We have high aspirations for our children at Dereham Church of England Junior Academy. All our children must leave us ready for their next stage in their school career: academically well equipped, emotionally and socially secure and with having taken part in a range of experiences and opportunities.
How will we ensure this?
- We will strive to be the best educators for our children.
- We will recognise our children’s individual strengths and their needs and respond appropriately.
- We will teach our children skills and strategies that will help them learn, keep safe, develop a positive growth mindset and get on well with others.
- We will explore Christian values and concepts to help our children with decision making throughout their lives.
Dereham Church of England Junior Academy:
Educating for Wisdom
Educating for Hope
Educating for Community
Educating for Dignity
When we think about school it is very easy to start off thinking about the building and the grounds; my first thought though is not about these but about the people in the building and particularly the children. We have wonderful children in our school and if you visit at any time during the school day you will see children enjoying their learning and working hard to improve. Supported by a wonderful group of teachers and teaching assistants. We are a fully inclusive school where all children are invited to join us to learn. That doesn’t mean we have a school full of angels they are children and will from time to time, like us all, make mistakes and do things wrong When this happens we work with them for a better future. We often learn more from our mistakes than when things go well and so treating mistakes as a learning opportunity is a good way of making things better in the future. We build the ethos of our school around our Golden Rules, which are deliberately simple, but sum up the way we wish our pupils to behave Every year, the children are responsible for choosing their class name. We are currently all animals, with Year 3 coming from the oceans, Year 4 from the deserts, Year 5 from the polar-regions and Year 6 from the rainforest. As well as being valued members of each class, the children are also belong to one of four houses: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Various activities and competitions are arranged in houses throughout the school year in order to compete for the house trophy which is presented at the end of the year. Some of our older pupils in Year 6 co-ordinate these activities having applied for and gaining the posts of prefects and House Captains.
- Respect yourself
- Respect others
- Respect belongings
- Respect the environment
The academy has 16 classes, a large multi-purpose hall, a lovely well-stocked library and computing suite that can accommodate a whole class. We are extremely lucky to have huge grounds which include: two large playing fields, playgrounds, a wildlife area, a vegetable garden and plenty of places for the children to sit and enjoy a quieter lunchtime if they wish. We have recently developed a large space to keep animals that the children are regularly given the opportunity to look after and handle. The ELF (Extended Learning Facility), as we call it, currently has rabbits and guinea pigs in residence but there are plans to extend and include more!
Each of the year groups has four classes which are grouped together and ‘sit’ in the same area of school. This enables the classes, teachers and teaching assistants to work together and develop a year group ‘community’ to help support and further the children’s learning.
Every year, the children are responsible for choosing their class name. We are currently all animals, with Year 3 coming from the oceans, Year 4 from the deserts, Year 5 from the polar-regions and Year 6 from the rainforest. As well as being valued members of each class, the children are also belong to one of four houses: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Various activities and competitions are arranged in houses throughout the school year in order to compete for the house trophy which is presented at the end of the year. Some of our older pupils in Year 6 co-ordinate these activities having applied for and gaining the posts of prefects and House Captains.
As you well know, we live in a rapidly changing and advanced world as far as computing and IT is concerned. We positively encourage and promote the use of technology in our curriculum and the use of computing is planned throughout all subject areas to support learning where possible. We are fortunate to have a set of 30 Learn Pads for each year group in addition to the numerous PCs we have around school in communal areas that supplement class-sized the Computing Suite.
Dereham Junior Academy was originally founded by the Church of England as a school for the community. We are still that today and pride ourselves on serving a very diverse town. There is no requirement to be Christian to come to our school: we welcome children of all faiths and of no faith. We pride ourselves on our foundation, we value faith and aim to serve the community as best as we can while being distinctly Christian in what we do.
The school day
8.40 am – First bell: School gates open and children are allowed into class or in the playground
8.50 am – Second bell: Children need to be in school
8.50 am to 11.00 am – First session
11.00 am to 11.15 am – Break
11.15 am – 12.15 pm – Second session
Both core subjects, English and maths, are taught in the morning session
12.15 pm to 1.15 pm – Lunch
1.15 pm to 3.15 pm – Third session
There is an upper school (Yrs 5 & 6) and a lower school (Yrs 3 & 4) collective worship on Monday afternoon; and a whole school collective worship on Friday afternoon. Daily acts of collective worship from Tuesday – Thursday will take place in the classroom in the afternoon.
