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Curriculum Overview

Our curriculum ensures learning is effective, exciting and above all, relevant to the needs of our children.

All pupils will secure firm foundations in English and mathematics and this underpins a growing excellence in other subjects. Our child-led and knowledge-based curriculum offers a broad range of subjects from Early Years through to Key Stage 2 (KS2). We believe in bringing learning to life, both indoors and out, with an emphasis on engaging and purposeful learning.

Whitehills Primary aims to provide a curriculum that is engaging, balanced and relevant. While emphasis is placed on children learning core skills of English and maths, we place great value on developing the ‘whole child’ and provide an engaging programme of study in all curriculum areas.

Our high expectation of children begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Children begin Whitehills Primary in Reception and are regularly assessed throughout the year using EvidenceMe in collaboration with parents, with the aim of meeting the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Reception year. These assessments are used to identify key subject areas to inform planning and focus children who need to be targeted for specific activities. Pupils begin phonics lessons in Reception, and these continue through into Key Stage 1 (KS1) and sometimes KS2. There is a focus on exploratory play in Reception based around topics and core texts, which children access both on a morning and an afternoon. At the start of the morning all pupils take part in a maths, reading, handwriting or spelling activity whilst we are adhering to a staggered start at the beginning and end of the day, ensuring we are not losing more learning time.

In KS1, children continue their learning journey, taking part in maths, reading and writing lessons every morning. In Year 1, children continue to have daily phonics lessons, whilst in Year 2, children access regular Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG), which are linked to their learning in writing, to allow them to apply and deepen their basic skills. In the afternoon, children access the wider curriculum through carefully planned topics: science, religious education (RE), computing, personal, social and health education (PSHE). Art and music are delivered as timetabled discrete lessons.

Speaking and listening skills are also enhanced throughout the school with effective use of talk partners.

In KS2, children, again, continue their daily diet of rigorous teaching, taking part in maths, reading and writing lessons every morning. In Year 5 and Year 6, focus gradually shifts to the end of Key Stage assessments as children are prepared for these tests and the transition into Year 7. In the afternoon, children access the wider curriculum through carefully planned topics: science, history/geography, RE, art, computing, PSHE as timetabled discrete lessons. French and music are also delivered during the afternoons.

 

AREAS OF THE CURRICULUM

READING

Teaching a child to read is vital. We use a range of strategies, in addition to phonics, such as a variety of decoding methods, teaching high frequency words through sight recognition, discussion through picture books and for some children, other interventions.

From Foundation Stage 2, reading is taught through a carousel of activities. These activities include reading with a teacher or learning support assistant, listening to class stories and reading in groups. From Year 1, reading is taught through whole class reading. Children have focused reading sessions each week and skills of vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequencing are taught.  One to one reading occurs in Foundation Stage 2 and with vulnerable readers and our lowest 20% of children are identified in each class to ensure further opportunities are given in order to facilitate reading progression and a love of reading. During the reading sessions, there is an emphasis on vocabulary, the retrieval of facts and inference. Novels are used to teach reading as well as a range of non-fiction texts. These texts are carefully chosen to ensure that there is progression and challenge across the school. At Whitehills, we aim to develop a love of reading, so children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis. Throughout Years 1-6 children are taught 6 skills to enhance our reading at Whitehills. The VIPERS skills are promoted and learning walls reflect this in every classroom.

We currently use a range of different reading schemes to meet the interests and individual need of each and every child.

WRITING

Our school is committed to using work with external advisers and experts who have proven records in developing pupils’ learning in writing. We use this valuable resource to finely tune our provision, share good practice and offer whole school staff continuing professional development (CPD). Over the past 18 months we have trained all staff in Talk4Writing.

At Whitehills, in Foundation Stage 2 and throughout the school, we incorporate the Talk4Writing model into the teaching of writing. Children are taught writing skills through studying a range of both fiction and non-fiction texts, including teacher produced models. Children are encouraged and supported to learn texts by heart, before trying to innovate them and gradually apply more independent changes to the model until they can write freely with confidence. In addition, in Key Stage 1, picture books and topic work are used as a stimulus for writing. Challenging texts are selected to ensure that children have an excellent model for their own writing and their acquisition of vocabulary is enhanced.

During their time at Whitehills, children are exposed to a range of classic and contemporary poetry. They have the opportunity to use these poems as a model for their own writing.

HANDWRITING

At Whitehills, we use the Kinetic Letter scheme to improve handwriting. We use this from EYFS to Year 6 and staff have been trained to ensure consistency in approach. Our English/topic books are specially designed to have the Kinetic Letter guides and this is having positive outcomes in presentation across the school. Handwriting is taught at least three times per week across EYFS and KS1 and at least 2 sessions per week at KS2.

