At Asquith Primary School we are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our curriculum and adapting the way in which we approach learning and teaching so that our curriculum is current and meets the needs of all our pupils.
In the 2020 term, we remodelled our curriculum to ensure that it is broad and engaging, preparing pupils for life in an ever changing and challenging world.
Our curriculum has six branches- six 'intentions' which will span all areas of learning and enable our pupils to 'grow to succeed' It is our mission that every child, everyday will grow to succeed as a result of our Asquith vision, provision and accompanying spirit!
Alongside the introduction of the National Curriculum, we have worked with Liz Greensides from GAL Education, who has produced a development of skills and knowledge content for planning progression through the National Curriculum 2014. This is called 'The Rainbow Continuum', which outlines learning and a progression of learning in Key Stages 1 and 2 across all statutory subjects.
More information about this and a copy to view can be obtained from the school office on request. Social Moral Spiritual and Cultural understanding form the core of our curriculum ethos.
Learning is embedded across all subjects and it is highlighted in our parent friendly plans, posted half termly on the year group pages within the curriculum tab.
Key Curriculum Areas
At Asquith Primary School we believe that reading should be a fundamental part of childhood and a skill which should be developed to support lifelong learning. Our aim is to develop and embed a strong, sustainable reading culture within our school community. We are striving towards our children becoming confident and competent readers, who will foster a love of reading through a rich and varied experience of texts. We hope that in doing this our children will become empowered to exercise freedoms of choice and independence. Our role is to inspire our children to read for pleasure and offer them varied and rich opportunities in which to do so.
At Asquith, we balance the teaching of reading between word reading and decoding skills, comprehension strategies and response to text, in order to develop fluent readers who can understand and engage with a wide variety of texts.
To develop the language comprehension strand of reading we use the ‘magic eight’ within our whole school approach. These eight interlinked skills relate to the reading domains of statutory assessment and are taught explicitly in order to enable children to act as readers, comprehending and gaining knowledge and pleasure.
· use of background knowledge.
· predict and ask questions.
· think like a detective.
· notice meaning ‘breakdown and repair;.
· read like a writer.
· capture the gist.
Teaching of the eight skills occurs in every classroom and they are evident in formal and informal reading sessions.
To develop the word recognition strand of reading we progress through from the use of a systematic synthetic phonics programme (Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised) and apply sight recognition and decoding skills through the use of Read Write Spell from Years 2-6. Keep up programs and structured interventions based on diagnostics of the reading occur from entry into school. We use Lexplore to assist in diagnostics and tailor support to need.
Reading runs through every aspect of the curriculum. Books are selected by teachers with a view to how they link with themes across the curriculum and how they are relevant and motivating to the pupils. A rich diet of fiction, non-fiction and poetry drives learning and pupils are empowered to see themselves as readers who can choose to open doors to new experiences, perspectives and knowledge via the written and illustrated word.
In Key Stage 2 we teach reading every week through multiple vehicles:
· Pupils are read to everyday
· 200 minutes of reading is the expectation in every classroom- this encompasses whole class, small group and individual reading.
· The English planning is text driven and the class text is used for a whole class ‘guided reading session’: teaching reading skills.
· Pearson Workbooks, accompanied by collections of diverse texts are used to consolidate reading skills in short whole class and targeted group reading sessions.
· In addition, targeted reading interventions are delivered to those who are working below age related expectations and this will be accompanied by reading aloud to another regularly.
· Pupils access at least one ‘reading for pleasure’ whole class session. This is an opportunity to journal in relation to a book; become immersed and engage with reading for pleasure; construct and share reviews; scrapbook – using reading skills to research and document an area of interest of a collection of books.
· Pupils access banded reading books from the ‘Bug Club’ Pearson scheme. They also have access to the phase libraries and select books. Both can be taken home and the school reward system recognises the value of home reading.
We recognise that reading is a multifaceted skill that is gradually acquired over years of instruction. However, we are fully committed to developing curious and motivated readers who can enjoy the doors that texts open.
‘So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.’ William James
Implementation of Phonics and Early Reading
At Asquith Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why, from Spring 2022, we will be teaching early reading using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
Early reading skills are taught from Nursery with a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and Language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include: sharing high-quality stories and poems, learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes, activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending and attention is given to high-quality language. At Asquith, we ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
Phonics is taught for up to 30 minutes a day with daily Phonics lessons starting in week 2 of the Autumn term in Reception. We follow the progression of lessons in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Phonics lessons and targeted support for children who did not pass the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check continue in Year 2 and beyond.
