Maths is a core subject, thus has a high profile in school. The children enjoy this subject and speak highly of the various quality learning activities they undertake within lessons.
Children are expected to cover various mathematical concepts across the school year. The subject is broken into 2 key areas in EYFS (number and number patterns) and 5 key areas for KS1/2 (numbers and place value, calculation, geometry, measure and statistics). Each term a class will cover four of these areas totaling 12 topics in a year. As number is a more heavily weighted area, these units are covered more frequently, in particular, calculations. As a result, a Calculations Policy is followed across school, in order to ensure that calculation progression is developed throughout the school as a strategic approach. In addition to this, the children undertake a ‘Real Life Maths Project’ once per term in KS1 and KS2. This enables children to develop their mathematical skills through various day to day situations such as; planning, budgeting, surveying etc.
Teachers plan a unit of work as a learning journey. The intended purpose is to develop a set of skills over time, thus gradually building skills and confidence, in order that the children can solve problems. Individual lessons are engaging and differentiated to meet the needs of all individual children. Challenges are included for all to attempt, so that learning is never capped and more able children are suitably challenged. Work is marked constructively and where appropriate, ‘TRY’ and ‘WOW’ questions are used to remedy misconceptions, reinforce learning or to move learning on further, in a bid to challenge and extend. Children are encouraged to make corrections based on marking and in EYFS, marking is discussed and shared verbally. Any corrections are made with the support of the classroom teacher when topics are next revisited. During lessons, the children have access to a range of resources that help develop and further their understanding. A range of questioning techniques are also utilised, in order to promote and develop conceptual understanding.
Children are encouraged to self or peer-assess their learning and that of others within their classroom. Children are able to work as individuals, in pairs, as groups or with the teacher or TA. Where possible, children are encouraged to work in group sizes of their choice and are able to present their work in ways that suits them and the intended audience.
All systems that we have in place at Whitgreave Primary are monitored rigorously. Regular lesson observations, book and planning scans, pupil questionnaires and continuous, relentless monitoring and evaluation ensures that every child makes at least good progress.
Phonics is one of the ways children are taught to read. At Whitgreave, we have our own personalised Phonics programme, which links to ‘Letters and Sounds’. For more information about the Letters and Sounds programme, go to http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/
In the Infant building, the children receive 20-30 minutes separate Phonics teaching each day and practise applying their knowledge in reading and writing throughout the day. After Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2), discrete Phonics lessons are taught daily for identified children that need additional support and have not yet covered the entire Phonics programme.
The programmes of study for Reading at Key Stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions: word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading). Children in KS1 have Guided Reading sessions each afternoon, which includes small group work with TAs, as well as whole-class reading. Guided Reading is also incorporated into Literacy lessons at the beginning of each unit of work, which have a specific text-type focus and teachers deliver comprehension sessions twice a week.
Every child has a reading book to take home and enjoy, from the school library; these books are banded (in stages of increasing difficulty) and the teachers assess the children regularly to ensure they are taking books home they can read both independently and with an adult/sibling. Reading comprehension homework is also set every week. Leaflets are provided, every year, to support the children with reading at home, these are specific to the stage the child is at– parents are welcome to get another copy from their child’s class teacher, thorough the year.
We make reading fun at Whitgreave! On an annual basis, we celebrate World Book Week, with visits from authors, themed days, activities and dressing up competitions; we also have a reading competition to complete at home- the best entries receive prizes!
The programmes of study for writing at Key Stages 1 and 2 consist of transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Writing has a well-developed profile at Whitgreave Junior School. In order to make good progression in writing, children need to:
- Enjoy writing and recognise its value;
- Write with confidence, clarity and imagination;
- Write grammatically correct sentences that are punctuated accurately;
- Understand the features of and how to write in a range of genres and non-fiction texts,
- Plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing;
- Develop an adventurous and broad vocabulary;
- Know their next steps and how they can make their writing better;
- Use phonological knowledge and spelling rules to spell accurately.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, all units of work in Literacy follow a learning journey, starting with reading and analysing texts and ending with a quality, published piece of writing, which is displayed in quality books or showcased on display in the classroom. Every term, each teacher identifies a ‘Whitgreave Writing Wizard,’ whose work appears in a special book, on display for all to see. The children also participate in a weekly spelling session (which includes a test, from a word list the children are given to learn at home) and a punctuation and grammar session. Leaflets are provided every year to support the children with writing at home, these are specific to the stage the child is at– parents are welcome to get another copy from their child’s class teacher, thorough the year.
Below are some useful websites to support your child in English.
Science is a core subject and, as such, has a very high profile in school. There’s a real enthusiasm for Science throughout the school, with the children always speaking very highly of the exciting lessons that are taught. We are very proud of the fact that we have been awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark – which just goes to show how dedicated we are to Science here at Whitgreave!
The Science Curriculum
The National Curriculum is followed for Science, which takes approximately five half terms to complete each year. The remaining half term is given over to the children, who can make the decision to investigate something that they have already learnt about, but take it further; or go in a completely different direction and try something unusual and totally unrelated to anything they’ve previously studied!
