Welcome to Kimichi School
Head Teacher – Sally Alexander, MBE
For some of you, this may be a first look round, and others may have dipped their toes in previously, in which case, welcome!
Kimichi School started as a pipe-dream and a reaction to a system that seems inclined to force square pegs into round holes alongside the continuing lack of importance placed on Music in education.
Having spent time in maintained schools as a teacher and a governor, I was convinced that common sense was, in many cases, severely lacking.
For years I’d watched and heard classroom music teachers and peripatetic instrumental teachers bewailing music education. The Head of Music in a school of 600 who’d had his only music teacher “re-assigned” to teach RE. The peri teachers who’d, time after time, turn up to teach and end up shoehorned into a closet and allowed 20 minutes for an instrumental lesson. The paucity of GCSE or A Level Music in schools. The disappearance of school ensembles or orchestras.
But here’s the thing: Music is everywhere. Covid has wreaked havoc planet-wide, but has reinforced one aspect of humanity that’s vital. Music in films, music on the radio, socially distanced outside groups came together, virtual choirs sang and people came together.
The biggest lesson I learnt, having started a youth orchestra in the Caribbean that toured to the UK, was that music was at one and the same time a great leveller and yet extremely differentiated. In very few subjects can you naturally have a complete beginner working alongside a more advanced student: imagine a Year 6 child working in the same Maths class as a GCSE student.
The inherent teamwork, discipline and leadership skills that are used when playing as part of an ensemble are not to be negated; never mind the scientific studies done on the benefits of playing an instrument on the brain: too many to cite here.
This lesson was one that I brought back over to the UK with me and held dear to my heart throughout the PGCE (where I was consistently told off for questioning the rationale behind many of the lesson plan ideas we were given) and my subsequent placements and jobs in mainstream schools. The “too much noise in the music room” was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
We were lucky enough to have, and still retain, local community support around the beautiful building we currently occupy and in September 2014 Kimichi School officially opened with the grand total of two children and one teacher.
The ethos and purpose behind the school have never changed, but holistically as time has gone by, the focus has expanded. The oft ignored pedagogy of common sense dictated, and carries on dictating, that smaller class sizes will benefit our pupils as well as our teachers.
The overall and all-encompassing drive of the school was always going to be Music. As a keen amateur musician myself, I truly appreciate the enjoyment and challenge of playing an instrument in a large orchestra and the innate links between a plethora of soft skills. I wanted a school that encouraged all children to play at least one instrument, to prioritise GCSE and A Level Music (fast disappearing in the maintained sector) and generally encourage any and all things musical.
This school is one that fosters a love and appreciation of Music.
Over the last nine years, what I and all the staff who have joined over the years, are inordinately proud of is the family feel that is often remarked on. I joke sometimes that we are a large, slightly somewhat dysfunctional family, but that is exactly how it feels.
We all very much look forward to welcoming you through our doors to join us.
As ever, we welcome parents as part of the family. Our door is always open; it’s worth popping your head round the door to see if we’ve got two minutes for a chat. Much of our communication is done via the app at PIOTA so please make sure that you download the app and register. We also require three up to date phone numbers for every pupil; please let us have these as soon as possible, even if you think we already have it. We would ask that you let us have our evenings and weekends; we tend to respond to the app as soon as we can but would appreciate our own family time. If a parent wishes to get more involved with school, please pop in and have a chat; we’d love for you to get involved. View Parent Pack pdf
View Parent Contract here: Parent Contract 2022/23
Included below are permission forms. These cover media release, permission to go on trips that might not necessarily have been scheduled (for example finding out about an Open Day at the Conservatoire and taking them along to meet and talk to current students and teachers and watch an open rehearsal) and permission to go over the road at break and/or lunch (following our guidelines younger ones have to be accompanied by older children.) There are also the Privacy Notice, Medication consent form and Acceptable Use Policy to be signed. Please sign it as appropriate and send it back via email or hard copy into the office.
View Here: Permission Forms pdf
Potential Upcoming Events
Ormside Mill OR YHA bunkhouse – late September – places limited to 11.
ATHENS – GREECE March 14th-18th – approx. £350 to include transport, accommodation and breakfast. Places limited to 12.
NC500? (SUMMER TERM) – round the Scottish coast – ten nights – older pupils only.
General School Information
School site opens at 8am and lessons start at 10am SHARP! Please let us know if your child is going to be late via the app (see below) or unable to attend as soon as possible. School finishes at 4.30pm and the building will be shut from 5pm.
There will be staff on site until 5pm every day, but we do ask that parents make sure their child is picked up by then, unless by prior arrangement. Many of the children make their own way home, and are welcome to stay until 5pm if they wish. Obviously, if we have an after school event that will not apply.
