The school curriculum is wide in scope and offers opportunity for a range of methods of thought and the means to express them, and to enable children to exercise control of the skills and facts they have gained.
All children experience mathematical investigations and we steer a middle course between formal and practical activities. We do believe in learning tables, but encourage the use of Information Technology at appropriate levels throughout the mathematics curriculum. Computers and calculators are used as a check, not as an easy option or substitute for mathematical skills. Each day the children take part in the National Numeracy Strategy. This includes an oral and mental Maths session, group and individual work both of a practical nature, solving problems, data handling and calculation. In Key Stage 1 we use the Oxford Maths Zone as our learning programme and in Key Stage 2, Cambridge Maths and BEAM are used.
We endeavour to make Maths an exciting and stimulating subject by making cross-curricular links and linking it to as many 'real life' experiences as possible.
While you must have the mechanics of reading, it is important that there is a balance between enjoyment of books and reading and the formal aspects of learning to read. Early reading experiences should be based on gaining satisfaction from stories relevant to the child's experiences.
If your child enjoys and is successful with his/her early books he/she will expect to enjoy and want to read but undue pressure can help make a child unhappy, so do read to your child as well as expecting him/her to read to you.
Oxford Reading Tree is used in the Key Stage 1 Department as our main reading books for starting to read, but we do have many other books for those who need a wider experience at a certain stage.
Each day, time is put aside for the opportunity to read and look at books just for enjoyment. We try to ensure that reading is not simply pronouncing the works correctly, but that the child is understanding what they read, so plenty of practice is given in comprehension, both oral and written. We encourage the use of reference books, encyclopaedia, dictionaries and thesaurus, and teach children how to make the best use of these as an aid in their research on projects.
From September 1998 all the children take part in the daily National Literacy Hour.
From time to time we have a Book Week when we invite an author, illustrator or poet to school to work with the children. We are continually adding to our fiction and information libraries.
We consider spelling important but it should not inhibit the child's writing flow and parents are encouraged to help their children at home with the National Curriculum Key Words and weekly spelling list.
Handwriting lessons are given as we feel regular, legible writing is an art to be practised and encourages pride in the child's work. As many different forms of written work as possible are introduced, including letter writing, recording of experiments, imaginative writing, poetry.
A primary language course is used in the Key Stage 2 classes to cover the more formal aspects; e.g. grammar, alphabetical order and introduce children to the practical use of study skills. The major emphasis is on children's own language work in connection with cross-curricular topic work.
For communication, both written and spoken, to be effective and acceptable it must be grammatically correct and attractive in content and presentation.
All the children are encouraged to take books home to share with you and you will be advised on ways in which you can help your child at home. It is not sufficient that your child becomes merely a competent reader for we would hope that they would continue to use and enjoy, all forms of the written word at a variety of levels. A reading record is sent home with a book each day and you are encouraged to comment on your child's enjoyment, achievement and progress.
We have a computerised library system that the children are encouraged to use in order that non fiction books can be taken home for interest.
In teaching science we emphasise observation and experiment and encourage enquiry and curiosity, thus helping children to gain insight into the things they see around them.
During their time at White House the children will cover a carefully planned progression of science based topics to include environments, weather, ourselves, materials, forces, electricity, friction, light & dark, solids & liquids, life cycles, earth, moon & sun and interdependance.
The school makes full use of its Information Technology across the curriculum equipment and the school has been cabled for networking and use of the Internet. Each classroom is equipped with IT machines to allow the children regular access. A computerised library system has been installed to encourage the children and help them with their research skills.
Interactive whiteboards are regularly used as part of lessons to involve the children closely with their learning.
Television and Radio Programmes are used in conjunction with themes and topics relating to the foundation subjects.
OTHER FOUNDATION SUBJECTS
The other foundation subjects include: History, Geography, Technology, Music, Art & Design and Physical Education.
These subjects are taught through broadly-based and well-balanced themes, to cover historical, geographical and environmental issues.
FRENCH MODERN LANGUAGE
The future of Primary Years French is under review as several other Hailsham Primary Schools do not teach French and the Governors make a final decision during the Summer Term each year
During 2005/2006 Year 6 children receive French tuition on a regular basis.
