Why Choose Dartford Primary Academy?

Welcome from the Principal

We are a large three-form entry school with a split site (Infants and Nursery based at St Albans Road and Juniors based at York Road).  We have an excellent, established nursery provision with committed, dedicated staff.

Dartford Primary Academy is a welcoming, safe and happy place where everyone feels valued and is listened to. We aspire for all children to achieve their full potential in a stimulating environment that both nurtures and challenges them, enabling them to become independent and resilient learners.

Our motto – Determined, Persistent Achievers Learning to Change the World underpins the values for all in the academy.

Please join me by reading the information below to explore the journey your child will take here at DPA.  We are proud of our school and community and we look forward to seeing you soon.
 
Miss R Roberts | Principal
 

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Why Choose Dartford Primary Academy?

At DPA, we believe that children starting school deserve an exciting environment that engages, inspires and challenges. Our early years team ensure that positive relationships are nurtured so that children can feel happy and safe.

We recognise that transition is an important part of children starting school as they begin to explore a new setting and meet new faces. Previously, we have offered come and play days, story sessions and home visits – all of which have helped us to build that all important bond.

Our children are given the opportunity to learn through our Primary Years Program, providing them with a rich and engaging curriculum. Children learn to read and write through our Read, Write, Inc Phonics scheme and are taught these skills in line with their developmental age. We recognise that children learn at different paces and ensure the teaching and learning is tailored to enable all children to thrive.

More reasons why you should apply for a school place at DPA

By applying to Dartford Primary Academy, you also become part of Leigh Academies Trust.

The Trust was formed in 2008 with the linking of the Leigh Technology Academy and Longfield Academy under one governing body. Today, we encompass more than 20,000 students between the ages of 2 months and 19 in 32 primary, secondary and special academies including one all-through academy and one grammar school.

  • We care – about our pupils through our human scale approach to education, our staff and their well-being and the communities that we serve, driven by our high ideals and strong moral values.
  • We have boundless ambition – to achieve excellence for all and create confident young adults with high levels of resilience and integrity.
  • We work together – as one team in the belief that we are greater than the sum of our parts. We foster an enterprising culture through collaboration and in close partnership with industry and other educators.
  • We keep getting better – using our ‘can-do’ attitude towards continuous improvement and innovation.

1776 school worldwide teach the International Baccalaureate Primary Year Programme and only ten of these are in the UK. As we work towards becoming an IB World School, we will help your child to learn more so that they are able to do more.

We are a Read Write Inc school and Phonics is taught daily. Children are encouraged to read not only to develop their skills but also for enjoyment. We have held workshops and parent groups throughout the year so that you know how your child is getting on and how you can best help them.

Our children have been able to experience a variety of trips and event days to supplement their learning. Some examples of these include:

  • Trips: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Kidzania, Greenwich Observatory, Minnis Bay
  • Clubs: Cookery, STEM, Story Club, Football, Hockey, Multiskills, Sewing
  • Visitors: Eagle Heights, Zoolab, Pantomime, NSPCC, Astrodome, Dinosaur team
  • Experience Days: Roald Dahl, Jeans for Genes, European Day of Languages, Victorian day, World Book Day, World Mental Health day, Diwali day

At DPA, our children have access to a wide range of facilities to enhance their learning:

  • Dance studio
  • Design and Technology room for cooking
  • Library areas
  • Playgrounds with natural areas
  • Access to tablets and chromebooks for online learning
  • Newly refurbished classrooms

We know that the key to success for a child is a strong link between home and school.

We have an Inclusion Team and Family Liasion Officers who hold a wealth of expertise, online platforms called Tapestry and Class Dojo to track your child’s progress at home and school, parent workshops and training sessions, contact books and a dedicated school Facebook page to help keep you updated.

Welcome from the EYFS Lead

Thank you for considering Dartford Primary for your child. On this website you will find information about our school, staff, facilities, and application process. After reading this site, should you have any queries please feel free to contact our school office via office@dartfordprimary.org.uk.  

At Dartford Primary Academy, we recognise how important early education is for our youngest learners. Our qualified staff spend time building relationships with children and families to ensure everyone feels valued and secure, as we believe children learn best when they feel safe and happy in their environment.

Our classrooms have a range of learning opportunities and, following the IB Primary Years Program alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage, we foster an inquisitive and engaging space that follows children’s interests and encourages them to be curious about the world around them. We encourage our children to think, make choices and become independent learners, challenging them to extend their learning. In Reception, the children learn to realise they are part of a wider school community and they grow in confidence as they become global citizens.

