Our Vertical Phonics Scheme is unique. We created an opportunity to provide a daily morning phonics lesson with irresistible phonics games and activities that was not restricted by age. Accordingly all children benefit from our 8 tier system which offers challenge and support in equal measures and allows the youngest children to access the highest opportunities.
Our music provision is excellent. A well-qualified specialist teacher offers every child two lessons of music a week in addition to a selection of rare extra-curricular musical opportunities. Every child in Year 2 learns a musical instrument and the children’s passion for music is reflected in our well attended weekly orchestra, violin, recorder and handbells clubs. The opportunity to sing in a choir, with solos and part singing on offer in addition to the performance on an instrument is vital to the success that the children enjoy enabling confidence to blossom. An annual visit to the Barbican to participate in a workshop with the LSO and our own Music Festival annually involving 200 children from 6 other schools are examples of two further highlights in the school calendar.
We have enjoyed success at Regional as well as National art competitions and our art director has been much sought after to be loaned to other schools to pass on her extraordinary talents. Described by our recent Inspection as ‘exceptional’, our Art specialist produces termly themes based on the work of a famous artist and uses her experience as an Early Years practitioner to tailor make a syllabus that is right and accessible for every age. Our on-site kiln is regularly used and a process driven approach means that our children have supported access to woodwork and metalwork skills in addition to fabric making alongside the wealth of paint and pastels!
A talented practitioner is the key to meaningful languages at an early age and our Modern Foreign Languages Teacher gets the best out of the children by pitching the level perfectly. In addition to weekly French lessons in every year group, our weekly Italian Club is another popular option for our 5-7 year olds.
A weekly Class Assembly is enjoyed by the whole school in addition to the performing class’s parents and the whole school watch with delight as the assemblies quickly become a mini-production with song, dance and acting in addition to giving us an insight into each class’s topic. With small classes there is nowhere to hide and every child relishes the opportunity to take part in these entertaining shows. In addition our annual Poetry Recital Competition provides a platform from the youngest to the oldest to shine and celebrate this medium. In addition to Harvest Festival and Christingle Assembly narrated by our Year 2 children, we have two large drama productions a year on our new stage with a famously splendid wardrobe of costumes.
The whole school are part of our House system and this offers an opportunity to add pastoral care by dividing the school into 4 smaller units. Named after children’s authors, our House system is meaningful and child friendly. Every term all the children gather in the Hall under their House banner and after a warm greeting and discussion about how to earn Housepoints, the children set off to 4 areas of the school with Year 2s holding the hands of the Nursery children and Year 1s following suit with the Reception children, to hear a chapter by their House author and enjoy and opportunity to get to know their fellow House mates.
Three lessons of sport a week with a dedicated specialist teacher keep the children fit and active. The House system provides the framework for the competitive annual Sports Day and our Year 2 House Captains are always on hand to provide support and encouragement and leadership. Other popular opportunities include Football and Netball fixtures with other local schools. In March at our Open Morning we also enjoy a Gymnastic display by our talented top of the school. The Pancake Relay Race where skills of running and flipping pancakes need to be combined with speed and our 1 mile charity run where again the key to success is the pairing of the 6 and 7 year olds with the 3 and 4 year olds as they run the ten lap course
Weekly Key Stage 1 iPad lessons are taught in small groups and with apple TV and interactive white boards in every room the children quickly become courageous as they learn to get the very best out of a range of educational apps and learn about coding from a qualified expert.
Each week Year 2 benefit from a philosophy lesson that exposes the children to higher level thinking skills and encourages collaboration, respect and empathy. Each week we choose one of the children to be the Philosopher of the Week and the child’s question becomes the ‘Thought for the Week’ which is shared in the newsletter to inspire the whole school community
The Great Read
Our Hall is transformed into a magical literary world once a year as we hold a reading competition involving 5 local schools. Entering the hall via a rabbit hole with an Alice in Wonderland theme, or climbing through a wardrobe, past fur coats into Narnia is an extraordinary opportunity and helps our children become readers for life.
Inspirational visitors with first hand testimony to share is one of many ways we bring subjects to life and excite our children. To hear from a gold medallist fresh from Rio and hear a one-armed concert pianist perform are just two examples of our well-chosen guests.
When you are 7 and at the top of the school a residential visit to a nearby Field Centre is an adventure that becomes one of the highlights of the school career. We take our Year 2s for two days of fresh air fun with a ‘sleep over’ in the middle! We benefit from the Forest School tutors but find our brave and knowledgeable children cannot wait to get going with the series of outdoor challenges that ensures everyone sleeps well no matter how excited they may be.