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
In EYFS, Science is included in the “Understanding the World” strand. Within this strand, children will learn about similarities and differences in relation to objects, materials and living things. They will also look at their immediate environment, observe animals and plants, and talk about changes.
Key Stage 1 programme of study
- Plants – studying common plants and trees,
- Animals, including Humans – identifying fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and understanding carnivores, herbivores and omnivores,
- Everyday Materials – identifying and naming materials including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water and rock,
- Seasonal Changes – learning about the changes across the four seasons, including the weather and day length.
- Living Things and their Habitats – looking at how animals are suited to where they live, exploring food sources through food chains,
- Plants – observing how bulbs and seeds grow, understanding what plants need to stay healthy,
- Animals, including Humans – finding out about the basic needs of humans, understanding about exercise, food and hygiene,
- Uses of Everyday Materials – learning about the suitability of materials for particular uses, understanding how some materials can change shape.
Key Stage 2 programme of study
- Plants – learning about the different parts of a plant, how water is transported and the life cycle of a flowering plant,
- Animals including Humans – looking at nutrition and the role of skeletons and muscles,
- Rocks – comparing rocks, understanding fossil formation,
- Light – learning about reflection and shadows,
- Forces and Magnets – observing how magnets can attract and repel, comparing how things move on different surfaces.
- Living Things and their Habitats – using classification keys and understanding environmental changes,
- Animals including Humans – understanding the digestive system, functions of teeth and constructing food chains,
- States of Matter – comparing and grouping solids, liquids and gases, heating and cooling, condensation and evaporation,
- Sound – identifying how sounds are made, learning about pitch and volume,
- Electricity – constructing simple circuits, identifying insulators and conductors.
- Living Things and their Habitats – life cycles of mammals, amphibians, insects and birds, reproduction in some animals and plants,
- Animals including Humans – describing the changes as humans develop to old age,
- Properties and Changes of Materials – comparing and grouping everyday materials, dissolving and mixing, separating materials, reversible and irreversible changes,
- Earth and Space – describing the movement of the Earth, Moon and other planets, understanding day and night,
- Forces – understanding gravity, air and water resistance, using levers, pulleys and gears.
- Living Things and their Habitats – classifying living things, including micro-organisms,
- Animals including Humans – understanding the circulatory and digestive systems, recognising the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the function of the human body,
- Evolution and Inheritance – identifying how plants and animals are adapted to suit their environment, understanding how characteristics are passed from parents to their offspring,
- Light – understanding how light travels and how we see things, researching shadow shapes,
- Electricity – investigating brightness of lamps and volume of buzzers, representing simple circuits in diagrams.
As you can see, some of the programmes of study are taught solely in one year group, others appear in multiple year groups. However, when this occurs, the National Curriculum is structured in such a way as to avoid repetition.
At Whitgreave we place a lot of emphasis on Working Scientifically: in other words, the children take the lead and investigate for themselves. Before investigating, the children create a question to be answered, plan what they would like to do, and predict what they think will happen. During the investigation, the children record their results, choosing their own format where applicable. Once the investigation is complete, the children then present their results and write a conclusion based on their original question. We also encourage the children to adapt and refine their investigation as it’s progressing, as well as thinking about what they would do better or differently next time. Teachers can track the children’s progress using our Science Milestones, which feature the required elements of subject knowledge for each Year Group, plus the appropriate Working Scientifically objectives.
Every class in the school elects a Science Ambassador and Deputy Science Ambassador at the start of the new school year. The Science Ambassador has a very important role (which is covered by the Deputy, if the Ambassador is absent). He or she is responsible for collecting evidence in lessons, using their own clipboards, record sheets and cameras. They also wear a very special lab coat with an ID badge! During lessons, the Science Ambassador can choose a member of the class who has impressed them with their investigation skills or Science knowledge and award them a Science Star certificate and sticker. They can even send postcards home to tell parents of their children’s achievements! Science Ambassadors report back to the Science Lead to discuss the learning that has been taking place, and to offer suggestions for how things could be improved. They also help out with planning any special Science events that take place during the school year, and tidying the Science Cupboard!
Other Science opportunities
A Science Club takes place in the Summer Term every year. Children are invited to take part, including our Gifted and Talented Scientists, and they have a great time doing a wide variety of fun, messy and sometimes loud experiments!
The children also have the opportunity to go on visits. Past examples have included: a trip to Conkers (to study wildlife and animal habitats), a day at the National Space Centre in Leicester, and a visit to the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham’s NEC. These visits support, enhance and extend the learning that takes places in the classroom.
We also have Science specialists visit school (such as Mad Science, Zoo Lab and even pupils and staff from local high schools), to lead assemblies, demonstrate experiments and take lessons. Outside visitors also support the children’s learning during British Science Week – which usually falls in March each year – where every afternoon is devoted to Science through a ‘carousel’ of activities. We have even been to Morton and ONEWA to use their Science labs!
