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The Spinney

School Information

Welcome to the School Information page.

This page contains a wide range of information on The Spinney School. If you are a new parent, a prospective parent, or have children at the school, please familiarise yourself with the school procedures and routines below.

If you have any questions about the school, please look at the rest of this website or contact the school office or the head teacher.

Admissions admissions

There are seven classes in the school. Children are taught in year groups from Foundation through to Year 6. In addition to classroom based learning, children are taught in the learning bay, the Team Room, in the school grounds and on educational visits. The school's published admissions number is 30.

Admissions to The Spinney Primary School are organised by the Local Authority Admissions Officers. For more information please click here.

If children are 4 on August 31st they may start at the Spinney at the beginning of the Autumn term. We have a staggered entry over an initial three week period to allow the children sufficient time to settle in and by the fourth week it is hoped that all the children will be in full-time. We will however, consult with parents over what is best for their child.

During the Summer term we organise a number of drop-ins and a special Teddy Bear Picnic so that you and your child can find out about our school. The Foundation Stage teacher will also try to visit your child in their nursery setting where this is practicable.

Nursery provision for children of 3+, is shared between a number of providers including Homerton Nursery and Children's Centre, Colville Primary School, Cherry Hinton Church of England School and Little Cherries at Bewick Bridge School. Although we have no nursery on-site we work closely with colleagues in our local nurseries to ensure a smooth transition. Full criteria for admission to the school are available in our Admissions policy.

As with many Cambridgeshire schools there is some pupil mobility within the school year. If a place becomes available for a year group other than Foundation Stage and you are interested in your child joining The Spinney please contact Admissions Officers in the Local Authority for more information.

Ethos and Values ethos/values

To provide an education which develops the child, intellectually, academically, physically, socially, emotionally, culturally and morally To provide a rich stimulating curriculum that promotes high expectations and secures high standards through engaging, interactive, and stimulating programmes of study.

To provide an environment where each child is valued as an individual with unique skills and talents and is made to feel special and unique.

To encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning and be encouraged to achieve their potential.

To offer a local/global curriculum where children are encouraged to take care of and appreciate the world and the people around them.

To provide a broad-based curriculum, including delivery of the National Curriculum:

  • Which secures high attainment in the core skills of Maths, English, Science and ICT
  • to develop the ability to observe, question, hypothesise and solve problems
  • to develop communication skills

To build a strong sense of a learning community based on positive communication and effective partnerships between home and school.

To encourage and expect parents to take an active role in their child's learning in school and support their child's learning at home.

To celebrate the diversity of our society, to be inclusive and to promote respect and tolerance of all religions, cultures and backgrounds.

To enable the children to

  • Develop creative and critical thought
  • Develop aesthetic and creative awareness
  • Investigate concepts of beauty in the natural and man-made world
  • Introduce them to the world of artists, writers and musicians, through visits and visitors
  • Develop a moral, social, cultural, and spiritual awareness
  • To develop learning links with a range of partners such as The Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettles Yard and The University of Cambridge
Ofsted ofsted

Some comments made by Ofsted after the last inspection:

"The Spinney is an outstanding school where pupils thrive in both their academic and personal development. Pupils love school and learning and are exceptionally well prepared for their move to secondary education. Parents are almost unanimous in their support and are pleased to have chosen the school for their children."

"The many positive comments from parents are summed up by the comment: 'I am proud that my children attend The Spinney. There is always such a lovely atmosphere amongst staff, pupils and parents, and the children's enthusiasm for learning reflects the effort and the values that the teachers invest in the children."

"Outstanding teaching and the excellent curriculum mean that pupils thoroughly enjoy lessons. Teachers are highly skilled in managing the pupils' behaviour and ensure that classrooms present a calm and orderly learning atmosphere in which relationships are excellent and pupils are confident and secure."

"Excellent attention is paid to pastoral care and the well-being of pupils. This helps them to feel safe and secure in their surroundings so they develop well as individuals. Consequently, their personal development is outstanding."

