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Welcome Letter Olney Infant Academy, Spinney Hill Road, Olney, MK46 5AD. Tel: 01234 711388

Dear Parents We are pleased to welcome you and your child to Olney Infant Academy. This prospectus will provide information about our school, its aims, organisation and facilities. We are an Ofsted “outstanding” school, in every category, and in June 2011 this achievement allowed us to be one of the first primary schools in the country to convert to academy status, free of Local Authority control. Our children’s attainment is amongst the best in the country; every year Ofsted tell us that in reading, writing and mathematics our results are “significantly higher than national expectations”. As a priority we serve the people of Olney and the surrounding area and we are proud of our strong links with all sections of this community. If places are available, however, we are happy to take pupils from further afield. We aim to provide a high quality education within a happy, secure, warm and caring environment. We are very proud of our school ethos, the sea of happy children’s faces, and the quality of all our staff. We have the lowest staff turnover of any school in the Milton Keynes area! We also have excellent facilities which only a school of this size can provide; our size also allows us to organise lots of special visitors to school and trips out of school! We believe that your child will get the best possible start to their education. We would like you to feel that you are able to play an active part in your child’s learning and involve yourself in all aspects of school life. The very best way to find out about our school is to visit us while we are at work. If you would like to do so, or require any further information, please contact us. We are always proud to show people around the school! Yours sincerely


Steve Dunning

Jeremy Rawlings


Chair of Governors

Aims and Values

Our Aims and Values “Happily Learning Together” This simple phrase encompasses our ethos. We strongly believe that for children to learn they need to be happy. If you’ve already visited our school you will know that the children are happy, friendly, polite and well-behaved. They are a joy to work with and our staff love coming in each day almost as much as the children do! And it’s not just the children who learn; staff at all levels are constantly developing, seeking higher qualifications and carrying out action research (with the support of the University of Nottingham) to try to make our school even better. We have five broad aims, which are to: •

Provide a happy, safe and stimulating environment

Value others and ourselves

Give everyone the opportunity to achieve their full potential

Prepare children for their future

Put the school at the heart of the community.


Outstanding curriculum

Our Outstanding Curriculum Despite the freedom our academy status brings, we work very closely with Olney Middle School and continue to provide a broad and balanced curriculum based on the National Curriculum. We also teach Religious Education. Questions concerning sex education may arise naturally and it is the policy of our school for teachers to answer children’s questions honestly and sensitively. Difficult or explicit questions may be deferred until a discussion with parents has taken place. In all year groups the teaching will focus on the needs of children at their current level of development. A copy of our Sex Education policy, determined by Governors in conjunction with parents and the local authority, is available from the school. We teach the full range of subjects but there is an emphasis on the basic skills of reading (including phonics), writing, speaking and listening and mathematics. Children are taught these subjects every day. Within each class a mixture of whole class, group and individual teaching methods are used as appropriate. We have an excellent adult to child ratio and have twenty teaching assistants (many of whom are trained teachers) and nursery nurses to work alongside the nine class teachers. Our outstanding curriculum is enlivened by a whole range of special weeks and activities. These include: •

Book Week

Healthy Living Week

African Week

Maths and Science Week

Christmas Concerts

Educational visits

Visiting artists, theatre groups and entertainers

Music workshops

Community events (including the Cherry Fair, Dickens of a Christmas, country dancing displays and, of course, Olney’s famous pancake race)!

Finally we mustn’t forget our school pets which include a guinea pig, a rabbit and lots of fish! As well as the chicks we hatch out each year, the caretaker’s cat…..and his collection of exotic creatures which are introduced to the children each year!

Reporting Progress We use a detailed system of target setting and progress checking throughout the school. Parents are invited to discuss their child’s progress with the child’s teacher each term. Other meetings are arranged when required to inform parents about matters such as changes to the curriculum or assessment arrangements. Records of achievement for each child are kept and show attainment and progress made across the curriculum. Achievements outside school in sports, music and other activities are also recorded. The record, alongside examples of work, provides the basis of the discussion at the parent and teacher interviews. All records are open to parents and may be seen by giving prior notice to the Headteacher. Records are passed on from class to class as a child moves through the school and are sent to the new school when a child transfers. In July of each year a written report is sent to parents detailing their child’s progress. In Year 2, children undertake statutory National Curriculum assessments. Results are reported to parents and included with written reports.



