September 2024 Entry to Year R
Welcome to St. Swithun’s Catholic Primary School. We believe that parents are the first and most important educators of their children. All the staff of St. Swithun’s, therefore, encourage and work towards an open and supportive partnership between home and school so that together we can help each child to develop in a happy, secure and caring environment. Our recent Ofsted noted that ‘many parents spoke of the genuine warmth and respect that staff show their children’.
Our school’s mission is to ‘Love one another as Jesus loves us’. Our Mission Statement is important to our staff and our children; if you talk to our pupils, they know what it means about how we all treat and support each other in our school community.
Our 2020 Section 48 inspection said, ‘St Swithun’s School is an outstanding example of a Catholic school community, where the Mission Statement and Christian ethos have a very positive impact. Excellent relationships between adults and pupils lead to a loving and trusting environment, where all are encouraged to live out their Mission Statement of ‘Love one another as Jesus loves us’.
We are an inclusive school and although we are a Catholic school, not all the children are Catholic. We have children from a wide variety of other faiths: other Christian faiths, Muslim as well as children whose parents have no faith.
We are culturally diverse with 46% of our children having English as an additional language; most of our children, however, are fluent English speakers. This cultural diversity is celebrated with our Language Ambassadors who have a growing role in school and bring a richness of language and experience that enhance discussions and learning experiences.
Our support for children with SEN was recognised by Challenge Partners, a national organisation, as outstanding. If your child does have special educational needs, please do contact our SENCo, Miss Haynes, for a specific discussion about the support we can provide: [email protected].
Meet the Year R Team
How are the classes organised?
Each year we admit 45 children into Year R. These children are split into two classes, Bumblebees and Ladybirds classes. We aim to have an equal split of gender, birthdays and abilities across the classes and we also take into consideration friendship groups.
Classes are decided after we have had the majority of stay and play sessions and storytime sessions, that we offer to our new starters in June and July. Although children are allocated to a class they play and learn across the two classrooms and in the outside areas.
We have a teacher and an Early Years Teaching Assistant in each class with 22 or 23 children in each class. We are very lucky to have such small class sizes in Year R and this really does help us give our children the best start. Children will then progress into a class of 30 in Year 1 moving into mixed classes of 15 Year 1 and 15 Year 2 children. Again, these split equally with a focus of friendship groups. We know that having three parallel classes of Year 1/2 then Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 works best for the pupils and staff who work collaboratively to create an exciting, differentiated curriculum.
What is the curriculum like?
We want children to develop independence and to co-operate with others and to talk and communicate in a range of situations whilst learning the skills needed to progress through school and future life.
We follow the statutory Early Years’ Foundation Stage and ensure opportunities for learning are provided through a planned, balanced, adult-led and child-initiated curriculum. This is delivered by Children experience a range of whole class, group work and independent tasks.
There are seven areas in the Early Years Curriculum: Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Our aim is to provide a happy, caring and safe environment to stimulate children’s natural curiosity, allowing them to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of the world.
What facilities do you have outside?
Our topics are child led and are carefully planned to ensure that there are lots of opportunities to enhance learning across a wide variety of environments and experiences and play a key role in skills transference; problem solving; skills for life and a lifelong love of learning.
We believe that every child should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development. These are often the most memorable learning experiences which can be remembered for a life time; helping make sense of the world around us by making links between feelings and learning.
At St Swithun’s we enjoy using our outdoor role play hut and writing shed, playtrail, sand and water area, paint easels, colouring table and growing flowers and vegetables in our garden.
What happens in the school hall?
Our school hall takes on a variety of uses across the day. We use the hall for our PE lessons, these include using the PE equipment, learning new team games and skills and dances as well exploring drama.
The hall is also a place where we usually meet as a whole school for a variety of assemblies including class led, RE and celebration assemblies.
The hall is also where we eat our lunches. Year R children are supported by the Year R staff and midday assistants who all help the children to cut and eat their dinner.
What about other subjects?
We are very lucky to have our own music teacher. Mr Stroud teaches weekly music lessons across the school as well as guitar and ukulele to children from Years 3 – 6. As our children move up through the school they are many opportunities for them to learn how to play a range of instruments, join our school choir or orchestra.
We also have our own language teacher, Madame Adie. Madame teachers French and Spanish across the school. She also works with the pupils who are our Language Ambassadors who support children who are multi-lingual, and organise class and whole school events to celebrate the variety of languages and cultures we have in our school.
Our Apollo Suite is a fabulous resource here at St Swithun’s. We enjoy making and cooking a variety of food. We also use the Apollo Suite for clay, painting and model making.
The library is usually a well-used space with children enjoy a variety of storytimes and the opportunity borrowing a range of books to share with their family at home.
What support do you offer working families?
We run a before and after school care provision, known as Sunlight and Twilight. It is run by school staff and offer a fully flexible service with a range of sessions which can include breakfast and a light tea. Before school care starts at 7.30 am and after school care closes at 5.45 pm. Mrs HG, who works as a teaching assistant in Bumblebees class is the supervisor of the service and she plans and organises lots of activities for the children. These include craft, cooking, board games, toys, outside games and special events.
You can pay for this service using Childcare Vouchers, HMRC Tax-Free Childcare, Student Finance England Childcare Grant Service, or online, via your child’s SCOPAY account.
How do I come and see your school?
We are pleased to be able to offer the following dates for a tour of our school, for you and your child:
- 16th October 10 am (this session is now fully booked)
- 17th October 4 pm (this session is now fully booked)
- 31st October 4 pm (this session is now fully booked)
- 1st November 10 am
- 8th November 10 am (this session is now fully booked)
- 16th November 4 pm
- 5th December 10 am
- 9th January 4 pm
We do limit numbers to 6 adults per session so that you can have a really good opportunity to look at all areas of the school. If you would like to book onto a tour, please email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02392 829339.