We believe that secure relationships are the key to unlocking potential and enabling our children to thrive – by offering a balance of adult directed and child initiated activity, we are able to scaffold learning and support children to challenge themselves within a familiar environment. Our learning spaces are planned and resourced to encourage early literacy, numeracy, creativity and physical development and we encourage collaborative play to support children in building positive relationships with their peers.

Emotional development and wellbeing are a priority at Dartford Primary Academy and our learning environments encourage children to talk openly about feelings and relationships. The bonds that we make with the children enable us to support them in becoming confident, resilient and to persevere through challenges they may encounter along the way.

Outside play is vital for children’s physical development and we are fortunate to have a large outdoor space where children are able to keep active, explore new possibilities and discover more about the world around them. Children are able to access this area multiple times through the school day and this space provides an abundance of opportunities such as; learning about nature, water play, large construction, physical development and imaginative play.

Our Reception classes offer a great start to your child’s formal education and we have happy, confident children moving into key stage one. We look forward to welcoming you and your child to Dartford Primary Academy.

Jodie Clark | EYFS Lead

A Day in the Life of EYFS Students

Throughout the day, the children in Nursery and Reception move between the inside classroom, the outside classroom and other learning spaces like the library and the school hall.

  • Nursery children (30 hours) eat their lunch in the Nursery classroom and then have time to play in their learning environment, inside and outside.
  • Reception children go to the school hall to eat their lunch and then use the school playground with years one and two.

After lunch, the children have another opportunity to come together as a class to discuss what we have learnt that day and to share a story.

The Nursery day ends at 2.50pm and collection is via the side gate in Colney road.

Reception children can be collected via the back gate in Waid Close – parents can wait on the playground and the children are seen out by their class teacher at 3.00pm. We encourage the children to stay in their class line until a member of staff has told them they can go, so please be patient as we ensure everyone can see their parent.

If your child will attend our on site after school club or clubs run by the school, they will be escorted to the correct place by a member of staff.

Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

EYFS is the phase of learning that occurs from birth to age 5. In Nursery and Reception we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum which can be found below.

EYFS CURRICULUM

There are seven areas of learning split into Prime areas and Specific areas:

Prime areas of learning

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

Specific areas of learning

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

The EYFS document forms our curriculum alongside the Primary Years Program (PYP) which is covered throughout the school.

The Department for Education released a document that helps to outline what skills parents can expect to see and the age these skills are likely to be seen.

 ‘What to expect when?’ by DfE

When starting school, your child will be 4 years old and working within the 40-60 month band with some possible overlap in the 30-50 month band. Please keep in mind that each child is unique and development may happen at different rates. If you have concerns, please get in touch with our Inclusion team.

Units of Inquiry

Nursery

Learning focuses on four themes of learning throughout the year:

  • Who we are
  • How we organise ourselves
  • Sharing the planet
  • How we express ourselves

Reception

Learning focuses on five themes of learning throughout the year:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in time and place
  • How we organise ourselves
  • Sharing the planet
  • How we express ourselves

These themes allow our children to build connections and link their learning in the classroom to the world around them.

The IB Learner Profile

Learning experiences focus on the development of IB Profile attributes such as; open mindedness and being risk takers, to ensure our children are prepared to make exceptional contributions in their school, home and community.

  • Balanced
  • Caring
  • Communicator
  • Inquirer
  • Knowledgeable
  • Open-minded
  • Principled
  • Reflective
  • Risk Taker
  • Thinker

The IB Primary Years Programme Curriculum

Intent

Our aim is to provide a learning curriculum that ensures every pupil, regardless of need or background, acquires the knowledge and skills to successfully transition to their secondary setting as a well informed, globally aware young person.  At Dartford Primary Academy our curriculum uses the philosophy of the IB as the framework to underpin a breadth and depth of coverage to ensure it:

  • Provides access for all,
  • Promotes a positive attitude to learning,
  • Encourages international-mindedness in our pupils,
  • Challenges pupils to solve problems, show creativity and resourcefulness, and participate actively in our community;
  • Supports the development of communication skills to encourage enquiry, understanding and to allow pupil reflection and expression;
  • Emphasises, through the learner profile, the development of the whole pupil – physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.

Our Curriculum has been carefully designed to enable the depth and breadth of the national curriculum to be explored through the transdisciplinary themes of the IB framework.  A key focus through our curriculum intent is to enrich all pupils learning with co-curricular opportunities to enrich their cultural capital and life chances.

We offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP) across all phases. Our personalised curriculum provides the challenge that encourages pupils to embrace and understand the connections between foundation subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. It also promotes a positive attitude to learning by encouraging pupils to solve problems, show creativity and resourcefulness, and participate actively in their local communities and within the academy.  Our EYFS, Key stage 1 and 2 curriculum is planned collaboratively within our phase teams, with collaboration across other Trust primary academies. Each key stage has mapped their appropriate curriculum frameworks (Development Matters and the Primary National Curriculum) looking for vertical, horizontal and diagonal learning pathways. This allows for the transdisciplinary themes to be planned with rigour ensuring the depth and breadth is covered whilst promoting pupil advocacy within the themes of the PYP programme. The themes are selected for their relevance to the real world. They are described as transdisciplinary because they focus on issues that go across subject areas.  These are:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Assessment is planned at regular milestone points to ensure a depth of understanding in all foundation subjects in addition to reading, writing and maths.  Assessment will be in the form of teacher assessment, real time pupil conferencing where appropriate. This allows staff to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills.  The sequence and design of the curriculum will allow for longer term learning and recall.

Teaching and learning is consistently applied using the academy policy across all key stages.  Students are aware of how to progress from immediate feedback. 

At Dartford Primary Academy we aim to  use teachers’ expert assessment, diagnostic assessments and effective real time feedback to provide the opportunity for every pupil, regardless of need or background, to reach their full potential. 

Through thorough curriculum coverage review and pupils’ skill development we will ensure the breadth and depth of knowledge is embedded for all pupils to develop knowledge and skills needed to be successful in life.  Positive engagement in cultural capital activities and seeing a vibrant global community within the academy will show depth of impact of our curriculum intent and effective implementation.

For more information on our curriculum, please visit our dedicated page.

PYP Curriculum Framework

Play Based Learning

All children start their day with a whole class input to discuss plans for the day and to introduce new topics and/or skills.

In Nursery, children have a class teacher and two nursery nurses.

In Reception, children will have a class teacher and a teaching assistant.

Children will then access child initiated play – as adults we encourage your child to have agency over what they would like to learn and how. Our skilled team of staff use questioning, modelling and scaffolding to ensure your child’s learning is being extended and challenged as they play.

Outdoor Learning

We cannot get enough of outdoor play! This is an essential part of our time in the EYFS.

This is the perfect opportunity to develop our gross motor skills and explore the learning opportunities presented by the natural world around us.

The Reception Environment

There are 3 classes in our Reception year.

Tree Kangaroo, Chimpanzee and Giraffe class.

Each class has access to a shared outside area which they access throughout the day. There are a variety of zones to interest, engage and extend children’s learning. We have the following available each day for our Reception children:

  • Physical area – for team games, football, bat and ball skills and other games
  • Sensory – sand and water play, mud kitchen
  • Climbing frame – to encourage gross motor skills and imaginative play with a road for the bikes and scooters.
  • Small world – to follow the children’s interests we have a variety of small world toys like cars, trains, dinosaurs, people, insects – to name a few!
  • Construction – bricks, blocks and large wooden blocks and planks for dens, obstacle courses, cars and whatever else we can dream of!
  • Writing/ Maths – these are distributed across all areas in forms of chalk, clipboards, paints, numbers, shapes and through our conversations with the children.
  • Investigative – pond areas, minibeast houses and wooden logs/trunks with binoculars and magnifying glasses and opportunities for gardening and exploring senses in the herb garden.
A child pushing a wheelbarrow with a dinosaur toy in it

Online Platforms

Tapestry

Tapestry is an online platform that allows us to share your child’s learning journey with you. This has been a popular tool with our families, as it enables you to see how your child is learning at school.

Visit the Tapestry website

What is Tapestry?

Tapestry is a piece of software that we use in our Nursery and Reception classes. This is a tool to record observations and assessments at school, which we can then share with you at home. In addition, you can also add home learning to share with us. Tapestry can be downloaded as an app or accessed via the website – upon gaining your place you will be asked to provide your email address so that we can sign you up onto Tapestry with a secure password. Only you can access your child’s profile and all data is encrypted to a secure server.

Class Dojo

Class Dojo is an online platform that incorporates our behaviour system. At DPA, we use Dojo points to inspire and motivate children. These points are based on our IB Learner profiles to nurture children into kind, caring and responsible people.

Each child is assigned a ‘Dojo monster’ and can be awarded points throughout the day. As a parent, you can have access to Class Dojo via the website or a free app and this enables you to see your child’s points, connect with the school community by reading whole school posts and engage with your class community. Each class will upload posts to keep you updated with events and news and you will also be able to add photos and work to your child’s portfolio.

