Curriculum Information Leaflets are issued to parents at the start of each term and are available from the school office.
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is organised into three prime areas and four specific areas. The 3 Prime Areas are Communication and Language, Physical Development, and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. The 4 Specific Areas are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Early years experience should build on what children already know and can do. Our Foundation Stage curriculum is carefully structured to provide relevant and appropriate content that matches the different levels of young children's needs. Initially children may seem to be 'just playing' but they are developing important basic skills in Literacy and Numeracy as well as developing social skills, independence and initiative.
There is a rigorous phonics programme for children in early Years and Year One. The school follows the 'Jolly Phonics' and 'Letters and Sounds' programme.
As the year progresses, the children gradually do more formal work so by the end of the year, they are well prepared for the curriculum they will follow in Year One.
Key Curriculum Drivers
One of our key drivers as a school is using our outside environment. Children in Robins class regularly participate in Forest School, located at Glapthorn Cow Pastures, as well as using Short Wood and our allotments and school grounds to help their learning.
- Our Local Community and Beyond: We have an important place within our community and believe it is important that our pupils see themselves within a local context and also learn about the multicultural country that they live in.
- Outdoor Learning: We are lucky enough to be in a wonderful location and we believe children learn effectively outdoors. To this end, we have the use of our allotment, school grounds, pond, wildlife garden and the local woods and fields to bring our curriculum alive.
- Our Values: Our curriculum is designed so pupils can develop the ability to both work independently and as part of a team which we believe are vital life skills. These are reflected in our Learning Dinosaurs
The children are taught in mixed age and mixed ability classes and so the work is differentiated to meet their individual needs. This means that although a class may be working on the same topic, e.g. fractions, the children will be getting different levels of support and will be getting different levels of challenge so that every child learns and progresses with their learning in every lesson. This also means children usually have a teacher for two years and so there is the added benefit that teachers know every child exceptionally well and time is not lost in September whilst the new teacher gets to know their class.
To improve all children’s learning outcomes, by outstanding teaching and partnership working, within a supportive, caring, Christian school environment; promoting excellence, resilience and determination in the acquisition of knowledge and skills. With the well-being of our pupils, staff and parents at the forefront of all we do.
Our intent is to enable learners at all levels to have the courage and faith to create, explore, and be curious. We aim to bring people together, to build on a Christian and moral ethos, demonstrating kindness and respect to all.
Within Literacy, we develop children's skills in:
- Speaking and Listening: We encourage the children to develop skills in expressing themselves with clarity and purpose and to listen with understanding.
- Reading: Children experience a wide range of reading materials in order to extend their skills and to enjoy their reading. A broad selection of carefully graded books are employed to assist in this. For example, books with the same colour band are of comparable difficulty but incorporate different vocabulary. Emphasis is placed on the ability to sound out words (phonics) as well as the recognition of words (look and say). Therefore, we teach phonics daily in Robins and Barn Owls classes. Children in all classes regularly read in small groups with the teacher, talking about the stories they have read. This is called guided reading and is very important in helping to develop children’s reading comprehension. This, alongside one-to-one reading at home and at school, provides a firm foundation for learning to read.
- Writing: We aim to provide the children with the skills and opportunity to present their ideas and information in a variety of written forms. We use a wide variety of Literature to develop children's imagination and understanding of different writing styles as well as teaching the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and an understanding of language.
- Handwriting is taught so children begin to join their letters from Year Two.
- Drama: Drama and role playing are used to develop speaking and listening skills as well as helping children to improve in their reading and writing.
The basic skills of reading and writing, including phonics, spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught explicitly and regularly. Phonics is taught based on the 'Letters and Sounds' approach. Many opportunities are taken for children to use and develop their reading and writing skills through the creative topic that they are studying, giving children a clear purpose for writing and reading.
Maths is taught daily throughout school, both the explicit teaching of skills and the opportunity to apply those skills within a topic context. There is an emphasis on problem solving to ensure children can apply their knowledge and skills. Pupils regularly have short mental maths sessions when they practise times tables or play counting games to help develop their instant recall of key facts. Maths is often practical, either investigative or hands on activities. Children are encouraged to use mental strategies to calculate and use jottings as well as using formal written methods. Whilst there is an emphasis upon Number, the other essential areas of the subject are also important, namely using Measures (weight, length, volume, area, time) Shape and Space, and Statistics.
Physical Education (P.E.)
Children need the opportunity for plenty of physical activity. Our aim is to help the children to know their own potential physical ability and to take full advantage of this both as an individual and as a member of a group. All the children take part in regular P.E. sessions which include gymnastics, dance, using large apparatus and games' skills based on the 'Real PE' curriculum. Children from Year One upwards go swimming for at least a half term a year and children in Nightingales class and Red Kites class also experience outdoor pursuits through residential visits. There are many after school clubs run at different times of the year, e.g. fencing, tag rugby, cricket, basketball, cheerleading, cross-country running and football.
