Depth Before Breadth and More Time for Learning
Our first priority at Ark Globe Academy Primary is that we build a foundation in literacy and numeracy, as this provides a gateway to all other learning. Mastery in core skills is essential. Our school day is heavily weighted to the teaching of the core subjects and the expectation is that no time is wasted in any given day.
The Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage makes a crucial contribution to children’s early development and learning. It is the time when the groundwork for each child’s learning is established and a time to develop many early skills.
We provide children with a rich variety of teaching and learning experiences that are appropriate to their needs. The Foundation Stage is about developing key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentrating, persistence and learning to work and co-operate with others.
There are seven areas of learning that make up the Foundation Stage Curriculum:
Three Prime Areas ·
- Communication and Language – children develop skills and confidence in speaking and listening in a range of situations.
- Physical Development – children develop their co-ordination, control, and movement through being active.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development – within clear boundaries children form positive relationships, develop social skills and respect for others and understand appropriate behaviour.
Four Specific Areas
English – through the daily phonics lesson (Read, Write Inc.) children link sounds and letters and begin to read and write. In addition there is a daily literacy lesson and planned opportunities for guided reading. Fine motor skills development and handwriting are also formally taught and practised.
Mathematics – through the daily maths lesson (Maths Mastery), this includes short chunks of whole class teaching and focused maths experiences and maths meetings which include conversations about number, ‘everyday’ maths and oral rehearsal of number sequences and patterns.
Understanding the World – finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design – exploring a wide range of media and sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Children in the Foundation Stage need to experience things in a wide variety of contexts and as such, the outdoor learning environment is a large part of the curriculum. Activities across all areas are planned for to allow children the opportunity to develop holistically and grow as individuals.
Every child has the opportunity to experience situations first-hand through a mix of both play and structured activities. All adults involved in the children’s learning keep records on the children’s experiences and this feeds into all assessments. These records are kept in learning journals and show the children’s progress over the year.
We encourage reading, communication, and mathematical skills from the very beginning. Reading is taught through a structured phonics scheme (RWInc.) supplemented with a wide range of other books. We encourage parents to work with their children at home by listening to them read on a daily basis and recording thoughts in their reading record.
We are always pleased to discuss ways in which parents can help their child at each stage of their development.
Key Stages 1 and 2
THE CORE CURRICULUM AT KEY STAGES 1 AND 2 COMPRISES:
Children also study the subjects below as part of the National Curriculum. These are called foundation subjects.
- Art and Design
- Design Technology (DT)
- Modern Foreign Languages
- Physical Education
Children are also taught Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHC) and Religious Education. (RE)
At Ark Globe Academy Primary we have a strong focus on both Literacy and Numeracy in the curriculum to provide children with the skills necessary to access all areas of learning. In Literacy, we focus on Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening.
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1 (Ages 3-7), all children learn to read and write using a phonics programme called Read Write Inc. This programme is based on synthetic phonics. Children are taught combinations of letters and their sounds and use these to decode and blend words. In addition to this, children receive daily literacy lessons to develop their reading and writing skills further.
In Key Stage 2 (Ages 8-11), children’s reading skills are developed through a comprehension scheme called Cracking Comprehension as well as through their daily literacy lessons. Throughout key stage 2, spelling is taught through a structured programme called Get Spelling. Writing is taught through a daily Literacy lesson where pupils are able to access rich texts to add interest and bring learning to life. All children are regularly assessed to ensure progress and meaningful targets are set.
At Ark Globe Academy Primary our Maths curriculum is delivered through the Mathematics Mastery programme in Reception, Year 1, 2 and 3 and ‘Maths in Focus’ in Years 4 – 5. Pupils in Year 6 follow the National Curriculum maths to support them in achieving their best in the end of year assessments.
All Ark schools specialise in mathematics and we invest in attracting and training the best mathematics teachers. Children have daily maths lessons and five maths meetings per week.
We believe that children from all backgrounds can succeed in mathematics. Our focus is on raising standards – working together to show what pupils are capable of and finding effective ways to enable every child to succeed.
