Outcomes for children underpin everything that we do in school. In all aspects of school life, staff keep the questions 'How does this improve outcomes for children?' and 'How does this impact on the children?' in mind. We have a holistic approach to the children ensuring that all aspects of learning and development are valued and nurtured to ensure both personal and academic progress.
In all classes, we use effective questioning to promote children’s independent thinking and problem solving within a safe, supportive environment, encouraging children to make connections between their different subjects and to their own lives which makes all learning relevant. We use notions of growth mindset and learning powers to develop resilience, and to help children realise the learning potential from their own mistakes and those of others, creating an effective learning culture. We pride ourselves on the positive relationships nurtured within the classrooms and the development of the children’s learning behaviours.
Reading and writing are promoted across the curriculum to ensure that children are given frequent opportunities to practice these and develop their stamina. Children are encouraged to share their views, ideas and opinions and to respect those of others. Diversity is reflected throughout the curriculum and age appropriate discussions allow children to explore equality.
All learning is supported by a class text read to the children by an adult. Children listen to and experience texts beyond those they can read themselves and through these we facilitate discussions based on strategies used for good comprehension. When reading, staff use actions and rhyme to engage and excite children. Through modelled speech and supportive sentence stems, we teach the children to use varied vocabulary and full sentences to communicate their views and opinions, and to respectfully discuss these with others. We use stories and poetry daily, including traditional tales and tales from a range of cultures. At Drake, we actively and enthusiastically promote singing and performance opportunities, celebration of diversity and an appreciation of the children and their local area – Thetford.
In our commitment to widening experiences and extending the boundaries of learning, we have specialist support from 4Ward for PE including the teaching of classes, clubs and CPD opportunities for new teachers. Our introduction of a pupil based sports coaching team aims to promote sport and games for children in Key Stage 1 at lunch times, so that they can develop physical skills as well as other interpersonal skills such as teamwork, co-operation and listening to and following instructions. All year groups, from reception to Year 6, have a term of swimming lessons at the local swimming pool. With our strong play ethos and value for outdoor learning, all year groups have forest school sessions throughout the year, in all weathers. In September, this begins with a weekly session for all Reception and Year 1 pupis. We have dedicated leaders for art and music and have a musician in residence to teach music lessons and instrument tuition for whole classes or individual children including a wide range of instruments.
Our view that no child is left behind is evident through lesson planning, support, intervention and scaffolding for our children, particularly those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and children with English as an additional language. The full time support for teachers from the school's pastoral team enables all children’s needs to be a high priority and adaptations to the curriculum are made as required. The SRB within the school allows for children with autism who find the mainstream classroom challenging, to access specialist provision and support in collaboration with the class teacher, aspiring for the children to be in the class up to 70% of their time with access to the national curriculum.
Our school values are at the centre of all we do and we teach children how to make a positive contribution to their class, school and community through these positive character strengths.