The development of English is fundamental in all areas of the curriculum and therefore is given high priority. The four interdependent language modes are:
- Speaking and listening
- Writing (including Handwriting )
A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
Speaking and Listening
Spoken language underpins the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak. It is vital for developing pupils’ vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. As a school we will ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Children are given opportunities for exploring their thinking skills through discussion, debate, drama and role play. In order to do this the basic skills have to be mastered and the practice of them must be consistent, progressive and well balanced in line with the National Curriculum.
Reading is the most vital skill learnt in the early years of school. Through reading pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. There are two strands of reading, being able to read words and being able to understand the meaning of words and sentences. Our school aim is for pupils to be fluent and independent readers by the time they leave Potton Lower School, with a love of literature and books.
We understand and recognise that pupils will develop at a different rate. Therefore, strategies and approaches will be adapted to meet the needs of your child. Our phonics approach is the Sounds-Write scheme, that is based on the most effective ways that children learn to read and write. Emphasis is also put on children learning the high frequency words to support their reading and writing.
We use various reading schemes and use a colour code system whereby all children can be matched with text appropriate to their reading age level. The school has a well-stocked library from which children choose a book each week. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in the process of reading with their children and books are regularly taken home to be enjoyed together.
We aim to make children competent, confident writers, to enable them to use the written word to communicate effectively. Opportunities for writing occur throughout the curriculum, as well as specific English lessons and the children are taught the many different genres, for example, lists, stories, diaries, dialogues and accounts. In this way they begin to understand that writing takes different forms for different purposes, for example, children are actively involved in developing the school’s new letter for parents and children. We actively seek to provide opportunities for outside visitors to visit our school to stimulate and enthuse our learners in the writing process.
Handwriting is taught as a single lesson in our curriculum to develop the correct formation of letters. In later years, children are encouraged to join their letters together. Although handwriting is taught separately, children are expected to use fluent and legible handwriting in every lesson. Children are motivated to achieve a high standard of writing through the issue of a Pen Licence.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.
Children follow our structured Sounds-Write scheme from entering school in Reception. This scheme teachers children to blend, segment and manipulate sounds in words independently. There are many different spelling strategies that we teach children to help them to decode spellings effectively. Spellings are also used to enhance children’s vocabulary and the children are encouraged to use these newly found words in their everyday writing. Each week children are given weekly spellings to learn at home and to investigate spelling rules.
There is also a focus on grammatical structures and punctuation. We encourage children to edit and improve their writing, focusing on their spelling, punctuation and grammar.
At Potton Lower School our aim is that children will become fluent in the essential elements of mathematics, following the 2014 National Curriculum. This will be achieved through varied and regular practice with progressively more complex problems over time. The result is that children will develop a deep conceptual understanding and be able to recall and apply their knowledge quickly and efficiently.
Mathematical development begins initially through daily play and practical activities in the Early Years, this will then advance into a daily maths lesson in years one to four. Progression across year bands is supported using the Rising Stars Framework alongside the Classroom Monitor assessment system to track the children’s development. Children are encouraged to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, developing their ability to test out their solutions and explain their thinking, using an increasing bank of mathematical language. This is achieved using a variety of teaching methods including whole class, group, paired and individual work. Children work practically using resources to help them build a concrete experience of a concept or process, before being given support to record their thinking in a more formal way. Opportunities to use ICT in both teaching and learning are sought and cross curricular links are made wherever possible.
At Potton Lower School, our pupils experience the foundations of the scientific disciplines: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Following the latest national curriculum guidelines, pupils are encouraged to explore the world around them; making observations to predict what might happen and draw conclusions based upon what they have discovered. Every year our pupils’ progress to the next year group and this progression continues as they revisit and broaden their knowledge of key scientific concepts.
Throughout their time at Potton, our pupils engage in science through learning challenges. Each challenge provides an initial question which the pupils can then independently investigate. We provide the pupils with opportunities to explore their curiosity in order to develop their understanding.
In Key Stage 1 we look closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around us. Pupils begin by making observations and asking questions to solve their own curiosity. Our high quality staff then guide their discovery of scientific understanding by support and enquiry to answer their own questions. The pupil engagement in science means that our pupils can take their enquiry home to further their understanding of the world around them.
Programme Overview Key Stage 1:
Year 1: Plants, Animals (Including Humans), Everyday Materials and Seasonal Changes.
Year 2: Plants, Living Things and their Habitats, Animals (Including Humans) and the Uses of Everyday Materials.
After building the foundations of scientific enquiry in Key Stage 1, pupils can broaden their scientific view of the world around them. At the beginning of Key Stage 2, ideas about everyday phenomena are tested and we challenge their ideas about the relationships between living things and familiar environments. Collaborative investigations are important at this stage of learning as our pupils think about the best way to carry out simple and comparative fair tests.
Programme Overview Key Stage 2:
Year 3: Animals (Including Humans), Plants, Light, Rocks, Forces and Magnets.
Year 4: Animals (Including Humans), Living Things and their Habitats, States of Matter, Electricity and Sound.
All children have regular opportunities for a variety of physical activities which form an integral part of the timetable. We expect all children to participate in PE sessions and staff work hard to make any necessary adjustments to include all pupils in their care.
In Reception, the children gradually progress and develop skills throughout the year to enable them to apply these skills to game situations by the end of Reception.
