APPROACH TO THE CURRICULUM:
We aim to provide a rich, broad and balanced curriculum full of experiences which delight and challenge each and every one of our pupils as they pass through their school years with us. We have carefully designed our curriculum so that it provides a blend of key skills and knowledge which are built on in a progressive way as our pupils move through the school.
On entry to school, the Foundation Stage makes a crucial contribution to children’s early development and learning. We provide children with a rich variety of teaching and learning experiences that are appropriate to their needs. The Foundation Stage is based on developing key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentrating, persistence and learning to work and co-operate with others. There are seven areas of learning and development in the Foundation Stage; they are all important and interconnected.
There are three prime areas:
• Personal, social & emotional development.
• Communication & language.
• Physical development.
There are 4 specific areas:
• Understanding the World
• Expressive arts & design
The outdoor environment is also a very special part of the Foundation Stage curriculum. As such it is carefully planned for and available each day. The teaching to achieve these early learning goals will be through first hand experience and structured play. The areas of experience will be linked to the National Curriculum. The teacher and teaching assistant will keep records on children’s experiences and attainments with assessments of developmental and learning needs throughout the school year. We encourage children towards reading, communication and mathematical skills from the very beginning. Much of this earlier learning is achieved through carefully structured play.
Young children who cannot read or write often express their ideas and feelings through play. It is an important way of developing new skills and building up relationships with other children both individually and in groups. Reading is taught through structured reading schemes supplemented with a wide range of other books. We follow a structured approach to the teaching of phonics. Books are used in a structured, graded way to allow children many opportunities for consolidation of key vocabulary. We encourage parents to work with their child at home by hearing them read on a daily basis. We are always pleased to discuss ways in which parents can help their child at each stage of their reading development. We aim to make all children feel secure and confident within the school environment and to develop a sense of achievement through learning, finding it to be a pleasurable and rewarding experience.
Throughout the school as they move into Key Stage 1 and 2, children follow the National Curriculum, as in all state schools. This means that they follow nationally agreed programmes of study in Maths, English, Science, Computing, Art, Music, PE, History, Geography, Design Technology and the Somerset agreed syllabus for RE. Much teaching and learning is cross curricular in nature. We aim to provide a stimulating, creative, broad and balanced, uninterrupted learning journey for all children as they progress through the school.
Progress and attainment is assessed by the teachers and is also monitored through national assessment tests and tasks.
Our ambition is that the curriculum here at Hinton St George Primary is enriched over and above the basic entitlement. To this end we ensure that our children experience regular and varied trips out of school as well as residential visits to enhance their learning. These are often tied in with the topics being studied in school.
We also regularly invite visitors into school to offer our pupils different perspectives into subject areas such as P.E. art and drama. This allows our children to achieve outcomes which they can be proud of and may take the form of group compiled art work or attendance at local school sports festivals.
Our wide ranging extra-curricular provision in the form of after school clubs is carefully designed to allow every child in our school to sample something which will appeal to him or her. Clubs such as Tae Kwondo, Forest school and Story club enable all of our pupils to experience a special thrill as they are given opportunities to try something new.
The vast majority of our after school clubs are free to parents.
PHONICS AND READING SCHEMES INFORMATION
We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
At Hinton St George C of E Primary School we promote a ‘phonics first’ approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.
In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom
Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.
Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.