The aims of the school are to provide a balanced curriculum and to develop the work of individual children as fully as possible according to their age and ability. Teachers adhere to the school curriculum policy, which follows National Curriculum guidance.
Wherever possible, we adopt a topic approach to teaching throughout the school, although some subjects (such as French and PSHCE) are taught discretely.
English skills are considered to be of primary importance and emphasis is placed on the acquisition of skills related to this area. The subject is taught in line with the National Curriculum 2014.
Reading is taught in a planned and systematic way to all children using a variety of reading methods, including ‘look and say’, phonics and the use of picture and contextual clues. In Years 3 & 4, reading books are colour banded or staged and children are regularly assessed within these bands or stages. In Years 5 and 6, children choose books from the school library and are taught how to check that their selected book is of an appropriate level by using the ‘five finger’ test. Children are encouraged to take books home so that parents can share in the reading experience of their children. On a Friday morning (8.45-9am), we encourage parents/relatives to pop in to share a book with their child as part of our ‘Early Morning Read’.
Writing develops in conjunction with children’s reading skills. Children are encouraged to use emergent writing, gradually moving onto more accurate spellings. The correct formation of letters is taught in formal writing activities and there is an expectation that work will be neatly presented following our presentation policy. Simple punctuation is introduced at an early stage. Children are taught to write in sentences from the outset.
The school follows the National Curriculum 2014. Maths is taught in a variety of practical and engaging ways, including the use of IT (particularly mymaths.co.uk), with a dedicated daily maths lesson being complemented by cross curricular activities in, for example, Science or Geography lessons. Opportunities are given for investigation and problem solving within the broad mathematical areas of number and place value, arithmetic, fractions, measurement, geometry and statistics. Where possible, these are linked to ‘real world’ scenarios in order to ensure learning is linked to maths in everyday life, such as being linked to time and money.
Computing is taught both across the curriculum and as a discrete subject. The school currently has two dedicated ICT suites which are used to support teaching and learning, as well as interactive teaching screens. In addition, we have banks of laptops (including a set of Apple MacBooks) and tablets to support cross-curricular learning. Children are given the opportunity to use digital cameras and camcorders, as well as sound recording equipment. All the computers are connected to the internet and to the school network either by cables or wireless links.
Internet access is shielded and closely monitored. Children are taught the importance of e-safety in their computing lessons as well as part of half termly assemblies. They discuss how to use the internet in a safe, responsible and efficient manner. All children will have access to their own email account for emailing other children within the school. This email is monitored and cannot be used to for correspondence with anyone that is unauthorised by the school.
Science is taught through topic work, as well as a discrete subject. Children are encouraged to enquire and develop a curiosity about the world around them. Certain units of work may be taught across a ‘Science Week’, in which other curriculum areas specifically support the Science learning.
Religious Education (RE)
The school follows ‘exploRE (the Essex Agreed Syllabus). This is a statutory document reviewed by County every 5 years. Children will be learning about religion, as well as learning from religion. Teaching in this subject reflects the dominant Christian religious traditions in Great Britain, while taking into account the teachings and practices of the other principal religions represented in the country (Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism). Children will also be taught a module on Humanism in Year 6. Some RE units of work are taught across an ‘RE Week’, in which RE provides the focus for all curriculum areas.
A school assembly is held each day, for which we have a multi-faith approach. Parents who wish their child to be withdrawn from Religious Education and Assembly should consult the head teacher and alternative arrangements can be made.
Physical Education (PE)
The school follows the National Curriculum 2014 and a range of schemes of work. We follow the Essex guidance for teaching time, this being two hours of quality physical education per week, with an aim of children having access to the recommended five hours of physical activity each week when extra-curricular activities, both in and out of school, are included.
The school is well equipped with large and small PE apparatus and a heated outdoor swimming pool. Children swim in the autumn and summer term. Swimming is taught by our qualified swimming teacher.
A variety of different sports are taught through PE and Games lessons, including football, netball, basketball, tag-rugby, rounders, kwik-cricket, dance, gymnastics and athletics. Children in the junior school have the opportunity to compete against other schools in a variety of sporting competitions. We also sometimes have the opportunity to use facilities at The Gilberd secondary school, and to participate in sporting festivals and competitions run by their staff.
History and Geography
These subjects are taught through topic work. Where appropriate, use is made of the local area and trips and visits are planned. There are opportunities to develop specific skills such as mapwork, research and field work, or undertake re-creations of historical events through workshops and other practical activities.
Art & Design and Design & Technology
Opportunities for these subjects often arise from topics, although some aspects are taught as a separate subject. Appropriate use of materials and techniques is encouraged and children are taught skills of observation, as well as practical skills and undertake evaluations of the design and making process. When possible, we invite visitors in, or make visits to local establishments for workshops.
“Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. “Published: September 2013 (DFE Languages programmes of study KS2)
We follow the National Curriculum’s ‘Languages Programme of Study’ 2014 with all KS2 classes taught by our specialist French teacher. Through the teaching of French, we aim to develop skills of oracy, literacy and intercultural understanding, as well as developing the children’s language learning strategies.
All classes have a weekly lesson with a specialist music teacher in which the children learn to perform, compose and appraise a variety of music. Some lessons are subject specific such as reading musical notation and practising keyboard skills, but many are cross-curricular where the children sing songs, create and listen to music related to their class topics. In addition, all Year 3 children learn to play the descant recorder.
There is the opportunity for children to have individual instrumental lessons with peripatetic teachers from Essex Music Services; we currently have teachers for guitar, violin, drums, trumpet clarinet and flute but lessons on other instruments may be available on request.
Personal, Social, Health & Citizenship Education (PSHCE)
This takes place as a separate subject throughout the year and is linked to topics as appropriate. In our teaching of this subject, we use the PSHE Association Guidance, which are supplemented by the ‘Essex Planning Tool for PSHE & C’ (Version 1: Health for Life). ‘Social Emotional Aspects of Learning’ (SEAL) resources are also used, where appropriate. The school follows the latest Essex guidance for this subject. Themes taught include: Me and My Feelings, Me and My Relationships, Me and Keeping Safe, Me and Medicines and Drugs, Me and My Healthy Lifestyle, Me and Making a Positive Contribution, Me and Growing and Changing.
Sex and Relationships Education
In KS2, the unit ‘Me and Growing and Changing’ is taught in each year group in the second half of the Summer Term, in which areas such as emotional changes that they may be experiencing are discussed.
In addition to this, children from Year 5 and Year 6 watch a Channel 4 ‘Living and Growing’ DVD, with appropriate follow up discussion with staff about body and emotional changes during puberty and, for girls, a discussion about periods. Parents are invited to view the DVD prior to the sessions taking place and a copy of the school policy can be viewed on the school website. Parents wishing to withdraw their child from this aspect of the curriculum should contact the headteacher in writing.