At Great Chesterford C. of E. Primary Academy, we aim to provide the best possible education for each child within the context of a caring Christian community. Our school values underpin all aspects of school life, including behaviour and relationships, within our school. Our school values are: God’s Guidance, Respect One Another, Excellent Behaviour, Aiming High and Tremendous Teamwork. Our Golden Rule is to ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’.
Our curriculum promotes the spiritual, cultural, intellectual, moral, mental physical, health and social well-being of each child. We strive to provide a high standard of education for all children, irrespective of gender, culture, ability or aptitude with our ambitious, engaging, broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the National Curriculum and enrich both with carefully selected activities and experiences.
Our carefully planned and sequential curriculum provides opportunities for children to apply their skills across all subjects and ensures pupils have the cultural capital required to be successful citizens. We ensure that the curriculum is diverse and that it continually evolves to meet the needs of our children and the world in which they live. At Great Chesterford, our curriculum is more than the details of what we set out to teach. It encompasses everything which the children learn as a result of being members of our school community.
To ensure inclusivity, pupils work in mixed ability groups with a learning partner; these learning partners are changed weekly. This approach gives all pupils the chance to build positive, respectful relationships and develop greater independent learning behaviours.
The curriculum is enriched with regular engaging theme weeks and special days such as PSHEE Week, STEM Week, Fitness Week, French Day and Communities Week. These events give the children the opportunity to become fully immersed in a topic or subject and to engage with visitors to inspire a life-long love of learning.
Early Years Foundation Stage
At Great Chesterford, the focus of our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is to enable every child to start their learning journey by becoming a happy, confident, engaged, enthusiastic, and independent learner, ready to play their part in school life.
We have developed a curriculum that is underpinned by the EYFS framework and supports the children’s progress towards, and attainment of, the Early Learning goals. Our school values weave through everything that we do.
To enable staff to quickly build a relationship with each child, a careful transition programme is put into place which allows staff to meet children and parents, both in their own home and the school environment and, where possible, meet the child and their key worker in their nursery setting. When the children start school, we quickly build on this relationship so that the children feel happy and secure. We know that the personal, social and emotional needs of the children are paramount to their wellbeing and therefore their ability to learn. By providing a calm, caring and supportive environment, staff can continue to scaffold this learning throughout the year. When the children start in Reception, we assess their current learning through the DfE Baseline Assessment, observations and interactions with the children and also our own activities.
To support the children’s learning, we provide a mixture of adult led, child led and purposeful play opportunities each day. There is a strong emphasis on the early learning knowledge and skills that the children need, and this is supported through the daily teaching of phonics, to support early reading skills, and mathematical concepts. The classroom, courtyard and on-site nature space are all thoughtfully resourced to enable the children to experience, explore and learn across the whole of the EYFS through, for example, making music in the courtyard, spotting signs of Spring in the nature space or experimenting with different mediums to create a piece of artwork. There are daily opportunities to develop fine and gross motor skills including the use of a climbing frame and planned PE lessons.
Through careful planning, based on the progress and needs of the children, and a well-resourced learning environment, we are able to see the majority of the children attain the Early Learning goal and be ready for the transition to Year 1. For those children who have not quite met the ELG, support is put in place and close communication with our Year 1 colleagues enable us to provide a seamless transition to ensure each child’s learning is supported as they move through the school.
We want every child to have a positive learning experience in Reception Class and be equipped with the early learning knowledge and skills to succeed.
At Great Chesterford, we are determined that every pupil will learn to read and write, regardless of their background, needs and abilities.
Reading aloud is a priority in our classrooms. We create a language-rich environment and actively promote a love of reading. A broad range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction are chosen to develop pupil’s vocabulary, language comprehension and most importantly love of reading. This is monitored through our Reading Spine to ensure that pupils receive a balanced diet which builds on what was read in previous years.
Reading, including the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught from the beginning of Reception. In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, regular phonics assessments enable us to identify any pupil who is falling behind and targeted support is then given.
High quality reading and comprehension lessons are planned by class teachers to enhance and develop reading skills and to support any areas of weakness identified through assessments and regular classroom monitoring.
As our pupils become confident, fluent readers they continue to be exposed to a range of high-quality texts. As they progress through the school, reading skills may be taught in a variety of ways, such as weekly comprehension lessons, guided reading sessions, reading challenges, group reading, discussions and one to one reading.
Every effort is made to ensure that our pupils are able to access a stimulating and diverse range of texts whether through our well-stocked school library or the classroom reading books. We are committed to providing the best opportunity for all our pupils to become fluent, confident, passionate readers.
The exposure to a range of high-quality texts and rich language also helps the children to become capable writers. Model texts are used to help children identify key language features and structures for different genres and children are given opportunities and guidance to practise these for themselves.
Our school Writing Checklist is used in all classrooms to support the children when writing. The checklist is progressive and builds on the previous learning. It enables pupils to learn and practise key grammatical and punctuation skills and then use these in their writing both in English and across the curriculum.
Each half term, every pupil participates in our exciting ‘Once Upon a Wednesday’, where a carefully chosen writing stimulus is used to enthuse the children for their own creative, free write and to enjoy writing. These sessions are followed up by sharing examples of the children’s writing from each year group and work displayed in school.
At Great Chesterford C. of E. Primary Academy, we aim for our pupils to become fluent mathematicians who can reason about numbers and solve a variety of problems in different contexts whilst being excited and curious about mathematics in their everyday lives. We believe that fluency in the four main number operations is key is essential and increases mathematical confidence.
Our curriculum model primarily follows the White Rose scheme but is adapted and enriched with other resources to ensure that the children have a deep understanding of the concepts covered. A range of practical concrete resources are used so that children can then develop their own visual and abstract representations.
Daily maths lessons incorporate revision of previously taught skills as well as direct teaching and practice of new skills. As well as this, maths is incorporated into other subjects through cross-curricular links such as measurements and statistics used in science, patterns and measurements required for computing, and shape and measure in art and DT.
In Key Stage 2, children engage in regular investigations to allow them to explore patterns, reason carefully by making links, find all possible outcomes or provide proofs to their problem solving. The children are encouraged to make choices when approaching a task and evaluate these approaches for efficiency and clarity.
As a core subject, our science curriculum has been carefully constructed through close consideration of both the expectations of the National Curriculum and the vision and contextual requirements of our school and children.
Through our science curriculum, we aim for children to enjoy learning about science and to develop a curiosity. Our units are planned to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics as well as to develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through a variety of different scientific enquiries that help them to answer questions about the world around them. We want our children to be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses of science today and for the future.
We also have a rich programme for working scientifically to develop the children’s confidence in practical situations. Children are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes. They use their maths skills to help them analyse results and make links to other curriculum subjects where possible. The nature space is also used to help the children explore the natural world.
At Great Chesterford C. of E. Primary Academy, Religious Education is a considered core curriculum subject and taught weekly in all classes. Our R.E. curriculum aims to develop the children’s knowledge of faiths and beliefs of different religions. It also allows them to reflect on their own beliefs to help them develop their own identify. Our school values are also carefully woven into R.E. lessons so that children demonstrate respect and tolerance for the beliefs of others as well as understanding how God’s guidance can impact their decisions in life.
As a Church of England school, our Religious Education and Collective Worship programme curriculum engages, challenges and inspires pupils to consider big questions. It promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and allows them to become compassionate citizens for a multi-cultural world.
RE is provided principally in accordance with the Essex SACRE agreed syllabus, including the use of Understanding Christianity as a key resource.