'The curriculum is very good overall. It is very broad, well balanced and provides a stimulating and varied learning experience for all its pupils... there is a good balance of extra curricular activities... the school has very strong and effective links with local churches and the local community. All these aspects of the school's life enrich the curriculum and contribute very effectively to pupils' personal, spiritual and cultural development.'
The school has three year groups. The organisation of classes will depend on pupil numbers. As the numbers are small, individual attention can be given to fulfil individual needs. Depending on circumstances, children may be taught as a class or in smaller groups according to age or ability.
Every effort is made to create a family atmosphere and parents are very welcome to consult with the staff at all times. Speen is a community school where teachers and parents work together for the benefit of the children. Our aim is to encourage the slower child, without holding back the more able, enabling each child to fulfil his/her potential.
The pastoral care of the children is the responsibility of the class teachers supported by other staff. Each child's progress and needs are monitored throughout the year and discussed by teachers and parents at evening interviews. Furthermore, staff feel it is vital that parents feel able to consult with them as concerns arise.
'The welfare of all pupils, including those with special educational needs, is a fundamental priority for the school. This is reflected in the quality of the pastoral care provided. Parents are confident that their children are well looked after.'
'There are high and realistic expectations of talented pupils and those with special educational needs. Individual education plans are followed well so that pupils build step by step on what they already know.'
When space allows places are offered to 4 year olds, who follow their own curriculum within the Reception class. It is under the direct management of the Headteacher who is a qualified and experienced Nursery and Primary teacher, with additional qualifications in the education of children with Special Educational Needs. There are also suitably qualified classroom assistants working with the children.
As a member of The Early Years and Childcare Partnership, Speen School has links with other providers of education for four year olds and access to the appropriate training through the Local Education Authority.
The Foundation Curriculum is followed by children who are not yet required to follow the National Curriculum (from Year 1). It provides them with opportunities for learning through play, talk and through first hand experiences. It recognises the needs, interests and enthusiasm of children under 5 and is flexible in order to cater for a wide range of developmental needs. It provides opportunities for children to develop the skills and capabilities necessary to lay the foundations for future learning. It is planned around the following areas of learning:
- Personal and Social Development
- Language and Literacy
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Creative Development
Topics are planned for the whole class which promote intellectual development at all levels, including early access to computers, leading naturally into the National Curriculum.
'The quality of the curriculum provided for children in the Foundation Stage is very good and effectively supports their brisk rate of learning and the standards they achieve.'
'The teachers' knowledge and understanding of the needs of young children in the Foundation Stage are very good.'
The school follows a syllabus in which the teaching is broadly based upon the principles of the Church of England and includes teaching about other major world faiths.
As a Church school we aim to nurture the Christian values of caring, honesty, respect, tolerance, fairness, justice and forgiveness.
There is an assembly each day, which consists of an act of worship and includes other curricular areas. The children take an active part in assembly. Special services are held regularly and, in any event, at least once a term in the parish church, or Speen Baptist Chapel, and, although the school has a Church of England foundation, we welcome children of all Faiths or none.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from R.E. lessons and/or the act of worship but assemblies may include areas of the National Curriculum from which children may not be withdrawn.
Visit to the Mosque on a Worship Trail
'In the 2001 national tests and assessments for Year 2 pupils' results were very high and in the top five per cent nationally in reading and writing. The school trend has been consistently above the national average in recent years.'
'Pupils are confident in spelling and punctuation and their handwriting is developing well.'
Speaking, listening, reading and writing form the media through which much of the school curriculum is accessed. The school aims to extend the children's use of language, to develop their capability to understand written and spoken English and to write appropriately in conventional, standard English.
Reading for pleasure is actively encouraged and a wide range of quality books is available for the children to share with parents and other adults as well as teachers. Parents are expected to read with their children frequently and listen to their children read every day. Books are supplied for this purpose. The school library is regularly reviewed and, where necessary, improved.
