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Curriculum

Our Curriculum is continually under review, as we aim to meet the needs of all pupils in an exciting and engaging way.  We always meet our statutory requirements but also clarify what and how we teach with reference to our Christian values.


The Government introduced a new National Curriculum in September 2014 (full detail available here) and, as a Voluntary Aided Church of England school, we also follow the Newcastle Diocesan Scheme of Work for Religious Education aiming to work closely with other church schools. (More information can be found here.)  We have used these documents, alongside others, to produce a curriculum for our children which is both challenging and engaging.

 

This page gives an overview for visitors.  Parents have further secure access to our curriculum and assessment using IM Home - a unique way to gain a window on their children's learning.

Reading, Writing and Mathematics

 

The majority of content for English and Mathematics in all English State Primary schools is prescribed by the National Curriculum, with each year group having its own set of objectives.  These objectives must be covered in order for the children to be ready for their next stage of schooling.  Teachers plan towards, assess against and report on the children's progress in meeting these objectives.  The end of year expectation is that children will have a secure set of age-appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding.

 

The National Curriculum combines some year group objectives together for Reading and Writing in Key Stage 2.  We have supplemented the basic documents with content of our own and from elsewhere which enhances learning and guides the children further.  Therefore we have grouped the curriculum for Reading, Writing and Maths into hierarchical "stages" that are linked to the end of year expectations.  For example, the Stage 1 curriculum is an enhanced version of Year 1 expectations.  The rationale allows the children to learn key objectives in greater depth at an appropriate pace.  Typically, children in Class 1 begin and work towards the objectives during the Autumn term, work within them during the Spring and become secure in them by the Summer.  Further study leads to deeper learning as the children master these objectives in more varied and challenging contexts.  This means that they are then truly ready for the next stage.

 

In Mathematics in particular, we have also created intermediate steps between end of year objectives so that the children can see success as they progress through each stage.

 

By the time the children reach Year 6, the end of Key Stage 2, it is vital that they are as secure as possible in Stage 5 English (Reading and Writing) as well as Stage 6 Maths.  The curriculum involves a great deal of consolidation and depth of study, allowing more personal lines of inquiry, developing independent study skills and preparing for the transition to Secondary school.  This will mean that the children leave St. Bart's equipped for Key Stage 3 and beyond.

 

Below are overview documents that cover all stages from 1 to 6 in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.  They are used by teachers as planning and assessment tools within school, although in a different interactive format.

Visual Calculations

Parents often ask, "How do you teach ...?  It doesn't seem the same since I was at school."

 

At St. Bart's, we have an agreed set of methods that we teach for calculations throughout the school.  Our 4-part visual calculation policy shows what we model in lessons and what we would expect to see in books.  Whilst acknowledging that there are alternate methods, we expect the children to learn the most efficient "standard" method which can be reinforced at home.

 

Below are the summary documents, progressing from Stage 1 to Stage 6 in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Further Curriculum

 

A brief outline for the remaining school curriculum is given below.  It is based on key questions that the children will be investigating beyond English and Mathematics each term - a good place to begin a discussion at home.

 

Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE)

 

All of our children's care and wellbeing is carefully considered as part of the explicit PSHE curriculum.  Whilst our values weave through everything we do (implicitly) we also plan for key content to be covered throughout the year in every class, including the promotion of traditional British values.  This includes friendships, problem-solving, overcoming challenges, resilience, staying safe, sex and relationships education (SRE), drug misuse, anti-bullying, cyber-skills, enterprise and many other aspects of life in our 21st century world.

 

The full overview will appear here once it has been reviewed (Spring 2017).

Key Stage 1 (SATs) tests for 2017

This 6-minute video provides information for parents about the Key Stage 1 tests, including the optional Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling Test, that children in Class 2 will be taking in May.

Key Stage 2 (SATs) tests for 2017

A short video aimed at parents to give outline information about the newer National Curriculum tests for Class 6.

Reading and Phonics

 

Learning to read is one of the most important aspects of primary education.  It gives the children independent access to the wider curriculum as well as being a skill for life.

 

The way a child learns to read is also important so that they are equipped with those skills as soon as possible.  It is especially important that home and school have a shared understanding of the process and how both play a vital role.

