The Sheerness West Federation situated in North-East Kent, comprises of Rose Street and West Minster Primary Schools.
Ofsted inspection in December 2016 judged West Minster, including the Ivy Centre Speech & Language Specialist Resource Provision, to be “Good” with outstanding leadership and early years. The school is in an area ranked 7th most deprived in Kent but in the 5th quantile. This is reflected in the Pupil Premium percentage, which is well above the National Average, currently standing at approximately 48% (ever 6).
We have a strong family ethos across our Federation with kind, thoughtful and hardworking children. All staff are dedicated to providing a broad, inclusive and engaging curriculum that develops the whole child. We strive to encourage children to be curious about the world in which they live.
At Sheerness West Federation, we teach a curriculum that is stimulating and thought provoking. Consequently, within the classrooms, you will find children who are independently engaged in thinking, questioning and learning. Our curriculum is underpinned by the teaching of essential knowledge, basic skills, concepts and values with a vision to prepare our students for life beyond school, whilst ensuring that enough time is devoted to the teaching of music, sport and art and thus developing the holistic child.
This approach creates a strong learning environment that enhances academic achievement, and develops student’s social and relationship skills that last throughout their lives. We strive to ensure that our curriculum and its implementation must develop pupils who are enquiring, resilient, independent and have high aspirations to ensure they are well-prepared for the next phase of their education.
Our local area provides a rich resource for teaching our curriculum, giving opportunities to discover the history and sense of community of our island. By the time our pupils leave us, they will have explored local places of historical interest; Minster Abbey and Gatehouse Museum, Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities, Blue Town Heritage Centre, the history of The Montgomery, Queenborough Castle remains, Shurland Hall and the Dockyard but to name a few. We also expect our children to have a good understanding of History, culture and Geography beyond the Isle of Sheppey to enable them to have a wider understanding of the world.
Our curriculum aims to include all children, regardless of their age, gender, individual circumstances or academic ability. This development has been shared and driven by our subject leaders, based on their passions within areas of the curriculum and are taking responsibility for overseeing this. Each subject is planned to ensure children are building on prior knowledge whilst preparing them for the future.
At SWF you will see a broad and balanced, cross curriculum which allows children to make links between subjects and allows for knowledge to be revisited, this is reflected in our learning journals. Our curriculum is under constant review in response to our children’s needs.
We carefully consider, through regular staff and smaller team meetings, how our curriculum will meet the needs of all our pupils, changing the content to focus on specific knowledge and key skills or to make the learning accessible to our pupils’ range of abilities and interests.
The children participate in hook days to introduce topics, themed weeks and other exciting activities to engage and excite them about their learning.
The impact of our curriculum can be seen through the topics staff have decided to teach. Through the lessons taught children learn various skills and acquire knowledge through the curriculum content taught. Our curriculum has an impact because it is often based on the needs of the children and therefore our children are engaged in the topics taught.
Our pupils also demonstrate the impact of our curriculum through their behaviour for learning; children are confident and successful learners. Leading Learners/ Ambassadors EPIC – support pupils which helps to build relationships across the school community. SWF pupils feel motivated and are not afraid of ‘having a go’. They enjoy sharing their learning with each other and visitors.
Visitors to SWF often comment on the behaviour of the children. They are caring and supportive of each other. Our pupils have a voice and know they are not too young to make a difference. The school council/eco-friendly initiatives the schools have recently adopted came from the children’s own ideas. Soon, they are to become the voice of their peers and put ideas forward on how they feel the term’s topic has gone and whether any changes need to be made for the following year.
Phonics at West Minster
At West Minster we aim to provide children with the necessary skills to communicate creatively and imaginatively, therefore enabling them to succeed in the wider world. We recognise the importance of a systematic approach to the teaching of reading and writing throughout the school, including a progressive and engaging high quality Phonics and Spelling programme. Phonic sessions are timetabled daily from nursery all the way through to year 3 (2021-22 due to Covid) . From year 4 onwards children can have phonic interventions if required.
We start the process using Blast to immerse the children in sounds of the environment; focussing on speech and language, before moving to flexible systematic phonics sessions. This is complemented for the younger children through the use of Cued Articulation Actions. Through EYFS and key stage one the children are set in small groups allowing them to make good progress and receive the relevant teaching for them. Each child is given the opportunity throughout the year to work with a variety of adults such as teachers and teaching assistants regardless of the child’s phonic level. Resources are engaging and vibrant, for example, interactive games are played on the Phonics Play website to ensure children are accessing high quality, appropriate games and we have also been able to access Teach Your Monster To Read website which is used in school and is accessible at home as well.
Children are taught that phonics includes an important set of skills to support both reading, writing and speaking preparing children for their future as confident readers and writers.
When children are asked why they learn phonics they have a variety of reasons:
“I learn tricky words. It will help me learn to write and read.”
“We do the blue phonics books to learn the sounds.”
“Because it is important, to help us learn”
To maintain a high level of presentation throughout the school we use the cursive programme of letter join. This is explicitly taught during phonics sessions in EYFS and KS1 moving to daily handwriting sessions in KS2.
Phonics is a method of teaching children how spoken words are composed of sounds, called phonemes and how the letters in words correspond to those phonemes. One of the processes of reading involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes, so that meaning can be gained. English is essentially a code that can be encoded (written) and decoded (read). Children are taught that we can make a word from the sounds and then break it apart again when we want to spell it, spelling and reading are taught together.
At West Minster Primary School, we believe children should have the opportunity to develop as reflective, empathetic and knowledgeable individuals, we recognise the important role that Religious Education plays in the personal development of all of our pupils, in addition to developing SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) aspects of learning. Pupils will be equipped to face the demands of the contemporary world they live in, developing positive attitudes to their learning and to the beliefs and values of others in line with Fundamental British Values.
Relationships & Sex Education (RSE)
The aims of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at our school are to:
- Provide a framework in which sensitive discussions can take place
- Prepare pupils for puberty, and give them an understanding of sexual development and the importance of health and hygiene
- Help pupils develop feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy
- Create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationships generally
- Teach pupils the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies
- Ensure that the School’s Associated Values are linked to RSE
For more information, please look at our Relationships and Sex Education Policy.
More information about the school curriculum can be found in the Curriculum by Year Group Section
IF YOU WISH TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM THAT GUIDES THE CURRICULUM THAT WE OFFER PLEASE CLICK HERE.