The Whitchurch Church of England Federation -Curriculum Provision
The Intent of our Curriculum
Our curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise to promote a love of learning, personal growth and the human qualities that we aim to develop in our pupils. This includes the formal requirements of the national curriculum; outdoor learning experiences and the range of extra-curricular activities we offer to enrich the educational experiences of all learners. We are deeply aware that pupils only get one chance at their primary education and our ethos statement reflects our commitment to ensuring that all will flourish.
The curriculum across the Whitchurch Church of England Federation has been written and developed with the aim to encourage every pupil to care for, respect and appreciate the ultimate worth of others, developing positive relationships as they take their first steps towards independence and becoming responsible, thoughtful and confident adults of the future, making successful contributions to their local and the global community. As members of the St. Bart’s Multi-Academy Trust family, we advocate the belief that education is preparation for life and we seek to prepare each child to face life beyond the Federation with confidence.
Our curriculum pays attention to the development of key concepts, knowledge and skills across a broad range of subjects in order to help our pupils to develop long-term retention of learning. Skills and concepts are progressive and opportunities broaden across the key stages in building knowledge of the world, cultural literacy and vocabulary.
We have developed core drivers that shape our curriculum, bring about the aims and values of our Federation and St Bart’s Multi-Academy Trust (P-passion, E-encouraging, A-ambition, C-commitment, E - enjoyment), allow pupils to make purposeful links and connections throughout their learning and to see how their subject learning is related to the world they live in.
Responsibility and intrinsic motivation “This is Me” (Passion, Ambition)
We will focus on guiding pupils to believe in themselves, develop personal and affective skills, values, behaviours and character traits. We will enable pupils to consider each other’s ideas and opinions, share responsibilities and respect other people’s views. Rich opportunities for all learners to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural skills will be provided.
Creativity and Imagination “The Creative Me” (Enjoyment)
We will focus on the areas of Art and Design, Music, Drama, Role-Play and Dance. We will develop the creative minds of our pupil and encourage imaginative thinking, whilst at the same time, improving confidence and self-esteem.
Curiosity and Problem Solving “The Inquisitive Me” (Enjoyment)
We will focus on the areas of Mathematics, Science, Design and Technology and Computing to encourage pupils to question, enquire and reason about principles and phenomena.
Resilience and being healthy “The Healthy Me” (Commitment, Encouraging)
We will focus on the areas of Physical Education, Religious Education, PSHE and Outdoor Learning. Our pupils will become healthy in mind, body and spirit.
Communication and Investigation “The Independent Me” (Ambition, Enjoyment,
We will focus on the areas of English, Geography, History and Language. We will provide a rich ‘cultural capital’ so that our pupils can interpret, infer, explore and exploit the world around them. It includes language (vocabulary) which, in turn, helps pupils to express themselves in a sophisticated, mature way.
The Implementation of our Curriculum
Senior Leaders and Subject Leaders set out a Long Term Overview for each phase across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. This documents a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered and the concepts pupils should understand.
Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Where possible, we draw on a high quality text as a stimulus. We encourage all practitioners to think imaginatively about the best way to combine subjects and inspire learning.
Our curriculum, underpinned by the five drivers, sets out:
Breadth: The curriculum breadth for each year group to ensure teachers have clarity as to what to cover. As well as providing the key knowledge within subjects, it also provides for pupils’ growing cultural capital.
Concepts: Concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated many times in each phase of learning.
Learning Goals: Learning goals define the standards for the threshold concepts. We have planned our curriculum in two year phases. We expect pupils in year one of each phase to develop a basic understanding (the knowledge building phase, providing the foundations of learning) and an advancing understanding (the application phase) in year two.
Medium Term planning is shared with parents in a simplified overview which document the concepts, skills and knowledge learners will be taught under the themes of This is Me, The Creative Me, The Independent Me, The Inquisitive Me and The Healthy Me.
Short Term Planning is produced on a weekly basis. This clearly sets out the key concept(s) and core knowledge to be delivered during a series of lessons. Teacher and Teaching Assistant provision, where relevant, is also clearly documented to evidence the support provided to learners.
The Federation bases its RE provision on the Shropshire Agreed Syllabus for RE and The Understanding Christianity Resource. In addition, the Federation uses the Lichfield Diocesan RE Resources and other appropriate units to enhance teaching and offer the extra dimension of its Church foundation.
We follow the Jigsaw scheme of work for Relationships Education.
We use the Read Write Inc. phonics programme to teach our pupils to read, write and spell. We start by teaching phonics to the pupils in Early Years. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps pupils learn to spell well. We teach the pupils simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. The pupils also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’ or ‘red words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. These are words that the pupils cannot decode through using their phonic knowledge. The pupils practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘red words’ they know.
Pupils with Special Educational needs and Disabilities
We comply with the requirements set out in the SEND Code of Practice 2014 by providing a curriculum which is designed to meet the individual needs of all pupils. If a pupil’s additional need is severe, we consult with external agencies to develop and use resources and support tailored to their specific need.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Pupils entering our Nursery and Reception class will follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum’. The teaching and learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage promotes a broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundations for a good future and rate of progress throughout the rest of school and life. The practice in our early years setting is led by the overarching principles that:
• Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning;
• Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
• Children learn and develop well in enabling environments and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents/carers;
• Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
Our curriculum cares and caters for all pupils inclusively. We deliver our curriculum through the 7 areas of learning of the Early Years Foundation Stage;
• Communication and language;
• Physical development;
• Personal, social and emotional development;
• Understanding the world;
• Expressive arts and design.
