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The Downs CE
Primary School

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Virtual Tour

School tours have been postponed until December due to the latest national lockdown.

Our virtual tour will give you a flavour of our school family and more information can be found by exploring our website pages.

Below you will also find frequently asked questions and the answers. 

If you would like to know anything more about our school, please do call the school office on  01304 372486. You can also book a tour, on this number, for December/January (unless there are further changes to the guidance).

Thank you for taking the time to find out more about our school.

 

 

Tell me more about the collaboration, federation and academy 

The Downs and Northbourne CEP Schools became a Federation in September 2011.

In April 2019, The Federation of The Downs and Northbourne CEP schools became a founding member of the Deal Education Learning Alliance Trust (DEALT) which is a MAT comprised of seven local primary schools within Deal and the surrounding villages. 

Alongside DEALT, The Downs CEP also belongs to a wider group of schools working together, this group is known as the Deal Learning Alliance (DLA). The DLA includes all of the schools in DEALT and also includes all remaining schools within the local area.

At The Downs CEP we are proud to be part of such an exceptional group of schools. Formally working together we are able to share a wealth of professional experience in order for our pupils at The Downs CEP to benefit from the best our community has to offer.

How many classes in school and what are the class sizes? 

•    There are two classes per year group with a maximum of 30 children in each class.
•    In reception there will be a ratio of at least 2 adults to 30 children all day, each day
•    In all other year groups there are two adults in each class every morning and on two-three afternoons
•    Each year, the year group cohort will be reviewed and if necessary, classes will be re-mixed to ensure the two classes are as equal as possible – classes are not mixed every year. However, reception is always re-mixed going into year one but they could then stay in their class group all the way through to year six.

Is there a breakfast club? 

At The Downs CEP we run a daily breakfast club that runs from 8am – 8.45am daily.
During breakfast club children get a drink which includes various juices, water and milk, cereal, fruit, and toast. This will be varied during the term with muffins, crumpets, teacakes etc. being offered on special days.
They also have various activities set up daily to take part in.
The cost is £2.50 per session.
Payment should be made in advance on the first day of attendance each week.

Are there any extra-curricular activities? 

Each term we aim to provide a variety of after school activities for all age ranges. These are available for a small fee on a first come first served basis. 

Will I get a place at The Downs? 

Allocations vary year-on-year dependant on various factors. In the first instance, please refer to our current Admissions Policy on our website.

Do you have to attend church to attend the school? 

We welcome families of all faiths and none.  Attendance at church is not a requirement of our admissions policy. We do have links with the parishes of Walmer and attend church as a school for main events in the Christian calendar. Collective worship is predominantly Christian in its content. 

What are your school values? 

Our vision for the Federation of The Downs and Northbourne CEP Schools is to put God and Family at the heart of all we do. As a nurturing community, we use the parable of The Mustard Seed “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible.” (Matthew: 17 v20) This guides the way we value and treat all members of our school community. Through our pastoral care and our rich curriculum experiences we provide a safe and dynamic learning environment in which all can flourish. 

To grow in: Faith, Love, Compassion, Kindness, Respect & Forgiveness 
Our six Christian Values are at the heart of our vision. 
Every day we aspire to grow in Faith, Love, Compassion, Kindness, Respect and Forgiveness, so that our school family may experience the joy and hope of “life in all its fullness” (John: 10 v10) 

Alongside our Christian values we develop learners who are: Communicative, Independent, Collaborative, Inquisitive, Resilient, and Emotionally Intelligent.

How will I know how my child is getting on? 

We believe that close contact between school and parents is important to the wellbeing and education of any child. We need to work together to ensure that all children can make the most of the opportunities provided by the school and can develop to their full potential, in all areas of school life. 
There will be two consultations a year where you can discuss your child’s progress with the class teacher. During this meeting the development and achievements of your child will be discussed. This is a good opportunity to discuss ways of supporting and extending your child as they progress through our school. We also send home reports twice a year. At other times of the year parents are requested to make an appointment with teachers through the office.

What do I do if I am worried about my child? 

Please speak to your class teacher in the first instance.
There are many staff well placed to support you and your child including a SENCO, pastoral lead, safeguarding lead and members of the leadership team but your class teacher is the best place to start.

How do parents and staff communicate? 

We operate an open door policy and as such quick message can be relayed at the classroom door during morning drop off or afternoon pick. We also have a home/school communication book where notes can be written to or from the class teacher. Meetings requiring more time than the drop off/pick up opportunity can be arranged via the school office.

How many children go onto grammar school? 

The Kent Test and Dover Grammar School tests take place in September and are sat by all children registered to sit the tests by their parents. Each year approximately 28-33% of our pupils attend a grammar school when they move onto secondary school.

What is the current OFSTED grading? 

 “The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. Together you have maintained the exemplary strengths found in the last inspection. Pupils are focused in lessons and ready to learn. Around the school, pupils are courteous and polite. Relationships between adults and pupils are warm and respectful. The most vulnerable families and pupils receive a very high level of support from your team of staff” OFSTED 2016 - GOOD

As a Church school we also have an inspection under the SIAMS framework:
‘The centrality of the Christian values within the school and across the federation of respect, love, faith, compassion, kindness and forgiveness impact on care and support for all children and their families’ SIAMS Jan 2017 - OUTSTANDING

What curriculum do you teach? 

