Below is a screen-readable copy of our 2013-2014 prospectus. Click the edges of the pages to turn them. If you would prefer to download a pdf version then click here.

Front Cover

Contents

  • 5. Aims of White House
  • 7. The Curriculum
  • 9. Literacy
  • 11. Mathematics & ICT
  • 13. Science & Statutory Subjects
  • 15. Foundation Stage
  • 17. Special Educational Needs
  • 19. Extra Curricular Activities
  • 21. Assessment, Recording & Reporting
  • 23. School Organisation
  • 25. The School Day
  • 27. Admissions & School Visits
  • 29. Partnership with Parents
  • 31. Communication with the School
  • 33. Links with Secondary School
  • 34. Friends of White House
  • 35. The Governing Body

Aims of White House

At White House Primary School we want our children to:

  • Have access to a broad and relevant curriculum, which is matched to their individual needs.
  • Grow in a caring, happy, stimulating and ordered environment in which they may develop self-esteem.
  • Achieve their full potential, by demanding the very best of themselves.
  • Develop an open, inquiring mind, an independent attitude to their work, and a lifelong excitement about learning.
  • Learn the personal skills that will be vital to them in their relationships:
    • self-awareness
    • sensitivity to others
    • openness and commitment
  • Feel that they have a responsibility to the environment, the local community and the wider world.
  • We believe that we can only achieve these aims in a school in which everyone's contribution is valued and everyone has equal opportunities. We also believe that our values are apparent in the way in which we run the school, and that children have the benefit of being part of a community in which we all: staff, parents, governors, visitors and children work in partnership.

Excellence and Enjoyment

The Primary Strategy, otherwise known as ‘Excellence & Enjoyment’, is a strategy giving schools the autonomy to redesign their curriculum.

We can focus our own curriculum on aspects that are particularly strong. We can be creative with timetabling and staffing.

Following the development and undoubted positive impact of both the Literacy and Numeracy frameworks, our emphasis is now towards the evolution of a much more creative curriculum.

Themed Learning Journeys is one way of delivering this innovative, creative and enjoyable curriculum.

As teachers we know exactly what we want each child to experience and achieve from each lesson.

We know exactly what we want each child to produce at the end of each piece of work.

We have a clear understanding of the skills, knowledge, concepts and attitudes that we want the children to have developed.

“Hever Castle was the best! We got to find out about Anne Boleyn and play in a water maze!” - Sophie, Year 6

The Curriculum

Theme

Themes link activities across curriculum areas providing children with opportunities to apply skills, knowledge and understanding to different areas of work.

The teacher plans, with input from the children, the skills, knowledge, concepts and attitudes which the children need to develop.

The children are encouraged to evaluate their own work and suggest ideas for improvement. This is called Assessment for Learning and is a very powerful tool for inspiring and motivating children. The end product of the Theme will be a particular piece of work, performance, display, feast, visit etc.

Learning to Learn

Incorporated into our planning are ‘Learning to Learn’ objectives. These are the skills that the children need to be able to learn effectively as they enjoy the theme.

Themes are fun! They do not replace Literacy and Maths lessons but they do make them relevant, applicable and enjoyable.

Literacy

At White House Primary School we try to encourage a love and enjoyment of all aspects of English. We aim to equip children with the skills they will need both at school and in their adult lives.

We use a variety of methods to encourage children to learn and we teach using a range of styles so as to include even the most reluctant learners.

Reading

We place a high value on children being able to read fluently for information as well as for pleasure. We aim to foster a life-long love of books and develop a ‘thirst’ for knowledge. Children learn to read through a variety of approaches, including the teaching of phonics. There is no one method which will suit everyone. We aim to use a variety of teaching methods to include everyone.

Each class from Year 1 6 engages in Guided Reading activities several times a week. This means that children are sharing books, discussing author, plot, style and reading for meaning with an adult regularly each week. The reading books they bring home are for you to share and support them with.

Children are entitled to borrow one book at a time from our school library. Classes have the opportunity to change books during their weekly library sessions.

Writing

We believe in children becoming independent writers as soon as possible and we encourage enthusiasm and creativity.

At White House we follow a creative curriculum with writing at its heart. With guidance from the Primary Framework we establish cross-curricular links through our themes, allowing the children to have real purpose to their writing and which promotes an enjoyment of learning.