Arrival at school
The school gates are opened at 8.40am and the children are allowed to come into school at any time after that. Children are welcome to arrive either through the main gate at the front of the school or via the ‘field gate’ which is part way down the path towards the church. After arriving, the children are able to choose whether to go into the classroom to organise their belongings and occupy themselves quietly or play on the playground until 8.50 when the bell for the start of school is rung. We do ask parents to support us by ensuring that the children arrive promptly ready to start school at 8.50. Parents are welcome to stand with their child on the playground between 8.40 and 8.50, but if they wish to enter the school building they must enter via the school office.
A bell rings at 3.15 to signify the end of the day. All children leave either by the main gate or the gate on the field. Members of staff are always at these gates and we ask the children to stay with them until they can spot their parent/carer or they normally walk home on their own with their parent’s/carer’s consent.
If parents/carers know they are running late to collect their child, we ask that they phone the school to make them aware of this if at all possible. We can then reassure the child and arrange for them to be with an adult (usually in the foyer), until the parent/carer arrives.
We continually encourage a positive attitude to learning and for the children to be here in school to give their best at all times. In order to recognise and reward these efforts, there are a variety of awards that the children can earn. Certificates and badges for positive behaviour; ‘prizes’ for great work, as well as attendance certificates and recognition of awards received out of school are presented either in the upper and lower school assemblies or in whole-school collective worship on a Friday afternoon.
The school bus collects children daily and leaves at 3.20 returning to the same stops. There is a small charge for this service. Children who live more than two miles away from the school, but this is the nearest school, are entitled to free transport.
We encourage all children if possible to walk or cycle to school. Parents allowing their children to cycle to school must ensure their child’s bike is roadworthy and they are wearing a suitable cycle helmet. Cycles should be left in one of the school’s two bike sheds.
If parents are bringing or collecting their child by car we ask that you drive considerately and respect the one way system in the school grounds.
Snacks at break time.
It is a long time between breakfast and lunch and so we would encourage you to send your child with a snack to eat at break. We also know that food for children has a big impact on their concentration and so we do insist that all snacks are healthy which means no; chocolate, cakes, biscuits and sweets please.
Children are able to choose between bringing a packed lunch or having a school dinner at lunchtime. A range of healthy nutritious meals are available for those who choose a school meal, all freshly cooked on site. School meals currently cost £2.10 for those who pay. Free school meal application forms for those who qualify are available from the school office. We ask that children wishing to have a school meal order it at the start of the school day.
Our brains work best when we have had enough to drink and so we encourage all children to bring a bottle to school so they can have water to drink at any time during the day . Please send your child with a bottle each day (sports tops please and labelled with their name) and get them to take it home for washing in the evening. There is plenty of opportunity for the children to fill their bottles during the day, but it is very helpful if it is full at the start. The children can buy other drinks to have at lunchtime, but we do not allow cans or fizzy drinks.
There are lots of reasons some children experience difficulties with their learning during their time at school. Sometimes it is for a short period of time and for others it is a more long term difficulty. If a child is having some difficulties, after assessing their needs, they may be placed on the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities register. This is for our information as a school. They may also be given an Individual Education Plan which clearly sets out what their targets are, how they will achieve them and who will help them. These are reviewed every half term. They are completed with the children and shared with parents so that we can all work together to support them.
Children who are on the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities register will also be tracked on our school provision map. This will show what additional support they are getting and how often. The majority of additional support will take place in the classroom. This will be in groups on the whole or as an individual targeting a specific area. However, there may also be a need for individual or small group withdrawal from the classroom.
The school building has been adapted so that children and adults in wheelchairs can have access. We have ramps and a disabled toilet and washing facilities. (see accessibility plan for the school).
If we have supported your child within school and they still continue to experience difficulties then we may need to refer to an outside agency for advice. This will be fully discussed with you first and your permission sought before any referral takes place. You will be updated by the specialist involved, in person, or by Mrs Otty is always available to discuss any reports and progress or issues that have arisen.
