This year on World Book Day we celebrated with a super learning day! The children came in dressed as a book characters they know, we held a decorating cake competition and we learnt about our teacher's favourite stories! The teachers shared their favourite children's story and the children worked really hard to produce work all about the story they had heard. Each teacher has displayed the children's hard work on their classroom door - Have a look!
At Underwood West Academy, English is at the centre of our curriculum. To acquire a wide vocabulary, children are provided with rich and varied opportunities to read, write, speak and listen. We promote high standards to all children and they are encouraged to work to the best of their ability, presenting work to a high standard which they can be proud of and developing a love of literature.
We aim to give our pupils opportunities to become fluent readers with a secure understanding to the texts they read, develop a habit and pleasure for reading, gather of wide range of vocabulary and clear understanding of grammar, have access to a wide range of text types for different audiences and purposes, join in discussions to learn from their peers and understand the importance of speaking and listening. At Underwood West, we develop our English by using cooperative structures, providing a wide range of stories, poems, songs and non-fiction texts, daily teaching of phonics, weekly spelling, encouraging reading for pleasure, drama (hot-seating), interactive role play areas and the use of word aware.
Reading at Underwood West:
A love of reading is promoted through our choices of high quality class texts, used as a stimulus for lessons and around which we base all our learning. These stories are chosen to engage and inform the children and lead to our Best Book work. Reading is enhanced through the use of our school library, shared reading opportunities, regular guided reading sessions, inference training and our volunteer reader scheme. Reading for pleasure is also encouraged through our classroom reading areas and regular discussions of the books being read both by children and teachers. We endorse a balanced approach to the teaching of reading and draw on resources from a range of sources and various texts. We use different reading schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star, Oxford University Press, Lighthouse stories, Collins Big Cat and PM Stories. During guided reading sessions, we create opportunities for children to apply reading skills to high quality texts, learning to predict, re-tell and develop comprehension. We value contribution and encouragement by parents and carers and children are encouraged to read daily at home, this is promoted through our “reading stars” reward system where children receive certificates and bookmarks to celebrate reading successes. At Underwood West Academy, children from Reception to Year 2 are taught phonics using the Letters and Sounds scheme. Daily phonics sessions provide a very structured approach where children are taught in smaller groups and progress is assessed regularly. Children work through different phases, building up their knowledge of sounds through reading and writing words and phrases.
Our approach to reading not only enables children to read a variety of genres and to read books from different cultures and times but enhances their love of reading. By providing a text rich environment and using quality texts as a stimulus to lessons, children are given opportunities to practice their reading skills, widen their experiences, develop their imaginations and to read for pleasure.
In the early years, children are introduced to Concepts About Print, looking at the conventions of books including book orientation, print, illustrations, words, letters and punctuation. In addition to daily phonics, Reading sessions are delivered where books are shared and children have opportunities to follow texts and build up their knowledge of key words.
Small Guided Reading sessions allow the children to apply the reading strategies they have learnt to a new text. They engage in tasks such as retelling stories, trapping key words or phrases, discussing book covers and titles and looking at features of different types of texts. They begin to develop early comprehension and inference skills.
Throughout Key Stage One
In Year One, children are taught in small groups, building on skills learnt in EYFS. These Guided reading sessions take place daily, with children working with adults at least twice a week. Children are also in engaged in listening to whole class stories where inference and comprehension skills are explored further.
In Year Two, children continue to be taught in smaller groups. In addition to reading texts with an adult, children are engaged in independent reading activities that require them to apply their comprehension and inference skills.
Throughout Key Stage Two
As pupils progress through Key Stage 2 the emphasis switches from decoding skills to developing comprehension and inference skills. A whole class approach is taken to reading the shared class text with a ‘book club’ feel discussion each day. To widen the children’s experience of different genres and to facilitate the teaching of specific reading skills a further guided reading session takes place three times a week using the EEF model for teaching reading comprehension.
