We understand that not being able to visit primary schools during this time is frustrating and disappointing.
We love showing off our amazing school and all we have to offer you and your family, but this year we are having to do it a little bit differently! Please take time to explore our website as it contains lots of useful information that may help with your decision.
Below you will find a video presentation that hopefully gives you a taste about what life at Meadowside is like and below is a useful FAQs section.
Why choose Meadowside?
I would say the family and community ethos underpin everything we do. We are fortunate to be a 1 form entry school with an established staff and we plan many activities every year, academic and social, to ensure all children at Meadowside are given opportunities to shine, develop, lead and enjoy learning together. Examples include sporting, singing, Maths problem-solving, topic and aspirations days. Each teacher in my team makes an effort to get to know every child in the school and takes an interest in their progress and wellbeing. Our team spirit and caring approach were highlighted in our most recent Ofsted report (March 2020).
What are the plans to keep improving?
We are currently working on our Curriculum, strengthening what we teach in all subjects other than Maths and English, to ensure they are meaningful and build knowledge and skills which will continue to be useful. Each subject is led by a teacher or team and we work closely with the Quedgeley schools and Gloucester schools partnership to share ideas and develop. Our curriculum is good and the children love the experiences and challenges within it, but we would love it to be outstanding! My Governing Body are very proactive in monitoring all aspects of school development.
What are the biggest challenges Meadowside faces in 2020?
Maintaining the joy and spontaneity of learning in the face of so many restrictions! Current Covid requirements have an impact on everything from classroom layout, to teaching and learning styles. Our Reception class still functions in the same way, with many sanitising and other hygiene measures interspersed throughout each day, but it’s important that the first school experience for our youngest children is hands-on, fun and child-centred. In Novemeber, we managed to hold a 2 minute silence for Armistice Day outside. This was the first time Reception class had seen the whole school together and seen themselves as part of that.
How do we challenge the children at Meadowside?
Our belief is that each child, as an individual, will benefit from a school learning journey which prepares them for life beyond Meadowside. We believe in confidence, resilience and love of learning and invest time in these attitudes, alongside academic development in all subjects. We care passionately about the standards we achieve, but each cohort in a 1-form entry school is different, so it is our job to maximise their potential academically, socially and as talented people (sport, drama, art, singing, leadership and environmental being just some of our favourites!). Progress from each child’s starting points is the most important factor and our current progress data shows we are in line with or above national expectations, by the time children leave us.
How do we use our school environment to enhance learning?
We are lucky to have large and varied outdoor space on our grounds. Reception to Year 6 are to be found in Forest School, following Maths and Science trails, playing and exploring, taking photos, sketching and taking part in sports. Every child has outdoor shoes or wellies and we plan for outdoor learning and play, whatever the weather! Reception class have their own outdoor zones and equipment – some of which is sheltered/shaded – and make full use of opportunities across the curriculum. We also take groups and classes into the local environment as part of their curriculum, for example to the canal, the River Severn, walks to the Church or local amenities. Whilst we are currently restricted, our time outside in the fresh air is not, so we are all fully engaged in outdoor learning this year!
How do we share responsibility with the children at Meadowside?
As part of our family ethos, we link older and younger children whenever it is beneficial. Children from older classes (our Playmakers) run play and lunchtime activities and loan equipment from the play shed. Our school council also help solve friendship and other queries, via the Buddy Bench in the playground, which is open to all. We have House Captains in Y2, Y5 and Y6 who are involved in aspects of pastoral support as part of their role too. Meeting children at the front gate who are anxious about coming round to the playground, for example. We also use buddies for reading practice, times tables practice, spellings – anything led by children is always successful!
What if my child is worried about coming to school?
In Reception, we do an awful lot of preparatory work with family and pre-school, to ensure we know your child well and can anticipate any anxieties as far as possible. We will always endeavour to personalise our support and good communication between home and school is important every step of the way. Anxiety can come up at any point in a child’s school journey. We have teachers and TAs trained in the Thrive approach (nurture/therapy) as well as a range of emotional theories. We have a room in school called The Glade, which is set up for small group teaching, as well as having sensory and nurturing features designed to help every child feel secure and safe. As mentioned earlier, we may use peer support, give responsibility tasks to ease transition, create friendship groups or structured play timetables or even seek external support or therapy. Home and school working together for consistency and to share approaches is key, as well as a staff team that really cares.
How do we help children with additional needs?
A range, depending on individual need. If we feel a child needs additional academic input, we would start with intervention delivered by teachers or TAs at small group or individual level, which we call precision teaching. Setting targets, support from home and reviewing impact are all vital. We have several online resources available to all families – e-platform, full of additional reading books and audio books, Times Tables Rockstars to consolidate tables, Spelling Shed. If we identified a more specific learning barrier, we would discuss this with our Inclusion Lead and, in consultation with parents, may create a My Plan for a child and add them to our SEN register. This means support can be escalated more formally or extra external support can be accessed.
All our classrooms have a teaching assistant and many are full time, with extensive experience and a love of what they do. We identify and act on areas which need addressing and design the best package of appropriate support.
How will our settling in sessions run in July 2021?
In the summer of 2020, we were expected to follow the statutory DfE and local authority guidelines. We made phonecalls home rather than home visits, and did the same with our preschool communications. We gathered information from families about each child’s talents, experiences, important family and friends and aspirations. In September 2020, we ran taster sessions for each family and welcomed the children officially in half class groups for the first 3 weeks, so they could get to know us and the school in a calm and organise way. We have produced an induction and phonics online presentation for parents, we have Tapestry which keeps home and school in daily contact and provides families with photos of their child in class instantly, when learning experiences really stand out.
Nothing beats face to face contact for you and your child – hopefully we will be able to do more of our onsite events in the summer term next year.