Teaching, learning and the curriculum
Larkswood Primary Academy is committed to meeting the requirements of the national curriculum. We have revised our practice to reflect the content and challenge of the national curriculum (2014). All staff receive regular training in the key areas of curriculum change, which is taught with the consideration of the needs of all learners. Our curriculum is exciting and lends to inspire children to nurture a passion for life long learning.
A Head of Year leads each year group, which consists of three classes (four in years 1 and 4). Teams meet weekly to discuss children’s progress and to plan learning. We use programmes such as literacy and language from years 2 to 6, Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc from nursery to year 2, Primary Advantage Maths and EduKent, which enables pupils to develop skills in reading, writing, communication and maths across the curriculum. The academy has a broad and balanced curriculum, which makes learning challenging, motivational and enjoyable, fostering a desire to achieve. We make sure that all our pupils have the opportunity to excel. In the early years foundation stage we use the statutory ‘Early Years Framework’. Each child comes to our school with different needs and experiences: we carefully plan learning to help all children to progress.
Read Write Inc.
At Larkswood we teach RWInc Phonics from Nursery. In the video below are some of our Year 1 and 2 children learning to read and spell a new sound during one of their daily RWInc Phonics lessons, this is just one of the ways we teach children to decode words to read and segment sounds to spell… and to meet Fred!
Larkswood primary academy curriculum statementA new national curriculum was introduced in September 2014 and Larkswood primary academy is committed to meeting these requirements.
We have revised our schemes of work to reflect the content and challenge of the new curriculum. All staff have received training in the key areas of curriculum change in order to ensure an outstanding curriculum provision for all pupils.
The curriculum is taught with the consideration of the needs of all learners. Our curriculum is exciting and inspires children to nurture a passion for life long learning.
For further information please see the subject information tabs below.
New curriculum – https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum
Assessment at Larkswood
When the 2014 National Curriculum was published, new forms of assessment were developed to align with its content and principles. From September 2015, National Curriculum Levels are no longer used for statutory assessments. From Summer 2016 the results of National Curriculum tests at Key Stage 1 and 2 are reported in the form of scaled scores. There are, three main forms of assessment used throughout the academic year by schools that are part of The Lime Trust
- In-school formative assessment
- In-school summative assessment
- Nationally standardised summative assessment
In terms of data collection and reporting, The Lime Trust worked in partnership with the NAHT and Ofsted guidelines to devise a system that works for the pupils, with the sole aim of supporting their achievement.
The Lime Trust Schools use the assessment tracking system Essex Target Tracker to inform teachers and senior leaders of progress and attainment of children within each class, as well as supporting teachers in tracking and monitoring curriculum coverage.
Through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Performance Standards (PS), the children are tracked through their year group band.
Year 1 – Band 1
Year 2 – Band 2
Year 3 – Band 3
Year 4 – Band 4
Year 5 – Band 5
Year 6 – Band 6
Within each band, there are 6 steps that the children progress through, throughout each academic year – (see TT nomenclature below). If a child is showing clear strength / they are gifted and talented in a subject/s, the child’s learning is deepened within the year group’s curriculum where they will be achieving ‘Mastery’. If children are working below a year group expectation, they are discussed on a case by case basis at Pupil Progress meetings to ensure the appropriate interventions / support can be put in place.
Nomenclature used by Target Tracker
B – beginning
B+ – beginning plus
W – working within
W+ – working within plus
S – secure
S+ – secure plus (mastery)
Art and design
At Larkswood Primary Academy we believe the purpose of art education is to give pupils the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for them to express responses to ideas and experiences in a visual or tactile form. It fires their imagination and is a fundamental means of personal expression.
We introduce pupils to the wonders of the artistic world where the children have the opportunity to learn a variety of techniques using different media, and study the history of arts as well as application of design technology, ceramics and textiles.
Art and design is taught throughout the integrated curriculum following the objectives from the national curriculum. At Larkswood Primary Academy we endeavour to make sure that the curriculum is as creative as possible and therefore the various aspects of art and design are expressed through a variety of subjects creating cross curricular links wherever possible. Larkswood Primary Academy provide children in KS1 and KS2 with high quality sketch books where ideas and observations can be recorded, reviewed and revisited.
Art and design is an important aspect of the curriculum as it gives children from foundation stage, Key Stage 1 and 2 the opportunity to express themselves through different medias. This expression is valued at Larkswood Primary Academy and displaying the children’s art work prominently throughout the school as well as regularly exhibiting children’s work to parents.