PHONICS

At Whitehills Primary we follow the Letters and Sounds scheme for phonics teaching. Each child in Foundation Stage 2, and Year 1 has a daily, minimum 15 -20 minutes phonics lesson, following the teaching sequence of revisit/review – teach – practise – apply. In Year 2, children access a balance of both phonic and spelling punctuation and grammar (SPAG) lessons based on their individual needs and attainment. Reception and KS1 children are either taught as a whole class or sometimes put into small groups, based on regular assessments so that children’s learning needs are accurately matched to the correct provision. Small phonic sessions or interventions are delivered by learning support assistants and overseen by the class teacher, to provide complimentary teaching.

Sessions are lively, fast-paced and fun. In a session, children are taught either phonemes/digraphs/trigraphs, high frequency and/or tricky words and these are consolidated through reading and writing. There are lots of opportunities to speak and listen, as well as to read and write the sounds.

At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Test which tests children’s phonic knowledge. Here, they are required to read real and nonsense words, applying the skills they have learnt. Ideally, children will have completed and consolidated Phase 5 during Year 1 and Phase 6 during Year 2, so that they can focus more on higher-level comprehension using increasingly challenging texts. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.

MATHS

At Whitehills, we believe that mathematics should be fun and rewarding for all children. As such, we endeavour to make our work in mathematics engaging for all learners to become fluent and confident and applying their mathematical knowledge.

Our curriculum is mapped by the White Rose Maths Hub scheme of work. We focus on a progression from concrete resources, to pictorial representations and finally, into the numerical abstract to aid our children’s conceptual understanding. Throughout these stages, children will move through fluency and reasoning questions to deepen their contextual understanding. At any part of the journey, we allow our children to return to the representation stage and concrete manipulatives to embed learning.

At the start of every lesson, each year group will have a Daily Practice starter. This consists of a range of arithmetic skills, that have been previously taught. These usually focus on a particular skill and mastering that before moving on. This plays an important role in the children becoming fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics and develops the children’s ability to independently recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.  Throughout each lesson, formative assessment takes place and feedback is given during the lesson where possible. The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, prior to each new topic being taught, teachers will conduct an initial assessment to assess each child’s existing knowledge and identify any gaps in learning. Teachers will then use this assessment to influence their planning and ensure they are providing a mathematics curriculum that will allow each child to progress. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly are then challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content.

At the end of Year 4 children have to take the national Times Table Test which tests children’s times table knowledge. For this, children will be presented with 25 questions. There will be a 3 second pause in-between each question, before the next question appears on screen. To ensure that children have been used to answering (at least) 25 questions in quick succession before they face the test, Years 3 to 6 use Times Table Rock stars in and out of school. This allows us to check children’s multiplication knowledge and offer them a tailored and fun programme to use at home. Any child that does not complete the Times Table Test will continue learning multiplication facts throughout Year 5/6 during interventions.

SCIENCE

We follow the National Curriculum for science ensuring all pupils develop their scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science is hands on where possible; pupils are given the opportunities to experience science in the real world. Having a pond on site is an invaluable resource available to all year groups, ensuring they have a real world setting in which to base their investigations.  We have recently been awarded a grant to redevelop the pond and this will take place during the autumn and spring terms 2020-2021.

COMPUTING

Our computing curriculum comprises a number of different strands: digital literacy, coding, data handling and using technology in the wider world. Each year group builds on the skills taught during the previous year to ensure that by Year 6, students are confident using technology, including a range of different programmes, apps and websites.

Apps on the iPads and tablets are utilised to teach skills such as animation, music creation and e-books. Purple Mash and Office software are embedded in the curriculum.

RELATIONSHIP & SEX EDUCATION (RSE)

Relationships and Sex Education is lifelong learning about physical, sexual, moral and emotional development. It is about understanding the importance of stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care, for family life.

Our RSE programme has been created to take into account the learning needs, maturity and emotional development of our pupils and is tailored to their individual needs, aiming to enable them to make positive decisions in their lives.

RSE takes place within the Jigsaw PSHE programme of study, but aspects will also be taught during RE and within our Science lessons as part of the programme of study for the National Curriculum.

PERSONAL, SOCIAL HEALTH & CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION (PSHE)

Here at Whitehills, we use the Jigsaw scheme throughout the school to deliver PHSE and RSE. This is a comprehensive Scheme of Learning for PSHE Education including Emotional Literacy, Social Skills and Spiritual Development.

