Curriculum

 

Through careful planning, the school ensures that the curriculum taught is broad and balanced. Half-termly theme weeks ensure that children have the opportunity to explore subjects in great detail; to work with peers across the school; and to involve the wider community or specialists. 

The school has a Curriculum Map to identify the areas of work which are taught in each year group. This is supported by medium and short term plans which detail the work to be carried out termly and daily in each class. Work is planned to ensure that the varying needs of groups and individual children are met. The planned curriculum is reviewed regularly to take account of national developments, and to ensure continuity and progression in its delivery. 

The National Curriculum sets out the curriculum subjects that the children will be taught in the different Key Stages during their time at school. At Great Chesterford these are:

English

English, as a core subject, is included in all aspects of the curriculum.  The children study the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening to enable them to communicate creatively and effectively with others.  Use of our Writing Checklist is used progressively throughout the school.  It develops a framework for the skills covered to aid and further writing skills for all the children whilst developing their grammar skills.  

We have a well-stocked library and children in Key Stage 1 have a weekly library session.  Throughout school, we use a variety of reading schemes, such as the Oxford Reading Tree.  Phonics, spelling and reading are taught through a synthetic approach throughout Key Stage 1.  

Mathematics

The National Curriculum outlines the Mathematics skills to be taught in each year group. Through our teaching, we aim for children to become fluent in fundamental mathematics skills, reason mathematically and apply their skills to solve problems. Weekly maths investigations enable the children to explore open-ended tasks and present their work in a variety of ways. When appropriate, Mathematics is also incorporated into the teaching of other subjects such as Science, P.E. and Geography.

Science

At Great Chesterford, we encourage children to explore the scientific phenomena of the natural and manufactured worlds. Through this approach, the children should develop science concepts, skills and attitudes which help their understanding. The abilities to communicate, to relate Science to everyday life and to explore are essential elements of initial experience of Science. Throughout their study of Science, the children will develop and use a variety of communication skills and techniques involved in obtaining, presenting and responding to information.
They will also have the opportunity to predict outcomes, express their findings and ideas to other children and their teacher, orally and also through drawings, simple charts, models, actions and the written word.

In order to supplement their first-hand experience, the children will be introduced to books, charts, pictures, videos and the use of computers. We also try to develop links with industry and the secondary school, where children can see “real scientists” and make links between what they cover in school and beyond.

Computing

The children are taught to become digitally literate by using word processing skills, desktop publishing, databases, control technology and spreadsheets. Through programming work, they are also taught to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. The children use ICT to support their learning in all areas of the curriculum. The school has a number of laptops and iPads, which are used throughout the school by the children.

Physical Education

Physical Education lessons help children to develop the skills needed to participate in a broad range of physical activities. The school promotes healthy and active lifestyles and offers opportunities for pupils to participate in competitive sports. Children in Years 1 to 4 participate in swimming lessons during the year. There are also a wide range of extra-curricular P.E. activities offered and sports coaches are used to support the delivery of the curriculum. 

History

History topics for each year are set out in the Curriculum Map and link to the National Curriculum. Through their topic work, children develop a sense of chronology. Children are encouraged to use a range of resources to help them study the past and evaluate the reliability of these sources. Appropriate visits relating to history topics are made wherever possible.

Geography

Geography topics are linked to the National Curriculum. The work taught gives the pupils the opportunity to study different societies and cultures at a range of scales, and where appropriate visits are made to further enhance understanding and fieldwork techniques. 

Design Technology

Children are given the opportunity to use a range materials and tools to create finished products – food preparation, textiles as well as construction materials are all used. They are encouraged to pay attention to the quality of their finish as well as the design. They are taught to use tools safely and correctly with increasing skill and competence. The design process is an important part of their work; it involves planning, revising and evaluating their ideas as work progresses.

Art

Art and design are taught in a variety of ways with a wide range of media used including those for printmaking, painting, drawing and sculpture. Clay sculptures are fired in the school’s kiln. Children look at and develop connections with the work of artists and develop their work in a creative environment.

Music

Music is an immensely popular subject at our school. In addition to class lessons, the pupils are encouraged to join free clubs such as choir and recorders. There are also opportunities for children to have group or individual lessons in a wide range of instruments. We have a strong school orchestra with many pupils and parents participating. Children in Key Stage 2 form our school choir. Musical performances for parents and the wider community are held regularly.

Religious Education

At Great Chesterford, we work within the framework of the Chelmsford Diocese agreed syllabus for Religious Education. We focus our studies on Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism but also compare other faiths. We aim to encourage the children to explore and value their own beliefs and the beliefs of others, and to prepare them for the multi-cultural world that they live in.

Personal, Social & Health Education

Personal, Social and Health Education covers a wide spectrum of issues. Through the teaching of PHSE we aim to explore, issues relating to their own personal development and their role in society. Initially, the focus is on the child’s immediate surroundings and the relationships within the school but increasingly the focus broadens to include society in general. Discussion, role play, circle time and drama are used to help explore their feelings and develop understanding and tolerance.

Great Chesterford C. of E. Primary Academy promotes the teaching of British Values. We use PSHE and other aspects of the teaching time to explore the needs for democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – French

French has been embedded into the curriculum and this is supported by parents, trained staff and by a native speaker.
There are weekly lessons for all Key Stage 2 pupils and the children have fun learning a new language and finding out about the country and the people. They sing songs, play games and follow DVDs of French children at school and at home. In Upper Key Stage 2, children learn French more formally and are able to produce short written pieces.
French is highly valued in school and this builds linguistic confidence in our children, who are fully equipped for a smooth transition into foreign language learning at secondary school.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development

Throughout all subjects, teachers plan for opportunities to develop the children's Spiritual, Moral, Social and cultural Development. Children learn to reflect on their own beliefs through R.E. work, worship and additional opportunities such as PrayerSpace. Children are taught to recognise the difference between right and wrong and are encouraged to actively participate in classroom debates about issues relevant to them. Our buddy system and Friendship Groups work enable the children to socialise with their peers in different contexts. Pupils learn about different cultures through their topic work and understand that we live in a multi-cultural world.

Assessment

Each child is valued as an individual and the assessment strategies reflect this. Our pupils in Year 2 and Year 6 children take the SATs at the end of the key stages. The results of the statutory tests are shared with parents. Children in Years 3, 4 and 5 sit bi-annual non-statutory tests to support teacher assessments. Children in Year 1 take part in the assessment weeks through completing specific tasks. Targets are set by class teachers for each child and reviewed regularly. Children’s progress is continually monitored by teachers through their own assessment strategies involving observations, small group assessed activities, marking of work and whole class testing. There are two parents’ evenings each year and a more informal evening in the Summer Term when parents are invited to meet staff and look around the whole school. Teachers always welcome the opportunity to discuss any aspect of a child’s development either informally or by appointment. We also hold open mornings or afternoons throughout the year for parents to gain a flavour of a normal school day.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

We are fortunate in having a highly trained Special Educational Needs coordinator who works with a dedicated team of support staff. We have at least one Teaching Assistant in each class and our support staff have a wide range of classroom experience and professional qualifications.
All pupils on the school’s Special Educational Needs register benefit from additional support, which may be in small groups, one-to-one or simply for reassurance and guidance.
Regular monitoring and evaluation of pupil progress throughout the school enables us to be aware of our pupil’s needs and to provide the appropriate advice and support to them and to their parents. We liaise regularly on their behalf with all the support agencies i.e. Education Psychologists, Specialist Teachers, Health and Social Service Agencies where appropriate.
We care about all our pupils and hope to enable them all to reach their potential and enjoy their time with us.