Our Approach to the Curriculum
At Flitcham our curriculum has been taken from the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage documentation. It is organised into integrated topics or themes and links are made where ever possible to other subjects
We discussed what kind of school we are. What kinds of learning are important to our children and what subjects are priorities and what emphasis do we want to place.
It was agreed that we valued the additional PE we already offer and that we needed to maintain our strong links with local high schools. These provide classes for our more able children in Music, Maths, and Science as well as arts support and PE support throughout the school.
Our Curriculum Framework forms the basis of our long term planning. It provides an overview of the areas of the curriculum the children are taught over the year. We asked ourselves ‘What do we want the children to get out of it’?’ and ‘What do we want the children to learn?’ Our framework is planned to ensure coverage and continuity and to develop children’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of their own beliefs and cultures. It is flexible to ensure progression in our children’s learning; topics (built on the programmes of study) are on a two year rolling programme. (Detailed, mid-term planning is made available for staff to follow in some subject areas.) Less detailed short term plans are encouraged, enabling children’s strengths and consolidation to be taken into account during the week.
Reflecting staff, parents, Governors and above all our children’s vision of what should be taught and how, it is a more creative, cross curricular approach including an extended curriculum – a greater use the community, to extend the children’s learning and meet the Every Child Matters Agenda. Additional opportunities and experiences enhance learning in national curriculum subjects as much as possible within and outside taught time. Using a brainstorm of activities, a topic is devised then we consider what the best learning sequence will be.
Children are involved in planning their learning at this stage to find out what they already know and what they would like to learn. A learning map is displayed in a shared area. The topic may be introduced as a whole school, but we try wherever possible to use visits/visitors and creativity to engage children and ensure there is a ‘WOW’ factor.
Organising and labeling
We chose to retain a literacy hour and numeracy hour, with additional opportunities for reading and isolated guided reading although groups may often be taught rather than whole class teaching
Topics are planned around foundation subjects, linked with numeracy and literacy as much as possible.
We decided that RE, PE, ICT, PSHE, MFL, and Music should also be taught in isolation.
Why a themed approach
• Allows us to cover a broader range of subjects and skills by teaching more than one Subject at once
• Allows us to motivate children by getting them interested in a topic
• Sustains children’s interest through prolonged focus
• Improves children’s writing by giving them something to both write about and the motivation to want to write.
• Enables genuine use of different text types such as explanations and recounts in a real context
• Allows children and teachers to pursue interests and enthusiasm
Our school aims to
• promote high standards in reading, writing and maths
• enable children to acquire knowledge and skills in science
• enable children to be confident in computing
• enable children to be aware of the importance of and participate in the arts and related cultural themes
• provide equality of access and the opportunity for all children to make progress
• develop an enjoyment of learning and a desire for lifelong learning
• promote spiritual development
• promote physical and mental development and an awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle
• enable children to develop moral sensibility through carefully taught values
• develop awareness, understanding of and respect for their environment,
• provide rich and varied contexts so children can acquire, develop and apply a range of knowledge, understanding and skills
• encourage children to think creatively and critically to solve problems
• promote children’s self-esteem and emotional well-being to enable them to form worthwhile relationships
• prepare children for the next steps in their education; opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life
The curriculum is planned effectively, providing continuity and progression. It promotes enjoyment of learning and a commitment to learning and achieving. Through the provision of rich and varied activities we want all our children to:
• make the best possible progress and highest attainment
• Learn: to be adaptable; how to solve problems in a variety of situations; how to work independently and as a member of a team
• think creatively and solve problems
• Begin acquiring a set of moral values, such as honesty, sincerity, personal responsibility on which to base their own behaviour
• Care for and take pride in their school
• behave in a dignified and acceptable way and learn to become responsible for their actions
• develop tolerance, respect and appreciation of the feelings and capabilities of others in an unbiased way
• know how to solve problems in a variety of situations using concepts of number, algebra, measurement, shape, and space and handling data
• be able to listen and read for a variety of purposes and be able to convey their meaning accurately and appropriately through speech and writing for a variety of purposes
• develop an enquiring mind and scientific approach to problems
• have the opportunity to solve problems using technological skills
• Be capable of communicating their knowledge and feelings through various art forms including art and craft, drama, and music and acquire appropriate techniques which will enable them to develop inventiveness and creativity
• Know about geographical, historical and social aspects of the local environment and national heritage and be aware of other times and places and recognise links among family, local, national and international events
• Have some knowledge of beliefs of the major world religions
• Develop physical co-ordination, agility and confidence in and through movement
• Know how to apply the basic principles of health, hygiene and safety
Speaking and Listening
Communication and language development is key to all our children’s overall development and learning. We ensure teaching gives children opportunities to a rich language environment where their confidence and skills in expressing themselves is developed, enabling them to speak and listen in a wide range of situations and contexts. They are given opportunities to contribute to situations with different demands and are taught how to respond appropriately to others. They learn to use language in imaginative ways and express their ideas and feelings when working in role and in drama activities. We actively develop attentive listening and response.
