The Curriculum - Year 1 to 6

Learning to read

Our starting point for curriculum design is spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. We aim to help our pupils develop an inner discipline that encourages them to not just ‘follow the crowd’. We want them to make up their own minds using an evidence based approach and be ready to accept responsibility for what they do. They will grow through making choices, taking responsibility and being honest with themselves and others. SMSC is taught in a cross curricular way throughout the year groups (see our curriculum map) and is not limited to specific Personal, Social, Health and citizenship Education (PSHCE) or Religious Education (RE) lessons.

At our school we see the Year 1 to Year 6 curriculum as a body of subject-specific knowledge defined by us and the National Curriculum and so we take a knowledge led approach. Skills are an outcome of the curriculum, not its purpose. When children are ‘fluent’ in knowledge, such as number bonds or 8 times tables-they can then apply them as skills.

We have a clear focus on subjects as units to deliver the curriculum. Our Curriculum Map, and ‘Units of Work’ in every subject, contain the knowledge that we have identified as ‘invaluable’ in our school.

Our ‘Units of Work’ in each subject have been carefully crafted by expert teachers across our Four School Partnership, identifying composite tasks and breaking them down in to component tasks to ensure sequential, layered knowledge acquisition. These ‘Units of Work’ also support our particular style of teaching and help with the speedy and effective induction of new staff. This is particularly important in an inner London environment where the cost of accommodation prevents most of our staff from being able to stay with us long term.

We use ‘Knowledge Organisers’ in order to help children with knowledge retention and issues around working memory. Our teaching style has a strong focus on the effective retention and use of subject specific vocabulary using ‘Walk The Word’ techniques.

We constantly review our curriculum through regular subject based monitoring activity across the Four School Partnership to ensure sequential, layered knowledge acquisition and check that pupil outcomes are of a high enough quality.

We retain banks of high quality pupil work in order to induct new staff to our schools as effectively as possible, sharing our very high expectations.

Children love to show what they know and what they can do. They make very good progress using this approach as evidenced by our pupil achievement data year on year and the work in their books.

English

English is a core curriculum subject and is taught every day. We use a variety of teaching methods to teach English knowledge and skills. We aim to develop children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings. We do this through daily English lessons.

Reading

Resources 

  • Children use a reading scheme which is graded according to the level of difficulty of the book. Teachers assess where children are and give the child the level of book to match their ability.
  • Books are graded with colour bands according to their level of challenge.
  • Fluent readers select appropriate reading material from class reading areas and the school library.

Strategies to teach reading

  • Reception children take part in small group Supported Reading sessions every day with an adult leading each group using the Supported Reading methodology
  • Y1 and Y2 children take part in Guided Reading sessions every day with an adult leading each group using the Guided Reading methodology
  • In KS2 children take part in whole class Destination Reader lessons every day with a focus on developing more complex comprehension skills.
  • Selected children take part in 1:1 reading lessons using the 10 minutes a day reading programme. These children are selected by their teachers for extra reading help.

Our approach to phonics teaching

Children are taught a range of strategies in order to help them read, including phonics (the sounds letters make). We use the Letters and Sounds scheme to teach phonics. You can find out more about this scheme if you Google search ‘Letters and Sounds – The Department for Education.’ Discrete phonics lessons are taught daily in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. Children are assessed and then streamed into relevant phases depending on their ability. Phase 1: Phonics lessons take place daily (this phase is mostly taught in Reception class). Children explore sounds and develop their listening skills. Phase 2: Phonics lessons take place on 4 days of the week. The Letters and Sounds scheme is used to deliver a progressive programme of word reading skills. By the end of phase 2, many children should be able to read some VC (vowel- consonant) and CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and to spell them. They start to learn to read and spell some high frequency ‘tricky’ words. Phase 3 and 4: Phonics lessons take place on 4 days of the week. Letters and Sounds is the scheme used to deliver a progressive programme of word reading skills. Children begin to read and write one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes. They blend and segment CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant), CCVC and CVCC words for reading and spelling and use their phonic knowledge when trying to read and write more complex words. Phase 5 and 6: Phonics lessons take place on 4 days of the week. Letters and Sounds is used to deliver a progressive programme of word reading skills. Children are taught to read words automatically if they are very familiar; decoding them quickly and silently because their sounding and blending routine is now established and to decode them out loud. Children are taught to read 100 of the most frequently occurring words in English.

