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Smeeth Community Primary School
Below are the four guiding principles that should practice in early years’ settings, as taken from the framework:
2. How does this meet the needs of our pupils?
English skills are central to all learning and this is reflected in our teaching across the school.
We believe children must love books in order to become proficient readers. Our children develop a deep love of books and stories, and reading for pleasure is a focus. Reading is taught through phonics sessions, group interventions and guided reading sessions, and there is plenty of opportunity to read for pleasure. Our children are given the opportunity to read high quality, exciting texts. Each member of staff demonstrates and encourages a love for reading. There are lovely book corners in every classroom, in addition to our wonderful library and reading space where children love to spend time choosing their next book. Our library is extremely well-resourced as we believe there are few things nicer than a beautiful new book to read.
In addition, the school reading scheme provides structured progression at school and home. Teachers choose challenging guided reading texts to be studied in small groups. External visits from authors, poets and dramatists are soon to take place and visiting book fairs provide a range of extra incentive and promote a love of reading.
Staff track the progress of children throughout the year, ensuring that each child is supported and challenged to be the best reader they can be.
Smeeth Reading Curriculum
At Smeeth, we believe that development in writing follows naturally from the enjoyment and inspiration provided by high-quality texts, as well as the systematic teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling. In addition, children are given a purpose for writing with opportunities for creating poetry, story-writing, reports and explanations.
Children are encouraged to develop a joy in communicating, from the emergent writing in Early Years to the accomplished and confident writers who leave our school. Children are given opportunities for speaking and listening in all writing units taught. Storytelling plays an important role throughout the school, allowing children to internalise writing patterns in order for them to imitate, innovate and invent their own.
Children are given regular opportunities for extended creative writing sessions. Phonics, grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught throughout the school and reinforced and applied during extended writing sessions, as well as any other writing activity. These include shared writing, guided writing and independent writing. Teachers use feedback marking to inform pupils of their next steps, and to inform future planning for individuals and groups. Children are encouraged to reflect on their own learning and that of their peers, and to draft, edit and improve their writing.
Smeeth Writing Curriculum
At Smeeth School, we are extremely proud of the teaching and learning of Phonics and this is evident through the high success rate in our screening and the love our children have for early reading and writing.
We teach Phonics through the Jolly Phonics programme from the beginning of Year R to the end of Year 1. Each day, children will take home a 'reading' and 'writing' sheet to practise and help embed their new learning!
By the end of Year 1, children are confident with all 42 letter sounds and are ready to progress to spelling and alternative rules taught within Year 2 GPS lessons.
The impact of this subject is assessed by the statutory 'Year 1 Phonics Screening' and is continued to support specific learner's early reading and writing skills until the end of KS1.
To support a high quality Phonics curriculum, we use a range of high quality texts from providers such as Jolly Phonics, Big Cat Phonics and Project X. These books are carefully mapped throughout the year to perfectly match the sounds taught in lessons (please see the EYFS/KS1 Reading Progression document below for more details and providers).
Whilst our reading aim is for children to be 'free readers' by the end of KS1, we encourage children to read all books they love and enjoy as soon as they are ready!
At Smeeth, all teachers use the White Rose Maths Hub as a process for teaching mathematics. When introducing children to new concepts, they have the opportunity to build fluency in topics by taking the following approach: concrete, pictorial and abstract. Children have the opportunity to use manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing, which is then built on by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.
With the foundations firmly laid, children are able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence. Reasoning and problem solving is encompassed in the above approaches to deepen and master all aspects of mathematics.
The scientific area of learning increases children’s knowledge and understanding of our world, and develops skills associated with science as a process of enquiry. It also develops the natural curiosity of children, encourages respect for living organisms and the physical environment and provides opportunities for critical evaluation of evidence.
Science at Foundation Stage is covered mainly through 'Understanding the World' withing the EYFS Curriculum. It is introduced indirectly through activities that encourage every child to explore, problem solve, observe, predict and think about the world around them. During their first year at school, our children will explore animals, people, plants and objects in their natural environment.