If you want to explore Science at home, here are just a few of the hundreds of websites out there that you might find interesting and/or fun!
IT has become a part of our everyday lives and at Whitgreave Primary School we support our children to enable them to access information and equipment in all curriculum areas. We have invested in a wide range of equipment throughout the school to enable children to use technology in all subject areas.
Whitgreave Primary School is continually adapting to the needs of our children and we strive to give them the best that we can. Throughout our school, all classrooms and learning areas are fully equipped with a range of equipment, including: wireless computers, interactive Smartboards, projection and sound facilities. A further range of equipment and facilities are available including laptops, a computing suite, iPads, video and digital cameras and visualizers using ‘Apple TV’ to enhance teaching and learning. All computer workstations and laptops are networked and run Microsoft Office on a wireless network.
Our aim is to enable all staff and pupils to be confident, competent, and independent users of ICT. We aim to use computing where appropriate to motivate and inspire pupils and raise standards across the curriculum. We have a progressive curriculum which covers Digital Literacy and Communication, Coding and E-safety.
In EYFS, the children have access to a range of IT equipment during continuous provision. These include; Beebots, remote control cars, computers, iPads, digital cameras and listening stations. In KS1 and 2 we follow the Rising Stars scheme of work for Computing and E-safety.
At Whitgreave Primary School, we use a wide range of resources, including web-based and mobile technologies to deliver our curriculum. All staff have a responsibility to educate our children on E-safety issues; teaching them appropriate behaviours and critical thinking skills to enable them to remain safe when using the internet and related technologies, in and beyond the context of the classroom. We teach E-safety at an age-appropriate level to each year group through a progressive curriculum.
Whitgreave Primary School’s E-safety policy and Acceptable Use Policy (for all staff, governors, visitors, parents and pupils) are inclusive of fixed and mobile internet technologies provided by the school (such as PCs, laptops, iPads, webcams, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras and video equipment) and technologies owned by the children and staff that are brought onto school premises (such as mobile phones, camera phones and portable media players). In school we have a comprehensive firewall, which blocks access to inappropriate or offensive sites. Our internet use is also monitored across school.
Parents can sometimes struggle to keep up with the activities that their children are using online and are worried about how to deal with current issues, we therefore provide parents with information regarding E-safety throughout the year. We also provide parent sessions to help them keep their children safe online when not in school. In lessons, we teach children the skills to recognise and know what to do if they see or read anything that may not be appropriate- an important skill both in and outside school.
Humanities at Whitgreave consists of the subjects: History, Geography, Religious Education (RE) and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL).
Geography at Whitgreave aims to provoke and answer questions about the natural and human worlds, from different perspectives. It develops a knowledge of places and environments throughout the world and an understanding of maps. Geography is a focus within the curriculum for understanding and resolving issues about the environment and sustainable development. As pupils study Geography, they will encounter different societies and cultures, it will therefore inspire them to think about their own place in the world, their values, and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment.
History at Whitgreave is taught to fire pupils’ curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Pupils will be taught to consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like, how these societies organised their politics, and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. As they do this, pupils will develop a chronological timeline for their knowledge of significant events and people. In History, pupils will be taught to find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. To do this they need to be able to research, sift through evidence, and argue their point of view.
RE at Whitgreave is concerned with helping pupils to reflect upon the experiences and mysteries of life and the contribution of religious and spiritual dimensions. At Whitgreave, we endeavour to make RE stimulating, with real life experiences and a forum where prejudice and stereotyping can be challenged and discussed in a safe way. The school curriculum aims to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. There is a strong like between our RE, PSHE, SMSC and BV teaching across the Primary School.
MFL at Whitgreave is taught to provide an opening to other cultures and will foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. We aim to enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to speakers, both in speech and in writing, wherever possible.
The Arts are foundation subjects which cover Design and Technology, Art, Music and PE. They are lessons which our children particularly enjoy, as they develop and apply their skills.
Staff utilise National Curriculum, which outlines skills which need to be developed, along with the School Curriculum. Milestones are used to show the progression and skills that need to be taught and are used as a tool for assessment and progression. Staff utilise creative opportunities to develop and embed teaching and learning within subject areas. Learning is planned as part of an on-going journey, which develops and embeds key skills throughout. Each journey culminates in an end product. Teachers develop learning through a wide range of strategies, including demonstration, modelling, questioning and through facilitating learning. Within the Early Years, the Arts form part of the Curriculum and are embedded within teaching and learning.
Music plays a large part of life at Whitgreave. School employs specialist Music Teachers to teach children to play various instruments, in response to requests from the children. In addition, school employs a Singing Teacher, who works with all children within school and in particular, the Whitgreave School Choir, who have previously won the Signal 107 FM Little Voices Competition. Whitgreave also has a Radio Station, which is currently being developed within school.
The School also offers a range of After-School Clubs, a number of which are usually based around the Arts.