Writing is taught in a variety of ways to support all of the learners at White House. We focus heavily on ‘Talk for Writing’ where children are taught to imitate writing (fiction and non-fiction) with the help of oral storytelling with actions and a multi-sensory approach to make it memorable; innovation, using the features of texts to create their own, and invention where the children are able to create their own fiction and non-fiction texts.

Phonics ands spelling are taught separately from the Literacy lesson, but are always linked where possible. We encourage the children to develop and build upon their experience of using powerful vocabulary; interesting sentence connectives; good sentence openers and correct punctuation. We begin teaching cursive handwriting from Year 1, so that by the end of Year 3 most children are able to write.

Mathematics & ICT

Mathematics

Mathematics is a body of knowledge which provides a way of viewing and making sense of the world. It is used to analyse and communicate information and ideas and to tackle a range of practical tasks and real-life problems.

We aim to help all children enjoy mathematics and study it with confidence and a sense of achievement. Our objective is to promote enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning through practical activity, exploration and discussion.

Information Communication Technology

Each classroom is equipped with an Interactive whiteboard which has transformed the way in which children use technology in the school. The school also has a purpose built ICT Suite that is used from Reception through to Year 6.

Children at White House Primary School use a range of ICT tools and information sources to support their work in all subjects. They develop their research and communication skills. Children also explore and compare the different ways ICT is used in and out of school. They learn how to use the internet and email, digital cameras and scanners, recording equipment and computer software. ICT is integral to all teaching and learning at White House.

A computerised library system has been installed to encourage the children and help them with their research skills. Television programmes are used in conjunction with themes and topics relating to the foundation subjects.

The children use both digital, still and movie cameras to record their work when appropriate. DB Primary is our Learning Platform used at home and in school to support teaching and learning.

Science & Statutory Subjects

Science

Science is one of the four core subjects of the National Curriculum (the others being Mathematics, English and I.C.T.).

At White House Primary School we teach children to become ‘investigators’ into the world around them and we encourage a questioning and open-minded approach to scientific matters. Children learn through carefully balanced programmes of study that ensure consolidation, continuity and progression whilst also approaching science in an investigative and interactive way.

When it is appropriate Science is taught within and around many other areas of the curriculum, creating amazing enthusiasm in the children.

Sex and Relationships Education

Currently in primary schools, governors decide whether or not sex education should be part of the curriculum. We regard it as a natural and essential part of personal and social education and have a programme which moves from a general awareness of selves, babies, and others in the early years to more specific work in Years 5 and 6.

During years 4, 5 and 6 a more formal sex education programme is planned.

Parents are always informed before the series of lessons commences and have a chance to view the programmes.

Religious Education

At White House Primary School there are many purposes in teaching Religious Education. There is an opportunity to learn more about our own religious beliefs and the religious beliefs of others through the study of topics that represent various world religions.

Basic ideals found in all religions (such as being kind to others) are encouraged as part of everyday school life. Spirituality is incorporated wherever possible through activities that encourage and foster awe and wonder.

Parents may withdraw their children from religious education in classes or assemblies. Please come and talk to us if you wish to do so.

Foundation Stage

The children follow the Early Years Curriculum which consists of three prime areas;

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

There are also four specific areas of learning;

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

In the Foundation Stage we aim to make the children's learning as active as possible with a balance of adult and child initiated activities and an emphasis on learning through play. Observations on individual children take place informing the adults of each child's next step and we aim to develop and extend the children's interests and motivations.

“The Overall effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage is good. Due to the effective organisation and careful early assessments, pupils begin to make good progress immediately.” - Ofsted 2010

Special Educational Needs

Any child may have additional or different needs at some stage during his or her school career. Such needs might arise from short-term emotional problems, perhaps caused by changes in the child's family, or from long term learning difficulties.

Class teachers deal sensitively with everyday problems, but sometimes they need more support. A senior member of the staff, who is designated as the Inclusions Co-ordinator, has the responsibility for supporting and advising class teachers and for arranging for a child to receive whatever help is available. This might simply mean giving the child some much-needed comfort and re-assurance. It could mean providing extra attention through small-group work for a while. Or it could perhaps mean managing a longer-term process in which the school works with parents to seek help from outside agencies. When the need arises, the school can call on the Behaviour Support Service, Language Learning Support Service, English as an Additional Language, Educational Psychologists and Speech Therapists.

