Communication and Language Development
Communication and Language development focuses primarily on developing an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in written form. Therefore, our literacy curriculum includes reading, writing, speaking and listening, drama and the learning of a modern foreign language, French.
We aim to develop a love of reading and extensive comprehension skills in both fiction and non-fiction. Our reading scheme is structured using the Book Bands system and titles are drawn primarily from Oxford Reading Tree. The range of books on offer is supplemeted by additional titles to support the teaching and progression within phonics. When children develop greater confidence and fluency, a range of titles taken from our Reading Spine ensure that children continue to be challenged in their reading development. Early phonics teaching progresses from letter sounds to spelling rules, and an understanding of grammar is built upon throughout the primary years so that children are able to communicate clearly for a range of different purposes and audiences.
Children can only write successfully if they have something to say, and our approach emphasises good models for speaking and listening as a starting point. We encourage children to talk regularly about their learning, and to engage in discussion throughout sessions. The development of vocabulary is also essential, and we teach children how to gather new words, explore their meanings and use them in their own writing. After each sequence of learning, children complete a ‘Write Away’ task, which gives them an independent opportunity to put their skills into practice for real purposes and audiences. Teaching in reading and writing are linked, and we encourage children to ‘read as writers’ and ‘write as readers’ in order to fully understand and interact with text.
Phonics, Spelling and Grammar
Encouraging children to be successful independent readers and writers is a fundamental part of learning at the Meadows. Children are equipped with all the skills they need to flourish in their reading and writing through fun, engaging and stimulating experiences. To ensure that all children develop into accomplished literary learners we continuously revisit and build upon vital concepts through our teaching of phonics, spelling and grammar.
In the early learning of reading and writing, we place great emphasis on high quality phonics teaching. As a school we follow the phonics programme that is outlined in the DFE document, Letters and Sounds. Progressing through the six phases of this, the children learn all the sounds they need in order to successfully decode, blend and segment unfamiliar words. These sounds are called phonemes and in order for children to develop as fluent readers, it is important that they can:
- hear and recognise each phoneme in isolation and within words
- relate each phoneme to letters or groups of letters (graphemes)
- recognise that words can be broken down (segmented) into sounds and rebuilt (blending)
At the Meadows, phonics teaching begins in Little Learners, where the children become attuned to the sounds around them and begin to develop oral blending and segmenting skills. During Reception and Key Stage One, the subsequent phases and sounds are introduced at pace through practical, enjoyable and active teaching strategies. Due to the fact that we value the importance of phonics as the foundation of successful reading and writing, we continuously revisit and consolidate the skills taught throughout Key Stage One, and into Key Stage Two.
At the beginning of their learning career, we encourage the children to use their phonic knowledge to aid them with their spelling choices. The children are constantly supported to hear the sounds in words they are trying to spell and make choices that are suitable to their stage. As the children become confident and secure with their sounds, we enable them to make more accurate choices in their spelling. Spelling patterns and rules are introduced towards the end of Key Stage One and are then built upon and developed throughout Key Stage Two. We have high expectations of the children’s spelling and therefore we encourage the correct spelling of high frequency words throughout all areas of the curriculum.
In order for the children to see themselves as accomplished writers, we value the importance of teaching grammar at The Meadows. It is vital that children learn a variety of writing structures and understand what does and does not make sense. This begins in Reception and Key Stage One with the introduction of the simple, but fundamental, writing tools: capital letters, full stops and finger spaces. As the children progress throughout the school, they are introduced to the terminology of different words, sentence types and punctuation, as we believe this allows them to make informed writing choices. The children are confident at talking about the grammatical choices that they make and the impact that this has on their writing.
When the children come to the end of their learning journey at the Meadows, we aim to have provided them with the toolkit to be successful readers and writers.
Making maths exciting, engaging and purposeful is at the heart of mathematical learning at the Meadows. We strive to ensure that children develop a deep and secure understanding of the curriculum through activities that enthuse them as learners. Mathematical discussion, with an emphasis on using the correct vocabulary (or as we call it, GMC: Good Mathematical Communication) plays an essential role in securing and strengthening understanding. An understanding of the importance of maths in the ‘real world’, through applying knowledge to purposeful activities that children can relate to and feel excited about, whilst making links to other areas of the curriculum and topics, helps to achieve this.
The maths curriculum is split into 4 main areas which the children are assessed in throughout the year:
- Numbers and the number system
- Fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion
- Knowing and using number facts
- Mental and written calculations involving all 4 operations (+ – x ÷)
- Written and calculator methods
Shape, space and measures
- Properties of shape
- Position and movement
- Processing and representing data
- Interpreting data
Using and applying maths
- Problem solving
Practical resources are used to allow children to visualise their learning and secure their understanding. We aim to ensure that children leave the Meadows with competent skills and strategies to tackle a range of mathematical problems.
Learning opportunities encourage children to explore the diversity of our community, the local area and the world around them, learning from and about different cultures and religions. They examine the part they play in all levels of society and develop cooperation and collaboration skills, demonstrating tolerance and an ability to manage their own feelings. Through this we hope to develop an individual’s self esteem and confidence in order to play a responsible role within the family, school, community and beyond.
Knowledge and Understanding
Through enquiry and research, the children are encouraged to become inquisitive learners and ask questions. Their knowledge and understanding can then be developed as they are supported in researching, investigating, collecting data, analysing, linking learning, drawing conclusions and evaluating their findings in order to provide the answers they seek. National Curriculum content is taught throughout the key stages with themes focusing on history, geography and science.
At The Meadows, children are encouraged to use their own imagination and ideas to facilitate learning through a range of creative approaches. Skills are taught which can then be applied across the curriculum in a range of contexts. Planning, creating, performing and evaluating are key parts of creative learning. Children study famous artists from different creative genres.
Both fine (eg cutting, mouse control) and gross (throwing, balancing) motor skills are developed in this area of learning. Lessons include control and effective use of the body, body strengths and limitations. The children are taught how to lead a healthy lifestyle and develop an understanding of safety issues in relation to PE. Competitive Sport is also encouraged where appropriate. Physical Development includes sport, swimming, gymnastics and dance.
Sex and Relationship Education
Sex and Relationships education is taught in a developmental way within the school’s personal, social and health education programme. We aim to provide children with the knowledge and skills to cope as they experience their own emotional and physical changes. Questions are answered honestly and sensitively.
In Year 5 during the summer term, the pupils work focuses on body changes and puberty. In Year 6, this work is revised and the basic understanding of the science of reproduction covered.
Religious education has the same importance in the curriculum as other subjects. It is based on Christian principles as well as introducing and extending the children’s knowledge of other world religions and beliefs. The Governors have agreed that, in accordance with the law, withdrawal from collective worship, i.e. school assemblies and religious education lessons should only take place as a result of a request by a child's parents and for this to take place only after we have had an opportunity to discuss the reasons with the parents concerned.