Through design and technology Larkswood Primary Academy offer an inspiring, rigorous and practical way of expressing creativity and imagination. Pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts. Through a process of design, making, evaluating and extending their technical knowledge, children develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. We provide quality design and technology education that makes an essential contribution to their creativity, culture, wealth and well-being as well as giving them a basic understanding of cooking and nutrition.
We also have a week every year devoted to Art, during this week the children have the opportunity to look at various different themes with a focus on art skills.
At Larkswood Primary Academy we follow the principles set out in the National Curriculum for English. Our key aim is to promote high standards of English to equip children with the skills to have a strong command of the spoken and written word, and develop a real love literature by accessing a wide range of reading for enjoyment.
In EYFS and KS1 we primarily teach reading and writing through an inclusive Literacy programme called Read Write Inc. Children learn to read and write through a synthetic phonics approach where they read stories and engage in partner learning in homogenous groups. Larkswood has been recognised by Ruth Miskin Literacy for our exemplary teaching and learning in RWInc phonics by being awarded a ‘Badge Award’ for two consecutive years.
From Years 2 to 6 we primarily follow a scheme called Literacy and Language, which integrates the National Curriculum for reading, writing and spoken language (including spelling, grammar and punctuation). Literacy is also taught cross curricularly in all year groups, specifically linked to learning in Science, IPC and RE.
Handwriting is taught daily in Reception to Year 6 for 5-10 minutes. The cursive script (outlined in our Curriculum Policy) is followed by all children and staff at all times and throughout all subjects. Spellings are taught and practiced in each child’s RWInc group or RWInc Spelling unit – National Curriculum word banks are included in this. Every child from Year 1 to 6 practices for a weekly spelling test.
For further information about Literacy learning in your child’s class and our resources for reading (such as the library and online reading), please refer to the ‘Curriculum Overview’ for each year group.
At Larkswood Primary Academy we utilise a variety of software such as Scratch Jr, Kodu, Beebot and Espresso Coding to deliver the programming aspect of the new computing curriculum.
Through the use of software will teach children in Key Stage One to:
- Understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following a sequence of instructions.
- Write and test simple programs.
- Use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs.
In Key Stage Two Espresso Coding will teach children to;
- design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts.
- use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output; generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs to test programs.
- use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm works and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs.
Larkswood Primary Academy we provide every child the opportunity to read interactively through Pearson’s Bug Club. Bug Club is a whole-school reading programme that joins books with an online reading world to teach today’s children to read. It is to be used alongside the reading books the children are sent home. Children have a wide variety of interesting books to read from and will also be able to improve their reading comprehension skills by answering questions about the books.
MyMaths and Mathletics are interactive learning platforms for children to learn mathematics in an enjoyable interactive manner. Children will complete interactive homework set on MyMaths. Mathletics captivates and challenges students in a stimulating, interactive environment. They will complete tasks and work through the curriculum at their own pace. They will receive interactive rewards such as certificates to highlight their achievements.
At Larkswood every child has access to an iPadevery day and one hour a week in our ICT suite. The iPads allow each child to learn interactively and support their learning in every subject through specifically chosen curriculum based apps. The iPads also provide children with the opportunity to research on the internet. At lunchtimes an ICT club is provided to ensure children have access to a computer so that they can use the fantastic learning platforms mentioned above and complete any tasks set by their class teacher.
Numeracy at Larkswood is delivered through the Primary Advantage Maths Programme (PAMP) which has been written in line with the New National Curriculum. PAMP aims to develop children’s conceptual understanding of maths. This is done by encouraging the use of concrete and pictorial representations of problems to enable children to solve them successfully before moving on to a more abstract approach.
Children in EYFS and KS1 are exposed to ideas at a concrete level with a range of apparatus, such as Numicon, counters, beads and dienes. This helps the children to develop and secure their understanding of the value of numbers. Concrete apparatus continues to be used throughout KS2 in order to re-visit learning around number sense, or to illustrate new concepts.
Once children are secure in their concrete understanding of number, they will move on to using pictorial representations. This may mean diagrams, sketches or using the bar model. These visual examples support the children in moving into use of abstract methods, such as long division. Abstract written methods are taught throughout the school, and Years 2 to 6 have a weekly arithmetic test, as well as a weekly times table challenge.
This learning is underpinned by a strong focus on developing fluency in recalling number facts and the use of mental maths strategies. The aim being that when confronted with a maths problem, the children’s first thought is “Can I do it in my head?”
Each morning at 8:45, every class has a Morning Maths Meeting (MMM) which includes a times table activity, with related division facts, and a counting element. Short and snappy reasoning and problem solving activities are included in the MMM, such as ‘true or false’, ‘daily vote’, or ‘sometimes, always, never.’
