Aims, Ethos and Values

Background and context of the new school
The new Norton Hill Primary School will open in September 2020 as a mainstream one form entry school in the initial first two years. Thereafter it is predicted that the school will increase to a three form entry school. This school aims to provide an outstanding education across all aspects of the curriculum. While children’s literacy and numeracy will be key drivers to our curriculum offer, we will also focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), MFL, Forest School and Outdoor Education. The school will cater for all abilities, backgrounds and needs and will focus on providing educational opportunities within an environment that promotes aspiration and achievement.

In addition, we see the following as being key to our ambitious curriculum plan:

  • Excellence in the all subjects.
  • The development of outstanding modern foreign language learning linked to the International Primary Curriculum.
  • Significant extra-curricular learning opportunities.
  • The development of opportunities to prepare children for life in modern Britain in an area dominated by a white-British population.

The Norton Hill Free School will be 4-11, though not an all-through school as pupils will have the choice of three local partner secondary schools (Norton Hill, Somervale and Writhlington).

Mission - overarching statement of intent
We have a very clear vision and ethos that runs through all component parts of the Midsomer
Norton Schools Partnership. The Trust is forward-looking and strives to give all stakeholders that are part of it, the confidence and skills to play a full and active part in a rapidly changing world. We promote the traditional values of hard work, outstanding behaviour, dedicated study and personal challenge in all areas. At Norton Hill Primary, we challenge all to have the highest aspirations and to succeed in a safe and healthy learning environment. Through an appropriate and challenging curriculum that develops mastery of learning, all can succeed and make a positive contribution. We believe in nurturing all our learners to ensure they are equipped for success in a rapidly changing world.

Our learners will be confident and independent, equipped with the necessary social, technological and leadership skills to be effective participants in society. They will be honest, kind, polite and accepting of others, as well as willing to articulate and share their thoughts about the world around them. We value the voice of all our stakeholders as this helps us to be a truly reflective. In summary, our vision for the Norton Hill Primary School is to be a fully inclusive community with outstanding outcomes so that all have the best possible life opportunities. This vision is shared by all our stakeholders and is regularly reviewed to capture our values in the way they work with children, young adults and all members of the local community.

Our focus on STEM is by design and will support our whole-trust goal of creating a love of learning including problem solving and mathematical understanding. Through this focus we believe children will develop outstanding intellectual skills and a thirst for critical thinking and investigation. Our desire to focus on Forest School and Outdoor Education relates to our belief that too few children develop outstanding team, leadership and communication skills. We also know from our work at secondary school level that children develop outstanding levels of resilience when engaged in outdoor learning environments. Our accessible and inclusive approach will open up outstanding learning opportunities to children from Midsomer Norton, irrespective of background or need. Through partnership working we will deliver excellence in everything we do, maximising the strengths and expertise of our partners for the benefit of our children.

Principles – the key values upon which the school will be based

Ethos and Values

  • The well-being of children is a number one concern.
  • Excellence in teaching, learning and pupil achievement are our highest ranking priorities.
  • Local partnerships delivering benefits to our pupils are central to our strategic development.
  • Achieving excellent outcomes and pupil confidence in STEM subjects are paramount.
  • Building a culture of challenge to promote high aspiration amongst pupils.
  • Enabling successful transition to later stages of learning will be a measure of our success.
  • Allowing our staff and pupils to experiment and innovate.
  • Providing inclusive access to children and families will always be central to our mission.

Curriculum Vision
In Core Subjects we will follow the national curriculum. However, we will use the freedoms available to us to develop and deliver a curriculum plan focused on excellence in STEM, Forest School and Outdoor Education. We see these as complementary strands:  the natural and manufactured aspects of our environment also provide the arena for STEM enquiry to be pursued in outdoor learning for children. Problem-solving and investigation in the field develop both curiosity about STEM and at the same time can develop independence, resourcefulness and resilience outside the classroom. Equally they are the source of deep learning to take back into classroom literacy and numeracy. Our curriculum map will show expected progression for all pupils, whilst allowing personalised learning for all. It will:

  • Provide outstanding pedagogy across literacy, numeracy, STEM and core subjects.
  • Draw on the expertise of our MAT and wider partners in the delivery of our core specialisms of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
  • Provide children with on-going Forest School and Outdoor Education to promote leadership, teamwork and resilience.
  • Prioritise modern foreign language learning throughout the primary phase, thereby providing children with 7 years of continuous language development.
  • Cater for the needs of all children, including those with SEN.
  • Deliver extended learning extra-curricular opportunities using the strengths of the MAT.
  • Promote high levels of parental engagement.
  • Provide opportunities to embed BASIC skills and express knowledge in a variety of ways before moving on to the next step.