What Makes Bramingham Unique?
Our Senior Leadership Team were all class teachers at Bramingham when it first opened, almost 25 years ago. We strongly believe in a thematic approach to learning and meeting individual needs to the best of our ability. As class teachers we always taught in a cross-curricular way. As a previous advisory teacher for developing a thematic approach in schools I was fortunate to be appointed as Deputy Head of Bramingham before it opened, and was able to ensure that we provided thematic learning and a creative curriculum which was both broad and balanced. We have always supported children with physical and medical needs. This led to us being selected to provide provision for children with physical and medical needs.
We see ourselves as a training school. ‘Meeting individual needs to the best of our ability’ extends to meeting adults’ needs too. We believe it is important to ‘grow our own’. We have been very successful in this and have not had to face staffing challenges that other schools in Luton have. Many staff have started their time at Bramingham as volunteers. They have then become teaching assistants, completed a degree and then completed a PGCE or Schools Direct programme with SHIRE, a local SCITT that I am involved in. Teaching assistants who express a desire to teach are supported to achieve this goal. They are observed, they can attend Inset, they are given a varied timetable which might include short periods of time covering whole classes. They have opportunities to develop their skills by working with a variety of teachers and children.
We have many part time staff and although this poses challenges, the strengths outweigh the challenges faced. Many of our staff have had children who have been through Bramingham and we have several members from the same family. It is important that we share the same values and ethos, and of course, a ‘Can Do’ attitude.
We have excellent training for teaching assistants who are paid to attend fortnightly training which is run weekly, one week for TAs providing 1 to 1 support, and the other week for our TAs who provide larger group and class support. We also pay for a weekly written evaluation which provides an excellent insight into the activities, the learning and the teaching which takes place in each classroom. It gives me an overview of both children and staff.
Our teaching team works incredibly hard in order to meet the needs of the children in their classes. We have had up to 5 children in a year group with EHCPs/statements. We have children on individualised curriculums, curriculums that will develop life skills, and teachers are used to taking responsibility for up to 5 additional adults in their classrooms.
Our children are used to having friends with a wide range of needs. We see great empathy amongst our children, many of whom have witnessed children walking unaided for the very first time. Our children understand that there are times when children might become very distressed and need to leave the classroom and work in a smaller, quieter space with less distractions. They understand that some of our children have to go to The Dell for physio and although they miss parts of lessons, what they have to do is equally hard work!
We keep in touch with so many of our previous pupils. They do extremely well because they develop into caring, questioning, hard working adults. They take with them the ethos and values of Bramingham. High school of course plays an important part in this – but when they talk to us they tell us that they loved their primary school days. Many teach in Bedfordshire.
A quote once said by an ex pupil, previous teaching assistant, now a teacher, said…
I am like a stick of rock…you can break any part of me but it will always say Bramingham running through the middle.
Whole School Assembly
We celebrated our netball team winning their first match and we watched Asharah, Year 5, a World Champion dancer on YouTube. But we also have very talented writers at Bramingham. For my assembly I asked a few talented writers to write me a card about Bramingham, to read to parents visiting the school to see if they would like their children to join us!
See some of their amazing results below.
Mrs. S. Flowers
Transcript of Marcus's card:
Bramingham Primary School is a unique experience for children. If you want to know why read on....
In this particular school you get to vote for who you want school council and house captain to be! Maths lessons always have something to challenge you, also your teacher will happily help you if you need any help. In maths from Year 3 onwards you are put into maths groups. Your teacher will make sure your work is hard, but not so hard you won't be able to do it. In PE you get to go on many competitions and try exciting new sports. Our wonderful PE teachers also offer a variety of after school clubs. At Bramingham the students are like meerkats looking out for each other. Your child will find that at Bramingham all of the topics have something that will interest your child. We will be happy to see you.
Transcript of Jehu's card:
Bramingham is a unique learning establishment for children aged 4 - 11. Staff strive to improve the academic achievements of every pupil; they teach a variety of methods so that pupils can explore the uses of mathematics amd literature.
At Bramingham everyone is included - the school uniform has been adapted to cater for children with physical and learning disabilities.
The population of Bramingham is racially diverse. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities for pupils to express their culture as well as learning about other cultures.
Teachers show the children that they should treat one another respectfully. The teachers are available if a child wants to talk about problems at home or at school. That's what makes Bramingham special to me.
Transcript of Connor's card:
Our rules are...
Encourage each other
Ask awesome questions
Never give up
We have a variety of fun and exciting subjects. Children might think subjects are boring but the teachers make sure that we do cool activities to help us learn. Our subjects include maths, English, PE, science, art, music, spellings and phonics.
The teachers and teachers' assistants at Bramingham care about the children's happiness and success. They encourage all the children to try their best and to be positive in everything they try to do.
Bramingham organises school trips based around the topics we are learning about. This is really fun and it helps to understand the topics more easily.