Lancasterian Primary School’s vision states that ‘we will make a fairer society’ and that, in order to do this, ‘we will make the best school’. In our 2019 – 2022 Three Year Goals we state our intent to ensure that our we give children ‘equal opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to thrive on a personal and societal level.’ Our school curriculum is a key element of delivering our Vision and Three Year Goals.
We passionately believe that all aspects of learning are important – the study of academic subjects (reading, writing, maths and all the other areas) as well as personal and social learning (getting on with each other, communicating well, managing difficulties effectively, etc.). We also know from employers that these ‘soft’ skills are highly valued and important in our ever changing world. We rigorously follow The National Curriculum, but whilst this sets out clearly what we need to cover in our teaching of the academic subjects there is less clarity on what we should teach children in terms of their personal development. In response to this, we have developed our school values in a rigorous and thoughtful way in order to teach the children the personal qualities that we feel are important to be happy and successful in life. These values – Inclusion, Lifelong Learning, Growth Mindset, Integrity, High Aspirations and Respect – drive and shape every aspect of school life.
We have brought these to life though the creation of our Values Characters (see Vision and Values section of this website). We use these values to identify and celebrate when children make good choices and to support and encourage when they make mistakes, helping the children to reflect and think about how they might act differently in the future.K
THE LANCS APPROACH TO LEARNING
In order to best support the specific learning needs of our pupils and enable them to gain the knowledge and skills they need to thrive, we implement our curriculum through ‘The Lancs Approach to Learning’. This is a bespoke framework and methodology – developed by us for the unique context of our learning community – which we use to plan, teach and assess the children at our school. It is based on SOLO (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) Taxonomy. The Lancs Approach to Learning enables us to teach the children resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness, responsibility and reasoning, giving them the tools and language they need to problem solve – a key 21st century skill.
Included below are further details about how we implement our curriculum by subject.
Literacy is a fundamental life skill which develops a child’s ability to listen, speak, read and write (and so communicate). At Lancasterian Primary School, we are committed to developing strong literacy skills in all of our children, in the belief that it will support their learning and raise standards across the curriculum.
Early reading is taught through daily phonics, supported by a wide range of decodable and non-decodable reading books. Phonics is the teaching of sounds (rather than letter names) and how these sounds (or 'phonemes') can be blended together to create words. This is taught from an early age, when the children join the school in either nursery or reception class. For a number of years we have followed the Letters and Sounds approach to teaching phonics, but are in the process of transitioning to the Sounds Write programme; currently this is used in EYFS and will be embedded across the school by 2021 as it moves up with the children.
In Nursery, an introduction to phonics is taught through games based on environmental sounds, alliteration and rhyme. This is the foundation to learning letter sounds. Sounds Write games are used to further develop phonics skills and introduce the children to the Sounds Write ‘style’ lesson.
In Reception, a very highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental and code-oriented, instructional approach to teaching children to read and spell is used. The teacher delivers lessons that are clearly structured and easy to follow within a systematic, synthetic phonics programme. It teaches all key elements of conceptual understanding, factual knowledge, and the three essential skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation necessary for learning to read and spell; it does so on a daily basis until all children achieve the automaticity that underlies the fluency of every successful reader.
Currently Year one and Year two phonics is taught using a streamed approach (by highly trained teachers and trained teaching assistants) to deliver the Letters and Sounds approach to phonics. Above Year 2 some children may still benefit from phonics teaching to support their learning.
Once children are fluent readers, they move on to the Destination Reader programme which teaches explicit reading skills using a variety of high quality texts. Each week through daily lessons, children are given the opportunity to explore a whole class text as well as literature which challenges them at their specific level. In doing this they develop the skills needed to predict, summarise, clarify, question, make connections, infer and evaluate as well as using language stems to improve specific learning skills needed to share and discuss.
To develop writing and oracy knowledge and skills, each class studies one quality core text over a three-week cycle, combining speaking and listening, drama, reading, and writing activities. A variety of genres are covered each year. Teachers use the Pie Corbett model of the ‘3 I’s’ for writing quality texts.
