Our School Vision
"Growing into all God wants us to be"
Everyone in our school community is on an accompanied journey of growth and discovery. God lights the path ahead of us and helps us with every step. “This encourages us to be part of better things and know that God is supporting us every step of the way”. Amelie Y5
Education is a relational activity and since relationships are crucial to Christianity it is highly appropriate that we at Speldhurst School see our vision in terms of an accompanied journey of growth and discovery that is ongoing and life giving.
Psalm 119:105 underpins our vision: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
The School, originally founded by St Mary’s Church in 1859, is administered by Kent Education Committee and the Rochester Diocesan Board of Education. It remains a Church of England School and its Vision, "Growing into all God wants us to be", reflects this. We pride ourselves in having close links with the church and the village.
The lower KS2 classrooms, ICT suite and library are located in the Victorian building. A purpose built hall was opened in 2002, and an extension with two infant classrooms and toilets was completed in 2007. A further KS1 classroom was built in 2016 and another two KS2 classrooms were added in 2018. The old school house is now the administration block.
Outside, there is a good-sized playing field, playground and all weather Trim Trail, Reflection Area, tyre park and conservation area.
Children are divided into four houses: Rochester (red), Hever (green), Bodiam (blue) and Leeds (yellow) each with a school-elected house captain, vice-captain and games captain from Year 6.
All 'stray' articles are put in a marked bin and unclaimed items are disposed of termly.
This is a voluntary fund to which parents kindly contribute £15.00 per family (not child) annually.
This money is used to pay for subsidies to school outings and journeys, the odd library book, small treats for the children, match refreshments etc.
The fund is checked annually by an external auditor.
School meals are available at a cost of £2.30 per day, £11.50 per week paid directly to Zebedees via a "sQuid" account. Meals can be ordered on a termly basis. Weekly orders should be received by 11 am on a Thursday for the following week. Free school meals are available for all KS1 children.
School meals are planned with healthy eating for school children in mind.
Zebedees can cope with food allergies; please discuss any problems with them directly on 01323 811307.
Healthy packed lunches are encouraged – please try to avoid too many high fat, salt and sugary foods. If a child forgets to bring a packed lunch, we reserve the right to supply a meal and charge parents accordingly. Parents of children bringing a packed lunch to school are asked to use a screw-top container for drinks. Glass containers, glass-lined vacuum flasks and canned drinks are not permitted.
Grace is said before meals and the children are supervised whilst eating.
Policy on charging
Parents are reminded that funding for swimming, out-of-school visits, puppet shows and other school activities is entirely on a voluntary basis. Please talk to the Headteacher if you have problems with costs, assistance may be available. No child will be stopped from taking part in these activities because of lack of money, but outings may have to be cancelled if they become financially unviable.
Please telephone the school before 9 a.m. and send a written note if your child is absent. Schools are required by law to give reasons for the absence of any child. If the school is not notified about the absence of your child it will be entered as an unauthorised absence.
Parents are requested to make dental and medical appointments outside school hours in order to minimise disturbance to learning. “Parents are responsible for making sure their child arrives on time for school, properly attired and in a condition to learn”. (DfEE 5/94) If this is unavoidable please inform the Class Teacher and Headteacher in advance.
If you have to take your child out of School during school hours, please inform the class teacher or Headteacher in advance. No primary child is allowed to leave school during sessions unless collected from class by a known adult. All adults collecting children must do so by coming through the front door of the School House and reporting to the office.
Absence for holidays
Leave of absence for a child to accompany their parents on an annual holiday will only be approved in exceptional circumstances. It is our strongly held belief that children have a right to an uninterrupted education and that parents have the responsibility to ensure that their children receive this.
Should you feel that you need to remove your child during term time for a holiday, a letter explaining your reasons and requesting a holiday form should be sent to the Headteacher, who will look at each application individually.
Travelling to and from School
We encourage as many children as possible to walk to school. To avoid congestion outside the school at the beginning and end of the day we encourage parents to park in the George and Dragon car park. It is a busy road outside of the school and care should be taken when dropping off and collecting children.
School behaviour and exclusion of pupils
A whole School Behaviour Policy is available. Its aim is the development of a sense of responsibility and consideration from and towards others. A code of conduct exists for behaviour during the school day. The parents are asked to familiarise themselves and to support the school in its implementation of this policy.
In the very rare event of a pupil displaying behaviour that is unacceptable and considered to be a danger to other pupils, or inhibits the entitlement of all children to receive appropriate education, exclusion may be used as a last resort. The School will use the guidelines laid down by the Kent Education Authority and the DfEE 'Social Inclusion: Pupil Support Circular 10/99'.
Staff, teaching and non-teaching, make great efforts to talk and get to know the children and to make sure any problems a child may be experiencing, whether at home or at school, may be quickly sorted out. Confidences are respected wherever possible. Class teachers are responsible for children in their class.
