Curriculum content – primary
How teaching is organised
During your child’s time in the primary phase he or she will experience class, group and individual teaching. A child is an individual, and no matter what form of organisation our teaching takes, we must be aware of each child. The task of writing a story, for example, might be a class assignment, but the needs and abilities of the different individuals will be taken into account when the teacher is marking pieces of work.
Where work is naturally cross-curricular, we build it into our plans. A science experiment, for example, may require mathematical measurement and calculation or a written explanation. It may require a search of the library, use of the internet or a look at history to view the background to the experiment. However, we also ensure that the National Curriculum requirements of each separate subject are met through careful planning, assessment and record keeping.
Class teaching is often used where all of the children in a class are able to respond to a task at his or her own level. The previous example of story writing gives a clear illustration.
Children will also work in groups for various reasons. Class teachers may put children together because they are at a similar stage of development. Teaching can then be matched to their needs. Mixed ability groups may be formed so that children can share their talents in the solving of a problem. Quite frequently, children are allowed to form their own groupings to meet the demands of a task, or work alongside a “critical” friend.
Individual teaching is used where appropriate, as in the teaching of reading or music tuition.
In our teaching of mathematics, we use a mastery approach, we attempt to impart knowledge, understanding and practical knowledge. We aim to make our children feel ‘at home’ with numbers and to have the ability to make use of the mathematical skills which help them cope with everyday life. Children learn to: handle numbers and measures mentally, orally and in writing; use a variety of calculations accurately and appropriately; interpret and use data presented in graphs, charts and tables. We encourage our children to ask questions, discuss their work and explain their thinking, tackle problems and, through perseverance, use what they know to find an accurate answer. We believe that children should not only feel confident in their number work but they should also enjoy it.
Speaking and Listening
Children are encouraged to speak clearly and give thought to what they are saying. They have the opportunity both in class and elsewhere in school to talk not only to their peers but also to other age groups and adults. Special whole school assemblies and performances are specifically geared to this.
Reading is taught through a strong base of phonics at reception level with sound and word work continuing throughout KS1 daily and into KS2. Guided reading, where children read together in small groups, is actively encouraged across the whole primary phase. Children are encouraged to share their books with the family and keep reading records up to date or write reviews at various stages. There are library sessions in school time to enable children to browse and choose, read to each other and to adults. Some year 6 pupils act as librarians and help run and manage our school library.
Children are encouraged to write independently as early as possible across the curriculum. Writing has two elements:
- Using words in a clear interesting way – the message may be factual (describing a game), fictional (writing a story), or descriptive (what something feels or looks like).
- Writing something in such a way that others can de-code the message. This involves handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation and attention to audience.
We regard these two elements as being equally important and the teaching of both goes on side by side throughout the school.
When appropriate (across the curriculum, not just within literacy sessions) children are given the opportunity to act and be involved in role play.
This may include acting out stories and poems or re-creating past events. During personal, social and health education (PSHE) sessions, children use role play to explore everyday situations and as a basis for discussion.
Our work in science is planned over two year cycles, using half termly themes, linked with other relevant subjects, e.g. technology, geography maths and ICT. We aim to develop children’s interest and awareness in the world around them and to encourage and develop their natural curiosity. We are committed to developing the school grounds to support this area of our work. We promote an understanding of natural phenomena and the confidence to use science to solve problems, through using technology skills, knowledge and understanding, and also to develop positive attitudes to safety and the care of living things. We also visit science events, and link with our secondary phase for investigation days, involving our older pupils.
Our aim is to teach computing both as a discrete separate lesson and as an integral part of all other curriculum subjects. Starting with teaching basic keyboard and mouse skills, we aim to enable children to use a wide range of software including word processing, databases, spreadsheets, multimedia presentation packages, and control and monitoring, we also explore basic programming and the creation of Apps and Websites. Using computing in a range of contexts, we can develop the children’s skills of communicating, evaluating, analysing and information processing.
We have a large number of laptops and tablets which we use for all subjects.
Design and Technology
Design and technology is taught throughout the school and activities are often linked to topical themes. We aim to develop an understanding of problem-solving techniques alongside the ability to apply them to new situations, using a range of hand tools and basic materials with due regard for safety and economy in order to build a genuine understanding of the meaning of design and everyday technologies. We frequently take advantage of the facilities at the secondary phase for activities relating to food technology and textiles.