The Pie Corbett ‘Talk for Writing’ approach follows the model below:
Imitation - familiarisation
Innovation - adaptation
Invention - creation
This will usually be a core text, but may be topic work or another context
Read as a writer
Planning - Box it up
Change of viewpoint
Planning - Box it up
Write own text based on previous stages. Should include editing and improving at various stages
Give children this purpose for writing at the beginning
At Lancasterian we aim to create confident mathematicians who enjoy tackling challenging tasks. We do this through teaching the following themes taken from the National Curriculum:
- Fluency -This is enabling the children to become fluent in number in order to be able to use skills and knowledge efficiently and with a deep understanding of the fundamental concepts of mathematic
- Reasoning - This includes following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations and developing a mathematical argument
- Problem solving - This includes giving the children opportunities to apply what they have learnt, where they need to break down problems into smaller steps and persevere in seeking solutions
To enable all our children to receive a broad and challenging maths curriculum, we follow the Power Maths framework, which is a DfE recommended scheme and takes elements from different places (e.g. the National Curriculum, Singapore, Shanghai Maths). Within their lessons, children will experience:
Each child experiences counting in some form every day (this may also be outside of the maths lesson). This is essential in order to provide the children with a secure understanding of place value and number.
- Different representations: Concrete → Pictorial → Abstract
This means that children are exposed to new ideas at a concrete level using a range of equipment such as Dienes’ blocks, cubes, Numicon, etc. before moving on to pictorial representations. This may mean diagrams, sketches or the Singapore bar model. This allows the children to develop deep understanding before moving on to the abstract representation, which is the written calculation.
This is part of the pictorial representation of a problem, or the ‘Real Story’. Children learn how to represent word problems using the bar to understand what is being asked, allowing them to then select the correct functions.
- The Mastery of Mathematics
Through carefully mapped out learning journeys, which have small enough steps so that all children can progress together, maths is mastered. This means that the children can solve problems related to their new learning and explain their methods.
As far as possible, we aim to give maths questions a context or put into ‘real life’ situations so children have lots of opportunities to apply their learning.
In science, children learn specific scientific skills and content in a meaningful and – whenever possible – cross curricular way. They have opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding through first hand experiences, as well as using other resources such as books, charts, pictures and the internet to support their learning. They are encouraged to design and carry out their own investigations as well as communicate what they have found out to others in a variety of different ways.
Each lesson the children learn and develop different scientific skills shown below:
Observing over time
To encourage scientific collaboration, children record their learning in ‘floor books’ consisting of photos of investigations and activities, individual work and group tasks. This allows them to work together as a team when investigating, researching, sharing and recording ideas.
To ensure all children have an awareness of the world in which they live, each year group learns one topic per year related to environmental awareness. This covers different environmental issues such as the plastic problem, climate change, global warming, food production, poaching and habitat loss.
At Lancasterian Primary, we believe that our foundation curriculum should enable our children to achieve well as historians, geographers, artists and designers. The framework for this curriculum is currently being redesigned as part of a joint project with Haringey Education Partnership and other Haringey schools; our intent is to ensure children have the opportunity to fully acquire the knowledge and skills they need in order to develop their interests and understanding in these areas and to prepare them for secondary school. The Lancs Approach to Learning will be embedded within this new curriculum framework as we introduce it across the school this year.
We teach the foundation subjects through a ‘topic’ approach; this means that subjects are taught in cross curricular way whilst ensuring that children understand which subjects they are focusing on. The following subjects are taught:
- Art and Design
- Design and Technology
- ICT (Communicating & Collecting)
Each half-termly topic is based primarily on either history or geography and begins with a ‘topic launch day’ to engage and excite the children. ICT is used to enrich curriculum delivery.
Further links to English are developed through one piece of extended writing in foundation subjects per half term. We also make sure explicit maths skills are being reinforced wherever possible.
We use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance all areas of the curriculum. We believe ICT should be embraced as a vital part of modern life and it is important that our children are taught how to use appropriate hardware and software and – more importantly – how to use them safely. It is essential for children, staff and the wider school community to have the confidence and ability to use these tools to prepare them for an ever-changing and rapidly developing world.