"The leadership and management of the Headteacher are outstanding. Working in close partnership with the Deputy Headteacher, who also provides outstanding leadership, she is much admired by governors, parents, staff and pupils. She has ensured that the school's overall effectiveness has remained outstanding. She has a very clear vision for the future of the school, which includes a clear focus on raising achievement and standards."

The full Ofsted report may be read here

Dress Code dress code

We expect all children attending children The Spinney to be dressed neatly and in keeping with the dress code so that they feel smart, part of the school team focussed and ready to learn. You may purchase school uniform with the delightful Spinney logo by going to the Your School Uniform website.

Our school dress code comprises any of the following:

School uniform

  • Red sweatshirts, cardigans or fleeces
  • Red or white polo shirts
  • Plain white shirts
  • Grey or black trousers or skirts
  • Red and white gingham summer dresses

PE uniform

  • Black shorts, or jogging trousers
  • Plain white T-shirt tops
  • Plimsolls for indoor PE and (in the summer), trainers for outdoors

Additional Equipment

  • A change of indoor shoes are essential e.g. slippers, plimsolls or crocs
  • A named water bottle
  • A named book bag
  • Wellington boots

Children should wear stout school shoes (not trainers). Football shirts or other branded clothing must not be worn as such items can lead to the unnecessary competition for the "latest and best" which can be upsetting for children (and parents on a budget). Please ensure that your child's clothes are marked with their name.

For Health & Safety long hair should be tied back (e.g. plaits or bunches) and only small stud earrings may be worn. These must be removed during PE. However, where this is not possible children will be given small pieces of tape to cover the earrings. Nose studs are not allowed. No other jewellery, except watches, may be worn in school.

School Development Priorities kite

See our School Development Priorities document here.

Curriculum curriculum

The Creative Curriculum
The curriculum is the totality of pupils' learning experiences. At The Spinney Primary School we believe that our curriculum should be broad, balanced and relevant, meet the needs of all children whatever their ability and help to develop the whole child, spiritually, morally, academically, creatively, intellectually and physically.

The taught curriculum consists of the Early Years Foundation Stage Programme of Study and The National Curriculum and the wider curriculum. We ensure the children have a range of learning experiences that challenge, stimulate and promote thinking and learning. The curriculum meets statutory requirements. The curriculum is carefully planned and balanced through a whole school approach following The National Curriculum. Much of the work is planned around themes which usually last for a term or half a term. Parents are given termly copies of a curriculum map detailing the programme of study and are updated on each child's progress through Termly meetings with teachers. Children are made aware of the key learning objectives at the start or end of each lesson.

Teaching is undertaken in various styles, sometimes whole class instruction, sometimes with individuals, sometimes in group work to enable the learning to match each child's ability. There is an emphasis on learning for application in real situations. The need to support learning by providing an appropriate context is met, in the main, by organisation around cross-curricular themes. This learning is richly enhanced by making learning links with other providers and partners e.g. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle's Yard, The University. Visitors and parents are also welcomed as sources for the children to extend their knowledge and understanding.

Key Stage 1 teacher use a range of phonics and reading schemes to develop all children's skills, including Every Child A Reader, Phonics Storytime, PELS and ReadingWise.

The Spinney teachers know that children learn better when they are excited and engaged and at the Spinney we are constantly looking to provide stimulating and motivating learning opportunities. To do this we work with parents and the whole community to think creatively about how we can use the skills of everyone in the school. We look for improvement, setting our own challenging targets and work tirelessly to build on success.

Primary education is a vital stage in children's development, laying the foundations for life. But it should also be a positive, exciting and enjoyable, rich experience for all our children. The Spinney has signed up to The Cambridgeshire Creative and Cultural Manifesto for the Curriculum and we believe that the planned curriculum should be an adventure, a journey of learning undertaken by the children, class and teacher. Children are involved in planning aspects of the curriculum and contribute to the Termly Curriculum map.

Learning Beyond the Classroom
The Spinney curriculum was judged to be "outstanding" during our last OfSTED partly due to the number of additional educational visits that are planned for the children.