 

In early Autumn we offer a session for parents and carers of Reception children to come into school and learn how we teach reading.  There is also the opportunity to ask questions so that you are well equipped to support your children at home.  We understand the pressures of family life so aim for the advice we give to be as practical as possible, no matter how busy an evening or weekend gets!  Click here to find out more.

 

To summarise our approach we begin with regular "Letters and Sounds" sessions, from Nursery through into Key Stage 2.  These short, daily times focus on phonics - the different sounds that can be spoken and written down in different ways. Quality reading is regularly modelled in class and reading books are introduced when each child is ready.  The children are heard read at least once per week initially and these books are taken home to share with parents.  Every child from Reception upwards has a Home-School diary that acts as a reading record in our Lower School (Reception to Year 2).

 

As the children become more independent in their reading, further strategies are introduced and taught explicitly so that the children do not rely on a single method of reading but become fluent in their reading and understanding.  It is the skill of the teacher to ask careful questions that will guide the children to deepen their understanding of a text.

Homework
 

Homework is an important part of our pupils' learning process and we encourage whole-family participation, especially parent and carer discussions with the children.  The aim is also to bring challenge whilst considering the age and stage of our pupils.  Homework, if set, should consolidate learning, deepen understanding and prepare each child well for work to come.

 

The new National Curriculum is designed to do fewer things but do them better.  The bar has been raised significantly, particularly in expectations for mathematics.  Therefore, a standard weekly homework task will focus on mental arithmetic, knowledge and skills.  This will, of course, be age-appropriate, with an emphasis on number bonds with our youngest children moving to times tables recall as they get older - all children are expected to know up to 12x12 by the end of Year 4, both the multiplication and division facts!  We will also reinforce shape recognition.  With the emphasis on mental knowledge, this homework will rarely be on a worksheet.  “Mathletics” will be a regular opportunity for Key Stage 2.

 

Reading, including phonics, will continue as an expectation.  Please hear your children read throughout the week, including up to Year 6.  For our younger children this will involve listening and correcting, as I am sure you do already.  For older children you won’t necessarily need to hear them read aloud but please discuss what they are reading: ask questions, get the children to give and justify their opinions with reference to the text.

 

Learning lists of spellings will not now be a standard weekly homework.  Spelling is still an important skill but it is now emphasised alongside Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG).  Spellings will continue to be taught in school with occasional lists, linked to a topic, being learned at home.  Those who require more support in their spelling will also be given specific tasks by their teacher, as appropriate.

 

Homework Menus

It is good for our children to have a choice and make decisions about their work.  This is an important idea and is incorporated into our “menu” approach.

 

For each topic or unit of learning, class teachers will prepare a set of varied homework tasks that will cover a range of subject areas and last a number of weeks.  This will then be presented to the children who will choose a set of activities for their extra homeworks.  Their choice must include a range of different tasks, not all the same thing each time.  For example, we wouldn’t want a writing task to be chosen every week so one task might be to design something that will then be made the following week.  The next task chosen could then be a written description of their design, a report on how they make it or a story including what they have built.

 

We would expect the children to make thoughtful choices and include parents and their teacher in their decisions.  Talk at home has been proven to have a noticeable positive impact on children’s progress.  A number of tasks will have a “family project” focus, where families will work together to complete a task.

 

As each menu will be different, things will become self-explanatory as each one is introduced.

 

Our current expectations are:

 
Years
5 & 6
  • Weekly reading practice and discussion
  • Mental Maths activities
  • Mathletics fortnightly
  • Topical Menu System
Years
3 & 4
  • Weekly reading practice and guided activity
  • Mental Maths activities
  • Mathletics fortnightly
  • Topical Menu System
 Years
1 & 2
  • Daily reading practice (Other books e.g. library or home books to read when reading book is completed.)
  • Mental Maths activities
  • Topical Menu System
 Reception
  • Daily reading practice including Letter & Sounds (phonics) and word practice
  • Mental Maths activities
  • Occasional handwriting practice activities
  • Occasionally the children are asked to contribute towards topic displays
 Nursery Children are asked to contribute to parts of the curriculum that interest them
Library books to be shared at home

 

Other homework, to support those who have Special Educational Needs or who require extra support, may be given once or twice weekly as decided by class or support teachers. Work is usually consolidation of a group or individual session with support teachers.
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