School Arrival Times

Nursery

Children in Nursery arrive at the side gate in Colney road to be met by their teachers. Children are supported to put their belongings on their peg and sign themselves in by choosing their picture.

Arrive at 8:50

Nursery children will be able to choose from a range of activities set up to engage and invite children to play. Often, these activities will be based around the children’s interests.

Reception

Children in Reception arrive to school via the back gate in Waid Close or the front entrance on St Albans Road. The children are met by staff and walked to their classrooms.

Arrive between 8.45 and 8.55

Reception children will arrive in their classroom and complete a fun and exciting task designed to extend fine motor and language skills through team games, play and adult initiated tasks.

If necessary, staff will support children with teary goodbyes and ensure a quick and settled start to the day.

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ADDITIONAL Information and FAQs

Our catchment area is dependent on how many applications we have in any one year. One year we may have many applications from close to the school so the catchment area becomes smaller. If there isn’t a large birth rate for a particular year, we will take children from further away from the school.

Reception places are decided by the Local Authority. There is an online application which can be found on this site under ‘Apply.’ 

They will need to complete a form and they will be put on a waiting list with the Local Authority. 

Yes. Forms are available from the office or will be included with the letter from the Local Authority at the time the spaces are offered to parents. 

To access the Milestone satellite, you will need to apply directly to Milestone Academy. Dartford Primary Academy children do not have access to this specialist site.

All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to a ‘Universal free school meal.’ We also provide a fruit or vegetable snack for each child in these year groups. Children in Years 3-6 can have dinners if parents choose to pay for them. You may be entitled to Free School Meals if you are in receipt of income support. Please make sure you claim for this, even if your child gets Universal Free School Meals anyway, because it means the school will get additional funding to support your child’s education.

Currently there are clubs for all year groups that run from 30-60 minutes after school once a week. There is no after school or breakfast club provision for Reception children.

We take advice from the nurseries on this and will separate children that do not work well together. Our priorities when organising classes are making sure we have a balance of boys/girls, older/younger and SEN needs in each class. We try to ensure children have a familiar face in their class where possible but cannot guarantee they will be with their best friend.

Transition is an important part of children starting school. We have held come and play sessions, story sessions, meet your teacher days, home visits and staggered starts to help children transition to our school. The Reception team also visits Nurseries in the local area as an extra opportunity to meet your child and gain valuable information from their key worker before they start school.

Ordinarily we open our doors at 8.45am. Children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 finish at 3.00pm, and those in Key stage 2 (Years 3-6) finish at 3.20pm. Due to COVID-19 we currently have staggered start and finish times for all year groups and we may not return to our previous arrangements for some time, if ever. We will keep you informed if you choose to send your child to DPA.

We follow the Read, Write, Inc scheme for Phonics. This enables all children to be taught to their level. Reception children are grouped later in the year after they have had time to become familiar with the Reception team and school routines.

We do go outside in all weathers and we strongly advise children to come to school with appropriate outside clothing; a warm coat, hats, gloves, scarf. 

The children have access to the school library weekly, where they are able to choose a book to take home and share with adults and then return it to change it for another book. 

We use a range of websites and apps which the children have access to via a username and a password. These can be used at home and include; MyON, Purple Mash, Numbots and Times Tables Rockstars. 

We are a three form entry school which means we have three Reception classes. These classes will have up to 30 children and 2 adults. However, Reception works best as a team so our adults move across all classes to support learning and our children access the Reception playground together during child initiated times.

We have an Inclusion Team who work closely with families to provide the best support for your child. If you do have concerns, please contact the school office upon successfully gaining a place so that we can introduce ourselves.

Children will be given homework weekly across the school and can include; letter formation, reading, spellings, times tables.

Unfortunately due to COVID-19, adults have been unable to enter the school site this year and we are unsure what this will look like going forwards. We will continue to reflect and review as we begin to think about transitions for our new cohort and will always follow Government guidance and keep you informed as early as possible. 

The school uniform consists of a white polo shirt, black trousers/skirt/dress and a school logo’d jumper or cardigan. Please see our uniform page on the school website for more information. 

We send home termly newsletters via ParentMail which includes information and important dates for the year. We also use Class Dojo to share information about school events and where children and parents can upload photos of any home learning. In Reception, we use Tapestry (an online platform via an app or website) to send you photos of your child’s learning journey.

You can always contact the school office via phone/email. 

Anna Reid is our Family Liaison Officer who can be found on Facebook under ‘Anna FLO’ and you are welcome to send her a message.