We follow the guidance and framework of the 2014 National Curriculum and the Early Years Statutory Framework, organised into topics which also reflect the needs and interest of our children. The Class Pages show how these topics include all the relevant subjects and how they are constructed to maximise learning opportunities and links between them.
The development of English is fundamental in all areas of the curriculum and therefore is given high priority. The four language modes: speaking and listening, reading and writing (including spelling and handwriting), are interdependent. The purpose of language is communication; therefore we teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
Speaking and Listening
Spoken language underpins the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak. It is vital for developing children’s vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. As a school, we ensure the continual development of children's confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Children are given opportunities for exploring their thinking skills through discussion, debate, drama and role play. In order to do this, the basic skills have to be mastered and the opportunities to develop these skills, must be consistent, progressive and well balanced in line with the National Curriculum.
Reading is the most vital skill learnt in the early years of school. Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. There are two strands of reading; being able to read words and being able to understand the meaning of words and sentences. We aim to teach children to become fluent independent readers and to develop a love of literature and books. We understand and recognise that pupils will develop at a different rate therefore strategies and approaches are adapted to meet the needs of each child. Our phonics approach is based on the most effective ways that children learn to read and write. Emphasis is also put on children learning the high frequency words to support their reading and writing.
We use various reading schemes and use a colour code system whereby all children can be matched with text appropriate to their reading age level. The school has a well-stocked library from which children choose a book each week. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in the process of reading with their children and books are regularly taken home to be enjoyed together.
We aim to make children competent, confident writers, to enable them to use the written word to communicate effectively. Opportunities for fiction and non-fiction writing occur throughout the curriculum, as well as specific English lessons and the children are taught the many different genres, for example: lists, stories, diaries, dialogues and accounts. In this way they begin to understand that writing takes different forms for different purposes. We actively seek to provide opportunities for outside visitors to visit our school to stimulate and enthuse our learners in the writing process.
Handwriting is taught as a single lesson in our curriculum to develop the correct formation of letters. In later years, children are encouraged to join their letters together. Although handwriting is taught separately, children are expected to use fluent and legible handwriting in every lesson.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Children follow our structured phonics scheme from entering school in Reception. This scheme teaches children to blend, segment and manipulate sounds in words independently. There are many different spelling strategies that we teach children to help them to decode spellings effectively. Spellings are also used to enhance children’s vocabulary and the children are encouraged to use these newly found words in their everyday writing. Each week children are given weekly spellings to learn at home and to investigate spelling rules.
There is also a focus on grammatical structures and punctuation. We encourage children to edit and improve their writing, focusing on their spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Our aim is that children will become fluent in the essential elements of mathematics, following the 2014 National Curriculum. This will be achieved through varied and regular opportunities for children to engage with progressively more complex problems over time. The result is that children will develop a deep conceptual understanding and be able to recall and apply their knowledge quickly and efficiently.
Mathematical development begins initially through daily play and practical activities in Reception which then advances into a daily maths lesson through Year One to Six.
Children are encouraged to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, developing their ability to test out their solutions and explain their thinking, using an increasing bank of mathematical language. This is achieved using a variety of teaching methods including whole class, group, paired and individual work. Children learn how to make logical deductions, solve problems and undertake mathematical investigations so that they can apply their skills in problem solving situations. The children are encouraged to discuss their work and are taught to record clearly and systematically. Children work practically using resources to help them build a concrete experience of a concept or process, before being given support to record their thinking in a more formal way. Opportunities to use technology in both teaching and learning are sought and cross curricular links are made wherever possible.
In Science, the children experience the foundations of the scientific disciplines: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They are encouraged to explore the world around them; making observations to predict what might happen and draw conclusions based upon what they have discovered.
In Key Stage One, pupils observe, explore and ask questions about living things, materials and physical phenomena. They begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and link this to simple scientific ideas. They begin to evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. They use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas. They share ideas and communicate them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables with the help of technology if it is appropriate.
After building the foundations of scientific enquiry in Key Stage One, pupils can broaden their scientific view of the world around them.
In Key Stage Two, pupils learn about a wider range of living things, materials and physical phenomena. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday things and their personal health. They think about the effects of scientific and technical developments on the environment and in other contexts. They carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They use a range of reference sources in their work. They talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific vocabulary, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs to communicate their ideas.
All children have regular opportunities for a variety of physical activities which form an integral part of the timetable. We expect all children to participate in PE sessions and staff work hard to make any necessary adjustments to include all pupils in their care.
In Reception, the children gradually progress and develop skills throughout the year to enable them to apply these skills to game situations by the end of Reception.
Children in Years One to Six follow a balanced and varied programme which utilises the hall, the field (weather permitting) and the school’s outdoor heated swimming pool. They have the opportunity to learn gymnastics, dance, kwik cricket, tag rugby, hockey, basketball, football, rounders and athletics as well as a range of invasion games. We employ experienced and qualified staff to develop key skills and confidence for all.
The school aims to involve all children in sport and to promote a healthy attitude to life and physical exercise. There is an annual sports day in the Summer term and we regularly participate in local and inter-school sporting events throughout the year. We have a range of sporting clubs available for children to attend throughout the year, led by members of staff which are well attended. In addition to regular PE lessons, we encourage physical activity on a daily basis. At lunchtime children have opportunities for exercise through the use of play equipment and we provide many opportunities for games such as football and hockey to be played during lunchtimes. We actively encourage all pupils to represent the school in at least one sport during their time at school.