The SEN policy is available on this website to view.
If you have any concerns at all then speak to the class teacher and then Mrs Otty The Special Educational Needs Coordinator; she can be contacted via the school office.
The school has a very well stocked library. A large amount of money has been spent on replacing books recently and a complete refurbishment of the library areas, to make it into a pleasant place for the children to enjoy and read in. We encourage the children to choose from a wide range of books during their weekly library session. Children record the books they have borrowed on the computerised system and are responsible for books in their care. We do expect parents to pay for lost books.
Whilst learning in the classroom is really important, the ability to enhance that with learning outside through visits is hugely valuable. Be it a walk to the church for an hour to a week’s visit to the Lake District visits are a hugely valuable part of the the children’s learning. Other recent visits the children have taken part in include; Sculthorpe Moor, Gressenhall, Kentwell Hall, the Ecotech Centre. We have also had Africa Alive visit us in school bringing a collection of reptiles and other animals with them.
Children in Year 3 and 4 are timetabled on a rota basis to use Dereham Pool on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons throughout the year between 1.35 p.m. and 3.00 p.m.
The following guidelines apply for swimming lessons:
- Swimming is an important part of our physical education curriculum. A child will only be allowed to miss swimming if there are genuine medical reasons.
- No jewellery (including rings or studs) may be worn
- Girls are asked to wear one-piece costumes and boys, trunk style costumes not shorts
- Anyone wearing a temporary tattoo will not be allowed to swim.
We believe strongly in creating a positive atmosphere in school and rewarding positive work and behaviour. Our House Point system allows children to be recognised for excellent work and the children earn a series of awards for earning house points during their time at school. Additionally children can earn their place in the ‘Golden Zone’ for their good behaviour and collect stars towards Bronze, Silver and Gold behaviour awards. Part of Friday afternoon is given over to Golden Time, for children who have behaved in the best way during the school week.
Clearly however positive we are there will be times when some children’s behaviour is not up to scratch and children will be warned if this is the case, if the children receive 3 warnings within a day they will receive a ‘yellow slip’ and need to spend a breaktime in school. Working with parents is very important if a child needs help with their behaviour and we will work with you as poor behaviour impacts on everybody’s learning.
We really value homework it is a very helpful way to allow children to reinforce the learning they have done in school as well as practise other skills and knowledge such as reading and knowledge of times tables. It is also a very good opportunity for parents to get involved with their children’s learning to support them and also keep up to date with the work the children are doing in school.
The Governing Body has an agreed homework policy which takes account of government guidelines. They are:
- Year 3 and Year 4 should get 1.5 hours per week. This may include up to thirty minutes of designated reading time
- Year 5 and Year 6 should get 30 minutes per day. This will not include reading time unless aligned to a specific task
All children are expected to read or take part in a reading activity at least 3 times during the week.
Homework tasks are sent home with the children on a Friday and are usually expected to be completed by the following Wednesday. Children who have not completed their homework will be expected to do so on a Wednesday Lunchtime in Homework Club
We ask, as part of the Home School Agreement, that parents support us in implementing these arrangements. If at any time you wish to discuss your child’s homework, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher.
We would always encourage children to leave jewellery at home on school days, although plain silver or gold stud earrings may be worn and children may wear watches at their own risk. All earrings must be removed or taped for PE and cannot be worn when the children are swimming; please take this into account if you are thinking of allowing your child to have their ears pierced as they will miss out on their swimming if the earrings cannot be removed.
The school runs a range of clubs which recently have included, football, netball, dodge ball, hand ball, drama club, singing club, gardening club, hand bell club and knitting club. There are also opportunities for children to have lessons for a number of different musical instruments.
The school also enters teams in a number of sporting competitions with other local schools.
We know that attendance has a large impact on children’s success at school and that is why we value good attendance highly. Our attendance target is 97%. Children are in school for 190 days per year and so to achieve that target they need to be in school for 185 days or more.
