The School Curriculum
At Fishtoft we believe that as every child is unique, their education should be similarly tailored to their personal needs. We recognise that in order for children to achieve they must first feel happy, safe and secure at the Academy. We also recognise that every child has an innate sense of creativity and a desire to explore that must not be allowed to lie dormant. Rather, it is our job as the educator of future generations, to identify and nurture their bespoke talents.
From Reception to Year 6, we place a great emphasis on active learning, developing children’s confidence and promoting enthusiasm. All staff encourage children to have a rigour about their work and children are expected to work with purpose and diligence. Challenged by high expectations, our children are expected to think for themselves, work independently as well as in groups or as a class.
To find out more about the different aspects of our curriculum, click on the tabs below.
Literacy Curriculum Statement
At Fishtoft we work really hard to ensure that every child will be able to speak confidently, read fluently with understanding and be able to express their ideas clearly in a variety of written forms. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework in our Reception Classes and the National Curriculum 2014 in Y1-Y6. Above all, we wish to instil in our pupils a love of reading and writing which will give them pleasure and support them throughout their future lives.
It is vital that children have good speaking skills, as oracy underpins all literacy skills. We start in Reception with specially planned speaking and listening activities to develop vocabulary and use lots of different ways to encourage good quality conversations. Oracy is also highly embedded in the way we approach reading, through our ‘Talk for Reading’ in our Guided Reading sessions. Moreover, we ensure there is ample opportunity of ‘speaking before writing’ with techniques such as Alan Peat’s ‘Boxing Clever’ for story structure being used across all phases to improve sentence construction.
At Fishtoft, we aim to develop a love reading and have lots of events to promote the joy of books such as author visits and World Book Day celebrations
We teach reading through the Ruth Miskin synthetic phonics programme, where children are taught to say the sounds for individual letters and then blend them together to read words. By having daily dedicated lessons, we aim to have all children reading by the end of Reception and by the end of Year 1 to read fluently with a developing understanding of different texts. From Year 2, our children are then free to concentrate on improving their comprehension for a variety of purposes. We also have excellent support for those children who find reading more challenging, with a rigorous system of intervention run by highly qualified staff to ensure all pupils reach their full potential.
Throughout the school, we provide opportunities for the children to read and listen to books with adults. There are daily small group Guided Reading sessions led by teaching staff and every year group has an allocated time for the daily sharing of a class story to ensure that the printed word is something that is threaded through the school day.
We firmly believe that reading does not only happen at school and recognise that parents and carers are a vital part of the reading partnership. We actively encourage and reward daily home reading in special Home Reader Award assemblies.
At Fishtoft, all our home reading books are colour banded. Colour bands are linked to your child’s ability in reading. Your child will be placed in a colour band as this will help to ensure that the book they read will be the right reading level for them. Every colour band includes books from a range of reading schemes; this ensures that children will experience a range of stories, genres and authors. The majority of books within the early book bands can be decoded using phonics skills and phonic knowledge. Our reading scheme books include Read, Write Home Readers, Big Cat and Project X to name but a few. A home school record book system operates to enable a dialogue with parents and monitor progress.
Each book band has its own colour. These are shown below:
As you will see from the chart there are general guidelines about which book bands should be covered at each age group. However, please remember that children learn in different ways and make progress at different times. It is possible that there may be seven year olds on book band red and five year olds on book band turquoise.
As a rough guide, children are expected to reach band 11 (lime) at seven or eight years old. Children who read above lime level are reading fairly fluently and although there are still banded books above this level, children are reading such a wide range of material that the banding becomes not so important. Children working above Lime level are deemed to be ‘Free Readers’. Every child’s book level is checked each term.
We recognise that the effective teaching and development of oracy and phonics, underpins the development of successful writers. From the first days in Reception, children are encouraged to mark make daily in a variety of ways and as soon as they learn their sounds, practise writing their letters. By the end of the first year of school, we aim to have the children writing simple sentences to express their ideas. As they progress through the year groups, pupils will be challenged to write more complex sentences in different genres, with a strong emphasis on correct grammar and spelling. Children are given a weekly opportunity to write independently at length and not just in their dedicated Literacy lessons but through topic sessions as well.
There are many aspects to writing successfully and we aim to give equal measure to each constituent. Grammar is taught in discrete lessons, but at the same time is linked to the current writing purposes in the classroom. For spelling, appropriate National Curriculum statutory spelling lists and guidelines are used for each year group. Home support may be requested to help with the learning of these. To assist children remember the many different types of punctuation, we use actions and specific language in a whole school approach. When writing at length, we use Alan Peat’s techniques such as ‘Boxing Clever’ to support children to give clarity to their sentence and compositional structure.