Each Maths lesson lasts for 1 hour in KS1 and for 1 hour and 15 minutes in KS2.
At Larkswood Primary Academy pupils are taught science through units taken from the EduKent Science schemes of work. Units taught in each year group are based upon the national curriculum framework of study for science. Each unit either has a biology, physics or chemistry focus.
Within each science lesson pupils gain key scientific knowledge about their topic. Lessons are planned so that there is also a scientific skills focus, to enable pupils to gain a better understanding of the methods used in scientific investigation. Across the course of the year pupils will learn how to work scientifically by making observations, looking for patterns, classifying and grouping, fair testing and using secondary sources.
Scientific work is recorded in science books, as well as through work added to display and photographs of investigative work.
At Larkswood Primary Academy we engage the children in an exciting programme of learning in order to teach history and geography. The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) allows the children to be taught these vital subject areas through topic work which encourages the children to learn through exploration and investigation, ensuring that the learning is exciting, active and meaningful. The units run in the final two weeks of Autumn 1, Spring 1 and Summer 1 and sometimes school visits will link to the children’s IPC unit.
The IPC topics begin with an activity designed to immerse the children in the learning theme, which is closely followed by the children sharing their existing knowledge on the subject. The lessons planned can then be tailored to build on this prior learning.
In key stage one IPC includes topics which explore historical themes through ‘Time Travellers’ and ‘People of the past’. The children will expand their geographical knowledge with topics such as ‘From A to B’ and ‘Hooray! Let’s go on holiday.’
In key stage 2 the children will build on their historical and geographical knowledge through topics such as ‘Temples, tombs and treasures’; ‘The Great, the bold and the brave’;’ Gateway to the world’ and ‘Living together’. Some year groups will also explore an ancient civilisation in depth, and some will engage in a historical or geographical study of the local area.
For further information on the units that your child will be covering, please refer to the curriculum overview for your child’s year group.
The outdoor environment provides the space and the freedom for the type of learning that is difficult to replicate indoors. We believe all children have the right to the unique experience of learning outdoors. At Larkswood we have a mix of open space and bespoke outstanding play structures in each key phase. Each year we develop how these can be used to maximise the learning experience for all children.
Our outdoor learning enables children to:
- Attain higher levels of knowledge and skills. Improve physical health and motor skills.
- Engage with nature, be aware of the seasons and get some fresh air!
- Socialise and interact in new and different ways with both adults and peers.
- Improve concentration; enhance self-concept, mental health and well-being.
- Enhance teamwork, develop leadership skills and take supported risks.
- Change environmental behaviours and their values and attitudes.
At Larkswood we enable children to learn by working on a larger, more active scale than is possible indoors. We provide children with opportunities to work independently and collaboratively with enthusiasm and perseverance.
In our Nursery and Reception classes children are able to access the outdoor facilities throughout the school day. Children participate in adult led focus activities designed to encourage the development of the prime and specific areas of learning as well as having the freedom to explore child led initiatives.
In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two
Children continue to develop key collaboration skills through working together outdoors. Children will further their understanding of their IPC topics by using the natural environment to investigate, and further, learning. Wherever possible the outdoor environment will be used to make cross curricular links, helping to secure learning through concrete experience. At Larkswood we continue to develop our outdoor learning facilities through projects such as ‘Putting the wood back into Larkswood’. We are working collaboratively with Pupils, Parents, Governors and outside agencies to create a sustainable garden that will support the National Curriculum and extend children’s experience of the natural world. Pupils will continue to take part in whole school outdoor events working with children across year groups to problem solve on collaborative projects.
Den Day at Larkswood
Physical Education (PE)
Larkswood Primary Academy believes that physical education, experienced in a safe and supportive environment, is vital and unique in its contribution to a pupil’s physical and emotional development and health. The physical education curriculum aims to provide for pupils’ increasing self- confidence through an ability to manage themselves successfully in a variety of situations. Furthermore, it will teach and provide the children with the confidence and skills to compete in sports and activities to the best of their abilities.
Aims and purposes of P.E. at Larkswood Primary Academy
All children should be provided with opportunities and encouraged to:
- Experience a wide range of physical activity;
- Enable children to develop and explore physical skill with increasing control and coordination.
- Develop confidence and competence in performing different skills;
- Develop positive attitudes to physical activity;
- Participate in competitive sports and activities;
- Improve social and interpersonal skills;
- Appreciate the efforts of others, as well as their own;
- Respond positively to different challenges;
- Persevere and make sustained efforts to develop and improve their own performance;
- Pursue habits and interests that promote a healthy lifestyle;
- Become increasingly aware of how physical activity affects the body.