All children take part in music lessons as part of the curriculum. They are taught to sing, to play simple percussion instruments and compose music. We use the Charanga music scheme and other resources to enhance this area of the curriculum. Children are taught to appreciate and evaluate music and singing forms part of our weekly assemblies.
Some children are able to learn to play the recorder or the ukulele during class lessons and a peripatetic piano teacher visits weekly to provide individual lessons. The school has a well-attended choir who regularly perform to the community and in our church services, often along with the local adult community choir.
Computing is an ever-changing subject and we are developing our provision all the time; adding both hardware and software to our systems. Children have an opportunity to use technology, not only to support the curriculum, but as a tool for learning.
Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology safely to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate, knowing how to stay safe online and express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active, responsible participants in a digital world.
All our classrooms have computers that are connected to the internet and we have a two portable ‘banks’ of laptops for our children to use in order to support their learning. There is a variety of other technology equipment including digital cameras, video cameras and Beebots. In addition, interactive 'Clevertouch' boards have also been installed in all classrooms allowing children to physically interact with technology.
Within the Reception Class, children are introduced to historical enquiry by incorporating their understanding of other subject areas and how these can be applied to the passage of time.
In Key Stage One, learning is focused on changes within living memory and goes on to consider changes that have happened beyond the children’s living memory. They begin to develop an understanding that significant people in history have changed our lives today. Children also learn about the history of their locality including events, people and places.
At Key Stage Two, the children continue to develop a sense of chronology while studying various periods of history including the Stone Age, Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire and additional themes in British history beyond 1066. Children build on previous years of learning about the history of the local community and deepen their understanding by considering periods in history that have shaped the locality.
Learning Geography in Reception is closely linked to other subject areas through an overarching topic. Children are encouraged to think about their immediate community, local area and the people within it.
In Key Stage One, children begin to learn about seasonal changes, local and global climates and how these affect the people and animals that live within them. Children develop their observational skills and are encouraged to use simple fieldwork to study the school and school grounds, plus the surrounding environment. Children begin to compare contrasting areas in the UK and abroad.
At Key Stage Two, work is designed to provide a growing awareness of geographical facts and the development of concepts. Learning is focused on global communities and natural events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. By the time children reach Year 6, they are able to apply their previous learning to specific geographical studies, including cities and rivers around the world and confidently use atlases, globes and technology to locate countries, describe their features and support their geographical enquiries.
Art and Design
We consider that creativity is a way of thinking which involves the ability to see things in new ways and to make something unique and individual. Creativity is fundamental to successful learning. Children are taught skills that will enable them to become adept in drawing, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques. Children will also learn about artists, crafts people and designers, throughout history and study the art form and its cultural development. Alongside this, they will learn to evaluate and analyse works of art including their own and those of their peers.
Design and Technology
Design and technology forms an important part of children’s learning where they must use their creativity and imagination to design and make products. They follow the design process; identifying need, designing, planning, making and evaluating across a variety of situations. The children work with various materials, including food, textiles, wood and pliable materials. The children learn about peparing meals to help maintain a healthy and varied diet. As the children progress through the school, they cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques.
Design technology draws upon other curriculum areas: mathematics, science, computing and art. Pupils are challenged to solve technological problems and understand the importance of design and technology on our daily life and the world around us.
At Steeple Morden we are proud of our exciting and innovative approach to language teaching, which we have developed in consultation with our colleagues at local secondary schools. We teach languages throughout the school with all children focussing on the basics such as greetings, colours, numbers, and basic classroom language. Each class in Key Stages One and Two, has its own distinct language to learn, and country to focus on. Children learn about some of the customs and celebrations, which take place in their chosen country; older children also learn key historic or geographic information. All of our languages are taught through songs and games.
As the children progress through the school, they will have experienced a range of different languages. The intention is that they will grow to understand how languages work and some of the similarities and differences between them. They will also increase their knowledge of the world and communities around them. And most of all – we hope they will enjoy themselves.
Starling / Reception children will learn relevant words or phrases associated with their topics
Robin / Year 1 British Sign Language
Owl / Year 2 Spanish
Peacock / Year 3 French
Swift / Year 4 Mandarin
Heron / Year 5 Italian
Puffin / Year 6 German
The Education Reform Act 1988 requires that there is a daily act of collective worship provided for each child and collective worship forms part of daily assembly. This may be through the sharing of Bible stories or in asking children to be reflective about events they may have seen or been involved in.
Religious Education and Assembly / Collective Worship are not only devoted to the teaching of Christianity but are concerned with laying foundations for the development of religious understanding and providing a context for spiritual and moral development. Parents are entitled to arrange for children to be withdrawn from Collective Worship or Religious Education or both in which case they should contact the Headteacher.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)
We believe that much of what takes place in school contributes to the personal, social and emotional development of the children. Children are encouraged to be responsible for themselves at an early age, with appropriate support from parents and staff.
Sometimes there are specific lessons and occasions when children are taught about their own development in all aspects of life. We have a scheme of work which covers all aspects of PSHCE taught alongside the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Education) programme. We celebrate children’s achievements in weekly assemblies and encourage children to identify positive attitudes and values in themselves and in others. We aim to answer children’s questions in this area with an appropriate balance of honesty and sensitivity. Human and animal life cycles are studied in science and human development is also studied in PSHCE. Personal, Social and Health Education is incorporated in a cross-curricular approach, taking into account the ages, abilities, experience and family backgrounds of our pupils.