When Ilovebramhall.com visited Ladybrook Primary School a few months ago to meet headteacher, Debbie Presswood, it was Harvest Festival time and the school hall was stacked high with the spoils of an almighty supermarket with groceries and goods aplenty.
The families of Ladybrook had generously donated a large amount of food to support The Wellspring in Stockport. Staff and children had recently discussed the number of homeless people living in Stockport, and so decided that this year’s harvest would support this great local cause. To one side of the hall, there were also large numbers of other items such as toiletries, clothing and sleeping bags alongside rucksacks. The children had also decided to support The Wellspring Rucksack Project to try to help those without a home keep a bit warmer this winter.
“This must have taken a lot of organisation?” we asked Debbie.
“Actually the children helped to organise it themselves. The school council play an important role in such events and others throughout the year” Debbie explained.
In fact, the pupils at Ladybrook Primary School are closely involved in all aspects of school life. Children stand for election to the School Council with each class voting for their own Councillor. These fledgeling politicians meet after school and help to shape the agendas of their meetings. Some of you may have met the members of the school council when you visited Ladybrook on their recent open morning. Adults don’t show prospective parents around – the children do! This is their school and they are justifiably proud of it. They have a good understanding of what makes Ladybrook special and they like to share this. After the tours, parents are very complimentary about how well these children know their school. Children also have other roles and responsibilities in school; for example, running ‘The Healthy Snack Shack’ – the tuck shop! The current menu includes freshly baked bread, raisins, breadsticks and fresh juices.
Or, they may be librarians in the fantastic new library. Ladybrook has invested significantly in the learning environment and has commissioned an architect to create an exciting and inspiring new library. A huge retractable wall now opens up to reveal a stage for performances, a computing area and an upstairs library – and if you don’t fancy taking the stairs to come back down, you can always come down the slide! Outside in the playground, one of the children’s favourite features is the ‘Playpod’, a chalet with equipment that encourages the children to use the contents and their imaginations to build whatever they want to play with, some favourites being dens and rope tyre swings.
Ilovebramhall.com was impressed by how focused the school is on each child’s interests and needs in order to provide them with a broad and balanced education. Children are encouraged to contribute to the planning of the curriculum; their ideas are gathered each term and teachers plan according to these interests whilst also meeting the demands of the National Curriculum.
“Our focus is on nurturing ‘the whole child’ and how we can adapt our teaching to fit each child. Not every child has the same interests, nor do they all have the same learning styles so we adapt to suit them. Of course, we strive for high academic standards. To do this, and to inspire lifelong learning, it’s important to find every child’s area of interest and build on that to get them hooked into learning from an early age,” Debbie told us.
It’s no surprise that the school received an ‘Outstanding’ judgement from their most recent Ofsted inspection. Operating a single form entry system, a Nursery for up to 40 children and an out of school club from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to help support busy parents, the school has achieved a great deal of success. With a low turnover of staff; high expectations and a continuing desire to always improve; generation after generation of families attending the school and retired staff returning just to volunteer, it’s no wonder that Ladybrook Primary School has become an essential part of the local community.
Debbie added, “We pride ourselves on being a family-friendly, community school. We have an open door policy for parents and we strive to make each child’s journey to becoming a responsible citizen and lifelong, confident learner a challenging and exciting one.”