We aim for children to become independent problem solvers when reading. Children are encouraged to develop independence with reading from an early age. We do not use one reading scheme - we use several and organise the books into book bands of similar difficulty. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Lighthouse Texts, PM texts, Oxford University Press and Collins Big Cat. Each band is represented by a colour and children are regularly assessed to ensure that they progress to the next band as appropriate. They are encouraged to choose books that match their interests from a wide range of different genres, such as picture books, novels, information books, poems and comics. Within school, children also have access to e-books and audio books.
Children are introduced to new texts by looking at the book and discussing the story before reading. Key words, sounds and phrases are identified before the children attempt to read the book on their own. They are encouraged to track text 1:1 until they are reading with some fluency. At this point, they are taught to read with their eyes, only using their fingers at points of difficulty.
When reading, children are supported to attempt unfamiliar words or phrases by asking “Does it look right?” Does it sound right?” and “Does it make sense?” Children are prompted to identify any errors or try new words by rereading words or sentences or reading on to gain an understanding of what has been read.
Children are encouraged to listen to themselves when reading, to ensure their reading sounds good and is fluent and well phrased. Children are taught to use punctuation to enhance their expression.
On completion of a text, children are asked questions to establish their understanding of a text – these can be literal questions or questions that require the children to make inferences about what they have read.
As the children get older and become more competent readers, they engage in comprehension sessions where they are taught to find answers to questions within a text. They are also engaged in inference lessons where they are taught to predict, suggest possible answers and “read between the lines”, searching for meanings beyond the written text.
Children are encouraged to read at home and generally take a banded book home at least twice a week. This is recorded in their reading logs. A whole school reward system is in place where children receive certificates for reading 10, 20, 30 etc times at home and moving up the reading stars. On reaching a gold star, children receive a new book and special sticker from the Principal.
In EYFS and Key Stage One, children are encouraged to take library books home to share with adults at home.
Each area in school has a reading corner and school is currently developing a new library. Children have free access to books both inside and outside school.
We hold Super Learning Days where different authors or genres of texts are explored and encourage visitors to come into school including authors and recently a local poet.
Writing at Underwood West:
All children are encouraged to become fluent writers, who are able to express their feelings and opinions creatively in a variety of text types, both fiction and non-fiction. Every opportunity is given for the children to base their writing on a memorable experience and write for a specific audience and purpose. We have developed a two week writing cycle which aims to break down composition of writing and scaffold a structured and supportive approach to writing. In KS1, we use elements of Talk for Writing, to support teaching of the writing cycle. In KS2, we use the writing cycle to develop understanding in a wider range of text types, allowing the children skills to apply to a variety of writing purposes. In years 5 and 6, we follow the IPEELL approach; a structured approach enabling opportunities for self and peer assessment and independent goal setting.
Drama plays an important role in our English curriculum and is incorporated into our lessons to support children’s speaking and listening, reading, writing and performing skills. Imaginative play, role play, hot seating and Helicopter stories are also used to enhance speaking and listening skills. Poetry is a key element in our curriculum. We share a weekly poem and encourage class discussion. Children learn to recite and perform poems across the key stages as well as creating their own.
Spelling at Underwood West:
At Underwood West, we firmly believe that for children to communicate their understanding in all curriculum subjects, good spelling is an essential skill. To allow pupils to be confident and effective writers, children are taught a range of spelling strategies to support them during independent tasks. This allows children to write freely with the skills to independently attempt spellings without seeking adult support. Children are then given small group sessions to learn how to identify and correct their own spelling errors.
Throughout the week, children through school are taught to develop these spellings strategies. Children from Reception to Year 2 are taught phonics daily using the Letters and Sounds scheme. Lessons follow the model of Review, Teach, Practice and Apply. Children in KS2 are taught spellings using the Babcock scheme. During the week, phonics and spellings are reinforced through independent learning, guided reading and guided writing sessions, as well as being reinforced at home.
