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Curriculum Overview

This section provides an overview of the curriculum at St. Andrew's Primary School. 

If you would like more information on the curriculum then please speak with the Head Teacher or your child's class teacher.

Writing

At St. Andrew’s, writing is taught using the initiative ‘Talk for Writing’.

Developed by Pie Corbett, ‘Talk for Writing’ is a powerful tool based on the principles of how children learn. Since adopting this approach at St. Andrew’s, not only has the children’s progress in writing increased, their enthusiasm for writing has too.

‘Talk for Writing’ enables children to orally imitate the key language that they need for a particular topic before reading and analysing it. Through a combination of fun activities that help children to rehearse the tune of the language they need, and shared writing to show them how to craft their work, children are helped to write in the same style.

The Stages of ‘Talk for Writing’

The Imitation Stage

Once the teacher has established a creative context and an engaging start, a typical ‘Talk for Writing’ until will begin with some activities introducing the text – as well as the topic to be focused on – to help children understand the pattern of the language required. This is often followed up with talking through the text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the children recall the fiction or non-fiction piece. This process enables children to hear the text, say it out loud, and enjoy it before seeing it written down. Once children have experienced the text they are then in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that make it work. 

The Innovation Stage

Once the children have experienced the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of text. Younger children and less confident writers can alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version. They key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own text by ‘doing one together’ first. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases. Children are given the opportunity to review their work in light of feedback from teachers and classmates.

The Invention Stage

This stage continues to focus on the steps needed to support the children’s progress as they become independent speakers and writers of this type of text. Some more examples of the text may be compared, followed by more shared writing activities on a related topic, before the children can practice their skills on a related topic of their own choosing. The teacher will work with the children to set them ‘toolkits’ which focus on aspects of their work that they need to attend to. Children are once again given the opportunity to review their work in light of feedback from teachers and classmates. At the end of the unit, the children are provided with a purpose for their writing; for example it is shared, published or displayed.

Please click on the link for more information on our 2017-19 Writing Overview:

Writing Overview 2017-19

Handwriting

Cursive handwriting is taught throughout the school. This is a style of handwriting which is very easy to join after initial letters have been formed.

In Key Stage 1, we follow the program ‘letter - join’, wherein children can watch and practice forming letters and joins, and in Key Stage 2 bespoke lessons are taught tailored to the needs of the children.

Throughout the school, fine and gross motor development activities are practiced and the children have daily opportunities to practice their handwriting. Children begin writing at school with a variety of medium, before moving on to handwriting pencils. All children in KS2 write with handwriting pens.

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

At St. Andrew’s we use the 2014 National Curriculum as a basis for everything that we cover in spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG). SPaG is taught through a combination of the ‘No-Nonsense Grammar and Spelling’ schemes, as well as through Talk for Writing sessions, to ensure that children’s development is progressive and well-structured as they move through the school.

Phonics and Reading in KS1

At KS1 we use letters and sounds to teach a systematic, synthetic approach to phonics.

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different contributions of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word. At St. Andrew’s we use the term ‘phonics fingers’ when sounding out individual words.

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to more complex sounds, it is the most effective way of teaching children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5‐7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently, confidently and for enjoyment.

KS1 reading books are from a range of schemes. They are organised in phonic phases which are in line with the letters and sounds programme.

At St Andrew’s we are very lucky to have our own school library as well as a wide selection of phonetically decodable books. We aim to instill a love of reading in children by immersing them in a range of different texts such as poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Your child will have the opportunity to change their reading book each day. They will read in small guided groups with a teacher or a teaching assistant which is known as guided reading. Your child’s reading will be assessed throughout the year and as their fluency and understanding progresses, your child will move up through the phonetically decodable books (phases 2-5) and then on to the colour bands (green-gold).

Accelerated Reader and Reading in KS2 

Once children are competent in the phonic knowledge of reading then all independent reading in school is completed using the Accelerated Reader scheme. Accelerated reader (or AR for short) begins by testing the children to ascertain their appropriate reading range. These tests are completed every half term. When using the AR programme, children will read a book before taking a short electronic quiz on it; this quiz demonstrates to teachers if the child has understood the book. Each set of quiz results are fed back to the children and their teacher in percentage form. All parents and carers of children at St. Andrew's are provided with their child's unique username and password for the AR website, so that they can monitor their child's progress online.

Our Key Stage 2 children continue to be taught to read in weekly guided reading sessions. We foster a love of reading at our school and our children are encouraged to read a range of books. All our children have access to a fantastic school library located in the heart of the school, where they can choose books for enjoyment and research. 

Mathematics 

Our curriculum for mathematics is aligned to the 2014 National Curriculum.

We follow a set of Key Objectives for Years 1-6, based around the ‘big ideas’ in mathematics for each year group. Through quality teaching and learning we aspire to ensure that all children will ‘master’ the content of the mathematics curriculum appropriate to their age and be able to apply this knowledge in a variety of contexts. 

A priority for every child is to develop secure and fluent mental recall skills, problem solving skills and a high level of reasoning. We aim to ensure that teaching and learning is engaging and accessible to all children. Our teaching approach to Mathematics is designed to enhance understanding and enjoyment, as well as raise attainment for every child.

