At Walmley Junior School our curriculum is imaginative, varied and offers exciting experiences which meet the needs of all children, within our context, and develops their cultural capital. We encourage a genuine lifelong love of learning: we praise and celebrate achievements, as well as helping them to become resilient when they encounter difficulties and become more determined to succeed. We are committed to building on prior learning and our children are actively supported to reach their full potential as responsible and valued members of society, who know how to keep themselves safe, regardless of any difficulties or barriers they might have to deal with. We make it our mission for all children to have a positive and happy experience with us.
Our seven Walmley Values are woven through the fabric of our school life so that everyone understands their importance: respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, perseverance, politeness and conscientiousness. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding (SMSC) is integral to our school curriculum and ethos, as well as an appreciation of British Values and how everyone can contribute effectively as members of our society. All of these themes are embedded through day to day classroom activities such as circle time, assemblies and lessons. We have high expectations of good manners and behaviour and this is evident in the relationships that our children establish in our school between themselves and with adults.
Our curriculum design has the National Curriculum at its core, the locally agreed syllabus for R.E. and a tailored programme of Personal, Social and Health Education, with the Sex and Relationship aspect delivered by a specialist outside provider. We pride ourselves on our bespoke curriculum that meets the specific needs of a ‘Walmley child’. We have combined knowledge, skills and understanding to produce units of work which enable our children to learn about themselves, their community and the wider world. Alongside subject leaders, staff produce overviews of coverage for each year group, as well as more detailed medium term plans which ensures progression and sequencing in both content and skills across the key stage. These incorporate opportunities for intelligent repetition to embed and build on prior knowledge and close the gaps where dysfluency may have occurred. Teachers take a flexible approach and review planning regularly, making adjustments to ensure the topics meet the needs of the children, provide appropriate challenge and remain motivating and engaging. Disadvantaged, SEND and more able children are well supported and have work that is differentiated to cater for their specific needs and abilities.
The skills of Reading, Writing and Maths are taught daily and our children become competent and proficient learners in these core subjects. A love of reading is promoted throughout school as a life skill which enables pupils a broad and balanced curriculum. This is supported with stimulating and plentiful reading resources. They are taught reasoning and problem-solving skills and become independent, confident learners who are prepared to take risks. To make the learning relevant, cross-curricular links are made wherever possible to ensure skills are transferable and children can complete real-life challenges and give learning purpose (e.g. Stocks and Share Project). Our children are skilful users of a range of computing programs and our P.E., Music and French provision is enhanced by specialist teachers. Our children learn a range of key skills in every year group which help them in their future lives, such as sewing, using tools and cookery. They are taught to keep themselves safe in a variety of situations, especially online, through a variety of focussed lessons, Safer Internet Day, workshops and visits from the Community Police and NSPCC.
During the year our children take part in longer, themed learning sessions such as Science afternoons, Arts Week, Fitness Fortnight and Book Week. We offer a range of ever-changing special events, such as a Roman Showcase in Year 5 where families are given a guided tour by their children to show what they have researched and made, including Roman artefacts! We also work effectively with a collaboration group of five other local schools, providing different projects over the year. Each year our Year 6 pupils meet with others across the local area as part of their transition to secondary school.
Our curriculum is enriched through an extensive range of educational visits, including trips to art galleries and theatres, sites of local geographical or historical interest and a long list of sporting competitions. In addition, each year group visits a place of worship (a church/cathedral, a Sikh temple, a gurdwara and a mosque). We also offer three residential opportunities, two of which involve outdoor adventurous activities and the third is an exciting five-day trip to France in Year 6. In addition, we offer a rich, ever-changing variety of after school clubs which are attended by over 90% of our children, including different sports, drama, gardening, musical theatre and Art and Crafts, to name a few. Opportunities are provided for all SEND and Disadvantaged children to attend an after school club of their choice. A quarter of our children also learn a musical instrument at school with several peripatetic music specialists.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our working environment, with stimulating displays and a wealth of resources in all subject areas, including a fully equipped food technology room. We have a huge school field, playground gym equipment, a marble wall, ping pong tables and an outdoor classroom which means we can benefit from learning outdoors whenever possible. We even manage our own ‘mini allotment’, growing a variety of vegetables as well as cultivating a wildlife garden.
We are a Rights Respecting school and encourage children to be open, honest and to feel they have a right to be heard. Our School Council, Prefects and Eco Council work actively with the school community to identify issues and improve school life wherever possible. There is a clear expectation that children take part in fundraising events to help charities, such as our hugely successful Macmillan Coffee Morning, Comic/Sport Relief and a pupil-led enterprise charity week.
A smooth transition between key stages is important for children’s confidence and happiness, so we work closely with Walmley Infant School and our local secondary schools, to ensure that children are well prepared. This includes visits to and from our partner schools, a transition club in the summer holidays, and joint activities such as paired reading and writing letters to each other. Our Year 6 children can get to know others from their secondary schools in a fun collaboration project in Sutton Park. We work closely with parents throughout the transition process and offer parent workshops and meetings at key times, e.g. Welcome to Year 3 meeting, RSE parent workshops. We actively seek the opinions of parents and children to ensure we provide the best provision possible.
Our children’s wellbeing is of utmost importance to us throughout their time in school and our pastoral care is very strong. Our staff to know our children well, sharing any concerns and running friendship clubs for example. For cases involving bereavement or difficult family situations we have our own School Counsellor, who helps children develop strategies to deal with their problems so that they are happier and more ready to learn at school. We aim to promote children’s emotional resilience to cope with any obstacles that might come their way.
The impact of our curriculum is that we develop well-rounded children who are ready to move to the next stage in their education and lives with confidence, equipped with the right skills, knowledge and understanding. Our school values, which are values for life, will continue to be at the core of who they are. We are proud to be supported in everything we do by the strong partnerships we have established with our parents, governors and feeder infant school. These positive relationships help us to provide the best care and education for our children and, together with our wonderful team of staff, create the warm and happy atmosphere that makes us so proud of the experience children have at Walmley Junior School.