Our Buildings and Facilities Olney Infant Academy has fantastic facilities. Teachers from all over come to observe the quality of our Early Years practice (described by an inspector as amongst the best in the country). Part of the attraction is the extensive, covered outdoor classroom and children spend much of their time outside. There is also a woodland area and raised beds for planting fruit, vegetables and flowers. Our wildlife area and pond have recently been refurbished (with the help of the Big Lottery Fund) and now has new paths, information boards, nesting boxes and even a video camera which feeds live pictures to our school computers. Most importantly, the pond is teeming with wildlife! To coincide with our opening as an academy, and with the support of our PTA, we created a brand new, bright and spacious library stocked with thousands of pounds worth of brand new books. Our large school hall is ideal for PE and sport, music, drama and dance activities (as well as assemblies). We often welcome theatre groups and entertainers and with the stage at one end it really comes into its own for our annual Christmas nativity productions. The IT facilities and resources at Olney Infant Academy are second to none. We have a virtual learning environment (on the internet) which means you can log on at home and keep up to date with what your child is doing at school and support their learning. We have laptops and notebook computers for all classrooms and there is a large computer suite for whole-class teaching. Extensive grassed areas around the school are used for games and sporting activities and provide a pleasant area for play at break times. There is a hard playground and a grassy area with outdoor play equipment, including a trim trail. A further playground extension has pergolas, picnic tables and lots of seating including a special storyteller’s chair. The area provides plenty of shade for those hot summer playtimes!



Extra-curricular Activities The school operates a Breakfast Club which is open every morning from 7.45 - 8.45am. As a school with the Healthy Schools Award we only serve healthy food such as cereal, yogurt, toast, fruit, fruit juice, milk and water. We provide a few simple activities, table top games and children’s television. We also have a privately-run after-school club (SWASP), which operates every afternoon from 3.00 – 6.00pm. This can be used regularly or on an ad-hoc basis. Please contact Sue Watkins 07802 410472 for further details. Children from Olney Middle School are also able to attend. For an infant school we have an extensive range of extra-curricular clubs, after school, which are open to all our children. Generally these run from the end of the school day until between 4 and 4.15pm. These change from time to time, but currently we offer: •

French lessons

Spanish lessons

Milton Keynes Dons football coaching

Rugby coaching (from AFL Rugby)

Tennis coaching (led by Nigel Willard from Olney Tennis Club)

Little Drama Stars

There is also optional stringed instrument tuition for Year 2 children, which takes place during normal school hours.


Special Needs

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Olney Infant Academy is proud to be an inclusive school and pupils with special educational needs are at the top of our admissions criteria. A central aim of Olney Infant Academy is to enable each individual to develop their potential to the fullest extent. Within any class there is a range of ability. Children in some areas of the curriculum may have needs beyond the normal range and will therefore be identified as having special educational needs. All teachers are involved in identifying and providing for children with special educational needs. A senior member of staff co-ordinates the provision for children identified as needing help and arranges progress reviews with parents. A governor with responsibility for Special Educational Needs visits school regularly. We cater for children with special educational needs with and without statements. For these children individual learning programmes are devised and implemented through a variety of approaches including extra learning support in the classroom, small withdrawal groups and one-to-one support. We also support children with physical disabilities, hearing impairments and visual impairments. Governors are committed to making adaptations to the building wherever possible in order to provide equality of opportunity. We call upon various external agencies for support, including the Special Educational Needs and Disability Inclusion Service (SENDIS), educational psychologists, the Behaviour Support Team and the local speech and language therapy service. A copy of our SEN Policy is available on request.


School Day

The School Day School times are as follows: Mornings: 8.55 am - 12.00 noon Afternoons: 1.00 pm - 3.00 pm At the beginning of the day children are taken directly to their classroom between 8.45 and 8.55am. A free fruit snack is provided every day and eating this is part of their daily routine. All children have a 15 minute break in the morning and a 10 minute break in the afternoon. Year 2 Play Leaders are responsible for organising equipment and games each day and there is a Friendship Stop, run by Year 2 volunteers, where children can go if they are feeling sad or lonely. There is a daily assembly at 10.15am including a Celebration Assembly on Fridays when two or three children from each class are presented with a Special Achievement Certificate to celebrate a particular achievement that week. This could be for anything ranging from good work to politeness, good behaviour or maybe helping a new child to settle in. Lunches are served in two sittings between 12.00 and 1pm. Children may have a hot school meal, bring a packed lunch or go home for lunch. Hot lunches can be provided free of charge to those children whose parents are entitled. All children should be collected from outside their classrooms at the end of their session. Individual year groups will inform you of the specific arrangements for this.