Reading at home

Children at the early stages of reading Children take 3 reading scheme books (at an appropriate level assessed by the class teacher) home each week. Two of these books will be familiar to the children as the child has read the book with the teacher or support staff member in class. Every week, children also take home a new book from the class book area or library to share with their parents or carer (sharing book). This book may be one that is too difficult for the child to read alone. This book is for the parent or carer to read to the child and enjoy and discuss. Fluent readers These children take home a novel chosen from a selection of books in their class or from the school library which is appropriate to their reading level. They also take home a book from the class book area or library to share with their parent or carer (sharing book). These books are changed when the child finishes the book and this is monitored by the class teacher.

Writing

We want every child to leave school as effective and confident communicators who love writing. We teach writing as an individual subject for two lessons each week. Our ‘Units of Work’ in writing have been carefully crafted by expert teachers across our Four School Partnership and link to the grammar curriculum that is being taught in grammar lessons that week. Children produce a complex extended piece of writing every week. In order to do this they talk, plan, write, edit and rewrite during the week.High quality texts are chosen to help ensure that children are inspired in their writing. Children also take part in drama and other speaking and listening activities to formulate ideas about what to write. There is a focus on planning ideas as well as thinking about the task, audience and purpose. Children are taught to write in a variety of styles in context such as narrative, persuasive, journalistic, recounts and reports. Children learn how to vary sentences, make interesting and ambitious word choices, and use grammar and punctuation correctly. Each piece of written work is carefully modelled by teachers and scaffolded through using ‘success criteria’ to guide a child and then marked by highlighting real successes (‘yellow for sunshine’) and an area for improvement (‘green for growth’). Children are taught explicit grammar skills in weekly grammar lessons. These grammar skills are then practised during the weekly writing lessons. Children also have weekly spelling lessons, where children are taught spelling rules and conventions. The children are then given spellings to learn for homework which they are tested on the following week.

Poetry recitation

Every half term each class from Reception to Year 6 read, discuss and learn off by heart a poem that they perform in an assembly to the rest of the school. The children really enjoy showing off their acting and presentation skills.

Mathematics

Mathematics is a core subjects and is taught every day. We use the highly effective Singapore approach to the teaching of maths which leads the children to understand mathematical concepts through the use of the concrete, then pictoral and finally abstract. Children are taught the most efficient methods of calculation: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They are also taught the other areas of mathematics: number, fractions, geometry, measures and data in a structured and systematic way. There is a daily mathematics lesson and a dedicated part of this lesson is given to mental maths. There is a strong focus on children being fluent in maths and being able to problem solve and reason so that they are able to apply the maths they have learnt to a variety of real life scenarios. Our after school maths club is very popular.

Religious Education

As a school with a Christian foundation, we place great emphasis on Religious Education as part of our curriculum. We are a multi-ethnic school with a Christian ethos underpinning everything that we teach. Each class takes part in at least two Religious Education lessons weekly. We teach the children through stories, drama, looking at the Bible and discussion in class about: the life of Jesus; Christian ideas about God; the role of the church and also about other world faiths. We visit our local church regularly during the school year and visit St Paul’s Cathedral.

Collective Worship

We hold a daily act of collective worship in classrooms, in key stage groups or as a whole school. We say a morning, lunchtime and evening prayer. We hold a Christian Meditation session daily for one or two minutes where we listen to God. We celebrate mass in classes and collectively to celebrate important events in the school and the Church calendar, e.g. Advent .Every week from Year 1 upwards, we have an act of worship which is planned and led by children. We hold assemblies to reflect on the Gospel stories, share songs and reflect on, spiritual, moral and social issues.

Computing

Computing is taught in two different ways. Children are taught ranging from programming to computer science in a weekly computing lesson, often led by a specialist teacher who works across our Four School Partnership. They also visit the Camden Computing Learning Centre each term to take part in more complex activities that require specialist resourcing eg robotics or animation. We further help pupils develop their computing skills at home by setting homework which involves them accessing Bug Club, an online reading and comprehension resource and Lumio, an online maths resource. Our after school coding club is very popular.

Science

Year 1 to year 6 take part in science lessons covering a range of biology, chemistry and physics based topics from the National Curriculum. Our ‘Units of Work’ in science have been carefully crafted by expert teachers across our Four School Partnership, identifying composite tasks and breaking them down in to component tasks to ensure sequential, layered knowledge acquisition. These ‘Units of Work’ also support our particular style of teaching. The children plan and carry out a number of scientific investigations each year. Children use ‘Knowledge Organisers’ to help them to learn key scientific facts and visit places of scientific interest around London such as the Crick Institute and the Science Museum. Y5 and Y6 children have the opportunity to take part in after school science 'masterclasses' at a local secondary school with specialist teachers.