As a school we believe that learning is not limited to the walls of our building but can happen anywhere. To this end, staff are encouraged to be responsive to the many learning opportunities available in our historic village and our prestigious University City. Therefore when a learning opportunity arises staff are encouraged to take advantage of nearby resources and activities such as the Botanic Gardens, University and adopt a "Get on The Bus Approach" to the curriculum by taking the local bus into the City. Similarly, staff use the outdoor learning environment as much as possible for example using the outdoor space in Early Years, the playground and adjacent playing field and the nearby Spinney Nature reserve.

For this reason parents must ensure that their child is provided with suitable clothing for the very mixed British weather conditions. One of our sayings at The Spinney is "There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes".

Curriculum Policy
Our Curriculum policy can be found here.

Learning at Home
We greatly value the importance of children's learning at home and The Spinney works in partnership with parents, recognising that learning is not limited to the school building or school hours. We recognise that the children have access to a wide variety of educational experience out of school, for example through dance lessons, music lessons and martial arts. All of these have an important role in developing the whole child.

One of the most important ways that parents and carers can support their children's learning is to read to them or listen to the children's reading regularly and to foster a sense of enjoyment in the spoken and written word. Other activities such as cooking, board games, gardening, family events or visiting museums together are greatly encouraged and can of course be hugely beneficial.

Each week the children will bring home a number of activities designed to support the learning objectives that they have been working on in class. This may be research activities, maths puzzles or investigations. The children may also have specific tasks in order to practise key skills such as reading, spellings or times tables. The type and frequency of homework will depend on the age or ability of your child.

The school makes use of Maths No Problem, a primary maths teaching programme. Videos to help parents understand their approach can be found here (external website).

Parents are asked to support their children by working alongside them giving them regular, quality time and encouragement and ensuring that they have completed tasks by the given date as necessary.

The School Day clock

Attendance and Punctuality
The school hours are from 8.55-12.00, and 12.55-3.15 pm every day. Children must arrive at school in good time, ready to learn. Every minute matters!

Both Key Stages have a 15 minute playtime in the morning, there is approximately an hour for lunch and a 10 minute runaround in the afternoon for children as necessary.

Excellent attendance is expected. Parents are politely asked to book routine doctor and dentist appointments outside of school hours or during holiday time. Absence will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. Holidays during term time will not be authorised.

Registers are taken promptly at 8:55 and 12:55, and children are expected to be in class, ready to learn, by these times.

Playtime Snacks
The school is proud to be a Health Promoting School for this reason we ask parents to provide their child with a healthy break time snack such as fruit or vegetables. On Fridays, however, children may bring a healthy treat type snack such as a cereal bar. The school participates in the Fruit and Vegetable Scheme for pupils in Foundation Stage and KS1, so parents do not need to send their child to school with a snack for break time as fruit or vegetables will be provided for them each day.

Health, Safety and Welfare health, safety and welfare

Child Protection
Under the Education Act 2002 (section 175), schools must "make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children". We will endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected listened to and valued. The school will therefore be alert to signs of abuse and neglect and will follow the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures to ensure that children receive appropriate and effective support and protection.

Parents/carers should know that the law requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to a concern about a child's welfare, including risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. The staff will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the parent/carer, and where possible inform them of the referral to Social Care. This will only be done where such discussion will not place the child at increased risk of significant harm.

In accordance with local Information Sharing protocols, we will ensure that information is shared securely and sensitively. Information will only be shared with other services where it is deemed necessary and proportionate to ensure that children and young people are safe and receive the right service.

Schools will seek advice from Social Care when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Occasionally, concerns are passed on which are later shown to be unfounded. Parents/carers will appreciate that the Designated Persons for Child Protection was carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and acting in the best interests of all children.

The headteacher and the Deputy headteacher are the designated personnel for child protection. If you have any concerns about a child, please bring it to their attention.

"The Spinney is committed to safeguarding all the children in its care and promoting their well-being."

The Spinney ensures security measures are in place to safeguard our community. Children arrive at school no earlier than 8.45 am, when they may wait in the playground prior to going along to their classes at 8:55. Close of register is at 9.05, at which time the doors are locked around the school. After that time all children and parents must come to the school office via the main entrance where they will be asked to sign in and record the reason for lateness.