At present, we use the Rapid Phonics programme to teach Phonics and Early Reading to KS2 children.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident word readers by the end of KS1. Through their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.
Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments such as the end of EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 and following the outcomes in the Year 1 Phonics Screening check. Any child not passing the Y1 Phonics Screening check is given additional support and resits it in Year 2. Additionally, we use assessment for learning and summative assessments from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. We provide a range of interventions, complementary to the foundation of Little Wandle, to secure pupils learning ability through-out KS2 and ensure that pupils who have challenges are supported to progress.
As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment. We want pupils to possess the reading skills and love of literature which will help them to enjoy and access any aspects of learning they encounter in the future.
At Asquith Primary School we want all children to perceive themselves as a writer and to be motivated to write. We aim to prepare and equip children with the writing skills they need to become confident, independent writers and bring enjoyment into writing to inspire them. Through a balanced and broad curriculum, we intend to provide regular opportunities for children to write for different purposes across the curriculum, e.g. write for to entertain, write to record, write to persuade. We want to ensure that all children, regardless of background and experiences, are provided with the scaffolding support and tools that they need to succeed.
At Asquith, we want all children to perceive themselves as a writer, to show enjoyment and be motivated to write and to develop ‘writing for pleasure’ from Nursery to Year 6.
We have created a curriculum which develops children’s’ imagination, creativity, expressive language and confidence through their writing. We immerse children in high-quality, language rich text which inspires, engages and hooks the children into their writing.
We aim to expose our children to a variety of literature, genres and authors, using these texts to analyse the structures and the way a writer uses language to impact upon the reader. We explore the variety of vocabulary, grammar and punctuation and seek to use the structures provided in the class text as a basis for our own writing. We also endeavour to interest the children in their learning through the use of the outdoors, role play, drama, media and cross-curricular opportunities for writing. At Asquith, we believe that in order for children to engage in their writing and see themselves as successful writers, they need to be involved in writing for a purpose.
In Early Years, a purpose for writing is developed through play and both indoor and outdoor provision areas to ensure children have the opportunity to mark make in a motivation-led activity.
We want Asquith children to see writing as a process in which we take ideas from our reading to inspire our writing. We dedicate time to sharing WAGOLLs (What a Good One Looks Like), teaching the importance of planning initial ideas, drafting, proof-reading, editing and redrafting. We want to promote resilience in our children, therefore, writing and editing should not be seen as a chore but as a process in which they are reflecting upon, refining and improving their own work by responding to the constructive criticism of others. We use Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) in Key Stage Two to develop the skills of effective proof-reading and editing in a variety of ways: improving parts of a text, analysing WAGOLLS, editing stations and peer editing. Each of these methods allows children to see how they can improve their writing, thinking carefully about audience, purpose and vocabulary and grammar choices. As a final phase to the real-life process that authors follow, we want children to redraft their writing to encourage a sense of pride and satisfaction.
As a school, we have a clear progression map of skills across a wide range of different genre types. Throughout our writing lessons across school, we use WAGOLLs and shared writing approaches to help support the children in their writing processes and understand how they can form, articulate and communicate ideas, and then organise them coherently for a reader. Modelling helps support children to understand the audience and purpose of a piece and gives them the opportunity to hear their teachers reviewing and discussing their ideas and opinions about the shared write. To further support the independent writing, we teach grammar in context so children have a greater understanding of how to use it in their writing and when drafting, we use ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies, we encourage children to use word banks, dictionaries, thesauruses and other supporting materials to aid their independence.
In addition to writing lessons, writing is developed across the curriculum focusing on the purposes of writing. This can be seen in a wide range of ways across our school, for example: writing to reflect upon a piece of music, writing to record their observations in a scientific investigation, writing to teach other about historical events, writing to entertain when recounting a school event, writing to persuade others to vote for them in the school council or simply writing to paint with words to describe a share experience.
A typical learning sequence for the writing process begins by reading a model for their own writing, a WAGOLL. This is followed by identifying, analysing and discussing the features of the sample text. Alongside specific vocabulary, grammar and punctuation teaching, there is shared writing and modelling of a WAGOLL.
This is then followed by teaching of specific vocabulary, grammar and punctuation in context.
