The curriculum at Embleton Primary School emphasises activity and experience whilst incorporating Statutory Guidelines of the National Curriculum.
At our school the children are taught as individuals, in groups and as a class. Children's needs vary according to their age, ability and the subject being taught. We endeavour at all times to teach to the needs of the child.
Much of the children's learning will be through play where children are offered a range of activities each with an underlying educational purpose. Play is the means by which the children explore a variety of experiences in different situations for a variety of purposes. It is a process which provides for children a way of learning about the world around them. Staff plan activities and experiences that promote children's development and learning. Children in Reception, and those nursery children ready, take part in Read, Write, Inc and Big Maths as detailed below. Both nursery and reception children spend the day at the beach each Friday, where they use a specific text each week to base activities around.
Curriculum for KS1 and KS2
At Embleton Primary School we deliver the curriculum in a way that ensures the maximum impact on our children. Through the use of our Beach School we make much of the learning real and relevant. We incorporate a wide range of visitors and visits throughout the year to enhance the learning experience.
Our curriculum is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards its clearly defined end points. With children staying in the same class for the whole of a key stage, our teaching staff can easily draw on learning from previous years to illustrate or examine a particular point. Our aim is to provides the knowledge and skills that pupils need in order to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
We aim to equip pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording in the national curriculum: ‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.' We do this through identifying learning checkpoints to reach over a 2-year period; ensuring that explicit vocabulary is learnt and can be recalled; and ensuring that strong links are made across different subject areas.
There are also occasions throughout the year when the whole school undertake a joint experience, whether it be celebrating a particular festival in RE, working together at Beach School to clean the beach, or taking part in the NSPCC Number Day.
The children read in groups with the teacher, and will also be given an independent reading book, which they are expected to read at home, and during school. All children are listened to reading individually every week, with those who are still learning doing so more frequently. Each class is also read to every day by their class teacher.
Your child may be asked to complete a set amount of reading for homework. Once your child has read his/her reading book, they should be encouraged to read a library book or a personal reading book. We set great store by children being able to read, and encourage our children to read for pleasure and enjoyment. Parents are asked to share in their child’s reading development by reading to them and hearing them read regularly. The continuous link between home and school reading is much valued and beneficial to the child, even after they are able to read independently. The children are given a Reading Record book to track their progress in reading. These give opportunities for comments by parents and staff, as well as encouraging a personal response from the child. Please add comments in your child’s reading record book.
We invite parents into school to share in children’s reading. We ask that all parent helpers be DBS (Disclosure and Baring service) checked.
We primarily use Read Write Inc books, Songbird Phonics and Floppy's Phonics for our youngest readers. These books are carefully matched to the sounds learnt to help encourage success with our children. These are supplemented by Oxford Reading Tree books that have a greater focus on high frequency and common words that can't be decoded. Your child will bring a range of these books home to share with you.
We regularly assess your child to see if they are able to move up a book band. When we are assessing your child we are looking for both fluency when reading (about 95% accuracy in a new book) as well as comprehension skills. We further assess comprehension skills termly using an external assessment system (PIRA).
All children are also invited to use our school library, open for exchanges on a Wednesday. Here there are a range of books that you can read to your child to show them how amazing literature is!
Children’s speaking and listening skills are developed through the whole curriculum. We use drama to explore ideas, and children learn how to make their own presentations to their class, the school and the wider community. We encourage good listening, and children take part in conversations, debates and council meetings.
English teaching is text-based, with a focus on Talk4Writing in Early Years and Key Stage One. All year groups are given opportunities to explore texts through a range of means, be it drama, art or discussion. Children are then tasked with writing their own pieces based on a particular genre, or looking at a particular writing feature.
As a school we use comparative assessment, through No More Marking. This enables us to carefully assess where our children are in relation to thousands of their peers across the country and enables us to focus on very specific areas for improvement.
The children are taught to write in a range of styles and for a variety of purposes. Writing skills learned in English lessons are reinforced through writing across a range of other curriculum subjects. Once children have mastered the basics of letter formation they are taught to write using a joined handwriting script. They are actively encouraged to improve their written work by redrafting or correcting spellings and handwriting.
Spellings to learn or related activities are sent home regularly. The activities may take the form of finding words that begin with a certain sound, or sound the same, e.g. all, tall, fall, or learning words which we all use frequently, e.g. the, friend, people. In Key Stage 2 children’s spelling will be related to spelling rules learned in grammar lessons.
Children from reception upwards take part in small ability-based groups for maths fluency 3 times a week, through the use of ‘Big Maths’. Each week children receive a test where they are required to recall what they have been learning and beat their own score.
The school follows a maths mastery approach that has been adapted for mixed age classes. It is supported by White Rose maths, where children are encouraged to use problem solving and reasoning, and by being able to describe how they know their answer is correct. The school uses termly assessments from an external provider (PUMA) to ensure that children are on track, and any gaps are identified quickly.
Children are encouraged to go on Times Table Rockstars regularly to become quick and fluent in their times tables.
Most weeks children do maths whilst at beach school – whether it be practising something they have learnt in the week, or whether it is by data gathering.
Many aspects of the science curriculum are enhanced by our frequent visits to the beach. Some of our science work is completed longitudinally – such as plants, habitats, seasonal change or shadow investigations – as this provides a more useful learning environment. Other aspects of science are completed either as a discrete topic. Work in the classroom is supported by the use of Developing Experts. Children are taught in key stage groups. Where necessary Years 5 and 6 are given discrete lessons in order to access higher level curriculum content.