We aim that all our children will become confident communicators who are able to listen to and respect the opinions and thoughts of others
Mastery: teaching for depth in mathematics overview
Underwood West Academy follows a “teaching for depth” approach to mathematics, which is sometimes termed mastery in other published guidance or commercial products. This approach enables all children to master the mathematics curriculum and draws inspiration from a range of sources. It draws heavily upon research conducted by the EEF (Education Endowment Fund) and their recommendations.
What is the intention of our curriculum?
The intention is to build long lasting learning through progressive acquisition of knowledge and skills. This helps our children to know and remember more through both well timed repetition and carefully planned tasks to introduce new learning. Retrieval practice is also part of our approach.
We believe that all children can learn mathematics with hard work, effort and good, supportive teaching. Differentiation by task or setting has not traditionally led to better outcomes for lower attaining pupils. All year cohorts of children are usually taught in mixed ability classes, where scaffolding, timely intervention and teachers and other adults working directly with those who are struggling to grasp a concept provide more effective differentiation.
“Faster grasping” children are given what might be termed by teachers as “going deeper” questions to develop their ability to reason, prove or question an approach. They also support their peers as “more knowledgeable others.” Collaborative learning allows children support each other’s progress. Children understand that “going deeper” challenges will allow them to construct and apply their learning with additional challenge and are not only reserved for the more able group. Other children will attempt them as and when they can: all mathematicians should have a growth mind set and what is going deeper for each depends upon where they currently are in their mathematics learning,
Questions structured with a “greater depth” of complexity will also be provided allowing some children to work towards a fuller understanding through exploration and investigation of content and context.
How is our curriculum designed and implemented?
Whilst teaching the National Curriculum, we do not follow a particular scheme of work in terms of materials and rate of coverage. The NCETM spine documents under-pin our pedagogical approach and offer guidance so that teachers can plan and write lessons that meet the needs of each class. Small steps for both conceptual and procedural understanding are planned for, giving due consideration to common misconceptions that are likely to occur. Additional quality materials such as those provided by the White Rose Hub are also used.
As with any guidance, it leaves the teachers free to extend the time period over which a topic is taught should they feel that a depth of understanding has not been achieved. However, we expect all topics within the National Curriculum to have been covered to some degree over the year. Gaps will be identified in a timely manner by class teachers so that they can be addressed through same day intervention, or even by the next teacher.
Children use concrete, pictorial and abstract models for each topic as appropriate to the learning context. Research conducted by the EEF underpins our expectation that both manipulatives and representations will be used in all year groups and across all ability groups to support learning before procedural methods are used. This will allow children to select from a range of strategies for both efficiency and to support success.
Procedural methods for calculation are taught alongside mental methods for fluency and variation. Children will be expected to apply this learning within a range of contexts rather than completing extended procedural practice. Fluency does not equate to speed but to efficient choice of strategy which may well increase speed, particularly when trying to recall times tables.
A typical lesson will broadly follow this structure:
- a brief problem linked to prior learning, reviewing and consolidation patterns or connections in mathematics. It may focus on fluency or reasoning. Activation of prior knowledge of task, strategy and self may also form part of this activity.
- A “construct/hook” problem or calculation on which the class work together to unpick the learning for that lesson, followed by a couple of further examples “spun” to develop small steps in the depth of learning.
- independent pupil application using questions similar to that in the construct part of the lesson. It is at this point that teachers will select or pupils will actively ask for more help. Some children may move on to problems of greater complexity that may
be completed over a series of lessons or in additional time with or without an adult,
- the plenary may focus on a addressing a misconception, self or peer review, or further assessment depending on where the lesson sits in the cycle of teaching and learning. Mistakes are valued and celebrated on the working wall where “maths wobbles” are displayed. Unpicking misconceptions so that children evaluate their thinking is vital in scaffolding children towards greater independent evaluation and learning.