Children then develop their effective planning skills and map out their writing. This then supports the children to independently write their first draft. The proof reading and editing process then takes place in order to refine, adapt and improve the writing; this is both independent and supported by both adults and peers.
Our vision for maths ensures every pupil is given a broad, balanced, engaging and relevant curriculum that takes into account the requirements of the National Curriculum.
Our aim is:
- To foster positive attitudes, fascination and excitement of discovery through the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts.
- To develop a ‘can do’ attitude in our children, especially when problem solving and pattern sniffing.
- To broaden children’s knowledge and understanding of how mathematics is used in the wider world by making rich and varied real life connections.
- To enable our pupils to confidently reason about their mathematics, using a suitable range of mathematical language, recognising its importance for communication and deep thinking.
- To use a wide range of models, visual manipulatives and practical resources to develop a deep conceptual understanding alongside procedural fluency.
- To implement the current legal requirements of the Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the New National Curriculum.
Basic Maths skills are taught daily. Focussing on key mathematical skills including place value, the four operations and fractions.
Lessons use a Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract approach to guide children through their understanding of mathematical processes.
Children are taught through targeted differentiated small group and mixed ability whole class lessons.
Alongside the White Rose materials, we use many other resources to ensure that our offer is rich and varied. These include Classroom Secrets, Deepening Understanding, NCETM, Third Space Learning – these are used across KS1 and KS2 allowing children to be exposed to a variety of different types of learning and to ensure coverage of fluency, problem solving and reasoning in different formats.
Teachers also implement the schools agreed calculation policies for progression in written and mental calculations.
Asquith Primary School recognises the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life and therefore we aim for the children to gain Science Capital on their learning journey at Asquith. We will do this by ensuring that each Science lesson consists of knowledge, skills and working scientifically as well as being taught through one of the enquiry types to enhance the children’s learning. We will also enrich the curriculum with visits, visitors and experiences to develop the children’s natural curiosity.
Science is implemented through high quality lessons taught from the National Curriculum or the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Planning is supplemented using resources from websites such as STEM Learning, TAPS, PLAN Assessment and Explorify. Children have the use of high quality resources to support their learning and opportunities are also available to enrich the science curriculum through experiences directly linked to the curriculum, such as animal visits and walks in the local area.
At Asquith we are committed to the development of the children's social, emotional skills, health and well-being. Our vision is to enable pupils to become well rounded individuals, who can make right choices to enable themselves to be healthy, independent and responsible young people. We want them to be resilient, confident, assertive members of the community who can take risks but also know how to stay safe within different environments. We want all children to have a high self-esteem and understand how to develop safe and healthy relationships with others.
Within our PSHE curriculum we follow the “You, Me and PSHE scheme’ across key stages 1 and 2. The learning objectives and outcomes in each of the lesson plans are clear and precise with many opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills.
As PSHE is at the heart of our school ethos, it is embedded throughout many areas of the curriculum. We further enhance the following scheme through a whole range of other vital life skills including: weekly circle times, half termly Mindmate lessons, promote growth mindset, British values, online safety, fire safety, anti-bullying week, road safety and cycling proficiency. We teach pupils how to regulate their emotions using the ‘Zones of Regulation’ approach. Each class from Years 1 to Year 6 participates in a range of Zones of Regulations lessons. Altogether we believe this will provide our children with the skills and understanding that they need to manage risks, make informed decisions and negotiate life successfully.
RE stands for Religious Education and is very closely linked to SMSC. At Asquith Primary we follow "Believing and Belonging in West Yorkshire." This is the agreed syllabus for Religious Education in Leeds.
It states that: "Human beings have two polar instincts: a hard-wired fear of difference, perceiving the ‘other’ as a threat, fuelling resentment, hatred and division; and its antithesis, a profound emotional capacity for empathy, sensing the hurts, hopes and joys of other individuals and communities. In this paradox lies hope. If RE can support the nurture of empathy, it will also help young people to celebrate common humanity, rather than being lured into a cul-de-sac of hatred, anger and division. Well-prepared and challenging RE will help to inspire young people to learn from others and discover the value of empathy. This syllabus will provide a framework to explore the rich heritage of faiths and beliefs but also the opportunity to develop critical and reflective skills that will support each student in discovering their own journey of purpose and meaning."
Our curriculum follows Believing and Belonging: The Local Agreed Syllabus for RE in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds, 2019. It is planned and sequenced to develop deep, lasting learning and builds upon prior knowledge, which our children can use today, tomorrow and for the rest of their lives.
