The Primary School
The Primary School is for students in Year 1 (KG2) to Year 6 (Grade 5). During this time our students study the three core subjects, Maths, Science and English and the eight foundation subjects in primary school. The National Curriculum of England sets out the knowledge, skills and understandings a student should acquire within each key stage for each subject area.
The Core Subjects
The main aim is to teach students to confidently use their mathematical skills and knowledge in real life situations. We aim to teach Maths in a fun, practical way by promoting the use of games and thinking skills. We use the Collins Busy Ants Maths scheme in primary, but is supplemented by additional forms of learning materials. Students learn about data handling, shape and space, using and applying numbers, including using money, calculating and problem solving in every term, thus promoting continuity and progression. Projects provide hands-on opportunities to explore using maths skills in real-life situations. Maths links are made with the theme, Science or literacy lessons, where applicable so students learn to apply mathematical knowledge in areas outside of the Maths lesson.
The aim of Science is to promote curiosity, to encourage students to ask questions, make predictions, form ideas, plan, test fairly, draw comparisons and make conclusions. The scientific enquiry and investigative skills outlined in the aforementioned sentence are applied when learning about the following content;
- Life and living processes (plants, people and animals).
- Materials and their properties.
- Physical processes (forces and motion, electricity, light and sound).
Science is taught every week and where applicable science topics are reinforced in other areas of the curriculum, such as the ‘Space’ theme in Year 2.
Students in Year 1 to Year 5 have daily Read, Write Inc lessons. This is a high-quality synthetic phonics programme designed by Ruth Miskin, a former headteacher from the UK. Students are assessed and placed into a band, according to the sounds or words they are currently able to decode. Within these same ability classes, students are progressively introduced to more complex sounds and reading words. They are taught to read and write simultaneously and speaking and listening activities are built into every lesson to maximise student input and enjoyment. Synthetic phonics is also taught to students in Years 5-6 who are new to English, or who have significant gaps in their reading knowledge. The ‘Fresh Start’ programme, also developed by Ruth Miskin, is a 36 week course, designed for students currently reading at a level below level 3c (the expectation for the average child at the end of Year 4).
It is our intention during the 2016-17 academic year to send students home with a reading book on a weekly basis to practise sounds learnt in class. Each student will be provided with a reading record to track their development over time.
In class students will have a variety of reading materials read to them or provided to them to support their learning. This includes non-fiction texts (fact files, instructions, lists, labels), fiction texts (stories from different genres like adventure) and poetry. Students are also encouraged to bring in their own books to read during DEAR (drop everything and read) time in upper Key Stage 2.
English Speaking & Listening
Plenty of opportunities will be given to students to speak and listen to each other. They will have opportunities to speak in pairs, small groups and in front of a wider audience, such as during assembly time. This is vital so that they learn to acquire the language and hear pronunciation patterns. Teachers will read stories to them modeling how to read with fluency and expression. Trips and visits will help students acquire further speaking and listening skills, and help them practice asking different styles of questions.
Students will be taught how words, phrases and then sentences. As their proficiency in writing develops, they will be shown how to write for a range of purposes including non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Weekly spelling tests, along with grammar and punctuation practice will help reinforce key rules which provide a scaffold for students learning a second language. Grammar rules will be taught in a meaningful and integrated way to support understanding. Teachers are provided with a range of excellent writing tasks in the RWI series, linked to reading books children learn to read in pairs.
The Foundation Subjects
Art is an important part of our curriculum and is often integrated with the theme. We aim to give our students the use of a wide range of materials and techniques, as well as introducing them to a variety of styles and media. We encourage and promote their freedom to develop their own style and approach. Art is taught by specialist teachers.
The main aim in Music is to help pupils to enjoy being a part of a musical experience of sound and rhythm through listening and appraising. We encourage singing and exploring percussion instruments. Students in Key Stage 1 have one music lesson per week, delivered by the class teacher. In KS2 music is integrated across different curriculum areas, such as theme. Some students will partake in the end of year concert, which is a chance to show case their talent to their parents and peers.
Computer Class (ICT)
We aim to develop the confidence of all students in using computers, responsibly and with ease. We provide opportunities in school for them explore using the computer functions. We occasionally set research homework, using child-friendly websites, so they can practice gathering information. Students in Year 3 receive a weekly lab lesson taught by an ICT specialist. In KS1 ICT is integrated across all curriculum areas.
Taught by specialist teachers, students explore using and controlling their body in a range of different areas, including dance, team games and individual sports. We foster a positive attitude toward being active and having fun. Students learn not only physical skills, but attitudinal skills such as the value of team work, negotiation and critiquing. All students take part in Sport’s Day and earn house points for their school team. Students in Year 5 upwards also receive swimming lessons as part of their PE lesson time.
This is a cross-curricular approach to learning. Students study two themes (or topics) per term. These lessons aim to integrate skills and content knowledge learnt in other curriculum areas to reinforce learning. To be UK compliant, teachers must also teach History, Geography and Design and Technology every year. Every half term, teachers plan a theme which has a special emphasis on these foundation subjects, as well as others subjects which may be taught by specialist teachers (such as Art) or class teachers (Literacy). Teachers also address aspects of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) in theme lessons so students are helped to develop social and emotional skills too.
The government provides teachers curriculum guidance for all these programs of study. The curriculum includes the knowledge, skills and understanding a student is expected to acquire in each key stage. The national curriculum level descriptors provide teachers with an assessment tool for judging where a student is currently performing at any given point in time. Teachers select this level, for each subject, based on a ‘best fit’ description. More about levels is found in the assessment document.