Visitors are asked to sign in and wear a visitor's identification badge. Children and parents are instructed not to open the front door even though it may seem polite to do so.

We want the children to be as independent as possible, learning to take care of their belongings responsibly. For this reason we encourage parents and carers to allow their children to come into the school building independently. This ensures that the children settle quickly and learning starts promptly.

At the end of the school day at 3:15pm parents are asked to wait outside in the playground. At other times the children are asked not to speak to anyone at the school gate. Although it may be your child you are speaking to, others will not know this. If collecting a child during school time parents should report first to the office.

The gates are locked each night and we ask parents to ensure that they do not allow their children on to school property after school hours.

Health and Safety
The school has a Health, Safety and Welfare policy which is reviewed regularly. The school's Health and Safety governor makes regular tours of the school with the caretakers to inspect for Health and Safety issues and attend to matters arising. The school has a responsibility to all visitors and contractors visiting the school. We have a responsibility to all who work and visit the school. Any member of staff, parent/carer or governor is encouraged to bring any health and safety concern to the immediate attention of the headteacher or caretaker.

Open Communications open communications

We believe that a warm welcome, a positive approach and easy access to information are key to securing effective home/school communication. There are a number of ways for information to be shared between home and school, including:

  • A weekly newsletter
  • Whiteboards by every classroom for day-to-day news and updates
  • "Stay & Play" days and school open days
  • Celebration Sharing Assemblies
  • Termly "Teaching and Learning Together" events calendars
  • Curriculum maps of the learning planned for the term
  • Open Fridays - pop in with you child to have a look at your child's work
  • Informal communications at the end of the school day
  • Parent View
  • A post box available in the front entrance for your suggestions and idea
  • The school uses Ofsted's ParentView to gather feedback about the school. If you wish to express your views about the school via this website, please click here
  • Termly parent-teacher meetings and pupil progress reports
  • Friendly, helpful staff in the office who can help direct you to any information you might need
  • A dedicated Spinney Family Participation coordinator to signpost ways for you to get even more involved in your child's learning in school or to suggest additional services
  • Senior teachers and the Headteacher and/or Deputy headteacher around on the playground at the start and end of most days
  • This website!
Home-School Partnerships home school partnerships

The Spinney actively promotes the principle of parents as partners in learning. Research clearly demonstrates that parents' active engagement with their children's school and their learning is the most important long-term influence on academic success and behaviour.

The Spinney school is committed to securing strong family and community links, and there are a number of ways for parents to engage with their child's learning, the life of the school and contribute to its ongoing success. Ways to get involved include being part of the Friends, becoming a Governor, volunteering as a Learning Partners, volunteering with the gardening, helping with the supervision on Educational Visits. For more information please speak to your child's class teacher or the school office. All volunteers will require a List 99 check and parents volunteering on a regular basis will be asked to complete a CRB check. The Spinney is committed to safeguarding and promoting the well-being of all its pupils and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment.

The Spinney is proud to be a Learning Community and throughout the school year there are a number of activities to realise our school mission statement "Teaching and Learning Together". These include:

  • Termly Stay and Play
  • A week long Family Learning Festival every October
  • Invite your parent to school lunch
  • Little Ones Stay and Play
  • Keeping Up With The Children Courses
  • Curry and Curriculum
  • Helping Your Child to Read and Write at Home

For more information on any of these please see the termly Teaching and Learning events calendar.

Additional Educational Help additional help

We use a range of strategies and approaches to ensure that all our pupils succeed and achieve their academic and social potential. This includes programmes for Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts as well as a team of highly skilled teaching assistants who provide additional support in the class, lead interventions and may be assigned to pupils who specifically need additional in-class support. More information on Every Child A Reader and Every Child Counts can be found here.

We also have input from the Local Authorities Access to Learning Team and access to the Educational Psychologist.

We will always talk to you if we have concerns about your child, and are happy to talk with you if you have concerns. Reasonable adjustments are made to ensure that all pupils access the curriculum.

We aim to prevent disabled pupils in our school being placed at a substantial disadvantage. We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people with a disability are not treated differently without lawful justification. We will make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils and we will know we have succeeded when disabled pupils are participating fully in school life.