Through a range of topics each child has opportunities to investigate and develop essential scientific skills such as observing, classifying and fair testing as well as developing good attitudes to their work such as curiosity, perseverance and co-operation. These skills and attitudes enable a child to acquire an informed and critical understanding of the world.
Where appropriate English teaching uses texts that support learning in science.
History and geography are both enhanced by Beach School. Some of the geography work is completed longitudinally, for example weather and map work. Other history or geography units are taught as topics. Children are taught in key stage groups. Where necessary Years 5 and 6 are given discrete lessons in order to access higher level curriculum content.
Where appropriate English teaching uses texts that support learning in history or geography.
Children are first introduced to DT in the Early Years classroom where they independently make cakes, do woodwork and make models using a variety of joining techniques. As they move into reception, children are encouraged to draw basic designs of their models.
This strong foundation is built upon in KS1, where children are encouraged to think clearly about what their design is before creation. They are also then encouraged to evaluate their design.
As children move into KS2, they investigate the work of a variety of designers, such as James Dyson, and take part in a series of challenges around designing various items.
Cooking skills are progressive throughout the school, and incorporate nutrition, design and marketing – from making pasta to smoothies. Making fires on the beach, and cooking over them, also form part of our curriculum.
Art and Design
Art and design is taught as a subject in its own right, and is also used to support work across all areas of the curriculum. Children are given the opportunity to explore a range of materials and techniques. We have mixed aged art projects and welcome visiting artists into school to help enhance their skills.
We have a strong focus on sketching and painting using a range of mediums whilst at Beach School. Each child has a sketch book from Year 1, which they are encouraged to use when investigating at the beach. Furthermore, the beach is an ideal place for transient art, collages and sand sculpting.
We use computer work as an integral part of the curriculum. Children will gradually develop a variety of skills and use computers to enhance work in all other curriculum areas. As children progress through the school, they will have experience and growing expertise in many basic ICT skills.
Children have access to both laptops and ipads to support learning, and are encouraged to use a wide range of apps, from green screen to time lapse, pic-collage to prezi.
All children in KS2 learn how to programme using Scratch, and have the opportunity to design and make things using a 3D printer. Children also use beebots and ozobots to support their understanding of programming.
Our aim is for children to enjoy listening to and making music and for this to be a positive, enriching and creative experience. Through listening, appraising, performing and composing children develop an understanding and appreciate various styles of music. In Early Years and Key Stage 1 we use Charanga to support learning, including playing both the glockenspiel and the recorder, as well as untuned instruments.
All children in Key Stage 2 learn to play an instrument each year, resulting in them leaving us having a basic knowledge of how to play 4 different instruments.
Physical Education and Physical Activity
The children participate in a diverse and wide range of PE lessons. All children from Year 1 upwards go weekly to the Willowburn Sports Centre in Alnwick for swimming lessons for 2 terms of the year. We have specialist coaches that deliver dance and gymnastics each year, as well as a football coach. Other PE is delivered as part of beach school. All Year 6 children have the opportunity to attend the residential in the Lake District, where they undertake a number of adventurous activities.
The school takes part in a range of different inter-school sporting tournaments and competitions, from multi-skills workshops, to Year 5/6 tag-rugby tournaments. The school usually forms part of an ‘Alnwick Small Schools’ team, where it combines with children from other schools to make a large enough team to compete. All Key Stage 2 children have the opportunity to take part in at least 3 different inter-school sports events per year.
Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship (PSHE & Citizenship)
Through PSHE and Citizenship the children learn the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active responsible citizens developing healthy relationships. The school uses the LCP scheme of work to support learning.
Our school is a Thrive school, and has close links with My Mental Health Rocks. It also has lessons delivered by the Northumbria Police Force for Operation Encompass the Next Steps. We use some of our time at Beach School to further explore elements of PSHE, as well as using the time walking to and from the beach to engage with different children, challenging thinking and posing questions designed to promote a greater understanding.
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
We aim to foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to other languages in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils. French is currently taught to all Key Stage 2 children.
As an aided school, we follow the Diocesan syllabus for RE. In the main this uses Understanding Christianity. Twenty percent of RE learning is about other faiths. Children are taught in a way that respects and maintains the integrity of all religions.
Daily Act of Collective Worship
Our school has a daily act of worship. Parents may, if they wish, withdraw their children from collective worship. Such requests should be made to the headteacher in writing.
Arrangements for the act of Collective Worship are made by the school in accordance with requirements of the 1944 Education Act and the Education Reform Act 1988.
In accordance with our Trust Deed and statutory requirements, Collective Worship and RE are placed at the centre of the school life.
Extra Curricular Activities
Instrumental Music Lessons
We can currently offer individual singing, piano, clarinet and recorder lessons to children from Year 1 upwards. Payments are made on a half-termly basis. Pupil premium children (free school meals) are eligible to receive these free of charge.
Out of school clubs are an important part of school life and we see these as important learning opportunities for the children.
All children vote on some of the school clubs on offer for the next half-term. Out of school clubs are organised on a half termly basis and are open to all children from reception upwards.
Special Educational Needs
Children who have difficulty accessing the curriculum have programmes of intervention work specifically planned to meet their needs as well as receiving additional support so that they can access the curriculum and reach their full potential.
We firmly believe that the partnership between teachers and parents working together is paramount in best supporting and helping the child concerned. It is hoped that the child will overcome his/her difficulties, but sometimes it may be necessary to call in outside agencies, such as the Educational Psychologist who will make further assessments and suggest other strategies to be used.
In the case of children who are specially gifted, classroom work is carefully planned to ensure that their talents are both developed and challenged.