The key features of the approach have been demonstrated by education research to be most effective for pupils’ understanding of mathematics. They draw significantly on the curriculum and pedagogy of the highest performers in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science study (TIMSS).
They are also the tried and tested approaches used by the best teachers, departments and schools in the UK. What is special about Mathematics Mastery is that it brings these approaches and techniques together in a rigorous and systematic structure.
The three key features of Mathematics Mastery are:
• High expectations for every child
• More time on fewer topics
• Problem solving at the heart
The programme emphasises cumulative mastery of the essential knowledge and skills of mathematics. It embeds a deep understanding of maths by employing a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach – using objects and pictures before numbers and symbols so that pupils understand what they are doing rather than just learning to repeat routines without grasping what is happening.
At Ark Globe Academy Primary we also celebrate maths events throughout the year, these include:
• World Maths Day
• The annual Ark Mathematics Competition
Our science curriculum is delivered through the National Curriculum objectives in Key Stage One and in Key Stage Two, our pupils follow the ‘Empiribox’ scheme. It is anticipated that this scheme will be delivered in Key Stage One from September 2015.
Empiribox covers a total of 12 topics in depth for 12 weeks each (the topics cover Chemistry Physics and Biology), over the complete four year cycle. It will ensure that pupils leave primary school with a solid skills-set and grounding in practical science, and will be inspired to continue their learning into secondary school and beyond.
At Ark Globe Academy Primary we believe that children will need to be computer literate to thrive in the developing world when they leave school. To this end, pupils attend Computing lessons once a week although it is also integrated into their weekly lessons in all other subjects.
We are hoping to change the Computing curriculum to incorporate more focus on programming and coding in Key Stage Two. This will support better opportunities for the pupils in the future as this will form an integral part of their understanding of expanding and developing technologies.
The aim of Religious Education at Ark Globe Academy Primary is to contribute educationally to the development of pupils both as individuals and as members of society. Religious Education is delivered to all children at our school. We teach the children about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism as well as a range of non-religious festivals. The children are taught to learn about religion through a creative approach using artefacts, role play, art, reading, questioning, observation and Literacy.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education and collective worship should they so wish. If parents do not wish their child to be taught RE Curriculum or take part in short acts of collective worship then they should inform us in writing. Their child can then be excused and suitable alternative arrangements made.
All pupils at Ark Globe Academy Primary access weekly music lessons.
Pupils in Nursery to Year 2 receive weekly lessons from an Ark Specialist which involves, singing, learning rhythm and rhyme and other aspects of music appreciation. Pupils in Year 3 and 4 receive music teaching from our Secondary music specialists and covers a programme which includes learning to play the keyboard, music notation, singing and access to other instruments. Pupils in Year 5 and 6 receive weekly Ukulele lessons from an Ark Specialist.
We also have a Key Stage Two choir who perform at Ark events as well as pupils learning to play a brass instrument. An after school Ukulele club for our Year 3 and 4 pupils is also available.
Modern Foreign Languages
All pupils in Key Stage Two are taught French by specialist teachers from the Secondary school and this will include Key Stage One in September 2015.
PE forms an important part of the curriculum and incorporates areas such as ball skills, gymnastics, dance, invasion games (football, basketball, netball), striking and fielding games (rounders, cricket), net-and-ball sports (tennis), athletics and fitness training. All PE are lessons are taught through a Sports Coach or from teachers in the Secondary PE Department.
Through these varied sports, children develop their core skills of agility, co-ordination, balance, fitness and teamwork. Competition and individual performance also form part of our commitment to high expectations. We strive to provide a learning experience that will enable all students to achieve beyond their potential and ultimately develop a lifelong passion for sporting participation and physical wellbeing.
All other subjects are taught through a creative and themed approach as well as distinct lessons. Parents are kept up to date on the topics being covered across each phase through half termly curriculum outlines.
Further information on the curriculum may be obtained from the school office or at www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-framework-for-key-stages-1-to-4
Children are asked to read at home every night and complete a reading record daily. Each child receives homework every week in English and Maths. In addition, weekly spellings are also set.