Problem-solving is at the heart of our teaching and learning in mathematics. Pupils are encouraged to identify, understand and apply relevant mathematical knowledge and make connections between different ideas. We expect a high level of mathematical talk in every lesson. This builds the skills needed to tackle new problems.

We believe no child should be left behind. We focus on pupils ‘keeping up’ rather than having to ‘catch up’. By ensuring we have high expectations that are shared with the children – and recognising and highlighting the value of mathematics education –  our learners are encouraged to build confidence and resilience leading to enjoyment of this fascinating subject.

Objects, pictures, words, numbers and symbols are used daily in our teaching and learning to help pupils explore, develop and communicate their mathematical ideas, enrich their learning experience and deepen their understanding. By making the connections between what children see using models and images, the language they hear, the context and the symbolic representation pupils can securely understand what they’ve learnt. 

We believe pupils must be given time to fully understand, explore and apply mathematical concepts appropriate to their age. Learners need to thoroughly grasp a concept and then the challenge comes from using it and  investigating it in new, alternative and more complex ways.

We believe that a child’s ‘ability’ is neither fixed nor innate, but can be developed through high quality teaching and learning involving  practice and support for the development of  positive learning behaviours. This belief encourages a love of learning and resilience that enables everyone to achieve.

The way pupils talk and write about mathematics can transform their learning. We value mathematical talk across the school. We always ask pupils to explain the mathematics using correct mathematical language and encourage children to challenge ideas. This is key to building high quality reasoning skills.

Topic

St. Andrew’s is proud to offer a full and varied curriculum that caters for all children, regardless of their academic ability or background. The National Curriculum skills and expectations underpin everything that we do, but we believe that this is best delivered through a topic-based approach, thus breaking down the walls of constraint which can exist when subjects are taught discretely. Children are able to immerse themselves in exciting topics of study throughout the school which take into account their individual needs at all times. The topics are linked to the children’s interests and start with an engaging ‘hook’ to begin their learning. There are many cross curricular links made throughout each unit and over the course of the academic year, children will develop their skills and understanding in geography, history, DT, science, computing, art and PSHE. Each unit of work lasts for half a term and culminates in a class ‘Express Event’, where parents and family members are invited into school to share in their children’s learning.

Please refer to the Team Curriculum Focus section of the website for further details of our half termly curriculum for each year group.  

PE and Sport

Children across the school are now following the ‘REAL P.E.’ scheme. This scheme aims to improve the children’s gross motor skills and skill set in order for the children to be successful in any discipline. Over the duration of the year children also receive weekly PE sessions from Arsenal Soccer School coaches focusing on developing gross motor skills and skill sets. As part of the school’s commitment to enhancing teachers professional development, Arsenal Coaches provide regular CPD sessions to enhance teachers confidence and skill set.   Through partnership with our feeder secondary school the children have the opportunity to partake in an extensive competitive sports programme. We also offer a variety of after school clubs throughout the year that are aimed at keeping our children active.

Religious Education

In R.E. we focus on the ways in which we express our understanding and experiences in life.

Our aims are to :

  • encourage children to develop a sensitivity to spiritual and religious interpretation of human experience;
  • promote respect for the beliefs and values of others;
  • help the children to develop their own values and a sense of identity.

We follow the Devon approved R.E. curriculum. 

Science

 At St. Andrew’s we aim to excite children about Science and exploit  their curiosity around phenomena and events about the world around them. Through Science, pupils understand how major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving the quality of life.

Practical investigation has a central place in Science teaching. Through first-hand experience the children apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas.

We aim to offer all children a wide range of learning experiences, which stimulate curiosity, foster co-operation with others and give opportunities to develop scientific skills.

The Arts and Modern Foreign Languages 

We value the ‘Arts’ at St Andrew’s and the teaching of and access to high quality music, dance, art and drama are integral parts of our school curriculum.  A specialist Modern Foreign Language teacher provides weekly lessons to our Key Stage 2 children providing them with a flavour of different languages and cultures.

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education

We recognise that learning is not just about subjects and knowledge, but also about developing a child’s personal and social qualities. Our school’s aims and values are encouraged and modelled by staff, volunteers and visitors throughout the school day and beyond. In addition to the daily development of personal and social qualities, children are involved in regular PSHE sessions which are tailored to the needs of each class.

Promoting Fundamental British Values  

The school actively promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs. These values are exemplified in our curriculum, through collective worship and through our core values which determine how we lead our lies in school and how we prepare children for their role in society.

Learning Beyond the Classroom 

Outdoor learning is important to the children at St Andrew’s. Opportunities are given for our children to use our school grounds in their learning. We have an established school garden which boasts a wide variety of fruit and vegetable beds. All of our children enjoy 'Friends of the Earth' sessions, run by Mrs Lock. During these sessions children spend time in our outdoor spaces, participate in orienteering and outside games, and learn about nature, the natural world and fire safety around our fire-pit.

We also offer a variety of after school and lunchtime clubs for our all of our children to participate in. We value the importance that learning a musical instrument has on a child’s development and we provide children with an opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Currently there are 7 types of instruments for the children to choose from.