Why do you have subject teachers, starting from Year 1 and not a class teacher?
Other schools have a teacher who teaches their class for all of their lessons, occasionally with the addition of a peripatetic music teacher or a sports coach. From Year 1 we have teachers who specialize in their subject. They have greater knowledge, enthusiasm and a passion for the subject which is evident in the quality of their teaching.
We have a staff meeting every week and we discuss the children and any problems they may have; academic, social or medical. The contribution and different areas of expertise of all the staff, is extremely valuable when planning an intervention. Every member of staff knows all of the children and works closely in a team to resolve any issues. Teachers supervise the children at playtimes and it is very important that they should know them all well.
If we agree that a child needs additional help, all the staff who teach the child will help to write a Support Plan. Equally if a child is academically gifted, we ensure that all teachers set them challenges that are suitable to their ability. A child who does not receive help and appropriate support will often become naughty. A very bright child who is not challenged and given interesting tasks, will become bored and often behave in a disruptive manner. By ensuring that all teachers have an in-depth knowledge of how to help each child, no matter what their strengths and weaknesses are, we make sure that every child reaches their maximum potential.
Parents also ask, how many children are there in each class?
The work the children do is tailored to their individual needs; this is particularly true in English and Mathematics, the core subjects. To enable teachers to spend adequate time with individual pupils, rather than teaching the same level of lesson to all of the class, we have to keep our class size small.
There are between 10-15 children in the majority of our classes. Some have less and others one or two more. If there are more, we use our very skilled teaching assistants to help the teacher.
During a tour of the school, parents always ask how we teach the children to do such beautiful cursive handwriting. They also comment on how well-behaved, polite and friendly the children are.
Many years ago, Mrs Laffeaty-Sharpe wrote her own cursive handwriting programme, which we use in our Nursery and up into the Primary. Nursery pupils write the individual letters in a cursive style. When they enter Reception Class, they start to learn how to join the letters together. Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 pupils have handwriting lessons every week. If older pupils enrol in our school, we put them on a remedial programme, to enable them to quickly improve their handwriting.
We always treat the children with the same courtesy and respect that we expect them to show us and each other. The relationship between all the staff and children is very friendly. We set clear boundaries for behaviour, which are discussed and agreed in regular form meetings. The children know that we will do everything we can to protect them, listen to them when they have a problem, do our very best to help them and ensure that our lessons are interesting and enjoyable.
Children do not learn when they are unhappy. To reach their potential they need to enjoy coming to school and have trust in their teachers.
Why is our school day longer than other local schools?
This enables us to ensure that every subject across the curriculum is taught on a timetabled weekly basis and not just as an occasional topic. It is very important to us that our curriculum offers the children the opportunity to develop their skills across a wide range of subjects. Some children find English or Maths difficult, and of course we give them additional help. We are a non-selective school. We believe all children have a talent or a gift that they can excel at. We have pupils who are very gifted in Sports and represent county teams and others are talented musicians or choristers. Many have developed a gift for acting and performance, and take part in productions in school and in a range of venues out of school. Our dyslexic pupils often have a natural ability for computer programming or Design Technology.
We want all of our pupils to be the best they can possibly be, they are all different, but they know the contribution they make to the school is valued.
We chose our school motto very carefully to reflect our ethos.