'There is a good range of reading scheme books and library books which are used well.'
Science is taught within the school to give the children every opportunity to explore safely the role and importance of Science in everyday life. Science is taught in a practical, `hands on' way with much emphasis laid upon discussion of what we discover and actually see happen. Children use a variety of domestic and environmental contexts as starting points for learning Science and for developing an awareness of the means whereby human activity produces change. Alongside this, children learn to develop the skills of observation and recording results, as well as reporting and interpreting those results.
'In science attainment is above national expectations for the majority of pupils at the end of Year 2. All pupils have a thorough understanding of the knowledge elements of science. They apply their knowledge confidently and explain their thinking clearly...Pupils readily use the correct scientific terms and take a pride in using these.'
IT is part of daily life from the moment children begin their education at Speen. The school has 10 networked computers and four stand alone PCs and children have access to colour printers, a scanner, electronic microscopes and a digital camera.
Pupils have supervised access to the Internet. The children use the computers for a variety of tasks across the curriculum, e.g. problem solving, data handling, text and graphic work. This is in addition to the RM Maths learning system and Pip floor robot. Software packages are regularly reviewed and updated.
'In IT pupils achieve good standards in their skills and make good progress in their learning. At the end of Year 2 standards are above national expectations...Pupils show confidence and respond well.'
There is a dedicated daily numeracy lesson. However, many mathematical opportunities arise during the study of other subjects, for example, data handling in Science, measurement and shape in Design and Technology.
For much of the maths lesson children work as a class on highly interactive oral work. At other times they work in groups and individually. The activities may be practical, investigative or problem solving. Children may collect data, interpret it, form and make predictions. Recording then takes different forms perhaps using symbols, graphs, diagrams or pictures. On a daily basis children progress through a computer Integrated Learning System , 'RM Maths', on an individual basis.
'In the 2001 national tests and assessments for Year 2 pupils' results were in the top five per cent nationally. The rate of learning is very good including pupils with special educational needs and talented pupils. The effective introduction of the national numeracy initiative has resulted in higher standards'.
By their very nature the Arts permeate every aspect of school life. Techniques, skills and ideas are explored using a variety of media. Drawings from real life observation support work in Science. The observation and construction of patterns is essential to the study of Mathematics. Imaginative responses and interpretations are encouraged. Art, Crafts, Music, Dance and Drama contribute to the richness and breadth of activity during the school year. The children undertake a musical performance in church at the end of every term and every pupil is encouraged to take part in the school's annual Christmas production.
'All pupils speak confidently in public performances using dramatic effects well.'
Music plays an important part and we are lucky to have recently purchased a variety of instruments, thanks once again to the PTA. Songs of Praise enliven our daily act of worship frequently accompanied by the children playing recorders or other instruments. Work on rhythm, pitch, and simple accompaniments is broadened by opportunities for the composition of creative pieces in response to various stimuli.
Records, tapes, radio and television programmes are used along with a growing number of percussion instruments. All children are taught to play the recorder in their final year. Year Two children also take part in a weekly 'musicianship' lesson taught by a visiting specialist teacher.
'Attainment in music is good and above national expectations......the school has a good reputation for musical performances which are a strength of the school.'
Design and Technology
Incorporated in this foundation subject is art, craft, design and technology and home economics. The children are involved in designing and making. Young children begin with play and experiment with a variety of materials and kits, then they progress to designing objects.
A variety of materials are used including paper, card, textiles, food, wood and plastics which are shaped and joined using appropriate tools.
New facilities enable the children to experience food preparation as part of the technology curriculum.
Children study their surroundings and the relationships between peoples and their environments. They have opportunities to observe seasonal changes, study simple maps and then learn to identify geographical features of this locality, and in contrasting environments.
Progressing from familiar situations, children learn to describe the similarities and differences between their own lives and the lives of children in the past when studying the everyday life, work, leisure and culture of families. Topics also include famous people and events and are supported by artefacts, literature, television, radio and visits where appropriate.
