Parents Guide to the National Curriculum
Our Curriculum Explained
Everyone at Wootey Junior School is very proud of our school. Our key aim is for all our children to develop a positive and dedicated attitude to their learning where they strive to improve on their personal best. We are always ambitious for the children and this is reflected in our vision, which uses the phrase ‘Always seek the challenge’. We are committed to developing a school community that is driven to continuously develop and improve.
The school’s vision statement defines the school’s values under three key words. These are: Nurture, Challenge and Innovation.
Our caring and skilled staff offer an inclusive education for all the children. We aim to nurture them to be independent, responsible and resilient. We also want our children to extend friendship, respect and kindness to all who they meet. The school’s strong behaviour policy and simple golden rules of ‘Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Respectful’ help us to achieve this. The school also actively seeks to nurture children’s healthy lifestyles, interest in sport and awareness of safety in our modern world.
Everyone at the school works hard to ensure that all the children are challenged to have the skills needed to read, write, calculate with numbers and to use computer technology. We want to develop our children to consistently aspire to improve and to be committed, productive and willing to try new experiences when they learn.
In the 21st Century we believe that the most successful learners will be those who are innovative and flexible in their approach to learning. At Wootey we want to develop enquiring children who are confident to investigate and design solutions. These children will also be collaborative and effective communicators. We are eager to develop these skills through opportunities for our children to be creative and expressive in subjects such as art, dance, music and theatre.
Wootey Juniors is alive with excitement and enthusiastic learners. There is a great atmosphere of hard work and energy for learning each day. We hope that our values are evident in all that we do and aspire to achieve.
What We Learn In School
Our School Curriculum follows all the requirements of the National Curriculum but we are proud to offer a much broader curriculum than that, making the most of many varied opportunities to broaden and enrich the curriculum for our children. Our school curriculum is driven by our core values and we aim for all our children to develop the qualities and capacities detailed in our vision statement.
The National Curriculum provides the school with the outline of knowledge, skills and understanding that we are required to cover in school. We choose to teach much of this through creative, cross-curricular themes where children learn different strands of the curriculum from a range of subjects, all within one common theme for a term. These themes are taught through key questions that provide the basis for the children to explore different concepts, knowledge and skills. The children are also encouraged to generate their own learning questions that may be explored and answered through their studies. Our curriculum theme titles are shown in the table below.
In addition to delivering the statutory national curriculum we have a strong wider curriculum, and actively promote school sport and music as two of our focus areas. We offer a wide range of sporting opportunities. For a small school, most children get some opportunity to participate in competitive sport at some point, and some of our teams have proved to be very successful. In 2016, we were awarded the Sainsburys Games Gold Kite-mark for our games and sports provision.
We also offer a good range of musical opportunities. Our children are taught to sing each week in a dedicated singing assembly. The school choir and singing is increasingly a key part of school life. The school also has strong links with Hampshire Music and our local secondary school music departments.
Great importance is attached to enabling our children to become fluent readers. In Year 3 children who are not yet fluent readers receive additional phonics teaching. The children are assessed on entry using WRAPS and where gaps are identified children are taught using the Direct Phonics programme. Key words are systematically tracked in children’s reading journals.
Reading comprehension skills are taught widely and children receive focused tuition in guided reading sessions each week. The Rapid Reading programme is used to support the progress of less confident readers. All the children are required to read independently on a regular basis. Their progress, as independent readers, is tracked through personal reading journals and celebrated each week in assembly.
When children are confident and fluent they are encouraged to use the library regularly to change their books. The school provides a variety of incentives and competitions throughout the year to celebrate children’s reading achievement.
Children are taught to write in a variety of styles including prose, poetry and reporting, and to suit different purposes and audiences. The purpose and audience for children’s writing is central to our English program of study. There is an emphasis on children publishing their work for someone to read. As a child progresses, an increasing emphasis is placed on the correct use of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Spelling and grammar knowledge is taught in discrete sessions each week and children are encouraged to apply taught spelling and grammar rules whenever they write. A whole school policy for handwriting is aimed at children progressing towards a cursive style and being able to write smoothly, legibly and neatly.
Speaking, listening and performing skills are promoted throughout the school through storytelling, discussion groups, drama lessons, and role play. Such opportunities, as well as whole school assemblies, provide a valuable means of building confidence and developing the ability to listen to, and appreciate the efforts of others.
The school aims to give all children a thorough understanding of number, geometry, measurement, statistics and algebra. A strong emphasis is placed on investigative and problem solving activities to achieve this. Individual mathematical concepts are taught in an extended series of lessons that aim to deepen and embed children’s understanding through a range of representations and routines. Children are taught to reason mathematically using appropriate vocabulary. Mathematical language is taught explicitly.
The ability for children to know and manipulate age appropriate number facts is a key focus of our Mathematics teaching. Daily mental recall and memorisation sessions are delivered to ensure that children secure and retain number facts such as times tables. Children also regularly play mental mathematics agility games in class and online programs such as ‘Sumdog’ to achieve this.