Volunteer to Teach English at Westminster Comprehensive School, Ghana
 

Welcome to Westminster Comprehensive School

Westminster Comprehensive School and J.H.S is a privately maintained school. The school provides education for junior children aged three years and above.

We aim to provide a safe and happy environment for your child. We aim to offer maximum opportunity to every child to excel through a wide range of learning experiences, encouraging them to grow into independent and responsible people.

We also believe that we can only achieve the best for your child by close co-operation between home and school. There are many opportunities for you to share in your child's education. Remember that our teachers are available to talk to you about your child's development.

We hope this handbook will prove useful to you. We have tried to include as much information as possible but please feel welcome to come and see us personally. The information is up to date, but of course we will need, from time to time, to send you further information as situations change.

We are concerned with all aspects of your child's development and we hope you will share with us in making this a successful period in your child's life.

The chairman of the P.T.A and executive members can be contacted through the school office.

Our School

The staff at Westminster Comprehensive School values the fact that our children and staff come from very varied backgrounds. Our community is made up of different people from different religious backgrounds and some of our staff and children speak languages other than English.

We think this makes us a privileged community. We do not allow name calling or sexual harassment of any kind at this school. We do not want any child or group of children to be made to feel inferior or left out of the life of the school.

We want all children in this school to have equal opportunities in terms of their work, their play and relationships, so that they can develop and go on to use those opportunities in future.

How the School is organised

Admission to the School - If you have chosen to take your child to Westminster, you have made a wise decision - a decision you would not regret for rest of your life. However, at Westminster we have a laid down procedure that must be followed. It is usually helpful to arrange an appointment to visit the school and ask question. Each application is handled by the school office. Parents must contact the office admission team to secure a place for their children. During admission parents and children will be required to sign “Commitment Contract” and would be bound by the schools’ rules and regulations which are enforced at all times.

Uniform - Children look very smart in their school uniform - The school has two uniforms. We wear the mauve and yellow uniform form Mondays – Wednesdays, and wear the orange – checked uniform on Thursdays and Fridays. We do ask children to wear authorised footwear. Please label all clothing with your child’s name. finding the owners of unnamed lost property is a waste of staff’s valuable time. For inside and outside Physical Education, children need a special kit supplied by the school at a fee. See headteacher for details.

N.B. Apart from small stud earrings, jewellery is not allowed in school.

The school day - The day begins at 8:15am and finishes at 3:00pm. The children line up at 8:05am. Every child is expected to be in their classroom and ready to start work at 8:15am.

Punctuality - Punctuality and regular attendance are very important. Please make sure that your child attends school regularly and arrives on time. Any child arriving after 8:20am is late for school. If your child is absent, please send a note to the office on their return. Absences, without written explanations, are recorded as "unauthorised".

Lunch time - Lunch time is 12: noon-1:00 p.m and lunches must be paid for in advance on Monday morning for the whole week. Children may bring pa packed lunch into school. This should not include sweets, chocolates, glass containers or canned drinks.

Holidays - Parents receive a list of holiday dates at the beginning of each academic year. Parents can request to take children on holiday, for a maximum of one week, during term time, in any academic year. All holiday absences longer than one week in any academic year is treated as unauthorised.

Pupils Welfare

Collection of pupils from school - Children cannot be released into the care of an unknown person. Parents must provide authorization for another person to collect their child-whenever necessary.

Medicine - Members of the school staff are not able to look after medicines, nor are they able to administer them to pupils. N.B As a rule, medicines are not brought into school. Children with a continuing need for medication such as children with asthma, are allowed to keep their medication in school. This medication is kept in a safe and accessible place for regular use. Clear instructions of usage and dosage must be given to the school. Any other matters concerning medicines should be discussed with the Headteacher.

What does Westminster School aim for your child?

Opportunity to Excel - We aim to offer maximum opportunity to every pupil to excel, irrespective of identity, cultural tradition of community experience. We aim to do as much as we reasonably can to ensure that we provide genuine equality of access, opportunity and treatment for all our pupils.