We believe speaking and listening skills are an intrinsic part of the writing process and encourage children to say sentences before they write them.
Children are given opportunities to retell familiar stories and poems and are expected to learn them.
At Flitcham we believe our children need to ‘learn to read, to read to learn’. We are committed to developing confident readers who want to read for themselves and are passionate about teaching reading through a synthetic phonics approach using only phonic based material initially followed by a range of carefully levelled books that ensure progression.
Reading is taught systematically through the school. In the Foundation stage and KS1 Read, Write Inc reading books are used as our core resource initially, supported by Guided reading sessions. Children are taught to read mainly through a combination of structured teaching of phonics and guided reading. Reading scheme books are colour coded and children are encouraged to choose a range of books with in the band. Children take their books home and are expected to read at home as part of their homework. Boxes of high quality texts (usually picture books) are also are also This approach is built on by staff within the context of guided reading sessions.
Children are grouped according to ability and texts are selected to match interests, the topic and to support the teaching of genre being taught in writing. Text is also selected to teach learning targets to take learning further.
As a school we provide a rich reading environment, enabling children to have access to a wide range of texts. Teachers use high quality texts within their teaching across the curriculum. Through reading children are introduced to new vocabulary that can be used in their own writing and speech. All teachers read to the class purely for enjoyment; share whole texts, enabling children to listen and respond to the text together; quiet reading time is also built into the school day. We also promote use of the local library and participate in Book Week every year where we promote reading for enjoyment across the school.
Phonics is taught in discrete, systematic daily sessions from the Foundation stage through Key Stage 1, using a multi-sensory approach; we continue to teach phonics in KS2 according to the needs of the children.
The focus is on the children sounding and blending unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately.
Children are taught:
• To discriminate between separate sounds in words
• Grapheme-phoneme correspondences
• To apply the skill of blending phonemes in order, all through a word to read it
• To recognise sight vocabulary identified as tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out phonetically) and high frequency words
Comprehension skills are taught throughout the school. In EYFS children are taught how to use a range of texts to find information, how to form their opinions of a text and encouraged to share their ideas in a range of situations. From year 1 to the end of KS2 children are taught specific skills which enable them to decode the meaning of text and how to form and express their personal opinions and make comparisons. It is expected that teachers ask carefully planned questions during a reading session.
Writing is embedded across the curriculum. We are committed to a systematic approach that develops children’s enthusiasm for writing and ensures they are guided and supported. The key skills of composition, planning and drafting, punctuation, spelling, grammar and handwriting are taught explicitly in literacy lessons but also indirectly through cross-curricular writing in other subjects. We believe that for children to become successful writers they need to be immersed in good models before they begin writing. Close links are made between reading and writing and during this time children are encouraged to ‘steal’ language features and use them in their writing. Children are taught, through modelling, skills needed to write a range of non-fiction texts. In fictional writing we follow the Pie Corbett model where children are taught through:
Imitating – rewriting a well-known story
Innovating – keeping the same story structure but changing characters/setting/details
Inventing – inventing children’s own story using a theme from a well-known story.
Children are taught to use a range of planning, including ‘boxing up’; skeleton models are often used to plan non-fiction. Children are asked to produce a piece of writing at the beginning of a unit and then at the end to assess their learning.
