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Rowanfield Infant

Junior
School

Core Curriculum

At Rowanfield Infant School we have developed a knowledge-rich Curriculum which is engaging and exciting, and which draws on our local context. 

 

Our core curriculum focuses on doing the basics well, helping children develop their knowledge of Reading, Writing and Maths through first practising an area of learning, then applying that knowledge and exploring links within and around it, before using this developing knowledge to create something new with it.

We call it PAC and you'll see it throughout the children's books and on teacher’s planning.

This approach to teaching and learning deepens a child's understanding and is heavily influenced by taxonomies of learning, specifically the Blooms Taxonomy and the SOLO Taxonomy.

Find out more about each below:

Blooms Taxonomy

SOLO Taxonomy

Maths.  

Children are taught efficient methods for mental and written calculations in Maths which are practised and applied through a wide range of contexts. These core skills are revisited frequently in order to enable children to become more confident in their handling of numbers and allowing them to choose and use appropriate methods for solving problems and mathematical investigations.

Our Maths Learning Journeys are personalised to each child and support them in developing the skills and understanding required to achieve their year group expectations. Through daily assessment and observation, we are able to support and accelerate learning for each pupil. Each objective gives opportunities for children to Practise, Apply and Create to ensure that they are able to utilise their knowledge across a range of contexts. We aim to develop learners who adopt life-long skills central to a knowledge and understanding of mathematics. This individualised approach helps to raise children's self-esteem and allows them to take ownership of their achievements whilst understanding their next steps in their learning.

Further support is given through discrete Basic Skills sessions, where children revisit previous units and spend time learning specific mathematical skills and knowledge to enable them to create links between different areas of the maths curriculum. Daily 'Maths Facts' sessions also allow children to frequently revisit key information such as shape names, times table facts and mathematical vocabulary.

The GLA Annual Overview for Maths is available here.

The GLA Fractions Calculation Policy is available here.

Writing

Throughout our curriculum, we ensure children are given a wide range of opportunities to develop and practise their Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening skills. All of these skills are taught through the class Big Idea. This thematic approach allows children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, communicating effectively with others.

In English lessons, children are taught to write a wide range of non-fiction texts, as well as narratives, poetry and drama, during their school journey. Throughout the school we use a strategy called 'Talk for Writing' to immerse children in the model texts. It is a process which follows the notion that if you can't say a sentence, you won't be able to write it. Each text type is introduced and explored, looking at its key features and structures as well as its associated vocabulary. The children then learn the text through recital, pictorial prompts, actions, drama or dictation.  They are then supported in the creation of their own innovations of the text.  Talk 4 Writing is a nationally recognised method for teaching children to write, developed by former Children's Laureate Pie Corbett and you can find out more about it here.

Further support is given to children in the use of punctuation and sentence through use of VGPS (vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling sessions). This programme allows children to practise and apply their learning across a range of contexts outside their current text type. It also allows children to explore further areas of the English curriculum such as Spellings, Choral Speaking and Handwriting.

An overview of our Writing Text-Type Coverage can be found here

An example of a Talk 4 Writing Learning Journey can be found here

Y2 National Curriculum Spellings can be found here

Reading

During their first year at school, children are taught to read and write through the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. They are taught all of the sounds and use these to segment for spelling and blend together for reading. We don't use one specific reading scheme at Rowanfield Infant School, instead we use books from a range of schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree and Usborne.

We use a Reciprocal Reading approach to Reading lessons in school.  This method developed in New Zealand in the 1980s is a tried and tested way of supporting children not just in their ability to decode but also to comprehend what they are reading:

Predict - Before you begin

Before you begin a new text with a child, ask them to predict what they think it will be about.

The prediction can be based on:

  • Knowledge of the author / previous books
  • Pictures & text boxes
  • The blurb
  • Skim-scanning the first sentence or two

Clarify - Whilst reading

Whilst the child is reading, encourage them to ask you about words they don’t understand.  Help them understand the meaning by reading the sentence back to them and seeing if they recognise it in context.  If they don’t, provide clarification.  Clarification doesn’t just have to be for words, it can also be about phrases, locations, names etc.

Question - Whilst reading

Whilst reading, also find opportunities to ask the child questions about the text.  These can be a range of question types e.g:

    • Find and retrieve questions - Remind me, on the last page, was it a football or a tennis ball Biff was playing with?
    • Inference questions - Why do you think Dad was so mad when he saw the boys had smashed the window?
    • Layout and structure - Why does this page have extra information boxes?
    • Summary questions -  True or false, on page 4, we found out it was Chip’s birthday

Summarise - After reading

When you have finished the session with the child, ensure you summarise what it is you have read.  The summary should be Shorter than the text, Use your own words, and the Main ideas only e.g. In this story it was Chip’s birthday, he received a football as a present from Biff, but unfortunately the boys broke the window and dad was angry.