There are six Puzzles in Jigsaw that are designed to progress in sequence from the start of each academic year:

Term 1: Being Me in My World

Term 2: Celebrating Difference (including anti-bullying)

Term 3: Dreams and Goals

Term 4: Healthy Me

Term 5: Relationships

Term 6: Changing Me (including Sex Education)

Each Puzzle has six Pieces (lessons) which work towards an ‘end product’, for example, The School Learning Charter or The Garden of Dreams and Goals

We also cover safeguarding themes through the following:

  • anti-bullying week takes place in the Autumn Term;
  • RSE is included in the scheme that we follow for Years 5 and 6;
  • E Safety week and a constant reminder through weekly assemblies the importance of staying safe on line.

Assemblies cover elements of current topics in the news or celebrations. In addition, the teaching of the core British Values and School Rules outline how these are exemplified in our own school values.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (RE)

We follow the Northamptonshire agreed syllabus scheme throughout the school (SACRE). This provides a broad and balanced programme of RE which reflects three key areas. It will:

  • include a study of the key beliefs and practices of religions and other world views, including those represented in Northamptonshire
  • provide opportunities to explore key religious concepts and common human questions of meaning, purpose and value
  • enable pupils to investigate how beliefs affect moral decisions and identity, exploring both diversity and shared human values. These three areas together will nurture pupils’ religious literacy. They are reflected in the aims here.

The Local Agreed Syllabus for RE requires all pupils to investigate:

  • The beliefs and practices of religions and other world views, including:
    • beliefs and authority: core beliefs and concepts; sources of authority including written traditions and leaders
    • worship and spirituality: how individuals and communities express belief, commitment and emotion.
  • How religions and other world views address questions of meaning, purpose and value, including:
    • the nature of religion and belief and its key concepts
    • ultimate questions of belonging, meaning, purpose and truth.
  • How religions and other world views influence morality, identity and diversity, including:
    • moral decisions: teachings of religions and other world views on moral and ethical questions, evaluation, reflection and critical responses
    • identity and diversity: diversity among and within religions and other world views; individual and community responses to difference and shared human values.
HISTORY and GEOGRAPHY

History and Geography form an important part of our curriculum. We follow the National Curriculum and embrace a broad-spectrum of stimulating topics. As a school, we aim to wholly develop each child’s geographical and historical skills, understanding and knowledge. Consequently, our lessons are well planned, highly engaging and challenge all abilities. Other curriculum areas are incorporated into learning to ensure high levels of motivation and interest from the children.

We teach a knowledge rich curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners the skills needed to succeed in life. We teach through topics (through literacy or science where links can be made) as opposed to themes. If a subject does not link it is taught as a standalone.

ART and DESIGN TECHNOLOGY

Art and DT are covered in blocks of learning over the year. Our art and DT curriculum builds on skills over time and develops our children both to appreciate art and to have skills in order to produce work of which they are proud. We have recently overviewed the art curriculum to ensure the skills over time are progressive and children have opportunities to explore, use a variety of media and develop their own skills.

MUSIC

At Whitehills, we enjoy music and through the Charanga Scheme, children are exposed to different genres of music alongside the skills of playing instruments and learning to read notation. We have a variety or peripatetic teachers who offer brass, woodwind, strings and drums to our children in Key Stage 2. We have an active choir who support local people’s homes and the county hospice.

MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES

From Year 3, children are taught French through the Catherine Cheater Scheme. All staff are trained in delivering the lessons and the children have opportunities to speak and write in French. Lessons are once per week.

PE

All classes have access to PE and this features in our timetables for at least 2 hours per week. Alongside this, we promote movement during playtime and lunchtimes with access to equipment to engage our children. We ensure that children have other opportunities outside the PE sessions, such as the Golden Mile, to promote more physical movement so that our children are fit. We are a competitive school, engaging in inter and intra sports competitions across Key Stage 1 and 2 and have achieved the Gold Sports’ mark for three consecutive years. We deploy a sports coach from Northampton Town Football Club, who works with children to raise esteem and also to support staff with continued professional development. All teaching staff are trained in Real PE – so that lessons are consistent in approach and children can build on skills throughout their time at Whitehills.

We enrich our children’s opportunities with a wide selection of extra-curricular activities before, during and after school.  These clubs celebrate a variety of sports and skills.

 

See below for each year group’s Long Term overview.

Foundation Stage 2 Curriculum Plan

Year 1 Curriculum Plan

Year 2 Curriculum Plan

Year 3 Curriculum Plan

Year 4 Curriculum Plan

Year 5 Curriculum Plan

Year 6 Curriculum Plan