Curriculum and Class Topics

During the Foundation Stage the curriculum is divided into 7 areas of learning and development. These comprise of 3 Prime Areas – communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. There are also 4 specific areas through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied – literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts & design. We ask parents to help us with our assessments in these areas by making observations on chosen monthly areas – see the notice board in the entrance hall.

From Year 1, as the children become ready, they begin to access the National Curriculum. This was introduced following the Education Reform Act 1988 and is for all children aged between 5 and sixteen in local authority maintained schools in England and Wales. The National Curriculum consists of eleven subjects and RE which all children will study at school.

The core National Curriculum subjects are : Maths, English, Science. The foundation subjects are : Design and Technology, Music, History, Art and Design, Geography, Physical Education, Languages, Computing.

From Year 3 the children will follow the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum. Computing is an integral part of all curriculum areas. We are well resourced in this area with interactive whiteboards in each classroom, an ICT suite with a set of iPads and a class set of learnpads. French is taught in KS2.

You will be sent information at the start of each term that tells you what your child will be learning about. The curriculum is arranged to follow a theme that is carefully chosen to meet the needs of the pupils, to cover the legal requirements of the National Curriculum and to try to inspire and excite the children and to promote independent learning. The themes are planned through six areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication, Language and Literacy
  • Creative Development
  • Physical Development
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World
  • Mathematical Development

The staff at Branscombe believe that the curriculum should be relevant, fun and exciting for all learners. We know that children learn best when they are actively engaged with activities which are practical and take into account the different ways in which children learn and their individual strengths, talents and ways of thinking.

Great emphasis is placed on the pupils developing basic skills in reading, writing and maths but also on learning those key skills of working with others, problem solving, improving their own performance and communication. We use the language of Growth Mindsets and 7Cs (Confidence, Curiosity, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Commitment and Craftsmenship) to develop the children’s learning behaviours.

Continuity and progression is built in to the planning. Differentiated approaches to delivery of the curriculum cater for the varying abilities of children. Teachers use a variety of methods including class lessons, group activities and individual tasks. Whenever possible we try to arrange a visit or visitors to school to help the understanding of the theme and to allow the children to really enjoy learning.
 
The teaching of reading and phonics

We follow the recommendations of the Letters and Sounds scheme and teach synthetic phonics in daily sessions. The usual structure for these lessons is:
 
  • review recent learning,
  • new learning
  • practise new learning
  • apply skill in wider context

Children read and spell during the course of each lesson.

A number of appealing resources are used in this process, but our main focus is the 'Letters and Sounds' programme as well as using ‘Phonics Play’. This colourful and stimulating resource takes children from the early stage of learning letter-sound correspondences through to in-depth knowledge of vowel digraphs like /igh/ and /aw/ etc. The programme encourages multi-sensory active learning strategies. Several of our resources make use of ICT and the IWB.

In addition to phonic teaching, we teach whole word recognition of common words, significant names and the phonically irregular ‘tricky words’ identified in the Letters and Sounds programme. We also consolidate children’s phonological skills through word play etc with the aim that they are confident at hearing patterns like alliteration, rhyme and rhythm and are able to identify the number of syllables they hear in words.

Children practise their developing reading skills in a variety of contexts. We share-read large texts, work on guided reading texts in small groups and have individual reading books for home reading. The latter are selected with the help of teaching staff from our graded reading scheme each stage of which includes fiction and non-fiction titles from a variety of publishers including Oxford Reading Tree and Bug Club. Children also enjoy the opportunity of visiting our library each week and choosing a library book to take home.

For more information relating to the Curriculum please speak to Mrs Katie Gray, Executive Headteacher.