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Curriculum and Reading and Phonics

 

Curriculum Statement 2015

 

From September 2014 there is an expectation from the government for all mainstream primary schools to deliver the new National Curriculum.  This provided the school with an excellent opportunity to review and refresh our curriculum offered to the children in our school and to ensure that not only are the core skills and knowledge in English, Maths and Science covered, but also that the changes to the ICT curriculum, now known as Computing, are reflected as well as the Humanities and Arts. The staff have worked hard to re-create curriculum maps for each mixed age class from Yr1-6 to reflect these national changes and to develop a curriculum to suit the needs and interests of our pupils.   

At Chelmondiston School we aim to provide the children with a curriculum which is broad, well balanced and above all stimulates the children to learn. Through a positive and caring environment, we provide the opportunity for every child to reach their full potential. We embrace Christian values and ensure all children are ready for their next steps.

At Chelmondiston School we recognise the importance of English and Maths teaching in order to open up other areas of the curriculum and therefore we place a strong emphasis on the development of the basic skills necessary to be confident independent learners and successful adults. Children rapidly begin to read in our Reception class by following a structured phonics programme. All children engage in daily English and Mathematics lessons. In addition to these, teachers try to make as many cross curricular links as possible in order to utilise these skills in a range of contexts.

The planning of the curriculum is based around a rolling programme of topics to ensure coverage of selected topics by all children who progress through the school.  Where possible, teachers organise each term's learning under a theme, with a particular subject 'leading' this. They work hard to ensure the children make connections between and within subjects. This enables children to broaden their skills and knowledge simultaneously. The curriculum is planned thoroughly, starting with the children's current knowledge and skills, so that real progress is made.

The rolling programmes for both Key Stages makes use of our local environment. We also study other localities so that children gain an understanding of Britain as a diverse society. We continue to look for opportunities to develop links with other countries enhance the children’s understanding of their global community.  Whilst the core subjects are taught on a regular basis the foundation subjects may sometimes be taught as blocks of work over a matter of weeks.

This programme is regularly reviewed to make necessary improvements to the existing programme of work.

At Chelmondiston School we seek to create opportunities for children to experience and excel in a range of activities that enhance and extend the National Curriculum. Children have opportunities both inside and outside the classroom eg Forest Schools, Residential trips, a variety of sporting events, visits to and visiting theatre companies and art projects. We also offer a range of after school clubs.   There is now a great deal of emphasis in the use of ICT across the curriculum with a focus on ‘Computing’ and, in particular, computer skills to enhance the learning in all the subjects of the curriculum. Through the subject of ‘Computing’ we aim to teach a progressive set of skills that enable all the children to become competent and confident users of ICT.

We value the role of modern foreign languages in the curriculum and French is taught throughout the school from Year 1 to Year 6.  Children in Reception are also exposed to words, songs and greetings.

As a church school, the RE curriculum is very important. We follow the Suffolk Agreed Syllabus and work closely with the Diocese to ensure that our RE provision reflects current thinking both locally and at a national level.

Children develop a strong sense of moral purpose in addition to a respect and understanding of people who have different characteristics to themselves, whether that be age, disability, gender, race or sexuality. A well planned curriculum, delivered by exceptional staff in an ethos of care, love and support enables our pupils to be well rounded, empathetic young people who have a thirst for learning and respect for all around them. When children leave Chelmondiston School at the end of Year 6, they should be equipped with the full range of skills that enables them to become lifelong learners.

We believe that the school/parent relationship is key to promoting learning beyond the school gates and crucial in ensuring children make the best possible progress. We pride ourselves on our open, friendly and approachable nature that encourages parents to be involved in their children’s learning. Furthermore, we host regular consultation days and information events to inform parents about how they can support their child or even to allow them to work alongside their child.  We also hold half termly Parent Forums; each class has a parent representative who brings the views of parents to the attention of the Headteacher and means we can tailor the content of each forum to the requirements of the parents.  This enables parents to be better informed of not only what we teach but how we teach and how they can support their children at home. 

We acknowledge that people learn in many different ways and we recognise the need to develop strategies that allow all children to learn in ways that suit them.  Opportunities are planned to cater for a range of different learning styles to ensure that all children despite their prior abilities, can access the curriculum and learn in a way that is best for them.  Children are also offered a choice of challenges to enable them to take some ownership of their learning; each of the Learning Objectives (goals or intentions) has a set of differentiated colour coded Success Criteria which enables the pupils to choose their own level of difficulty.  Throughout the activity children are encouraged to strive for the more difficult challenges.

 

 The curriculum at Chelmondiston Church of England Primary School aims to:

·      Inspire children to be aspirational, develop inquisitive minds, a spirit of curiosity,  a passion for learning and provide them with the skills and knowledge that they need to achieve their goals and develop their talents.

  • Provide children with exciting learning opportunities which allow them to apply their skills, show independence, communicate effectively and become creative problem solvers ready to fully participate in an ever changing world.