The Inclusions Co-ordinator will work with staff, parents, and the education authority if it is felt that additional resources are needed and that a formal Statement of Special Needs should be sought.

The Inclusions Co-ordinator monitors the development of all children with additional needs as they progress through the school, in order to ensure that they are given the best help that is available.

Extra Curricular Activities

Clubs and Activities

We take great pride in all the clubs and extra curricular activities that we are able to offer. There are various clubs, held after school and in the lunch time, including football, board games and choir. The actual clubs organised represent current interests of staff and pupils and may vary from time to time.

We have a tradition of taking classes or groups of children on educational visits connected with their current programme of study.

We participate, with other schools in the area, in festivals of music together with tournaments and friendly matches of netball, football and rugby, and also a swimming gala.

Breakfast Club

We provide a Breakfast Club from 8.15am for children which is currently free. The children receive a continental breakfast of cereal, toast with various spreads, fruit juice or milk.

Following breakfast we encourage the children to have some fun and be active before going to their classes which sets them up for the day.

We do ask that the children arrive no later than 8.30 if they are going to eat breakfast as a later arrival does not allow time for them to have breakfast without rushing their food.

If you are interested in your child coming to Breakfast Club please ask at the office for details of availability.

KS2 Residential

When possible during the years of Key Stage Two, a residential visit is arranged for Year 5 and 6 with an outdoor activity theme. These are important as confidence building times in addition to being exciting hands on educational experiences.

Assessment, Recording & Reporting

Assessment informs us about what our children know and can do, thus enabling us to make decisions about what they need to do next in order to further develop their learning. We assess and record children's achievements and attainments through observing them, by talking to them, and by reflecting on the work they have done.

All class teachers complete regular teacher assessments throughout the year in all curriculum subjects and there is a system and timetable in place for this. The school keeps a detailed database of numerical assessment data so that all children's progress can be monitored in order to ensure that they progress successfully.

National Curriculum tests (SATs) and formal Teacher Assessments take place towards the end of Year 2 and Year 6 and results are reported to parents. These tests and teacher assessments involve the areas of reading, writing, mathematics and science. Children in years 3, 4 and 5 take optional SAT tests at the end of each year and these are similar to the national SATs for Year 2 and Year 6.

Ongoing assessments are made on children in the Foundation Stage (Reception) using the recommended national method - Foundation Stage profiling. This informs teachers of children's achievement in all areas of learning.

Towards the end of each year, parents receive a written report on their child's progress over the year. The reports detail strengths as well as areas for development and parent's comments are welcomed.

Parent Consultation Evenings are held every other term and parents are also invited to view classrooms and children's work.

Child Protection

Parents should be aware that the school will take any reasonable action to ensure the safety of its pupils. In cases where we have reason to be concerned that a child may be subject to ill-treatment, neglect or other forms of abuse, staff have no alternative but to follow Local Authority Child Protection Procedures and inform the local Social Services Department of their concerns.

School Organisation

The School Organisation

White House Primary School has approximately 140 children on roll. The children enter the school at 4+ and leave at 11 to move to secondary school. The school has 6 class bases. We have time-tabled Teaching Assistant help to support the children in their learning.

Foundation Stage, Reception

In September of each year we admit children into the school who will be 5 years old by 31st August of the following year. All children have the option of attending school full time regardless of the date of their birthday.

Key Stage 1

There are 2 classes in the lower school. Emerald Class (Year 1) and Amethyst class (Year 2) with teaching assistant help for each class which includes learning support for children with additional needs.

Key Stage 2

There are three classes in the upper school. We have Citrine class (Year 3 & 4), Topaz (Year 4 & 5) and Sapphire class (Year 5 & 6). Each class has a timetabled teaching assistant to support the learning of the children in the class.

School Uniform

Uniform is worn by all pupils, we believe this gives the school an identity and encourages the children to take pride in both their appearance and their school. The school colour is purple.

