I would like to wish you a happy new year during unfortunately another lockdown. We usually advise you to visit as many settings as possible, however as that is not possible, want to provide you with a little information about ourselves.
Starting your child in any setting is a daunting experience, whether it is your first child or fourth! We believe at Courtney that you get a ‘feeling’ for where you can imagine your child thriving and believe that we possess it. As soon as you enter our strong community atmosphere, with a team of enthusiastic, committed and skilled staff and governors, we focus on developing the ‘whole child’. We feel privileged to be involved in the lives of the children that come to our school and work hard to ensure that all children are given the widest range of opportunities possible.
School Life for our Reception starters in 2021
Learning through play….
Play underpins the Early Years Foundation Stage. It also underpins learning and all aspects of children’s development. Through play, children develop language skills, their emotions and creativity, social and intellectual skills.
For most children their play is natural and spontaneous although some children may need extra help from adults. Play takes place indoors and outdoors and it is in these different environments that children explore and discover their immediate world. It is here they practice new ideas and skills, they take risks, show imagination and solve problems on their own or with others.
The role that adults have is crucial. Adults provide time and space and appropriate resources. These might include clothes, boxes, buckets, old blankets that will inspire play and fire children’s imaginations. Adults observe play and join in, watching and listening before intervening. They value play and provide safe but challenging environments that support and extend learning and development. In addition to the wide range of play based opportunities planned by your child’s class teacher, they will also take part in small group activities at various times throughout the day.
My name is Mrs Westcott. I am the EYFS Lead at Courtney Primary School and one of the teachers of our reception class: Cherry Class. I am excited to tell you about our class and school. I teach three days a week and Miss Brown – who is also our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator – teaches the other two days each week. We have a wonderful teaching assistance, Miss Mundy, who is in class every day, and a fantastic reading assistant, Mrs Foxhall, who is also the class lunchbreak supervisor. Together we make up the EYFS Team at Courtney.
I think I was always destined to become a teacher as I remember playing schools a lot as a child! As I grew up, I became fascinated by learning: how our brains work, how we remember new information and develop new skills. You may already be familiar with our school motto: ‘nuture, inspire, flourish’. Throughout the last 15 years as a teacher, I have taught across the primary age range and I love being able to use what I have found out about teaching and learning to inspire and nurture children in order that they may flourish personally, socially and academically.
Reception Teaching and Learning at Courtney
In Cherry Class, children will receive a mix of whole class teaching, small group teaching and time to follow their own interests and choose their learning activities. The whole class teaching comprises of daily phonics and maths sessions, songs and stories, as well as topic time which will include music, art, PSHE (personal, social and health education), PE among other subjects. Each term we will have a topic which will provide the basis for many of these lessons. Past topics have included superheroes, traditional tales, celebrations, travel and holidays.
We know that, with the right support and resources, children can learn a lot through play, so children at Courtney will have plenty of time each day where they can follow their own interests and engage in playful learning, indoors and outdoors. Indoors there will be a variety of resources covering maths, writing, reading, construction, creativity, small world play, role play, fine motor skills and computing. Many of those skills are also catered for in our outdoor area which includes a grassy bank, a bike track, a play house, a mud kitchen, flower beds and lots of space for other activities.
We use the Tapestry app to record our observations of the children’s learning and these observations can be sent to you to view on a phone, tablet or computer. This way you receive regular updates about your child’s progress without having to wait for the next parents’ evening. It also keeps you informed of the activities we have been doing in school so you can talk further about them with your child at home.
Courtney is a small and friendly school and to help new children feel welcome we have a buddy system. Each child in our reception class will have a Y6 buddy who will write them a welcome letter before they arrive and help them settle into school routines in the first term. There are several opportunities for them to complete activities together through the year, such as shared reading or making Christmas cards and decorations together. The year finishes with a buddy party before the summer holidays.
Why our parents picked Courtney…
We felt at home straight away when visiting Courtney, the teachers were friendly and knowledgeable and our boys felt immediately comfortable exploring the well-stocked classrooms. We were impressed by how much outdoor space there is for such a small school - our boys happily ran around the grounds when we first visited, and haven’t stopped doing so since! We felt that Courtney was the perfect combination of a close-knit family environment yet also well managed, with good academic success to date and robust plans in place for even more impressive attainment in the future.
As a parent, for me it's that Courtney is a small, friendly school with a real sense of community. There's definitely a 'Courtney family' feel; everyone is approachable, lots of opportunities for parent involvement (wow events, pta fundraisers etc). Standards of behaviour are very high, and on the rare occasions that there have been issues they've been dealt with quickly and efficiently. On top of that the excellent facilities: the interior is bright, engaging and welcoming, the library is fabulous, and likewise the outdoor play areas are varied and fun.
I chose Courtney because it is a small school and I wanted to feel a part of a community. At the time my daughter was waiting for diagnosis re a potential learning disability. We were fortunate enough to receive this with focused care and prompt support being offered.
What our children say….
It is like having a family who care about you and you forget you are at school. Y4 child
The teachers care about us. Y6
All my friends make me feel happy! Y1
The teachers make all of the learning fun. Y3
The school has adopted South Gloucestershire Education Service’s policy for admissions. Children normally start school in the September of the academic year in which they become 5. Information (including details of visits and an application pack) is given to parents who contact the school in the Autumn (September and early October) before their child is due to start. All school admissions are managed by South Gloucestershire Council. For more information, please contact www.southglos.gov.uk or 01454 863314.