It is important that we check and monitor our pupils’ progress so we all know how well they are doing and what they need to do next. Pupils’ progress and attainment is assessed through a combination of teacher assessment and tests.
Statutory Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) for Reading and Maths are given at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) and the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6). Year 6 pupils also take a statutory Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test. Year 1 pupils undergo the Phonics Screening Check in June.
Pupils in other year groups take non-statutory tests for reading and maths, although they are also assessed by their teachers based on their ongoing work in class. Writing is assessed through set written tasks and pupils’ on-going written work matched against levelled criteria.
At The William Gladstone Academy, we teach and assess pupils using stages and steps that exemplify what children of a particular age should be able to demonstrate.
It is important to us as a school, that we not only assess what children can do, but how well they can do it - we commonly refer to this as ‘depth’. For more information about our curriculum, coverage, assessment or tracking, please speak to a member of the teaching staff who will be more than happy to help.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework, sets out the standards for development, learning and care of children from birth to five. It is important that all children are given the opportunity to experience the best possible start to their education. We need to ensure that our pupils enter school having established solid foundations on which they can build. Pupils will start in our Foundation class having had a range of different experiences.
Within the Foundation Year, learning experiences of the highest quality are planned, considering children’s needs and achievements and the range of learning experiences that will help them make progress. Well-planned play is a key way in which children learn with enjoyment and challenge, both within the indoor and outdoor learning environments. The Foundation Stage prepares our pupils for learning in Key Stage 1 and is consistent with the National Curriculum.
In the Reception Year, the curriculum is planned and resourced to take children’s learning forward and to provide opportunities for all children to succeed in an atmosphere of care and of feeling valued. The curriculum is designed to ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and to build their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. It is planned in seven areas of learning and development; all areas are important and inter-connected.
There are three prime areas which are:
“…development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations..” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
“…involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
“…involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
There are four specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. These specific areas are:
“…development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
“Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
“…involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about
people, places, technology and the environment.” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
“…involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.” (EYFS Statutory Framework 2012: 5)
We are very proud of the exciting curriculum we provide. Our children are passionate about learning and have a real thirst for knowledge. We work in-line with the National Curriculum, but compliment this with bespoke topics and experiences that we believe make the learning relevant, exciting and purposeful.
As many areas of the curriculum are naturally interrelated, we find the most effective approach is through topic work and we have an exciting range of topics and themes which our pupils love.
Our topics are enriched with fantastic visits and visitors and everyone loves the opportunity to get dressed up and fully emerged into a theme. As it is not always possible to make meaningful links across the breadth of the curriculum, there are parts that are taught discretely. However, it is our full aim to ensure that pupils apply the skills they have learned in purposeful ways, throughout. You can find out more about our curriculum and topics on our website.
Throughout the curriculum, our key aims are to ensure our pupils can read well, both for enjoyment and to find out information, and have a strong command of both the written and spoken word. Literacy lessons take place in the mornings, focussing on reading, composition in both speech and in writing, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, spelling and handwriting.
Phonics makes the links between letters and the sounds they represent. Children need to learn the sounds for not only the 26 letters in the alphabet but also the 44 main phonemes in the English language. They also need to learn that some sounds have more than one way of being written. We begin teaching this phonetic knowledge in Foundation, using a systematic progression scheme called ‘Read, Write Inc’, enabling the children to apply their knowledge to simple reading books at an early stage.
Home tasks help to reinforce the children’s learning and begins the process of homework for later years. All children will take part in a statutory screening of phonics knowledge at the end of Year 1.
Reading is an essential life skill which helps us to make sense of the world. We want every child to become confident, independent readers, using books for fun and enjoyment as well as a source of knowledge and ideas. Reading cannot be learnt in isolation because it is part of how we use language to communicate and present our thoughts about the world in which we live. So, during Topic and Literacy sessions we introduce the children to a broad range of genres and authors and encourage them to develop critical skills about their reading which will also develop their own creative writing abilities.
