As well as the life of the school, the school curriculum is developing all the time. School improvement comes from staff and external professionals working together within the school community to embrace new educational thinking and initiatives.
The staff at the school have an excellent understanding of how children learn and what learning should look like for each individual child. They use methodical assessment to plan carefully for each lesson and group.
Those with special needs and a gift or talent are planned for with help from the various departments of the Local Authority and help we buy in privately, for example, we are one of the first schools in the County to work closely with Dyslexia Action. Our partnership has enabled many of our children to receive a diagnosis and programme of help.
We are honest and realistic about our expertise and experience and always have the child’s best interests at heart.
We will try everything in our power and experience to cater for the needs of individuals, even those children with extreme difficulties who may only stay for a short while but who learn a little from us and, in turn, teach us a lot about diversity and inclusion in our society.
In addition to this, we sometimes welcome children who do not speak any English when they arrive and we work closely with the Local Authority to teach them successfully. We like to have fun whilst we are learning.
The school always tries to take advantage of current British and World affairs to give the children the opportunity to develop a sense of identity and community. In 2010 the whole school celebrated and studied all things British and sporting to coincide with the launch of the World Cup in a Mega St George’s Day.
In 2011 we were very interested in our future King’s wedding and had several events to celebrate it including a ‘design a commemorative plate competition’ and following a member of our staff on TV visiting London for the ceremony! We also had a Mega Royal Day. Every child and staff member dressed in regal attire, mostly as a King or Queen in history or fiction. The children studied different monarchies throughout the day. They crowned a King and Queen and they then had a street party in the playground followed by a royal procession. In May 2012 we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by learning about her reign and enjoying a picnic as a whole school.
In 2014 we celebrated the World Cup again, this time using the multi-nation aspect to study geography as well as history. The skills of these days included looking at evidence, researching biographies and producing timelines and family trees. Some presentation and artistic elements of the curriculum were also developed.
We hold yearly Mega Charity Days. This was a full day of activities for the whole school. There may be a whole school ‘Bring and Buy’ sale and a sponsored ‘fun run’ around the school field. Later in the afternoon, Y6 may challenge the staff to a sports match. The primary objective is to make as much money as possible for three adopted charities. Each Key Stage chooses the charity most appropriate to their theme or age. Eg in 2011 KS2 children had a visit from the RNLI so they donated their money to that worthy cause, in FS we had a little girl who benefitted from the charity ‘Freddie’s Friends’ so the FS money went there. In addition, the fun run helps fitness levels and personal target setting.
Mega Circus Skills Day is run by The Magic Carpet Theatre. All of Year 2 and Year 6 take part, usually on the last week of the year, giving an outdoor performance at the end of the day. It is paid for by parents’ voluntary contributions and Friends of Acre Heads donation. It is part of a ‘moving on’ series of events for Year 2 and 6 transition. By taking part in these days the children get to learn new physical skills or consolidate old ones. They balance, throw and catch, juggle, perform dance, drama and comedy and ride a unicycle. The children work in mixed age groups to perfect a routine for performance. They must co-operate, plan, discuss, review, rehearse, problem solve, communicate, co-operate and compromise. They learn to trust on the physical support of others.
This activity is single-handedly responsible for some children learning to co-ordinate two hands together. The confidence is palpable as it grows throughout the day. The children are trained expertly by the Theatre Group which always manages to bring out hitherto unearthed ability to perform. The psychological benefit cannot be underestimated. The day always proves tiring, enjoyable and surprising in its capacity to reach children in ways that classroom based activity or even usual PE lessons do not.
Other Mega Days spring up whenever teachers plan together! Mega Days can be held throughout the school, Key Stage or just the year group. It’s amazing how a Mega Day can capture children’s interest and enthusiasm. They especially love it when we invite experts, visitors and companies in to help and then display our work to parents at the end of the day.
The staff are continually trying out new ideas, making exciting trips, getting in visitors and using the community to enhance the provision in school. This is one of the reasons our school is so enjoyable for existing children and attractive to new children.
This amount of enhancement and enjoyment takes time and money to fund it and we rely heavily on our parents for their contributions and time to support our many curriculum and community events.