Early Years Foundation stage
Our Early Years Foundation Stage consists of seven areas of learning. Three of these areas are the prime areas of learning and they are:
- Communication and language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
And four specific areas of learning:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Our teachers provide an exciting environment (indoors and outdoors) where children can engage in both child-initiated activities and teacher-led activities in order to develop their learning in these seven areas. We use the Development Matters Framework to help us plan for and assess these activities.
Key Stages 1 & 2
At present we are adapting our Long Term Plan for the teaching of English. We are moving to teaching Narrative, Non-Fiction and Poetry (where possible) by using one or more quality texts as a starting point. For example the book ‘Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters’ by John Steptoe led to the children writing their version of a fairy tale with a similar theme and a non-fiction booklet on African Animals.
There is a big emphasis on transferable skills with the expectation that the standard of reading and writing in other lessons is as good as it is in discrete English lessons.
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics and Spellings are taught daily in discrete sessions or as part of an English lesson. We follow our own plan based on Letters and Sounds which leads the children through each phase (1-6) to become confident readers, writers and spellers. The ability to understand and use phonics is vital to a child’s development in these 3 areas and our Foundation Stage team put in a lot of work to give children the best start. (Phases 1-4). This is followed up in year 1 (phase 5) and year 2 (phase 6) and into years 3 and 4. The expectation is that children will have completed phase 6 by the end of KS1 but for many children it takes a bit longer. Phonics Play and Mr Thorne are valuable resources used for the teaching of phonics along with spelling games and activities.
Children learn spellings weekly through ‘Write Words’. They bring home ten spellings appropriate to their phonic level and only change words when they can spell them. This ensures children are building up their spelling vocabulary at a level appropriate to them.
We are currently promoting the development of reading through the teaching of inference skills. In Foundation stage the children learn to read as they use their phonic knowledge to segment and blend sounds in words. Daily reading at home and school builds up this skill for them to become fluent and confident readers. This ability will continue to develop throughout years one and two. At all stages of the reading process children discuss the books with the adult to develop their understanding of the text, building up to making reasoned inferences about the meaning of what they read. Children are encouraged to read ‘in phrases’ so that they understand the sense of the text rather than just ‘decoding’ single words. Fluency and understanding are developed ‘hand in hand’ as the child makes progress at their own pace.
Children bring home a ‘reading scheme’ book appropriate to the phonic phase they are working at. They also choose books to read/enjoy from our extensive school library and individual class libraries. We are currently trying to promote ‘reading miles’ with our children. This means we provide as many opportunities as possible for children to listen to, read and enjoy a wide range of texts.
In all stages of the writing process children are encouraged to ‘speak a sentence’ before committing it to paper. In the Foundation Stage this begins with mark making, copying sentences scribed by the teacher and making phonically plausible attempts at writing sentences (emergent writing). As the child grows in confidence they will become more independent in their writing and begin to apply grammar to improve their sentence structure. The National Curriculum places a large emphasis on grammar and spelling and these are taught as part of the English Unit lessons outlined above. Some aspects of grammar are taught discretely but mostly they are taught in conjunction with the writing aspect of the English lesson.
Our Foundation Stage children learn to form letters using a pre-cursive style. When they enter Key Stage 1 they learn to join letters using the school’s cursive style. Discrete handwriting sessions form part of the children’s phonics and spellings sessions but are also addressed in every lesson.
Mathematics in Langford VA is taught using the Mastery approach which emphasizes a mastery curriculum that involves whole-class teaching, with all pupils being taught the same concepts at the same time. Our mathematics curriculum aims to enable children to become:
fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, 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 with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
To achieve these aims we employ concrete and pictorial representations alongside the abstract to develop and reinforce understanding for all children, regardless of ability and attainment.
Our Mathematics Curriculum is planned using the White Rose Maths (2017) Teachers use this resource to plan teaching sequences to suit the needs of the children in their class. Although number is at the heart of the Mastery curriculum, mathematics at Langford also includes Measurement (length, height, weight, volume, time, money, temperature), Geometry (shape, position and direction) and Statistics.