Children in years 1 to 4 follow a balanced and varied programme which utilises the hall, the field (weather permitting) as well as small and large apparatus. They have the opportunity to learn gymnastics, dance, kwik cricket, tag rugby, quick sticks (hockey), basketball, football, rounders, benchball, athletics as well as a range of invasion games. We employ a qualified sports coach to work alongside the teaching staff (including HLTAs and TAs) to develop key skills and confidence for all. The sports coach will work with all children and staff at some point during the year. The children really benefit from this as do the staff.
The school aims to involve all children in sport and to promote a healthy attitude to life and physical exercise. There is an annual sports day in the Summer term and we regularly participate in local and inter-school sporting events throughout the year. Potton Lower School also hosts these events termly. We have a good relationship with The Bedfordshire International Athletics Stadium which allows us to introduce the children to sporting events and equipment in a stadium used by Olympic athletes. We have a range of sporting clubs available for children to attend throughout the year, led by trained coaches or members of staff. These are well attended. In addition to regular PE lessons, we encourage physical activity on a daily basis. At lunchtime children have opportunities for exercise through play equipment and the Burmolator. We also provide many opportunities for games such as football to be played during lunchtimes.
All children take part in music lessons as part of the curriculum. They are taught to sing, to play simple percussion instruments and compose music. We use the Music Express music scheme and other resources to enhance this area of the curriculum. Children are taught to appreciate and evaluate music. Music and singing form part of our weekly assemblies. Some children between 7 and 9 are able to learn to play the piano and guitar. The peripatetic staff visit weekly to teach these children. The school has a well attended choir who participate in local events and competitions. We also have a KS1 and KS2 guitar club. Each year, the whole school holds a ‘Proms in the Playground’ event in which all classes perform individually as well as sing altogether as part of a whole school. We have achieved the Silver Sing Up Award and we are now going for Gold.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
ICT is an ever changing subject and we are developing our provision all the time, adding both hardware and software to our systems. Children have an opportunity to use ICT, not only to support the curriculum, but as a tool for learning. At Potton Lower School, we follow a scheme of work widely used in both primary and secondary education, which focuses on the acquisition of key ICT skills from mouse control to more complex data handling and elements of control technology. We are currently working with Barclays to support the teaching and learning of coding and algorithms in line with the new curriculum. All our classrooms have computers that are connected to the internet and we have a bank of tablets for our children to use in order to support their learning. These tablets are timetabled throughout the school to maximise the children’s exposure to new technology. There is a variety of other ICT equipment including digital cameras, video cameras and Beebots. In addition, Smart Boards have also been installed in all classrooms.
Within the Early Years the children are introduced to historical enquiry by incorporating their understanding of other subject areas and how these can be applied to the passage of time.
In Key stage one, learning is focused on changes within living memory and goes on to consider changes that have happened beyond the children’s living memory. They begin to develop an understanding that significant people in history have changed our lives today. Children also learn about the history of their locality including events, people and places.
At Key Stage 2 the children continue to develop a sense of chronology while studying various periods of history including the Stone Age, Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire and additional themes in British history beyond 1066. Children build on previous years of learning about the history of the local community and deepen their understanding by considering periods in history that have shaped the locality.
Learning Geography in the Early Years is closely linked to other subject areas through an overarching topic. Children are encouraged to think about their immediate community, local area and the people within it.
In Key stage 1, children begin to learn about seasonal changes, local and global climates and how these affect the people and animals that live within them. Children develop their observational skills and are encouraged to use simple fieldwork to study the school and school grounds, plus the surrounding environment. Children begin to compare contrasting areas in the UK and abroad.
At Key Stage 2 work is designed to provide a growing awareness of geographical facts and the development of concepts. Learning is focused on European countries and natural events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. By the time children reach Year 4 they are able to apply their previous learning to specific geographical studies, including cities and rivers around the world and confidently use atlases, globes and ICT to locate countries, describe their features and support their geographical enquiries.
Art and Design
At Potton Lower, we consider that creativity is a way of thinking which involves the ability to see things in new ways, think unconventionally, make something unique and individual. Creativity is fundamental to successful learning. Children are taught skills that will enable them to become adept in drawing, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques. Children will also learn about artists, crafts people and designers, throughout history and study the art form and its cultural development. Alongside this, they will learn to evaluate and analyse works of art including their own and those of their peers.
Design and Technology
Design and technology forms an important part of each child’s curriculum, pupils must use their creativity and imagination to design and make products. They follow the design process; identifying need, designing, planning, making and evaluating across a variety of situations. The children work with various materials, including food, textiles, wood and pliable materials. Design technology draws upon other curriculum areas; mathematics, science, computing and art. Pupils are challenged to solve technological problems and understand the importance of design and technology on our daily life and the world around us.
French is taught through a weekly lesson. Lessons include understanding and responding to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources. Children learn to speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation. Children discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in French. We focus on enabling pupils to make substantial progress in one language. At Potton Lower School we aim to use a cross-curricular approach to French and transfer language skills learned in lessons to general daily activities.
The Education Reform Act 1988 requires that there is a daily act of collective worship provided for each child and at Potton Lower collective worship forms part of daily assembly. This may be through the sharing of Bible stories or in asking children to be reflective about events they may have seen or been involved in.
Religious Education and Assembly are not only devoted to the teaching of Christianity but are concerned with laying foundations for the development of religious understanding and providing a context for spiritual and moral development. Parents are entitled to arrange for children to be withdrawn from Collective Worship or Religious Education or both in which case they should contact the Headteacher.