The curriculum is designed to support the aspirations of pupils and their parents, and pupils themselves undoubtedly enjoy coming to school, working together on project work and in the many extra-curricular activities available to them.
– Ofsted 2014
The children in Reception follow the Foundation Stage curriculum and Years 1 to 6 follow the National Curriculum. We use a themed approach to curriculum planning. This helps children to understand natural links between topics and maximises curriculum time.
Visit our class pages to find out what each class is learning this term.
In September 2014, a new National Curriculum was introduced. In response to this we redesigned our school curriculum, introducing exciting new topics in many areas of the curriculum.
‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’ The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
In English at Windermere Primary School, we aim to develop a love of reading, a wide and interesting vocabulary and an ability to communicate effectively in both written and spoken English. Details of the specific attainment requirements for each year group can be found in the National Curriculum Framework.
Phonics and Reading
In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ for the teaching of phonics, including the order in which phonemes are introduced. This is supported by resources from Smart Kids, Phonics Play, Bug Club Phonics and Twinkl Phonics, which help to ensure consistency of techniques and strategies, whilst making learning fun and engaging.
Below is the order in which phonemes are introduced in each class. However, some children will have made more progress and will be ready to learn the next phase of phonics, whilst some may not have made as much progress and will need to consolidate their current learning. Skilful differentiation in class ensures that teaching is both challenging and supportive as appropriate.
Phonics in Reception:
Phase 2 – s a t p i n m d g o c k ck e u r h b f ff l ll ss Tricky words: the to I no go into
Phase 3 – j v w x y z zz qu ch sh th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er Tricky words: me, be, he, my, by, she, they, we, are, you, all was, give, live
Phonics in Year 1:
Phase 3 (recap and consolidate) – j v w x y z zz qu ch sh th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er Tricky words: me, be, he, my, by, she, they, we, are, you, all was, give, live
Phase 4 – Adjacent consonants eg. Bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, sm, sn, pl, pr, sc.scr,shr, sk, sl, sp, st,str, thr, tr, tw
Phase 5 – alternative grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC), alternative pronunciations and blending/segmenting GPCs
Phonics in Year 2:
Phonics (Phase 6) will continue to be taught in Year 2, although the focus will change to a greater emphasis on the application of phonic knowledge to achieve increasingly accurate spelling. For handwriting and spelling see Writing, below.
The children are provided with differentiated reading books that are appropriate for their level of phonic knowledge and understanding. These are carefully selected by classroom practitioners to match the needs and ability of each child. In Reception and Year 1, the reading books are almost fully decodable using their phonic knowledge, with some known tricky words e.g. the, my, be. In Year 2 reading books continue to build on the children’s phonic knowledge, but they include more ‘tricky’ words (common exception words) that form a child’s sight vocabulary e.g. people, could, asked.
Children are expected to read at home every day. They should read their reading book three times before changing it. The first reading is to decode the words, the second reading is to gain comprehension and the third reading is for fluency. This is important, so that the child can hear themselves as a reader. Just as a musician practises a piece of music multiple times to gain fluency, so early readers need to practise several times with the same text, experiencing success as they do so.
In addition to the school library, every class has its own class library; the book selection is refreshed regularly to maintain the children’s interest. A wide range of book genres are available to the children and an increasing number of books have been selected as part of our equality and diversity strategy, because of their multicultural and inclusive characters. In addition to their decodable reading book, every child is allowed a ‘read-to-me’ book or a library book. In KS2 there are levelled reading books as well as ‘free readers’ available to the children. The school also subscribes to Pearson’s Bug Club, which offers age appropriate reading books across the school.
The school has a Reading Spine: core, quality texts that help all children to access stories and text types irrespective of their own reading ability. The Reading Spine will introduce children to a wider vocabulary, to new authors and to the joy of reading for pleasure. Generally shared at the end of the school day, these books are read by an adult to the whole class.
Although reading is taught throughout the day, with every lesson giving valuable opportunities for shared reading and the development of subject specific vocabulary, our Guided Reading lessons are specifically intended to teach reading skills. Working with a small group of similar ability pupils and using an instructional level text (a little more difficult than an independent text), teachers help children to use prediction and inference as well as their decoding skills to understand a text.
To encourage home reading, pupils who read to an adult twenty times, recording this in their student planner, are allowed to choose a book from the school’s Reading Reward scheme. These high quality, brand new books, many of which are requested by the children themselves, are theirs to keep – allowing every child to build their own library at home.
Writing is taught using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing. The children learn story and text structures, embedding key vocabulary and language patterns before creating their own, independent versions. Some of the texts used in class are available as e-books for you to share with your child.