Science is mostly taught as a discreet subject, although we do at times, have some cross-curricular topics too. We aim to engage the children in fun, practical Science lessons, which simultaneously support the development of scientific enquiry skills, the subject knowledge and the children’s love for the subject.
(Incorporating History, Geography, Art and Design & Technology)
All of these subjects are taught in a cross-curricular way through 3 termly topics. We feel that this way of teaching keeps the learning exciting and enables children to see the links between different areas. We start each topic with a ‘Wow’ day which introduces the children to the topic in a fun and exciting way. We have at least 3 visits from North Herts museum each year, as well as extra artefacts from them, to help bring the topics to life. We have a robust monitoring system in place to ensure that all the necessary skills and knowledge are taught. Wherever possible children are also able to apply their learning using the Chrome books.
Music is taught discretely using Music Express and Charanga Music. Every week we have a piece of music by a famous composer in each assembly for the children to listen to and recognise. We also have a weekly singing assembly. There are also opportunities for children to learn to play the piano, guitar and recorder.
Children have two lessons of PE each week. One of these lessons is taught by a member of staff who is a qualified Sports Coach and the other is taught by the class teacher. We use a variety of schemes and teacher’s own expertise to teach various different areas of PE. We aim to provide children with a variety of experiences which will develop their motor skills, make them aware of space and its use, allow them to move freely and expressively on their own and co-operate with others. Much of the early work will emphasize individual skill and technique, leading on to small game situations involving co-operation and competition. Basic Moves- a set of transferable skills useful in many different sports is taught as one of the PE sessions in Key Stage One. Swimming is taught in Key Stage Two for those children who cannot swim 25 metres. Outdoor and Adventurous Activities are catered for during the children’s residential trip to Grafham in Year 4.
Our children are taught Computing skills using the Purple Mash Scheme of Work. Teachers use the lesson plans and adapt if needed. This is an online programme that the children can access from home too. Each child has their own individual log-in. The scheme ensures it covers the aspects of the computing curriculum: computer science (CS), information technology (IT) and digital literacy (DL). The children will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a wide range of content.
Within our computing lessons children have the chance to use our new Chromebooks.
The children have lots of opportunities to apply their computing skills in other areas of the Curriculum; for example, in some English lessons children may be asked to research some information for a non-fiction piece of writing or in Maths some children may be required to complete some of their learning on the Chromebooks. We have an ICT suite, and the bank of Chromebooks is available for teachers to book to have in their classroom. All classrooms have an interactive whiteboard which the teachers use in their lessons.
One of the topics on our Key Stage 1 Curriculum is about France which provides a taster for our children’s work in Key Stage 1. Our Key Stage 2 children have a forty-minute French lesson once a week with a French-speaking Teacher. The lessons focus on speaking and listening, inter-cultural understanding and vocabulary. The children share picture books in French as well as write simple phrases and sentences.
Religious Education is taught through the ‘Identity, meanings and values RE agreed syllabus 2018 – 2019’. Every class has one lesson of Religious Education during the week. This is taught in a creative way through drama, are, role-play and a variety of speaking and listening activities. We also regularly organise regular speakers from different faiths in to speak to the children either during lesson time or during assembly. We currently have fortnightly assemblies delivered to us by the Open The Book team which consists of volunteers from St Andrews Church in Langford. Through the programme, children are encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards the lives and religious customs of others as well as exploring spiritual and moral aspects of life such as the emotions of love and hate, jealousy and intolerance, right and wrong, good and evil. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education should they wish.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
PSHE is embedded throughout the whole curriculum but is also taught combined with RE; using the planning from the LCP Scheme of Work. We also have a system of Values Education which runs through our system of assemblies. This is then built upon and referred to in each lesson that a child is part of (please see below for information about Assemblies). Our Learning Mentor also takes out children who we feel might need some extra help in this area. Sex Education is not taught as a discrete area of the curriculum, but staff aim to answer children’s questions as they arise, in science or PSHE.