We take the safety and well being of the children very seriously and so we do need to know where your child is if they are not in school. We ask you to phone the school before 9.15 on any day that your child is unexpectedly absent. You can phone as early as you like and leave a message on the answer machine if the office is not open. We will phone you if we haven’t heard from you, but it is a great help and big time saver for the office staff if you phone the school first. As a school we expect to know where the children are when they are not in school.
Schools are only allowed to authorise absence during term time in exceptional circumstances, should you need to take your child out of school during term time please collect a form from the school office. Please note schools are not allowed to authorise absence for holidays.
Should you need to collect your child during the day for a medical appointment, please sign them out at the school office.
There are many important things that we as schools undertake, but none as important as ensuring our children are safe and looked after, and so we have a number of staff in the school who are trained to ensure that happens. Mr Toplis is the Senior Designated Professional for Safeguarding and Mr Dack and Mrs Otty, are alternate professionals. If you have concerns about the wellbeing of a child in the school please contact one of the above. Should you find yourself concerned about a member of staff please contact the headteacher, or in the event of a concern regarding the headteacher, the Chair of Governors.
We want all of the children in the school to be happy and enjoy their time here, however we do know that this is not always the case and things do go wrong for one reason or another from time to time. We also know that at times you will be the first to hear about what has gone wrong. When problems do occur we want to work with you to help deal with them as quickly as possible, and so please get in touch, either via the school office or by talking to your child’s class teacher in the first instance. We can then decide who is the best person to work with you to solve the problem as quickly as possible. We have a zero tolerance towards bullying and if it occurs work proactively with all involved to put an end to it. Sometimes, if bullying goes unreported by the child it is difficult to resolve and so we encourage parents and children to tell someone in school. If you become concerned that your child is involved in any unpleasant behaviour please do let us know.
Hopefully this will enable us to resolve any issues in a positive way. However if you are still unhappy and feel the need to make a complaint we ask that you do this following the procedures outlined in the school’s complaints procedure which is available on request.
Newsletters are sent out every other week. They highlight events and the achievements of the children. Letters with other iformation are sent out as an when necessary Newsletters and copies of letters are posted on the school website.
We operate a successful parent text messaging service which is used to keep you up to date with events and changes that happen in school. Please make sure we know your correct mobile phone number to ensure you don’t miss out on this.
Other information about the school is available through this site. This includes the most recent Ofsted and SIAMS reports.
In the autumn and spring, we give you the chance to meet your child’s teacher to talk about how your child is getting on. In July each year you will receive a written report commenting on your child’s progress and effort. In the summer term we also have an informal open afternoon which you are very welcome to attend.
Please feel free to contact us at any time if you wish to discuss anything about your child’s work or welfare. You can make arrangements to meet teachers by telephoning the school administrator or calling in at the office.
We encourage parents to get fully involved with life in school. You are always welcome to help in school, perhaps by listening to children read, helping on trips, transporting children to sporting events or maybe even doing a bit of gardening – we’d love to see you. If you are able to help, you will be asked to sign an agreement with the school. All regular volunteers are asked to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service check in line with the school safeguarding procedures.
All parents are automatically members of our ‘Friends of’, which plays a valuable role in the social life of the school, by organising school discos and making tea and coffee various events and fundraising through events such as the summer fayre. The SHA have supported a number of projects in school and most recently have donated over £3000 towards the purchase of a new outdoor play equipment to replace the old ‘Trim Trail’. It is run by a small committee who do great work and also supported by an army of ‘workers’ who turn up at events to ensure they run smoothly.
Please leave your name at the school office if you are able and willing to help in any way however small – it will be very much appreciated.
There are circumstances where it is necessary to have medicine in school. Medicine is only administered in school if it is a prescriptive medicine and a dose has to be taken during school hours.
In these circumstances we are willing to accept responsibility for the administration on the following conditions:
- Only one dose of medicine should be sent to school each day in a named container.
- In the case of ventilators for asthma sufferers, one set of inhaler is kept at school by the child and another retained for emergencies.
- The first dose should be accompanied by a completed form available from the school office.
- The medicines must be left in the safekeeping of the office, and given only under supervision. Asthma sufferers are responsible for their own inhalers, which should be named. They should also hand in a spare inhaler for emergency use. The spare inhaler is held centrally.
The school’s policy for administering medicines is available on request.