Each area of learning is implemented through carefully planned, purposeful play through which our practitioners have considered the individual needs, interests and stages of development of each of the pupils. The planning is often based around the pupil’s interests, alongside seasonal celebrations. Planning encompasses a range of child-initiated, adult initiated and adult-led tasks both indoors and outdoors. The mixture of adult-led and child-initiated activity is a careful balance that the Early Years Team has confidence in providing.
In planning and guiding the pupil’s activities all our staff observe and reflect on the different ways that the pupils learn. These are formally known as characteristics of effective learning and are described using the following three key characteristics:
• playing and exploring – how each pupil investigates and experiences things, or their ‘have a go’ attitude;
• active learning – how each pupil concentrates and can keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their own achievements;
• creating and thinking critically – how each pupil develops their own ideas, makes links between their ideas, and develops strategies for doing things.
Through observing the pupils and their learning we are able to gather a full picture of each individual’s attainment.
The Impact of our Curriculum
Assessment within the EYFS
At the beginning of the Nursery year, pupils are assessed using recognised materials to make judgements about their starting points. These judgements will be used to measure the progress made by the pupils throughout the phase. Pupils are continually assessed through planned and spontaneous observations, photographs, videos and information drawn from the child’s view of his or her learning and parental discussions. These are recorded using an electronic assessment tool on a tablet. The assessment tool is used to create a ‘Learning Journey’ for each pupil. The information collected by the assessment tool is used by the class teachers to assess pupil’s attainment against the EYFS Development Matters statements.
In the final term of the reception year, the class teacher assesses whether the pupils have reached an emerging, expected or exceeding level of attainment against the 17 Early Learning Goals. We are aiming for pupils to have achieved a Good Level of Development – which means that they have achieved the expected level in the Prime areas plus Literacy and Mathematics. Pupils are also assessed against the characteristics of effective learning.
Assessment in Key Stage 1 and 2
All pupils are assessed as part of their everyday classroom learning. This formative assessment is made by class teachers through their observations, marking, pupil discussion and pupils’ application of skills to other subjects. Class teachers use these judgements to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum and identify next steps in teaching and learning. Pupils and class teachers work together through formative assessments, target setting and high quality written and verbal feedback to ensure all learners make progress. By the end of each Learning Goal, we expect the vast majority of pupils to have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it and are fluent in it.
Summative assessments are made to support the professional judgements throughout the year. These judgements, together with areas for development are communicated to families via feedback in pupil’s books, target hand-outs, planners, Parent Evening Consultation meetings, informal discussions and annual progress reports.
We recognise that all pupils require the support of parents and class teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with families by keeping them informed about the ways their children are being taught and how well each child is progressing. Curriculum plans are shared with families to highlight what is being taught, as well as suggestions gives guidance as to how pupils can be supported in their learning at home. Regular home learning activities and challenges are sent home with the pupils in order to develop, consolidate and reinforce knowledge, skills, concepts and understanding.
We have created pupil voice groups to ensure that pupils at the Whitchurch Church of England Federation are involved in the shaping of the curriculum.
Ensuring that pupil voice is part of classroom practice means that pupils are motivated by their learning. This area is often closely linked to choice and steering learning; however, it can be more than allowing pupils to steer a theme in a certain direction. It can also be ensuring that our planning takes into account their interests, popular culture, as well as current affairs and world events which the pupils are engaged with or excited by.
Members of the Senior Leadership Team meet termly with the pupil voice group to seek feedback on subjects or areas. Feedback from the pupils is used to reshape and modify action plans in order to ensure that each subject is both meeting the needs of its learners and maintaining relevance and interest. This means that pupils feel empowered to share their opinions in order to ensure the curriculum is engaging and relevant.
We are a “Get Reading. Keep Reading. Change Everything.” school.
We use the highly successful Read Write Inc. Phonics programme to teach our children to read, write and spell. Our children do well in the phonics screening check and by Year 2, the majority are fluent readers with the best chance of success in the KS1 tests.
Ruth Miskin Training recognise us for teaching the programme with fidelity and passion – we know what it takes to make reading and writing pleasurable and rewarding for our children.
This badge recognises that we:
Raise standards in reading and writing for our children
Are all expertly trained by Ruth Miskin Training – including our headteacher Mrs Cope
Gain the latest programme updates through regular visits from our Ruth Miskin Consultant Trainer
Support our most vulnerable readers with extra one-to-one teaching every day.
To visit the parent pages on the Ruth Miskin Training website go to: https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/
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Teaching of Reading and Phonics
The Read Write Inc Phonics programme.
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
How will my child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in Early Years. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’ or ‘red words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. These are words that the children can not decode through using their phonic knowledge.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘red words’ they know. They start believing that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
How will I know how well my child is doing?
We will always let you know how well your child is doing.
We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.
We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.
In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.
How long will it take to learn to read well?
By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age.
What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?
Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most. We encourage you to read with/ to your child for at least 10 minutes a day. Even if you are reading to them, this is still supporting their reading development, allowing them to absorb the vocabulary used as well as begin to think imaginatively about the text.
When reading a book together, help your child to sound out the letters in words that they are unsure of and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word.
Try not to refer to the letters by their letter name. Help your child to focus on the sounds.
You can hear how to say the sounds correctly through the attached clip: