The over-arching principles which shape our practice in EYFS are:
There are seven areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage. All of these areas are important and inter-connected. At Whiteshill, our EYFS teachers have spent time thinking carefully about curriculum goals for each of these areas which will challenge and inspire our children. These curriculum goals can be found here.
Of these seven, there are three prime areas which are particularly important for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving:
There are then four specific areas through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:
To find out more about our teaching and learning in each of these areas, please click on the words above to see our long term plans.
The full long term plan for all 7 areas of learning can be found here.
Compulsory National Curriculum subjects at primary school are:
Design and Technology
Art and Design
Physical Education (PE)
Ancient and Modern Foreign Languages (at Key Stage 2)
Schools must also provide:
Religious Education (RE)
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education
Each day at Whiteshill the children are taught English (Reading and Writing) and Maths. The other subjects are taught across the year for different periods of time.
Reading is taught daily at Whiteshill with children having the opportunity to learn and apply phonics, read independently, share class books, visit the school library, hold discussions and answer questions about what they have read.
Across the whole school, our reading curriculum is planned to ensure progression, challenge, diversity and breadth of texts. Over their time at Whiteshill children engage with and compare traditional stories, fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world; they enjoy and join-in with repetitive phrases in stories they know and love; they appreciate, critique and learn off by heart a range of rhymes and poetry, performing them for parents and friends; they immerse themselves in picture books with hidden meanings; use non-fiction books to enhance their understanding of curriculum subjects and come back to known authors again and again in order to make links and understand themes and conventions across different texts.
Our long term reading plan for the whole school can be found here.
Phonics is taught in Reception and Year 1 through the Essential Letters and Sounds programme from week one.
Essential Letters and Sounds
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.
Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and beyond if needed, to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.
Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.
We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).
We teach children to:
• Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
• Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.
The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.
ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.
Supporting Reading at Home:
• Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
• We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
• We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:
Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.
Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.
Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!
At the beginning of each academic year, we will hold an information session for parents and carers to find out more about what we do for Phonics, Reading and English at our schools. Please do join us.
More support for parents and carers can be found here:
We use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.
At Whiteshill, our writing curriculum gives the children opportunity to write for a range of audiences, with each piece having a defined purpose. We use a number of ‘hooks’ for writing, including books, real-life experiences and cross-curricular learning, in line with our school vision.
Progression is planned out carefully across the school to allow children to build on their previous learning – please click here to see our long term plan for writing across the school.
On our long term writing plan, you will also see that the national curriculum objectives for grammar have been planned out in blue. This is to ensure that all children are taught the grammar knowledge that they need to ensure they are writing successfully. Each of these grammar objectives is then recalled and applied through writing lessons throughout the year once it has been taught.
Spelling is taught daily in school in line with Jane Considine’s Spelling Book. This approach to spelling fits our school vision of being ‘curious’ and ‘unique’, with children coming up with their own hypotheses for spelling rules. The long term plan allows time for new knowledge to be learnt in line with the national curriculum, whilst also giving time for recapping and remembering previous learning.
Our long term plans for maths for each of the year groups can be found below – these plans are informed by Buzzard Publishing’s CanDo Maths approach.
Our school calculation policy sets out the methods, manipulatives and images for each level of progression in the four operations. This allows our teachers to pitch learning correctly and ensure progression and conceptual understanding. The calculation policy can be found here.
As part of our mastery approach to learning, the children complete daily fluency to ensure they master the key performance indicators for each year group. This ensures that they are ready for the next stage of their learning at the end of each school year. A list of the key performance indicators for each year group can be found here. Fluency plans for each year group, which work on a cyclical basis, allowing children to recall the previous year’s learning until they are ready to move on, can be found below.
Our science curriculum is taught in line with our school value ‘we are curious’, through science enquiry weeks 6 times a year. Each science week, the children answer a key question which allows them to learn and discover new scientific knowledge.
Our science enquiry question two-year rolling plan can be found here. As you will see, the scientific enquiry skills from the national curriculum, as well as the technical equipment to be used by the children has been planned out carefully to ensure progression as the children move through the school.
To see the progression of each area of the science national curriculum and where it will be taught across the school, please click here.
Knowledge organisers for each area of our science curriculum can be found below:
Earth and Space – Oak Class
Design and Technology is taught through two ‘We are Designers’ projects each year. This allows the children to see through a project from beginning to end. From researching their audience and creating a design criteria, to using tools, materials and technical knowledge to make and finally evaluate their product. Each part of the curriculum is planned carefully to ensure progression and application of knowledge across the key stages.
The two-year rolling programme for Design and Technology can be found here.
Examples of our Design and Technology knowledge organisers can be found below:
Our history curriculum can be found here. You will see that it runs on a two-year rolling programme with all pupils at Whiteshill experiencing two ‘We are Historians’ units per year. This allows teachers to plan together, giving them chance to learn from each other and share expertise, focusing fully on depth of subject knowledge in history for that period. These units cover local history, British history and world history, with the children coming back to each area in every class as they progress through school.
Throughout each unit, children answer a key historical question such as Would I rather be a child now or in the past? How did Britain change from the Stone Age to the Iron Age? What did the Shang Dynasty of Ancient China achieve? Each lesson then has a smaller key question, which allows the children to build up knowledge over a term and have enough at the end to round their learning off by answering the main key question.
