Curriculum

RWI phonics

This is taught daily for a half an hour across KS1 and the EYFS. Children are streamed based upon a formal phonics assessment and daily teacher assessment. Within the half hour they have a speed sounds lesson followed by reading and writing activities based on either a three day or a five day plan. Children are assessed at least half termly to ensure that their learning progresses promptly. Children who need extra support in phonics also have additional 1-1 phonics support in a short refresher burst in the afternoon. In Nursery, children start exploring simple sounds through play from the start of the school year.

Reading

The school is keen to ensure that children learn to read and develop a life long love of reading and literature. This means providing high-quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, and ensuring that children are introduced to these through cross-curricular projects, story-tellers, and the promotion of books and reading by teachers to children. Reading is given priority in our school.
We use a range of reading schemes in the school and we encourage children to read from a wide variety of genres, exposing them to rich language. An enthusiasm of reading and of literacy is developed from the very earliest stages of the children's education. The children are taught the skills of reading from nursery, through rigorous phonics teaching and the development of reading strategies, moving onto guided reading sessions. 

All children across the school are expected to read at least three times a week to an adult at home and communicate this in their reading record.

Spelling

In Year 1 and Reception spelling is taught within RWI phonics sessions with additional practise in daily literacy teaching and during handwriting.

In KS2 and Year 2 we teach children spelling on a four day programme in banded groups that are revised and reviewed at least every half term. The reading and spelling programmes work alongside each other on a 6 day reading/4 day spelling cycle. We use the Read, Write, Inc. spelling programme that runs from Year 2 to Year 6. We have found this highly effective in offering phonics revision strategies alongside a challenging and engaging spelling framework directly linked to the new English Primary Curriculum. The children use this to meet a variety of spelling objectives; such as, to use the suffix –able and to use the silent letter t.  In addition to taught spelling sessions children practise their spellings in class during feedback for learning time and handwriting sessions are based around spelling objectives. In line with the changes to the curriculum the spelling programme ensures that children are constantly exposed to ‘common exception’ words throughout their learning through special focus activities.

Literacy & Maths

Here are some of the teaching strategies we use for English and maths:

  • We are currently involved in a 2 year ‘Primary writing project’.

• In literacy warm up activities focus around vocabulary, connective use, use of openers in a sentence and punctuation. These are often linked to the grammar in writing.

• In maths starting activities usually focus on problem solving activities, or whole class areas for development that have been noted in the teacher assessment book. These support children with quick and accurate mental arithmetic strategies.

• Maths main teaching objectives are selected using the new curriculum framework. However the new curriculum is always considered in conjunction with class strengths and areas for development, so that planning meets the needs of all children regardless of their starting point.

• In maths lessons we use the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach to calculation, allowing children to become fluent and confident in using and manipulating numbers.  This approach allows us to deliver the curriculum in such a way as to provide breadth and depth across each learning objective, promoting master of the subject.

• Each class in KS1 and KS2 has a weekly problem solving maths lesson.  Here, children are given the chance to use the skills they have learned into practice and apply them in a range of different contexts.  Teachers plan a wide range of problem solving activities across each term, promoting a variety of mathematical and higher order thinking skills.

• Literacy objectives are again taken from the new curriculum and tailored to the children’s needs. Every lesson covers a text level objective – where a piece of writing is analysed and discussed and a sentence level objective – where children learn how to write sentences that interest and engage the reader. Grammar for writing is always part of sentence level work.

• Guided learning means that a small group of children are taught by the teacher in the lesson whilst the other children are working independently. The small group work is focused on addressing any misconceptions in learning, reinforcing aspects of learning or offering additional challenge to specifically selected children.

• The children’s learning throughout the lesson is checked through ‘mini plenaries’. A teacher uses these to ensure that children are working towards the learning objective and takes this opportunity to correct any misconceptions.

• Varied learning opportunities are planned throughout the lessons to ensure that all children are both challenged and supported. We ensure that no child’s learning is ‘capped’ and that they are able to sensibly choose their own level of challenge throughout.

Handwriting

• Handwriting is explicitly taught in Year 1 and Reception using RWI letter formation rhymes. There is a focus on orientation, size, ascenders, descenders and general presentation.

• Starting from Year 1 Summer term,  cursive  handwriting is taught and then modelled by the class teacher at every opportunity.

• Children all practise handwriting in their literacy books and this is marked and corrected during the handwriting session.

• Handwriting assessment forms part of the writing assessment criteria within the Hammond assessment framework

Foundation Subjects

MFL (French) is taught by our subject specialist in KS2 and Year 2 every week. Children benefit from a tailored programme of teaching that focuses both on oral and written language skills.

Music is taught by our subject specialists to every class in the school every week. We have three part time music teachers who teach the children a range of skills including the use of many different instruments and singing. We have a whole school singing assembly once a week and also invite parents into school to see a musical performance. In addition we have a regular 1-1 music tutor who teaches peripatetic lessons weekly.

PE is taught by both the class teacher and our Lead Sports Coach. Every class has two hours of PE weekly. We also ensure that our children compete in a range of sporting events within the local community and have a school football and netball team.

RE is taught within the weekly class time table and we also teach this through whole school and in class assembly sessions. We have a number of religious leaders who visit the school to talk to the children. We follow the ‘Hertfordshire Syllabus for Religious Education’

Science is taught following the new curriculum guidelines with an emphasis on pupil led investigation and scientific exploration. The generation of a topic web at the start of a unit means that children are able to explore what they already know about the topic and also tell the teacher what they would like to learn.  This feeds into teacher planning to ensure that planning is engaging and always linked to new learning.

Computing is taught using a scheme of work that is tailored to the new Primary Curriculum. Teachers use this as a guide and then adapt the plans to support and challenge different groups of children in their class. The children use a range of media to learn, including lap tops and i-pads. ICT is embedded throughout the curriculum and i-pads are used routinely to enrich curriculum provision.

Geography and history are taught weekly in termly blocks. There is a real focus on topic based learning that is integrated across the curriculum. We also plan an offsite trip or arrange for an external visit to support and enrich learning. Our displays across the school and in classrooms show the excellent topic based learning that is occurring across core and foundation subjects.

Art and DT  is taught within a geography or history unit and linked to the current topic. We teach children a range of skills in art, including the use of textiles, painting, digital art, sculpture, 3D modelling and the core skills of drawing and sketch