Our school's approach to the curriculum
Years 1 – 6
English, as a core subject, is a hugely important part of the curriculum at Wychall; we recognise the importance of speaking and listening, reading and writing in enabling all children to have a bright and successful future. High quality texts that are varied and exciting to read are the basis for English lessons, these texts have been carefully selected to ensure that they engage all pupils no matter gender, cultural background or ability. Using these texts, teachers and senior leaders plan ‘learning journeys’ that include three fun stages of learning.
The first of these is ‘immersion’, where activities are designed to immerse children in the text and develop their speaking and listening skills, alongside side reading comprehension; this stage often involves: extracting vocabulary, debates, role play, hot seating, incidental writing, creative tasks and discussions around characters, settings and plot.
The second stage of planning is ‘rehearse’; all activities within the ‘rehearse’ phase are taught through the context of their class book to support understanding and maintain continued high levels of engagement. During this phase, children are taught the knowledge and skills needed to be able to write in the style of a chosen genre, this will often include developing understanding of: sentence structures, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling and grammar.
The final phase of planning is ‘create’, where children plan, write, edit and check and publish their piece of work. This phase enables all children to apply everything that they have been learning during the course of their ‘journey’. Children are always given an audience and purpose for writing, heightening engagement.
Reading at Wychall, is heavily linked to the writing curriculum and we see both as intrinsically linked; in addition to the core texts in the primary English lessons, we also have daily guided reading sessions. These sessions are carefully prepared with the acquisition of new vocabulary and reading skills being the primary focus. Teachers track the coverage of taught reading content domains to ensure children become skilled readers. We firmly believe that Wychall is a ‘reading school’ where all staff foster a love of reading and the importance of becoming a reader. Sessions combine a mixture of whole class, independent and guided activities, which enable all children to share ideas and discuss key points, whilst allowing teachers to carefully question children to develop their understanding.
In Key Stage One and Early Years, phonics sessions are also taught daily to enable all pupils, at a young age, to develop and embed good decoding skills. We believe this gives our children the best start in developing a love of reading for years to come.
Hear it from the children:
Leo (Y2), “I like writing and we get to read a lot. It’s lots of fun.”
Dylan (Y4), “I like English because we get to write so many different things like diaries, stories and letters”
Abigail (Y5), “I like how we do English because sometimes it is challenging.”
Libby (Y5), “Writing about World War 2 has been a lot of fun.”
Kaylen (Y1), “We have been doing actions to the story 5 Minutes Peace. I like our book because I like the title and what happens.”
Mathematics at Wychall, is carefully structured, fun and challenging. Teachers use a mixture of bronze, silver and gold tasks to encourage children to challenge themselves and aspire to achieve. All children are able to work through tasks at their ability level and are actively encouraged to aim for gold. Teachers plan bronze, silver and gold tasks for fluency, reasoning and problem solving; once children are fluent in a skill, they are actively moved on to work with reasoning and problem solving tasks. Teachers, where necessary, will directly teach pupils how to reason and problem solve using the knowledge that they have acquired during fluency sessions.
As a school, we recognise the importance of concrete apparatus and pictorial representations, across all year groups, to support children in securing knowledge and understanding of newly taught concepts, this can include the use of Numicon, Dienes cubes and bar models.
Recognising the importance of number skills when accessing all of the mathematics curriculum, all children in years one to six have an additional arithmetic lesson each week - on top of their daily maths - where they consolidate, revisit and secure knowledge of both new and previously taught skills.
Hear it from the children:
Tyler (Y6), “The teachers are pushing us to do more than we thought we could do.”
Daniel (y4), “I like my maths because it is challenging and I like it when I get to gold problem solving.”
Abigail (Y5), “I like the bronze, silver and gold because there is something for everyone.”
Phoebe (Y2), “I like my maths lessons because we learn a lot. We get to write lots of answers.”
At Wychall, our broad and balanced curriculum is carefully planned to enable pupils to develop skills and knowledge that will ultimately impact on their future, making them life-long learners and providing them with the very best opportunities in a fun, memorable and exciting way. Teachers, alongside senior leaders, carefully consider how we can provide children with the very best experiences, not only within the classroom, but through specialist visitors and off-site trips – always ensuring that it is fully inclusive of all children. Careful consideration has been placed on allowing children to develop and widen their vocabulary, enabling them to access all fields of study. Where necessary, teachers revisit, consolidate and rehearse key learning to ensure it is embedded and ‘learnt for life’. We consistently aim to inspire our pupils through ‘immersive experiences’ and high aspirations. High quality class texts have been selected to form a central part of the entire curriculum, allowing teachers to encourage and foster a love of reading. Wherever possible, teachers carefully plan ‘journeys’ of learning using a thematic approach, linking all subjects within the curriculum together and enabling children to use knowledge and skills that are transferable. All pupils work towards a final ‘display’ of their learning for each topic that can be shared with parents, visitors or other pupils, putting into practise all that they have learnt. Within each year group, teachers plan lessons that provide learning opportunities that can be built upon in the following year group, ensuring pupils are always supported whilst being challenged. We use assemblies to develop music and singing in a fun and exciting way.
Hear it from the children:
Oscar (Y5), “Topic is really fun and teachers help me to understand it all really well.”
Eleanor (y5), “Topic is interesting because we do experiments. The activities we’re set are really fun! I find it fun because we get to do lots of different activities, not just writing.”
Armandas (Y3), “The teachers are making things fun, the classrooms are comfortable, we never get bored, we are happy!”
Dylan (Y4), “Science is great because we get to learn so much new stuff, we also get to go outside and explore to help our learning.”
Scarlett (Y3), “Topic is really fun and very creative.”
Kaylen (Y1), “History is really good because we are learning about toys. We are looking at old toys and modern toys.”
Religious Education forms an important part of the broad and balanced curriculum at Wychall. Teachers carefully plan a fully immersive ‘RE day’ each half term based around key topics and religions. In a multi-cultural and globalised world, we place a huge importance on understanding and accepting the religions and views of others. Our ‘RE days’ introduce concepts in a fun, engaging way making learning hard to forget! From working with arts and crafts to visiting places of worship, children develop a good awareness of the importance religion can play in some families and the influence it has over the way they lead their lives. Assemblies offer fantastic opportunities to share learning with each other and celebrate festivals from all religions.
Waseq (Y3), It was brilliant because we had loads of fun; we got to make things as well as doing some writing. We also got to add lots of colour.”
Rijad (Y5), “It was really nice because there was lots I didn’t know before about Christian Aid and Islamic Relief. I learnt a lot. I enjoyed it a lot because it pushed me to learn more about both charities, now I’m intrigued.”
Jigsaw forms an integral part of our curriculum at Wychall, supporting children to develop their awareness of social issues, British Values and self-awareness. The programme enables teachers and pupils to explore a wide range of topics in a safe and caring environment. We are proud to also be a Rights Respecting School, in conjunction with UNICEF. Children are encouraged to understand their rights, along with responsibilities. Our pupil’s voices are represented and sought through our School Council and Safeguarding Board, which is made up of children from across all year groups – their views and opinions are listened to and carefully considered when developing all aspects of the school.
Hear it from the children:
Daniel (Y4), “Jigsaw is like learning and playing at the same time. It is really good. My favourite part is the jigsaw teddy bear who helps us.”
Phoebe (Y2), “I like Jigsaw because we got to whisper into the water balloons, we were telling them what we were worried about, then we burst them outside.”