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Curriculum and homework

The whole school curriculum overview is available on this page; detailed information for each year group is available here.  Details about homework at school are available in the file to download on this page.

At Selwyn Primary School, we continue to develop both the content of our curriculum, and its delivery.   In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have ensured that we use Google Classroom (and related G Suite applications) to deliver learning online to those who are not able to come into school for reasons related to the pandemic.

We have developed a whole school policy which outlines the way in which we have developed this provision, which is available as a document to download on this page.

What we teach

At Selwyn, we follow the National Curriculum.  The curriculum can be understood as ‘a set of courses or subjects for study.  It describes the knowledge, skills and understanding that your child needs in each subject’.

As outlined in the links provided above, all children from Year 1 to Year 6 are taught: English, Maths, Science, ICT, PE, Music, Art & Design, Design and Technology (DT), History and Geography and a Modern Language (ML). The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (for Nursery and Reception children) has its own curriculum page on the website.

We follow the Newham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (RE) and have reflection time every week to develop children's Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship (PSHCE) skills and understanding. Details of how we teach RE, and the link to the understanding of British values, are provided in a document to download on this page.

We aim to provide every child with access to a broad and balanced curriculum that is taught in an engaging and stimulating way.  All the subjects above are taught as either part of the core curriculum (English, maths, science and computing), or as part of the wider curriculum (all other subjects). 

All aspects of our curriculum are supported by a programme of educational visits/school trips and extra-curricular events (a mixture of events held at school, in London and across the country).  Examples of both are provided below.

  • Educational visits: visits to a farm, the beach, the London Army Museum, the British Museum, the London Aquarium, the Tower of London, the Maritime Museum and places of worship. Parents of children currently on roll can access photographs of these trips via the Parent Portal on the website.
  • Extra-curricular events: Year 5 residential trip to Fair Play House Outdoor Education Centre, Year 6 residential trip to Michael Morpurgo’s farm in Wales, Selwyn Gardeners, Place of Worship Week Competition, Selwyn Summer Music Concert, Aspirations & Role Model Week, Science Week, Selwyn Choir, Maths Workshops, Sign to Sing Week and visits to local secondary schools.

The learning environment

Walking around our school, visitors will notice that it is a calm and focused learning environment. This is especially important for our children who are hearing impaired - although we believe that all children benefit from a purposeful and tranquil setting.

At Selwyn there is a clear homework timetable and children are expected to practise and consolidate their learning from school at home, supported by their parents and carers. Newsletters are sent home to inform parents and carers about the term’s learning, school events and planned educational visits.

We all have high expectations of our pupils; high standards of presentation and individual commitment are paramount at Selwyn. We believe that the classroom should reflect and celebrate the learning and teaching through large, bright and visually stimulating display.

An overview of our curriculum

An overview of our curriculum, by year group and by subject, for the academic year, is provided as a document to download on this page.

Additional details about our teaching of English and maths are provided below.  Further information regarding our curriculum and the way in which it is taught is provided in our subject policies, copies of which are available under our Model Publication Scheme.  Please contact the school office for further information.

English curriculum and teaching (including phonics and early reading) - summary information

The teaching of the National Curriculum for English at Selwyn consists of the following:

  • The teaching of phonics 

Each class from Nursery to Year 3 has a discrete phonics lesson every day and phonics is included as part of teaching and learning throughout other curriculum lessons on a daily basis. The structure of each lesson and the phonics learning journey across the week enables all aspects of the blending and segmenting of phonemes/graphemes; lessons are uniquely planned following our school’s framework for learning, which follows a ‘Revisit, Teach, Practise, Apply’ lesson approach and is implemented through the use of Bug Club and Phonics Play. Resources used include a range of practical and multi-sensory activities to support engagement and understanding. Children are regularly assessed using Phonics Tracker software and data is analysed to ensure that effective support is provided to ensure that all children make good progress in their phonetic development. Phonics is also taught where needed in Key Stage 2 to support children in their early reading development.

Alongside the teaching of phonics, we use a reading programme which enables children developing their phonics knowledge to practise reading a text matched to the phonics phase that they have been assessed at. The books are changed regularly so that parents can support children with their reading at home.

  • Reading

Reading lessons are taught daily to children in Reception to Y6. These lessons are an essential part of children’s language and comprehension development. As part of these lessons, children will be introduced to new and challenging language used in a high quality text. They will have the opportunity to explore different themes and genres and apply their comprehension skills to a range of question types.

During the week’s reading sessions, teachers work with small groups to develop fluency by providing pupils with a varied selection of texts, including phonically decodable books for each phase, from a range of genres. This enables children, even at an early stage of their phonics learning, to see themselves as successful and confident readers, which in turn builds their confidence and thus enjoyment of reading. 

Children in Reception to Y6 have the opportunity to visit the school’s library every week where we have an extensive range of titles and authors for them to choose from. For those children at the early stages of reading, the books that they choose from the library are for parents to share with them at home. Children developing their independent reading skills in fluency and comprehension are encouraged to choose a range of books which are accessible to them. To further promote reading, we subscribe to Bug Club.  Parents are encouraged to look at the website, and to speak to teachers for any further information they might need.

Daily reading aloud for pleasure is timetabled for every classroom. This is an excellent opportunity for the class teacher to be a positive role model of reading to their children whilst those in their class enjoy listening to and immersing themselves in a range of different stories.

Our nursery classrooms use high quality texts as part of themed learning each week. Children hear stories read out loud throughout their sessions and also have the opportunity to choose their own books to share with a friend or an adult. Children are provided with Phonics phase books to share each week with an adult at home..