Respect and Tolerance - We aim to foster an ethos of respect and tolerance in the school so that everyone can develop a sense of personal identity. We aim to foster this learning through the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes which staff emphasis not only on learning about diversity but also on values and concerns which different cultures have in common. Our aim is that each person is able to develop a sense of identity which is confident, strong and self affirming, open to change, receptive and generous towards other identities and willing to learn from other identities.

Building Confidence - We aim to build confidence in our pupils by ensuring that the pastoral curriculum provides opportunities for all pupils to take an all-round view of their own learning, progress, behaviour and development. We aim to develop self-esteem, confidence and motivation in all aspects of their lives so that there is no artificial split between the academic curriculum and the pastoral. We aim to offer a range of teaching styles, including those which foster confidence, motivation and sense of personal worth by drawing on pupil’s own personal experience.

A Safe and Happy Environment - We aim to create a safe and happy environment in which every child has the right not to have to fight; to have friends; not to be made fun of; not to be scared of others; to have friends; not to be made to feel sad; not to be scared to come to school; to be safe.

Behavior Policy

Unacceptable Behaviour - In this school we do not accept:

It is always important to understand why a child is exhibiting such behaviour while at the same time looking for strategies to modify the behaviour. The adult should seek to talk to the child, listen and give him/her time to express their feelings and offer explanation.

The individual with the problem should be offered help to understand why his /her actions are unacceptable.It is also very important to help and support those who have been victims of unacceptable behaviour and to deal with offenders.

Playground - All children should feel safe outside and must be made aware of the importance of informing a duty adult if they have been hurt or are being bullied or harassed. Class teachers will be informed of any incident to be followed up.

Adults on duty to be out in good time.

When the bell rings, children stand still and proceed in silence to their line when told by a duty adult at the end of break.

Sanctions - When unacceptable behaviour occurs, a progressive set of sanctions will be used. This is not a rigid set of procedures to be used in a systematic way. The severity and frequency of incidents will determine which of the following is used.

Negotiation between teacher and child

Everyone at School
Is important and valuable
Is here for a purpose
Has an important contribution to make.

Show Respect
For every person
For property and the school environment

Treat
Everyone as an individual.
Positive behaviour is rewarded by:
Praise from adults and peers;
Being given responsibilities;
Receiving merit points, certificate etc;
Sharing achievements with the head teacher, other staff, or the whole school in assembly;
Parents being informed of success.
“Rules are made for all and for the good of all”

Our Expectations and Rules

Classroom behaviour rules - We are proud that we have created a well organised, attractive and stimulating learning environment. We expect it to be maintained and cared for by everyone in the school community.
Children are expected to:

Homework - Homework is important for the following reasons:

The nature of homework at Westminster School - We have set up a system whereby the class teacher sets homework tasks every week. This may be increased to a maximum of five homework tasks in stage six and above.

How does the school organise homework:

Home - School partnership

Parents and guardians are valued partners in our school. We all work together to do all we can to ensure that the children’s time spent in school is both happy and worthwhile.

Special education needs - All children are special children with special needs. Most children are identified as needing special consideration are taught in a variety of grouping within the classroom. When children are identified as having a special need, the support given is set out in an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P). Extra teaching support is targeted according to individual need.

We believe that praise, appreciation and recognition of each child’s strengths can enable a child to feel valued as an individual.

Every child has a right to learn at different rates and in different ways. Children should have an opportunity to learn through all their senses and to develop spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically.

Children learn best when new tasks are related to previous learning. This is particularly important to children with special needs. Every teacher is a teacher of pupils with special needs. The key lies in the teacher’s knowledge of the child’s skills and abilities and the means of providing appropriate access to the curriculum.

We recognise that the information, concerns and understanding about the child provided by the parents is essential to the child’s learning and progress. Insights and perceptions of success and difficulties are central to their development.

Children learn when they are active participants in their learning.

Organisation for Learning - Classes are arranged according to age and are of mixed ability. In the classrooms, children are organised and taught in a variety of groupings such as individually, as a class, in a mixed ability group or in similar ability groups. The organization of the groups depends on the learning activity.

Visiting School - Parents are welcome to visit the school at any time. Teachers can be seen straight after school at the gate or, by making an appointment for a convenient time. All visitors are asked to call first at the school office to explain the reason for the visit.

