Key Stage One & Two Curriculum
We teach Narrative, Non-Fiction and Poetry by using one or more quality texts as a starting point. Different genres of text include: picture books, traditional tales, plays, Greek myths, tales from other countries and stories from famous authors like Roald Dahl.
There is a big emphasis on transferable skills with the expectation that the standard of reading and writing in other lessons is as good as it is in discrete English lessons.
Speaking and listening skills are taught throughout English lessons including drama skills, role-play and debate.
In science Key Stage Two children are encouraged to create presentations in science and topic.
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics and Spellings are taught daily in discrete sessions or as part of an English lesson. We follow our own plan based on Letters and Sounds which leads the children through each phase (1-6) to become confident readers, writers and spellers. The ability to understand and use phonics is vital to a child’s development in these 3 areas and our Foundation Stage team put in a lot of work to give children the best start. (Phases 1-4). This is followed up in year 1 (phase 5) and year 2 (phase 6) and into years 3 and 4. The expectation is that children will have completed phase 6 by the end of KS1 but for many children it takes a bit longer. Phonics Play and Mr Thorne are valuable resources used for the teaching of phonics along with spelling games and activities.
Children learn spellings weekly and are tested on a Friday. Their spellings are appropriate to their phonic level. In Year 3 and 4 the spellings are based around the National Curriculum requirements with investigations into spelling rules and using dictionaries to expand vocabulary.
We are currently promoting the development of reading through the teaching of inference skills. In Foundation stage the children learn to read as they use their phonic knowledge to segment and blend sounds in words. Daily reading at home and school builds up this skill for them to become fluent and confident readers. This ability will continue to develop throughout years one and two. At all stages of the reading process children discuss the books with the adult to develop their understanding of the text, building up to making reasoned inferences about the meaning of what they read. Children are encouraged to read ‘in phrases’ so that they understand the sense of the text rather than just ‘decoding’ single words. Fluency and understanding are developed ‘hand in hand’ as the child makes progress at their own pace.
Children bring home a ‘reading scheme’ book appropriate to the phonic phase they are working at. They also choose books to read/enjoy from our extensive school library and individual class libraries. We provide as many opportunities as possible for children to listen to, read and enjoy a wide range of texts. Guided reading groups take place weekly with texts chosen to match the genre of writing studied and written comprehension work set, with an emphasis on well-structured answers based on the text.
In all stages of the writing process children are encouraged to ‘speak a sentence’ before committing it to paper. In the Foundation Stage this begins with mark making, copying sentences scribed by the teacher and making phonically plausible attempts at writing sentences (emergent writing). As the child grows in confidence they will become more independent in their writing and begin to apply grammar to improve their sentence structure. The National Curriculum places a large emphasis on grammar and spelling and these are taught as part of the English Unit lessons outlined above. Some aspects of grammar are taught discretely but mostly they are taught in conjunction with the writing aspect of the English lesson.
Our Foundation Stage children learn to form letters using a pre-cursive style. When they enter Key Stage 1 they learn to join letters using the school’s cursive style. Discrete handwriting sessions form part of the children’s phonics and spellings sessions but are also addressed in every lesson. In Key Stage Two this is continued with a focus on writing with a pen.
Mathematics is taught using the Mastery approach which emphasises a mastery curriculum that involves whole-class teaching, with all pupils being taught the same concepts at the same time. Our mathematics curriculum aims to enable children in becoming:
- Fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
- Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
To achieve these aims we employ concrete and pictorial representations alongside the abstract to develop and reinforce understanding for all children, regardless of ability and attainment.
Our Mathematics Curriculum is planned using the White Rose Maths (2017). Teachers use this resource to plan teaching sequences to suit the needs of the children in their class. Although number is at the heart of the Mastery curriculum, mathematics at Gravenhurst also includes Measurement (length, height, weight, volume, time, money, temperature), Geometry (shape, position and direction) and Statistics.
Science is mostly taught as a discreet subject, although we do at times, have some cross-curricular topics too. We aim to engage the children in fun, practical Science lessons, which simultaneously support the development of scientific enquiry skills, the subject knowledge and the children’s love for the subject.
(Incorporating History, Geography, Art and Design & Technology)
All of these subjects are taught in a cross-curricular way through 3 termly topics. We feel that this way of teaching keeps the learning exciting and enables children to see the links between different areas. We aim to start each topic with a ‘Wow’ day which introduces the children to the topic in a fun and exciting way. We have at least 3 visits from North Herts museum each year, as well as extra artefacts from them, to help bring the topics to life. We have a robust monitoring system in place to ensure that all the necessary skills and knowledge are taught. Wherever possible children are also able to apply their learning using the Chrome books.
Music is taught discretely using Music Express. Every week we have a piece of music by a famous composer in each assembly for the children to listen to and recognise. We also have a weekly singing assembly. There are also opportunities for children to learn to play the piano and recorder.
Children have two lessons of PE each week. One of these lessons is taught by a qualified Sports Coach and the other is taught by the class teacher. We use a variety of schemes and teacher’s own expertise to teach various different areas of PE. We aim to provide children with a variety of experiences which will develop their motor skills, make them aware of space and its use, allow them to move freely and expressively on their own and co-operate with others. Much of the early work will emphasise individual skill and technique, leading on to small game situations involving co-operation and competition. Basic Moves- a set of transferable skills useful in many different sports is taught as one of the PE sessions in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. Swimming is taught in Years Two, Three and Four. Outdoor and Adventurous Activities are catered for during the children’s residential trip to Grafham in Year 4.
Our children are taught Computing skills using the Purple Mash Scheme of Work. Teachers use the lesson plans and adapt if needed. This is an online programme that the children can access from home too. Each child has their own individual log-in. The scheme ensures it covers the aspects of the computing curriculum: computer science (CS), information technology (IT) and digital literacy (DL). The children will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a wide range of content.
Within our computing lessons children have the chance to use our Chromebooks.
The children have lots of opportunities to apply their computing skills in other areas of the Curriculum; for example, in some English lessons children may be asked to research some information for a non-fiction piece of writing or in Maths some children may be required to complete some of their learning on the Chromebooks. We have a bank of Chromebooks available for teachers to use in their classroom. All classrooms have an interactive whiteboard which the teachers use in their lessons.
Our Key Stage 2 children have a thirty-minute French lesson once a week. The lessons focus on speaking and listening, inter-cultural understanding and vocabulary. The children share picture books in French as well as write simple phrases and sentences.
Religious Education is taught through the ‘Identity, meanings and values RE agreed syllabus 2018 – 2019’. Every class has one lesson of Religious Education during the week. This is taught in a creative way through drama, art, role-play and a variety of speaking and listening activities. We also regularly organise speakers from different faiths to speak to the children either during lesson time or during assembly. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education should they wish.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
PSHE is embedded throughout the whole curriculum but is also taught using the planning from the SCARF Scheme of Work which incorporates Values Education. Values education also runs through our system of assemblies and is built upon and referred to in all lessons. Sex Education is now taught as part of our new curriculum and staff also aim to answer children’s questions as they arise, in science or PSHE.