Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
- Our school holds a daily act of worship; this may be a whole school assembly or a class assembly (once a week).
- On Mondays, our pupils take part in a ‘hymn practice’ in the school hall, led by the Headteacher and the school’s music specialist, Mrs Fletcher. Our pupils sing beautifully together!
- Reverend Carter from St John’s Church in Walsall Wood, also a school Governor, joins us every Thursday to lead a whole school assembly. He also supports the school with lessons that might involve ‘acting out’ festivals such as weddings and Christenings etc. Pupils regularly attend services held at St John’s, our local church.
- Reverend Mike Glover from The Church of Christ, Great Barr, now joins us every few weeks for whole school assembly on Tuesdays.
- Our school follows the Walsall Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE. From this, we have devised detailed medium term plans and resources to enable us to deliver a comprehensive programme which allows all pupils to develop a good understanding of the six major faiths. The scheme is further enhanced through educational visits to places of worship.
- We actively encourage the children in our school to develop a ‘love of learning’ through our ‘Learning Ambassadors’ scheme and participation in ‘Walsall’s Children’s University’ programme. Children in early years are encouraged to develop good learning habits; they are rewarded as ‘Little Learners’ for this. As they move into KS1, children can gain recognition as ‘Learning Champions’. Then in KS2, children aim to become ‘Learning Ambassadors’. The systems we have consistently developed across the whole school give every child regular opportunity to reflect on their learning in lessons and understand how they can become ‘even better still’. We also want our pupils to embrace every opportunity to learn a new skill or talent. Hence our involvement in ‘Children’s University’ which recognises the hours of additional learning the children put into their extra-curricular activities and aims to raise aspirations. Children’s efforts are recognised through formal graduation ceremonies where they are presented by Nick Gillingham, Olympic swimmer and Chancellor for Walsall’s Children’s University programme.
- Our PSHE curriculum is based on the SEAL programme which provides opportunity for ‘circle time’. All staff in school have received ‘circle time’ training and use it within their teaching sessions. The PSHE/Citizenship programme across the school also incorporates current and very relevant topics such as living in a diverse world, racism, homophobic name-calling/bullying, domestic violence and substance misuse. The long-term overview identifies how each topic promotes the core British Values.
- Our behaviour policy and ‘assertive discipline’ approach reinforce moral teaching with our pupils. Staff generally have a good background knowledge of our pupils and their families and can therefore offer effective and appropriate care and support. Our caring staff will create ‘time’ for pupils who wish to discuss something with them. Teachers and teaching assistants will discuss incidents with pupils, focusing on making ‘good choices’. Pupils understand the systems of behaviour management we operate across the school which involve initial warnings, followed by ‘time owed’ during break/lunchtime for failure to respond to a warning. All children in our school are rewarded for showing positive behaviour through a range of incentives e.g. house points, class charts linked to ‘golden time’ and a host of weekly ‘celebration assembly’ awards, including star of the week, budding author, super reader, kind and thoughtful and much more!
- Our ‘Happy Lunchtimes’ programme has had a significant impact on improving the quality of behaviour and conduct of pupils during this less structured time of the school day. All lunchtime staff have received training in the approach which gives them ‘easy to use’ approaches to organising lunchtime games and managing the children’s behaviour.
- Our school has an active ‘School Council’ which provides our pupils with a ‘voice’ in school. Meetings are held every half term and co-ordinated by Miss Kendall, Y4 class teacher.
- Our pupils are encouraged to take on roles requiring a ‘sense of responsibility’ e.g. playground leaders, reading partners etc.
- Weekly ‘celebration assemblies’ provide an opportunity to recognise the efforts and achievements of our pupils, both in and out of school.
- First day calling takes place for all absent pupils.
- We employ a ‘family support worker’ (Sarah Wilkinson) who can offer support and advice to pupils and parents/carers in various ways e.g. child protection, attendance, health, uniform grants, housing, benefit entitlement etc.
- We enjoy a mutually supportive partnership with a nearby special school (Oakwood); arrangements involve a weekly visit to our school by two of their pupils. Castlefort pupils are regularly invited to Oakwood for special events e.g. visiting theatre companies, musicians etc.
- Our school offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities to pupils. We believe these provide opportunities for them to develop crucial social skills such as co-operation, team work and decision-making etc. The clubs also allow pupils who are ‘less academic’ to ‘shine’ at other activities. This of course, increases pupils’ levels of self-esteem. Pupils are given recognition for their participation in extra-curricular activities through the Children’s University programme.
- Educational visits are a strong feature of our school. We plan visits to enhance our ‘Cornerstones’ curriculum as we are aware that many of our pupils have limited ‘life experiences’. Our school mini-bus allows us to minimise transport costs.
- Pupils enjoy a host of social events throughout the school year, including termly discos, fayres and talent shows to name but a few!
- Local services e.g. fire, police, neighbourhood watch etc support learning activities taking place across the school.
- Our RE and PSHE/Citizenship curriculum enable pupils to develop their understanding of and ability to value people’s diversity and equality.
- We recently reviewed teaching and learning programme aims to raise pupils’ awareness of issues surrounding ‘citizenship’; it includes themes such as the wider world, democracy, prejudice attitudes etc.
- Our pupils have enjoyed ‘shared’ residential experiences at Bryntysilio Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Wales in recent years with other Walsall schools having significantly greater ethnic diversity than Castlefort (Caldmore Primary and Hillary Primary). Pupils from both schools were commended for the harmonious relationships they developed during their stays at the centre. It was good to see pupils from each school engaging in games of football and cricket during unstructured times, and generally socialising so well.
- Our core modern foreign language in school is French. Pupils begin formal learning in KS1; short lessons with a speaking and listening focus. As they move through KS2, pupils study the language and cultural aspects in greater depth, developing competency and fluency.
- Our pupils develop an understanding of communities, including their own, through their PSHE/Citizenship curriculum and a range of ‘local’ partnerships the school is involved in e.g. Oakwood Special School, Shire Oak Academy etc.