Serious problems in school are referred to the Headteacher who consults with parents as necessary.
The Rector and Governors are always pleased to offer help and advice to parents and children, if required.
We feel good communication between home and school, parents and teachers is essential in promoting the welfare of the children.
Parents receive newsletters from the School and Parent Teacher Association and separate notices about special events. Spare copies may be obtained from the School Office.
Should you wish to speak to your class teacher, an after school appointment can be made. Advance notice by letter or a telephone call stating the nature of your concern would be appreciated and helps the staff have the relevant information to hand. It is not convenient for parents to ‘catch’ staff before school except when a child’s performance at school may be affected by a problem from home eg. Pet died, etc.
Parents are invited to attend Open Evenings twice a year to discuss progress with the class teachers. Written reports are provided in March each year.
Out of school activities
The school has an active after-school life. Clubs are held in many sport disciplines, music activities, chess and art. These clubs lead to participation in matches against other schools, festivals and tournaments.
Children and staff attend these clubs in their own free time; children are expected to inform teachers early in the day if they are unable to attend a session. The School will try to give parents twenty-four hours' notice if a club has to be cancelled.
Each year our children visit places of interest connected with work in school to help widen their knowledge and awareness of their surroundings. Year 6 children have an annual five day residential school journey. Classes frequently undertake half or whole day local visits to aid work and develop their knowledge and skills. All school outings comply with Kent Education Committee guidelines. Residential visits must be researched, costed and programmed by staff before applying for Governors' approval for the visit.
Role of School Governors
The School Governors meet in school once each term as a whole board to help establish the aims and policies of the school; to draw up, monitor and advise on the school budget; to monitor the delivery of the School Curriculum; to appoint staff and formulate a pay policy; and to act as a link between the local community and the school. The governing body comprises smaller committees specifically to deal with the Curriculum, Finance, Personnel, together with other working groups as the need arises. An annual meeting takes place in the summer term where parents, governors and staff can share ideas about further improving the school.
Role of Head and Teaching Staff
The Head Teacher is responsible for the day to day running of the School and monitoring the delivery and quality of the education offered in each class. Class teachers are responsible for the appropriate delivery of the National Curriculum and pastoral care of the children in their class.
Parent Teacher Association
The Association is a registered charity and was formed :
1. to seek to foster good relationships between the Staff, Parents and others associated with the School, and
2. to help further the education and welfare of the children by providing or assisting in the provision of
facilities for the School.
3. to supply a task force when needed to undertake special projects which may arise from time to time.
All parents with children at School are eligible for membership.
Committee members serve for one year and are elected at the Annual General Meeting in January.
Parents and children are invited to visit the School by appointment before applying to register their interest in accepting a place for their child if it is offered.
New Entrants receive a letter from their teacher inviting them to spend two sessions in the School prior to their start date. The Headteacher and class teacher have a short, informal talk with parents during this time to answer any questions parents may have.
Children are admitted in September. Our present L.E.A. standard admission number is 20 New Entrants per year. The intake is mainly from the village and close surrounding areas. Places are allocated in strict accordance with K.C.C. regulations.
All parents should obtain a K.C.C. application form in the Spring Term prior to the child starting school and will be notified whether or not they have a place for their child by the end of this term. We allocate places using the criteria laid down by the Area Education Authority, and working to their agreed timetable. The criteria to be used in priority order are:
1. Children with a statement of special educational needs.
2. Children in Local Authority Care.
3. Current family association (brother or sister in school at time of entry)
4. Health and special access reasons.
5. Nearness of children's home.
Transfer to Secondary Schools
The Headteacher invites parents of Year 5 children to an annual meeting to inform them about transfer procedures in Kent. There is a wide range of comprehensive, secondary and grammar schools in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and travel costs should be considered by parents.
Links have been established between our School and most of the secondary schools to ease the passage of our children to their next school. We endeavour to make sure our Year 6 children are able to meet the academic standards required by the secondary schools and are able to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and belongings.
During the Autumn Term parents receive a list of secondary schools their child is eligible to attend. The secondary schools invite parents and Year 6 pupils to visit them in a series of Open Evenings.
Starting School – the First Day
The first day can be an emotional experience both for parent and child and if it is the first time that the child has been separated from the parent, tears can result. However, experience shows that within a few minutes of the parent's departure the child becomes perfectly happy and quickly becomes involved with the other children and the class activities. Hard as it may seem at the time, it is best for a parent to place the child in the care of the class teacher and depart immediately. If you feel that you will spend the rest of the school day in a state of anxiety, please telephone us during the morning break for news of how your child has settled down. Very few children remain upset for longer than a few minutes.
Finally, why not arrange a little outing or a cup of coffee with a friend for yourself; parents, too, need to adjust to a change in life style.
