A school for the community... a school for everyone
We pride ourselves on being a school for the whole community of Portslade. The origin of Church Schools was to provide education for local people, and it continues to be the mission of the Church of England to provide a quality education for all, not just church going families.
Our admissions policy includes a commitment to existing families, our immediate neighbourhood and families seeking a school which includes a spiritual focus as a core part of their child’s education. Although our admissions criteria includes priority for those attending church, nearly 90% of our families are admitted on other criteria and every family who applied from within Portslade, as well as some from further afield, was offered a place last September.
We welcome children of all abilities and are committed to providing the very best for children with learning difficulties, physical difficulties, behavioural difficulties and those who have particular talents and abilities. Whatever their starting points we are here to nurture them.
There are children with different languages, faiths, ethnic backgrounds and family makeups at St Nicolas. We enjoy celebrating our differences.
Our ‘can do’ attitude will result in success and progress for all, no matter what their background and starting point.
A community built on values... committed to each other and to learning.
It is our aim to create a vibrant learning community based on Christian principles and built on the values of love, service and mutual respect.
We expect high standards and everyone works hard to encourage children to enjoy learning, improve their best, behave well, support each other and grow in confidence.
We want our children to grow up to make a positive difference in the world partly because of the time they spent at St Nicolas.
Working together for the good of the children.
We are experts in education. You are experts in your children. You know their hopes, dreams and needs. It is only when we truly work in partnership that the foundations for outstanding success are laid.
Parents are always welcome in our school. We try to be as family friendly as possible and are always seeking to find more effective ways of supporting you in supporting your children.
There are many ways of keeping in touch and two way communication is vital to the success of the school.
We provide various software and a learning platform free to every child so that they can use familiar software to continue their learning at home when the interest takes them. Our website provides links and information and home learning menus are devised to enable the children to follow their own interests and avenues of enquiry within the topics they are studying. We hope that you will want to get involved in some of the tasks as well.
Parents & Teachers Association
Our PTA organises educational, social and fund raising events which benefit your children. All parents and carers are members, and friends are welcome to join. A school like ours relies on the active involvement of the parents and wider community so we encourage you to become involved as a volunteer or helper.
Our growing school
In September 2013 we ceased to be St Nicolas Junior School and became St Nicolas Primary School. When we were planning the transition our aim was to take the best aspects of separate infant and junior schools but with the benefits of a consistent ethos and educational approach for the whole of the primary phase.
We have planned the buildings so that the infant and junior sections are on different levels and with separate playground space but with shared assembly time and lots of opportunities to work and learn together. Year 1 children are able to choose which playground they use and there will be times for all of the children to mix on the field.
Brighton & Hove schools are recognised as having some of the very best early years and Key Stage 1 provision in the country. We were given full access to their expertise as we embarked on this new adventure! We have learned from the best and aim to provide an excellent start to your child’s education.
So far the feedback from the families who started with us has been very positive!
In expanding the school we learned a great deal from researching what the best schools do and we will continue to look outward and learn from others as well as developing our own practice.
We now regularly receive visitors who wish to learn about how our infant section works as well as how we are teaching writing using the ‘Talk for Writing’ approaches through out the school.
It takes commitment to change lives...
The staff motivation at St Nicolas never seems to fail. We have a well developed, shared vision and a commitment to professional development including conducting research and keeping up to date with the cutting edge of educational thought and innovation.
The educational approaches we use are continually evolving and developing but are always based on sound evidence and research.
More than fifty adults now work at St Nicolas, supplemented by volunteers from the parent and wider community. Volunteers to hear readers, help in art lessons, accompany us on trips and share a passion or skill are always in demand!
Curriculum. Learning to Live... together.
We are committed to achieving a rounded and balanced academic, creative and sporting curriculum.
We know the importance of children finding their learning rewarding and motivating. We therefore offer a relevant and interesting curriculum which provides meaningful contexts within which to learn and refine new skills.
This is achieved through a topic based approach to learning where the basic skills of reading, writing and maths are often taught discretely but with the purpose of achieving something of value when applying them in the topic. We keep things varied to ensure learning is always fresh.
In addition to the core subjects taught at all schools, our exciting and challenging curriculum includes languages - mainly Spanish lower down the school but with French in year 6 in preparation for their trip to France. There are frequent opportunities for music, drama and competitive sport for all children within the curriculum.
