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A Creative Curriculum

 

Since September 2014 we have been using the new National Curriculum to plan the work we do with our children, in every subject.  Our focus is on making our curriculum as broad and balanced as we can with a strong commitment to making creative links between subjects. For example; a topic on Roman Britain might include mosaic making in art, shield making for DT, diary writing from the perspective of a Roman soldier or poetry writing, describing how it might have felt to march long distances, learning our Roman numerals, a trip to a significant historical Roman site i.e Cirencester or Bath and possible actually invading another classroom using role play! By the very nature of some subjects such as maths and science, our teaching is more discreet although links are made to the ‘topic’ wherever possible.

Below you will see that we have long term plans for each class across a 2 year cycle (year A and year B). Planning across 2 years enables us to plot the coverage of the content outlined in the National Curriculum and very importantly for the teaching of vertical year groups, ensures that topic titles are not repeated. The two year cycle detailed below demonstrates the areas of study for the academic years 2015-16 and 2016 - 17. We return to our long term planning at the end of each academic year in preparation for the year ahead. Teachers review the success of previous learning, the engagement that the children had in particular areas of study and use this reflection to plan ahead. Topics in the cycle are returned to but of real importance to us is that both teachers and children are excited about the planned learning. This planning is therefore not set in stone but is an ever changing thing - enabling us to be responsive to the strengths and passions of teachers and the interests of our learners.

This year; 2017/18 we have made a change to our usual class structure. For this academic year we are teaching reception as a sole year group. Year 1 and 2 will be taught together as a single KS 1 class and then Year 3 and 4 will form our lower KS 2 class and Year 5 and 6 will form our upper KS 2 class. You will see this is reflected in the planning below, teachers have planned using the previous Year B planningas a guide but have also included new titles to reflect the changes to this class structure.

Also included here is the long term planning that we use to support our work in Literacy.  Our numeracy planning comes directly from the National Curriculum; teachers use this to plan termly units of work that build on the skills gained by the children in the previous term. Topics such as Number & Place Value, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as fractions decimals and percentages are included in every planning cycle so that our children develop strong foundations in key mathematical concepts. 

At St. Katharine’s school we have a strong focus on the development of mental maths skills right from the beginning, when children enter school. It is our belief that if children can quickly gain the skills needs to compute mentally then this will support learning in all other areas of the maths curriculum. We use a home /school scheme call ‘Passport Maths’ that fully involves children in their learning. Children have clear targets to reach before gaining their certificate for a continent. We aim for all our children to be ‘Globe Trotters’ when they leave our school with a firm grasp of all times tables and the factors of all numbers to 100, computing with decimals as well as understanding factors, square and prime numbers.

All parents receive a ‘topic web’ every term that details the key areas that their child will be learning about. Your can find these in the 'parents' section of our website and this information is repeated in the 'classes' section. We actively encourage parental involvement in their child’s learning and they are always welcome to come in and help either on a regular basis or to share a particular expertise in an area as a one off.

We operate an open door policy and are happy to discuss any aspect of your child’s learning with you in addition to the information that is supplied on this website.

Current Year 2017/18 - Long Term Curriculum Mapping

Reading

Developing a love for reading in every child is a fundamental aim of our school. We believe that fluency in reading and an abilility to comprehend text irrespective of its genre enables children to become independent, lifelong learners and well prepared to access the curriculum when they make the transition to Key Stage 3. We use a range of books from a variety of reading schemes to support our work including a growing bank of ebooks, including ‘talking books’, that children can access using our ipads.

We have a very well stocked library of non-fiction and fiction texts and a very healthy set of guided reading sets that enable teachers to work with small groups, developing reading skills around a shared text. All children have a library card and are encouraged to use this to take out books using our computer based library system.

All of our reading ‘stock’ is colour coded so that children know that they can access the text. A description of the level of each ‘colour band’ is communicated to parents through our reading guide, which is issued to all parents as they enrol their child in school. Children have book marks to accompany their reading books that detail the support that parents might give when reading with children at home.

A copy of our parent booklet  ‘Reading at St. Katharine’s’ is included here.

Reading - 10 minutes a day!!!

Last year (2016-17) was the year that we introduced our '10 minutes a day' reading initiative. Research tells us the children who read regularly at home, supported by an adult, make stronger progress across all aspects of learning than those who don't. Children at St. Katharine's record the number of times that they read at home in either the yellow reading record or on the reading bookmark. We are aiming for a minimum of 5 times a week. This year we are celebrating our reading success by collecting stamps in a reading passport. 6 stamps will indicate that children have managed to sustain 5 reads a week over the course of 6 terms.We are of course encouraging our fluent and older readers to read even longer each night - aiming for every child to become one of those readers who can't put a book down and can't wait to pick one up!

Phonics

Key Stage 1 Phonics

In the academic year 2013 - 14 we were proud to be recognised as amongst the top 2% of schools in the country for our pupil attainment in phonics. In that year 100% of our children passed the phonics screening at the end of year one. In the following academic year 89% of children reached the expected standard. Our results for the academic year 2015 -16 are again 100%.  This consistently high standard is due to a strong commitment from the school on the daily teaching of phonics skills across EYFS and Year 1. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ as our principle resource. It is recognised that;

‘almost all pupils who achieve the expected standard in the check go on to achieve at least the expected standard in Key Stage 1 reading.’

A letter to the school from Nick Gibb MP (Minister of state for school reform) in October 2014 says:

‘You have ensured that every Year 1 child in your school has a firm foundation for reading, from which they can develop further reading skills and become increasingly sophisticated readers. This will help them develop a lifelong love of reading.’

Spelling

This year, part of the literacy leadership action plan is to develop consistency of approach in the teaching of spelling across the school so building on the strong foundations laid in our reception / year one class. There is an increasing emphasis on spelling in both the Year 2 and Year 6 GPS (grammar, punctuation & spelling) tests and as an important part of children's writing in order that they are able to achieve the expected standard at the end of each key stage. Our aim is for all children to have a good understanding of spelling rules, to be able to independently identify patterns and self correct mistakes. We want children to use a range of spelling strategies with confidence including dictionaries, word banks and where appropriate computer based spell checkers.

Spelling is taught and practised as a regular part of the school week. Children bring spellings home to help consolidate and further practise the learning that is happening in school.

Passport Maths

We use Passport Maths as a vehicle to support the children at St. Katharine's to develop strong mental maths skills. Having the ability to compute mentally with speed and efficiency is vital if children are to become confident, capable mathematicians. Passport maths enables us to set challenging target for children at all stages in their mathematical learning and provide a scaffold for home / school practise. Each continent has its own set of targets, when all targets are achieved children progress to the next continent. Our aim is that all children will become 'Globe Trotters' with a secure knowledge of all times tables, inverses, square numbers, primes and factors.