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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.

November 2020 update - delivering teaching and learning remotely - Covid-19

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.  Additional information regarding the primary curriculum is also available on this page of the Newham website, which describes a curriculum 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. 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.

The Parent Resources page of our website provides a link to our Curriculum Action Plans, which describe the way in which we plan, teach and assess each area of our curriculum to ensure that the children develop their knowledge of each subject area as they progress through our school.

We aim to provide every child with access to a broad and balanced curriculum, that is taught in an interesting 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, the Year 5 residential trip to Fair Play House Outdoor Education Centre, Year 6 residential trip, as well as to a number of places of worship.  Current parents can access photographs of these trips via the Parent Portal on the website.
  • Extra-curricular events: Selwyn Gardeners, London’s Biggest Breakfast event in Stratford, Place of Worship Week Competition, Selwyn Summer Music Concert, Challenge and Role Model Week, Science Week, DT Week, Selwyn Choir, Every Child a Theatre Goer, Shakespeare’s Schools Festival, Maths Workshops, Sign to Sing Week, Visit to Lister Secondary School.

The learning environment

Walking around our school, visitors notice 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 re 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) - summary information

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

  • The teaching of phonics and the scheme we use: we use the Letters and Sounds scheme.  This is supplemented by the use of Jolly Phonics resources and activities.  Children from Nursery to Year 2 have daily phonics teaching sessions. They are regularly assessed and data is analysed to ensure that effective support is provided to ensure that all children make good progress in their phonetic development. Phonics may be taught where needed to children in Key Stage 2 and a personalised programme will be drawn up.
  • Writing: each week, the children undertake a ‘weekly learning journey’, based around the study of a carefully chosen text.  A large variety of texts are chosen, to ensure that there is something of interest for all children.  Spelling, grammar and punctuation teaching, as well as comprehension, is linked to the text being studied.
  • Reading: Alongside the teaching of phonics, we have reading schema. We use a variety of reading schema such as Oxford Reading Tree and Big Cat Readers. Having a range of graded books enables teachers to closely match texts to reading development as well as providing children with a richer diet of reading material. All classes are also stocked with a class library of ‘real books’.  Teachers listen to their children read through daily Group Reading sessions.  During guided reading lessons, teachers are able to provide 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.  Reading books for all year groups are handed out weekly, so that children can read at home every day.  To further promote reading, we subscribe to Bug Club.  Parents are encouraged to look at the website, and to speak to teachers re any further information they might need.
  • 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 debate mate.
  • Handwriting: We start to teach letter formation in Nursery, with children refining their writing as they progress through key stage 2.  Neatly presented work is a continual focus at school.

At Selwyn, 90% of our children use English as an additional language (EAL), and there are over 40 different languages spoken across the school.  In addition, we are the provision for deaf and hearing impaired children in Newham, with the capacity to admit up to 32 children with such needs. 

Our high expectations and quality teaching ensure that scores in all aspects of literacy (reading, writing and spelling/grammar) are above both Borough and national levels at the end of Year 6 (see the Results page on the website for further detail).

Maths curriculum and teaching – summary information

The teaching of National Curriculum maths at Selwyn is designed to:

  • develop children’s confidence, understanding and enjoyment through encouraging and supporting a positive attitude to mathematics;
  • develop understanding of and efficient use of mathematics in meaningful contexts and to promote its importance in everyday life;
  • integrate and apply mathematical skills and knowledge within the framework of the wider curriculum where appropriate; and
  • to ensure that every child can develop to their full potential in their knowledge and understanding of maths.

Teaching methods and approaches

Children learn about measures, number and how to apply their numeracy skills. This is in addition to focussed teaching time that is set aside to reinforce the learning of times tables and mental arithmetic. 

In Reception, the aim is to have prepared the children for a daily 45-minute maths lesson by the end of the Autumn term.

In lessons, children engage in:

  • The development of mental strategies
  • Written methods
  • Practical work
  • Investigational work
  • Problem solving
  • Mathematical explanation and reasoning
  • Consolidation of basic skills and routines

Throughout school, we have incorporated the Maths No Problem Schema to support and supplement the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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 class in order to support the development of literacy and maths skills. Homework tasks are differentiated to ensure that all children are given challenges appropriate to their current abilities.  Further information is provided in the document available to download on this page.

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 home/school reading book that is provided.

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.)

Current Selwyn parents can log in to the Parent Area on the website, where further ideas re supporting and encouraging learning at home are available.

Finally, NPW (Newham Partnership Working) has put together a selection of websites that support the learning we do at school.


This page was last updated in December 2020.


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