Our Curriculum

The curriculum is the total of everything we learn about at school. We follow the National Curriculum.

Our curriculum is driven by: our community, outdoor learning and equality. It also focuses on ambition, knowledge of the world and has a spiritual and moral foci. Each half term, we link our learning to an engaging topic. This year our topics are: The Princess and the Pea,      In the Dark,      Australia,      Chocolate,      999,      Britain

No matter how technology moves and things change, being literate and numerate is, and always will be, fundamental to our children's future successes. As a priority, we teach our children how to listen and respond to others, to read, to write and to handle numbers with confidence.

We have a superb PE curriculum, using specialist coaches/teachers for athletics, dance, gymnastics, sports and swimming. All pupils from Reception to Year 4 take part in weekly swimming lessons and our parents support this financially.Our older children, in Key Stage 2 also use the sports facilities at All Hallows Prep School on a weekly basis and we have access to their trained coaches during these sessions too. 

We pride ourselves in being a school which genuinely cares for and nurtures our children. As well as the skills to be literate and numerate, we aim for every child to question, explore, research and enjoy learning!

In our reception class, which is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) there are seven ‘Areas of Learning’ and each area has its own ‘Early Learning Goals’. Every child works towards achieving these goals throughout their reception year. Please click here for more information about our EYFS.

Click on the links below to see what National Curriculum objectives the children will learn in years 1-4.

Year 1          Year 2          Year 3          Year 4

As our curriculum and our classes develop and change into different mixed age classes, these will be adapted to ensure all children cover their age related objectives.

MATHS

We aim to immerse children in a numerate environment where every child can develop excellent skills in fluency, reasoning and problem solving. We use the Mastery Approach outlined by the White Rose Maths Hub to achieve this. 

How can I support my child with their Maths?

There are parent guides available to help you support children in Year 1 (please click here) and children in Year 2 (please click here). These guides also provide a succinct overview of the key areas of learning in Key Stage 1.

Please see the Year 3&4 class page for information about the maths children are learning about at the moment, with activities to support or extend their learning. Children in Year 3 and 4 also have accounts with Times Table Rock Stars, which can be accessed at school and home, where children can practise their tables and compete against their friends!

What do children learn about in maths?

Please click here for more information about the maths we teach each term.

How do you teach calculations?

Please click here to see how we teach calculations in our school.

How are children assessed?

Maths lessons have clear learning objectives so children understand what they are learning and can assess how well they have done in the same way their teachers do. The teaching staff involve pupils in their own learning journey by sharing assessments with them, identifying next steps and evaluating each learning criteria. At three points across the year, children complete assessments to enable their teacher to identify the next steps of teaching and learning that need to take place.

English

Reading

In Early Years and Keys Stage 1 (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) reading is primarily taught through phonics. 

As well as the teaching of phonics, there is also a focus on comprehension and reading for enjoyment. Every class has a guided reading session every day. Each group works at least once a week with the teacher, taking part in a guided reading session. During this time, the other groups focus on other reading/phonics activities, including:

 - Follow-up tasks, linked to the previous day’s guided reading session
 - Comprehension tasks
 - Group reading, where children read a book together
 - Listening activities, where children might listen to a story on an iPad
 - Reading for pleasure
 - Phonics/spelling activity

All children have books from our book banded library (which matches the National Book Bands). Children are encouraged to read to an adult at home.
We do not use one particular reading scheme but a number of different published schemes as well as individual titles; this means there is a good selection and variety of books for the children to choose from including fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. 

Phonics - RWI (Read Write Inc)
 Across the whole school we follow Ruth Miskins RWI program. As a school we want the children to have a secure knowledge of phonics and to use it confidently when reading and writing. All children from Reception onwards also need to be forming all letters correctly, especially as by the end of Year Two children need to be joining. We follow RWI because it focuses on both phonic knowledge and letter formation.

How will it work?

RWI is broken up into three sets. The children will be continually assessed throughout EYFS / KS1 to ascertain which set they need to be working on and grouped accordingly. When children in Year 2 have completed all three sets they will move onto a spelling program that is linked to RWI. In KS2 children will also follow the spelling program but learning spellings that are age related.

As well as using phonics to help the children learn to read, we also teach the children to read and write ‘common exception words’ – Common exception words include: was, said, to, the, because, powerful, people and go . ‘Common exception words’ can’t be sounded out – so these words just need to be learnt!

What does the RWI teaching process look like? 

With Read, Write Inc. we use pure sounds, (‘m’ not’ muh’, ’s’ not ‘suh’, etc) so that the children will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. To view correct pronunciation of the sounds, see the link below:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J2Ddf_0Om8

Writing
 
We use ‘Talk for Writing’ as our main tool for teaching writing in Early Years and KS1. This process begins with learning to tell stories and non-fiction texts orally, we write story maps (or nonfiction maps) to help us with this. We tell the text to our friends and parents and spend time enjoying the text and learning about its specific features. Once the children have internalised the text we begin to make changes to it, we alter our maps and our oral retelling. During this stage we teach the children how to tackle the process of writing their own through shared and guided writing. Finally the children have the opportunity to apply their new skills and write their own versions of the text type. In KS2 we use elements of 'Talk for Writing' alongside lots of our own ideas to plan, share, edit and improve fiction and nonfiction. 

Teachers give guidance and instruction to children to improve writing skills. This includes grammatical accuracy, correct use of punctuation and neat and accurate handwriting. We involve pupils in their own learning by sharing assessments with them, agreeing next steps and sharing learning criteria.

Our learning

Please click here for more information about the English we teach each term.

 

PE

PE has an extremely high profile in our school. We want our children to enjoy sports, games and outdoor activities and to develop a lifelong involvement with sports and games.

Teachers and coaches communicate high expectations, enthusiasm and passion about their subject to inspire pupils to do their best. All children from Reception to Year 4 are encouraged to take part in after school sports as well as sports and games within the school day. 

We also are developing a competitive sports programme; a programme that we aim to run throughout the year with activities focused on setting personal challenges and team challenges (including inter-school matches), based on movements and multi-skills, delivered in and around PE or extra-curricular time. 

RE and COLLECTIVE WORSHIP

Mells Church of England First School is a Voluntary Controlled Church of England School which means that it is a school run by Somerset County Council but which still retains its important links with the Church of England through St Andrews church and through the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

Our Religious Education provision is based on the Somerset's "Awareness, Mystery and Value" curriculum.

Each year/class focuses on Christianity and another faith throughout the year. This means our children can draw meaningful comparisons and identify contrasting features between different world faiths and Christianity. 

Christian principles are embedded in our aims and vision for the school and underpin our ethos.

Every stakeholder reviewed and selected our new Christian Core Values (January 2015) and the children have made visual symbolic signs to represent each of them which are up in our main hall:

Respect    Charity and Service    Empathy and Compassion    Love    Honesty and Truthfulness    Courage

As part of our induction, in September, each class writes their own prayer which is then said each and every day.  In addition to his we give thanks for our food and lunch, and each daily act of collective worship, which is led by a different member of staff, includes a prayer and time for reflection. We also read prayers from our prayer box - prayers that could have been contributed by anyone within our school community. Weekly singing assemblies and celebration assemblies are strong features of our assembly calendar. Our core values are integral to our collective worship programme. 

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship and if they wish to do this they must meet with the Headteacher and put their request in writing.  

The children attend services at St Andrews Church throughout the year (e.g. Harvest, Christingle, Easter and Moving On), led by the school and/or local parishioners. Parents and friends of the school are always welcome.