'Standards achieved in all other subjects of the National Curriculum are in line with those expected nationally. Progress in pupils' learning is very good overall'.
Sport and Physical Education
Through sport and Physical Education the School aims to provide a unique opportunity in the Curriculum to develop personal and social relationships in a practical manner where sporting attitudes, discipline, safety and consideration for others can become a personal expectation rather than a set of externally imposed rules.
The School has a large playing field and playground area and is well resourced in sporting equipment.
Each class undertakes a games lesson of at least 30 minutes per week and additional time is given to dance and educational gymnastics.
Team sports include football, cricket and rounders and the School has been visited by professional football and cricket coaches.
Physical Education at Speen School comprises at least the following four areas:
- Creative Dance
- Games Skills
- Educational Gymnastics
Special Educational Needs and Accessibility
The School follows an Equal Opportunities Policy and the Governors ensure that pupils with special needs join in everyday activities with other pupils. The school complies with the SEN Code of Practice.
A child is defined as having Special Educational Needs if he or she has a learning difficulty, emotional or behavioural problems, or is exceptionally gifted - and this calls for special educational provision to be made. Special educational provision means educational provision not made generally for the children of his/her age in the school.
Our aims are to enable each individual child to participate in the full curriculum and to ensure that each child is helped in the most appropriate way. The school will endeavour to provide appropriate resources within the school budget and from external sources.
A ramp at the main door to the school allows children with physical disabilities access to the building. There is a toilet catering for children with disabilities in the Reception classroom.
'The very good provision for all pupils, including those who are talented and those with special educational needs, effectively ensures that all have equal opportunity and access to the curriculum. This reflects the school's aim to encourage and help the pupils to aim at achieving the highest standards of which they are capable. Support assistants have received very good training and are well briefed by teachers. Pupils with special educational needs are identified early. The quality of support is very good and ensures a very good rate of progress for these pupils. Individual education plans are detailed and are regularly updated.'
Sex and Relationship Education
This is not taught as a specific subject. However, all children's questions are answered honestly, within the context in which they arise, e.g. topic work on plants and animals.
'In Years 1 and 2 the school is very successful in promoting pupils' personal and social development, preparing them very well for the next stage of their education.'
The school aims to work in partnership with parents and a home/school agreement is issued during the child's first term. Regular homework is set from the beginning, usually linked to topics in the Mathematics and English curriculum.
Parents are expected to encourage their child to read by sharing books regularly and frequently at home in a positive and enjoyable way. Advice on choice of reading material and how to share books with your child will be readily given by staff. Children take home books from the school library and from the home-school reading scheme on a regular basis.
'All children receive homework and the parents are supportive of the need to help with tasks set. The home-school book is a useful link between parents and school and the daily contact with staff as they bring their children to school is valued by parents as a time to exchange information or chat informally at the end of the day.'
To support National Curriculum work and broaden the children's outlook, the school organises a variety of visits and activities that take place during normal school hours. Recent activities have included the following:
- A Harvest Thanksgiving Service at St John's Church with gifts for the local community.
- Christmas and Easter Services in St John's Church with musical support from the children.
- Visits to the Wycombe Swan, and Hughenden Valley Manor for a Victorian Christmas. Visits by Music Workshop groups. Storytelling Groups and Science Workshop groups.
- Visits to local schools and pre-school for theatre visits.
- Speen Fęte featured the children from Speen School performing their Annual Country Dancing display, entertaining the village and all the visitors at the fęte.
- Pupils from the School regularly contribute to Speen and North Dean news.
- Fund Raising supported Childern in Need and the Rotary Christmas 'shoebox' appeal - an initiative to send Christmas presents to war torn countries in Eastern Europe and Africa.
- Two School Book Fairs were held during the year.
- In-school and after-school football training run by Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and rugby training by Wasps.
Further activities take place on a weekly basis - Cookery, Library, French lessons.
'There is a good balance of extra curricular activities'