Occasionally schools have intruders, and all staff here are instructed so stop and question any adults on the premises. Help us to safeguard your child by following this request. The head teacher is pleased to see parents at any time, if free, or by prior arrangement.

Sharing Information - We believe that parents have the right to know happens in their child’s school, and we provide information and involve parents in school activities in a variety of ways.

Complaints - We hope you will be happy with the efforts that are made by the school to ensure your child receives the best possible education whilst at our school. However, we understand that there may be occasions when you feel that you wish to make a complaint. In such situations parents are advised to first consult the head teacher for directive.

Illness in School - In cases where parents suspect illness, children should be taken to hospital and not be made to come to school on that day. Parents, who send their children to school, knowing that they are not well, put their children’s health in jeopardy.

The school has only first aid in the school premises. In emergency, children are first taken to hospital and the parent later informed. It is therefore important that the school office has an up to date contact telephone numbers of all parents and guardians. N.B. Parents are responsible for paying all medical bills.

The Curriculum - This encompasses everything that a child will learn at Westminster School. The framework used for planning is the National Curriculum which comprises the following areas:
The core subjects: English, Mathematics, Science
The foundation subjects: Natural Science, Creative Arts, Citizenship, I.C.T, Social Studies, Basic Design and Technology, Ghanaian Language, French, Physical Education etc.
Computer Studies is used extensively throughout the curriculum and we aim to provide opportunities for children to make use of our computers while studying all areas of the curriculum.

English

Language - Language is primarily a means of communication whether it is in speech or in written form. Because of its connection to the development of reason and thinking, it is the cornerstone of all teaching and learning.

English language: The Key To Success
Our aim is to ensure that children are able to use English confidently, appropriately and accurately to the best of their ability. The National Curriculum for English includes the requirement that it should take place within the three contexts of Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing

Speaking and Listening - To develop these skills children are encouraged to participate in discussions of many sorts across the curriculum, to share their experiences with different sized audiences, take part in assemblies, express and justify opinions and preferences, respond to each other thoughtfully and work collaboratively.

Reading - We give reading a high priority in Westminster Comprehensive School. We have rich resources of high quality literature (most of them imported by the Director) of every genre that the children are encouraged to use, enjoy and evaluate from the earliest stages.

Children have equal opportunity of experience and develop reading skills in fiction, poetry, drama and a variety of non – fiction text. Parents are invited to form a full partnership with the school in developing their children’s ability to read. Children borrow books regularly to read at home. Parents are expected to sign the reading record every day to confirm that the child has read to the parent or the parent has witnessed the child quietly doing their reading homework.

Writing - We want our children to develop into fully independent writers using all the different styles and conventions of writing, effectively and purposefully. Writing and reading are seen as complementary. We teach each child the basic skills of grammer, punctuation, spelling and handwriting. Children develop into creative and imaginative writers by acquiring self – confidence in what they write. They are encouraged to evaluate and improve their work through editing, proof – reading and re – drafting their writing. A legible, fluent and attractive style of handwriting is aimed for and this is developed in a variety of ways.

Mathematics

"Mathematics provides a means of communication which is powerful, concise and unambiguous".

At Westminster Comprehensive School children experience a range and balance of mathematical experiences including practical, investigative, oral, written and problem solving activities and games. Practical activities form the basis for developing thinking skills. Regular opportunities are provided in other subjects for pupils to use and apply their mathematics e.g interpreting graphs and scales in science. We plan the teaching and learning of mathematics by incorporating: Number, Shape and Space, Measures, Data Handling

We have organised the mathematics curriculum to ensure continuity and progression in mathematics throughout the school. Teachers lead and demonstrate in lessons to develop the mathematics knowledge, skills and understanding to enable children to solve problem and apply them to everyday situations.
Discussion between teachers and children and child to child helps develop enquiring minds and a logical approach to mathematics.

Children are encouraged to develop an understanding of the links between the different areas in mathematics. Time is allocated in numeracy lesions for pupils to develop mental strategies, to give quick recall of mathematics facts and to describe their methods of working. Children experience a range and balance of mathematical experiences including practical, investigative, oral, written and problem solving activities. Children are encouraged to think for themselves and to develop the ability to persist through sustained activities. Our aim is for children to acquire and use mathematical language, with ease and understanding as a form of communication, and to develop self confidence in their mathematical ability.

