Our Curriculum

For a detailed breakdown of this year's Blue Coat school curriculum then please visit the Essentials Section.

English

BC 95 of 122Our morning curriculum, like most primary schools, is English and Maths heavy - although other subjects are also taught alongside. 

Many classes start the day with some punchy Handwriting practice whilst registration is under way to focus on accurate letter formation, letter placement and proportions, and a cursive joined style. Many teachers also choose to make the link here to Spelling.

This activity tapers into writing lessons. For us, writing is an art and we teach it as such. Whilst we recognise that effective use of grammar, punctuation and spelling are key tools of the writer, we also place value on the children developing their writer's style by considering 1) the purpose of the writing and 2) the audience to whom they are communicating with. 

All of this requires a lot of discussion as to what effective writers do, how we use writing techniques with impact, and the various choices we have to make in our writing. Drama, speaking and listening activities, 'writer workshops' and more all play their part in moving the discussion forward. When the children come to write to their audience they are, then, very well prepared to do so.

DSC 9951We believe that effective writers are great readers first. Throughout the week there is a strong focus on 'Guided Reading' in both key stages. Teachers use their knowledge of the children to plan their next steps within comprehension skills called 'Assessment Focuses'. A text with an appropriate level of challenge is selected and the children digest the text whilst undertaking a series of activities as guided by the teacher. Adults will work with different groups throughout the week for focused teaching and assessment of reading skills. In Key Stage 1, it is common for us to make use of more adults in the form of parent volunteers who are trained by us to bring on those early reading skills. As a result, we find that by the end of Year 2 virtually all of our pupils are very well prepared for the demands of the Key Stage 2 curriculum by being competent readers.

The missing (English) ingredient here is the teaching of Phonics in Key Stage 1. We carefully distribute our younger children into several groups according to the stage they are learning at. We determine this using the Letters and Sounds programme that we follow. Children focus on particular phonemes associated with the Phase they are working within and carry out very hands-on activities to promote the learning of these sounds for reading and writing.

In Key Stage 2 - Years 3 and 4 - we aim to 'plug' any gaps following on from Key Stage 1 with a continuation of the later Phases of the Letters and Sounds programme, again by groups. Learners for whom the programme is no longer relevant progress to investigating more complex spelling patterns.

Maths

The only subject that we choose to set the children for in Key Stage 2.

Again, we opt not to rely on schemes of work but instead to create sequences of lessons from scratch based around Maths curriculum objectives. We have a strong focus on number through mental maths, place value and consistent, progressive teaching of calculation methods. Our principal focus is on ensuring that rote learning is minimised so that we are developing a very firm understanding of children's concept of number.

On a strong foundation of number, we develop problem solving skills through  investigations and real-life application to help bring context and relevance to maths learning. We try to teach these problem solving skills in a manner that shows children how they might approach any problem - mathematical or not. By delving into 'stuck strategies', making the most of the information given, visualising the problem, and working systematically, the children can develop life skills that will serve them in most problems.

'Learning Vehicles'

DSCN0537In England, and as a state school, we currently have to follow the conditions set out within the National Curriulum when delivering our school curriculum

The school curriculum is more than the National Curriculum: it is everything that a school does to contribute to the development of each and every child from the time it opens to the time it closes each day. 

Recognising this fact, we have developed a rich school curriculum that seeks to serve our vision of Future Readiness through 'Learning Vehicles'. These are largely subject neutral learning themes that teach the National Curriculum subjects, but often go beyond its scope to equip our pupils with essential future ready skills. 

 

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