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Curriculum

EYFS

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at school covers Nursery (at Meadow Field only) to Reception.  Our Nursery classes are known as Puffins and Penguins and the Reception classes at Wood Field are Dormice, Hedgehogs, Rabbits and Squirrels as well as Swifts and Mallards at Meadow Field.

The Curriculum

We follow the EYFS Framework which is the curriculum set out by the Department for Education.  This includes the seven key areas of learning and development. These seven areas of learning and development are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. Children are supported to develop in the three prime areas first. 

These are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four additional areas. These are: 

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

These seven areas are used as a framework to plan your child’s learning and activities, but the professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s individual learning and developmental needs. 

Learning Through Play

We ensure learning is fun and engaging; we want our children to develop a love of learning in these first school years. The EYFS approach is to ‘Learn Through Play’ and through this approach, a child can learn to make sense of the world around them.  Play allows children to develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.

Our children also benefit from a mixture of learning opportunities including:  

  • carpet time - when the teacher facilitates interactive, whole class teaching sessions. This can include stories, singing, phonics and early number skills.
  • free flow - the children are encouraged to explore the learning environment, both inside and out, accessing the high quality resources and learning activities made available by the staff.
  • small group work - practitioners in the setting may carry out collaborative learning with small groups of children. This is mainly play based and offers the opportunity to play and learn alongside other children, with the support of an adult.
  • 1:1 learning - occasionally adults may work on a ‘one on one’ basis to support a child’s learning. This may include reading, writing work or to develop early maths skills.

Learning Journeys

The practitioners in the setting record the children’s achievements through observations, photographs and examples of their independent work. These are compiled into your child’s personal ‘Learning Journey’ to show their progress through the EYFS. They are fantastic documents that show the excellent learning opportunities that the children experience at Bandon Hill and showcase each child’s attainment. We encourage the children to look through these whenever they would like to and we share them with parents at Parent’s Evenings. Please do send in contributions from home; it is important to include ‘parent voice’ in their Learning Journeys. Class teachers can advise you on how best to do this should you like some inspiration!

Parent Partnership

We understand that your child starting school is a very big step for you all. We want to build a relationship with our parents to ensure that this handover is as smooth as possible. All children starting Nursery and any children that are new to Reception at Meadow Field will have a home visit. All Reception pupils at Wood Field will have a home visit. This is an opportunity for you to talk with your child’s new teacher, to ask questions and raise any worries or concerns that you or your child may have. It also provides your child with the chance to meet their new teacher in a safe and familiar environment, laying the foundations for a positive relationship.

In Nursery and at the beginning of Reception we encourage parents to drop their children at the classroom door. This allows you to have a verbal handover with the class teacher should you need it. The school contact books are also checked daily so are an effective means of communication for working parents.

Please find below a link to our EYFS topic web. It provides a brief outline of topics that will be covered during the year, however, there will be many others that are developed in response to the children’s interests. You will receive regular updates about learning, topics and tips of things you can do at home through the Year Group weekly newsletter.

We look forward to working with you and your children!

The EYFS Team

English

The National Curriculum for English sets out its aims clearly:

  • promote high standards of literacy
  • develop children’s love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment

It aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary
  • acquire an understanding of grammar
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate

Phonics 

At Bandon Hill we believe that phonics underpins all aspects of literacy acquisition.  Our phonics planning is broadly based on the Letters and Sounds document with adaptions to accommodate National Curriculum requirements and the needs of our learners. Sessions follow the ‘Revise, Teach, Practise, Apply’ format and are designed to be fun, fast-paced and exciting.

The Importance of Reading

‘Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.’ PEARSON UK

At Bandon Hill we teach reading following a RIC approach:


Retrieval Questions

  • Children will need to find words, phrases or specific information within a passage of text.

Interpret Questions

  • Children will find clues within the text to help them think about author’s choices.

Choice Questions

  • Help children evaluate the author’s intentions, using evidence and life experiences to support their views.

We also teach comprehension skills using our First News children’s newspapers, as well as whole class reading lessons based around a high quality text.

Writing

At Bandon Hill, English is taught through the ‘Power of Reading’ approach. Every half term a new book is selected, linking to the year group's Cornerstones topic. The teaching of English builds cross-curricular links, so that high quality literature is at the heart of our curriculum and the children’s learning. Focussing quality children’s literature at the heart of their learning creates a whole school culture of reading for pleasure.

Spelling and Vocabulary

At Bandon Hill, we teach the application of spelling patterns and rules. This enables children to become good spellers as they are learning how to apply their knowledge to all words they may come across. Each week a new ‘Word of the Week’ is shared with the children to try and use in their writing. Ambitious words are specifically chosen to broaden the children’s bank of vocabulary.

English Appendix 1 - Spelling

Maths

At Bandon Hill we have begun to use a Mastery approach to teach Maths. We have been lucky enough to be part of a Teacher Research Group which has focused on the principles of Maths Mastery. This is a government funded project through the nationwide Maths Hubs.

Why are we using this approach?

Mastery of Maths means a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject of Maths. There are a number of elements which will help children develop mastery of Maths; 

  • fluency (rapid and accurate recall and application of facts and concepts)
  • a growing confidence to reason mathematically
  • the ability to apply Maths to solve problems and to test hypotheses

These directly link with the aims of the Maths curriculum: 

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so that they develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • to be able to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication, including in unfamiliar contexts and to model real-life scenarios
  • to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry and develop and present a justification, argument or proof using mathematical language.
  • to have an appreciation of number and number operations, which enables mental calculations and written procedures to be performed efficiently, fluently and accurately to be successful in mathematics.

Mastery of Maths, which will build gradually as a child goes through school, is a tool for life and is immeasurably more valuable than the short term ability to answer questions in tests or exams.

Key features of this approach

There will be a significant amount of time devoted to developing basic number concepts. This is to build up children’s fluency as number awareness will affect their success in other areas of mathematics. Children who are successful with number are much more confident mathematicians.

All this means there may be a change in the way we have historically taught and assessed pupils. We will be doing more of this:

  • Active learning – all children answering a question using resources
  • Teaching all pupils in class, together, most of the time
  • Verbal feedback during lessons and more checking of correct concepts
  • Spending longer on one idea
  • Giving pupils who need it additional support over shorter more intense timescales – ideally same/next day - to prevent gaps in learning occurring
  • Giving pupils who need it additional support to challenge themselves and apply their thinking at a deeper level
  • Ongoing assessments

And less of this:

  • Formal marking with lots of feedback and ‘next steps’
  • Covering lots of ideas in one week
  • Formal, long term interventions to boost pupils out of class
  • Separating in to ability groups
  • A teacher asking a question and one child providing an answer
  • Moving up to bigger numbers to increase difficulty

Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract

All students, when introduced to a key new concept within Maths, will have the opportunity to build competency in this topic by taking the approach Concrete – Pictorial – Abstract, described below. 

  • Concrete – children will have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing.
  • Pictorial – children will then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.
  • Abstract – with the foundations firmly laid, children will be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.

Main Goal- Everyone Can Succeed

As a school we believe that all students can succeed in Mathematics. We do not believe that there are children who can do Maths and those that can’t. A positive mindset for Mathematics and strong subject knowledge are key to children’s success in Mathematics.