Across Key Stage 1 and 2 Primary Science is split into four main areas:
- Scientific Enquiry
- Life Processes and Living Things
- Materials and their Properties
- Physical Processes
At Smeeth, children learn through a range of engaging, practical activities that reflect a broad and rich curriculum. Our children learn collaboratively and independently across the school and we encourage them to explore practical investigative work and solve problems. Planning is based on clear progression so that they move forward across the school, revising and building on prior knowledge to support memory across the four areas. Links have been made to connect learning across the curriculum to support scientific skills, eg drawing bar graphs in maths and understanding the human anatomy in PSHE. Children are encouraged to record their work in a variety of ways, and learning is differentiated where needed, so that all children are able to make progress in their learning.
Our Computing Curriculum is taught throughout the school and children learn numerous skills. These skills are built upon year on year, until the end of Key Stage Two where children will emerge accomplished in many aspects of computing. Within the computing curriculum, children learn through completing projects and have to gain new skills to complete these units of work. Children in all key stages learn computer programming and coding, testing and debugging their apps as they go, as well as touch-typing and how to use common computer software.
Computers are used to support learning both in computing lessons and through cross-curricula activities, such as: iPads to film English drama; timing in athletics; Kahoot quizzes for revision or pre-learning; research activities, etc. We have a computing suite that allows for each class to have a dedicated day using these resources. Classrooms are well-resourced with interactive whiteboards, PCs, cameras and visualisers, all of which are used to enhance children’s learning. The school also makes use of shared resources such as iPads and laptops which can be used within lessons or as part of group work.
In our Reception Class, children develop their Understanding of the World with rich discussions, books and play-based activities focusing on the lives of people around them and drawing on similarities and differences between things in the past and present. Throughout the school, not only do children learn about national and global key historical events, but also make investigative research into significant historic events, people and places in their own locality. Woven within our History curriculum are the 'Smeeth Golden Threads' namely; 'Society,' 'Conflict,' 'Invention,' 'Religion,' and 'Leadership and Economy.' These specifically chosen historical concepts are revisited throughout KS1 and KS2, enabling children to build on previously taught learning, developing their understanding and knowledge of each golden thread, whilst observing how they change throughout time.
Our History curriculum is enriched by educational visits, days or weeks dedicated to immersing ourselves in a particular topic, with workshops led by 'live history' actors. Children enjoy whole school history assemblies, where the stories of significant individuals come to life and where topics such as black history, mutual respect, tolerance, democracy and individual liberty are linked to our British Values.
We use a variety of techniques to ensure children retain and secure the historical knowledge we teach them. Teachers refer to knowledge and skills organisers to ensure key facts and language are embedded, continuously making links to previous learning by revisiting previously taught topics, reminding children of facts and vocabulary. Topic-specific language is displayed and children can be seen using these as points of reference when contributing to class discussions and when writing about their topic. Teachers and children make good use of the timelines displayed in every classroom, so that there is a clear understanding of chronology. An holistic ethos ensures that cross-curricular links are made when teaching History, with children applying their writing, computer research and geography skills and making those important connections.
Outdoor learning is a key part of the Geography curriculum at Smeeth. Younger children use their senses, leading their own learning in Forest School to observe, describe and care for nature. Older children skillfully use compasses and maps, collecting and analysing data through fieldwork experiences. Our rich, hands-on Geography curriculum helps children develop a deeper understanding of the subject and a love of learning through exploration.
Children develop contextual knowledge of globally significant places, including their defining physical and human geographical features and changes over time, making good use of maps which are displayed in classrooms and on the outside of the school building. Teachers help children retain their learning by referring and revisiting knowledge and skills organisers and the impact is evident when hearing the children's contributions to class discussions. Cross-curriculum planning ensures that children are able to use appropriate Mathematical, Science and Computing Skills in their Geography topics. This enables them to interpret a range of sources, including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs and to use their numerical and quantitative skills.
Physical Education at Smeeth inspires all pupils to participate and succeed. We are fortunate enough to engage a PE specialist for two days per week, who works with the teachers to further develop teaching skills in dance and gymnastics. Our dedicated Sports Leaders from Year 6 organise and run lunchtime games, incorporating a range of PE skills for the younger children whilst developing their own leadership skills and responsibility. There is an excellent variety of extra-curricular activities throughout the school year, including athletics, archery, football, gymnastics and netball - the list goes on! In addition to all of this, the local tennis club have been coaching our children as part of an ongoing community development project, teaching each class across the school. Currently, as financial pressures that families may be feeling following Covid, the school carries the cost of all but one of these clubs so that every child who wishes to may take part.