We use established and proven teaching strategies such as 'Talk for Writing’, Working with Others, Assessment for Learning, use of graphic organisers and Blooms Taxonomy which promote thinking skills and cooperative learning and which enrich the statutory curriculum.
Our aim is a low stress, high challenge curriculum which gives the children the best possible opportunity to do well.
Educating the whole child
Opportunities for learning do not stop when the curriculum time ends. We offer a wide range of extra curricular activities.
Performing Arts: Music, Drama & Dance
We have an active choir who regularly take part in a concert at the O2 and the Brighton Centre as well as leading singing in services and assemblies. Our samba band leads our school at the yearly ‘Children’s Parade’ in Brighton.
There are opportunities to learn drums, violin, keyboards, guitar, harmonica and we have a class set of ukuleles so that every child can learn an instrument as part of their class music lessons.
Productions and ‘Dance at the Dome’ are highlights of every school year.
Year 6 shoot and screen a feature film each year; Bugsy in 2014 and Joseph in 2015.
Elite sport has a high profile with the football, netball, mini-golf, swimming, cross country, tennis, athletics and tag rugby teams competing in tournaments. We also have a high degree of participation in sports clubs and organised sport at lunchtime, including lunchtime tournaments.
A wide range of clubs from film club to chess, art club to dance are available - some paid for but many free. If any parent or friend of the school is in a position to offer another club, we would be glad to hear from you!
Widening our horizons
Our Grounds & Locality
We have superb grounds, including an allotment, climbing wall, outdoor classroom and our own small area of woodland. We even have our own playground bus!
Our children are regularly out in the local area using the parks and buildings to enrich their learning.
The school is very close to the beautiful rolling South Downs and the beach. Every year group visits the Downs or the beach as part of a topic - and most visit both!
Visits, Residential Visits & Visitors
Every year group experience high quality visits and visitors. Years 3 and 4 have one night sleeping over at school, year 5 spend three days at Blackland Farm and year 6 spend a week in France.
Our children benefit from our active membership of the Brighton & Hove Learning Partnership and our strong links to the other Portslade Schools. We are committed to learning from others and sharing our good practice for the benefit of all learners in our community. We also look to learn from the best schools around the country.
Through our topics we are developing links to schools in Malawi, The United States of America, France and the Dominican Republic in order to give opportunities to use the Spanish and French that the children learn while at St Nicolas.
Our children love being with their friends especially at playtimes! Time for friends and to relax is vital if they are going to be able to focus and be effective in their lesson time. We have members of staff whose sole responsibility is to organise play and sport activities at break and lunchtime as well as keen pupil volunteers who run activities such as scooter club.
All friends fall out from time to time so we actively teach ‘peaceful problem solving’ strategies and employ restorative approaches when children fall out. Staff are continuing to develop an approach to group work and relationship building called ‘Working with Others’ which develops cooperative learning strategies as well as the methods and language required to get on with others.
People who visit the school notice this. The excellent attitudes and learning behaviours of the children are regularly commented on. Visitors are often surprised by the quality of the questions that children ask which demonstrate their interest and curiosity. They also comment on the level of respect that our children show during services and when we visit the War Memorial every Armistice Day.
These personal qualities make St Nicolas a happy place for the children now but will also stand them in very good stead when they grow up.
We hope that friends made at St Nics will become friends for life!
Children are spiritual beings who often think deeply and hold serious convictions.
We regard it as a privilege to work with young people and a responsibility to help them wonder about the more profound questions of life and faith. In our school spirituality is seen in joyful singing and in silent thought and prayer, as well as in discussions about these deep philosophical questions.
As a Church School we seek to nurture the spiritual side of our children in the knowledge and love of God. We provide them with an experience of Christian Community which will influence and shape the rest of their lives.
Once a day we bring the whole school together for assembly and the daily act of collective worship. We explore themes including the school values of love, service and mutual respect - with a bit of singing and laughter thrown in!
The phrase we often use ‘Learning to live... together’. comes from Jesus’ words ‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.’
For more information...
To find out more about the details of school life - clubs, timetable, school day, uniform and much more - explore our website and download the ‘Parents Handbook’ or ask for a copy from the school office.
We advise you to arrange to visit the school before deciding whether or not to apply for a place.
St Nicolas CE Primary School
A Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School
Address: Locks Hill, Portslade, East Sussex, BN41 2LA
Tel: 01273 418026