The school is not affiliated to a particular denomination. An act of collective worship is held everyday and religious education lessons are given to all pupils. We celebrate the main Christian festivals and use Bible stories and stories from other cultures and religions so that the children, who are growing up in a multi-cultural society are equipped with an understanding and respect for the beliefs of others. If parents do not wish their child to take part in the short acts of worship or religious education lessons held at school, they should discuss this with the Headteacher.
At White House School we believe that setting homework, where appropriate, for individuals or the class as a whole, has many educational advantages. It encourages pupils to:
developing the habit of completing tasks
manage their time more effectively
Homework tasks can also provide good habit forming opportunities toward the end of the key stage before children progress to secondary education.
KEY STAGE 1 - RECEPTION TO YEAR 2
Reading folders and reading record books are taken home every night with:
a) An Oxford Reading Tree Book
b) A free choice of library book
c) National Literacy Strategy key words and/or Oxford Reading Tree key words
We do expect parents to hear their children read as often as possible and comment in the reading record. During a school day children are reading from many different sources other than their designated reading book and this is an area where families can give their children and the school great support.
SPELLING YEAR 1 AND 2
All Year 2 children will bring home weekly spellings to learn. These will be differentiated according to ability. Year 1 have spelling lists where appropriate. Spelling tests are given a few days after the lists are taken home.
Extra work, for example unfinished tasks or Oxford Tree comprehension activities, are sent home at the teacher's discretion.
KEY STAGE 2
Throughout Key Stage 2, children are set spellings and times tables revision on a weekly basis. We also expect the children to keep up their independent or shared reading with a parent/family member at home and maintain their own record of this in a Home/School reading diary. This is then followed up and monitored in school by the child's class teacher.
HOME / SCHOOL LINKS.
As a school we value parental interest and support in implementing this policy so that it meets the needs of all the children in our care. We encourage parents to help their child with any work sent home and with their daily reading programme. We aim to ensure that parents always feel able to comment on and discuss their child's progress and hope they will support their child in completing any task sent home for completion.
CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
If we feel your child is having particular problems we will try to solve the problem by small group or individual help within the classroom situation and with extra help from our Special Needs Co-ordinator and ancillaries.
If a child is having severe difficulties we can refer him or her to the School Psychologist who can give advice to us and to parents as to how to obtain or give extra help. This is only done after consultation with parents.
Equally, we identify particularly able children in order that they have the opportunity for extending their work in a small group/individual situation with our Special Needs Co-ordinator or their class teacher.
Whatever their needs, children are able to access all areas of the curriculum and the school building and are fully integrated into their classes. No child is isolated or excluded from activities thus ensuring they experience acceptance and maximising learning at all times. At present the school has no pupils who use wheelchairs but facilities that may be needed to assist children with physical special needs are regularly reviewed. For example, a toilet for the disabled has been installed recently.
Governors acknowledge the commitment of all staff and ancillaries in this important area of learning and support them in the successful way the Special Needs Policy is implemented.
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
In Key Stage One some lunchtime clubs take place. In the Key Stage Two department there are various clubs, held after school and in the lunch time, including football, netball, athletics, music, chess and board games. The actual clubs organised represent current interests of staff and pupils and may vary from time to time.
We have a tradition of taking classes or groups of children on educational visits. During the four years of Key Stage Two, a residential visit is arranged for each class and has a science or history theme.
We participate, with other schools in the area, in festivals of music together with tournaments and friendly matches of netball, football and rugby, and also a swimming gala.
Sex education is not usually treated as a separate subject in the early years, but may be provided in the context of topics and projects on family life, the keeping of animals in school and health education.
During years 4, 5 and 6 a more formal sex education programme is planned using the BBC programme 'Sex Education' and the ITV 'Good Health' series. Parents are always informed before the series of lessons commence.
CHARGING FOR SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
The Governors have agreed that letters to parents include:
a) The nature of the proposed activity and its educational value.
b) The contribution per pupil which would be required if the activity were to take place
c) The fact that there is no obligation to contribute and that no pupil will be omitted from the activity because his/her parents were unwilling or unable to contribute.
d) The fact that the activity will not take place if parents are reluctant to support it.
The Local Education Authority has established a detailed complaints procedure relating to the curriculum and religious worship, and copies are available in school from the Headteacher if required by parents.