·      Embed skills that prepare children for further learning and successful adulthood.

·      Provide opportunities for spiritual and moral development to create emotionally literate children who value people whatever their race, religion, culture or ability.

·      Develop children to become reflective learners with high expectations and self-belief who have a sense of responsibility for their own learning and development to enable them to fulfil their potential.

  • Build confidence and motivation within our children and the have the courage and confidence to take calculated risks.

·      Enable children to use their acquired skills and knowledge in a broad range of contexts.

  • Uphold the Christian ethos of the school whilst respecting  their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people.

This is the philosophy of how we work and learn. These aims underpin all of the learning that takes place in our school.

 

National curriculum and assessment from September 2014: information for schools:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/347985/National_curriculum_and_assessment_from_September_2014.pdf
 
 
As well as delivering the
new National Curriculum, all schools have had to re-organise the way they measure children’s progress, as the ‘levels’ teachers histocially used to assess, have been removed by the government.

At Chelmondiston School we use a software programme called ‘Target Tracker’ to monitor the progress of our pupils.  Teachers make individual assessment judgements for each child against the National Curriculum attainment targets. Teacher's regularly update these judgements based on learning seen in the classroom.  

 

Varying levels of assessment tasks such as ‘Cold and Hot tasks’ are implemented to inform teacher’s planning and assessment, as well as standardised assessment materials to help professionals make judgements about children's ability falling within the governments'age related expectations'.  At Chelmondiston School we use Headstart Primary Maths Assessment Tests and Rising Stars Progress Tests as part of our half termly assessment cycle.

 

Teachers make a summative assessment judgement each half term which is shared with parents termly at parent consultation days.  As well as pupils in school achievements, teachers and parents also discuss ways to support their child at home and at school. The pupils also attend this meeting and contribute their views towards their next step targets.

 

Children’s progress along a numerical Target Tracker scale is analysed half termy by the Senoir Leadership Team.  This summative assessment, plus many styles of reports (with various pupil filters) in the Target Tracker software ensures that we can track individual pupils and groups of pupils to close the gap. Regular half termly assessments and deep analysis means that children who are not making expected progress are quickly identified and intervention can be swiftly put in place. 

 

Teachers plan their lessons based on Gaps Anaysis data from Target Tracker, this shows how many children are working towards/achieved/mastered each National Curriulum attainment target, therefore supporting teachers to know where to focus children’s next steps and future learning.

 

Governors have their own access to Target Tracker school data, where they can view pupil percentages and filter groups to pose challenging questions to the Senior Leadership Team.

 

Children’s progress through our structured phonics programme is also monitored half termly. Pupil’s complete a phonics/blending assessment which is then used to re-organise phonics groups across KS1 and inform future planning for those children.

Pupil progress meetings are held every term within staff meetings to discuss all pupils. Children’s learning behaviours are indentified and any children who require extra intervention are highlighted. Ideas are shared across the professional group and decisions made with the individual child in mind. 

 

 

 

Reading and Phonics

 

Read Write Inc.:  A Programme for the Teaching of Phonics in the Foundation Stage and KS1

 

In the Foundation Stage and KS1, the teaching of phonics and early reading and writing is built upon the programme and principles of Read Write Inc.  Read Write Inc. was developed by Ruth Miskin (one of the UK’s leading authorities on the teaching of reading) to provide a structured and systematic approach to literacy learning and teaching.  It is designed ‘to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.’  

 

Read Write Inc. is a phonic-based approach to teaching reading.  It involves children learning to read sounds and how to blend these sounds together to read words.  While at the same time, learning how to represent these sounds using the correct graphemes and letter formation (shape, size and orientation) for writing.   Read Write Inc. is widely used in UK schools (a quarter of all schools use this programme) and it is recognised as a successful reading programme.  It enables every child to become a confident and fluent reader at the first attempt, as it aims to teach children to read at a pace that they are ready for and comfortable with. 

 

The programme is carefully structured to introduce the 44 sounds (speed sounds) systematically.  These are the letter sounds, not the letter names

The speed sounds are divided into small groups.  Once your child has learnt all of the sounds in one group, they can apply these sounds to sound blending.  During Read Write Inc. lessons, children are only asked to read books that contain words built from the sounds that they have been taught – resulting in reading success and confidence at every turn.  As the children learn to read each set of sounds confidently and fluently, they are introduced to more ways of spelling those sounds and they are then able to read books containing a greater variety of words from the English language. 

 

Aside from the Green Words that can be sounded out (explained above), the children are also introduced to sets of Red Words that cannot be sounded out and must therefore be learnt by sight.  Learning these Green Words and Red Words in tandem, allows children to read a growing number of words and books, building confidence, fluency and enjoyment for reading. 