Where ever possible links are made to topics and children are given opportunities to practices writing in relevant learning. We strongly believe that a child needs to be able to say the sentence before they write it. Therefor children are taught to rehearse saying sentences before they write. There is a focus on retelling familiar stories, nursery rhymes and poems from reception. Oral rehearsal is modelled by staff and weaved into literacy lessons.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Teaching of grammar and punctuation is, wherever possible linked to texts and children are given opportunities to practise skills before they apply them in their writing. Children are expected to learn key high frequency words and are taught strategies and how to investigate spelling patterns to spell words correctly. Phonics are taught and expected to be used from reception to year 6.
At Flitcham handwriting skills are taught regularly and systematically using the Nelson scheme. Children are taught correct letter formation and then basic joins. By year 5 they are encouraged to develop their own handwriting style. Children are made aware of the importance and expectations of good presentation at Flitcham.
At Flitcham Primary School we follow the National Curriculum. Teachers ensure children are taught mathematics at a level which is appropriate to their individual needs. We have a high expectation for all children, ensuring that there is challenge and support at all times.
Mathematics is taught daily. Each lesson that has a high proportion of whole-class and group focussed or individual teaching. Considerable importance is attached to the children achieving and understanding mathematical processes, concepts and skills.
A positive attitude is encouraged by presenting it in an interesting and enjoyable way, allowing the children to actively participate in the learning process, thus creating a sense of achievement and confidence. We make lessons fun, interactive and relevant.
There is a strong emphasis throughout the year groups for the development of mental arithmetic.c We teach a wide range of written and mental strategies for the four rules and ensure progression for this throughout the school. Where appropriate every effort is made to use mathematics within other subjects in order to provide a cross curricular approach; children are given opportunities to use and apply mathematics in real life situations.
Children are encouraged to ask as well as answer mathematical questions and engage in discussions; learning from each other, misconceptions and mistakes. Opportunities are given to investigate and discuss ways to solve problems. Teachers may leave days free from planning to recap or consolidate concepts.
At Flitcham we teach science through a topic approach, our framework taken from the National Curriculum to ensure knowledge and concepts are built upon. Children are taught the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science mostly through first hand, practical experiences and appropriate secondary sources such as books, photographs and videos. They are helped to develop their own understanding of science by using choosing the most appropriate type of enquiry to answer their own questions. Children learn to work scientifically through specific subject teaching following the programmes of study. They are taught (and expected to use and spell correctly) correct terminology and specialist vocabulary; given opportunities to develop methods of systematic enquiry (predicting, planning, doing, concluding); and explore science concepts by questioning, hypothesising and testing their ideas (often using fair testing).
Computing prepares our children to play an active part in the rapidly changing world in which education, work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology. Children are taught how to use, express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology .ensuring they become digitally literate. ICT at Flitcham focuses on the application of taught skills, knowledge and understanding that children need in a variety of situations across the curriculum.
Each class has timetabled ICT lessons and a scheme of work is used to teach key skills and contexts in which the five major strands of ICT. Links with local high schools enable support from specialist teaching. Children are taught to use ICT to research, analysis and presentation and become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information technology.
Cross curricular links are made within other subjects to enable children to:
– use initiative and independent learning to make informed judgements about when to use ICT
– build and apply a range of knowledge of the uses of ICT within school and home
– apply knowledge of a range of programs to gather, present, manipulate and share ideas and information for a range of purposes
– create, test and improve sequences of instructions to make things happen and to use simulations to explore, evaluate and respond to a range of patterns, relationships and situations.
Through teaching history we want children at Flitcham to gain a secure knowledge of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, inspiring their curiosity to know more about the past.
Following the programmes of study, we teach the key areas (historical interpretation, enquiry and being able to organise and communicate feelings) of history through: learning about themselves and their families; comparing lives of significant people and aspects of life in historical periods; significant events in living and beyond living memory in their own locality and further afield. Children develop a chronological knowledge and understanding of periods studied, learning that actions and events in the past have shaped and influenced our world today and how actions and events in the world today will shape and affect the future. We teach children to use correct vocabulary relating to the passing of time and an understanding of abstract terms such as ‘parliament’ and ‘empire’ and are given opportunities to develop their reference and enquiry skills through the use of primary and secondary resources such as visitors to school, artefacts and visits to historical places and museum.