There are four key historical themes which run through our history curriculum and which the children return to again and again, looking at them through the lens of different time periods, making connections and identifying contrasts. More about how our curriculum is planned can be found out by reading our policy here.
Example knowledge organisers for each class can be found below:
Our geography curriculum can be found here. You will see that it runs on a two-year rolling programme with all pupils at Whiteshill experiencing two ‘We are Geographers’ units per year. This allows teachers to plan together, giving them chance to learn from each other and share expertise, focusing fully on depth of subject knowledge. These units cover local Geography, UK geography, world geography and regional geography, with the children coming back to each area in every class as they progress through school, building on and retrieving their knowledge as they make progress.
Throughout each unit, children use their knowledge of a range of geographical skills to support their learning about places e.g. map and atlas work, geographical data, knowledge of time and climate zones. Progression within each area is planned carefully (see plan above).
During each unit, they build their knowledge of human and physical features, progressing from basic knowledge of towns and roads to biomes and vegetation belts in upper Key Stage 2.
During the local geography unit in each class, the children carry out fieldwork in line with progressive small steps, allowing them to apply what they have learnt out and about in real life situations.
Example knowledge organisers for each class can be found below:
Our art curriculum can be found here. You will see that it runs on a two-year rolling programme with all pupils at Whiteshill experiencing two ‘We are Artists’ units per year. This allows teachers to plan together, giving them chance to learn from each other and share expertise, focusing fully on depth of subject knowledge in art for that period. It also means the whole school is working on becoming artists at the same time, meaning we can involve the whole school community, with the added bonus that everyone is buzzing with enthusiasm for art, discussing and sharing ideas and joy for the subject together in line with our school vision.
Throughout each unit, children learn about and are inspired by pieces of art and artists whilst developing their skills in line with carefully planned, progressive steps and critiquing their own work in the build-up to a final piece which is displayed in our bi-annual art exhibition for parents. This is also complemented by art exhibitions in our local community including our ‘Happiness’ art exhibition in a local gallery as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the annual Whiteshill and Ruscombe two village festival where our childrens’ art is displayed in the village church.
Knowledge organisers for our four main areas of art can be found below:
Mixed Media –
Music is taught using the Charanga scheme which allows progression in skills. We also work with Gloucestershire Music so that all children receive 10 weeks of specialist music tuition each year from year 1 – 6 on a tuned instrument. They learn how to read music, play the instrument and perform confidently to parents at the end of each 10 week block, progressing year on year.
Our two-year rolling programme for music can be found here.
PE is taught for 2 hours each week in all Key Stage 1 and 2 classes in line with National Curriculum requirements – more information can be found on the Sports page of our website.
Our computing curriculum is taught through computing days each term. We have a set of 32 iPads in school so during computing days, all the children have an individual iPad, allowing them to be independently engaged in learning throughout the lesson.
We follow the ‘Teach Computing’ curriculum – please click here to find out more. The following areas are in focus each year, allowing for progression of knowledge: computing systems and knowledge, creating media, digital literacy and data information.
We also have a computing week in the summer term where all children learn how to code and program using Microbits, progressing in their knowledge each year. This knowledge is also applied in Design and Technology where children use Microbits for control and modelling. This knowledge is also encouraged through our offer of ‘coding club’ as an after school club each year.
We use the ‘Linguafun’ scheme to teach French in Maple and Oak class – across Key Stage 2.
RE teaching follows the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for 1 hour per week in line with statutory guidelines.
We follow the Coram Life SCARF curriculum which fulfills all DfE statutory requirements for Relationships and Health Education.
At Whiteshill, our children take part in the following statutory national assessments:
Reception Baseline Assessment: In the first 6 weeks of their time in Willow Class (EYFS), all children will take part in the RBA which is a short assessment of the children’s early mathematics, literacy, communication and language. The purpose of the RBA is to form the starting point for cohort-level school progress measures. Data from the RBA will be compared to key stage 2 outcomes 7 years later to form the overall progress measure for a school.
End of EYFS Assessment: At the end of their first year in school, teachers use their professional knowledge to make a holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development, and their readiness for year 1 supported by the Early Learning Goals set out by government. These include assessments of: listening, attention and understanding; speaking; self-regulation and managing self; building relationships; gross and fine motor skills; comprehension and word reading; writing; number and numerical patterns; past and present; people, culture and communities; the natural world; creating with materials and being imaginative and expressive.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check: This check will take place in June during your child’s time in Year 1. Your child will read 40 words out loud to a teacher. You’ll find out how your child did, and their teacher will assess whether he or she needs extra help with reading. If your child does not pass the check they’ll have to do it again in Year 2, following support from the school throughout the year.
Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check: This check will take place during a 3-week window in June each year. The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help us to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.
End of Key Stage 1 Tests: Your child will take tests on reading and mathematics during the month of May in Year 2. You will be sent the results of your child’s Teacher Assessments, which are informed by these tests, automatically in their end of year reports and you can ask the school for the test results any time after the end of May if you wish.
Key Stage 2 Tests: Your child will take national tests during the month of May when they reach the end of Key Stage 2. These test your child’s skills in: English Reading, English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling and mathematics. The tests last less than 4 hours altogether. The school will send you the results of your child’s Tests and Teacher Assessments with their end of year reports.