  • Grey trousers/shorts/pinafores/skirts
  • Purple sweatshirts/jumpers/cardigans with the school logo*
  • White polo shirts/blouses
  • Black school shoes

It is essential that a suitable change of clothing is available for PE and games activities. The PE kit must be kept in a named bag.

  • Black Shorts
  • WhiteT-shirt
  • Black or white plimsolls
  • Track suit for cold weather

* Purple cardigans, sweatshirts, bookbags and PE bags with school logo can be purchased from the school.

For reasons of safety and security, jewellery must not be worn, but children may wear a watch. Children with pierced ears may wear a single plain stud in each ear.

Lost Property

To keep lost property to a minimum please ensure that all your children's clothes and belongings are named. Named articles will be returned to their owners.

Unnamed articles will be placed in the lost property boxes situated in the First Aid room.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones are not permitted and children must not bring them to school; there is a single exception made for children in year 6 who walk home alone. In this case the phone is to be left with the school office during the day.

The School Day

School starts (registration): 8.50am
Morning play: 10.45am
Lunchtime: 12.00 - 1.15pm (KS1)
12.15 - 1.15pm (KS2)
Afternoon play: 2.30 - 2.45pm (KS1 only)
School ends: 3.20pm

The children line up to come in to school with their class at 8.50am promptly.

Registration takes place in class as soon as the children come in. If your child is late they must report to the office so their name can be entered in the register to show them as present that day. If your child is absent please contact the school office on 01323 841615, before 9.30am if possible, giving their name, class and a reason for absence. An answer phone operates during busy periods so please be patient and leave a message. When your child returns to school after a period of absence please send a note to the teacher confirming why they have been away.

The time set aside for teaching each week is:

  • Reception, and Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1) 21 hours, 40 minutes.
  • Years 3 - 6 (Key Stage 2) 24 hours, 10 minutes.

This excludes registration, morning assembly, morning and afternoon playtimes and lunchtimes, but all of these sessions are an integral part of the school day.

Lunchtimes and Snacks

Lunch

The three members of the catering staff, employed by Chartwell, are responsible for the preparation of the meals served to the children. The food is prepared and cooked on the premises. There are two main meals, (one a vegetarian option) and a pudding available each day. The cost of a meal is £2.00 and drinks are on sale at an extra charge. We operate a ‘cash till’ system which gives parents the flexibility of paying for a cooked meal or providing sandwiches on any particular day. Children who want a cooked meal should bring their money in a named purse and hand it to their class teacher at morning registration. All cooked meals are ordered when the register is taken in the morning. Please do not include fizzy drinks, glass bottles or sweets in packed lunch boxes. Could you also avoid putting nuts in lunchboxes as some children may be allergic to them.

Almost all children stay for the midday meal, either eating a school meal or bringing sandwiches. If parents prefer, children may go home at lunch time. Children have lunch in our hall and are looked after by a team of Mid-day Supervisors.

If you are eligible for free school meals this can be arranged through the school office.

Mid morning milk is available through the Cool Milk Scheme. Please ask for details at the school office The younger children are offered a piece of fruit each morning playtime at no cost. This is through an NHS scheme.

Lunchtime Drinks

Water is freely available at lunchtime and other drinks such as fruit juice, milk and milkshake are on sale. Money for drinks should also be in a named purse.

Snacks

All children are encouraged to bring a healthy snack (fruit or vegetable) for mid-morning. Please ‘label’ them as best you can.

Admissions and School Visits

Admissions

The arrangements for the admission of children to this school at age 4+ are made by the school's Governing Body. A detailed description of the arrangements is contained in the booklet Admissions to Primary Schools for the current year. A copy can be obtained from the School Admissions Section, Education Department, PO Box 4, County Hall, St. Anne's Crescent, Lewes, BN7 1SG (tel. 01273 481000). A copy is also available for inspection at the school.

Parents may find it helpful to know that, if there are insufficient places available to meet demand, these will be allocated to children in accordance with the following list of priorities:

  • Looked After children.
  • Children with strong medical or exceptional evidence which leads the Director of Education to conclude that attendance at any other school would be inappropriate.
  • Children who will have a brother or sister at the school at the time of admission.
  • Children living within a predefined community area, prioritised if necessary on the basis of the shortest route from home to school using ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads.
  • Children living outside the predetermined community area, prioritised if necessary on the basis of the shortest route from home using ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads.
  • If you would like further information on admissions please contact the school office. We have 30 places available each year. Children wishing to join the school in Years 1 to 6 are welcome to contact the school directly.