Our uniform is not very prescriptive; we ask that it is plain, SMART and dark. Most children wear black/dark grey trousers or skirt with a white/black shirt. Everyone will have a house tie that feeds into our behavior policy, and blazers or hoodies are also allowed. This should be adhered to by everybody, unless sensory issues have previously been discussed with HT/DHT. Branding, patterns or pictures are not allowed.
Please send a packed a lunch; we simply do not have the facilities to manage cooking for everyone yet. They are also welcome to go over the road at break or lunch (with parental permission: see permission form), but must go in groups of at least three, must sign out and also must sign back in. The shops over the road know us by now, and have always been fabulous with our children.
We can provide a folder for each child if they would rather keep any worksheets together; alternately worksheets should be stuck in their exercise books immediately. We have planners that they can keep information in, eg. homework. These only work if they bring them to school and keep them filled in, and if you also ask to see them at home. If they lose them, there will be a £10 replacement cost. Do please check school bags for these; teachers always spend some time at the end of a lesson ensuring that homework is filled in by everybody in the class if given, and we spend an entire lesson on how to fill them out so there can be no confusion.
Your child will continue to have PE lessons and will be expected to bring appropriate PE kit (sportswear) on their prescribed day according to their timetable. This includes trainers – school shoes will not be accepted. There is space to change, and it is not pleasant for them to remain in sweaty clothes throughout the day. We have secured football training at a local sports centre.
Students will be expected to provide their own equipment for lessons as they will not be allowed to share or borrow equipment due to COVID guidance. It is naturally expected students will be well-equipped for all lessons.
Specific lesson equipment includes (not an exhaustive list):
- Pencil sharpener
- Ruler – 15cm minimum and preferably clear
- Protractor (360° or 180°)
- Pair of compasses
- Scientific calculator
For BIOLOGY, please see above plus
- Colouring pencils
- 30cm ruler
All to be placed in a pencil case please. If a pupil turns up without equipment, they may purchase it from the stationery shop here. A price list is available on the Pupil board.
Mobile phones, tablets etc. are not allowed and must be placed into the boxes allocated to each year group. If anyone wants to or needs to use their phone they are welcome to, but they must ask a member of staff. We ask that children log onto the school WIFI and not use data so we can be sure that they are safe online. Please also be aware that we cannot assume responsibility for personal electronic items. Laptops are available for use by students at any time in lessons or DSAW’s if wanted/needed.
Full time, fee paying children will be allocated one private lesson per week. If more is needed, that can be discussed. We are more than happy to give guidance whenever we’re free, and they will all get group lessons on one or two instruments, as well as ensemble playing and theory. For those that flexi, we can arrange private tuition if wanted.
Term Dates 22/23
We have decided to redistribute the weeks your child attends school to better suit their specific needs both socially and academically.
Please note there is a one-week break after the first 3 weeks of term and similar breaks throughout the year.
To view our Calendar please Click Here
Following the success of the Project work initiated last year, we have held consultations with all staff members, governors and selected parents regarding an exciting new way to engage our pupils.
The school will now be divided into:
Quavers – encompassing Years 5 and 6
Lower School – encompassing Years 7 and 8.
Inters – Year 9
Lower Seniors – Year 10
Upper Seniors – Year 11
Sixth form – encompassing Years 12, 13.
Lower School will be taught in mixed groups and through a topic-based curriculum. This will not be subject based, but instead include all the skills, terminology and knowledge they will need to start their GCSE’s but based in such topics as natural disasters, law, trade, Greek culture and more. The topic timetable will be a two year one and will be sent home for your perusal at the beginning of term. With the breadth of knowledge across the many staff currently at Kimichi as well as the sharing of teaching, this will embed key skills naturally, and also enable us to differentiate with ease, no matter the age or ability. Maths, English and Music will still all be taught separately and according to ability, however. The project work that the pupils created over the last year have proven this a very effective way to not only teach but truly engage. Staff are incredibly excited about this challenging opportunity.
They will then start their GCSEs in Year 9 and take them in Year 11 as normal, but with much of their learning having been completed by the start of Year 11 (GCSE’s are a two year course), this will allow us to concentrate on any ‘extras’ in the two terms that they have pre-GCSEs in Year 11, such as: exam skills, revision, coursework, work experience, external GCSE’s. It also means that should any pupil wish to take a/a few GCSE’s early, and we feel they are able to, they have that chance. Through it all, we will be building up their individual Compendiums which not only track academic progress, but build up a base and evidence of soft skills, practical work and other skills not necessarily achieved academically, giving our pupils at the end of their time here a full and complete picture of the well-rounded person we encourage them to become.
As ever, if you have any questions about this exciting new way of teaching, especially for the lower school, please do not hesitate to give us a call so we can talk through exactly why we believe this to be such an exciting way forward.