor

September 2019

Welcome to the new school year! We hope you enjoyed a summer vacation filled with fun and exciting memories with your loved ones. We are thrilled to welcome all of you back to a new school year of learning and growing. At Long Lane, staff, parents, governors and children work as a team, “Striving for Success”, in a happy, creative, high attaining environment where everyone feels valued. We are justifiably proud of the high standards our pupils achieve across the curriculum. Indeed, our end of Key Stage results show that in 2019, the children’s attainment was above the national and West Berks. averages. This is an opportunity for us, as a Board of Governors, to thank all the staff who work so hard and all the parents who support their children so admirably. In a good school such as ours, parents take a great interest in their child’s learning and development. During the years of primary education, academic, personal, social and creative skills are nurtured and developed. Please help us to continue to achieve excellent attendance rates this year. Governors are appointed to ensure that objectives are met and that planning for the future is both visionary and realistic. We are here to support and encourage our Head Teacher, Senior Leadership Team and all school personnel so that children have access to an enriched education and the opportunities they deserve. As Governors we become involved with a variety of issues including finance, safeguarding, policies, building maintenance, staff appointments and headteacher appraisal. However, without a doubt, we consider our most important role is to ensure the welfare and education of the pupils. I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new governors Katie Holder, Jane Hall and Aditi Vyas to our effective and friendly board. Parents and Governors have key roles in helping the school to maintain high standards for all our children both now, and for future generations. We are looking forward to building on the successful Ofsted inspection and report at the end of last year and helping the staff and students to achieve even greater success this year.

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Simon Bamford
Vice Chair, Chair of Operations and Pupil Premium Governor

June 2019

Having recently been appointed as the Sports Premium Governor, I would like to express how excited I am to be support Mr Hunt in how we can positively impact the sports provision at Long Lane. Since being at Long Lane I have been so impressed with the number of sporting events the children enter along with the vast number of sports clubs on offer. As a Director of Sport at St Andrew’s, we are trying to branch out to local Primary Schools and I have been delighted to hear what a success it has been for Long Lane using our new swimming pool. I hope to create some more links with Long Lane in the future using this Sports Premium fund and supporting Mr Hunt’s vision for how it can positively impact sport at Long Lane. I am extremely proud to be able to state how healthy the sports provision is at Long Lane and I am looking forward to Sports Day at the end of this month!

James Mortimer  
Sports Premium Governor

April 2019

When your mail box contains good news, it makes a lovely change – reading the positive feedback from the recent OFSTED inspection was one of those pieces of mail.

There was positive feedback about how the school keeps the children safe. We are very lucky through sponsorship to have a dedicated crossing patrol to help the children and parents cross the busy Long Lane and stay safe. However, we can also do our bit if we drive to school to help the safety in the area outside the school; by avoiding pulling up or parking on the zig zag lines or double yellow lines, watching our speed and not blocking local resident’s driveways.

This month sees the setting of the school budget. As with other recent years there is not lots of money flowing into the school. Once again we can help support the school by supporting the hard-working PTA with their fun activities over the next few months; this includes the summer fair – signing up to help for just 1 hour is a big contribution to helping fund some of the benefits the children get that they enjoy – musical instruments, the running track amongst many others.

Jennifer Folliard
Health & Safety Governor

March 2019

When I received the call from Shirley a few weeks back to say that the inspectors were on their way (seems an age ago now, doesn’t it?) I won’t pretend that there weren’t a few butterflies in my stomach at the thought of being interviewed about being a governor at Long Lane.  The last (and only) time that I had been inspected by Ofsted was as a newly qualified teacher some eighteen years ago.  That experience of almost two decades ago had been a very positive one and so it was with this in my mind that I left my own place of work at St Andrew’s and drove steadily and resolutely down into Pangbourne and then up the long hill towards Long Lane.