Visits and Charging Policy

We believe that taking children on visits that are relevant to their curriculum work can be a very enriching experience for them. It can also be costly and we need to ask for parents' support. Our policy to cover special activities that incur charges is as follows:

  • We cannot charge parents for children's visits away from school which involve a cost, but we may ask them for a voluntary contribution. If the voluntary contributions do not cover the cost of a visit, it may have to be cancelled.
  • We keep the suggested contribution to a minimum and will always do what we can to ensure that all children participate.
  • For longer visits (for example, the school's residential trips) we are allowed to charge parents for board and lodging and ask for a voluntary contribution for the other elements of the trip. To simplify matters, we ask for a contribution to cover the total cost.
  • We sometimes invite theatre companies and other organizations to visit the school. The PTA (Friends of White House) sometimes subsidises such visits but we may also need to ask parents for a voluntary contribution to cover our costs.
  • Extra-curricular instrumental lessons in school may be charged for (and will either be offered by the East Sussex County Music School or by private teachers).

This policy covers activities at White House Primary School; fuller details may be found in the Education (School Hours and Policies) (Information) Regulations.

Partnership with Parents

The school has always valued its partnership with parents, believing not only that children benefit greatly from a close relationship between home and school, but that the school can be much strengthened by parents' involvement and support. This belief can be expressed in many ways: creating an atmosphere of welcome in the school, new parents making individual visits to school, encouraging parents to help with classroom activities and school trips, and keeping parents informed about what the school is doing and how their children are progressing.

Working Together

Class teachers encourage parents to keep in close touch with them and bring to them any questions they may have about their child's progress before they become anxieties. After school is the best time and staff will be glad to see parents then (except on Tuesday and Thursday, when there is a regular staff meeting). If parents need a longer discussion, it is best to make an appointment with their child's class teacher. We hold Parents' Evenings twice a year, with an appointment for every parent to talk to their child's teacher. A written report is issued for every child in the summer term followed by an Open Evening.

Communication with Parents

We send a newsletter home every term and other letters regularly with details of what is happening in school. Three times a year a curriculum leaflet is sent home to inform parents of the areas of study, ways that parents can help and details of topic based work. The partnership between school and parents has been strengthened by the signing of a Home-School Agreement (statutory). The agreement outlines how schools and parents can work closely together.

The Head teacher is always glad to talk to parents, but would appreciate it if appointments were first made with the School Secretary.

Practical Help in the Classroom

Parents can bring a wealth of experience to the school, and staff are always grateful for offers of practical help in any of the following areas:

  • helping readers
  • working with children on computers
  • sewing
  • cooking
  • craft projects
  • gardening
  • transporting children on school trips and to and from sports matches

We welcome all willing parental volunteers into school and if you have special skills please contact your class teacher.

Communication with the School

Absence

If a child fails to arrive at school, we have no way of knowing why, unless parents have given us a reason. This has obvious implications for children's safety and well-being. It is therefore important that parents contact the Secretary on the first day and any following days on which their child is absent. (This can be done by telephone, letter, or personally by a responsible person.) The school has to be notified of all absences, and is required to keep a record of all unauthorized absences (that is, occasions when children have been away from school without good reason).

Holidays

Holiday leave in term-time cannot be ‘authorised’ by the school, in line with directives from County Hall and the Government. Parents who need to take their children out of school in term time will be asked to inform the school in advance in writing (an official form can be obtained from the office). The holiday absence will be recorded in the register as an unauthorised absence specifically for holidays.

The Head teacher can deem holidays to be authorised as compassionate leave in some cases - parents are asked to speak to the Head teacher in confidence if this is the case.

Collection of Children from School

Children are dismissed by their teachers at the end of the day in the playground. Children in Key Stage 1 must be met by parents or someone designated by parents such as a child minder. Please send a note or ring the school if someone different will collect your child. Older children may be allowed to walk home by prior arrangement with the school.

If children need to leave during the school day for medical appointments etc they should be collected from the school office by an adult so they can be signed out.