 

Read Write Inc. Spelling

 

From Year 2 through to Year 6, the children follow the Read, Write Inc. Spelling programme, which builds upon the solid foundation of Read Write Inc. phonics that is introduced in the Foundation Stage and KS1.  Through this programme, the children learn the full range of spelling patterns, introduced in line with the sequence stipulated by the National Curriculum (2014).  The programme also includes online, interactive resources that are appealing and age-appropriate.  With a daily burst of 15 minutes, the children are enabled to develop and consolidate their skills systematically and consistently.  This is supported by specially chosen sets of weekly spellings, which enable children to demonstrate their growing knowledge of the spelling rules of the English Language.

 

Reading Books to Share at Home

 

In the Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils are issued with a reading book to take home and share with an adult, these books are chosen from a variety of scheme books that the children may choose from, this ensures the pupils are provided with a variety of choice at parallel levels.   Once pupils have mastered a sufficient reading ability,  they move onto the Accelerated Reader programme described below.   Pupils are also introduced to an extensive selection of children's literature from a variety of authors.   All children are given the opportunity to read daily, whether independently, with an adult or during whole class English lessons.  In addition to this, teachers deliver Guided Reading sessions during which a range of reading comprehension skills are taught.  Reading comprehension skills are also taught through daily English lessons and within these lessons pupils read a variety of text types, including texts written by significant authors.  Through a carefully planned combination of whole-class reading experiences, small group reading sessions and independent sustained reading, children are enabled to develop a wide range of comprehension and reading skills.  

 

 

Accelerated Reader

 

As pupils become more competent and fluent readers, they are able to access the Accelerated Reader programme. Children are assessed, using the STAR reading test, to gauge which level of books they should read. Pupils are then issued with books at the appropriate level. When they have read the book they take a quiz on the computer to judge their understanding, or comprehension of the book. As pupils improve and read towards the upper end of their range they are re-assessed and they are able to choose books from a more difficult range.  Pupils are rewarded for receiving 100% in their quizzes and for the number of words read over a term. 

 

How will I know if a book has an Accelerated Reader quiz?

 

To know which quizzes are on Accelerated Reader (AR), visit the AR BookFinder website: www.arbookfind.co.uk. Here you can conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes.

Please bear in mind that just because a child can read the words in a book this does not mean the content is appropriate. The interest level of the material must be considered. Interest level is based on content- a book’s themes and ideas- and indicates for which age group a book is appropriate. The chart below shows which ages fall into each interest level.

 

Interest Level

Year Level

LY- Lower Years

Ages 5-8

MY- Middle Years

Ages 9-13

UY- Upper Years

Ages 14 and above

These are recommendations. It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to use their best judgement when guiding children to appropriate books.

In most cases, a book’s interest level co-ordinates with its book level. Many books, however, have a low book level but are appropriate for upper years and vice versa. For example, both Oscar, Cat-About-Town by James Herriot and Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman have a book level of 4.0 since both books have short sentences and vocabulary that is simple.  Noughts & Crosses is intended for older pupils; therefore, it is tagged as Upper Years, while Oscar, Cat-About-Town is tagged as Lower Years.

If your child independently reads a book at home, (a book not provided by the school), and the book is on the Accelerated Reader system, your child will be able to take a comprehension quiz at school based on that book.  Your child will need to have the home book with them in school when they take the quiz, to ensure that the quiz offered is based on the same edition of the book. 

 

As pupils become more competent in their reading they are able to access the Accelerated Reader programme. Children are assessed to gauge which level of books they should read. Pupils are then issued with books at the appropriate level. When they have read the book they take a quiz on the computer to judge their understanding, or comprehension of the book. As pupils improve and read towards the upper end of their range they are re-assessed and they are able to choose books from a more difficult range.

 

How will I know if a book has an Accelerated Reader quiz?

 

To know which quizzes are on Accelerated Reader (AR), visit the AR BookFinder website: www.arbookfind.co.uk. Here you can conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes.

Please bear in mind that just because a child can read the words in a book this does not mean the content is appropriate. The interest level of the material must be considered. Interest level is based on content- a book’s themes and ideas- and indicates for which age group a book is appropriate. The chart below shows which ages fall into each interest level.

 

Interest Level

Year Level

LY- Lower Years

Ages 5-8

MY- Middle Years

Ages 9-13

UY- Upper Years

Ages 14 and above

These are recommendations. It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to use their best judgement when guiding children to appropriate books.

In most cases, a book’s interest level co-ordinates with its book level. Many books, however, have a low book level but are appropriate for upper years and vice versa. For example, both Oscar, Cat-About-Town by James Herriot and Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman have a book level of 4.0 since both books have short sentences and vocabulary that is simple.  Noughts & Crosses is intended for older pupils; therefore, it is tagged as Upper Years, while Oscar, Cat-About-Town is tagged as Lower Years.

If your child independently reads a book at home, (a book not provided by the school), and the book is on the Accelerated Reader system, your child will be able to take a comprehension quiz at school based on that book.  Your child will need to have the home book with them in school when they take the quiz, to ensure that the quiz offered is based on the same edition of the book. 

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