Our Curriculum

 

Mathematics

 At Elm Hall, our approach to the teaching of mathematics within the school is based on:

  • A daily Maths lesson 
  • A clear focus on direct, instructional teaching and interactive oral work with both the whole class and smaller ability groups.

Our class teachers facilitate learning through a daily lesson for mathematics of an age appropriate length. Lessons are planned using the National Curriculum and supported using ‘Abacus’ framework and ‘White Rose’ planning which encompasses the aims and content of the Renewed Framework. This planning enables teachers to plan for mixed age classes with clarity, incorporating arithmetic, problem solving and reasoning. Teachers of the Reception children base their teaching on objectives in the Framework for Reception ensuring that they are working towards the ‘Early Learning Goals for Mathematical Development’. A ‘Progression through Calculation’ programme is used throughout the school to ensure the continuing and gradual development of arithmetic skills (see our Calculation Policy) and teachers incorporate frequent investigations to enhance children’s ‘mathematical fitness’. Teachers use ‘bar method’ strategies for demonstrating problem solving and mathematical concepts. For problem solving, children should be encouraged to develop the 6 key problem solving skills:  

  • Trial and improvement
  • Working systematically
  • Pattern spotting
  • Working backwards
  • Reasoning logically
  • Visualising
  • Conjecturing

Using the problem solving process:  

  • Getting started
  • Working on the problem – what key problem solving can I use?
  • Digging deeper – have you found all the ways?
  • Concluding – how can you communicate what you have done?

Choose your Challenge  

Within the daily mathematics lesson, teachers provide activities to support children who find mathematics difficult, but also activities that provide appropriate challenges for children who are high achievers in mathematics. Children are encouraged to choose their challenge that will extend their learning and understanding. They move through the challenges depending on ability in the area of maths being taught and their strengths. There should always a consolidation challenge available to successful learners so they are always challenged.

The role of the teacher in maths lessons and embedding problem solving 

Teachers embed key learning attitudes to accelerate the learning of maths. ‘Being stuck, frustrated and irritated is the point you want to get to within a maths lesson’ should be encouraged as this will contribute to the children’s mathematical fitness. Key strategies for enable this are:

  • Making the role of the teacher to question answers and not to answer questions.
  • Celebrating making mistakes – mistakes encourage debate and reasoning.
  • Convince yourself, convince a friend, convince an enemy (someone with a different opinion)
  • Think, pair, share – insist on silence for individual thinking time before talking and sharing.
  • Encourage children to use initiative when they can.

 

Spellings/Phonics  

EYFS and Year 1 children’s phonics need to be assessed in the first half term. The children should then be grouped at the teacher’s discretion as a result of these assessments into a phonics phase group or spelling level.

Children in Year 2 upwards will be given spellings based on the spelling scheme ‘Read, Write, Ink’.

 Spelling Logs 

  • Each child must have a spelling log from year 2 and up.
  • They need to be kept near them at all times.
  • Spelling logs should be used to try spellings, record spellings of words they find tricky and as a record for spelling rules etc.
  • Homework – copy spellings into little books, practise at home using the look/cover/say/write/check method.

 

Reading and Phonics

At Elm Hall, reading is embraced in all areas of the curriculum. We encourage children to begin to understand the different purposes for reading and to develop an enjoyment for it. We utilise two reading systems – Renaissance Reading for key stage 2 and Elmer Reading for Key Stage 1.

In KS1, the children use a variety of reading schemes, including The Bug Club and Songbirds. Reading in Reception and Year 1 occurs in whole class story times, independent reading, during phonics sessions, small group reading, whole class guided reading and 1-1 to with an adult. In Reception and Year 1 children are rewarded for reading with our Elmer Reading Awards. Children can achieve Elmer Reading Awards by colouring in one of Elmer’s patches every time they read in school or at home. When an Elmer is fully coloured children are rewarded by collecting the relevant sticker and certificate as well as seeing their name on a star on our colourful display. Children can collect purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, bronze, silver or gold Elmer awards progressively. Children are presented with their certificates in our weekly celebration assembly. Children are actively encouraged to read at home and in school to develop both decoding and comprehension skills.