In order for their work to be enjoyed, we believe legible and neat handwriting is essential. The children have the opportunity to write in pen once they have achieved a good standard, which encourages pride in the presentation of their writing. For all these stages, the teacher models good examples of writing, through whole class shared writing, or in small guided groups to scaffold the children’s learning.
Above all, we want the children to enjoy their writing, so their tasks are often linked to their exciting Cornerstones topics or real life experiences to give a purpose for their written pieces.
The Academy’s Literacy Progression Document which outlines to progression of writing skills across the Academy can be accessed below.
From Years 1 to 6, Maths is planned from the National Curriculum objectives 2014. In Reception, The Early Learning Goals are followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Foundation Stage through to the National Curriculum. We follow the ‘Mastery’ approach to Maths and believe that every child ‘can’ achieve.
At the heart of our maths teaching, we take the 3 aims of the National Curriculum
- Conceptual understanding
In developing children’s skills through enhancing their factual, conceptual and procedural knowledge, we allow them to deepen their mathematical understanding and be able to apply what they know to help them to solve problems.
- Mathematical reasoning
The progression and development of mental calculations and efficiency in strategies will provide children with the skills which will allow them to communicate and present their findings effectively using appropriate mathematical language.
- Problem solving
By providing opportunities to apply their mathematical skills in different contexts and across a range of subject areas, children will be able to work systematically to organise information, find patterns and ultimately solutions through independent and collaborative learning.
At Fishtoft, we aim to provide all pupils with direct maths teaching every day, which is oral, interactive and stimulating. Teaching styles and lesson structure provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate their previous learning, use and apply their knowledge, understanding and skills, pose and ask questions, investigate mathematical ideas, reflect on their own learning and make links with other work. Our learning environments are all focussed on modelling and geared to the current learning that is happening within the Maths classroom. In addition to this, the children have a wealth of equipment to use as they go through the concrete, pictorial and abstract processes for each concept. Teachers regularly assess children’s understanding. This ensures that planning and teaching is aimed towards deepening and developing mathematical understanding. Activities can then be differentiated in a manageable way so that all pupils are engaged in mathematics.
This year, we have introduced Times Table Targets for each year group and children from year 1 upwards have an account on Times Table Rockstars. This is a fun, interactive and engaging website which allows children to practise their times table and division facts. Having a good understanding of the times tables up to 12×12 and the corresponding division facts will ensure the children have a sound mathematical grounding for life. We ask for support from parents in helping the children learn their times tables.
We are also fortunate to have our own highly-skilled Numbers Counts Teacher: Mrs Harrison. Mrs Harrison is our Maths Leader and oversees any child in need of additional maths support. The interventions that we offer include First Class @ Number 1 & 2 as well as Success@Arithmetic. All of these are especially designed support programmes that have been developed by Edge Hill University.
- In the EYFS, children’s achievements are on-going and are assessed against the Early Learning Goals.
- In KS1 and KS2 will make judgements about the children’s mathematics in relation to age related expectations as set out in the new curriculum.
- Our judgements are based on a variety of different evidence sources. These are as follows: questioning, observations and marking will continue to be key parts of formative assessment.
- Statutory assessments take place at the end of EYFS, Year 2 and Year 6.
Our vision for Fishtoft Academy is to make ICT an integral and seamless as opposed to bolt on part of our curriculum. Our children are technology natives and as such need the modern technologies they use at home bringing into the learning environment in order to both engage them and not only support, yet maximise learning. ICT is the future and if one does not utilise this to its full extent we are doing an injustice to our pupils when it comes to preparing them for their future careers.
At Fishtoft we are committed to raising the profile of E-Safety within our school. We are currently living in an increasingly technological age and many children are now far some advanced than their parents in the field of expertise. Technology brings with it obvious advantages but there are also disadvantages if the correct security measures are not taken. We are committed to ensuring all our pupils are safe online and all children are required to sign the school’s e-safety and user agreement policy.
For the teaching of RE in our Academy we use the ‘Love to Celebrate’ Imaginative Learning Projects. These projects are matched to the requirements of ‘A Curriculum Framework for Religious Education in England’ (2013).
We generally deliver weekly RE lessons, yet some terms, the units (ILPs) will be taught in a block lasting about a week near to the date of the actual celebration to give context to the children’s learning and opportunities to visit places of worship that are actually celebrating the festival the children are studying.
