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 and in our 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 music, sport and art are given a prominent place within it.
At Sheerness West Federation, we have decided to adopt a values based education.
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 believe 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 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 the Minster Gatehouse Museum, Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities, Blue Town Heritage Centre, East Church Aviation Museum and The Guildhall Museum. 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 commitment to ensure the children have the opportunity to explore the wider world is evident in our participation in the Erasmus project, which is supported by the British Council.
Our curriculum aims to include all children, regardless of their age, gender, individual circumstances or academic ability. As the child develops through the school the key knowledge required in the curriculum develops with them at each stage. This development has been shared and devolved to our subject leaders, based on their passions within areas of the curriculum, and they are taking responsibility for overseeing this. Each subject is planned to ensure children are building on prior knowledge, whilst preparing them for the future. The curriculum is planned collaboratively with the children, whilst using cross-curricular links where possible.
Leading Learners and EPIC are used as ways to promote children’s independence and mastery of the skills acquired during learning, allowing children attaining ‘greater depth’ standards to evidence their understanding.
There is a strong focus on reading at the Federation. In addition to being taught phonics and reading skills, children are encouraged to read for enjoyment, through Buster Book Club, access to high-quality texts in every class, AR reading challenges and author visits.
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 2. From year 3 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 them onto the Letter and Sounds programme. This is complemented for the younger children through the use of Jolly Phonics 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, games are played on the Phonics Play website to ensure children are accessing high quality, appropriate games.
Children are taught that phonics includes an important set of skills to support both reading and writing, preparing children for their future as confident readers and writers.
When children are asked why they learn phonics they have a variety of reasons:
“So that when I’m a grown up I can get a job and do writing for my boss.”
“To help me write my shopping list when I grow up and go get food.”
“To write birthday cards to my friends.”
“So I can read books to my sister, she’s little, not like me, I’m big and so I can read to her.”
“When I’m bigger I want to make cakes, I need to read a recipe for that.”
To maintain a high level of presentation throughout the school we use the cursive programme of letter join.
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.
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.