Starting school is an important event in a child’s life. At Long Ditton we try to make it as enjoyable and relaxed as possible. We offer all children preliminary visits to the Nursery and Reception classes before they start school. For these visits a parent or another close adult accompanies the child. All Nursery children and children in the Reception classes who did not attend the Nursery will also be visited by their teacher at home. This gives us the opportunity to get to know your child and helps your child settle quickly and smoothly at school. All children start Nursery/Reception in the autumn term. The intake is carefully staggered to assist the child in settling in to what we hope is a very happy, secure and profitable beginning to their time at Long Ditton.
The Early Years and Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage is the name given to the Nursery and Reception years. It is called the Foundation Stage because it underpins all future learning. Children learn best by doing things that they really enjoy so most of the activities are play based, active and fun. The activities are also carefully planned to develop new skills and areas of knowledge. Our skilled staff continually assess children so they may successfully facilitate what the child’s next learning step should be. At the end of Reception, the children are assessed against a national comparisons to make sure that they have made good progress during the two foundation years and achieve the Early Learning Goals. The children in these classes follow the National Foundation Stage Curriculum specially written for young children.
Key Stage 1
From the Foundation Stage the curriculum changes gradually and smoothly into Year 1 and then Year 2. Whilst the ethos and philosophy remain the same, there is also a gradual shift in classroom organisation as the children mature, allowing time for introducing more formal skills within the National Curriculum. With Long Ditton St Mary’s Junior School being so near we are fortunate in being able to liaise with staff to enable a similarly smooth transition between the infant and junior years. The topics are carefully planned and co-ordinated throughout the school, so that during their time in school we can ensure that all children have access to breadth within the National Curriculum. Information on each class topic is sent home to parents at the beginning of every term.
Within each class, as in the early years, there will usually be a variety of different tasks offered to the children. Class teachers will spend some time each week working with individual children and small groups as well as the whole class. Children’s progress is recorded and tracked termly. This ensures that they are given work at the right level to extend their knowledge. At the end of Year 2, class teachers assess each child in English, Mathematics and Science and use the Standard Assessment Tasks (S.A.Ts) to check their assessments. The results of these assessments are reported to parents.
From the Nursery through to year two we use a structured Phonic scheme called Read, Write Inc. This is a highly organised and dedicated reading scheme that introduces phonics to children through exciting lessons and reading activities. We use whole school assessments to group children according to their needs and the whole teaching staff are trained in how to deliver the lessons. More information about our structured phonic programme can be found at http://www.focusonphonics.co.uk .
Special Educational Needs and Inclusion
We aim to create a school ethos that supports all children whatever the nature of their difficulty; physical, emotional or learning. All children are valued and taught respect and tolerance for one another. Together with parents, we aim to identify childrens’ needs at an early age and provide help/support so that they can develop their skills and abilities.
Our Inclusion Manager (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) works in partnership with parents, class teachers and teaching assistants to ensure that children with SEN are set appropriate targets and receive additional assistance, where appropriate, to enable them to make good progress. The school has forged excellent links with external agencies. We provide a supportive atmosphere where the achievement and success of all children is recognised and valued. We have high expectations of all our pupils and work towards developing independent learners.