Nothing Limits Our Learning
We enjoy an exciting, fast paced curriculum which is inspired and built on the children's changing interests. We have embraced the use of the outdoors and are exceptionally lucky to have the support of many local landowners, businesses and the RAF who add an exciting dimension to our learning.
We are very mindful that, although we have the freedom to choose our own curriculum, the greater majority of our children will move on to other schools and possibly not academies. With this in mind we have built our new curriculum so that it meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum 2014. We also ensure that the skills the children learn can be applied to life outside the classroom.
In Key Stage One you will still find children using play as an integral part of their learning. During Year One and into Year Two the focus on play gradually changes to a directed play focus with built in challenges related to children's learning. We also use this time to ensure that children are able to transfer the skills they have learnt in the classroom and apply them to real life.
We teach Phonics daily through our Phonics lessons. We teach phonics using Jolly Phonics and follow on with Letters and Sounds. Reading, Writing and Maths are a focus of each Development and Improvement Plan as we strive to ensure the children continue to perform above the national average. It is of paramount importance to us that children not only succeed at these subjects but thoroughly enjoy them too.
We do not use a specific reading scheme so that we can ensure children get a very wide breadth of reading experiences. We encourage children to read for enjoyment and all adults model positive attitudes to reading.
We do not set formal homework for children. Our philosophy is that children spend a very active learning time with us and the educational benefits to setting additional work to be completed at home are limited. However this does not exclude learning at home and parental involvement in their child's education. We strongly encourage children to read each night and share their learning at home. Information about what children are learning at school, ideas for home, how parents can help and games children can play to embed skills are set by each teacher via the Virtual Learning Environment. In the Summer Term of Year Two we encourage children to prepare for transfer to Key Stage 2 and gradually introduce the concept of formal homework.
All children in each class or year group decide what they are going to learn about. The teachers teach the skills the children should learn appropriate to the next steps in their development and deliver this through the child inspired topic.
We teach children in a variety of ways, often teaching in small groups to ensure that we are able to asses and meet their individual needs. As we know that some of our children will move during the term we always ensure that their records are up to date and ready for their next school. We prepare their latest assessments for families to take with them thereby minimising any educational disruption caused by a move.
Our learning takes us outside into our fabulous grounds and beyond. Each Friday we spend the whole day outside taking our learning with us and applying everything we have learnt in a practical way. Our time outside also teaches us about our responsibilities to our school environment. Each week a class is responsible for an area of the school it could be the chickens, the allotments or playground. The children have a class responsibility to ensure that the area is well maintained and tidy so that others too may enjoy our grounds.
We enjoy lots of school visits both locally and nationally. We have found that children at Cherry Tree Academy often experience a range of activities, clubs and visits which, in a full primary school, would often be restricted to the older year groups. We firmly believe that the wide and varied range of experiences we offer help to support our children who often see many changes in friendship groups and environments. We feel by encouraging children to be open to new experiences, build on their independence and learn important life skills such as communication and team building will help them wherever they go to next.
We offer a range of free after school clubs. We try and change the clubs each term and offer enough places for children who would like to participate. Some of the clubs we have offered recently include, Science Club, Dance Club, ICT Club, Magazine Club, Playground Rhymes and Games, Singing, Skipping, Spanish and Gardening to name but a few. The clubs offered by school staff are free of charge.
We also facilitate other clubs on our school site such a Premier Sports for football and multi-skills and a Spanish Club. These clubs are charged for by the people running each club.