Teaching and Learning – Key Stage One
How we teach...
At New Invention Infant School, we have created an exciting, innovative, bespoke curriculum with overarching cohesive themes across the whole of the school. British Values thread throughout these themes; however, there is a greater emphasis on aspects of this at particular points during the year. These themes are chosen purposefully, to engage young children, while year on year building on prior knowledge systematically, to widen their understanding of themselves and the world around them. The children also access year group topics that link into our overarching themes throughout the year.
Autumn Term - ‘Me and My Imagination’
By placing this theme at the start of each academic year, it enables the children some time to think about themselves and their individuality, the challenges ahead as they transition and share their interests, thoughts and emotions as they build new relationships.
Spring Term – ‘Heroes and Villains’
This theme further develops the children’s understanding of how to keep themselves safe. It gives them the opportunity to explore the dynamics of relationships and mutual respect including what is acceptable in the way we treat others and in the way that others treat us. This theme also aims to develop children’s understanding of tolerance, rights and wrongs and the rule of law.
Summer Term – ‘Natural World’
During this theme, the children will explore the natural world moving from insular environments to the wider world as they move through the school. They will explore animals, nature and the environment including developing an understanding of environmental issues and what it means to be a world citizen.
Children are posed interesting challenges linked to the real world where possible in order to give purpose to their learning. Visits and visitors enhance each topic, which are all chosen to match the interests of our young children. Our bespoke curriculum is creative, broad, balanced, tightly structured and highly differentiated. Children tend to complete English and Maths activities in their morning sessions and non-core lessons during the afternoon although where possible we do make links between core and non-core subjects. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and feeds into each subject area we teach. Children begin their day by taking part in reading/phonic activities one of which is a whole class read once a week where children tackle a high level of challenge text which is explored and reading is shared and modelled with the adults and children reading together in class. Children focus on a core text across at least two weeks in Key Stage One to allow for depth of learning and fully immerse the children in a text through drama, spelling, punctuation, and grammar lessons and through reading and writing. In Maths we follow the White Rose Hub but have adapted the teaching order of this to better support our children and the way they learn and to enable us to revisit concepts to ensure they are embedded over time. Children are also given opportunities to access continuous provision where they can practice and reinforce key skills in independent activities at stations around the classroom. This enables children to take responsibility for their own learning and builds their independence and resilience to access challenges and support themselves with the prompts that are accessible at each station.
No two children are the same, and we cater for individual differences and needs by providing a personalized curriculum whenever necessary. Early identification of need ensures we can consider curriculum, teaching approaches and learning styles to ensure every child grows and prospers.
What we teach...
Our curriculum teaches the content prescribed within the National Curriculum through our topic choices as outlined above. In Year One these are: Toys and Me, Once Upon a Time – Traditional Tales and Castles and Over Land and Sea and the Seaside. Year Two topics are: Explorers-Pirates and Africa, Pioneers and Campaigners and Stones and bones-Dinosaurs
Assessment and Homework
At the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage pupils are assessed again through the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP), in accordance with statutory requirements, and these assessments are used to inform progress throughout Key Stage One. We utilise assessment for learning procedures to ensure all staff are highly focused not only on achievement but more importantly, on preparing for the next step of learning.
All Year 1 children take a National Phonics Screening check and all children who did not pass the threshold for the Year One Phonics Check make a second attempt at this during the Summer Term in Year 2, alongside their end of Key Stage One assessments. The phonics check looks at the ability to recognise graphemes and blend these together to decode words in isolation. The words that children will read are a mixture of ‘normal’ words and words that are ‘alien’ names – made up words. It is possible for a child to be a relatively fluent reader, with good comprehension skills – without having strong, accurate phonic decoding skills when reading these ‘alien names’. Sometimes, this does not hold children back at Key Stage 1 because words are largely familiar and predictable, but towards the end of primary school, words become less familiar and less predictable. Children who are less accurate at identifying new words and decode these using their phonic skills can fall behind their peers and progress at a slower rate as the complexity of texts increase.
In the Summer Term all Year Two children take part in statutory assessments which take the form of tests. These assessments are used to support the judgements made by Year Two teachers about your child’s level of attainment. They take two reading paper tests and two Maths test – one for arithmetic and one for reasoning which tests wider strands of maths and the ability to solve problems. Children are formally assessed in Reading, Writing, all areas of Mathematics and Science and this is then reported around the end of June to the Local Authority. Testing takes place throughout May. We administer our special quizzes in a child-friendly way in small groups to get the best out of the children and ensure they do not get anxious about these tasks. In the spring term parents are invited in to school to share quizzes with their child and see the process of how to practise exam technique with their child at home ready to receive practise materials to complete for homework from the Spring Term onwards. Any child who may need further practise or may lack confidence with this will be invited to attend a booster group after school once a week through the Spring Term to further practise their test technique in small focused groups with the Year Two teachers.
You will be kept informed about the progress of your child at regular Parent’s Evenings, and through a formal report at the end of the school year. If you have any worries, queries or questions about your child’s progress, staff are willing to make themselves available after school, just ask to make an appointment.
The major commitment to homework in our school is through Reading; learning sounds, words, practicing reading and sharing stories and books generally, answering questions and finding out information gives children an essential base for all learning and a desire and thirst to want to find out more. We have an on-line reading scheme called Bug Club found on our school website as well as more traditional reading books which are brought home. Year groups and classes will also set mini-challenges via Marvellous Me; this may be to find something out, bring something in from home or to access our school website to take part in a project or activity. You will be asked to sign a home/school agreement when your child enters our school, outlining our shared responsibilities.