School is small but it is a big success!
St Andrew's Primary may only be a small school but it has celebrated a big success. The North Kilworth school is the top-performing primary in Leicestershire and joint 10th in England for Sats results – the tests every 11-year-old takes at the end of primary school in maths, English, and science.
It has only 95 pupils, but staff say this is an advantage.
All pupils achieved the appropriate level (level four) for their age and many achieved level five in last year's Sats.
It is a fact the school is very proud to be shouting about.
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Head teacher Heather White, who has only been in post since September, said: "We're a small team but teachers here are very hard-working, as are the pupils.
"Part of our success is down to size. Because we're small, we know every pupil individually and that means if any are falling behind it's immediately apparent. But we also have fantastic facilities and a creative curriculum that's varied.
"It makes learning much more fun and in turn means the children are happy and enthusiastic about coming here and getting on with lessons.
"Pupils themselves are involved in passing on skills, so that older pupils read to the younger ones.
"We hope that in doing so we can encourage more children to read books.
"Not only that, but we have a wealth of school clubs for them to choose from, including basketball, netball, computing, and gardening. There's also a school choir.
"Every pupil also gets the chance to go swimming once a week for at least half the year and that's pretty impressive given our village location.
"I think those enrichment activities are another big element of what makes our pupils happy to come here, and that's half the battle."
She said parents were also heavily involved in their children's learning.
"We encourage them to assist with homework and to read, or be read to, by their children," she said. "There's a strong sense of community here, whether that's baking mince pies for pensioners in the village or singing Christmas carols to them.
"We have an open door policy and parents are welcome to come and talk to us at any time, no matter what the problem."
Every morning pupils take part in a "wake and shake" session.
Year five and six teacher Sarah Holmes said: "We're not afraid to try new things here and two years ago we decided to see if it would make a difference to pupils when they first arrived.
"We found it really gave them an added boost in the morning. They were ready to sit down and learn once they'd had a short burst of physical activity. Some of our parents even take part in it which is fantastic."
Youngsters at the school learn to use computers from a young age and everyone works towards an ICT qualification at the end of year six, which tests their ability to create data bases and spread sheets, among others.
Mrs Holmes said: "It's a very practical qualification to have and familiarises them early on with basic computer processes. They love doing it and we would hope that in the future, the school will be able to invest in iPads and Kindles to expand their knowledge even further.
"It's not about sitting down to do a test, pupils instead create a portfolio which demonstrates the skills they have learned."
Mrs Holmes has taught at the school for the past 14 years.
She said: "When I first arrived we had only 46 pupils, clearly we've grown in that time, as has our school site.
"We have a large school hall, which is fantastic for us, as many village schools tend to be in older, more cramped buildings, and we have extensive playing fields.
"We feel very lucky and privileged to work here."