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School report: Foxhills Infant School
IT’S the school that’s attached to its wild side.
Not only do the youngsters at Foxhills Infant School in Ashurst in the New Forest have top notch facilities inside, they also make good use of their outdoor space.
Not many schools can boast a nature trail through the school’s six acres of private woodland – so the staff at the popular school make the most of it and use the grounds all year round as an outdoor classroom.
Along with nurturing wildlife the school’s in-house gardening club looks after saplings and new plants while den-making encourages pupils’ creative design side and the story chair and seating makes for the perfect setting to engage children in literacy.
The woodland allows children to gain a better understanding of the world around them and learn to identify plants and wildlife in a safe environment.
The school was rated good by schools’ watchdog Ofsted and the new head teacher Ruth Linsley is keen to keep the school’s achievement rate high, which is already above the national average in reading, writing and maths.
The youngsters are encouraged to take advantage of the school’s library and talk in class about the books they have read. They are also encouraged to use computers as much as possible and ICT is embedded within all other subjects.
The children have helped to come up with their learning values: to share; make friends; be caring; being polite; thinking; working in teams; working hard; looking after the environment and happiness.
They also have the option to share their views on the decisions made within the school at the school council, where two representatives from each class meets with the head teacher every fortnight.
A number of clubs are held within the school, including a nurture group to support children who need a little extra social or emotional care.
Cassius Hill, Eva Hewitt and Titus Brice with pumpkins from the vegetable garden
THE school’s gardening club have grown a treat for Hallowe’en.
Youngsters have worked hard in their vegetable patch and have recently harvested their crops to take home.
Their three pumpkins have been put on display so that the rest of the school can see.
The club meets with Mrs Wallace every lunch time for half an hour to learn how to grow and identify plants.
AT Foxhills Infant School lessons take place both indoors and outside in the grounds.
This group of year R children put on their wellies and braved the rain to see what shapes, leaves and toadstools they could see around the school’s nature trail.
Youngsters followed the path as they looked out for the school’s deer and wild birds.
They stomped on the bridge to wake up the trolls and kept an eye out for the three bears while also identifying various shapes, plants and trees.
The trail is set within the school’s private patch of woodland, which is also home to an outdoor listening area, where children are told stories during the summer months.
A board walk has recently been installed so that the trail can be used throughout the year.
Pupils from Owls Class in the library
CHILDREN are encouraged to make good use of the school’s library and talk about the books they have enjoyed.
They ask and answer questions about the contents of the books, retell passages, reflect on what they have read and make predictions.
The library boasts a variety of both factual and fictional books to ensure there is something for
Children have daily phonic sessions, where they learn about the sounds of different
letters in English and their relationship to one another to support their spelling and writing skills.
YOUNGSTERS enjoy regular computer classes in their studio.
At Foxhills Infant School the ICT curriculum is embedded in other subjects and children use computers to help enhance and progress their learning, preparing them for a world where knowledge of technology is vital.
This Year 2 group practised their basic word processing skills by using their imaginations to write their own stories and changing font styles, sizes and colours to present their work.
Head teacher Ruth Linsley says:
“ENJOYMENT and fun in learning is the main ethos of Foxhills Infant School. We are very proud of the opportunities that our children have to access the curriculum in many different ways.
"This is just a flavour of the type of learning we offer.
"The children in Year R go out on weekly ‘welly walks’ in our six acre nature trail, where they enjoy using the natural environment to develop their skills of maths, literacy and science. We also encourage the children to use the school environment to enhance their learning in different areas by going on ‘shape walks’ around the school and even acting as tour guides to parents and visitors!
"We have a fantastic computer suite where the children learn many IT skills, including word processing, creating pictures and using the Internet to find and retrieve information.
"There is a huge love of reading in our school and we have a great library, which the children enjoy visiting and can choose from a variety of books to take home and share. We feel this helps us to maintain high standards in both reading and writing.
"Healthy living is another important focus for our school and our gardening club have continued to be very busy growing vegetables including their very own pumpkins which the children are extremely pleased with! The variety of games and activities the children participate in during PE sessions and after school clubs provides many opportunities for skill development in a range of sports.
"We really do feel that Foxhills Infant School lives out our motto of ‘Joy in Learning!’”
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