PE in Foundation Stage and Key stage 1
Children will learn and develop fundamental movement skills and become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They will engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.
Pupils will be taught to:
- master basic movements, including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities.
- participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending.
- perform dances, using simple movement patterns.
PE in Key stage 2
Building on the skills and activities taught in Key stage 1, children will continue to develop a broad range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They will enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They will develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.
Pupils will be taught to:
- use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination
- play competitive games, modified where appropriate [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis], and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending
- develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics]
- perform dances using a range of movement patterns
- take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team
- compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best
At Larkswood Primary Academy, we use the LCP PE Schemes of work, Create Development REAL PE and REAL Gym, imovesdance and 5-a-day Fitness to support us in the provisions of physical education and sports.
LCP PE Schemes of Work – http://www.lcp.co.uk/primary-school/physical-education
Create Development REAL PE – https://www.createdevelopment.co.uk/real-pe/
Create Development REAL Gym– https://www.createdevelopment.co.uk/real-gym/
5-a-day Fitness – http://5-a-day.tv/
Information and activities that can take place at home.
Healthy Eating – http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/healthy-eating.aspx
Find local activities – http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/local-change-for-life-activities.aspx
Shake Up Finder –https://10minuteshakeup.change4life.co.uk/shakeupfinder
Music stimulates complex thinking which requires high levels of precision. It demands commitment and imaginative decision making. Music is a powerful medium for communication between people of different ages, cultures and social backgrounds.
Here at Larkswood Primary Academy, we believe that musical activity allows children to explore feelings and provides children with opportunities to express themselves in ways that support or go beyond verbal communication. Being exposed to regular music making activities and being encouraged to respond to music can develop children’s aural awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem and creativity.
The art of music is the aesthetic organisation of sound using the elements of rhythm, pitch, dynamics, timbre and texture, within a variety of structures.
The music policy for Larkswood Primary Academy seeks to fulfil the statutory requirements as outlined in the New National Curriculum in an enjoyable and practical way.
To develop pupils’ skills, knowledge and understanding in performing, composing, listening and appraising.
- To develop pupils’ understanding of how music can take a variety of forms and that music can reflect other times and places.
- To develop pupils’ independence, self-esteem, motivation and empathy with others and the ability to work with them.
Planning for music
Each year group individually plans for their class / year group and differentiates accordingly. The school use the online programme Charanga to help support teachers in increasing their confidence in teaching music whilst perhaps not playing a music themselves.
We provide an integrated approach to teaching the two attainment targets. Emphasis is placed on practical involvement by all pupils in composing, performing, listening and appraising through whole class, small group, paired and individual activity. Teaching styles are selected to suit the chosen activity and the learning need of the pupil. According to the task set, teachers:
- Encourage, inspire, direct, let go.
- Observe, help, counsel, advise, instruct.
- Prepare, lead, appraise.
- Participate in and share musical experiences.
- Manage individual, paired, small groups and whole class activity.
- Control and enhance learning environments.
- Make the best use of all available resources.
- Develop strengths and nurture gifts.
- The learning process for children will be active and co-operative, involving them in:
- Decision making.
- Problem solving.
- Refining and rehearsing.
- Responding with feeling.
- Making music with commitment, sensitivity and accuracy.
- Directing and following musical direction.
Opportunities for music
In the Foundation stage, children have the opportunity to explore a variety of tuned and un-tuned instruments through play, sing along to nursery rhymes and clap to rhythms. This gives the children the opportunity to explore music in a fun and active way.
In KS1, children have regular music lessons and have the opportunity to explore music through play. In Year One, children explore tuned and un-tuned instruments and explore different ways of writing notation, as well as pitch and dynamics. In Year Two, the children follow the Charanga Schemes of Work during their weekly music sessions developing their music skills and understanding.
In KS2 every child will have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument in each academic year. The ocarinas will be taught by class teachers and peripatetic teachers will be brought in to support teachers with the teaching of djembe drumming and ukuleles.
The progression of instruments would be as follows;
Year 3 – Ocarina
Year 4 – Ukulele
Year 5 – O2 singing – Cornet from Spring 2 onwards
Year 6 – Bang the Drum group percussion
Across the school, every child’s day begins with ‘Today’s Music’ where each child has the opportunity to listen to and evaluate music across a wide range of historical periods, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.
In addition, each year group will participate in a Music Week during the Spring Term, where they will explore group composition.
Cross curricular links:
- Music is a subject that helps to embed skills from other subjects. These are a few examples in which music incorporates other curriculum subjects;
- Numeracy – Pulse and notation have close links with numeracy learning by encouraging the children to count bars, notes or rests and by clapping in time with a measured beat. Children are able to use their knowledge of fractions (in the time signature), ratio (speed), place value, halving and doubling numbers (for note or rest value) as well as thinking in space and time (when placing each note). When the children are learning rhythm, they are also learning ratios, fractions and proportions.
