A daily Literacy lesson ensures a comprehensive development of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The new primary framework for Literacy forms part of this in addition to a very structured approach to the development of writing developed by Ros Wilson, called Big Write which focuses on 4 elements of writing – Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation. Alongside these 4 elements a structured approach to teaching handwriting and spelling is used so that children develop the basic secretarial skills to underpin their work. Writing for a variety of purposes and audiences is included throughout the Literacy curriculum and also in many other curriculum areas.
The core reading scheme is currently Oxford Reading Tree which is introduced in Reception.All children are encouraged to participate in assemblies and presentations to the community at Harvest and Christmas. Wherever possible English skills are taught within a meaningful context, giving due regard to the need to teach explicitly the conventions of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Handwriting is based on the Nelson Handwriting Scheme.
Mathematics is a key life skill. We aim to create confident and inquisitive mathematicians. Vickerstown Primary School currently follows the National Curriculum introduced in 2014.
Whilst there are planned daily maths lessons, we endeavour to promote the children's mental maths skills and deliver lessons that encourage the application of these skills in a range of meaningful situations, we focus on cross curricular links to support this.
Learning of times tables, number bonds and number facts is essential and children benefit greatly from reinforcement at home.
Pupils also engage in the development of mental strategies, written methods, practical work, investigations, problem solvign and mathematical discussions.
Science is taught throughout the year following the QCA schemes of work using a variety of approaches. A large proportion of practical work is undertaken with both visits out of school and visiting specialists to enrich learning opportunities.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is taught throughout the school as a subject and used as a tool across the curriculum. All the computers in the school are networked, we have access to the Internet and E-mail. In addition to direct tuition in ICT skills, computers and other technologies are used to support the curriculum throughout the school, e.g. spelling and number programmes.
Geography is taught as a main focus in the spring term and as a supporting area of study in other topics. Mapping skills and specific geography sessions are taught throughout KS2. Through school linking with schools overseas pupils are introduced to different ways of living and global issues. Environmental education is also an integral part of our work
Our excellence in The Arts was recognized in 2008 when we achieved Artsmark Silver, we are currently applying for the next level of accreditation. The art curriculum covers all media, pencil, chalk, paint, clay, fabrics, dyes and needlework. Clubs offer painting, drawing and clay for enthusiasts. Special events, visiting artists, gallery visits and competitions increase opportunities in art for all children. We are developing a new arts base within school to provide opportunities for large and small scale work outside the classroom.
Pupils are offered opportunities with junk modeling, woodwork, fabrics, clay, food technology and construction skills. Sometimes skills will be specifically taught, at other times DT will support the general topic framework.
History is taught as a main focus in the autumn term and otherwise as a supporting subject in other work. Educational visits and residential opportunities involve the children in direct experiences.
The school has developed its own thematic approach to R.E. which incorporates the Cumbria Agreed Syllabus for R.E. Each day there is an assembly of mainly Christian character. Classes regularly take it in turn to hold an assembly to which parents are invited. The main Christian festivals are celebrated. Under Section 25 of the 1944 Act parents have a right to withdraw their children from any of these sessions.
EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH WELL-BEING
The most important people at Vickerstown Primary School are the children and we recognise and value the partnership we have between school and home. We see education as an ongoing process and we feel proud to be able to support parents in their children’s development.
Our children’s social and emotional development determines their attainment at primary school and beyond. Their well-being and life chances depend on their self-esteem, self-awareness, how positively they think, and how well they use their internal resources.This is why the school ethos is a commitment to involve, motivate and inspire all of our children. Vickerstown pupils think positively, believe in themselves, and are confident and assertive.
We pride ourselves in our inclusive approach to education and welcome all children into our school community. Our vision and values are clearly communicated to all members of the school and this is evident in the ways that our children interact with each other and with staff. Vickerstown Primary School has happy and settled school environment in which children can learn and have fun. We have a child-centred philosophy in that each child is treated as an individual. Children are organised to work in small groups, individually or as members of the whole class depending on the activity.
SERIS (Supporting Emotional Resilience in School)
As part of our school’s commitment to support all children’s physical and emotional well-being as well as their academic learning, throughout the year pupils join in SERIS (Supporting Emotional Resilience in School), which takes place in the form of small group work. This work incorporates a number of areas of learning and developing of skills by helping pupils to begin to show understanding of simple citizenship concepts, for example right and wrong, fairness and rules and understanding of values: e.g., honesty, tolerance, respect and concern for others. Listen to views of others. Help to increase their confidence and self-esteem, whilst having the opportunity to share their feelings, thoughts and opinions honestly within a safe environment, knowing that it’s okay to share and talk about how they are feeling. This work enhances aspects of class and whole school citizenship activities, demonstrating that we can play and work co-operatively and take and share responsibility for our actions by encouraging children to ask for help when they need it, talk to trusted adults and make appropriate and good choi
All parents/Guardians/Carers have the responsibility of helping their children to grow and develop and supporting them with their problems and worries. Sometimes however, no matter how well children and young people get on with their parents, they may find it difficult to talk to them. Children often get help and support by talking to someone they can trust. Maybe a friend, a teacher, or relative or a neighbour who can help. Often having a problem or concern can affect child's behaviour and school work, and the school Counsellor may be able to help.
