At Millfields First School we aim to educate the ‘Whole Child’. We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that teaches basic skills for learning – reading, writing, maths and independence.
We believe that a well-educated child will include the following:
1. Is an independent learner and decision maker .
At the beginning of a topic we have a discussion to see what the children know and what else they would like to know. We use the ‘Thinking Wheel’ to structure our approach to the topic. Children are given opportunities to work independently, in pairs and in larger groups. When appropriate, children are given choice in how they work. Routines are quickly established and teachers encourage day to day independence through varying levels of support. This can vary depending on task, ability and intended outcomes. There are regular opportunities allow the children to ask and answer a variety of questions. As children move through the school, they are given different opportunities to take on responsibilities and develop their decision making and leadership skills.
2. Has good relationships with adults and peers
Staff members foster positive relationships that contribute to the caring, supportive ethos throughout the school. Children therefore feel safe and are happy to share ideas with adults and their peers. Staff members are very approachable. Pupils have learning partners to encourage co-operation, social skills, communication and to promote learning.
3. Is literate and a good communicator
Staff constantly model good language. Learning partners are used to promote learning through focused talk. This also provides opportunities to develop communication skills. Children have to adapt to the needs of their partner. We use the ‘Think it – say it – write it – check it’ approach. See also ‘Footsteps’ to problem solving approach. A multi-sensory, focused approach to Oral Literacy (including Pie Corbett strategies) has had a positive impact on all children’s writing. There has been a tangible increase in levels of engagement, enthusiasm, confidence, imagination and recall. Time is made in each class for regular whole class story time to enrich the children’s language and to build up a bank of stories.
4. Uses numbers and ICT effectively
Across the school there is a daily focused maths lesson. Each class is mixed ability and has a range of needs. The class begins together and then the tasks are differentiated to suit the specific needs of the children. When appropriate, work is linked with the current topic that the children are studying and is as practically based as possible. Throughout the whole school there is a focus on mental skills, including number bonds, doubling and halving, times tables and number of the day. Progress is assessed through the use of 2 minute tests. In KS1 and KS2 differentiated and challenging targets are set to match the children’s levels. These are practiced, assessed and reviewed regularly with the children through the use of target boards. Teachers communicate with parents using the children’s reading diaries so that support can be given at home. The school has an ICT suite. Each class has a skills based lesson each week which is linked to their current topic work. There are additional computers and a set of ‘Netbooks’ for use in each classroom and teachers plan for and use these to support learning accordingly. Together with this pupils have access to some programmable toys and cameras etc.
5. Is adventurous and willing to try new things
Learning partners are used effectively in all classes. Learning partners are changed regularly to enable the children to work with a variety of their classmates. There are numerous opportunities for children to experience new things e.g. trips, Friendly Friday, the traversing wall, gymnastics apparatus equipment and residential experiences for Key Stage Two. There is a real ‘have a go’ ethos in school. There are various times in the school year where the children take part in competitive situations e.g. Sports Day. These times help to develop the importance of taking part and give the children skills to be a good winner/ loser.
6. Cooperates as part of a team
There is a strong sense of teamwork throughout the school. Children work together in their table groupings and sometimes as a whole class. Partner work is planned for – sometimes in ability groups or with their learning partners. We have a class/school ethos which promotes team work and working together. This is fostered through amongst other things PE, class assemblies, challenge days and house points which help to promote this.
7. Has a sense of responsibility and discipline
All staff have a shared responsibility for behaviour across the school. Staff actively model good relationships and behaviours. In the classroom the ‘Zoneboard’ is an effective tool for promoting positive behaviour. Each class has monitors to help with the day to day running of the classroom. Through PSHCE rules and responsibilities are taught. We share our values at the start of year – shared class vision statement, clear expectations. This vision is regularly revisited throughout the Year. The children understand that there are consequences for inappropriate behaviour and this is linked to the use of the zone board. Children are taught to take responsibility for themselves and consider the consequences of their actions.
8. Is morally and spiritually aware
The ethos of the school promotes this. Within the classroom we are constantly reinforcing values. The school follows a scheme that covers a variety of different values. As appropriate these are linked to religions and their festivals. Further enrichment is provided during assemblies, particularly ‘Open the book’, festivals and Forest School. PSHCE is embedded in the curriculum. There is a genuine sense of ‘Awe and Wonder’ arising from our exciting curriculum.
9. Is prepared for the challenges of society
We provide the children with opportunities to raise their awareness of people less fortunate than themselves – through ‘special days’ and involvement in different charities. We discuss the event and put it in context for the children. School and Eco councils are an important pupil voice within the school. They provide pupils with the opportunity to develop skills for life and communicate effectively for a range of audiences with a driven purpose. Year 4 residential to Malvern, Friendly Friday, challenge days etc. provide a variety of opportunities to prepare children for the challenges they may face.
10. Is tolerant and challenges stereotypes
We are very inclusive – accepting of everyone, e.g. Children with a variety of Special Educational Needs are well and truly integrated into the school. We work in partnership with a variety of local schools including special schools. Joint projects foster a greater understanding of the needs of others. There is a whole school approach to challenging stereotypes and showing respect to others. Through our RE and Values curriculum we learn about other faiths and cultures, this equips the children to have a broad and balanced understanding of others.
11. Has a sense of well-being and can lead a safe, fulfilling life
Not only is this specifically taught through PSHCE and science, it is strongly embedded in our curriculum and discussed on a daily basis. As appropriate, children are involved in the risk assessment process and this is particularly evident in forest school. The school has robust systems to deal with safeguarding matters. The staff are interested in what the children have to say, they listen to them and because of the close and nurturing relationships we foster with the children they trust the teachers. We have high expectations of their behaviour and learning. We plan creative, fun and practical activities which engage and excite the children and this is particularly evident in our dance and Friendly Friday work.
12. Is adaptable
The children enjoy working with different teachers and adults who offer different experiences and learning styles. Friendly Friday allows children to work with others throughout the school. This requires the children to be adaptable and work with adults and children with whom they may be unfamiliar, developing confidence and communication skills.
13. Forest School
Originating from Scandinavia, Forest School is an exciting and innovative approach to outdoor education and play. It aims to inspire and encourage children through positive outdoor experiences. Forest School allows children to learn in an organic open setting, creating new learning pathways for lasting impact using a mixture of instructor and child led learning. Children learn about the natural environment, how to handle risk-taking and face challenges that increase their confidence in problem-solving. They also learn to work well with others.
During outdoor play they use full-sized tools and learn about both social and physical boundaries, growing in esteem and confidence.