Marking is timely and allows children both to complete, correct and go deeper with their learning. Children who make no mistakes are not being sufficiently challenged and we expect all children to respond to a marking challenge/next step on approximately a weekly basis. Sometimes this may be more or less frequent, but should not be a barrier to motivation and enjoyment. The aim of this is not simply for correction, but for recall, reflection and self-monitoring.
There will be times when this lesson structure does not suit the learning taking place. When longer investigations, games or kinaesthetic activities are taking place, the structure will be that that which best suits the learning process.
On a regular basis children will be given routine arithmetic questions or problems as a low stakes recall of previous teaching on a range of topics. Depending on the outcome, more or less time in that lesson will be devoted to reviewing and correcting errors ,but it does not take the place of quality teaching in that lesson based on the topic planned for. This is an example of well -timed repetition and leads to greater fluency. Repeated exposure and consideration of key concepts over and over again in different contexts leads to better understanding.
When teachers can, they offer timely, sometimes same day, intervention to ensure gaps and misconceptions are addressed before moving on. Sometimes this is after school and may review previous topics or pre-teach new ones. This type of feedback relates to and should produce improvement in the child’s learning. It may focus on an activity, a process, or the child’s thinking and self-regulations strategies.
Intent, Design, Implementation, Impact 2019
As scientists we are inspired to endeavour to be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of modern day science. Our curriculum gives us the tools to explore the changing world around us through scientific enquiry.
Our curriculum is based on the three areas of science, biology, chemistry and physics. We are encourage to ask questions and find answers through a creative science curriculum which is heavily developed on scientific enquiry.
Long term: We use the National Curriculum for Science
Medium term: Science topics taught for each year group to build on previous learning. We bridge back each lesson to ensure retention of knowledge to the long term memory. This is achieved through a carefully planned curriculum which is underpinned by ‘spaced learning.’
Short term: Scientific enquiry led lessons which engage children.
Impact: To enable children to leave primary school at ARE so they are ready to access the secondary curriculum.
To achieve accurate assessment through progression in enquiry.
Science games for all ages and topics:
The body websites
Solids, liquids and gases websites
As computer scientists we analyse, design and develop code of our own through a range of applications. We are able to have opportunities to apply essential programming and ‘de bugging’ skills in the virtual and real world, controlling both on screen and physical models.
Our curriculum is routed in the real life applications of technology that reaches beyond our school. Our themes include architects, game makers, etymologists, digital artists, photographers, etc. We use technology in a purposeful way to create 3D models, green screen presentations and even explore the coral reef!
In the new curriculum there is a strong focus on e-safety and what to do if a child has concerns about content or interactions online. Each year we run E-safety days and Parental workshops to support this.
Long term: We use the National Curriculum for Computing
Medium term: Computing topics taught for each year group to build on previous learning. We bridge back each lesson to ensure retention of knowledge to the long term memory. This is achieved through a carefully planned curriculum which is underpinned by ‘spaced learning.’
Short term: On going cross curricular application
Impact: To enable children to leave primary school at ARE so they are ready to access the secondary curriculum.
At Underwood West Academy religious education makes a distinctive contribution to preparing children for life in modern Britain. This subject is taught by specialists who provide opportunities for hearing and reading stories from many world faiths in accordance with the local authority agreed syllabus. Children are introduced to the ways in which people around the world and in Britain celebrate important events such as through festivals. They are also able to handle artefacts, learn about important religious figures and visit places of special importance for believers.
Children are encouraged to develop respect for other people, their beliefs and life styles, and are supported when raising questions and making their own decisions.
History is a very powerful subject that sparks curiosity of the past in Britain and the wider
world. Our focus is on the impact / legacy of the periods studied on modern day life.
Children gain chronology skills when placing significant events / people / places over time. Chronology skills should include sequencing (placing events in order), intervals (distance between events) and duration (how long periods last). Children also identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. Key Stage Two children learn to place each period of history studied onto a timeline. This enables them to understand where to locate themselves in relation to periods / themes studied and how the themes are positioned in chronological order.
