SCHOOL FOCUS: Meynell Primary

Pupils at Meynell Primary School are nurtured from a young age in order to help them achieve their best, both at home and in the classroom, so they can achieve future career aspirations. Â

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 9:35 am
Updated Thursday, 17th January 2019, 4:37 am
Meynell Primary School pupils reading in the library area

A '˜can do' attitude is infused into all children at the school in Parson Cross, where life is centred around nine core values designed to not only mould pupils into great learners, but to teach them values they can use in the wider world.

These include values such as teaching pupils to aim high, be respectful, work together and persevere, and are instilled into youngsters throughout school life.

Cornet practice in a music lesson

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With a higher proportion of disadvantaged children compared to others in the city due to its location, headteacher Vikki Garrett said the positive attitude and work ethos ensures children can strive for the same goals as those living in more affluent areas.

She said: 'Obviously we do serve a deprived area, but I think the one thing we've always talked about at Meynell is that that is irrelevant and that fact that we are very much creating aspirations in the children and that very much starts at the bottom.

'We always talk about when you go to college, or when you go to university not if. We talk a lot about jobs and careers because we have to and are committed to breaking that cycle.'

Pupils solving problem in a maths class

The school thrives under a dedicated leadership team, and offers a CPD Excellence Hubs Programme for staff to help them grow, and give them effective professional development which not only helps teachers to thrive, but all pupils succeed.

Part of the Tapton School Academy Trust, the school underwent an overhaul six years ago, and now provides a broad, balanced and creative curriculum to allow children to achieve through enjoyment of learning and challenges them to meet and exceed their goals.

Assistant headteacher Angela Maltby said: 'We shape all our awards and achievements around the Meynell core values, these are life skills not just classroom skills and it is about building a learner. It is ok to be stuck but without being stuck you can't move forward.

Youngsters boiling a lovely Vegetable soup in the mud kitchen

'We teach that managing through a mistake is the best way to learn.

'The core values are something we start straight away, '˜I am honest', '˜I have a voice', '˜I am listened too', '˜I am respected and respectful'. All the skills are ones you could take to another school, take to a place of work, anywhere. High expectations and aspirations for all.

'Children wherever the school deserve the very best that you can give them. When some of our children come to school there is a language deficit, the range of vocabulary is a huge thing we focus on.

'So, we use book study throughout key stage two, we use a variety of quality texts all the way through, reading workshops with parents with their children.

Pupils are eager to learn in lessons

'Whether its a science lesson, or an English lesson there is key vocabulary for that, built in so they're using, learning and applying and that is done systematically.'

The school are also committed to ensuring parents are actively engaged with every aspect of school life, and regularly invite them to join coffee mornings and creative workshops to create an open environment.

This dedication earned them the Leading Parent Partnership Award in 2016, which gives schools coherent framework to deliver effective parental engagement from early years to post-16.

And, as testament to how much parents value the school, they managed to raise over £900 during the recent Christmas fayre.

Headteacher Mrs Garrett said: 'When I first came to the school six years ago, parents didn't enter.

'They were very school averse and say if we put on workshops they wouldn't be attended, parents evening was terribly attended, attendance itself was really poor and we feel that working in partnership with parents, we ensure they understand and feel comfortable in school.

'Workshops are now mainly well attended, and even at the Christmas fayre - which we haven't done since I started - the turnout was amazing and the money raised will be put back into school. It will go on books, and things that our children desperately need in order to enhance their learning.'

Assistant Headteacher Miss Maltby added: 'Our school cook opened up the eating area, so parents could go in and try dinners. It's all so the parents are given access to all areas of school whenever we can give them.

'They like that because there are no surprises, there is nothing happening that they don't know about.'

Meynell Primary also operate the '˜thrive approach', a therapeutic approach which draws on established neuroscience and attachment theory to offer a powerful way of working to help support children with their emotional and social development.

Throughout the school, blue bean-bags indicate '˜thrive' areas where pupils can take time out, and group sessions of one-to-ones are held to offer support and help children understand why they might behave in certain ways. 

Eight-year-old Grace Leigh Archer said: 'There are two different groups. We can make stuff, and do art. It is relaxing. It has helped me, and I now look forward to doing work and I'm kind to others. It gives me time out, and I name my feelings and can talk to others and open up.

'The thrive areas are good so I can take time away.'