All our reading books are colour banded for ease of identification by ourselves and the children, progress through the different stages is guided by the child’s individual needs at any time.
As children read more independently, they have a good selection of longer, ‘chapter’ books to choose from. These may be organised by genre or by author to allow the children to make either a familiar and safe selection or to try a different style of writing. The children also
have access to a wide selection of non-fiction texts in the School Library, located in the corridors outside the hall.
Children will be listened to as they read, either individually or in guided group sessions with an adult wherever appropriate. It is crucial to their reading development that they are also listened to at home by different adults on a regular basis.
We work hard to be great writers too and everyone takes great pride in their written work. We focus on writing legibly, fluently and coherently in a range of styles so pupils are able to communicate thoughts with accuracy, imagination, enjoyment and description. While we teach the skills of writing and composition in Literacy, these are developed further throughout the curriculum.
We teach children a variety of texts through the ‘Talk 4 Writing’ approach. This ensures that our children not only learn a wide range of stories and texts, but they are then then able to use these in their own writing.
After children have finished the ‘Read, Write Inc’ phonics programme and are confident at decoding and phonetically spelling words, they begin to be taught the rules surrounding spelling more complicated vocabulary, with the aim of teaching skills that transfer across their entire writing.
Punctuation and Grammar are taught as part of each child’s Literacy lessons, although sometimes we discreetly teach more complex patterns and rules through an allocated time in the school day, usually before lunch.
Children may move between ‘SPAG’ - Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar - groups depending on the needs of each individual, that way we can be confident that everyone is receiving skills and knowledge that will help them in the next steps of their learning.
Mathematics is important in everyday life and our key aim is to ensure our pupils develop a positive attitude to maths. Maths lessons take place in the mornings, where we ensure pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of number and calculation, properties of shape, measurement and statistics.
We ensure pupils gain a deep understanding so that are able to reason mathematically and explain their approach to mathematical problems. There is a strong focus on the application of their knowledge and skill in the context of problem solving in real life too.
Pupils apply their skills in a range of subjects but particularly so in science, geography and technology.
Termly science topics cover specific phenomena in biology, chemistry or physics but there is a very practical approach in pupils gaining this knowledge and lessons are fun and exciting. Details of the topics covered and the content are published on our website.
Throughout all topics, pupils develop their scientific skills and complete a full investigation where they can apply their new knowledge and use their maths and literacy skills to present their findings.
We are currently investing greatly in technology in order to provide our pupils with as much opportunity to explore new technologies. We have laptop computers, electronic computing devices and iPads. Each classroom is also fitted with an interactive learning board, projector and WiFi throughout the school.
Our three key aims of this area of the curriculum are to ensure our pupils are:
These aims are covered through the threads of data handling, multimedia, e-safety, programming and learning about the uses of technology in our everyday lives. Learning how to use ICT effectively goes on throughout the curriculum but learning about computing and how to create programs etc. is taught in discrete lessons.
This is a very practical ‘hands on’ subject! Through projects linked to topics and focussed practical activities, pupils learn key skills in the areas of food, structures, textiles, mechanisms and electrical systems. They regularly apply these skills through ‘Design and Make’ projects. Here pupils design products to meet specific criteria to solve a real-life problem, follow through their plans and make the product then evaluate it against the original criteria. Cooking and nutrition is a key area of learning and there is an emphasis on the preparation of food for healthy living.
This subject includes both two and three-dimensional work and an appreciation of the work of great artists and craftspeople. Our key aim is to enable pupils to express an imaginative perspective to produce their individual ideas in high quality work.
Art and Design fosters learning through 'doing' and it provides an excellent basis for enhancing and consolidating work in other areas.
Pupils are encouraged to develop their understanding of colour, tone, form, texture, line, pattern and their ability to use materials and processes to communicate ideas, feelings and meanings.
Pupils have many opportunities to master their techniques in using many different mediums including a variety of paper, pastels, paint, clay and textiles.
Our pupils have a real passion for music so, in addition to the class music lessons, we learn and perform a variety of music in our singing assemblies.
