At Latchingdon we teach our curriculum through a thematic approach where possible, because children find this more interesting and we can capture their enthusiasm to develop subject specific skills in a purposeful way. Children are also able to see the connections between the different subject areas.
We believe that children should develop independence and the ability to take responsibility for their own learning. We support our children in becoming ‘aspirational’ – aiming high – in order to make the most of their learning opportunities.
Children learn best when:
- The whole team works and collaborates effectively
- Their learning is well planned and differentiated, with tasks well matched to abilities, interests and learning style. Work is differentiated and groups and individual children are given additional support when needed.
- They clearly understand the purpose, context and content of what is being taught.
- Their learning is evaluated and assessed and they are clear about what they need to do to make further progress.
- They are happy and secure in school, feel valued for their efforts and their individuality.
- They are supported by their peers and work as part of a learning community.
- Their learning is supported at home and there is strong communication between home and school.
- Their learning environment is purposeful, well organised, varied and inspiring.
- They have a positive and confident attitude towards learning and feel involved, inspired and motivated.
- Their physical, spiritual, moral, cultural, social and emotional needs are understood and valued.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening skills are developed as an integral part of our learning in all subjects. Through our topic work we ensure that children’s vocabulary is developed. Use of talk partners enables children to practice talk and dialogue for learning. We use drama to explore different types of talk and we are introducing ‘Talk for Writing’ which involves children in learning and retelling stories.
Reading in school starts with a phonic based approach to learning to read. Our Reception children enjoy learning the corresponding sound (or phoneme) for each letter through rhymes, songs and actions. This approach is supplemented by the use of ‘Letters and Sounds’ so that children have a secure knowledge of all their sounds for reading in years 1 and 2. Reading books are carefully banded with reading based on texts at an appropriate level for the child’s decoding skills. Reading comprehension also starts from the very beginning with guided reading sessions to explore understanding.
Once children have learned to reliably decode print, guided group reading continues
throughout Key stage 2 to explore the skills of:
- Skimming and scanning texts to find information
- An appreciation of themes.
- A deeper level of understanding using inference and deduction
We encourage a love of reading through the reading of stories regularly in class as well as a daily quiet or shared reading time. Children are able to select a wide variety of books and upper KS2 use the Library Bus regularly. Children are also encouraged to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at the local library.
In the earliest stages children are encouraged to breakdown the sounds they hear in words and use their phonic skills to write them as part of their daily phonics sessions.
They are taught correct letter formation using the cursive style and are encouraged to have-a-go at writing in a variety of ‘play’ settings as well as in guided groups with the teacher.
We use class topic work as a focus for reading and writing activities. Our children enjoy writing and the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach will give children plenty of oral rehearsal before writing so that they feel confident and clear about the content of their writing before they start.
We ensure that children have a variety of purposes and contexts for their writing, including Newspaper reports, letters, diaries, reports, biographies, instructions, persuasion, discussion and recounts.
In addition, children are also taught grammar and punctuation for 15 minutes daily.
Spelling skills and strategies are taught weekly and parents are asked to help children with learning spellings at home as part of homework.
Our core teaching in Mathematics follows the Abacus Evolve scheme published by Pearson. Using a scheme ensures a structured progression of maths skills with a consistent approach from year 1 to year 6. The published scheme includes active problem solving as well as book-work and our teachers supplement the scheme with a variety of activities and resources which make the maths learning more lively and connect it with real life experiences.
We place a strong emphasis on the learning of key maths facts (addition and subtraction of numbers to 20, and multiplication facts to 10 x 10) and we ask parents to help with homework practice to ensure that children have instant recall of these facts which they will need for more advanced problem solving.
We have a two year rolling programme to ensure continuity and progression in our science teaching from year 1 to year 6 and to make sure children in mixed year groups cover all units of study. Children enjoy learning the skills of being a scientist through planning, carrying out and evaluating regular investigations as well as learning about the important science concepts and knowledge.
We have chosen to use the ICTinspires Computing Curriculum because it ensures Computing is integrated into all subjects across the curriculum to enhance all learning. The ICTinspires Computing Curriculum provides clear progression in skills from EYFS to Y6 and covers:
- Digital Skills
- Digital Literacy
- Technology in the World
- Technical Understanding
History and Geography
These subjects are taught through a different topic each half-term. We take the children on educational visits and organise speakers and workshops to make these as interesting as possible. We also plan whole school themed weeks during the year which often focus on a particular country.
We follow the Essex agreed syllabus for RE which ensures a rich mix of learning about Christianity and other World Religions through themes. Through Collective Worship we also teach children about special days and festivals celebrated by Christians and other faiths.
Person, Social, Moral and Health Education
We aim to enable our pupils to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. We encourage them to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community which develops their sense of self- worth. Pupils learn how society is organised and governed. We ensure that they experience the process of democracy in school through the school council and that they learn about rights and responsibilities. They also learn to appreciate what it can mean to be a positive member of a multicultural society.
Emphasis is placed on active learning by involving the pupils in discussions, investigations and problem-solving activities. Pupils are encouraged to take part in a range of activities, e.g. charity fundraising or the planning of special events such as an assembly. Pupils participate in discussion to resolve conflicts and set agreed classroom rules of behaviour. Opportunities are provided for pupils to hear visiting speakers, such as health worker, police, representatives from charities and the local church talking about their role in creating a positive and supportive local community.
Sex Education and Drugs Education are taught within the Science scheme of work. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education if they so wish. We are always happy to discuss and share with parents the materials we use for this area of the curriculum and parents are notified in advance when this topic is due to be taught.
Collective Worship is based on the Values for Life scheme produced by the Diocese of Gloucester, and is followed up in classroom with links to other subjects where possible.
Weekly music sessions develop children’s sense of rhythm, timing and pitch through listening and composition activities based on the ‘Music Express’ scheme of work and ‘Charanga’ produced by Essex Music Services.
We have a wide variety of instruments in school and a peripatetic teacher offers individual lessons in guitar, piano, keyboard and violin which are popular. He also teaches groups of children keyboard, hand-chimes and singing and leads whole school singing practice.
Art is based on our cross-curricular themes and planning ensures that the skills to be taught are covered each year through these themes. We make sure that children have the opportunity to experiment with different materials and techniques.
Our design Technology curriculum is linked to our topic themes and science work. Children are able to be creative whilst developing their skills in designing, making and evaluating products. By the time pupils leave school we want them to be able to make informed choices about products that they use, to analyse, investigate and make judgements about simple products.
Modern Foreign Languages
In KS2, children learn French using the Rigolo programme which is interactive and fun. Children develop their knowledge of the language through different activities such as games, songs and rhymes.
All classes have two hours of PE each week. In addition to lessons taught by class teachers, we employ an experienced sports coach for one day per week to provide lessons for all classes and an early morning club for KS2. The school takes part in activities and tournaments with other local schools, including football, tag rugby, country dancing, cricket and cross country.
After school clubs in variety of sports, dance and athletics are run at different times of the year.