Modern Foreign Languages

Children take part in weekly Spanish lessons led by a specialist spanish teacher. These lessons mostly consist of oral work and fun interactive games that they play in pairs and in small groups. Some written work is produced to consolidate their learning. Children learn the common everyday language and key vocabulary used in Spain e.g. numbers, greetings and emotion words. KS2 children have the opportunity to attend an after school spanish club.

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education

We want our children to gain knowledge and information, explore attitudes and values and develop skills to help them live healthy, safe, fulfilling and responsible lives.

Our PSHE and Citizenship scheme of work aims to help our children:

  • Understand and respect the British Values that make up our modern democracy
  • Prepare to play an active role as citizens
  • Develop healthy, safe lifestyles
  • Understand and manage their emotions
  • Make and maintain effective relationships
  • Value and respect themselves and others
  • Get on with one another and not bully others
  • Respect equality and diversity and be sensitive to the needs of others
  • Appreciate the range of religious and ethnic identifies in the UK
  • Contribute to the school and local community
  • Be responsible for their behaviour and learning
  • Feel confident about themselves and their abilities and be positive about learning
  • Deal with problems positively and know where to get help
  • Be resilient and able to resist pressure
  • Be assertive and keep themselves safe
  • Take responsibility for themselves and the environment around them
  • Know the importance of managing money
  • Develop enterprising skills
  • Understand the importance of rights and responsibilities

Relationship and Sex Education

We aim to prepare children to grow up as responsible and well informed adults. Our programme of personal, social and health education (PSHE) includes relationship and sex education. We take much care to match the teaching to the age and maturity of pupils.

We teach older children about human reproduction during science lessons and about the emotional side of growing up through the PHSE curriculum. Our teaching and policy plans are available to parents upon request and are available on our website. Although you have the right to withdraw your child from the curriculum covering relationships we ask you first to speak to the Headteacher about your intentions.

Music

Children take part in weekly music lessons led by a specialist teacher. Key Stage One children learn musicianship skills through a series of progressive activities linking movement and singing to key musical processes such as pitch, rhythm and pulse, tempo and dynamics. Skills are developed in Key Stage Two through a topic-based curriculum, as children learn about Classical, popular and world music through performing, composing and listening. Children have the opportunity to participate in an orchestra and choir and a group of children are taking part in a performance at the Albert Hall with pupils from schools across the Camden borough. Our Wider Opportunities programme offers year 4 children the opportunity to learn recorder and guitar in whole class music lessons run by skilled music tutors. Some children also take additional instrumental tuition on piano, guitar, recorder and violin. Children showcase their music to parents through our popular music concerts at Christmas, Easter and at the end of the school year.

PE and Swimming

Children take part in PE lessons every week following the full National Curriculum. We want all our children to be able to swim at least 25 metres comfortably by the time they leave our school. In order to achieve this, one year group has weekly swimming lessons at the local swimming pool for the whole of the academic year.PE is taught by a qualified PE instructor. During the first part of each of these lessons, children are taught a specific skill (e.g. football dribbling). During the second part of this lesson a competitive game is played where this skill might be practised (e.g. football). These longer PE lessons really get the children active and promote fitness. We have a competitive Sports Day annually, which is held at a local park. We run different sports based clubs termly, e.g. gymnastics, football and martial arts, which are open to all children. We also have boys and girls teams who compete in borough inter-school competitive sports events. We run an invitation only PE club for those children who are not confident in PE sessions in order to help them to increase in confidence.

History and Geography

We teach History and Geography as individual subjects. Our ‘Units of Work’ in each subject have been carefully crafted by expert teachers across our Four School Partnership, identifying composite tasks and breaking them down in to component tasks to ensure sequential, layered knowledge acquisition. These ‘Units of Work’ also support our particular style of teaching. Children use ‘Knowledge Organisers’ to help them to remember key information related to those subjects and take part in a wide variety of out of school visits to places of historical or geographical interest linked to their learning. We work with a local theatre company to create 'Inspiration Days' for our children to introduce them to a new history or geography topic.

Art

We teach art as an individual subject each week. Our ‘Units of Work’ in art have been carefully crafted by expert teachers across our Four School Partnership and link as much as possible to history, geography and science topics being taught simultaneously.

Design Technology and Food Technology

Design technology and food technology are taught as individual subjects each term. Our ‘Units of Work’ in both subjects have been carefully crafted by expert teachers across our Four School Partnership.

Whole School Project Weeks

Each term we suspend the usual curriculum for a week in order for everyone to take part in a Whole School Project Week. In the recent past these have included Peace Week, Christian Social Justice Week, Safety Week, Equality Week and Careers Week. See the Curriculum Gallery section of our website for more details.