Emergencies

We ask parents to give us details of how we may contact them in an emergency (and to make sure that the Secretary knows of any changes). We also ask for relevant information in cases of a change in home circumstances; the information will be treated confidentially and only used to ensure that anyone collecting a child has the right to do so.

Family Circumstances

There may be family or home circumstances that parents feel will affect the school's relationship with their child. If so, the Headteacher would be very glad to know of them, an appointment can always be arranged by the Secretary.

Health and Welfare

The School Health Service offers information to parents, staff, and children and is responsible for the routine screening and medical checks that are carried out during a child's years at school.

In the term during their fifth birthday, children have a hearing test and height / weight check which parents are asked to give their consent to but can be present if they have any queries or concerns for the School Nurse.

The school health nurse monitors any causes for concern, and parents or staff can ask for additional checks at any time. We ask parents to inform us in writing if they wish to withdraw children from any of these routine examinations.

We need to know if children have a condition needing special regular treatment or medication. Only the office staff can administer medicines to children if parents give appropriate instructions, but we must stress that they reserve the right to refuse and cannot be held responsible.

We can keep asthma inhalers safely at school in the office for immediate use when needed. Please speak to the office staff if you have any questions about this.

Links with Secondary School

We have close links with Hailsham Community College Academy Trust, to which our children normally transfer at the age of 11. The children transfer to HCC for the last week of the July term and this has proven to be a very successful way of ensuring a successful transition from primary school to Secondary school. We also undertake regular discussions on particular aspects of the curriculum to ensure continuity, a programme of familiarisation visits by teachers and pupils in the term before transfer and a ready welcome to our former pupils who are often keen to come back and see us.

During the school year, children take part in sporting activities with other children from schools across Hailsham run by Hailsham Community College Academy Trust staff. There is also an opportunity for children in year 5 and 6 to attend a Science club in the Spring term.

White House work closely in partnership with Hailsham Community College Academy Trust as part of the Hailsham Co-operative Trust.

Friends of White House

White House Primary School has an active PTA, known as Friends of White House, which is a registered charity and currently has four trustees and two co-opted members. Meetings are held at the school at least once a term and all parents/teachers are welcome.

The main activities are to raise funds, assist at school and social events, and provide refreshments where needed. It provides a forum for parents and teachers to liaise and work together.

The highlight of the year is the Christmas and Summer Fayres which raise funds for the school but there are a number of other fund raising activities such as Mufti days and discos.

We are always eager to welcome new members and volunteers including any ideas on fund raising or other social activities.

The Governing Body

Our school governors are all volunteers and every year we are keen to attract new people in the community who can bring energy, experience and fresh ideas to the school. The people who make up our governing body bring a range of experience and interests from many walks of life. They work closely with others to make good decisions, and to make sure their decisions are followed up. Our school governing body is made up of:

  • The Headteacher
  • Parent Governor, elected by other parents in the school
  • Staff Governors, elected by their colleagues
  • LA Governors, appointed by the Local Authority
  • Foundation/Trust Governors appointed by Hailsham Cooperative Learning Trust
  • Co-opted Governors, appointed by the Governing Body and includes representatives from the Community

White House Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education. Our governors also promote effective ways of teaching and learning when setting the school aims and policies. They do this together with the Headteacher, who is responsible for the day to day management of the school.

Our Governing Body, like all schools' governing bodies, is responsible to parents and the community. The Governing Body's main role is to help raise standards of achievement and, in partnership with the Headteacher:

  • is accountable for the performance of the school to parents and the wider community
  • plans the school's future direction
  • makes decisions on the school's budget and staffing
  • makes sure the National Curriculum is taught
  • decides how the school can encourage pupils' spiritual, moral and social development
  • makes sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special needs
  • selects the headteacher

We are pleased that the Governing Body plays a very important role and is always working with the Headteacher to ensure we provide the best education possible at White House.

The Chair of the Governing Body is Mr Michael Hardwick. Full details of all the governors on the governing body can be obtained from the School Office or here.

The Clerk to the Governing Body is Lynda Primrose. The clerk and governors can be contacted by leaving a written message at the school office addressed to the Chair of Governors or to the Clerk of Governors. Alternatively you can email the governors here.

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