But of course my butterflies must have paled into insignificance compared with how the teaching and support staff would have been feeling upon hearing the news of Ofsted’s imminent arrival.  A feeling of nervous tension may have existed, but I know from my own experience that this would have been mixed with feelings of anticipation, of excitement even at being given the opportunity to show Ofsted just how good a school Long Lane is.  The moment had finally arrived! 

The inspection team can only have been thoroughly impressed with how well the children are cared for and with how committed the teachers and support staff are to delivering an exciting, innovative and challenging curriculum that leads to the very best outcomes for all children in all years.  As we await the outcome of the inspection, all I can say is that I am proud to be associated with Long Lane and excited at the prospect of working more closely with the school in the coming months.  


Andrew Neil
Resources Governor

February 2019

From bright bobble hats to emoji beanies, colourful headgear was very much the order of the day when I visited the school on a snowy January morning. Fresh from a bracing breaktime out of doors, the children were keen to kick off their wellies and get down to work, whilst efficient cloakroom captains made sure coats and boots were safely stowed and ready for lunchtime. Pupils clearly enjoy taking on responsibility and it was good to see our emerging leaders in action.

Curiosity and imagination, qualities that will take our pupils far at school and beyond, were much in evidence too, from the bold and beautiful mythical creatures on display in the library to the fascinating conversation about language and dialect in a literacy lesson. Mr Thorne and his staff are rightly committed to ensuring that the children develop their skills in spoken English, expressing their thoughts with clarity and confidence, so it was great to see enthusiasm for sharing their ideas in all the classes I visited. 

On a chilly day, a warming lunch of roast chicken with macaroni cheese and broccoli was just the ticket and the children were tucking in with relish as I set off. Walking back to the gate, I spotted the green shoots of daffodils pushing hopefully through the snow, signs of spring and of all the exciting times to come in the rest of this school year. I look forward to being part of it. 

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Jan Cresswell
SEN Governor

January 2019

I would like to thank everyone for the warm welcome that I received when visiting the school back at the beginning of November.  Touring the school with Mr Thorne, I was constantly impressed with how on task and focussed all of the children were; each class that we visited was a real hive of activity thanks to what is clearly a well-embedded phonics programme.  

I also saw the track in action during break-time, albeit at a slightly slower speed than perhaps it was designed for, and it was great to see the myriad happy faces passing me by for the third, the fourth, the fifth time… 

Being new to the role as Governor I am enthusiastic to set the strategic direction of the school and ensure we spend our financial resources in a balanced way to impact every pupil in a positive way. 

Andrew Neil
Resources Governor

December 2018

While writing this I am covered in dust and cobwebs having just taken my annual trip into the loft to retrieve the decorations. I have untangled the lights and am desperately

trying to prevent the children getting type 2 diabetes by limiting the number of chocolates they eat. It must be Christmas and I love it. Christmas songs playing, the tree is being decorated and the house is beginning to smell of cinnamon.
As a family we went to the Long Lane Christmas Fair on Friday. For me this always marks the start of the Christmas season. What an amazing event. Every room in the school was packed full of activities, games and Christmas cheer. Everyone shopped, played, ate cakes and won copious amounts of sweets on the tombola. On behalf of the governors I would like to thank the PTA, staff and pupils of the school for staging such a festive and fun packed evening. Not to mention all the parents for filling jars, donating prizes and baking cakes.

I would like to welcome Jennifer who will be joining the governor board as our new parent governor early in the new year and, on behalf of all the governors, wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy 2019.

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Simon Bamford
Vice Chair, Chair of Operations and Pupil Premium & Sports Premium Governor

November 2018

As staff governor, I really am able to see the importance of everyone working together in order for children to be able to succeed and make progress, both academically, and socially and emotionally. Whilst it has been another busy and challenging start to the academic year, all staff and governors have demonstrated the flexibility and adaptability that is key to the successful running of a school in the current climate.

