Intent; why do we teach what we teach?
We choose to follow the National Curriculum because we value a broad and balanced curriculum. We use a topic approach, so that we can make links across the subjects. We believe that our children learn best by doing, so we look to provide concrete, practical, first-hand experiences and encourage a high level of talk about our learning, before we record our learning on paper.
Since the very first National Lockdown from March-June 2020, we have reviewed our curriculum. This is in part to reflect the disruption that the lockdown caused, but also to recognise the transition our school is making from a two-form entry to a one-form entry school. During the academic year 2020-21, alongside our Reception Class, the other 3 classes were mixed-age classes, meaning that each class consisted of two year groups (Yr R/1 or Yr 1 & 2). We adopted whole-school topics for a shared approach to our teaching themes. We are reviewing our Reception Curriculum to acknowledge the changes for 2021. For Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage One) we revised our curriculum and organised it into a two-year rolling programme, so as to ensure continuity and progression, without repeating topics.
Implementation; how do we teach?
In Reception, the children follow the Early Years Curriculum. Learning and development covers the 7 key areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which are:
personal, social and emotional development.
communication and language.
understanding the world.
expressive arts and design.
Every morning, following registration, a whole-class teaching session will introduce the pupils to a key learning concept which is to be a focus for the day. The class then divides into two groups; one group continues their learning in our outside area, with one adult, whilst the other group continues their learning inside. Activities will include an adult-led focused task with direct teaching. Alongside, child-initiated activities run, often linked to the class topic theme. The groups change locations later in the morning. As the children settle in the Autumn term, the children have a daily phonics and a daily number teaching session.
In Key Stage 1, for Years 1 and 2, the children have daily English and Maths lessons, Monday-Thursday. In the afternoons, and on Fridays, we teach Science, Geography, History, Computing, RE, PSHE, Art, Design Technology and Music. We use a topic as a thematic approach to our learning so that we can make links, where possible. For example, in our topic of Aviation, the children were taught about how aviation developed over time, using English lessons for the children to write about what they have learned in History.
Some subjects are taught discretely, when we can’t easily link our topic; for example, we follow the Surrey SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) syllabus for Religious Education and we often teach RE as a ‘stand-alone’ subject in Years 1 and 2.
In English, our lessons start with ERIC, ‘Everyone Reading in Class.’ This will enable us to teach phonics, as well as aspects of reading. In addition to decoding, we will focus on aspects of grammar and sentence structure, as well as thinking around the content of a quality text, encouraging the children to talk about what is happening in the text, develop inference skills and make predictions about what might happen next. This focused whole-class session will enable the children to rehearse what they will be writing about later in the lesson. The teacher may model that writing, using the children’s ideas.
We currently follow the structure of the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme, which has organised the teaching of phonics into Phases 1 to 6. We are engaged with the review of ‘Letters and Sounds’, so that we can review our own teaching and respond to the government-led review. Currently, we use Phonics Play to structure our teaching of phonics. Phonics Play provides interactive games for the class to use to rehearse sounds, tricky words and common exception words.
We feel children should have a varied reading diet. Our Reading Books are organised into coloured Book Bands and we have a range of books to choose from, including Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby, ‘real books’, poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Some children use the Dandelion Reading Scheme if they need a strong phonics focus.
In our ERIC sessions, we choose high-quality texts which will encourage the children to use inference and prediction skills.
We teach Maths Mastery. White Rose Maths is our planning structure and Maths is taught in each year group. For Key Stage 1, we use ‘Power Maths’ as our Maths scheme.
From September 2021, we have been included in the ‘Mastering Number Programme.’ This programme for Reception to Year 2 will develop solid number sense, including fluency and flexibility with number facts, which will have a lasting impact on future learning for all children. The programme will also involve high quality professional development for teachers.
We use ‘Purple Mash’ as our teaching scheme and online platform to structure how we teach all aspects of Computing in Years 1 and 2.
Impact; how do we know how much the children have learned?
We use observation to assess how much each child has learned. By talking with the children, observing how they approach a practical activity and responding to their written work, we can see to what extent they have understood a key concept or have developed a skill. We give feedback to the children while we are working with them, to help them improve the quality of their work within the lesson.
In the academic year 2020-21, we worked with colleagues across The Alliance Multi-Academy Trust and refined our use of Scholar Pack to record our assessments in Reading, Writing and Maths. Following a Baseline assessment at the beginning of the school year, we capture Teacher Assessment at Check Point 2 (Christmas), Check Point 4 (Easter) and Check Point 6 (July). We use Pupil Progress Meetings after Baseline and at the end of each term to identify any pupils who are falling behind expectations and plan intervention work to help them catch up, setting short-term targets for them to achieve. Similarly, we recognise any children who are working at Greater Depth and how we can support them to continue working at that level. We track each child’s progress.
In 2020-21, we agreed a structure for assessment across the Trust in every National Curriculum subject, so that we have a shared understanding of what expected progress looks like for each subject in each year group. This structure has been quality-assured by the Assessment Leader network of our Trust, working with our CEO. These new assessment grids will be used from September 2021 and monitored by the Senior Leadership Team in each school, working alongside the Assessment Leader in each school. Each school will report to the governor with responsibility for the Achievement Portfolio, on a termly basis.
We use lesson observations, Book Looks, Behaviour Walks, discussions with pupils and with teaching staff to monitor teaching and learning in our school.