We have 3 main drivers for our curriculum design:
- Knowledge of the world
- Relationships (eg sense of team)
We have a 2 year cycle to teach and reinforce learning attutudes and behaviours at Houldsworth Valley. We believe this leads to the academic success of the children. (see long term planning)
We have currently created a 1 year cycle to focus as a school on key Rights Respecting articles. (see attachments)
We have a 2 year Ready for Life curriculum that prepares the children for life, for example friendship and online safety. (see attachments)
In English we complete SFA to ensure all children can be taught at an age related level. In Maths we complete Maths Mastery to ensure depth, challenge and consistency.
We have a long term plan for every year group based on coverage of National Curriculum objectives over time. In Key Stage 2 we have a 3 year cycle as children are currently taught in some mixed age classes. We encourage and expect a deeper knowlege or the World in upper KS2 and a range of skills that draw on the knowledge that is known.
Medium term plans are evident on class pages of this website. This further breaks down the long term objectives to plan writing opportunities, key facts and vocabulary, getting the children to think discretely as scientists and historians for example. Knowledge organisers are used to highlight key vocabulary, definitions and facts. (see these on class pages)
We use pre and post quizzes in Science and History and Geography. Staff are tracking knowledge gained in all foundation subjects using their own tracking system.
Book Study over 2 days is completed termly at Houldsworth Valley. We are trailling class books to record practical activities and showcase our broad and balanced curriculum.
Success for All
Success for All is a prime strategy to teaching English. Success for All is an evidence-based school improvement strategy. We work extensively to embed a consistent and dynamic approach to teaching and learning known as co-operative learning.
Success For All is a whole school improvement programme that:
- Improves teaching and learning - focusing on literacy.
- Secures sustainable improvement.
- Empowers leadership and builds capacity.
- Develops effective use of data - illustrating real time progress
The pupils in the school are set at the appropriate level for their reading and writing. This session lasts for 90 minutes a day. It includes the teaching of phonics, spellings, guided reading and writing. The pupils are assessed every 6 weeks and groups are altered accordingly. The books used are rich and exciting.
The pupils in the school are taught phonics following the 'Success for All' programme daily. The Success For All phonics programme is based on synthetic phonics where the children are taught the link between sounds and the way they look. For example, the children are taught to hear and recognise the sounds within the word ‘cat’ - /c/ /a/ /t/ and that together they make the word ‘cat’. This means that they can read and write the word ‘cat’ based on the sounds that have been taught. Phonics is taught systematically and at a fast pace to allow the children to progress rapidly and to develop the skills that that they need for reading and writing. Children start learning about sounds in Nursery and then progress to learning formal phonics in Reception. This prepares them for reading and writing in Reception and throughout Key Stages 1 and 2.
We also use 'Jolly Phonics' and 'Letters and Sounds' to support the teaching of sounds. (see attached) In Reception we are also using 'Fairy Phonics' to supplement 'Success For All' in 2018-2019.
What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening?
The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in their phonics skills to read words and will be on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.
The check consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half nonsense words, the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
SPAG is linked to Success For All when appropriate. SPAG is also taught in the foundation subjects in the afternoon.
- Children are taught the cursive style of handwriting from reception onwards.
- Handwriting Heroes encourages all children to complete their best handwriting in all subjects.
- Letterjoin is used to teach progression in a cursive style.
At Houldsworth Valley we believe that an active encouragement for each child to read for pleasure or for ‘fun’ is an essential part of education. Reading for pleasure provides wide and significant educational advantages across the curriculum. At the core of this is the right for the child to choose texts.
We encourage children to read for pleasure by providing a wide range of texts including picture books for all ages. The children, with help from the class teacher, regularly exchange books. We have a well-stocked library that children can access for an even wider range of reading experiences.
Children take home a book from the library. Parents are encouraged to read with their children and complete a reading log. We encourage older children to comment in their own reading logs and teach them the kind of comments to make.
All classrooms have a dedicated cosy and comfortable reading area stocked with books and magazines. Story cafes and story assemblies are in place.
PIRA tests are completed termly to assess whether the pupils are working below, at or above age-related expectations. Coverage sheets are kept in yellow files. Books indicate progress over time.
Children are taught to develop stamina and skills in writing as they progress through the school. They are taught to write at length with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Writing includes narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations.
At Houldsworth Valley we see writing as cross-curricular and not just confined to the English lesson so the above skills and objectives are taught in all subjects.
Children write in pencil and in Key Stage two have to opportunity to obtain a pen licence to allow them to write in a handwriting pen.
To give children the opportunity to write at length we have a whole school writing session each week where children are given a 10-minute stimulus and then time to write independently in a quiet environment in their classroom with music playing. Slow writing techniques are often linked to this session.
Mathematics helps children to make sense of the world around them through developing their ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables children to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in their everyday lives. Through their growing knowledge and understanding, children learn to appreciate the contribution made by many cultures to the development and application of mathematics.
We use the National Curriculum 2014 and the Early Years Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals to plan our curriculum.
We believe in consistency across the school.
- Every class has a Maths lesson daily.
- Every class completes a 10 minutes ‘Maths Meeting’ daily.
- Every class uses Mathematical music or songs during lesson transitions.
- Every class uses a range of equipment including numicon.
- Every class has a Maths learning wall.
- Every class follows the maths mastery programme up to Year 4 and encourages the children to explain, reason and discuss.
PUMA tests are completed termly to assess whether the pupils are working below, at or above age-related expectations.
Every pupil in the school has a Dance lesson weekly in the studio.
We have our own Science Lab. Newmarket Aacdemy have worked with us with our Science.
Our aim in Science is to give children opportunities to observe, record and draw conclusions about the world in which they live. We believe that teaching and learning in Science should stimulate and excite children’s curiosity about the world around them. It provides first hand experiences and support for children to develop enquiring minds.
Wherever possible, Science is taught through a practical hands-on approach using our Science Lab. A variety of practical experiences, set in meaningful contexts, helps our pupils to ask scientific questions and then use their knowledge, skills and understanding to find the answers. Working individually, or given a specific role within a group, the children develop the life skills of both independence and collaboration. We use the National Curriculum 2014 and the Early Years Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals to plan our curriculum. Our medium term plans follow a 2 year rolling cycle, ensuring full coverage of the curriculum by the end of each key stage.
As far as possible Science is incorporated within each whole school topic, however when this is not possible Science is taught as a standalone subject for that half term.
Teachers use a range of both formative and summative methods to assess Science with each topic having a required practical skill assessment focus.
We have our own food technology room to cook in regularly.
We have a specialist music teacher in Year 5.
Themed days and experts
We regularly have a variety of themed days. This have included Science Day in December 2018 and an Art day in March 2019. We have a vast amount of visitors including an indian dance expert, a Olympic badminton player, a visiting artist, an author and illustrator and a stone age man!
We ensure our children have practical experiences such as visits to the Gymnastics Centre in Ipswich.