The school actively takes part in competitive fixtures in a variety of different sports throughout the school year, including football, netball, athletics and the Kent Challenger Games. In terms 5 and 6 our Years 3, 4, 5, and 6 take part in swimming lessons to develop their swimming strokes, and safety around water with lifesaving skills. Our school Sports Day takes place in the summer term and allows all children to participate in a mix of competitive and fun activities to support their House Teams.
Children at Smeeth are encouraged to develop their musical talent. Children are encouraged to sing songs every day in assembly as well as in a dedicated Singing Assembly once a week. In these assemblies children are encouraged to sing fun songs (sometimes with actions and dance moves!) to coincide with seasonal events, (Easter, Christmas and Harvest Festival) where each class performs a song.
Smeeth has a successful choir that has over 30 members from Key Stage 2. Every year we attend the Young Voices Concert at the O2 which gives choir members the chance to sing with 7000 other children from the South East! The teaching of the Music Express Scheme is adopted throughout the school; this is an extremely comprehensive set of resource materials and termly plans which provide continuity and progression in the teaching of music from the Foundation Stage through Key Stage 1 to the end of Key Stage 2.
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education
PSHE helps to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to develop as confident, healthy and independent individuals. PSHE lessons at Smeeth help to promote physical and emotional well-being for all our children and support the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children. Our planning for PSHE covers emotional health and well-being, financial awareness, sex and relationship education, drug, tobacco and alcohol education, bullying and citizenship, at a level appropriate to children’s age. At Smeeth PSHE and RSE lessons are taught through a spiral curriculum, whereby knowledge and skills from both areas are taught intrinsically from Year R to Year 6. By teaching and progressing knowledge and skills this way makes for a successful PSHE and RSE education.
At Smeeth, we promote core values and prepare children for life in modern Britain; through PSHE and across the curriculum, children explore democracy, rights and responsibilities, respect and tolerance of those of different faiths, beliefs and opinions. A wealth of enrichment activities further support and complement our PSHE curriculum. These include residential trips, school visits, community events, sports, arts and music clubs and events.
Targeted nurture groups and sessions support children to develop social skills and a sense of self-worth. Kindness and well-being are at the heart of our school values and are the focus of school assemblies, class behaviour reward systems and star awards. Children are actively involved in making decisions and discussing issues surrounding their health, friendships and well-being through the School Council and other pupil voice activities.
Please see our RSE policy for updated information following the government's revised curriculum.
Click on the links below to see what children need to know by the end of primary school and please see below for our long-term plan.
Modern Foreign Languages
At Smeeth all pupils in Key Stage 2 learn languages. We teach language through other subject areas and using language for real purposes in daily classroom routines. Through our teaching of languages we aim to:
- Ensure every child has the opportunity throughout Key Stage 2 to study a foreign language and develop their interest in the culture of other nations.
- Ensure pupils’ learning is enriched in a broad and balanced curriculum to which languages contribute.
- Ensure pupils have access to high quality teaching and learning opportunities, making use of native speakers whenever possible.
- Provide language teaching informed by the skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Cultural Understanding.
Links are made to the English curriculum so that children can make connections about the structure of language. For example, word classes and conjugation of regular and irregular verbs.
Religious Education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Smeeth Primary School, we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and we address the fundamental questions in life, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions.
The aims of Religious Education at Smeeth are to help children:
- have deep respect for other peoples’ views and to celebrate the diversity in society;
- develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences;
- develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other major world religions and value systems found in Britain;
- develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition;
- be able to reflect on their own experiences and to develop a personal response to the fundamental questions of life;
- develop an understanding of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural differences in Britain today;
develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgements about religious issues.
Art and DT
Our vision is to develop art appreciation, visual awareness and creative self-expression through the teaching of basic art and design techniques in a fun and inspirational way. Smeeth aim to:
- ensure that the school is equipped with quality, child friendly products for the children to explore and immerse themselves.
- ensure that Art and Design is used to aid general concentration and memory, boost creativity, promote good mental health and reduce anxiety amongst children.
- provide creative opportunities and experiences for children to be involved in and practice art in different ways.
We introduce a variety of Artists to enthuse and inspire children to explore art in new and exciting ways using a range of media. We provide opportunities to produce art outdoors and in different environments to provide children with new and exciting experiences. Our beautiful display in our reception area gives an insight in how Art is done at Smeeth.