Radipole is a community primary school catering for boys and girls aged from 4 to 11 years, situated on a large rural site to the north of Weymouth. We are a member school of the Chesil Education Partnership, encompassing all schools and colleges across Weymouth and Portland. We work closely with our fellow partnership establishments to share expertise, to maximise opportunities for learning for all our pupils and students, and to seek excellence together.
The school itself consists of two main teaching blocks (Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2), and an administrative block which incorporates a large hall, staff facilities and a resource area. One single 'hut' is used for peripatetic music, and small group work. There are two playing fields, two hard play areas, and a heated learner swimming pool, which is supported by the PTA. There is a well-stocked, computerised library and computer room, containing networked PC’s. There are also free-standing and networked computers and laptops in classrooms throughout the school. Pupils have controlled access to the internet and to customised ‘intranet’services. Interactive 'smart boards' are being introduced throughout the school, with digital projectors and other IT hardware as appropriate.
In addition the school is fortunate to have an extensive Local Nature Reserve comprising one and a half hectares of protected woodland and meadow. This area lends itself to a wide range of cross-curricular activities and all children have supervised access to the facility throughout their time at the school. The reserve is managed in conjunction with Dorset County Council’s conservation field team, and other interested organisations. Occasional ‘family work days’ are organised for some routine management tasks, and these are much enjoyed by those who join in to help.
There are two classes in each year group, giving a total of 14. Each class in the pair is mixed ability, formed in the first instance by reference to pre-school settings, gender balance, age and consideration of existing friendships. Unless there are compelling educational reasons for change, children remain in the same class throughout their time at the school. The teachers within each year group plan closely together, so that there is equality of entitlement between the classes, and there is the flexibility for ability groupings to be used where appropriate in different curriculum areas. There are also opportunities for particular staff skills to be maximised – for example in music, ICT or physical education. Children with similar needs can sometimes be withdrawn to be taught in small groups – this allows both the most able and those who need additional support to work at appropriate levels.
The teachers are complemented by a team of qualified teaching assistants, office staff, lunchtime supervisors, cleaners and a residential caretaker. We are also fortunate to have an impressive number of voluntary helpers who work in a wide range of capacities in the school – in the classroom or with small groups of children, in the library, on visits, with practical tasks and sporting activities. In addition, there are regular visits from peripatetic music teachers, school health personnel, the educational psychologist, and other specialist support agencies. This wide-ranging and very supportive partnership contributes significantly to the success of the school and to the friendly, ‘family’ atmosphere we enjoy.
The school enjoys many mutually beneficial links with the local community. Sporting, musical and artistic events are shared, we enjoy regular visits from a wide cross-section of the local and wider community, and children are given many opportunities to extend their learning outside the immediate school environment. A school council exists, through which children are encouraged to participate in decision making on issues which affect them, and to develop aspects of citizenship and social responsibility.