Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Moulsecoomb Primary School

All todays pictures Moulsecoomb Primary

Moulsecoomb Primary School Brighton
Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Today was my first school visit. Having spent considerable time off site with Head Teacher Mr Charles Davis yesterday, I had the privilege of spending the day at the school. The school has really taken up the Outdoor Learning program in a big way. The school has a real holistic approach to learning with the Outdoors education practice at the school merely one element of their overall approach.

Parental involvement is seen as vital and is encouraged through the employment of a Community Officer. (0.6 FTE) Her role includes:
- Coordination of after school activities for students;
- Parent workshops;
- Grant submissions: to make this all possible.

Outdoors Areas
Lots of small areas have been utilized away from the hustle and bustle of the main playing area. Some staff were initially reluctant for this change as students wouldn’t always be able to be seen by duty teachers. Little alcoves of areas previously derelict have been put together often at little cost. The more quiet children had the opportunity to spend lunch in these quiet areas.

- Artist Hill Grass/wildflowers. Used to screen the main road.
- Fairy Tail Forest Story telling circle logs. Large table and story telling chair.
- Willow Dome Cubbies, also used as a source of willow for other projects.
- Pond Used as time out area when required
- Orchards Interspersed throughout the school. Used in cooking classes.
- Vegetable Gardens In courtyard, used in cooking classes, included chickens for eggs.
- Adventure Trail Paths Limestone paths to direct traffic.
- Slide
- Climbing Wall
- Iron Age Roundhouse Constructed by children.
- Artists Hill Totem Pole life cycle of frog & butterfly
- All Weather Soccer Pitch Roster for recess use, older students exclusive use at lunch time.
- Bridge In K/PP area
- Rounder’s Marked into oval in a similar vain to a running track.
- Maze Made from willow stalks.
- Cubbies ` Self seeded. Children make and use cubbies.
- Native Hedgerow Screen from main road.
- Geology Trail From stone all over the UK.
- Logs Seats, inexpensive and very popular.

Lunch time activities (clubs) are run by 2 teacher assistants and large numbers of students were involved. Another initiative is all children play together across the school. Yr 1-7. Some staff reluctance initially as children had separate play areas. It all seemed to work really well. There were also a number of indoor areas where children could congregate at lunch time. The ITC room, Library and Happy Club (an ITS room with play equipment for younger children.) These areas were manned by teacher assistants. Teachers do duty at recess but lunchtime there were only teacher assistants on duty. “Happy Club” assistant was also responsible for administering all first aid that occurred during break time.

Breakfast Club
Ran each morning children. All pay 50p and breakfasts are all completed before school starts. There were a number of parents assisting with the Breakfast Club.

Admin run rosters, week about to man a time out room, known as “On Call”. Whichever admin is on call handles all behaviour incidents. All what we would call “Buddy referrals”, are also handled by whoever is on-call. The on-call admin carries a phone and can be contacted at any time. Admin goes to classes for referrals. The on call room was also manned by a Teacher Assistant. This freed up admin to respond to referrals as they occurred without having to leave students unsupervised.

A separate exclusion room for more long term exclusions was also in operation. It was run in conjunction with the local high school and manned by a Teacher Assistant. Class teachers provided academic input; the assistant provided the pastoral care.

The behaviour strategies seemed to work as the students really wanted to be out and about, back in their classroom.

The overall feeling was of a school that children wanted to be at. Children were everywhere; many hidden from view behind walls, in gardens, in cubbies. I didn’t see any fights. 2 bells rang at the end of breaks and children were expected to be in class when the second bell sounded. No line up.

One key to the school’s success appears to be an active Student Council who are involved in all stages of projects. Student’s ideas, rather than “experts”, have driven the design. Another vital component is the number of government grants that are available to support the outdoors in schools.

Today’s visit has certainly inspired me.


Joan said...

This is really interesting have been so busy.

Anonymous said...

It's Room 3 again,

Wow! It all sounds very exciting at this school.
Austin:We'd like to do some of those things at our school.
Matthew: Have a great trip on your other travels.
Brayden: That school sounds awesome!

Stuart Cumming said...

Hi Room 3. Yes some really great ideas for our school Austin. All day I just kept thinking Room 3 would love this. The big thing was the kids were really involved in the design of the playground. The other thing was all the areas where children could get away and play. There was a lot of trust and eveyone had a ball. The soccer crew would love the big game they all play. Awesome is a great discription Brayden. They even had a breakfast club. They were also allowed to use the PC's at lunch time. Thanks for your best wishes Mathew I'm sure I'll keep having a great trip. Thanks Room 3 for keeping in touch. YOu are the only class I have heard from so far and I really appreciate your comments. Cheers. Mr Cumming

dylan said...

the school sounds great, lot of cool things at the school.

Susan said...

Hi Stuart, Dylan and are planning to follow your blog - your trip sounds fabulous so far and we look forward to reading more about the schools you visit (the first school you've visited sounds great!) and seeing more pictures of the beautiful countryside.

Susan Phillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CreativeSTAR said...

Hi Stuart

Glad you made it to the UK. The nature of schools is that we are expected to fully involve the children in the school grounds developments. Otherwise the grounds will never have true ownership by the children and there will be less care and pride.

What I always find helpful is when people talk about how a development happened and why as well as the what.

Enjoy the rest of your trip and see you in due course!

Best wishes

Stuart Cumming said...

Hi Sue
Thanks for feedback and great to know you are following. Had a fantastic few days leading up to the weekend. I've come across so many great ideas and would love to get things happening at Withers. Seeing schools get into this with little funding shows just what is possible.



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