During each Key Stage, pupils are taught knowledge, skills and understanding through learning about Christianity and Islam through KS1, adding Sikhism, and Judaism in KS2. Each unit of work identifies prior learning and shows how this is built upon.
The following skills are used, in order to strengthen and deepen the understanding and knowledge taught: investigating, reflecting, recalling and retelling, exploring, discussing and empathising. Children can discuss and compare the lives of people they have studied from a variety of different religions.
Attitudes which are fundamental to RE are: curiosity and wonder, commitment, fairness, respect, self- understanding, open-mindedness, critical mindedness and enquiry. These work alongside the SMSC links and British Values implemented within school as a whole.
We have strong links to St. Peter’s in Morley and work closely with their Associate Leader, who has come into school to deliver some of our RE lessons. Visits to places of worship, and visitors representing different religions provide a variety of first-hand experiences for our children, to spark their interest and relate new learning to their own experience. (These have been affected by COVID and lockdown restrictions, however, we have recently reconnected with several buildings of worship and are looking forward to planning more trips and visits.)
The Art curriculum at Asquith allows children to have access to a range of skills, progressing over their years at our school. Children will build on their current knowledge, have time to practise this, refine it, and experiment with it. Children will have access to skills across all areas of Art and Design- drawing, collage, painting, printing, textiles, photography and sculpture. The Art curriculum will enrich their life, opening doors and broadening their minds, both culturally, and artistically. Art lessons aim to build confidence with artistic skills, and in turn build children's confidence in other areas of their academic and personal lives.
‘Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no-one else has thought.’ Albert Einstein
Creativity is increasingly recognised as an essential higher order skill for learning, life and work. Through a skills based curriculum, with clear progression from EYFS to Year 6, Art is taught with the aid of quality resources to embed skills and allow for experimentation. As part of a suite of higher order skills, creativity can help learners not only survive, but to thrive in our fast-changing world. Teacher subject knowledge assists learners in their new skills journey, and a clear progression map allows teachers to be clear on the focus for their year group. A different skill is focused on each half term, where children are given opportunities to express their creative imagination, as well as practice and develop mastery in the key processes of Art: drawing, painting, printing, collage, textiles and sculpture. Children’s knowledge and skills are built upon over a sequence of lessons which lead to a final piece. Sketchbooks demonstrate the learning process and serve as a space for children to develop their creative journey at Asquith.
At Asquith Primary School our music curriculum intends to inspire creativity, self-expression and unity within our school, the local community and the wider world. We intend to use music to build confidence, so that pupils can learn from Music as well as create their own. By listening and appraising, performing and composing Music, Pupils will develop an appreciation of how significant historical and cultural events can and have shaped lives. This will not only help them to connect with others, but give pupils at Asquith their own opportunity to make their voices heard in their own unique, personal and creative way.
At Asquith Primary School lessons are delivered using various Musical schemes including Charanga, SingUp, and Music Express. This is then combined with the Music Model Curriculum to ensure that children are exposed to a wide variety of different Musical styles and genres. Lessons allow children to learn concepts in an integrated, practical and exploratory way. Lessons are based on listening and appraisal activities, games, singing, playing instruments, composing, improvisation and performing. Children learn to sing and use instruments which gives them confidence to perform in front of others. All children learn to play the Glockenspiel, Recorder and Ukulele by the time they leave school. Wider school opportunities are also provided and children in KS2 get to perform at Big Sing and Big Samba Events. Children in KS1 also have the opportunity to work with live musicians through workshops and assemblies.
At Asquith Primary School our aim is to inspire all children to establish a love and desire to take part in physical activity and sports. Whilst following the National Curriculum, we will provide children with quality first physical education that help children to show our school values, develop confident and resilient individuals and children who strive to always achieve their full potential. Our school listens to the needs of our children and will always try to provide them with a range of different experiences. We aim to provide our children with skills and values that will assist them long after they have left Asquith.
Physical Education is essential in creating a healthy and active lifestyle for children whilst helping students develop both personally and socially. Our pupils have 2 hours of quality first teaching from a variety of sources that covers all areas of the curriculum, and we hope will foster well rounded individuals passionate about sport. We draw resources from our many external partnerships, such as Leeds United and PE Partner, to help pupils to work in teams, improve leadership skills, develop concentration, focus levels, and relieve stresses and anxieties. Teachers look at planning and assessment alongside our fantastic coaches to identify our gifted and talented children as well as those that need a little extra help. Through a skill based delivery of PE, pupils at Asquith Primary are taught everything they need to be fantastic competitors.