There have already been numerous trips and activities in school (PGL, Wokingham Waterside Centre, Bikeability) which have seen Year 5 and 6 further develop their ability to show resilience, challenge themselves, work together and try new things; all skills that our school’s vision and ‘secrets of success’ set out as important for not only school, but life. All the children represented the school superbly and the impact that these opportunities provide children are priceless. This is especially true with an increasing focus of schools towards mental health and self-esteem.

I am in no doubt that this year will continue to provide plenty of challenges for both staff and governors. It is evident that if everyone continues to work together to provide a wide range of curriculum opportunities then all children will continue to flourish at our school.

It was a pleasure to see Lichtenstein in action for the first time this year.  Whilst the pupils were still full of energy following their PGL residential at the start of the week, poor Mrs Smyth was fighting off the effects of a heavy cold which she had brought back with her from Liddington. Thanks must go to all the staff who made the visit possible, particularly when it impacted on their own family arrangements.

Tom Hunt
Staff Governor

May 2019

The judgement of Long Lane leaders and governors has been vindicated: Ofsted agrees that we continue to be a good school and and that staff and governors understand the priorities for further development. Inspectors noted that, ‘Pupils enjoy coming to Long Lane Primary, and they are well prepared for moving to secondary school at the end of Year 6. Your school motto of Strive to Succeed is palpable across the school.’ And in acknowledgement of the broader strengths of Long Lane, a parent was quoted who said, ‘‘Staff have not only taught my children well but have looked after them amazingly!’ That sums up nicely what the school is all about and why we are all proud to be associated with it.

Hardly had the celebrations begun than, with great fanfare, Ofsted revealed that it intends to change things again and bring out a new framework this summer for future school inspections. Great changes are promised – out with in-school data and in with a quality of education judgement is the story that Ofsted want school leaders to share with them. No doubt Ofsted’s proposals will be welcomed by many teachers and parents who see the harm that has been done to children by a narrow focus on tests and an obsession with the data collected during their journey through school.

Albert Einstein said, ‘Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ If we are good learners and naturally very academic, then we are very lucky indeed. But, not everyone is, yet we all have to take exams. Year 6: as you approach the period of your SATs, you would do well to remember Einstein’s fish. Swim your way through the next few weeks to the very best of your ability and, before you know it, a summer of fun will be all yours!

Mike Boys
Link Governor, Lichtenstein

October 2018

Governor Visit  - Friday 28 September 2018

It was a pleasure to see Lichtenstein in action for the first time this year.  Whilst the pupils were still full of energy following their PGL residential at the start of the week, poor Mrs Smyth was fighting off the effects of a heavy cold which she had brought back with her from Liddington. Thanks must go to all the staff who made the visit possible, particularly when it impacted on their own family arrangements.

The pupils were working in their residential groups and tasked with raising awareness of the visit to the curent Year 5 children.  It was proving a great way to promote the use of persuasive and ambitious language as the children worked with focus on their posters or their booklets.  The tasks had been divided up in the groups so that every child had a clear role and knew what they had to complete in the alloted time.  Photos were available from the network to copy and manipulate and stylistic choices had to be made about presentation.  It needed a bit of persuasion to encourage some to stop their work and go out for some fresh air at breaktime, such was the enthusiasm to finish the task.

It was interesting to hear first-hand from the children about their experiences at Liddington.  Clearly they had enjoyed a great time and were eager to tell their stories of Jacob’s Ladder, the Giant’s Swing, raft building and the many other tasks that had been packed into their busy days.  It had been a huge personal challenge for some and it gave them great material for their writing.  It also clearly supported the work that Mrs Smyth has done with the class on stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks to boost personal performance.  This could be seen to have been achieved by many in the course of the residential, but also in the classroom as children were encouraged to use higher-level vocabulary to ‘sell’ the visit to Year 5.

It just so happened that I was also in school on the day when the Macmillan Coffee Morning took place at breaktime.  It was nice to see a number of parents in the hall, having found time in their busy days to come along and support the school and the charity fundraising. The cake was good, too!

