Our Curriculum

English


All areas of the curriculum involve both teachers and pupils using English. It is our aim that all of our pupils develop the use and understanding of Standard English to their full potential in all aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing, including spelling and handwriting.

Reading

Reading takes place throughout the school day and learning outcomes linked to reading are taught within English and, where appropriate, in other areas of the curriculum. During this time, children are taught through the use of extracts and whole novels, where teachers and TAs model the reading process. Skills such as inference and deduction are taught, as well as grammatical and punctuation conventions. In KS1, the children are carefully levelled and are assigned a book band. They will read books in this band in school and at home. For each day that a child reads at home and their book has been acknowledged they will receive a star on the class chart.  Each Thursday all of the children who have read for four or more days that week will be celebrated as a star reader with one reader from the key stage being chosen at random to receive a book as a prize.

For KS2 we use the Accelerated Reader scheme (http://www.renaissance.com/products/accelerated-reader) at Gray’s Farm, which involves all children in KS2 reading a book at their appropriate level and then taking a comprehension quiz to test their understanding. This is then used in school during Guided Reading sessions and the children take their books home to continue reading.  Much like KS1, we celebrate Star Readers.  We do this by examining the word count for each child that week and subsequently award the child with the most readers in their class with a certificate in our Thursday reading assembly.

Writing

We follow the Power of Reading (http://por.clpe.org.uk) at Gray’s Farm. The scheme is linked to the 2014 Curriculum and helps to inspire children to read engaging texts and to then write about them. Units are based on both fiction and non-fiction writing and novels are used to provide a context for learning. Through a variety of literacy-based units, children are taught the fundamental skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening. Teachers model the writing and planning process through shared writing sessions, where ideas are collected and developed. Grammar and punctuation are contextually taught within literacy. Objectives taught within Literacy are used to develop writing across the curriculum.We assess the writing against the descriptors from Target Tracker. These assessments help us provide the children with a new writing target each month and inform our whole class English teaching.

Handwriting

We use the PenPals handwriting scheme at Gray’s Farm (http://education.cambridge.org/media/57038/scopeandsequence.pdf), which the children use in a group session on a weekly basis. The children build up the ability to join using letter strings and words linked to their year group’s spelling patterns. These skills are applied in special handwriting books and again in their English books to ensure that the children can apply these skills independently.

Letters and Sounds

We use Letters and Sounds (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf) at Gray’s Farm Primary Academy to teach Phonics, which is an integrated synthetic phonics programme that teaches reading and writing. Phonics is taught within the school from Nursery. When the children reach Year 1, they are organised into groups based on their ability. The children complete an assessment which determines the phase at which they work. After Phase 6 of Phonics, the children move into ‘Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar’ (SPaG) groups. In KS2 the children who still require Phonics are set in phase specific groups.  The children will then move on to focus on spelling patterns, punctuation and grammar in a daily 20-minute lesson, all linked to the 2014 curriculum.

Maths

At Gray’s Farm Primary Academy we aim to provide a challenging, balanced and stimulating mathematics curriculum. Right through from our Nursery all the way up to Year 6, our aim is to promote a positive and confident attitude to maths as an exciting, creative and relevant subject which has applications in all areas of our learning and day-to-day life. We want the children of Gray’s Farm Primary Academy to develop a love of mathematics and to ensure that all our pupils realise their potential, becoming confident and enthusiastic mathematicians.

With the incoming changes to the National Curriculum we are redesigning how we approach maths as a subject to ensure that there is a focus on teaching core numeracy skills; such as addition, subtraction, multiplication  and division; as well as number bonds , place value and practical maths and ‘using and applying’ skills. Our desire is for the children to then apply these skills to ‘real world’ problem to reinforce the idea that maths is not simply a subject learnt in school, but a vital life skill central to many things people do every day. We use regular ‘maths tracker’ sessions to assess where the children are at and inform the planning of future lessons so that all gaps in knowledge are filled by carefully planned lessons.

As well as our daily maths session, every class takes part in a fun MMM session. This is a fast pace session which lasts for 10 minutes and involves the children taking part in 10 activities. The aim of the session is to develop the children’s vocabulary, encourage discussion about maths and help develop mental strategies as well as a lifelong love of maths!