“The appetite and zest for learning of children in their primary years is unrivalled. It is this which makes primary teaching truly rewarding and primary education so important in its own right and for what follows.
The curriculum that primary children are offered must enable them to enjoy this unique stage of childhood, inspire learning and develop the essential knowledge, skills and understanding which are the building blocks for secondary education and later life.”
(Executive Summary of the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum, 2009 p.1, p.2, section 5 and 6)
The Government has released a New National Curriculum to be implemented from September 2014.
As an academy, we provide a broad and balanced curriculum that includes English, Mathematics, Science and RE. This curriculum is continously assessed and revised to ensure that it provides the best education for our children. We will provide our pupils with the essential knowledge that they need to be engaged and productive citizens. It will enable them to discover an appreciation of human creativity and achievement while becoming the very best they can be.
High quality phonics teaching secures the crucial skill of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically thus freeing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text. As a school we follow the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme. From Reception to Year 2 phonics is taught discretely every day.
English in Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Profile is followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Foundation Stage.
In the Foundation Stage communication, language and literacy is taught as one of the six areas of learning covering children’s physical, emotional and social development and is incorporated in each area of learning as set out in the ‘Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage.’ We know that children learn best when activities engage many senses, when they are happy and confident. A love of books, rhymes and poems, sounds and words is developed through planned and incidental work. Structured play activities provide valuable opportunities for children to:
- Engage in conversation with other children and adults
- Share music, songs, poetry, stories and non–fiction
- Experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script
English in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
English is delivered using a personalised English Curriculum based on the National Curriculum. This was devised in partnership with Chris Quigley (Specialist in Primary Education) , Mrs Ganley (English Lead) and Mrs Burkes (Head Teacher).
English is based on books from Year 1 – Year 6. The book itself, or themes from the book, are used to drive activities where objectives from the curriculum are met in composition, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
‘Books as Hooks’ captures the children’s imagination and encourages them to become fluent, thoughtful and creative writers.
Each unit starts with a ‘hook’ and then the children journey through the book completing different genres of writing with specific audiences and purposes.
Various Genres are taught regularly throughout the year appropriate to key stage 1 and key stage 2. Teachers use milestones 1, 2 and 3 to ensure objectives are taught and revisited on a two-year cycle.
APPROACHES TO SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Speaking; Listening; Group Discussion and Interaction, and Drama permeate the whole curriculum. Interactive teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Children are encouraged to speak in a range of contexts and as they grow older, adapt their style of speak appropriately.
Children often work in a ‘Kagan’ groups to further develop their speaking and listening skills. This provides children with further opportunities to express their ideas, make plans and present ideas; thus encouraging them to work both co-operatively and collaboratively.
A Communication lesson is also taught each week from Year 1 to Year 6. Part of the session, children have the opportunity to explore a different book (e.g. modern or classic text) over a half term. This enables children to ‘share’ a book as a class which, in turn, provokes class discussion around the text. As well as introducing children to a variety of genres; shared reading enhances the teaching of comprehension skills and challenges children to explore a text on a variety of levels. This is used as platform to encourage wider reading, discuss themes, broaden vocabulary and answer relevant content domain questions.
The other part of the lesson is focused on speaking and listening. The teacher will use a real life event (current news) or a fictional event (possibly from a class book) to allow for the opportunity to reflect / debate / discuss a key question which is based on a spiritual, moral, social or cultural angle.
This lesson, along with English lessons, enables children to immerse themselves in reading.
APPROACHES TO READING
Shared Reading takes place regularly during English and Communication lessons.
Discrete comprehension lessons take place each week. A teacher led taught comprehension lesson takes place in which the 7 strands of reading are covered. This lesson is followed up by an application session. In this session children apply the taught skills they have learnt.
Children should have the opportunity to read every day and to share books at home. Teachers or teaching assistants will read one-one with children once a week within key stage 1.This also occurs in Key Stage 2 (as deemed appropriate). These schemes include Read, Write, Inc. Collins Big Cat, Rigby Rockets and the new Oxford Reading Project X.
Reading books are changed regularly and a child will only move on to the next level when the teacher or teaching assistant feels the child is completely ready. A child’s progress is recorded in a reading record.
Each class visits the school library every week. During these 20 minute sessions children can read, complete reading activities and take a book out on loan.