During Year 2, children may be introduced to Renaissance Reading as the class teacher decides it is appropriate. These children will begin Accelerated Reader on the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme before moving onto choosing their own books from the school library under supervision.

All children in KS2 have half an hour reading each day in school, in some cases with the support of an adult. Children take a computer-based quiz when they have finished their book. This provides information regarding their reading and comprehension of the book, and helps steer their choice of their next book. Quizzing and choosing a book always takes place during a designated Renaissance Reading slot on the school timetable to ensure the best possible help can be given by the school librarian to assist the children to achieve the best possible results.

The librarian will monitor how often children forget and change their books. Children should be encouraged to make sensible book choices to minimise the number of times they change their books. Continual changing negatively affects quiz results. It is also very important that all children have their books in school every day to make the most of the reading time and support available in school.

Books in the reading library are selected according to the website www.arbookfind.co.uk to check that the books are quizzed, and of a suitable interest level for our children. Books which are either Lower Years or Middle Years are considered to be suitable for children up to the age of 11. Once in the library, books are divided into those suitable for children in years 5/6 and those suitable for younger children. Only children in years 5/6 will be allowed to read those books, unless a year 4 child has written permission from their parent.

Children scan every book out of the library using the Junior Librarian system. Children are held accountable for any books that they borrow, and parents may be asked to reimburse the school for lost or damaged books. Children should also be reminded to replace books carefully, in the right area, with the spine facing out so the title and author can be seen. Children must be encouraged to look after the school books and treat them with care and respect.

The 'Letters and Sounds' Phonics programme is followed throughout the Lower School, and into KS2 where necessary. Children in the Lower School will have a specific phonics session daily, in addition to phonics being reinforced at every opportunity to help improve their reading.

  

Writing 

At Elm Hall we follow a writing system based on Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’. This system is consistent across the school when planning writing, however, the order in which they are delivered or planned for is at the teacher’s discretion. 

  • Language structure analysis – using the schools colour coding system to locate and identify language structures.
  • ‘Box-up Planning’ – children should use box up planning method for all writing.
  • Learn a good model text that is pitched slightly above class expectations. Use actions to learn model or important elements of the model.
  • Playing with sentence structures from the model and writing other examples – usually takes the form of a lesson starter or plenary.
  • Shared writing – teacher conducting a shared write using the children’s ideas, following success criteria, discussing grammatical features, punctuation effects and sentence structures.
  • Analysis of individual paragraph structures discussing the purpose of paragraphs and individual traits of each.
  • Extracting and forming success criteria – examining the model text for what makes it a successful piece of writing.
  • Magpieing – children given the opportunity to discover, share and adapt writing ideas from a range of sources.

 

Grammar Terminology 

At Elm Hall we endeavour to ensure that children are taught grammar consistently with the National Curriculum and that every teacher and LSA are using the correct terminology during all learning sessions.

  

Differentiation of the Curriculum

Teachers are aware of the needs of all the children in their class, and account for these differences in their planning.  To differentiate activities to only 3 levels may not sufficient to meet the needs of the least and most able children within a class.  Support for least able is clearly identified and extension activities are planned for the able children to ensure they are being sufficiently challenged.  Teachers ensure that the targets of One Page Profiles are incorporated into the wider curriculum, not purely met through focused activities with TAs. Differentiation is clearly identified on plans, and outcomes recorded to inform future planning.   

 

Homework

In addition to reading, all children are required to complete weekly homework. Homework is work that the children can complete independently, practicing skills that they have recently been learning in class. ‘My Maths’ is a computer based homework system that teachers in year 2 and onwards must set each week. Other homework set will be at the teacher’s discretion, however, grammar, punctuation and spelling is recommended.

  

British Values

At Elm Hall, we think it is very important that our children develop a strong set of values and principles, and that they question and understand what it means to grow up in British society. Through our rich and challenging humanities curriculum, school assemblies and through a focus on key events in British History our children are encourages to reflect upon their role in a diverse, multicultural and multi faith society. 

Our school is enriched by the faith of our school community, and we teach an inclusive Religious Education curriculum that teaches pupils about the beliefs and practices of all major religious groups, and the shared values that religion can promote in synchrony with core British values. 

The fundamental British values that we work to promote are:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
  • Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely
  • Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England
  • Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures
  • Encourage respect for other people, and
  • Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England