Where Everyone Belongs

Ensuring that all of our children quickly develop a sense of belonging, when they arrive at Sandlings, is central to our practice, particularly for children from service families who may have moved a number of times and attended several other schools.

In order to meet pupils’ often complex needs, leaders work closely with parents, previous schools and other relevant agencies to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of pupils’ experiences before they arrive at the school. Leaders provide a high-quality induction package for pupils and their families to ensure that these pupils rapidly become part of the school community and feel safe. As a result, almost all pupils settle very quickly and make friends.Ofsted 2018

To support this area of our curriculum we have developed a life skills curricuum for all children. Children take part in a variety of activities, which include cooking, gardening, sewing, philosophy and additional wellbeing activities such as yoga and mindfulness. We have lovely garden plots and a designated teaching kitchen and arts room. The children love and value these sessions.

Giving our children responsibilities and a voice also enables them to feel connected to Sandlings and our school community. All children have responsibilities for taking care of their class and our older children have additional “jobs” such as taking care of the chickens, setting up for assemblies, office monitors and road safety officers – which they all enjoy.

Every year, each class votes to choose their class name and devise their class rules furthering their sense of belonging. Names are based on an animal or bird.

At the start of each year, each class also elects their school council representatives. Their role is varied; They organise fund raising events, meet with governors and conduct tours of the school as well as chair our whole school meetings. Throughout the week children post ideas for the whole school to discuss and the school council sets the agenda for discussions, valuing everyone’s ideas, and teaching children the importance of democracy when they cast their votes!

Working in partnership with parents is an important part of our school’s work and we do this is many ways.

We have a small but very active PTA. All parents are automatically a member of our PTA. Funds are raised through providing a range of fun activities for children and parents which include three seasonal discos every year.

Throughout the year we also have a variety of events for parents to come and work alongside their children such as VIP visits, Learning Together Sessions and Reading Together events. We also hold specialist workshops to support parents helping their children learn such as maths and phonics. Parents are also invited in for special events such as poetry and music assemblies and sporting activities.

The headteacher and teacher regularly post infotmation and photos on Class Dojo to keep everyone informed of the curriculum children are studying at the time and other useful information.

The views of parents are very important and governors use questionnaires each term to gain feedback that is used in future planning.