In summary, our core values in school focus around the following areas:
1) Growing Respectful Citizens: Understanding and applying our caring community ethos
2) Fostering a Lifelong Love of Reading & Learning: Through curriculum and enrichment activities
3) Physical Activity, Health & Wellbeing: Giving the knowledge and skills for how to stay healthy
4) Inclusion & Equality: Ensuring all children have equal access to everything our school provides
5) Understanding & Respecting Other Cultures: Through a broad & rich History and RE Curriculum
6) Caring for our Environment & Local Community: So that children continue this in future
Central to everything that we do at Desford is our school rule and caring community ethos of Be Kind to Yourself, Others and the Environment. This principle forms the spine of our school values that have been developed in collaboration with all pupils and staff, whilst also driving the core values of our school curriculum. It also links closely with the promotion of the British Values, something that we believe are crucial for promoting an understanding of equality, diversity and the importance of respecting the values and beliefs of others. All of these things together mean that our pupils learn how to grow into kind, confident and respectful citizens that we are proud of.
We believe that fostering a love of reading is crucial for children to be able to access all areas of the curriculum, whilst also helping them to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence they need for the next stage of their education and for later life. Reading is prioritised in our curriculum. For early readers in EYFS, children become familiar with carefully selected stories from the traditional to the modern, whilst focussing on learning and embedding early reading and phonics skills in a language rich environment. As children progress through the primary phases, reading continues to be prioritised with a variety of engaging books being used in a range of subjects so that our pupils' language skills continue to be enriched. A program of events to further enhance the children's love of reading is planned across the year. Children's author visits, an annual Love Reading event, two mobile book shop visits from Roving Books, World Book Day events and activities and local library visits all add further to enriching the whole reading experience that our pupils receive at Desford. Our pupils show an enthusiasm for, and a love of, all sorts of reading. We are very proud of this and we aim to harness this positive energy further and use it as a spark for securing a long term love of reading for all pupils.
The importance of sport, physical activity and engendering a self-awareness and appreciation of mental health and wellbeing is something we place a high emphasis on at Desford. For the past two years we have been involved with the www.rethinkyourmind.co.uk national initiative for empowering wellbeing through creative expression and mindful practice. The ‘I feel better when’ theme celebrates and encourages individual choice of activities that make you feel good. This is something we actively promote in our curriculum and our extra-curricular activities. Sports and PE provision is a particular strength of the school, pupils get the chance to learn a wide range of different sports as well as represent the school in local, regional and national competitions.
Many of our pupils learn to play a musical instrument and we believe in giving these children the opportunity to perform and showcase their talents whilst also encouraging all children to develop an appreciation for this and other activities that make them feel good about themselves.
We have excellent foundations on which to build further enhancements to our curriculum in terms of wellbeing. This is something that we want all staff and children to contribute to so that it is ensuring our children develop into independent and confident citizens. At the bottom of the page you can view the video our pupils made for children's mental health week, promoting the message of talking to people you trust when you need support. Also, the song used to promote the 'I feel better when...' message as part of the www.rethinkyourmind.co.uk project. We are very proud to be involved in such important aspects of child wellbeing and development.
Our Inclusion philosophy encapsulates valuing each child as an individual, as well as part of a wider community. Unlocking potential and facilitating personal progress is at the forefront of all that we do. We believe that if children’s barriers to learning are broken down then they will be better prepared for future life and achieve greater progress in all areas. Our SEND and Pupil Premium provision is entering a period of remodelling in order to ensure further enhancements to this provision. Pupil Premium provides us with additional funding for disadvantaged pupils to ensure they benefit from the same educational opportunities as all other children. In most cases the Pupil Premium is passed directly to schools and is clearly identifiable. It is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium allocated to each pupil is spent, and we are currently exploring new and innovative ways of doing this that further enhance the support in the classroom and equal access to opportunities for all pupils in our school.
We aim to ensure that all pupils gain a broad knowledge of cultures and faiths throughout history and across the world, in order to be able to show respect and understanding towards the beliefs and traditions of others. In Leicestershire, we are blessed to have a wide range of faiths and cultures on our doorstep. We believe that it is important for our pupil's to know more about them. We do this in a number of different ways. Assemblies take place every week that often link to the British Values and/or different faiths and cultures. Our RE curriculum includes visits to the various places of worship from different religions (Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Budhist, Jain and much more). At school we aim to cover significant festivals and celebrations from a range of religions and cultures, making the effort to include festivals that link to the range of faiths and cultures of the pupils and families that attend our school for a more personalised approach. Our History curriculum explores how different faiths and cultures have developed in different countries over thousands of years, particularly in Great Britain, and how many of them celebrate and believe in the same events and times of the year in a way that is particular to their faith. Covering faith and culture from the Neolithic period 3000BC, all the way through to modern day, we aim to give our pupils the full and broad picture that our world has painted.
3000BCE (Before Common Era) Stone Henge 160 CE (Common Era) Roman Jewry Wall 1485 CE (Common Era) The Tudors
Leicester City Centre Bosworth Battlefield - Leicestershire
Ensuring that all of our pupils grow up in a school and community that places a high level of importance on caring for our environment, is core to much of what we do, and something that we want to further embed in our developing curriculum. A fantastic group of parent volunteers run a gardening club and community garden at the front of the school, with plans to develop an allotment plot to teach the children about the importance of sustainability already underway. This year, children and parents have planted over 200 trees across the school grounds for our current pupils to nurture and grow for the benefit of our future generations.
Pupils at Desford experience many other examples of being kind to themselves, others and the environment. The Sports Relief mile, Halloween Harvest Soup Giveaway, Bonnie the Reading Dog and many more examples help to foster an appreciation of community spirit and what it means to be a good citizen. We are incredibly proud of all that our pupils, families and staff contribute towards this.