School is about children learning in lots of different ways. PHSE stands for Personal, Health and Social Education. This means building on what parents and carers teach children about a wide range of issues from healthy eating to being part of a community; sharing, listening, being kind, keeping safe and healthy, being confident and being responsible. Children participate regularly in circle time. This is a chance for children to talk about their feelings and to share any problems. Children are encouraged to think about their own self-development focused on things like 'trying new things' and 'understanding others'.
One of the ways we teach our pupils about democracy, citizenship and responsibility is through our school council. Two children from each year group are democratically elected each year to represent their peers in a school council. The school council gives children a say in the running of their school, for example, the children designed a nature garden in collaboration with our parent group 'Friends of Glapthorn School' (FOGS) in 2018.
We also have a range of ways of developing responsibility in children as they get older, including a a range of roles such as librarian where they take the lead.
In addition, we have a system of team points at school. Children are put into one of four colour teams through the school and each week a cup is awarded to the team with the most points. Children are given points for being kind and trying hard with their work. We believe children learn best through positive recognition and believe this method of team points both provides a positive reward to individual children and helps children work as part of a team.
It is important we equip our children with the skills, attitudes, abilities and concepts in order to maximise their potential throughout school life. We encourage our children to be enthusiastic about the world around them. Science consists of three main areas of learning; Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These are linked by an investigative approach. We work on the development of scientific thinking whereby children acquire the skills of observing, recording, forming hypotheses, testing, investigating and forming conclusions in their exploration of natural and man-made environments and the acquisition of basic scientific knowledge covering most aspects of essential science. Science lessons are very practical and so are both very enjoyable and very informative for children.
Computing is a subject in its own right and involves the use of computers for coding, data handling, graphics etc. Standalone computing lessons are taught from Year One upwards but it is also regarded as being part of every other subject within the National Curriculum. We are preparing our pupils to live in a world of rapid technological change. Children find this new technology interesting and exciting. We believe that we must harness this enthusiasm and use computers daily as valuable tools to assist learning. It is for this reason that we do not have a computer suite as we believe it is more beneficial for children to use the computers and i-pads throughout the day for learning, rather than at a few specific times during the week. We have an excellent ratio of at least 1 computer for every three children. This is much better than the government guidelines and this means all children are able to work on computers. There is an interactive whiteboard in each classroom and a bank of i-pads and laptops. We have invested a lot of money in IT equipment as we believe it will benefit our children greatly.
Religious Education (R.E.)
The teaching of Religious Education is in accordance with Diocese agreed syllabus for Religious Education. Children are encouraged to explore the beliefs and values of different major religions and cultures, helping them to develop a respect for, and an understanding of, different faiths as part of living in multi-cultural Britain. We aim to have regular visits and visitors linked to the RE curriculum to help to bring the subject alive for children.
In accordance with the Education Reform Act (1988), Collective Worship is held on a daily basis as a school. Worship, including the daily assembly, plays a full part in the life of the school. It is essentially Christian in character reflecting the traditions of the Church of England but with an awareness of other traditions and faiths. Pupils in Upper KS2 take a lead in planning and delivering assemblies, alongside staff and visiting clergy.
Major festivals are either celebrated in the Parish Church of St. Leonard's, Glapthorn.
If a parent wishes to exercise their right of withdrawal of their child from worship, the child will be supervised by a member of staff not involved in the act of Worship.
Design and Technology
This is a largely practical subject where the children are encouraged to find solutions to problems. The children learn how to work safely and skilfully with a variety of materials such as wood, card, paper, textiles and food. They begin with a design and from that, create a product. They then evaluate their product and think about ways to improve it. These skills are gradually developed through school so that the children are increasingly working with confidence and independence.
All children from Year One upwards are taught curriculum French weekly by a specialist teacher, which is developed through the curriculum at other times by the class teacher, particularly in KS2. All children, including Reception, also have the opportunity to participate in a lunchtime French club too for a small cost.
Children are taught a range of geographical skills and are given opportunities to learn about people, places and the environment. Learning in geography is carried out through studying both the local environment and the wider environment.
We aim to promote a love of history by arousing interest in, and excitement about, the past. We learn about famous people and events from the past as well as looking at the children's own lives and their families.
Geography, history and science form a key basis for our topic approach. Recent topics have included 'Invaders and Settlers' (history), Around the World in 50 days with Phileas Fogg (geography), Grow your own Pizza (science/geography).
Art and Design
Our aim is to provide as many experiences in artwork as possible, both two and three dimensional, so that the children's aesthetic awareness and appreciation may develop and their natural urge to be creative is encouraged. The children are also introduced to the paintings of acknowledged masters, both old and new, including through an 'Artist of the Month' in assemblies.
We encourage every child to develop their musical confidence and ability through singing, composition and listening to music. All the children take part in a whole school musical performance twice a year as well as events through the year such as May Singing around the village and the Oundle Festival of Music and Drama. Children get the opportunity to learn string, wind and brass instruments and every child in KS2 gets the opportunity at some point to learn an instrument at no cost as part of our whole class music tuition. (There is a charge for individual/small group tuition.)