Letter formation is taught using the Nelson handwriting scheme. This introduces letters in line with Letters and Sounds and provides pattern practice and fine motor skills work with three levels of differentiation. This is taught as part of the daily phonics lesson and in discrete lessons as well as in cross-curricular opportunities. The children do not join letters initially, but gradually work towards a fluent, joined handwriting style that is legible and supports accurate spelling.
Early spelling is linked closely to the Letters and Sounds phonics. In Years 2 – 6, spelling is taught using HfL’s Essential Spelling,
By the end of the Reception year, pupils enjoy reading and are able to use their phonic knowledge effectively to both read and spell. Pupils have consistently achieved well in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check and the KS1 reading assessments, with cohort attainment above the national average. Outcomes at the end of KS2 are more variable as there is greater mobility in KS2 and the greater emphasis on inference and higher order vocabulary is more challenging for pupils with English as an additional language. For some cohorts, this is particularly relevant.
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems
At Windermere our teaching of maths encourages fluency in the fundamentals of mathematics, the ability to use mathematical reasoning and to solve problems using maths. Details of the specific attainment requirements for each year group can be found in the National Curriculum Framework.
The school uses Herts Essentials for Maths to support the delivery of the mathematics curriculum. This suite encourages fluency and a deeper understanding of mathematical algorithms to ensure that pupils are able to apply this understanding as they begin to tackle more complex mathematical reasoning. Pupils have access to a wide range of resources which they can use to support their understanding and show a deeper understanding of a concept. Alongside daily maths lessons, teachers spend time on daily fluency sessions. These reactivate, reinforce and revise key learning to ensure pupils retain prior teaching and are able to apply fundamental facts quickly and accurately. Alongside fluency, there is a clear focus on the use of games to support and develop mathematical thinking and reasoning. Teachers use a gaming matrix to match carefully designed maths games which can be played in the classroom as well as at home.
Children’s fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills are improving. Due to the systematic use of language and consistency of mathematical models used, children are able to use mathematical vocabulary accurately and can reason to explain their ideas.
‘A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.’
The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
As a school, we aim for science teaching to be as practical and as investigative as possible. This helps children to make good learning links and to remember what they have found out.
The school is well-resourced for primary science and practical activities are a key feature of science learning. Pupils are encouraged to investigate scientific ideas: planning and carrying out investigations and then recording and analysing results in order to draw conclusions. In science lessons pupils may undertake one, some or all elements of an investigation, in order to develop scientific thinking and scientific working. The application of science in other subjects, such as design and technology, helps to embed and further learning.
Vocabulary grids develop children’s scientific vocabulary and help them to articulate scientific concepts clearly.
By the end of Year 6 pupils have a solid foundation in scientific knowledge and understanding, that equips them well for the next stage of their education.
Download the Science Curriculum
ART AND DESIGN
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
Our art curriculum has been designed to develop children’s love of art in all its forms, progressively developing a range of skills in different media. Using the inspiration of great artists and art movements, children have the chance to evaluate and analyse creative works, whilst developing their own cultural capital. Themes have been chosen to engage pupils’ interests e.g. manga drawing, and to demonstrate inclusivity e.g. Frida Kahlo
Most themes are based on the work of great artists or craftsmen/women and children will learn some relevant biographical or historical facts. Drawing inspiration from their work, pupils will explore and develop key skills, that they will then use to create a finished piece of work. They will then be expected to critically evaluate their work and that of their peers. Vocabulary grids enable children to articulate their views and understanding using appropriate, specialist vocabulary.
By the end of Year 6, pupils have an understanding of a broad range of artistic and design styles. They are able to discuss and evaluate their own work and they have developed creative skills, that provide them with enjoyment.
Download the Art Curriculum
‘A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.’ The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
The computing curriculum has undergone enormous changes in recent years. At Windermere we recognise the importance of developing an enquiring IT literate mind that will be able to take on the digital challenges of a workplace in ten to fifteen years’ time, which we can barely imagine. Our curriculum aims to provide the pupils with the problem solving skills to be digitally literate across a wide range of devices and software.
The children are taught through practical ‘hands on’ lessons, comparing devices and software to ones they have used previously. The curriculum in each year group covers Computer Networks, so that the pupils develop an understanding of how the internet is used to share information, creating Digital Media, Data and Information and Programming, whilst incorporating eSafety into every lesson.
Our pupils have access to laptops and iPads to support every aspect of their learning, but they also develop programming skills using a range of electronic devices and software, such as Bee-Bots, Lego WeDo and Flowol/K’nex. These give the children an opportunity to use algorithms and programming skills, seeing the practical effect of their programming.
The curriculum has been designed to progressively develop pupils’ skills and understanding in different aspects of computing. By Year 6 pupils are confident users of computer technology, keen to learn and to challenge themselves further. They also demonstrate a good understanding of how to stay safe online, asking help from adults when they are concerned about internet interactions.