Each year our school travel to concerts and share their passion for singing there. Throughout the year, as part of the variety of school events we hold, children often share performances of their favourite songs and curriculum knowledge.
In addition we have musical performances throughout the year so there is always an opportunity for your child to perform.
The history curriculum adds the most to our topics and our pupils are fascinated by the past. We aim to expand their breadth of knowledge from the Stone Age to the Vikings and about significant figures or significant events.
Pupils use a variety of resources to learn about the human and geographical features of places further afield, so that they can compare them with The William Gladstone. As our pupils’ understanding grows, they learn more about the formation of landscapes and about physical features such as Volcanoes and Earthquakes.
They also learn about the history of the wider world and about societies that contrast with ours, such as the Aztec Civilization. Through their history topics, we aim to develop our pupils’ skills in thinking critically, weighing up the evidence and developing their own perspective on the past.
We also believe that, as a Church school, we are in a unique position to develop a clearer understanding of the ways in which Christian values can be reflected within the whole curriculum of the school. Our school is inclusive though and we welcome diversity. All faiths are
respected, protected and encouraged and we are sensitive to the home background of every child.
Parents can, if they so wish, withdraw their children from all or part of Religious Education. This can be discussed fully with teachers.
French is taught to children in Year 5 and Year 6. They learn conversational language, colours, numbers and songs as well as being introduced to many areas of French culture and everyday life. We are pleased to have a specialist French teacher to ensure that children learn pronunciation and grammar perfectly.
We recognise how important children’s physical development and health is in their overall education. We offer games, gymnastics, dance and swimming. Coaches and professional sports players are invited in to share their expertise. Older pupils experience Outdoor and Adventure Activities through our residential visits.
Each class has one or two hours of PE every week, which includes one session in the hall (dance or gymnastics) and, weather permitting, one session outside (such as games or athletics). Year 3 and Year 4 pupils do blocks of swimming at a local pool.
There are also after school sports clubs offered to the children, such as football, hockey, cricket, and athletics to name a few.
Our pupils are very competitive and we regularly compete in matches and tournaments against other local teams in football and athletics for example.
We have an annual Sports Day for the children (weather permitting) in the summer term. Parents are encouraged to come and cheer the children on and enjoy a picnic lunch which truly is a family event.
We use the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme across the school to enhance our PSHE and emotional well-being curriculum.
Through this we encourage the children to stay as healthy as possible. We strive to give the children self-awareness and confidence to keep themselves and others safe. We give the children positive self-esteem, to enable the children to have worthwhile and fulfilling relationships, whilst respecting the difference between people.
We develop their independence and responsibility so that they can make the most of their own and others’ abilities and play an active role as members of a democratic society.
As a church school, we aim to present our programme of sex education within a moral, family orientated and Christian framework. Children are taught at an age-appropriate stage about health and hygiene, medicines and drugs, relationships (especially friends and family) and puberty. Parents and Carers are seen as partners in this process and are kept fully informed of the work undertaken, particularly in Years 5 and 6.
At William Gladstone C of E Primary Academy we use the Read, Write Inc. phonics scheme.
In September 2015, schools in the County of Nottinghamshire were issued with the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, “RE for All”. Through the use of the Syllabus we use RE to enable our pupils to gain insights and knowledge to equip them as responsible members in our society. The Syllabus we follow encourages pupils to discover more about religion and world views on a range of topics. They are encouraged to express ideas and insights into key questions which face all human beings as we travel through life. The three fold aims of RE in Nottinghamshire will ensure that our pupils:
know and understand a range of religions and world views which will allow them to recognise diversity which exists in our society.
can express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and the impact of religions and world views as they develop their own personal views on a range of issues
develop and use skills which will assist them to engage seriously with religions and world views
By following the Agreed Syllabus, RE will contribute to a whole range of school priorities. Their study will promote spiritual, cultural, social and moral development, as well as enabling them to consider British Values such as tolerance and respect for other who hold different world views.
If you would like to know more about the Nottinghamshire Agreed Syllabus a copy is available for you to read in the school.