A New National Curriculum came into force in September 2014 for all pupils. The school, whilst delivering the statutory content of the National Curriculum, plans a thematic approach to learning and many of the topics change regularly to excite and stimulate the children. We use hooks to engage the children at the beginning and follow the children's interests whilst ensuring National Curriculum objects are met and developed.
At St. Lawrence we believe in delivering an exciting and engaging English curriculum that provides children with skills for life in reading and writing.
We attach great importance upon enabling all children to develop into fluent and confident readers. We offer a wide range of reading materials, both factual and fiction, in our school library and in every classroom. Using Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine, each year group also has a range of essential, quality texts to share that creates a culture of reading for pleasure across the school.
In Key Stage 1, the children work their way through a colour banded reading system of fiction and non-fiction texts. The children start reading pink books, these books introduce children to the world of reading! They tell stories through pictures, get children used to reading from left to right and match spoken words to written words. Children read both at home and with adults in school to build their reading skills and work their way through each colour band (pink, red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple and gold). The final colour band is gold, which includes longer texts, sometimes with chapters. When the children have reached this point, they are described as a “free reader” and choose within the school library with staff ensuring the book is appropriate for the child.
We enhance our writing curriculum through the reading of quality texts that are led by the children’s interests. In this way our children are taught to write in a variety of styles and for a variety of purposes that are both meaningful to them and exciting.
Our Literacy lessons promote a love for reading and writing in a variety of ways including: storytelling, discussion groups, drama, and role play. We place a great emphasis on the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar. A whole school policy for handwriting teaches children to write smoothly, legibly and neatly.
Our English curriculum is greatly enhanced through our links with local secondary schools. Our upper key stage 2 classes for example took part in a Shakespeare drama workshop that linked to their topic ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘To be or not to be.’ English teams from local secondary schools have also aided in transitions from primary to secondary by coming into school to teach English sessions. Our curriculum is also enhanced by the provision of school trips. Year 1 had the opportunity to ride on the Watercress Line just like ‘Binky Bear’ and upper Key Stage 2 classes have also visited The Globe theatre during their Shakespeare topics.
HOW WE TEACH READING
Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We begin by modelling reading behaviour, sharing notes and messages that arrive in the class, pointing out environmental print (in Alton Sainsbury’s is a good example of this!) as well as enjoying numerous stories, poems and information books that have been chosen to inspire and enthuse. By sharing a broad variety of different texts the children’s vocabulary is naturally developed, a crucial part of their overall development. We want your child to love reading-and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
We start by teaching phonics using the highly successful Letters and Sounds programme. Everyday a new letter and its corresponding sound (phoneme) is taught to the children in a way that stimulates all parts of their brain memory. We aim to make the letter sounds as relevant to their experience as we can by finding, for example, someone in the class whose name begins with today’s sound: a piece of fruit or vegetable: a Cbeebies character: a TV programme anything that we think the children may have had experience of. We also use some materials published by Jolly Phonics to support us with songs to sing that will help retain the sound in their memory.
Once a small bank of letter sounds have been taught we can start to teach how these sounds can be ‘blended’ together to make a word. This is always a very exciting time as the children can now begin to perceive themselves as readers. Blending sounds together does need practise however. For that reason we send home each week several words that use taught sounds to practise the blending skill. At home try not to refer to the letters by their name, but help them focus on the sounds. The children need a good understanding of these sounds as they develop and become writers. These skills are transferable to spelling words correctly.
As we know some words are not phonetically correct. ‘The’, ‘I’ and ‘was’ being good examples of this. These words need to be learnt by sight so we suggest writing them down and placing them around the house, so you can read them every time you walk past!
In school we have made a significant investment in a variety of reading books to encourage your child to access a range of texts suited to their own personal interests while also extending their reading ability and confidence.
Make reading fun! Remember to keep reading to your child. They will come across far more adventurous words than they will in their early reading books and you will be helping them to grow a vast vocabulary and develop a deeper understanding of different stories etc. It will also encourage them to love books and want to read more. Happy reading!!
Useful websites include:
At St Lawrence we passionately believe there is no such thing as ‘a maths person’, everyone has the potential to achieve in mathematics to the highest level with the right support, encouragement and mathematical experiences. It is our aim to develop:
A positive attitude and a growth mind-set towards mathematics ;
Fluency and confidence when developing mathematical knowledge, concepts and skills;
An ability to solve problems, to reason, to think logically and to work systematically and accurately;
Initiative and an ability to work both independently and in cooperation and collaboration with others;
An ability to communicate mathematics through a range of representations;
An ability to use and apply mathematics across the curriculum and in real life;
An understanding of mathematics through a process of enquiry and experiment.