Practical ideas to increase your child’s success
- Encourage them in all they do at school. Praise their successes.
- Discuss their problems with them, giving them support whilst they find their own answers.
- Do not compare your children disparagingly with others, as you may not know all the circumstances.
- Continue to read to your children at night and take them to the library. Read yourself in their presence,
so that they see the example of continual use of the skill and the enjoyment it brings.
- Encourage your child’s natural curiosity, help them to pose questions, help them to find answers.
- Take them on long rambles and to places of interest.
- Introduce them to hobbies.
- Give them some responsibilities and duties in the house and garden.
- Participate in plenty of activities with them at home.
- Junior children enjoy Cubs, Brownies, Library, Music, Swimming and sporting activities after School.
Please make sure your children do not over-tire themselves with too many 'nights out'. Juniors are great
'joiners' but lack the experience to know when they are over-tired.
- Above all, spend some relaxed time with your children and show them that you enjoy their company.
- Morale is important to your child's success with learning. Adopt a positive attitude to School and your
child’s learning. Remember that the child’s thinking processes are more important than the final product
– difficulty in completing a piece of work or mistakes made on the way are evidence that your child is
developing good learning skills.
- Even the best teacher cannot teach a tired child. Please limit late television viewing and make sure your
child has enough sleep for his/her needs.
- Lateness for school causes children a lot of distress. Please try to make sure you start early enough to
make allowances for flat car batteries, lost socks etc.
- Finally, please do check your child's bags and pockets regularly for letters and notes from School. We find
some children are like squirrels - great hoarders.
Parents in School
We welcome offers of help with reading, craft work of all kinds, covering library books, etc. If you have a few hours to spare, we would be delighted to hear from you. Decisions concerning the placing of individuals into classes will be made by the Headteacher in consultation with class teachers. We have a code of practice for parents working in School which includes List 99 and CRB checks.
From time to time, we need extra help for short periods when we are preparing for special events or going on educational visits with children - please help if you can.
Parents are required to check their car insurance allows them to carry other people's children and that their cars are fitted with seatbelts. Children need to be in the correct booster for their age/height.
Our Broad Aims
We try to encourage and use the family atmosphere of our small village school to:
- create a happy, secure and caring learning environment which allows children to learn fully to their own capacity,- develop the necessary skills and knowledge which help increase their ability to reason and interpret,
- help make children confident, independent and able to develop personal relationships with peers and adults,
- give every child the experience of success and satisfaction of a task well done,
- instil respect for religious and moral values and tolerance of other races, religions and ways of life.
Children learn in three ways : by 'doing' things
by 'seeing' things
by 'hearing' things
We find 'doing' is the best teacher and try to give the children as many opportunities for this as possible. Primary Schools are the places for children to try different methods; we regard 'getting it wrong' as a learning opportunity, not a failure - there is often more than one route to a right solution.
The Staff meet regularly to review and update the coverage of the National Curriculum. Television, radio programmes, outside speakers and visits are used to extend and reinforce learning in all areas.
Organisation of Classes
In order to maintain a balanced number of pupils in each class we aim to keep the number of pupils in a year group to 20. Two year groups in the School, year 1 and year 4, are divided between consecutive classes. This division is arrived at purely on the age of the pupils. If a vacancy occurs in a class it will only be filled by a pupil from the same year group in which the vacancy arose.
The current class structure allowing for a maximum of 140 pupils is as follows:
Russet Class - 20 pupils Year 6
Crispin Class - 30 pupils 20 Year 5 and 10 Year 4
Bramley Class - 30 pupils 10 Year 4 and 20 Year 3
Galaxy Gala Class - 30 pupils 20 Year 2 and 10 Year 1
Pippin Class - 30 pupils 10 Year 1 and 20 Year R
Early Learning Goals
You will be familiar with the Early Learning Goals if your child has attended Nursery School or Playgroup. These are part of ‘Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage’ by the DfES. The six areas for development are
Children in the Reception year will continue on the ‘stepping stones’ through these areas and, on average, are ready to progress onto the National Curriculum at the beginning of Year 1.
All schools follow the National Curriculum as required in the guidelines laid down by the Department of Education and Skills. Year 2 and Year 6 children take part in the Standard Assessment Tests/Tasks (SATS) between the Spring and Summer half terms.
You may find your child will be working on the same National Curriculum level as in a previous class. This is because age groups overlap National Curriculum levels.
Broadly speaking, they are as follows:
Level 1 5 - 7 years
2 6 - 8 years
3 7 - 10 years
4 9 - 11 years
5 10 - 12 years
The Core Subjects:
a) Literacy and Numeracy
The School has adopted both the Literacy and Numeracy initiatives from the DfES. Lessons in both these subjects appear daily in each class.
b) Science, ICT and RE.
These subjects also form part of the core curriculum and as such will be given an important place within the weekly timetable of each class.