Children also gain enquiry skills as they gather and interpret evidence from a wide range of sources (artifacts, books, internet) to answer a variety of questions. Children are encouraged to use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. Skills developed through historical enquiry promotes historical awareness and responsible citizenship. Children should develop tolerance and understanding and be able to empathise with people in history. They should be open-minded and develop an understanding of cultures in history and appreciate them for their qualities.
Early Years Foundation Stage - children should listen to stories, ask how and why, use the past, present and future tense, talk about the past and present in their own lives and the lives of family members, recognise similarities and differences between families and traditions, objects and materials and use role play
How is our curriculum implemented?
At Underwood Academy we teach regular history related themes taught. The learning objectives of each lesson draw from knowledge and skills included in the National Curriculum. Themes chosen have cross-curricular links. History provides a context for expression using the arts and technologies. A range of teaching approaches are also encouraged:
- Teacher presentations, role-play and story-telling.
- Question and answer sessions, discussions and debates.
- Individual and group research and presentations.
- Investigating artifacts, maps, photographs, paintings and other documents as sources of evidence.
- Critical analysis and evaluation of sources of evidence.
- Computing - interactive white board and internet resources and other visual and audio resources.
History comes alive in any way that we can make it happen. Children’s learning is developed further as they are given the opportunity to live as others would have in the past through forest school / educational visits / visitors and workshops which link to the topic. This also provides a range of ‘memorable experiences’ to support IPEELL and extended writing opportunities. We also, when appropriate, encourage links between home and school by asking the children to complete topic based homework / research during holidays.
Impact/ priorities for this year:
- Embed the history planning into all year groups and for all teaching staff to further develop their confidence in delivering a progressive geography curriculum.
- To ensure that achievement of ARE or above in istory is consistently high across each year group and that the gaps are narrowed in previously low attaining cohorts.
To offer a diverse geography education which aims to inspire our children to become curious and open-minded about the world around them. We aim to instil a fascination about the world, its people, physical features and ever changing and challenging environmental issues. We aim to inspire and teach our children to become critical thinkers for the rest of their lives.
When our children leave our school at the end of Key Stage Two, we want them to be: open-minded, critical thinkers who understand not only how physical processes shape the planet but also how their own actions have an impact on the Earth too.
Geography is taught as a subject not as ‘topic’ in order to ensure that our children understand what geography is and can therefore self-regulate their knowledge and progress in this subject.
Each unit of learning has a ‘key question’ or ‘line of inquiry’ which is the stimulus for learning.
The children have opportunities throughout units of learning to further develop their understanding of: location, place, physical processes/features, human activity, fieldwork skills and map skills.
Pupils will use different resources, some of which may include: OS maps, Geographical information systems (Google Earth), photographs, atlases.
Geography is taught regularly across the year so that the children have clear progression and opportunities for retention alongside learning the new content and knowledge.
Field trips/fieldwork – teachers are encouraged to use local organisations/ places where there is relevance to their unit of learning. This enables children to have an understanding of some of our ‘local geography’.
Lessons now often start with a short activity which allows the children to ‘bridge back to prior learning’ as research informs us that this helps to develop long term retention of facts.
Impact/ priorities for this year:
- Embed the geography planning into all year groups and for all teaching staff to further develop their confidence in delivering a progressive geography curriculum.
- To ensure that achievement of ARE or above in geography is consistently high across each year group and that the gaps are narrowed in previously low attaining cohorts.
As Designers we ask that our children design, make, evaluate and where possible improve the products they produce. We ensure that our products are designed for a purpose or with a specific user in mind. As our children progress through school the design process is extended whereby the children are encouraged to continually evaluate and refine their working designs, eventually leading to them producing prototypes to aid in this process.
We ensure that our children have a good understanding of the core skills that they need for the future by focusing on three key elements of technology – food, textiles, materials & construction. As a school we feel that these areas will give our children valuable skills that they can use throughout their lives.
