At Springbank Primary Academy we believe that lessons should be stimulating, exciting and engaging, allowing the children to gain knowledge and make links between information they know and new, related learning.
Although we are an Academy, we do follow the National Curriculum for England and Wales and have mapped this through and across each year group to ensure the children follow a logical sequence of learning and develop their knowledge year on year. We ensure that throughout we maintain our EPIC vision and values for our children.
At Springbank Primary Academy we use a range of agreed teaching strategies across the school. These are agreed across the Gloucestershire Learning Alliance and all teaching and support staff receive frequent training to review and update their knowledge. We share strategies and resources across the schools to ensure the best possible provision and support for our staff and children.
Reading - Reading is a priority across the school and nursery. We ensure children have the opportunity to learn specific reading strategies as well as engage in activities to promote reading for pleasure. Books are shared daily in Nursery and EYFS with a longer class reader being introduced in EYFS - Fantastic Mr Fox is always popular! The purpose of class readers and shared stories is to model fluent reading and promote the enjoyment of stories.
Children in EYFS also have a reading book linked to their phonic knowledge to take home and to read with the teacher. This book is not changed everyday as we promote repeated reading to first support decoding and then encourage fluency. This is the same throughout Year 1 and Year 2 until the children are able to move onto the Accelerated Reader Programme which guides their free reader choices.
In class group guided reading sessions begin in Year 1 and run through the rest of the school. These are mixed groups with a focus on a specific text which the children explore independently, work on with a teacher and complete follow up activities to develop comprehension skills. We use the Reciprocal Reading strategy to support this element of reading. There are four parts to this strategy: Predict, Clarify, Question and Summarise.
We also ensure plenty of reading for pleasure activities to develop fluency and a love of reading. This includes independent reading, 1:1 reading with the teacher, cross curricular reading, buddy reading with children from other classes and whole class reading.
Every class has a reading display with a selection of books which have been read and can be recommended by the teacher. These are displayed face on and there are opportunities for children to make their own recommendations. Mrs White even has a display on her office window.
See our Reading booklet for parents for information, hints and tips.
Phonics - Phonics is our taught strategy to enable children to read. We follow Letters and Sounds from Nursery to Year 2 where Phase 6 is completed (although the Letters and Sounds teaching sequence of Introduce, Revisit and Review, Teach, Practise, Apply, Assess is used throughout the school) .
Letters and Sounds sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. We begin with Phase 1 in Nursery and also recap this in Reception to ensure children are ready to move on. Phonics teaching starts right at the beginning of Reception with Phase 2,3 and 4 covered through the Year. Year 1 focus on Phase 5 (with some recapping of the earlier phases as needed) and Year 2 cover Phase 6.
We value embedded knowledge of phonics to support reading so our Year 3 teachers also revisit Phase 6 to ensure effective transition onto the KS2 programme of study.
The Letters and Sounds publication can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letters-and-sounds
Writing -Talk 4 Writing. Writing is taught in 3 phases: Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application. Children learn about fiction and non-fiction text types with vocabulary, grammar and punctuation included throughout. Text types are repeated across the school so that children can activate and build on prior knowledge each year. Poetry is used at the beginning of each learning journey to explore, collect and develop vocabulary in order to support the children when writing more independently.
For more information on Talk 4 Writing see the official website: https://www.talk4writing.co.uk/
We use the text types that the children have already learnt to support cross curricular writing in the foundation subjects too e.g. an Information text in Science or a Warning Story in RE.
Spelling - Spelling is linked to both reading and writing but is taught in discrete sessions. All children learn Phonics from Nursery which supports both reading and spelling. In Year 2 there is a focus on Phase 6 spelling patterns using Letters and Sounds. The Letters and Sounds teaching sequence is then replicated throughout KS2 as the children are taught new spelling patterns. Where there are gaps in knowledge, Letters and Sounds will be used to support phonic knowledge.
Mathematics - Our Mathematics teaching is based on accurate initial assessments and misconception based teaching. Before each unit (mapped out from the National Curriculum) children participate in elicitation activities which may take the form of written questions, group discussion, practical activities or problems. This also supports the children in activating prior knowledge. The teaching sequence is then planned to introduce all children to the age related expectation and ensure they all have the opportunity to practice, reason and apply their knowledge, making links between methods and key facts. Common misconceptions, and those picked up from the initial elicitation are addressed and taught throughout. We are developing the opportunities our children have to apply their knowledge in all contexts.
This year we have introduced a new approach to the Foundation Curriculum. It is based on the Cognitive Load Theory in order to support children with knowing more and being able to make meaningful links between knowledge. We have also taken our local context into account to make sure that children know important information about their area and how it shapes their lives. Our previous BIG Idea curriculum worked well but we realised that our children needed further support in gaining knowledge and making links with their prior learning, whilst building in key vocabulary.
Each foundation subject is taught discretely in 'Knowledge Activator' lessons but with a recap/revisit of prior knowledge from past topics and a focus on key vocabulary, building through each year group.
This term our topic is What's out there? which has a physical Geography focus. All the foundation subjects are incorporated which allows for greater coverage over the National Curriculum, building up lesson by lesson over the year.
In EYFS this means a learning about our immediate local area, moving to the UK in KS1, Europe in Lower KS2 and the rest of the world in Upper KS2.
Key vocabulary has been taken from the National Curriculum and is sent home on Knowledge Organisers to promote discussion at home and allow children to practice using these terms.
PHSCE is taught using the PinK Curriculum. The PINK Curriculum has been written by the Healthy Living and Learning team of Lead Teachers to meet the needs of all children and young people in Gloucestershire in primary, secondary and FE settings; it is a ‘work in progress’, which will be updated and revised frequently. Its aim is to support the development of the necessary skills and knowledge that our children need to lead a happy, safe, healthy life. This encompasses topics such as Healthy Eating, Emotional Health and Well Being, Financial Capability, Drugs (including Alcohol) and RSE (Relationship and Sex Education). We also have a whole school focus through the year on Anti-bullying and Mindfulness as well as ongoing programmes led by the pastoral team to support individuals and groups.
Due to the school closure all pupils missed the delivery of our RSE (Relationship and Sex Education) curriculum in the summer of 2020. We were also unable to offer our parents the chance to come in to school and participate in the information sharing session we normally run. This year, all pupils will receive their current year, as well as the previous years programme content, in order to catch up on missed learning. Year 5 and 6 will have part of this curriculum taught earlier in the year as we feel it is important they have the age appropriate knowledge about physical and emotional changes they may soon experience. Below is a link to a digital version of the parent information sharing session for you to watch to gain more knowledge and understanding about our programme, why we teach it, where it fits alongside our other compulsory subjects and how it is delivered.