Our Curriculum

We believe that children should receive a broad, deep and balanced curriculum. When developing ours, we had to take account of the National Curriculum requirements, as well as, bearing in mind that it needed to be creative and inspiring for all learners. As a result, we teach all of the foundation subjects in a context (where possible) and each topic is rich in experiences, opportunities for educational visits, drama, art, music and P.E.

Every term, or sometimes half-term, there is a new topic for the children to learn about. The topic always begins with an educational visit. The reason for this is to excite and inspire the children, whilst providing a real experience where children can see, make, handle artefacts, gather information and take part in role-play, in order to learn and understand as much as possible. These visits also help the child with their understanding and will deepen and broaden their learning across the curriculum.

Every topic reaches its conclusion with a memorable event. This can take many forms including; setting up a museum; holding a banquet; supporting younger children in fitness activities – even staging a carnival – all designed to demonstrate the curriculum skills they have learned. These memorable events showcase the learning that has taken place and demonstrate to the children what they have learned. Where possible, we invite parents to join in the celebration of what their children have learned.

English and Maths

These areas are given high status in our curriculum in order to help learners to understand the skills they need and then to use and apply these in a variety of situations. This is embedded throughout our school’s curriculum. For the coverage within each year group please see the English objectives, which are available in the Curriculum Maps section.

Undoubtedly, these skills need to be worked on throughout the academic career of our pupils and it is important to us that they are successful and confident lifelong learners.

At Edmund Waller Primary School we follow the Primary Advantage maths curriculum, which ensures that this enthusiasm for the subject is matched with clear progression, challenge and meets the demands of the statutory Maths curriculum:

“The Primary Advantage programme aims to build a strong foundation for the acquisition of mathematics knowledge and skills in later years. Our curriculum emphasises conceptual understanding, skills proficiency, learning of process skills and focuses on mathematical problem-solving. The programme was developed by a group of teachers from Primary Advantage schools and is rooted in current research into best practice in mathematics teaching.” – Primary Advantage.

You can read about our maths curriculum here.

Reading

English is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. It is usually through English that concepts are formed and we make sense of the world and our place in it.

Children are taught to read in a variety of ways. Children read individually, with an adult, in groups during guided reading lessons and in whole class sessions; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. Reading focuses on the skills of comprehension and critical appreciation. We have a huge variety of written material and teachers use these regularly with the children e.g. fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. We believe in the importance of exposing children to whole texts at all ages. We have a home-school reading system which asks that children read aloud for at least ten minutes each day, with an adult with whom they can discuss their book.

Phonics

We place an emphasis on phonics in the early stages of learning to read because we believe phonics can lay the foundations for successful reading and writing. At Edmund Waller, we use the Department For Education’s ‘Letters and Sounds’ guidance to teach phonics. We always aim to make these lessons interactive and fun. Children remain with their class teacher for phonics learning and they provide the appropriate level of challenge for each attainment group. Children do not learn phonics in streamed groups but all children are given the opportunity to acquire new learning at an age-expected level or above. There is an emphasis on teaching sight words through interactive games and repetition of a text.
The teaching of phonics is systematic and begins in Reception (or Nursery for those children who attend our nursery) where sounds are introduced and consolidated throughout the year. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1 and the more complex sounds are introduced and reinforced throughout Year 2.

Phonics Screening

During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have any gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need support in Year 2 to develop reading and writing skills. The test is very low-key and the children are not aware that they are being tested. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report.

Additional individual and group tuition in phonics will be given to those children in year 1 and Year 2 who find reading difficult. Year 2 children who do not reach the required standard at the end of Year 1 are tested again in the summer term.