A copy of the school's accessibility plan can be found here.

The Spinney is an inclusive school. We recognise that every child is unique as so we personalise the learning to meet the needs of the pupils.

For more information on our inclusion and special needs policy, please see our Special Educational Needs policy or speak to our Inclusion leader.

Gifted and Talented
Where pupils are identified as being gifted or more able, personalised education will be provided for them. Please speak to Mr Mawson about our Gifted and Talented policy.

Pupil Participation pupil participation

There are a number of ways in which children participate and make a positive contribution to the life of the school. On entry into the school pupils are assigned a House and through good work and behaviour earn House points for their team. Vice Captains and House Captains are elected from Years 5and 6 and all children have an opportunity to work in their House Families as part of curriculum activities such as International Week and The Big Count.

There is a fabulous school council which meets regularly to think of ways to improve the school.

There is also a well-established buddy system with older children taking responsibility for younger pupils. All pupils are expected to take responsibility for the ongoing success of the school and to participate actively in their learning and the life of the school, including keeping it tidy.

The school council organise fundraising and social events. In recent years they have raised money for Children in Need, Barnados and ChildLine.

School Travel Plan school travel plan

The Spinney encourages families to use sustainable methods of transport such as walking, or cycling. While we are fortunate to be located in a beautiful residential area, we are aware that the number of cars arriving to deliver or collect children from school can create a great deal of congestion and a possible disturbance to our neighbours. We therefore ask that where parents are able that they walk to school or cycle or scooter. Further details of this expectation can be found in the school's travel plan. Children on bikes must wear cycle helmets, and the children in Year 6 take a safer cycling course. We are always pleased to hear from parents who would like to help in this course.

An important aspect of our social teaching is to respect and care for each other's property. However, we advise parents that cycles are bought to school at the owner's risk, and the school cannot accept responsibility for any damage.

Friends of The Spinney friends of the spinney

The Spinney is fortunate to have a wonderful Parents' association - The Friends - which holds many fund-raising and social occasions throughout the year. These are parents of children at the school who are very supportive in many different ways, giving generously of their time, skills and energy. They organise Quiz Nights, Discos, Christmas Fayres and other activities that raise money for the school. Over the years this has enabled the school to enhance its IT, library and playground provision.

It is expected that all Spinney parents at some point in their time in the Spinney Learning Community will volunteer some of their time where this is possible. For more information about how you can make a difference and make the Spinney an even better place, please visit the Friends' page or contact the chair of the Friends via the school office.

Clubs clubs

Information about school clubs can be found here.

Teacher Assessments and National Tests teacher assessments and national tests

Foundation Stage Profile
The Foundation Stage Profile is a tool to track the children's progress throughout nursery and their first year of school. It assists the teacher in identifying and providing for children's individual needs from entry, through to the end of the year. The teacher, supported by the teaching assistants makes on going observations which feed into the end of term assessment.

Phonics Screening Check
At the end of year 1 in June, all year 1 pupils take a simple decoding check to see whether they have acquired the 44 phonemes. Pupils are given a list of 32 real and nonsense words to decode. The information is used by teachers to identify any learning gaps. Parents are informed whether their child has met the expected number of words.

Key Stage 1 SATs
These assessments take place during the summer term for children in Year 2. They are a mixture of tests and class based tasks. At the end of Year 2, parents receive information about their child's progress in Year 2, as well Teacher Assessment scores for English and Maths. Please come and talk to us if you have any questions about this process.

Key Stage 2 SATs
At the end of Year 6, there are National tests in English, Maths and Science. Teacher assessments also contribute to the final attainment level for pupils in Writing. In addition parents are informed of their child's teacher assessed level which give an impression of overall attainment in the Key Stage.

Key Stage 2 Tests and tasks
At the end of Years 3, 4 and 5, children may take tests in English and Maths. This gives pupils useful experience of sitting a timed test. In addition teachers use pupil progress measures to assess attainment.

School Performance Data school performance data

An Outstanding School
The Spinney is a high-achieving school. We offer a stimulating and creative curriculum that promotes pupils' academic and intellectual abilities. Please click here for our most recent Ofsted report.