History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. Here at Asquith Primary School, the teaching of history nurtures the creativity, curiosity and independence of the pupils by allowing them to interpret and reflect on the world they live in. We expect all children to explore and appreciate how the past has shaped the present. We strive to educate our pupils for effective membership and leadership in a global political, social and economic community by providing an understanding of major world cultures. Additionally, by incorporating local history studies into our curriculum the pupils will gain a deep and meaningful understanding of the community in which they live.
All learning will start by revisiting prior knowledge - this will support children to recall previous learning and make connections. Staff will facilitate the development of knowledge and skills in history by asking open-ended questions, providing discussion and reflection as well as using subject-specific vocabulary. Each unit of history is used as the theme (driver) for the whole of a half term, three times throughout the academic year. This enables cross-curricular links within the children’s learning. Learning will be supported through the use of a carefully planned spiral curriculum, knowledge organisers, a variety of resources as well as experiences to enhance learning for the children.
Geography is essentially about understanding the world we live in. It helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Here at Asquith Primary School, the teaching of geography nurtures the creativity, curiosity and independence of the pupils by allowing them to interpret and reflect on the world they live in. Geography enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas. Geography is an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We strive to educate our pupils for effective membership and leadership in a global political, social and economic community by providing an understanding of major world cultures.
All learning will start by revisiting prior knowledge - this will support children to recall previous learning and make connections. Through our geography curriculum children have opportunities to investigate and interpret a range of geographical locations in Britain and across the wider world. We encourage children to become geographers through collecting, analysing and communicating through discussion our findings. Each unit of geography is used as the theme (driver) for the whole of a half term, three times throughout the academic year. This enables cross-curricular links within the children’s learning. Learning will be supported through the use of a carefully planned spiral curriculum, knowledge organisers, a variety of resources as well as experiences to enhance learning for the children.
The Spanish curriculum at Asquith Primary School enables children to develop a deeper understanding of the wider world and other cultures. We want children to engage with and enjoy learning a foreign language and we use a range of teaching and learning activities to promote pupil engagement, wellbeing and enjoyment. Through teaching Spanish, we want to lay the foundations for future language learning and equip children with skills that they can build on to become global citizens.
Children will begin to get their ear tuned in to Spanish by listening to familiar nursery rhymes in Spanish in Nursery and Reception. In KS1 (Year 1 and 2), children will learn how to answer the register and count to 10 in Spanish.
When the children start in Key Stage 2, they will have regular Spanish lessons following the La Jolie Ronde scheme of work. Topics covered will include greetings, counting, talking about themselves and their family (name, age, likes, dislikes etc.), food and drink, jobs, sports, and leisure and holidays. Topics are revisited across Key Stage 2 so that children can build on the vocabulary that they have learnt previously.
The computing curriculum at Asquith Primary School allows children to feel safe and confident while using computers and accessing the internet as a whole. Computing and IT are undoubtedly an essential part of daily life and we want our children to be able to use technology responsibly and sensibly, skills that can be taken into adulthood. We have a variety of tools to ensure they become digitally literate, and we encourage the children to express themselves and develop their ideas through information and computer technology.
With a range of topics being taught in all year groups, the Computing curriculum introduces and solidifies key skills that are transferrable as the child grows older. We use Purplemash across both key stages; it is a fun and exciting resource for the children as they develop their technological literacy, and each class has at least one hour a week dedicated to Computing. We are also beginning to incorporate our technology into other subjects to give the children more time to practice their IT skills, and it allows children to become more familiar with common software, something they may be using as adults.Each year group covers aspects of online safety in addition to the usual Computing lessons. With the world becoming increasingly digital, it is essential for children to understand how to navigate the web safely and sensibly.
During recent years it has become increasingly important to be able to move to adapt to the ever changing needs of the children and society. With this in mind we have incorporated our remote learning platform into our curriculum so our offerings can be as dynamic as possible with minimal disruption to the children.
What our pupils say
'Our teachers make learning fun and try to link things together. We enjoy history and like it when we end the topic with a celebration assembly or themed day'.
'We enjoy maths, we get a lot done!'
'The topic on Morley in Year 2 was really interesting, and learning about Dinosaurs in Year 3. We had to work out where our fossil came from!'