In addition, there are book banded reading books available (with a selection of fiction and non-fiction reading materials) which the children can choose from regularly. Classes also have the opportunity to use the School Library to further develop research materials for topics being studied in class.
Children are encouraged to read daily with their parents as part of their homework exercise and home-school liaison is achieved by having regular parental contact through the reading record book.
Each year Bedford Hall Methodist Primary School has a book fair from which children and parents are invited to buy new reading materials to develop an interest in reading.
Please click the link below for Oxford Owl advice for parents reading:
For Ebooks that can be read at home:
APPROACHES TO WRITING
All children have the opportunity to take part in shared writing, guided writing and independent writing tasks during English sessions. Guided writing is teacher lead and is an essential component of a balanced writing curriculum, providing an additional supported step towards independent writing. Guided writing is planned in regularly and is targeted towards groups of children according to their current targets or specific needs. It is used to support children during the different stages of the writing process.
In the foundation stage children are encouraged to use emergent writing and any phonics knowledge to write freely. The children see writing modelled by the teacher in shared writing sessions and phonics lessons. By the end of reception, most children should be confident in their alphabet sounds and using this knowledge to begin to spell simple words and write simple sentences.
Within Key Stage 1 and 2 children are taught to write in a variety of genres, for a variety of audiences.
Punctuation and grammar are taught discretely and within English lessons and link to the text being studied at the time. Additional grammar and punctuation sessions are planned in each week to reinforce learning and address any misconceptions.
The Nelson Handwriting Scheme is also used across school.
Spelling strategies are taught twice a week across school focusing on a weekly spelling pattern. These sessions are followed by a spelling test at the end of the week. The new National Curriculum Spelling Bank and Babcock scheme is used as a resource for this.
During English (and phonics lessons in key stage 1) all children are encouraged to learn the sounds of letters and to learn letter patterns. Children are encouraged to use word banks and dictionaries to support them when spelling unfamiliar words.
Cornerstones Curriculum - Science
To support the new and exciting ‘Cornerstones’ curriculum, we have taken on the ‘Love to Investigate’ Science units. Each unit is tailored to support each topic within the Cornerstones curriculum as well as covering the KS1 and 2 statutory requirements for Science.
The ‘Love to Investigate’ units are specifically designed in order to develop children’s investigative skills. They are also designed to get the children excited about science with a series of practical, exciting investigations. They cover tricky topics in new and unusual ways, including evolution, mechanisms and air resistance.
Every investigation develops key knowledge and is linked to assessment, covering specific programmes of study for 'working scientifically'.
Statutory Guidance KS1 and KS2 Science Curriculum
KEY STAGE 1
KEY STAGE 2
We have introduced a Singaporean approach to mathematics in school with an emphasis on teaching children to solve problems in all aspects of maths. Research and evidence show this to be a highly effective way of teaching maths.
The programme we use to deliver Singapore Maths is Maths No Problem.
Maths No Problem:
- Builds students’ mathematical fluency without the need for them to learn by rote.
- Introduces new concepts through a Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach. http://www.mathsnoproblem.co.uk/concrete-pictorial-abstract
- Ensures pupils learn to think mathematically rather than reciting formulas they don’t understand.
- Teaches mental strategies to solve problems such as drawing a Bar Model. http://www.mathsnoproblem.co.uk/model-method
The chart below shows how our children progress as they work through the Maths No Problem programme. They work through each chapter in order as they progress through the year.
Dr Yeap Ban Har is a leading mathematics expert and trainer for Maths No Problem.
Cornerstones - Creative Curriculum
We are continuing to use the exciting Topic based curriculum ‘Cornerstones’. This curriculum is created by real teachers and supports the needs of our children and the national curriculum. Our children learn better when their interests and fascinations are allowed to flourish, where they are encouraged to explore subjects in a variety of ways and are viewed in terms of their strengths. Using this approach, Cornerstones developed the four-stage teaching philosophy: Engage, Develop, Innovate, Express. Each stage provides opportunities for our children to learn and respond in a variety of ways, keeping projects flexible and able to follow our children’s interests and needs.
Start with a memorable first-hand experience
Begin observations, research and setting questions
Fully engage with the new topic
Improve knowledge and understanding
Develop and practise new skills
Explore, make and do
Apply skills and knowledge in real-life contexts
Solve real or imagined problems through learning
Gain inspiration from creative activities
Become performers, experts and informers
Link learning back to starting points
Share and celebrate achievements