The remaining subjects covered by the National Curriculum - History, Geography, Music, Art & Design, Design Technology, Physical Education, PSHE and Citizenship will all be covered in accordance with the programmes of study for each subject.
R.E. and Moral Education
As a Church of England School, R.E. is an important part of the curriculum. We follow an approved diocesan Scheme of Work which looks at the key World Religions with an emphasis on Christianity. The children are encouraged to make comparisons between other faiths and their own and they learn to value and respect other people’s beliefs.
The Rector or a representative of the Church takes Assembly once a week and the School has a service in the Church at the end of each term. We are not able to offer an alternative form of worship. The Head Teacher and the Rector meet once a term to plan the next term's Acts of Worship. Parents may withdraw their child from RE lessons and/or acts of worship if they so wish.
Health and Sex Education
Details of the Health and Sex Education Policy are available from the Headteacher.
Children are very interested in their own body processes; how fast they grow, why their teeth drop out, digestion of food, physical abilities, etc. These topics are dealt with throughout the school as part science and PSHE. In Years 5 and 6, the Community Health Nurse gives a talk during the year about babies, caring relationships, the family and menstruation with follow-up work by the class teacher. All questions are answered in a frank, simple and caring way by teachers in any class. Parents are welcome to pre-view the programmes in School or withdraw their children from these lessons if they wish.
Children with Special Needs
Governors are responsible for ensuring that the curriculum is differentiated to meet the needs of individual children. Within the class, small groups may work with the Class Teacher or Teaching Assistant. The next step of support is withdrawing the children in small groups to work with other trained adults (SENCO/TA) In some cases there is a need for an individualised programme of support for learning which may involved input from outside agencies. Parents will be kept informed at all stages by the Class Teacher and Headteacher and/or SENCO.
A copy of the School policy is available for parents.
The purpose of marking is to ensure that the children know where they have been successful and the next step forward in their learning.
Health and Safety
All Staff and children attend termly fire drills and K.C.C. Fire Regulations are observed.
Once you have met/collected your children, you are responsible for their care and safety. Please ensure you supervise them at all times, respecting school rules.
In the interests of security, all visitors including parents visiting the school during the day are requested to use the main front door to the school house on Langton Road. If remaining in school, it is essential to sign and out of the visitor’s book.
Cycling Proficiency training is held each year for Year 6. The wearing of a safety helmet is obligatory and a safety lock is advised. The school cannot take responsibility for the safety of any bicycles on the school site.
First-aid boxes are available in the ICT suite, mobile classrooms, the hall, and resources room for use when needed. Staff will inform parents if their child has received more than the normal minor graze in School. If a child receives a head injury the parents will always be notified.
Emergencies and Accidents
Sometimes it is necessary to contact a parent quickly. Please will you fill in the separate emergency form and return it to school including mobile telephone numbers. If a child needs to be taken to hospital and a parent is not available an ambulance will be called. A member of staff will stay with the child until parents can be contacted.
It is in your child's interest to make sure the School Office is informed straight away of any change in home or emergency address and telephone numbers.
Children are supervised by Staff during morning, afternoon and lunch-time breaks in order to ensure acceptable standards of behaviour. School accepts responsibility for children in playground from 8.40 a.m.
School finishes at 3.15 p.m. and children should be collected promptly unless there is a real emergency and the school has been notified. After this time parents are responsible for their children and their children’s safety on site..
Please inform the school if these occur. Your Doctor will tell you when your child is fit to return to school. Please be sensitive to your child's needs and don't send them back to school until they are well enough.
If you notice your child has head lice, please let us know, in confidence, so that other parents can be notified. Carry out appropriate treatment and check other members of your family. Be vigilant and make regular checks.
The school must be informed if your child has a serious medical condition and written details of emergency treatment or action should be provided. Children with asthma are expected to know how to use their inhaler. Parents are requested to update inhalers and epipens kept in school on a regular basis. Children need to keep a spare named inhaler in a box in the first aid room. The school keeps a register of asthmatic children and the treatment/medication they each receive.
In rare cases, you may need to bring medicine to school for your child. At such times the medicine must be taken to the school office and a consent form for its administration completed.
Children in Years R and 6 will have their height and weight measured as part of an NHS screening programme.
Parents are requested to arrange visits to the doctor and dentist outside school hours.
If, in the event of extreme weather conditions or a major emergency, the School has to be unavoidably closed, parents will be informed by letter, telephone or Local Radio - Invicta Radio and BBC Radio Kent's Snowline Service.
Invicta Radio broadcasts to West Kent on 1242 kHz and 103.1 VHF. BBC Radio Kent broadcasts to West Kent on 1035 kHz and 96.7 VHF.
Protection of Children
The school ensures that all staff and volunteers undertake the relevant police/criminal records bureau checks.