Science

At Westminster Comprehensive School we believe that for children to achieve competence and understanding in science, they must be presented with a broad and balanced scientific experience. This will enable them to build on their existing knowledge and understanding. The Science curriculum gives the children opportunities:


We are aware that children come to school with their own ideas about the world and how it functions.
Children are more likely to build on, modify or completely change the views they already have in the light of their new experiences. They can be encouraged to do this by exploring their own views in a scientific manner.
This will be achieved through a systematic approach to the National Curriculum.

The Science curriculum is planned deliberately to build on children’s previous knowledge, understanding and skills in Science. It enables children to make links and observable progress.
Whilst it is important for our children to develop their scientific knowledge and understanding through investigation and problem solving, we also emphasise the need to raise awareness and appreciation of the environment/world in which they live.

Computer Studies

In this century, we aim to provide pupils with opportunities to attain the highest possible standards in computer studies. With our present level of provision we have found that computer studies motivates and enthuses children because it is fun and it helps children to focus and concentrate on more difficult academic projects. Now is the time to build on our existing success.

In order to achieve our aims we are currently upgrading our computer systems. In future we aim to make our computer studies available to the wider community. For example; it will give us the opportunity to provide:

Computer studies is valued by the P.T.A, the Staff and Pupils in our schools. It can also promote the public image of our school to the wider community. Computer studies assists pupils in developing a positive self image and provides a safe and non – threatening environment for learning.

Computer studies have the ability to meet the individual needs and abilities of each pupil. Computer studies enables and promotes skills in decision making and the establishment of control. It empowers its users and gives pupils immediate access to richer resources for information and communication. It presents information in new ways which help students understand, assimilate and use it more readily.

In summary, the school computer studies is a powerful tool, facilitating human interaction and enabling all pupils to be included in the general learning activities.

 


 

Westminster Comprehensive School, Home - School Agreement

Commitment by Parent/Guardian - I am committed to my child’s education at Westminster Comprehensive School and will do all that I can to ensure it is a happy and worthwhile experience, promoting good relationships and mutual support.
I will show courtesy at all times to adults and children in school.
I will ensure that my child arrives punctually for school (and is collected on time)
I will inform the school if for any reason my child is absent by 9:30am on the first day and confirm this when he/she returns.
I will try to avoid taking holidays during term time.
Parents Teacher Associations are very important part of school/home liaison and I will attend all meetings unless unable to do so – in which case I will make alternative arrangements.
I will ensure that my child wears the school uniform, as detail in the school brochure, and the PE kit provided by the school for games.
In the event of willful damage or loss of any school property by my child, I will make sure that it is replaced.
I promise to pay all monies owed to school at all times.
In event of withdrawal, I will make sure that all bills are settled.
I will do my best to ensure that my child completes any homework set by the school. If this is not possible I will provide a note of explanation.
I give permission for my child, while at Westminster School, to participate in educational visits during school time.

Parent/Guardian signature(s)

…………………………….

Date:……………………….

 

Commitment by the child - I will respect the rights that all adults and children have at Westminster School to be safe, happy and respected in their teaching and learning environment.
I will take good care of equipment, building and respect other people’s property.
I will do my best at all times, behave well and keep the school rules.
I will wear school uniform.

Child’s signature:………………………………………………

 

Commitment by school - We are committed to providing safe, secure and stimulating environment in which effective teaching and learning can take place.
We will value and respect each child as an individual and encourage all children to do their best.
We are committed to a policy of equality of opportunity.
We will inform parents/guardians of incident regarding head injuries or other accidents deemed serious.
We will arrange meetings in term for parents/guardians to meet with teachers and hold other meetings when necessary.
We will ensure parents/guardians are informed about their children’s learning and how they can best help them.
We will set homework in accordance with our policy and liaise regularly by means of the home/school partnership.
We will ensure that all visits outside school will be properly supervised.


Director’s signature:…………………………………..