Starting school

Starting School Starting school is an exciting yet anxious time for some children (and parents)! Every effort is made to ensure a smooth transition from home and pre-school / nursery. Prior to starting school, children and parents are invited to a series of drop-in sessions when they have the opportunity to spend some time with the class they will be joining and meet their future teacher. These visits enable children and parents to become familiar with the school and ask any questions they may have. This is followed by a morning when parents drop their child off so they can get used to being in school on their own. We also carry out “Time to Talk” home visits at the start of the term.

Uniform All children are encouraged to wear uniform. The school colour is bottle green. From the school office we sell green sweatshirts, cardigans, tracksuits (not needed in their first year), shorts, shower-proof fleeces, baseball caps and woollen hats, all embroidered with the school logo. The children wear white or gold polo shirts or white shirts. The polo shirts and white T-shirts (for PE) are also available from the school office. Boys wear grey trousers or shorts and grey or black socks. Girls wear grey pinafore dresses, skirts or trousers; in the summer some wear green and white checked or striped dresses. They wear white socks or plain green, grey or black tights. Book bags are an essential item and are also available from the school office.

PE Kit Children need to have suitable clothes for Physical Education. The following kit needs to be in school at all times in a drawstring bag (available from the school office): •


Plain white T-shirt

Plain dark shorts

Children have one outdoor PE lesson each week and will therefore need trainers and warmer clothing, to be brought in on that day only. Jewellery can be a hazard and in other schools serious injuries have been caused to children wearing jewellery, especially in PE. It is therefore advised that no jewellery be worn at school. Other valuable items should also not be brought into school.


Some Final Information

Organisation of Classes We aim to keep our class sizes as small as possible and organise children into single age class groups. The maximum class size is 30. All classes are of mixed ability. Each class is taught by its own qualified teacher and receives support from one or more teaching assistants.

Safeguarding (Child Protection) We take our responsibilities for child protection very seriously and have adopted the Milton Keynes Council policy. The designated teacher for child protection is the Principal and there is also a nominated governor. The Child Protection Policy can be seen on our Virtual Learning Environment or a hard copy can be requested from the school office.

Parking For reasons of safety no cars are brought into the school drive or car park between 8.40am and 9.00am and 2.55pm and 3.10pm. Parking outside school is limited so we encourage parents and children to walk to school if possible. If travelling by car we ask for consideration to those who live near to school by not parking in front of the drives of houses. Parking on the yellow zigzag lines is strictly forbidden and parking attendants attend regularly!

Security We take the issue of safety and security very seriously and our policy was drawn up in consultation with parents, police and the Local Authority. Access to school during the day is via the front door only, which has an entry system and CCTV. The back gate and gate to the Foundation area are unlocked only at the start and end of the day.

Communication We try to maintain high levels of communication with parents and they are very welcome to speak to their child’s teacher at the end of the day. The Principal has an “open door” policy and welcomes parents coming to see him at any time, often without the need for an appointment. Regular newsletters are sent home via the children’s book bags and include general school information as well as year group information about what the children are being taught each term and special events. Parents may also make written comments in reading or homework diaries. We try to give dates of known events up to a year in advance to assist parents’ planning. A huge amount of information is also available on our Virtual Learning Environment, for which log-in details are given when the children start school. The VLE also has activities for the children and is regularly updated.



We are very proud of our Ofsted “Outstanding” rating and we are the only school in the whole region with a “Grade 1” in every single box!

This is the top national award for the quality of our work in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The Healthy Schools Award recognises our efforts in promoting a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating and keeping fit. Our hot school meals meet all the Government’s stringent nutritional guidelines.

The Arts Council has recognised the quality of our work in all of the arts, including art, music and drama. We are particularly pleased with our involvement with the National Gallery’s “Take One Picture” scheme. We are the only school in the area to offer stringed instrument tuition in Year 2, too (it usually starts in Middle/ Junior schools)!

Investors in People have recognised the quality of our staff development. Many teaching assistants have worked their way up to a teaching qualification and we also have a reputation for producing headteachers – at least six local heads have come out of our school!

The Activemark recognises the high quality of our PE curriculum. All children get at least two hours PE a week and there are further after-school opportunities for football coaching (by the MK Dons), rugby and tennis coaching.

We are founding members of the Primary Schools Learning Network, a group of schools working with support from The University of Nottingham who try to improve teaching and learning through carrying out action research projects.

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Olney Infant Academy Prospectus  

Happily Learning Together