We want children at Seven Kings Primary School to inherit a lifelong zest for learning; to build high self-esteem and a strong determination to succeed. We challenge our children to become independent, well-rounded individuals who take ownership of their learning, becoming deep thinkers and able to apply their knowledge and skill set in a range of contexts within school and real life. By steering their natural curiosity, we inspire children to be confident, bold and resilient, needing challenge. With this in mind we are committed to developing an inquiry-based curriculum at Seven Kings.
Early Years Provision (Reception)
The Reception classes are all located in the same part of the school and have a shared enclosed outdoor area with a sandpit, space for wheeled toys and imaginative landscaping. The Early Years environment has been designed to offer maximum opportunity for child-led enquiry, while also providing superb facilities for individual, small group and large group teaching. A fully qualified teacher and at least one member of support staff will lead each class.
What will my child learn?
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
In September 2014 a revised Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) was introduced. There are two main aspects: Prime Areas of Learning (the most important building blocks of learning) and Specific Areas of Learning (focused on specific subject areas).
Prime Areas of learning (important building blocks of learning)
- Communication and language development: involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development: involves providing opportunities for children to be active and interactive, to develop their coordination, control and movement. Children are taught to value and understand the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, including food choices.
- Personal, social and emotional development: involves helping children develop a positive sense of themselves and others, to form positive relationships with adults and children, respect for each other, develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviours in groups.
Specific Areas of Learning (focused on specific subject areas)
- Literacy: from linking sounds and letters to beginning to read and write. Phonics is a systematic way of teaching children to decode words and begin to read.
- Mathematics: developing skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating using simple addition and subtraction problems, describing shapes, spaces and measurements.
- Understanding the world (Humanities and Sciences): guiding children to make sense of their world; explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive arts and design: opportunities for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through art, music, dance, role play, movement and design and technology.
Key Stage 1
Our Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) curriculum provides challenge for all learners and encourages independence, creativity and a love of learning. It meets the National Curriculum requirements set out by the DfE [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-framework-for-key-stages-1-to-4] and is enhanced by the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum [http://www.chrisquigley.co.uk/product/essentials-full-spectrum-curriculum/] and project-based learning. The Chris Quigley curriculum emphasises the importance of developing the depth of children’s learning. In essence, this means providing children with increased cognitive challenge, allowing them to apply the skills which they have learnt independently in a range of contexts rather than moving them onto the next skill needlessly when they have not truly mastered it.
English, Mathematics, Physical Education (PE), Computing and Religious Education are taught discretely but cross-curricular connections are always planned for and built into the projects. Science, History, Geography, Design and technology, Art and Music are taught primarily through project-based learning.
Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across Reception and KS1 in groups differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development. The Letters and Sounds programme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. This is supplemented by Floppy Phonics and RWI phonics.
Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practise together and apply what they have learned.
Phases of the Phonics Programme
The majority of children in Reception begin with Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Most children will have studied phase 1 phonics in nursery. Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught writing the letters to encode words. Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one spelling is given for each phoneme. When children become secure they continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase. It is expected that children will enter Phase 5 as they begin year 1, broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant. It is expected that children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings eg see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual GPCs eg laughs, two.
The school spelling programs complement the phonics learning from Reception through to the end of KS1. The spelling of high frequency and tricky words are taught continuously throughout the phases.
Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for movement between ability groups, and children move phonics group when it is felt necessary to meet their needs.
The national Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. Prior to this, the Year 1 phonics workshop gives parents information about how they can support their children at home with phonics. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support.
Children will learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding, providing them with the skills required to achieve a lifetime of enjoyment through reading.
Children read in school independently, in guided reading groups, with reading buddies (including sixth formers), and as a shared class session. They also have an opportunity to read with their parents in school once a week with our shared early morning reading time. They listen to adults and other children read, taking part in paired reading with their own and other age groups.
Our Reading aims are:
- To develop phonetic skills which lead to blending and reading accurately and fluently.
- To promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading through access to a wide range of literature.
- To develop their vocabulary and comprehension of what they have read.
- To encourage good home/school partnerships.
- To enable children to analyse what they read and to participate in discussion and debate about texts.
- To monitor each child’s progress through the use of a range of assessment strategies.
- To support those children who require additional support with their reading.
Reading in School
Many activities take place which promote pre-reading skills. Children become aware of print in their environment and match pictures and words. Language comprehension is developed by talking and reading to the children. As children gain phonic knowledge they start the process of decoding. Initially, as children learn to read, they are given a picture book with no words with the intention that they will share the book and take part in a conversation generated by the pictures. Gradually as the children's knowledge of letters and sounds develop they begin to phonetically decode words.
Our reading books are organised into coloured Book Bands using Oxford Reading Tree and Project X. Children are assessed regularly and move onto the next Book Band when their fluency and understanding show that they are ready. Children move through the Book Bands until they reach the required standard to become a Free-Reader, choosing their own book to read from our school or class libraries. In addition to a personalised reading book children are able to take a book home from the school library. Reading is assessed regularly and monitored on the school tracking system.