Cheddington Combined School
Our vision at Cheddington Combined School is ‘to nurture our children's young roots to enable and empower them to fly as citizens of the 21st Century, who have a fascination for learning and life.’ Each day we live by our mission statement, ‘working together to achieve our potential’, encouraging the children to demonstrate our values as they learn and play. These statements are not mere words, but form the drivers for our daily time in school, and are consequently evidenced by the children.
Our one form entry school is situated in the heart of Cheddington village in rural Buckinghamshire, and serves Cheddington and the two neighbouring villages of Horton and Slapton, drawing some children from out of catchment. Our building is part Victorian and part mid-twentieth century, which gives us a sense of history, as well as some challenges to meet the needs of teaching in the twenty-first century. We are fortunate to have wonderful outdoor learning spaces in which to offer active learning experiences.
We hold to a holistic approach to every child. We aim to ensure that each child feels safe and valued in our school and therefore is able to flourish. The current education thinking and promotion of the development of resilience in young learners is something that has been part of our ethos for many years. To have what is now labelled a growth mind-set is to keep trying and to learn from errors, not to be afraid of them. We teach the children that to be in your growth zone can be scary, but will enable dreams to come true. ‘Even the longest journey starts with the first step.’
We are committed to promoting healthy life choices and encourage cycling, scooting and walking to school; offer active play facilities; and run a mile every week round our purpose-built track. As an eco-school we enable every child and family to understand how together we can care for our planet, and this is very much the ethical heart of our school. We offer recycling opportunities for the community, as well as using all resources needed in the school day with care and thoughtfulness.
We are equally committed to supporting all staff in our school to have a life-work balance, to be developed professionally, and to contribute to the development of our school. Our annual School Development Plan is written cooperatively with all staff and Governors setting the direction of travel.
Our commitment to learning:
We embed high aspirations for every child in our care, regardless of ability or learning needs. Staff training is a foundation of our practice to ensure that we offer every child the chance to shine. We have recruited a dedicated teaching team with a range of experiences, so keeping professional discussions vibrant and challenging. We have continued to prioritise skilled support staff who also participate in regular training. This means that not only is every child supported in the best way possible in their academic learning, but also in their emotional well-being and development of life skills.
We have always stayed true to our belief in a balanced curriculum despite the external pressures to demonstrate high levels of attainment in English and Mathematics. Life chances need an understanding of place and history, of art and culture, and of science and technology. Learning is linked across curriculum areas to both embed and to create meaningful application. Our curriculum pre-Covid-19 included a rotational programme of mixed-age group activities, which enriched and extended the learning – covering diverse topics such as archery, sewing, board games, forest schools and computer animation. A favourite time in the week for many children, as they experienced learning in a different way. We are committed to returning this to our curriculum as soon as it is safe to do so. Termly curriculum focus weeks further offer enhanced deep learning and exploration. Our curriculum extends beyond the walls of the classroom as we offer a wide range of additional learning opportunities. Throughout their time at our school every child is also taught road safety, cycling skills and how to play a musical instrument. Throughout all areas of learning we model and teach values for life.
Lessons in our school typically have five levels of differentiation in activity to enable every child to engage with the learning following input from the teacher at the highest level. Our unwavering commitment to aspirational learning ensures that every child makes progress, and attains to the best of their ability. Our tracking system covers every subject area and is based around key performance indicators. This is shared with parents so that meaningful learning cooperation between home and school is enabled.
A love of reading is a life gift, and begins with sharing stories and understanding phonics. Through a careful analysis of barriers, we have ensured that the children can attain very highly in the required phonics test alongside enjoying reading. Our library is at the heart of the building, and also at the heart of offering a world beyond experience. Consequently the children develop not only skill to interpret and understand, but also a desire to read.
The future for our children may sometimes be unclear as we prepare them for roles that may not yet exist in our rapidly changing world. However, we are fortunate to have a strong Governing Board who are the moral compass for our school, ensuring that in every decision the needs of the children come first, the needs of the staff come second, then any initiatives or other considerations. As we look to the future we acknowledge the challenges and the need to offer security and empowerment to the children. We aspire as a school to continue to offer an outstanding level of teaching and learning for every child and to enrich their lives beyond the core curriculum. We aim to help them to become self-aware and selfconfident young adults who treat everyone with respect, learn with passion and teamwork, and have patience and determination.