Download the Computing Curriculum
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation. The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
Our design and technology curriculum aims to introduce pupils to a wide range of technologies, from mechanisms to textiles and food technology, including gardening.
It overlaps both computing and art in many aspects. Learning sequences are linked to other curriculum topics as well; this helps pupils to understand the relevance of their learning and to embed knowledge.
Design and technology is taught in as practical a manner as possible. Pupils are encouraged to explore existing products and designs, before learning specific skills such as joining techniques, which are then applied to a final product.
By the end of Year 6, pupils are developing the creative, technical and practical skills that will help them to participate in an increasingly technological world. They also understand the importance of good nutrition and are beginning to learn to cook.
Download the Design and Technology Curriculum
‘A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.’ The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
At Windermere, we aim to enable our children to develop a real sense of identity and belonging through learning about their local area, the UK, Europe and other parts of the world. By developing children’s knowledge of other cultures, we teach them the importance of respect and understanding in a multi-cultural society. In addition, we want our children to build up their knowledge and understanding of sustainability and environmental issues at a local, regional and global scale so that they gain a sense of responsibility for the care of their environment, the Earth and its people.
The curriculum topics are designed to develop children’s understanding of the world in which we live in a progressive way, starting with the local area and moving onto world geography. They also learn mapping skills and how geographical features such as coasts and volcanoes are formed. The geography curriculum includes developing an understanding of the ecological impact of human activity. Fieldwork is integral to our teaching and we include as many opportunities as we can to involve children in practical geographical research and enquiry. Children carry out an investigation into the local environment and we give them opportunities to observe and record information around the school site and beyond.
By Year 6, pupils are developing a good understanding of physical and human geography as well as the environmental impact of humans. They are able to compare and contrast locations, climates and biomes.
Download the Geography Curriculum
‘A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.’ The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
It is important that children gain a knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, in order to help them understand the complexity of people’s lives, the processes of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
The history curriculum at Windermere is taught discretely in KS1 and KS2, but also in cross-curricular sessions. It is designed to develop key skills progressively and is delivered in a chronological order, so that the children understand where each topic fits into world history. By the end of Year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day with links to the local area of St Albans. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Mayans. In addition, they learn about and compare significant historical figures such as Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong and Thomas Barnardo but also developments which have had a significant impact on British or World history.
At Windermere, resources are carefully considered at each stage of our curriculum. Each class has a timeline where they can make reference to all previous history learning, enabling to put periods of history into chronological context. History word banks throughout school focus on key knowledge and vocabulary to exemplify the terminology used throughout the teaching of history and enable pupils to make links across the wider curriculum. Knowledge organisers ensure that children have individual access to key knowledge, language and meanings for each topic covered. Children have access to a wide variety of subject specific fiction and non-fiction books, in all lessons as well as history. For each topic artefacts are readily available for children to explore and investigate to enhance the children’s historical knowledge, understanding and skills. Historical trips are also planned and where possible local points of interest are visited to reinforce local knowledge.
In history the children develop an understanding of the chronology of significant historical periods in British and world history up to 1066 and other periods of history beyond this which are pertinent to St Albans and the local area. They learn about and compare significant historical figures and also developments which have had a significant impact on British or World history.
Download the History Curriculum
The national curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
- speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
The intent of Languages at Windermere is that all pupils in KS2 develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity in a foreign language. We believe language learning is a necessary part of being a member of a multi-cultural society and helps deepen pupils’ understanding of the world. It is our intention that by the end of their primary education, our pupils have developed an understanding of spoken and written French and developed the confidence to speak with others. We aim to develop the foundations of language learning in order to facilitate the learning of French or other languages later in life.
At Windermere, pupils learn French from Year 3, accessing a high quality French language curriculum delivered by a native French speaker, using the scheme of work Language Angels. We deliver a broad and rich curriculum which will inspire children through a variety of topics. The curriculum has been designed to complement other elements of the curriculum for that year group, such as the solar system, World War II etc. The four key learning skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing are taught, and all the necessary grammar, vocabulary and phonics will be covered in an age appropriate way across Years 3-6. With twenty-seven languages spoken at Windermere, in addition to English, links between languages are encouraged throughout to ensure pupils gain an understanding of language structures and an interest in the richness of languages.
As pupils progress through the key stage, they will build upon their application of the key skills when learning French: speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar. Units increase in level of challenge, stretch and linguistic and grammatical complexity. Activities contain progressively more text and lessons will have more content as the children become more confident and ambitious in manipulating the language they have learned. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated whenever possible and appropriate. Pupils’ spoken and written language will be lengthier and they will attempt to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions and justifications. Children at Windermere value multilingualism and the connections they can make between languages and see the value of studying Languages in their future education.
