The School Curriculum

Principles

At Fishtoft we adopt a ‘stage not age’ approach to teaching. For children to achieve they must be happy at the Academy and feel safe and secure. Their minds must be stimulated and inspired. Education can be successful where the children are interested and actively participating. To achieve this, the delivery of the curriculum is varied, imaginative and where possible enquiry based.

From Reception to Year 6, we place a great emphasis on active learning, developing children’s confidence and promoting enthusiasm. All children are intrinsically motivated to produce work of quality. 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.

Through high self-esteem and confidence, children are encouraged to develop positive attitudes and are expected to show self-discipline; they must accept responsibility for their own actions, are expected to respect others, their feelings and their property. They are helped to understand and respect the lives of those who have alternative beliefs and customs.

Our Thematic Curriculum

This curriculum centres on the belief that children learn better when their interests and fascinations are allowed to flourish, where they are encouraged to explore subjects in a variety of ways and are viewed in terms of their strengths, not their weaknesses. The curriculum is taught through a four-stage teaching philosophy: Engage, Develop, Innovate, Express.

To engage all children, learning begins with a memorable first-hand experience. Through explore, make and do learning is developed to improve knowledge and understanding. The skills gained from this are then applied to real-life contexts and through a range of creative activities children solve real and imagined problems. Finally, as experts, performers and informers children share and celebrate their achievements.

What will my child be doing at school?

At Fishtoft we believe that learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.  There are words that cannot be ‘sounded out’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information we gather to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.  This way everyone gets the right level of challenge and no child is left behind!

We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

How do I know the teaching will be good?

All the classroom-based staff are trained to teach reading the Fishtoft way. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way. Senior teachers watch other teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning how we want them to learn.

If you have any questions, please come to school and talk to us.

Want to find out more?  Simply download the leaflet below or contact us.

What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

During transition you will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading. We would very much like you to know how to help your child succeed.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly by searching on YouTube for ‘Read Write Inc. Phonemes Pronunciation Guide’

Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child here:http://www.ruthmiskintraining.com/teacher-support/17/index.html

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.

Did you know that fine motor development significantly contributes to the development of communication skills in young children? It affects their ability to write a name or message, manipulate a computer mouse, create a sculpture or draw a picture; all of which are vital forms of communication and as such we feel it is essential that we do all we can to develop this amongst our pupils.

Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable children to write, grasp small objects, fastening clothing and carryout other small-scale tasks. It develops as the pathways in the brain mature. In fact, the level of development of fine motor control in children is used to determine the developmental age of the child.

Fine motor skills such as stacking blocks, cutting out shapes with scissors, drawing lines or circles, tearing paper and holding and writing with a pencil, can occur only if the pathways in the brain are appropriately developed.  Your child’s fine motor development is a very important part of their physical skill set and at Fishtoft we organise a range of daily activities to support the children to develop these essential skills.

Children will continue to develop and improve their fine motor skills as they move through the school, but the groundwork needs to be developed and established within the first six years of life in order to have the greatest impact. After Early Years, children will progress onto learning to write in a joined, fully cursive, fluent style.  As children develop their skills, they will advance from pencil to pen (gaining an award known as their pen licence) and ultimately work towards obtaining their fountain pen licence.

Fishtoft school uses the National Curriculum programmes of study to teach mathematics.

Through sequences of mathematics lessons, from Early Years to Year 6 teaching focusses on supporting all our children to

• learn the skills of numeracy, geometry and measure that can be used in everyday life and developed later for the specific demands of a particular career

• develop problem-solving and reasoning skills that are so vital in day-to-day life

• develop thinking skills – an invaluable skill in every subject area.

This approach to teaching gives our school:

1. A consistent whole-school approach. A structured and coherent mathematics curriculum for the whole school, helping us to deliver a high-quality mathematics education to every child.

2. High expectations for all. Underpinned by the ambition for all children to excel and develop a sense of excitement about mathematics.

3. Fluency with number. Strong emphasis is placed on developing quick and accurate number skills.

4. Deep understanding. Using a powerful learning system of concrete objects, actions and vocabulary, a solid understanding maths is developed from the earliest stages, leading to strong reasoning andproblem-solving skills.

The Maths  learning system

Maths lessons focus on the use of concrete objects, exaggerated actions and special vocabulary to help every child succeed in our school and become a confident mathematician. The combination of objects, actions and vocabulary makes maths accessible to children from the youngest age. The learning system builds deep understanding and embeds a picture of the maths in children’s minds so they progress to thinking without the aid of physical objects; they refer to their mental images instead.

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.  For example, every child at Fishtoft will be taught to touch type from the earliest age as this is as much of a life skill in the 21 st century as learning their times tables.  Essentially we want technology enabled learning for a technology-driven generation.

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.

RE is an important curriculum subject, both in its own right and because it makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and supports wider community cohesion. Although we are a non-denominational school, we shall adopt a broadly Christian ethos and are keen to ensure all pupils receive high-quality RE.

Fishtoft Academy has chosen to follow the Lincolnshire Agreed Syllabus for RE. This Agreed Syllabus has two aims.

They are that pupils should:

  • learn about religion and explore human experience (attainment target one)
  • learn from religion and respond to human experience (attainment target two).

These two attainment targets are inter-linked and dependent on each other.

The Themes and Religions we shall cover each term are outlined in the long-term planning documents below.

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 Academy, we believe in the importance of education for the development of the whole child. Personal, Social, Health and Emotional Education (PSHEE), Citizenship and International Studies 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, Citizenship and International Studies contribute significantly across the whole curriculum to our responsibility to help prepare for the opportunities and challenges of life.

In PSHEE, Citizenship and International Studies 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.