Throughout the school, children are provided with many opportunities to develop their curiosity through enquiry and practical experiences. Children are encouraged to become independent learners and create their own questions for investigations. All learning is taken directly from the National Curriculum objectives and teachers use this to provide a creative and engaging approach to Science.
Our aim is to inspire the children to become passionate about Science, developing a love of learning. Through our growth mindset approach, children will become resilient and question when scientific enquiries go wrong.
Religious Education plays an important part within the broad and balanced curriculum offered at St Lawrence CE Primary School. Children attend the daily Collective Worship, which is mainly Christian in character, but may also draw on stories from other faiths or focus on moral issues. Sometimes our Collective Worships are whole school and sometimes they are Class Collective Worships. We now have Collective Worship Crusaders who meet regularly to discuss Collective Worships and how we can develop these so that the children have opportunity to take a role and a lead in these.
R.E is taught in line with “Living Difference III”, the Hampshire Agreed Syllabus. Pupils are welcomed from any religious faith or none, and will find all their opinions respected. We encourage the children to think deeply, to empathise, to be open-minded and to pose their own questions. We are currently one of the pilot schools in the Diocese looking at the new “Understanding Christianity” materials. Alongside “Living Difference III”, our Christianity units are being taught this year using these new materials which are both challenging and exciting.
Parents do, however, have the right to withdraw their child from the whole or part of the R.E. curriculum. Any parent requiring further information or wishing to withdraw their child should contact the Head teacher.
At St. Lawrence, we provide opportunities for creativity and exploration. Art provides us with the opportunity for a cross-curricular approach; allowing children to explore a range of subjects in a creative and engaging way.
As well as incorporating Art within the curriculum, as a school we identify and encourage the teaching of Art within its own right. All children are encouraged to be creative, to develop an active interest in a range of media and to express themselves.
Artwork is used and displayed widely throughout the whole school in order to celebrate the diversity and hard work which the children consistently show. As a school, growth mindset is an increasingly used and celebrated approach to learning and together one of our art projects recently was to share “The Dot” text by Peter Reynolds. Each class discussed how the mindset of the character changed throughout the story and then the children had the opportunity to generate their own piece of work focusing on determination, resilience and hard work!
The school is well equipped to provide the children with the access they require to a range of technologies in this increasingly important area of the curriculum. There is currently a set of wireless laptops, a set of ipads for classes to use as well as interactive whiteboards and projectors in every classroom. All of the computer hardware is networked to a main server allowing all children access to their files from any computer in the school. The main hall is also equipped with a screen, data projector, laptop and PA system for assemblies, presentations and performances.
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
At St Lawrence, we inspire all children to work creatively and develop their design and making skills through real and relevant tasks that link to their class topic. They are given the opportunity to use a wide variety of materials and skills to produce exciting products that have a purpose including some that are very tasty! Children are encouraged to design and plan their work through drawing and discussion and evaluate their models when they are complete.
To develop their knowledge, skills and understanding, children also investigate and evaluate a wide range of existing products. Design and Technology allows children to draw on knowledge and skills across the curriculum including mathematics, science and computing. Children gain an understanding of the impact that Design and Technology has in the wider community. At St Lawrence we have created some exciting products including a healthy smoothie to help Jack climb the beanstalk and a chariot for the White Queen in Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
Our creative curriculum allows us to bring Geography to life. Making Geography real for the children, linking it to real places, situations and people, allows our children’s curiosity about the world to develop as they grow. We build on what they know and use hands-on and outdoor activities as much as possible to create memorable, engaging and enjoyable learning experiences. ICT, books and atlases and planned visits also serve to complement and enrich this active learning and enable children to research and experience geography in the UK as well as internationally.
Children’s locational knowledge and geographical skills are constantly revisited and extended in each year group. Their understanding of place is developed and expanded by making connections through their class topics, other curriculum areas and their own experiences. We hope children leave St Lawrence with a fascination for geography that lasts for the rest of their lives.
Children are encouraged to develop a curiosity of the past and appreciate the historical achievements and major events which have occurred. As a school we have taken on the approach of children collecting and processing information themselves. They have the opportunity to make assumptions using their reasoning skills. In subsequent lessons, classes have the chance to check and develop their opinions. Children will finally demonstrate an understanding of the history they have explored by generating a final conclusion using evidence.
We often take part in local studies using the grounds around our school. As well as this, we aim to bring history to life through the use of drama and artefacts. We have had visitors into school and use our local area e.g. local historians coming in to talk to the children about World War 1; a member of the English Civil War Society dressed up as a Roundhead soldier; visiting St Lawrence Church to view the actual bullet holes in the door from the English Civil War in 1642. In Alton, we also have the Allen Gallery and the Curtis Museum and as a school we also use these to enhance our history provision.
MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES (FRENCH)
At St Lawrence, French is taught across the whole school from Year R to Year 6. Mrs Smale, our specialist French teacher makes learning French fun and lessons are lively and exciting: involving role play, games, traditional and modern songs and Monsieur Perroquet!. Pupils build confidence in speaking and writing the language and every class really looks forward to their lessons!
Music is taught as part of the cross-curricular approach within classroom activities. The school offers tuition in many instruments using peripatetic teachers. These include tutors from Hampshire Music Service in flute, clarinet & violin and tutors from Rock Steady who teach guitar, keyboard, drums and singing. We also have an after school orchestra which is run by one of the Hampshire Music Service teachers. There are many opportunities for the children to perform in assemblies, school concerts and in the community.
We love singing at St Lawrence and meet regularly to sing as a school, as well as daily in Collective Worship. We enjoy putting on a nativity performed by Key Stage 1 in school and a Christmas Cantata with a tableau performed by Key Stage 2 each year in St Lawrence Church. At the end of their time at St Lawrence, our Year 6 children have the opportunity to take part in a production.
We have close links with the music department at our feeder secondary school, Amery Hill. All the children have opportunity to go over for a series of music lessons so that we can use their resources and have some specialist music teaching. We also work with Amery Hill and other primary schools in the area to produce joint performances.
We aim to develop agility, physical co-ordination, fitness, confidence and enjoyment through physical activities at St Lawrence.
It is vital for children to understand the importance of being active and keeping healthy. We encourage children to have a growth mindset when taking part in all sporting activities so the school encourages all children to participate in sport. In addition, children develop an appreciation of teamwork, a respect of and tolerance of the abilities of others and an awareness of opportunities to enjoy fulfilling leisure activities.
At St Lawrence we plan and provide exciting lessons that include the development of skills using large and small apparatus, ball skills, team games and dance. We now have opportunities at St Lawrence to develop our orienteering skills with a course to follow around the school. Together the local schools, including St Lawrence have employed a PE teacher in order to deliver the highest quality PE lessons as well as curricular opportunities for children across the school, these also culminate in inter-school competitions.
Swimming takes place weekly, at Alton Sports Centre for Year 3. Priority is given to increasing water confidence and ensuring that all children learn to swim.
Although St Lawrence has limited outdoor space, the school works closely with Amery Hill Secondary School and takes full advantage of the facilities there including their Astro-turf. The school has a good reputation for sport opportunities, taking part in local competitions including football, hockey, netball, cricket, table tennis, dance and basketball. At St Lawrence we offer a diverse range of after school clubs that introduce children to new sports. These clubs are run by staff and skilled coaches from the local community and include fencing, dodgeball and golf.
We strongly believe at St Lawrence that PSHE education helps pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage many of the critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face as they grow up and in adulthood.
We aim to promote healthy, independent and responsible members of society. Our pupils are given opportunities to work across the school on PHSE themes to develop confidence, self-motivation and an understanding of their rights and responsibilities within our diverse society.
We teach PSHE in a variety of ways:
As a discrete subject following a programme carefully planned to meet the age appropriate needs of the children.
By addressing many whole school PHSE issues through our collective worship programme.
Making connections through other subjects such as RE, History, Geography, Literacy, Maths and Science.
Through outdoor educational visits, community work and fundraising activities.We teach the children how society is organised and governed in order to become responsible citizens themselves.
By promoting a positive growth mindset across every aspect oflearning and development
By being responsive to any issues, locally, nationally, globally that may need time for thought and reflection.
We are members of the PHSE Association and use their well-researched and resourced plans as the backbone for our own planning. There is an obvious need however to personalise any planning to suit the needs of particular cohorts of children. We also think it’s important to allow time to talk about any local, national or world events that may be at the forefront of daily news. Our status as a UNICEF Rights Respecting school offers us many opportunities to explore some of the issues that address us as global citizens.
Our programme of study is divided into 3 core themes: Relationships, Living in the Wider World and Health and Wellbeing. Each half term is led by one of these themes and linked to one of our school values. In the summer term the PHSE core theme of Health and Well Being includes our work on Sex and relationship education.
SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS EDUCATION
Sex and relationships education is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, human sexuality and sexual health. Some aspects are taught in science, and others are taught as part of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). A comprehensive programme of SRE provides accurate information about the body, reproduction, sex, and sexual health. It also gives children and young people essential skills for building positive, enjoyable, respectful and non-exploitative relationships and staying safe both on and offline.
At St Lawrence Primary School we believe high quality SRE helps create safe school communities in which pupils can grow, learn, and develop positive, healthy behaviour for life. Before any sex and relationships education is taught parents/carers are invited into school to share planning and review teaching resources. By teaching pupils to stay safe and healthy, and by building self-esteem, resilience and empathy, an effective PSHE programme can tackle barriers to learning, raise aspirations, and improve the life chances for all our children.