We aim to promote and build pupil’s skills and knowledge of ICT as a subject in its own right, with a specialist teacher delivering the Computer Science and Digital Literacy Skills aspects of the curriculum. Class teachers also teach ICT and promote online safety on a regular basis. We use desktop computers in the ICT suite and pupils have the opportunity to use a variety of devices through cross curricular links; for example, Blue Bots are linked to maths and literacy and promote computational thinking and language development.
The ICT progression map ensures that pupils’ skills are built upon each year and we constantly adapt our curriculum delivery to reflect our school community, pupils’ learning journeys and changes in the world of technology, ensuring that it is always relevant and up-to-date.
Music provides vital life skills, which develop a child’s ability to: listen carefully; be patient; take turns; work in a team; take care of property; be resilient; be creative; be persistent and express their individuality. At Lancasterian Primary we aim to create confident musicians and performers, who are able to take to the stage with a smile and let go of their worries and inhibitions.
Music is unique in that it connects the right and left side of the brain, utilising both the logical, numerical, ordered side and the creative and emotional side. Through whole class music lessons and the many group and individual instrument lessons available here, children learn to play and sing as part of a small or larger group. They learn to sing and play a wide variety of songs and music from around the world, by learning to sight read, as well as improvise, compose and perform their own music.
Using the National Curriculum guidelines supported by the Charanga Music Scheme, pupils focus on a different musical genre every half term, listening to and discussing many songs from that style and using one main song on which to base their learning. Each topic culminates in a performance of some kind, whether to their own classmates, in an assembly or at a concert in front of parents. In addition, pupils have opportunities to experience performances by professional musicians.
Every child at Lancasterian, whatever their background or ability, also has opportunities to learn to play the following instruments with visiting teachers, or the many lunchtime and after school music clubs on offer: guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano, violin, viola, cello, ukulele, trumpet and recorder. Singing skills are enhanced and nurtured through weekly singing assemblies and the school choir. Through all of the above, children grow in confidence in all their abilities, musical or otherwise, and learn to be un-afraid to express themselves clearly.
At Lancasterian, we aim to:
- Develop the appreciation of fair play, sporting and good relationships, co-operation and teamwork.
- Develop self-esteem and appreciate the capabilities and boundaries of oneself and others.
- Develop large and small motor skills, hand/eye co-ordination and spacial awareness.
- Increase flexibility, strength and endurance.
- Develop creativity and understanding of the purpose, forms and conventions of a range of physical activities.
- Develop confidence and encourage participation in physical activities outside school.
Children usually take part in two hours of PE per week. In Years 4, 5 and 6 this also includes swimming for at least a half term during the academic year. The children also benefit from subsidised after-school sports clubs and lunchtime specialist sports coaches in both the KS1 and 2 playgrounds. In addition, all children take part in the daily mile, through which they experience daily jogging around the school grounds.
At Lancasterian, we use the Awareness, Mystery and Value scheme of work for Religious Education. The children learn about, and are encouraged to adopt a positive attitude towards, the beliefs and religious practises of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism. We value the diverse religious backgrounds represented by our pupils and staff and we reflect these beliefs and traditions in our teaching, seeking to promote high levels of understanding and tolerance. Religious Education contributes to the development of pupils as individuals and as members of society.
PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND HEALTH EDUCATION (PSHE)
At Lancasterian, PSHE helps to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives, in order to become informed, active and responsible citizens. PSHE is also delivered through the work we do around our school values and the teaching of Fundamental British Values. We use the Go-Givers resources and Votes for Schools to encourage pupils to take responsibility for the choices they make. PSHE also links directly to the Christopher Winter Project for Relationship Education and Sex Education, as well as Drugs and Alcohol Awareness.
Educational visits are usually linked to topics and are encouraged at least termly, taking full advantage of all that London and the surrounding area has to offer. In addition, children have the opportunity to take part in a week long residential school journey in Year 6.