- Literacy – Song lyrics play an integral part in the composition part to the music curriculum. Children learn to understand and appreciate the importance of lyrics in songs.
- MFL – Children learn songs from other countries – in particular Spain and Africa. This helps children to learn new vocabulary as well as learning more about culture form other countries – for example Africa and the history of ‘Call and Response’.
- Computing – Children will have the opportunity to record, hear back and edit their own compositions through music software such as ‘Audacity’.
- E. – Children learn to add dance and movement to song and learn about the importance of rhythm in music and dance.
- History – Children learn about the history of music and different genres and how the different genres came about.
- Geography – Children learn about the origins of particular genres of music and the cultures of the countries of music studied.
- E. – Children learn about music through different religions and the important role music plays in the different religions.
- Science – Children can experiment with sound by creating their own instruments and thinking about how sound changes.
- PSHCE – Using music to express emotions and feelings whilst also understanding cultural diversity through music.
- ART – Using art to ‘paint a picture’ from emotions evoked from music they have listened to. Art can also help children to design ways of writing notation down in a variety of ways.
- T. – Children will experience designing and creating their own instruments.
- IPC – Being the International Primary Curriculum, the above foundation subjects are incorporated into this one area, however being an international coverage, it also allows children to learn about world music and make explicit links with their learning.
Foreign Languages (FL)
A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. At Larkswood Primary Academy, the language teaching enables pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It also provides opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Our language teaching provides the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries in the future.
Larkswood Primary Academy will use the new national curriculum to ensure that all pupils:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
- speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied
Last year the children were asked to vote on which language they would be interested in learning and they chose Spanish. Larkswood Primary Academy has invested in employing a Spanish Language Assistant through the British Council to ensure that our children and staff receive the very best opportunities to learn a language. Through the use of ICT, music, IPC topics and our literacy and language units, the children are immersed in a wealth of cultural knowledge and provided with the tools to build on language learning as they move into Key Stage 3 and beyond, whatever the language.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural Education)
As laid out by the new national nurriculum, schools are required to: promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of all pupils; teach religious education; and make provision for personal, social, health and economic education. At Larkswood Primary Academy we believe that we play a vital role in supporting children to grow and develop as lifelong learners and good citizens of our communities.
At Larkswood we promote key elements of SMSC development across the curriculum and everyday throughout school life. We aim to: foster children’s growth, sense of self and unique potential; support children’s understanding, attitudes and skills related to moral development; promote children’s understanding of their responsibilities and rights as members of families and communities; and extend children’s understanding, respect, appreciation and contribution towards a range of cultures.
At Larkswood, we:
- specifically plan for SMSC learning opportunities every week in every subject.
- deliver ‘R Time’ programme (Relationship Time) in all key stages every week. This programme is focused on explicitly teaching children key skills to promote good learning relationships, and encompasses key elements of PSHE that we need to support children with at Larkswood.
- We plan for and deliver the Waltham Forest agreed syllabus for religious education.
- This is delivered across the school in a week-long block at the end of each term. Each ‘RE week’ will have a focus across the school e.g. Symbols, where children will learn about symbols across a range of religions.
We are also achieved our Level 1 award as a Rights Respecting School with UNICEF. This further develops out SMSC curriculum as we incorporate global citizenship into our discussion, providing children with the opportunity to develop their understanding of our responsibility to look after our planet and those who live on it for future generations.
BLP (Building Learning Power)
At Larkswood Primary Academy we believe that learning should be a life-long enterprise. We aim to develop our pupils Learning Power, not just so they can complete learning more confidently, but so they will leave school with the skills and learning habits that will empower them to become life-long learners.
What is BLP about?
BLP is learning how to be a better learner. There are a set of ‘Learning Muscles’ that need to be exercised so that they can grow strong. It is about creating habits and attitudes which enable pupils to face challenging tasks confidently. The children develop practical strategies that can be used in real situations. It is not a subject in itself, but rather a framework that sits within all lessons.
If you would like to look at the different learning muscles and their definitions please see the attached document. The Learning Muscles Grid
How is BLP used in school?
Across lessons and subjects, teachers and pupils refer to the ‘Learning Muscles’ and how they are being used in that activity. Sometimes there will be specific activities relating to a ‘muscle’, other times it will be highlighted during our learning. In every class there is a learning focus for the week, highlighted by our Building Learning Power champion called Brian the Brain.