The culture shared consistently between children, staff, families and governors allows us to extend beyond the academic requirements of the national curriculum in our commitment to create happy, healthy and well-rounded young people who can contribute positively to society. The building blocks for this can be found in our RSE, PSHE, Digital Safety and RE curriculums that are coherently planned to ensure that children’s personal development is a top priority within our school.
We fully recognise that the curriculum alone is not enough, and have worked hard to establish traditions, activities, behaviours, relationships, fun and core values that promote exceptional personal development. Some examples of these are described below and can readily be found on our X (twitter) pages @HMillSchool
Trip and visits: Children at Horn’s Mill are provided with wide and varied experiences from the moment they start their school journey with us. Our families are invited to Delamere Forest with us for a day trip with their children in the first half term of Reception. From this point, the children are offered many further day trips and residential visits in Team 2, 4 and 6. These strategically planned trips help to build pupils characters and develop confidence, resilience and promotes positive well being; as well as consolidating and reinforcing curriculum knowledge.
Extra Curricular Activities: On school grounds, the wonderful experiences continue! Through a plethora of staff led, extra curricular clubs children are offered opportunities to develop their interests and talents to increase their levels of skill and knowledge in a variety of subjects. Most terms' up to fourteen well-attended clubs run each week. Children’s relationships between adults and peers are strengthened as children work with different members of the school community.
"Raz" Our School Dog:
Raz offers an opportunity for improving social development of the children at Horn’s Mill. He helps to teach pupil’s social skills, such as responsibility. Specifically, we use Raz to help pupils build self-esteem, learn about positive and negative reinforcement, responsibility and boundaries. With our older pupils, we use him to help communicate, teach kindness and empowerment. With a dog in the classroom, pupils have the opportunity to learn how to care for the animal, this includes walking and grooming. Research shows that involving students in the daily care of classroom dogs is a positive experience, promoting their own daily care. The pupils also learn about responsibility, caring and sharing when helping each other take care of a dog at school. Younger children have the opportunity to spend additional time with Raz during our after school club, where alongside the benefits mentioned above, this also promotes physical activity and healthy lifestyles.
Raz also can work with pupils on a one-to-one basis and will especially help those pupils who are vulnerable due to their personal circumstances. We have had success with supporting children with existing fears of dogs. Raz brings much joy and help to all the pupils he meets and he is happy to provide plenty of hugs to the pupils with whom he is spending time with. Pupils who struggle with social interaction can find a reassuring friend in a dog.
Finally, Raz has been used to help with developing positive behaviour. Evidence from the Canine Concern states that reading programmes with dogs are effective in supporting some pupils. Raz is used to encourage struggling readers to practise reading aloud. With the presence of a calm and well-trained dog, pupils gain social support and peer interaction. Dogs are incredibly calm and happy to have pupils read to them or join a group of children whilst they are having a book reading session. Dogs give unconditional acceptance, as they are non-judgemental, which is especially crucial to struggling, emerging readers.
British Values: Weekly assemblies are presented to the children using Picture News resource. This allows us to regularly spotlight British Value with the children, by using topical, child friendly contexts. Further discussion takes place in classrooms following these assemblies at an age appropriate level. In order for our children to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a good citizen, the British Values are exemplified in our RE lessons and reading scheme. In reading lessons in Team 3-6 children revisit different faiths and beliefs e.g Hinduism in Team 5. Notable people are studied so that discussion can take place about different people’s faiths and beliefs and why they hold them. E.g Mohammed Ali in Team 6. Pupils become familiar with the protected characteristics within The Equality Act 2010 through the use of our ‘No Outsiders’ programme. Children learn tolerance, empathy and respect through age appropriate picture books, resulting in a group of little people who see ‘difference’ positively and consistently demonstrate inclusivity within our school environment. Annual events such as Gypsy Roma Traveller History and Neuro-diversity months are further examples of how we help children to show understanding of equality and diversity.
The power of Pupil Voice: Our two head pupils are elected each year from Team 6 so that they can subsequently help to lead our school council. Along with our Eco Champions and our Art Ambassadors, they work to impact on school decisions and support other pupils to make safe, fair and well informed choices.
Our Junior Road Safety officers in Team 5 work with a member of staff to raise children’s awareness of safety on the roads, which is complemented by a session of ‘Let’s Walk’ delivered by our local PCSO in Team 3 and 4.
Community Relationships: The school choir regularly visits local community care homes or shops to perform. Full engagement with local community events is a must for us! We love riding on a float in Ho HO Helsby and regularly visiting the local library and churches. Within our Geography Fieldwork curriculum, opportunities to improve the local areas (e.g. litter picking in Year 5) are built into units of learning. Our annual Maypole celebration (50 years old!) is attended each year by ex pupils and the local community.
Our home made wreath is proudly place by one of our pupils at the church every year for Remembrance and the local ministers regularly visit our school.
Fun and Relationships: The whole team of adults at Horn’s Mill have excellent relationships with our children and families. These are built through honesty, familiarity and an open line of communication. Leaders in the school exemplify strong relationships in the way they guide the school team. As a result of this, many fun activities that support children’s personal development take place in school outside of the academic offer. E.g. an annual whole school water fight, sleepover, poetry recital, talent show, musical extravaganza and much more! Strong, long lasting relationships are built between our Team 5 and Reception children as Team 5 take on a ‘buddy’ responsibility at the start of each year. All of the positive relationships throughout school are the essence of why vulnerability and associated behaviours are managed so successfully at our school. Staff have high expectations, use the language of choice and are well trained in a trauma informed, attachment friendly approach. This allows children to reflect wisely and learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others.
We ensure that all children are offered the opportunities above; removing barriers as necessary to enable inclusion for the whole community including the most vulnerable.