We follow the National Curriculum programmes of study and teach children about maps, their locality and places further afield, environmental issues and skills concerned with observing, recording, and analysing evidence, for instance, the weather, changes in the environment and how places differ. By the end of Key Stage 2 children will have gained sufficient knowledge and understanding to enable them to appreciate what living in different places is like, the way in which human activity affects the environment or offer reasoned opinions on geographical issues.
The Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children study history through topics. Sometimes themes may be specific to history, e.g. castles or famous people. Sometimes they may be more general, e.g. the topic Ourselves provides an opportunity to look at grandparents
History in KS2 not only looks at specific periods in history, such as the Anglo Saxon period or Ancient Egypt, but also covers themes over a wider period of time such as invasion, rich and poor and crime and punishment.
Music is taught throughout the school. Lessons include singing, and playing mainly pitched and unpitched percussion instruments. Children learn to read and play from a simple score with others. There are opportunities for listening and appraising music, and for composing and performing.
There is close cooperation between the primary and secondary phases which provides KS2 children with many extra experiences in music and the opportunity to perform alongside older children.
Individual instrumental tuition is available on string, woodwind, guitar, piano, brass and percussion instruments. Arrangements are possible for tuition on other instruments too.
A charge of £55 per term is made to help cover the costs of individual instrumental tuition except where it forms part of the national curriculum
The children are given the opportunity to use a variety of materials and techniques to produce both two and three dimensional work – drawing, painting, colourwork, collage, printing and model making. We teach art as a subject to include the discussion of paintings and other works of art and the lives of artists. We also teach art and craft as a way of enhancing other areas of the curriculum. We encourage children to be observant and to use their sketchbooks. We hope that an interest in colour and design will continue into adulthood.
All children have regular, timetabled use of our well-equipped hall, playground and school field. Carefully planned activities provide them with experience of a range of small and large apparatus, ball skills and a range of seasonal team games, including football, netball, tag rugby, cricket, short tennis, rounders and hockey. Other activities include dance, movement, gymnastics and athletics.
Swimming takes place at Dereham Leisure Centre for children in KS1 and 2. We also use the specialist facilities, such as the dance studio, on the secondary site. We have strong sporting links with the other schools in the Litcham Cluster, and regularly meet for inter-school tournaments and friendly matches between these and other schools.
Religious Education (RE)
Religious Education is taught in accordance with the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus, a copy of which may be viewed at the school. The syllabus helps pupils to explore religious beliefs by acquiring knowledge and developing understanding of Christianity and the other five major faiths – Buddhism. Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam. Parents who wish to withdraw their child from RE or the devotional part of morning assemblies should discuss the matter with the headteacher.
Modern Foreign Languages
Every class now has a weekly foreign language lesson and we are presently developing the curriculum we follow. French is taught to reception and our KS1 pupils, mainly through song, this is continued into KS1 and 2 with more formalised lessons, which not only focus on reading and speaking and listening but also some of the cultural aspects of France.
PSHE (including Citizenship and Relationships and Sex Education)
Our programme of Personal, Social and Health Education helps our pupils learn progressively more about health, hygiene, human biology, personal development and social issues. The programme encompasses a variety of approaches and learning styles, including circle time and whole school assemblies (as with “Stranger Danger”, charitable organisations or safety with dogs, for example) to age specific class or year group units of study (for example puberty and menstruation for older Year 5 and 6 pupils). Where particular sensitive issues are explored we ensure parents are informed of the content of lessons prior to them being taught. For example, the videos used for sex education (“Living and Growing”) and supporting Health education materials are available to parents prior to sessions. We have also been able to offer pupils road safety programmes including cycling proficiency.
We are a PATHS school. PATHS stands for Promoting Altrenative Thinking Strategies. Each week your child will have a PATHS lesson where they will learn about problem solving, developing self-confidence, self-control and emotional understanding. This will be taught through circle times (group discussions), stories, songs, games, role play and art activities. Some home learning tasks are also sent home for you to share with your child. Please see the PATHS Parent’s Guide for more information.