We follow the national curriculum broken down into three overarching themes across the school: What a wonderful world, Horrible Histories and Blank Canvas.
Each year group will use the overarching theme to plan what they are going to teach, relevant to their year group national curriculum objectives. 
Each year group’s long term plan is available on our school website under the curriculum tab.

What transition events will take place? 

For children who are starting in our reception classes we offer a selection of activities designed to make the transition from nursery to school a happy one. These include stay and play sessions and home visits both before and after the summer break.

The rest of the school meet their new teacher in July when our Year 6’s visit their secondary schools.

In September for all year groups, there will be ‘meet and great’ sessions during the first term, where parents and carers are invited to meet their child’s teacher and learn about the expectations for the up-coming year.

What food and drink can my child bring to school? 

Each child should bring a mid-morning snack of fruit or vegetable. 
We also like children to have a named bottle of water with them. We encourage children to drink plenty of water as this has been shown to aid concentration.
Additionally, each child will be offered a piece of fruit at some point during the day.

Can my child get milk at school? 

School milk is available for all children in school and is free of charge for all 4 year olds. Our milk is provided by Cool Milk and if you wish your child to receive this you can register with them directly on their website: www.coolmilk.com and milk will be delivered direct to school. Once your child turns 5 they are still able to receive milk at school, however it must be paid for. This can be set up via the Cool Milk website. If you are eligible for pupil premium support, school can pay for your milk, just ask at the office.

Will my child be able to have a hot dinner? 

Hot meals continue to be completely free of charge for pupils in Reception and Years 1 and 2. However your child may be eligible to apply for Free School Meals if your family is in receipt of Income Related benefits. The school would then receive government funding (pupil premium) to provide additional support for your child. 

Whole School Meals (WSM) cook food on the school premises and children can choose which meals to have from the 3 week menu. Your child does not have to have 5 meals a week. However, we do need to know at the start of the week how many meals your child will take, and for which days. We ask that please pay for your child’s meals in advance, either weekly or termly. Please pay on a Monday for all meals you intend your child to take during that week.

Packed Lunch - If pupils do not wish to have school dinners they can bring a healthy packed lunch. Please note that we are a nut-free school. Children need to bring their food and drink in suitable containers so that it can be stored safely until lunchtime. Lunchtime Supervisors will assist children with lids etc. but wherever possible food should be sent so that children can eat their lunch independently.

What is the behaviour policy of the school? 

The staff at the Downs CEP School are committed to ensuring that our children work hard, safely and happily, in a calm, caring, interesting, disciplined and stimulating environment which is underpinned by our Christian values. We try to keep formal rules to a minimum but some are needed to ensure the smooth operation of the school. These rules are a collection of understandings which reflect our views on issues such as politeness, safety, the right to learn and the security of property, both of the school and of the individual.

Children’s good work, positive attitude and sensible behaviour are recognised by staff and rewarded in a number of ways. 

If a problem occurs we deal with each situation appropriately. If there is a persistent problem we invite parents to work with us to find a solution.

See our behaviour for learning policy for more detail.

Where can I play in school? 

We are very lucky at The Downs to have extensive school grounds. Each class has a back door that leads to a large field area and two big playgrounds. All children also get the opportunity to use the wooden play equipment and our exercise equipment.

Will I go out on school trips? 

Yes! At The Downs we believe that children need to experience things first hand to help their learning stick. You will go out to a variety of local location as well as some slightly further afield destinations. Most year groups will also have visitors into school throughout the year to help your learning grow.

Are there any roles that I can take on in school? 

We encourage all of our children to become actively involved in school life. Everyone becomes a member of a ‘house’ upon entry to the school and can participate in ‘house’ events such as sports competitions. We have other roles such as digital leaders, class forum representatives and eco leaders that can be applied for by pupils during the year.

Can I cycle to school? 

As a Healthy School we actively encourage walking, cycling and scooting to school. If you are riding your bike or scooter and wish to store it on site, we have special bike and scooter stands available. Your helmet can be stored in your locker.

Do I have to wear school uniform? 

Every pupil in our school wears the same blue school jumper or cardigan with our logo on it. In the winter everyone also wears grey trousers or a skirt and a white shirt with a school tie. In the summer months we wear blue summer dresses or grey shorts. Everybody looks very smart in their uniform and we all wear it with pride.

What will I learn about in school? 

We follow the National Curriculum and the Early Years curriculum like most other schools. At the Downs though, we break our year up into three themes. Theme 1 is ‘It’s a wonderful world’, theme 2 is ‘Horrible Histories’ and theme 3 is ‘Blank Canvas’. Each year group studies different projects under these whole school tiles and get the opportunity to really dive deeply into learning.

The Federation of The Downs and Northbourne is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and we expect all Governors, staff, volunteers, parents and carers to share this commitment.