Foundation Assessments 2017

Good Level of Development
Spinney Local Authority National
Not achieved 33% 29% 29%
Achieved 67% 71% 71%

Y1 Assessments 2017

Phonics Screening Check
Spinney Local Authority National
Below threshold 0% 22% 20%
At/above threshold 100% 78% 81%

Key Stages 1 and 2 Statutory Assessments 2017

Key Stage 1 Reading
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 3% 26% 25%
At ARE 57% 49% 50%
Higher Standard 40% 25% 25%
At ARE /
Higher Std
97% 74% 75%

Key Stage 1 Writing
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 20% 36% 31%
At ARE 50% 50% 53%
Higher Standard 30% 25% 25%
At ARE /
Higher Std
90% 75% 78%

Key Stage 1 Maths
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 3% 27% 24%
At ARE 63% 54% 55%
Higher Standard 33% 19% 21%
At ARE /
Higher Std
97% 73% 56%

Key Stage 1 Science
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 7% 19%
At ARE 93% 82%

Key Stage 2 Reading
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 13% 27% 29%
At ARE 53% 44% 47%
High Score 33% 29% 25%
At ARE /
High Score
87% 73% 71%

Key Stage 2 Writing*
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 10% 27% 24%
At ARE 73% 59% 59%
High Score 17% 14% 18%
At ARE /
High Score
90% 73% 76%

Key Stage 2 Maths
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 3% 28% 25%
At ARE 47% 48% 50%
High Score 50% 22% 23%
At ARE /
High Score
97% 71% 73%

Key Stage 2 GPS
Spinney Local Authority National
Below ARE 10% 25% 23%
At ARE 47% 47% 46%
High Score 43% 28% 31%
At ARE /
High Score
90% 75% 77%

ARE: Age-Related Expectations
GPS: Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
 Data not yet available
* KS2 Writing is teacher-assessed, other KS2 data is SATs-based

Further information about the school's performance can be found on the Department for Education's website school and local statistics page and on Ofsted's school data dashboard page.

Staff staff

Information about the school staff and their roles can be found here.

Religious Education and Collective Worship R.E.

RE is taught through the school, following the county's agreed syllabus, and covering many world religions. There is a daily collective assembly in school broadly based on Christian principles in accordance with the Education Act of 1988. There is a programme of assemblies for the week which include assemblies led by the senior teachers, pupil participation assemblies led by the children, special assemblies led by parents, celebration assemblies, and assemblies led by the vicar of St Andrew's and the minister Mr Boys from the Methodist Church.

You have the right to withdraw your child from religious observance.

Sex and Relationships Education S.R.E.

The Governors have agreed that sex and relationships education should be taught in school, and it is taught as part of the PHSCE programme of study (Personal, Health, Social and Citizenship education). Children will receive sex and relationship education lessons throughout their time at The Spinney. The headteacher will work alongside the class teachers in Years 4, 5 and 6 to support the children's learning in this area. Parents and carers will be notified before SRE programme lessons begin and will be informed about which aspects of SRE will be taught in each year group.

We value your support as partners in learning and the children will be encouraged to share their learning with you at home. Please let us know if you do not want your child to receive those aspects of sex education which are not statutory. If you wish to discuss our approach further, please do come to see us.

Physical Education P.E.

A full P.E. and Games programme is delivered to the children in accordance with the National Curriculum. This includes games such as football, netball, tennis, tag-rugby and P.E., including dance, gymnastics, swimming and orienteering. Specialist Premier Sport coaches deliver one lesson a week to each class. Information about funding and provision can be found here.

For health and safety reasons children must have a complete change of clothes for P.E., i.e. a change of top, a pair of shorts and a change of shoes (see Dress Code).

Please inform the school if, for any reason, your child cannot take part in P.E. lessons.

Secondary Schools secondary schools

We work closely with secondary schools to ensure a smooth transition for pupils. Colleagues from the secondary schools visit the Spinney to meet the children, and during years 5 and 6 there is a range of transition and induction activities for the children to enjoy.