Geography is concerned with the study of places, the human and physical processes which shape the people who live in them. It helps children to gain a greater understanding of the ways of life and cultures of people in their own and other environments.
Through local investigations, studies of places outside the local area –visiting whenever possible
They are taught about significant places and human and physical characteristics throughout the world; an understanding of how to use geographical information such as maps, globes and Geographical Information Systems; and communicate geographical information in a variety of ways.
Design and technology
Children develop creativity and imagination through designing products that solve problems within a variety of relevant contexts , considering the needs, wants and values of themselves and others; they have opportunities to work in teams such as during the school’s ‘enterprise weeks’ where children have to produce products and sell to make a profit for charity.
They are taught technical knowledge skills and develop understanding through a variety of practical tasks using a range of tools, equipment and materials.
At Flitcham we see learning to cook as a crucial life skill. Children are taught how to cook a range of food, using a range of cooking techniques, applying the principles of healthy eating.
Art and design
We encourage children to be creative and to share their ideas, experiences and imagination. Children are taught to develop art and design techniques, including drawing, printing, sculpture, with a range of materials through using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. They learn about great artists, designers, and architects; visits to galleries, links with ‘artists in residence’ and regularly displaying their own work in exhibitions give our children first hand experience of the work of artists.
Children learn a foreign language in KS2 at Flitcham to enable them to make substantial progress in one language through a balance of teaching written and spoken language. It helps develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works.
At Flitcham children are taught to develop and extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between the foreign language and English through engaging in conversations, speaking in sentences, reading and understanding and presenting ideas in the language studied. Children learn to broaden vocabulary, creating sentences from memory and adapting them to create new ones. Accurate pronunciation and intonation is taught and patterns and sounds of language are explored through songs and rhymes.
At Flitcham we teach PE to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding so they can perform with increasing competence and confidence, fairness and respect in a range of physical activities. We provide opportunities for children to be creative, competitive and to tackle challenges as individuals, groups and teams through providing a minimum of 2 hours each week core provision which is enhanced with a number of extra-curricular opportunities and clubs. We work in partnership with a number of external partners, including the School Sports Partnership (SSP) and our feeder high school, to assist with the quality of provision and INSET. We support competitive activities with opportunities within school as well as across local schools and county competitions via our SSP. All children have swimming lessons in six week blocks and all learn to swim before they leave Flitcham.
We work hard to encourage all children to realise the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle and offer a wide range of sporting experiences for our children, including sailing, archery, fencing and outdoor activity residential trips.
At Flitcham we follow the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus, which develops continuity and progression in Religious Education, and this forms the basis of our teaching supported by a scheme of work. Our teaching is non-denominational with a strong enquiry based approach to learning where they are encouraged to identify puzzling questions and suggest answers; considering questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life. Children are given opportunities to consider their own and others experiences, attitudes and values through learning from and about religion. Through developing a knowledge and understanding of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism they are taught to explore issues within and between faiths to help them understand and respect different beliefs, values and traditions, understanding the importance of religion to many people and how it affects their daily lives. We follow the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus recommended time for RE of 36 hours each year for KS1 and 45 hours for KS2.
We value music at Flitcham as a powerful and unique form of communication that can change the way children feel, think and act but also believe it increases self-discipline and creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment. We want our children to leave Flitcham with an appreciation and understanding of how music is composed and performed.
As part of the Norfolk music hub, working with a county peripatetic music teacher, partnerships with our feeder high school and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment we provide activities that develop musical concepts and skills sequentially. Awareness is developed of different cultures and traditions and an understanding of a wide variety of styles through listening to music. Enjoyment of music is encouraged. Children are taught a range of songs, including hymns, traditional and modern songs.
In KS2 children are able to have extra curricular music lessons, learning to play woodwind instruments. All children in years 5 and 6 are taught to play a brass instrument. All children have opportunities to listen to and perform in solo or ensemble contexts by singing and playing instruments, with other schools, adults and professionals.