There can be lots of pressures on children and young people growing up, for example friendships and peer relationship difficulties, teasing and bullying; exams and school work; family relationships, separations and changes; as well as illness, loss or death of someone close. Young people also have to cope with adolescence and the strong feelings and physical changes that go with it.
These issues all impact in one way or another on children’s emotional well-being and can cause them to feel worried, confused, sad or angry, making them vulnerable and upset at times. These feelings can sometimes be released in children’s behaviour becoming withdrawn or acting out, feeling sick and anxious, lack of focus and concentration which can affect their confidence and self-esteem. Even quite young children can find that the time and space they get from counselling helps them feel better, and cope better at home and in school.
At Vickerstown Primary School we employ a full time Counsellor to help support pupils when they are experiencing any difficulties, pressure or stressful issues in their lives. The Counsellor is fully qualified and follows the Code of Ethics and Policy Procedures of the Professional Framework of the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) and also Vickerstown Primary School’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
We call the counselling service offered ‘Talk-Time’. Support is given to parents and carers through initial meetings to discuss areas of concern and an appropriate agreement made to allow their child to have access to the Counsellor for individual Talk-Time sessions. This allows children opportunity to share issues that are troubling or concerning them within a safe, confidential and child centred approach and to look at ways to develop strategies for them to cope with a particular experience, relationship or presenting issue. The children can then access other areas of school life and their learning more readily and in turn feel more settled at home and with their peers. Confidence, self-esteem and self-worth increases for the children, as they know that they can talk about their thoughts and feelings freely and without judgement.
The Counsellor is also available to support parents/carers and staff in school by listening to them, offering suggestions or coping strategies, useful resources and sometimes if appropriate making links with external charities or agencies to best support the individual needs of the child/family when necessary.
Vickerstown Primary School believes that a strong PSHE education is important to help our pupils develop into well-rounded members of society, who able to make a positive contribution to their community. At Vickerstown Primary School, our PSHE curriculum is strongly tied to our sex and relationship education (SRE) and pastoral care programme.
At Vickerstown Primary School, we understand the importance of educating pupils about sex and relationships, in order for pupils to make responsible and well-informed decisions in their lives.
SRE is a lifelong learning process of acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs and attitudes about sex, sexuality, relationships and feelings (Sex Education Forum 1999).
Effective SRE can make a significant contribution to the development of the personal skills needed by pupils if they are to establish and maintain relationships. It also enables young people to make responsible and informed decisions about their health and well-being.
The 1996 Education Act consolidates all relevant previous legislation and states that all primary schools must provide an up to date policy that describes the content and organisation of SRE provided outside the National Curriculum Science Order. The DfE Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (2000) supports this legislation and recommends that all primary schools should have a sex and relationship education programme tailored to the age and physical and emotional maturity of the children.
The vision for students, staff and others linked to our school is to always look to achieve our personal best in every aspect of school life.
·Our school is one where everyone is encouraged and supported to achieve their personal best.
·Our school is welcoming, inclusive, has a real community feel and is a place where everyone is valued.
·Our pupils and staff treat each other equitably, fairly, with kindness and with mutual respect. At all times, staff and pupils are encouraged to show a high regard for the needs and feelings of others through their actions and words.
·Our pupils and staff are enterprising and approach challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude.
·The needs and interests of all pupils, irrespective of gender, culture, ability or aptitude, will be promoted through an inclusive and varied PSHE curriculum at our school.
·Our environment is safe and clean with everyone sharing responsibility for it.
·Our culture is one of continuous improvement, creativity and enthusiasm.
·Parents and carers will be informed about the policy via the school’s website where it, and the PSHE and SRE curriculum, will be available to read and download.
·The Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education Policy (PSHE) will be used alongside the Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) Policy, Safeguarding policy, Behaviour Policy, Anti-Bullying Policy, British Values Policy and Parent Partnership Policy, in order to ensure a comprehensive PSHE education.
Class music lessons comprise singing, listening and composing. All children have the opportunity to learn to play the recorder in Year 3, some children continue to play a variety of instruments, with tuition available from specialist music teachers for woodwind, brass, keyboard and violin. Visiting experts perform regularly in school, introducing children to a wide variety of activities.
The school is proud that our excellence in P.E. and other sporting activities was recognized in 2008 when we once again achieved Activemark status. This is a nationally recognized award. P.E. dance and games are taught in a scheme of work which includes, dance, athletics, small and large games, gymnastics and skipping.Weekly swimming lessons are provided for children from Reception to Year 5. There are many opportunities for additional sporting activities in teams and clubs, e.g. rugby, netball, skipping, swimming and gymnastics.