Mike Boys
Link Governor, Lichtenstein

September 2018

We would like to welcome you all back to Long Lane after the summer holidays and also welcome the new parents and pupils to our wonderful school. 

Last year we introduced a new award to a Year 6 pupil called the ‘Governor Community Award’. The cup was donated by the Chair of Governors to thank a year 6 pupil for all their hard work for the school community and for making an impact at Long Lane.  The community got together and we were able to make a hamper full of donated items to give to Anisa Johnson with the cup to say thank you. The local businesses included: The Beauty Box, Waitrose, Tesco’s, Nando’s and Jamie’s Italians. 

We are ready for the new school year and getting everything into place. We have performed our skills matrix and done a 360 review on the chair of governors. This data has enabled us to make our governance plan for the new year. We are looking forward to our Ofsted visit this year and showing the inspectors everything that we have in place and how Long Lane positively impacts all the pupils.

We are all looking forward to the new year and making sure we are on the up and working our way to outstanding. We have a very diverse team of governors and fulfill all the skills sets to continue growth and excellence at Long Lane Primary. We are looking for a Co-Opted Governor to join our board, please if you know of anyone in the local area that would like to make a difference to our school then please ask them to contact the Chair of Governors via the office. 

For more information please  read our September Governors Newsletter

Shirley Wilkinson  
Chair of Governors

July 2018

I was excited to begin my role as a governor back in October 2017, and, as ever, the year has flown by.  Now that we are approaching the end of term, this seems an excellent point to reflect on what the school has achieved in the last year, and as a governor, I am particularly interested in how well the school has fulfilled its vision to its pupils; that each child will leave with a love of learning. 

Of course, learning is not just about facts, figures, and exams, it is about learning practical, social, and emotional life skills through experiences inside, and outside the classroom.  The school website’s ‘news’ section contains a record of just some of the activities undertaken over the past year, and I am pleased to see that there is a wide range of learning on display - there is learning about teamwork in winning the Berkshire Primary School’s Cup, learning about independence at PGL, learning about practical science in the paper aeroplane competition and science festival, learning about the environment at Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre, and learning about equality with International Women’s day – to name but a few.

I am always impressed when I visit the school at the overriding sense of support that pupils give each other, and the way that the school recognises the efforts of pupils in all aspects of their education, and sports day was a fine example of how well the pupils work together, and support each other.

Alongside my general governor duties, I took over as safeguarding governor a little before Easter. I have been to the school to ensure that the staff and governors are up to date with their safeguarding responsibilities and are always alert to their responsibilities.  I am pleased to see that the school is maintaining its ‘outstanding’ work in safeguarding children and I will aim to ensure that this continues; ensuring pupils are safe must always be our top priority.

I hope that pupils keep enjoying their learning right up to the end of term, and continue to learn new skills at the same time as enjoying their summer holidays. 

Edward Barham   
Safeguarding & Resources Governor

June 2018

This academic year my link class is Year 4 with Mrs Rushent and I was thoroughly impressed with the learning environment during my visit at the end of the autumn term. Being a fellow musician, I particularly enjoyed the Tudor music piece and I can see the inspirational impact, Mrs Rushent, is having on the children. I have now been a governor at Long Lane for just over one academic year and in this role, I have now taken on the responsibly of Chair of Resources. With education funding continuing to be a challenge, it is the purpose of the Resources Committee to ensure that the school continues to flourish with the funding it receives. We fully appreciate the efforts of all the staff at Long Lane and can continue to see the hugely positive impact they are having on the children.

I think June is definitely going to be my favourite month this year not only because of the World Cup but the annual Long Lane School sports day that takes place on Wednesday 27th June. I was there to observe it last summer on the hottest day of the year and the children competed well in challenging conditions.  As a Head of PE at St Andrew’s, I understand the efforts that go into organising such a wonderful whole school event. I know myself and the governing board are thoroughly looking forward to seeing the children and school all out together for a united celebration of achievement.  

James Mortimer  
Year 4 Link Governor