Basing learning around festivals gives a real-life context and structure to our children’s learning. However, the celebration itself is only a small part of each unit and each set of units (which run from Y1-Y6) cover all major aspects of each religion including worship, belief, leadership and belonging.
The religions we cover in school are: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.
All the lessons taught are designed to help children learn about religion and learn from religion, helping them to gain a better understanding of the beliefs and motivations behind the actions of others. Our curriculum is not designed to deliver a certain doctrine (as we are a non-denominational school), but rather, to help children learn more about the world they live in today.
At Fishtoft Academy our PE Curriculum is designed to enable our children to:
- Develop physical competence, so that our children are able to move efficiently, effectively and safely, and understand what they are doing, through action, awareness and observation.
- Provide a broad and balanced programme, involving a wide range of activities in line with National Curriculum guide-lines, which is differentiated to meet individual needs and which coincides with children’s interests.
- Involve the development of qualities such as fairness, enthusiasm, integrity and concern for quality as well as success.
- Combine physical activity with the mental processes of making decisions, such as selecting, refining, judging, shaping and adapting.
At Fishtoft School, we believe in the importance of education for the development of the whole child. Weekly Personal, Social, Health and Emotional Education (PSHEE) sessions help to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. PSHEE contributes significantly across the whole curriculum to our responsibility to help prepare our pupils for the opportunities and challenges of life.
In PSHEE we aim to provide opportunities for pupils to:
- Develop their personal, social and life skills.
- Acquire knowledge and understanding of important issues that may affect their lives and the lives of others.
- Reflect on their experiences and learn from them.
- Develop their own attitudes and values.
- Engage in active participation in the school and local community.
- Understand basic principles of Citizenship issues.
- Develop their skills of enquiry and communication.
We use 3D PHSE as the basis of our PHSE curriculum. This award-winning programme helps us to fulfil our statutory responsibility to support pupils’ SMSC (moral, social and cultural) education, focusing on Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. Naturally, British Values are at the heart of 3D PSHE and 3D PSHE also prepares children for life in modern Britain today, preparing them to become full and active citizens in our wider global community.
The Science Curriculum is planned from the National Curriculum 2014. Science stimulates and excites pupils’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It also satisfies their curiosity with knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling. This is a spur to critical and creative thought. Through science, pupils understand how major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving the quality of life. Pupils recognise the cultural significance of science and trace its world-wide development. They learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world. Children are encouraged to work scientifically throughout the school and are encouraged to ask questions. Activities inspire the pupils to experiment and investigate the world around them and to help them raise their own questions such as “Why…?”, “How…?” and “What happens if…?” They make links between ideas and explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday things and their personal health. They think about the effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. In Key Stage two, Children carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They use a range of reference sources in their work. They talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs and ICT to communicate their ideas.
As a school, we are delighted to offer our pupils the Cornerstones Curriculum. This curriculum is based on inspirational learning projects which allow children to learn in a way that motivates and interests them. Cornerstones provides our children with a good level of challenge, giving them opportunities to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding across the curriculum.
Every year group will experience 6 Imaginative Learning Projects in a year. Each individual project is split into sections, which see children progress through four stages of learning: Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express.
At the ‘Engage’ stage, children:
- Gain memorable first-hand experiences, such as going on a visit or inviting a special visitor into school
- Enjoy ‘WOW’ experiences
- Get an exciting introduction to a topic or theme
- Begin researching and setting enquiry questions
- Get lots of opportunities to make observations
- Develop spoken language skills
- Take part in sensory activities
- Have lots of fun to fully ‘engage’ with their new topic.
At the ‘Develop’ stage, children:
- Improve their knowledge and understanding of the topic
- Develop and practise their new skills
- Compose, make, do, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes and read across the curriculum
- Research their own questions and those set by others
- Follow new pathways of enquiry based on their interests
- Complete homework activities that support their learning.
At the ‘Innovate’ stage, children:
- Apply skills, knowledge and understanding in real-life contexts
- Solve real or imagined problems using everything they’ve learnt
- Get inspired by imaginative and creative opportunities
- Revisit anything not fully grasped at the ‘Develop’ stage.
At the ‘Express’ stage, children:
- Become the performers, experts and informers
- Share their achievements with parents, classmates and the community
- Evaluate finished products and processes
- Link what they have learnt to where they started
- Celebrate their achievements!
If you would like to find out more about the Cornerstones Curriculum, please visit their website at www.cornerstoneseducation.co.uk