  • Writing 

Each week, our children undertake a ‘weekly learning journey’, based around the study of a carefully chosen text which has been previously shared in their reading lessons. Lessons are timetabled so that children have experienced their reading lessons (and phonics where applicable) prior to beginning any writing tasks so that they are provided with ideas to stimulate their imaginations and a wealth of new language to improve their own writing and engage the reader.

Learning journeys will focus on a specific writing style to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of the key features; to improve their sentence structure and make language choices which work within the context of the genre that week. Grammar tasks are provided each day to build children’s knowledge and understanding of word and sentence structure to enable them to become confident and proficient writers.

At the end of each half term, children produce a special piece of writing for their ‘writing journey’ books which follow them throughout their time at Selwyn and document their progress from Reception to Y6.

  • Speaking and listening 

Children at Selwyn have opportunities to carry out speaking and listening activities built into daily class practices and whole school events that run throughout the year, in addition to extra-curricular enrichment activities. These include: drama activities such as hot seating, end of term assemblies and debates as part of ‘Votes for Schools’.

Developing children’s understanding of spoken English and the narrowing of the language gap is a key element of the school’s early years curriculum.

  • Handwriting

We start to teach letter formation in Nursery, with children refining their writing as they progress through Key Stage 2. Neatly presented work and correct letter formation is a continual focus at school.

Maths curriculum and teaching – summary information

The teaching of maths at Selwyn is designed to ensure all children become fluent in the fundamentals of maths through intelligent practice and by learning how to reason and problem solve by applying their mathematics to a variety of increasingly complex mathematical problems.

A broad and balanced curriculum is taught across all areas of maths and it is organised to enable children to make rich connections between mathematical ideas. Each topic has a clear learning journey where children build and deepen their knowledge and skills through  a sequence of carefully planned lessons.

We use different schemes and resources available to support and supplement the teaching and learning of maths across the school.

Daily maths lessons include fluency, reasoning and problem solving activities to ensure there is appropriate challenge for all groups of learners thus developing children’s confidence, understanding and enjoyment of mathematics.

  • Each lesson begins with a starter/warm-up activity to consolidate prior learning, practise arithmetic skills and/or the recall of key mathematical facts. 
  • Concrete manipulatives and pictorial representations are used to support conceptual understanding and make explicit links.
  • Weekly practical maths lessons in Years 1, 2 and 3 allow children to learn through investigating, exploring, talking and problem-solving.
  • Weekly arithmetic lessons in Years 4, 5 and 6 supports their conceptual understanding of arithmetic as well as flexibility to tackle mathematical problems in different ways.
  • Weekly homework tasks give children the opportunity to consolidate new learning and build on previously taught skills.

At the end of each topic’s learning journey, the children complete an end of unit assessment to measure the progress they have made.

Additional maths sessions

As well as daily maths lessons, there is focused teaching time set aside in Years 1-6 to reinforce the learning of times tables and mental arithmetic. The children are given the opportunity to see, explore and understand the mathematical structures and patterns that lie beneath thus improving rapid recall of key mathematical facts. Assessments at the beginning and end of term help us to document the progress of multiplication facts throughout the year. 

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

In the Early Years we focus on developing a deep conceptual understanding of the numbers to 20 to ensure all children gain a secure knowledge from which mathematical mastery is built. 

 Key areas covered by the end of key stage 2

Areas covered in the new primary curriculum (as at September 2014) are:

  • Number and place value - reading and writing numbers, counting forwards and backwards from any number, place value and solving number problems.
  • Number (addition and subtraction) -  solving problems, number bonds and understanding mental and written methods and understanding the inverse operation.
  • Number (multiplication and division) -  recalling multiplication and division facts and solving problems to do with multiplication and division.
  • Fractions -  recognising, naming and writing fractions.
  • measurement -  choosing and using appropriate units of measurement, converting between units (e.g. cm and mm), time and money.
  • Geometry - properties of shape: identifying and understanding the properties of 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Geometry - position and direction: ordering and arranging objects in patterns and sequences. Describing position, direction and movement.
  • Statistics -  interpreting and constructing tally charts, bar charts and tables etc. and answering questions on interpreting the data.
  • Ratio and proportion (Year 6) - solving problems involving relative sizes, calculation of percentages and problems to do with scale.
  • Algebra (year 6) - use simple formulae, express missing numbers algebraically and finding solutions to simple equations.

Our approach to the setting and completion of homework

At Selwyn, we believe that targeted homework is a useful tool to support and consolidate basic skills in maths and English.

To this end, homework is set each week on a Friday and consists of tasks set to consolidate learning in order to support the development of English and maths skills. Homework tasks provided consist of:

Reception

  • Maths & Phonics on alternate weeks
  • Letter and number formation

Years 1 - 5

  • Weekly maths or English ten minute workout tasks

Year 6

  • Weekly, maths, reading & grammar tasks

Children may be provided with additional handwriting / letter formation tasks if these are deemed necessary.

Homework should be completed by the child at home and then handed in the following Wednesday. Parents are asked to supervise homework and guide where necessary, but we do encourage pupils to be as independent as possible as they progress through their primary school. If your child is struggling with his or her homework, please speak to the class teacher: it should not become a battleground at home!

We also ask that parents and carers sign off reading homework in the reading record book that is provided, twice a week.

Working in partnership with parents

At Selwyn, we believe that children learn best when supported by school and home, working in partnership. We thus encourage the following:

  • Reading aloud to children throughout primary school.
  • Listening to children read as often as possible.
  • Helping children memorise their times tables (supporting the learning at school).
  • Helping children interact with the world around them, using what they have learned at school (e.g. working out change, reading road signs, following directions on a map etc.)

This page was last reviewed in January 2022

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