Private School Oxfordshire
My day starts particularly early with a drive from South Warwickshire. When the teaching post came up at the school my initial response was ‘it’s too far’. A teaching colleague came back with ‘well, better to travel an extra 10 minutes to a lovely school than 10 less to one you won’t enjoy.’ I have thanked that colleague in retrospect many times for that clever comment!
The day at Windrush Valley Private School Oxfordshire begins at 7.30am when the school is opened, and the lights switched on by Miss Shirley. The school wakes gently and by 7.45am it has stretched out its arms and welcomed the early birds to nest care. Teachers arrive from 7.30am, usually with a cheery ‘hello’ as they skidaddle, bags in hand, to their individual classrooms to prepare for the morning. Thankfully there is always an urn of hot water in the staffroom, so scooping up a quick cup of tea or coffee is very important on the way. I’ve also never known a staff room where there are so many cakes, all the time. A staff obsession with Bake Off means a constant source of delicious goodies are left on the staffroom table – really tough on the waistline but, we need a constant energy input obviously!
The warmth and friendliness of the school is due to the fact the teachers know every child. I know this, because we do EVERYTHING, and so know EVERYONE, very quickly! There are no playground staff, or lunch supervisors. It’s us! There are no impersonal after school companies running the clubs. It’s us! As a result, every child is valued and we know them so well, as families and individuals.
My Year 3 classroom is just opposite the Staffroom (what a result!) – absolutely ideal for photocopying, meeting the other staff, making super quick coffees and checking the standard of cake. Once I have written the date on the whiteboard, I feel organised and in control, and await the class.
Private School Oxfordshire – morning
The children come in with an assortment of musical instruments, packed lunches, coats, blazers, jumpers and hats. They become very organised, very quickly. It’s a good to say a quick ‘hi’ to the parents in the morning too, and helps us to be aware of any personal problems to keep a look out for throughout the day. For example, if a child is going to be particularly tired/anxious for any reason. We tend to start the morning with silent reading and/or handwriting practise. Following this, we do ‘fun with the register’ – the child sitting the most beautifully can choose the accent I’m going to use to do the register. Good discipline has its perks – and this is one they’ll never forget!
A typical morning is a mixture of Maths, English and another curriculum humanities subject. We use text books to teach Maths and English, but combine this with other resources and visual learning from the board/internet. Small class sizes a fundamental tenet of Windrush Valley Private School Oxfordshire. They ensure each child is given a lot of personal attention in their learning journey, and we love to celebrate achievements when an objective has been reached. This can be rewarded with the gift of a celebrated Dragon Master point, or occasionally a celebratory song sung by me, the teacher. (Oh dear…)
Snack is had mid-morning in the classroom before a breath of fresh air for ten minutes in the playground. I’ve been very impressed with the discipline and manners of the children, they line up beautifully and treat the teachers with great respect. This really is reflected in the quality of their learning. Another hour’s lesson is completed before lunch.
Now, lunchtime has been fascinating from a new teacher point of view – each teacher has a job; either feeding in the children to the hall class by class, supervising the children eating, or helping with the serving. The crème de la crème job is hoovering up the hall at the end of lunch time, especially when peas have been eaten for lunch. There really isn’t a moment to be bored! I have been known to eat my sandwiches at morning break in a panic thinking I might not have time to eat them later…Oh, and after lunch a shift in the playground. This is another way to get to know the children and the various friendships and personalities.
Two of my afternoons involve walking to the field for PE and sports afternoons. So far we have been extremely lucky with the weather, but I have a reserve of coats in the car for emergencies. The sports field is just stunning – when the sun’s out it’s just a lovely place to spend the afternoon sorting out teams for touch rugby or football! Even the walk is idyllic, past the golden Cotswold cottages in the village .
Following an afternoon of fresh air and PE, it’s down to the last job of the day – extended day clubs! From netball club to coding and environmental club, there a huge range for the children. Again, it’s lovely to spend time with other children from the school. Environmental club is my joint club for this year. We have spent a lot of time in the new school garden looking for seasonal signs of nature and building animal dens. When hot chocolate and biscuits were introduced we had another late influx of keen David Attenboroughs ( I’m not sure why?).
The day then ends at 4.30pm. We gather in the playground to deliver exhausted children back to their parents. A tidy of the Year 3 classroom and a gathering of books to take home to mark and it’s the end of a busy but fun day. Downstairs, after school wrap around care continues until 6pm. Then, the lights are off, and the school is once again silent for another day.
Emma Sandiford – Teacher
Windrush Valley Private School Oxfordshire