Download the MFL Curriculum
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
Our curriculum is designed to help pupils understand and explore how music is created and to develop enjoyment in listening and creating music. Pupils are also given the opportunity to learn a tuned instrument – ukulele – for themselves, reading music and performing in front of others.
Weekly music lessons are delivered by specialist music teachers. Instruments, such as ukuleles, are provided for pupils to use. Some music tuition i.e. piano lessons, is provided via Herts Music Service, and many pupils enjoy playing in the Rocksteady rock bands. Musical performances at Christmas and at the end of the summer term provide all children with an opportunity to perform to an audience.
Music is an important part of life at Windermere. Our choir has attended the O2 Young Voices concert, the local primary schools concert at the Alban Arena.
Download the Music Curriculum
Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect. The Primary National Curriculum Framework 2014
At Windermere, pupils should experience a broad range of physical activities, including competitive sport. We aim to introduce pupils to games and sports beyond the traditional primary games, so that every child has the opportunity to discover sports which they enjoy and at which they might excel.
For full details of our sporting activities, including our teams and competitors, see the Sports page.
PE includes not only games, but adventurous activities, gymnastics and dance as well. The PE curriculum includes a broad range of activities, developing skills and encouraging every child to enjoy physical activity in school. Some teaching is carried out by specialist PE coaches. Our free after school clubs extend the PE opportunities we offer pupils, who are encouraged to participate in competitive events in many different sports. Pupils in KS2 learn to swim at a local swimming pool (Westminster Lodge). Sports and activities on offer include among others: netball, football, tag rugby, badminton, tennis, gymnastics, lacrosse, dance, kwik-cricket, rounders and athletics. The school has a mapped and marked orienteering course and holds a whole school cross-country event every autumn, as well as sports days and inter-house competitions.
By the end of Year 6 pupils have experienced a wide range of sporting activities. They understand the need for physical fitness and healthy lifestyles. Being a small school, pupils often have opportunities to represent the school at sporting events if they wish to do so.
Download the PE Curriculum
PSHE is learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.’ The PSHE Association
At Windermere, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) teaches children to develop positive relationships with others, recognise their rights and responsibilities and understand the importance of good physical, mental and emotional health.
PSHE is intended to help children develop resilience, learning and interpersonal skills which will support their academic achievement and give them life skills for the future. Although we utilise the excellent SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) resource, PSHE also includes internet safety, road safety, fire safety, sun safety, protective behaviours, sex and relationships education and drug education.
PSHE is taught as a discrete subject by class teachers; it also forms a core part of our collective worship, which focuses on British values, character development and social responsibility.
PSHE may also happen through cross-curricular teaching, e.g. financial management in maths, healthy living in science and PE, and environmental impact in geography. The PSHE curriculum is closely linked to reading books and stories as part of the school’s commitment to strengthen reading.
The curriculum covers different areas of PSHE and these are taught in a progressive, age appropriate way throughout the school. PSHE teaching also includes Sex and Relationships Education (please see our SRE policy on our Policies page.)
Each week a child is selected by a member of staff or their peers, as the Child of the Week. The criteria are chosen to fit the collective worship focus for that week.
The broad PSHE curriculum helps to ensure that relationships within school are harmonious and respectful. Pupils recognise the strength of the school community and the importance of mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Download the PSHE Curriculum
PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN (P4C)
Children are naturally curious and inquisitive. In P4C they are encouraged to ask questions, which don’t necessarily have answers and to challenge the thinking of both themselves and others. They learn to think critically, caringly, creatively and collaboratively. P4C builds confidence and speaking skills as well as developing higher order thinking skills.
Our Religious Education follows the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus which supports the statutory requirements for Religious Education.
This syllabus aims to ensure that all pupils develop knowledge and understanding of sources of wisdom and their impact, whilst exploring personal and critical responses.
There are eight key areas of learning:
- Belief and practices
- Sources of wisdom
- Symbols and actions
- Prayer, worship and reflection
- Identify and belonging
- Ultimate questions
- Human responsibility and values
- Justice and fairness
RE is taught through both collective worship (assemblies) and discrete RE lessons. Major festivals for world religions are recognised and celebrated.
The multi-cultural diversity of the school is celebrated and creates a very inclusive community. Pupils have a good understanding of the faiths of others and recognise the importance of tolerance.
Download the RE Curriculum
Learning Together Weeks
Each term we run a Learning Together Week. These are themed weeks when the children are encouraged to leave their books behind and to learn through exploration and investigation. During this time they also learn together – working collaboratively not only with their peers, but also with other year groups and in vertically streamed groups which include children from Year 6 to Reception. These exciting learning opportunities create the sort of wonderful memories that our children take with them when they leave Windermere.