In Food we begin by teaching simple cooking skills and following a simple recipe with support, this is built on each year by increasing the children’s independence and ability to follow a recipe accurately until eventually the children are confident to adapt and refine recipes to fit a specific purpose.
In Materials & Construction we begin by teaching the children to measure, mark out, cut and join materials using simple techniques. This is extended by developing the cutting & joining techniques and encouraging the children to select the most appropriate and finally we encourage the children to refine their techniques and precision and consider how to present their work with a better finish.
In Textiles we begin by teaching the children to shape, join and decorate textiles using simple techniques. We build on this by teaching different stitching and decorating skills until the children are confident to select the most appropriate techniques for the effects they want to produce.
Below is a list of websites you can explore:
To ensure that art and design has a secure place in the curriculum for each child. That all children are given the opportunity to explore ideas, learn techniques and skills and gain an appreciation of how art and design have shaped, and continue to shape, and tell us about our world.
We provide the opportunity for spaced repetition and over learning as children revisit art elements. Ensuring that this happens through a well-structured, exciting and developmental curriculum where teachers know and understand what learning has gone before.
Long-term plan – National Curriculum for art and design.
Medium term plan – At Underwood West Academy we offer the children the opportunity to develop their artistic ability, talent and creativity through a wide range of experiences. Children experience a wide span of artistic activities linked to their topic involving a wide variety of media, including drawing, paint, print, clay, collage and 3D sculpture . Relevant skills are taught to further the growth and development of the child and the children are introduced to the work of artists both past and present. Art work feeds into our “Best Books” and the rich displays that celebrate our children’s work and make our school a stimulating and vibrant learning environment each and every day.
Art websites for School website page.
Music – Underwood West Academy
That everyone has the opportunity to enjoy music through singing, listening to music and play music (using tuned and untuned instruments).
That through listening to music they appreciate music from other cultures and times.
Have an opportunity to perform to an audience in school.
Have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument involving learning formal notation.
Have the opportunity to join extra-curricular activities provided by the school.
Have the opportunity of performing in the wider community.
In the early years – music is delivered in an exploratory way and is linked to the themes of other subjects. Children learn the basics of singing skills: singing together, learning words to a simple song, adding actions, beginning to sing with some accurate pitch. They play percussion instruments and learn to play together. The language of music is developed: pitch, beat, tempo, dynamics, names of instruments. The children participate in a Christmas show for parents.
Year 1 and 2 – Teachers teach children how to sing together and in tune, keep a beat, play a simple rhythm, learn new musical vocabulary and listen to music from music from other cultures. They play untuned instruments with increasing control (woodblocks, claves, tambourines, triangles). In years 3 and 4 there is more emphasis on composition and in years 5 and 6 children are given the opportunities to perform, improvise and appreciate different forms of music.
Extra-curricular music is a valuable part of music education in schools giving the children who are more ‘musical’ or just enjoy music activities a chance to further their interest. This groups has the opportunity to perform to others in school and the wider community.
PE – Underwood West Academy
Our intention and expectation is that personal fitness is an important, enjoyable and daily part of every child’s education at Underwood West Academy. This should include standing and moving about during lessons when children would otherwise be sitting. Every child should have the opportunity to attend after-school sports clubs and be signposted to local organisations.
School offers a rich and varied approach in the teaching and learning of the curriculum for PE. External agencies such as Sportscape, are used to ensure high quality outcomes, covering all aspects of the curriculum including gymnastics, games, dance and athletics. During Key Stage 2 children have the opportunity to attend the local swimming baths for a course of lessons. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves within a range of sports through watching, listening, experimenting and developing their skills. The balance of co-operative, collaborative and competitive situations aims to cater for the preferences, strengths and needs of every child. The units of work taught match the Sainsburys, School Games Calendar promoting Level 2 competition.
Modern Foreign Languages
Children are taught Spanish in order to familiarise themselves with a modern foreign language. All children are encouraged to develop their understanding of the language through a variety of fun games, songs, role play and activities. Children will also learn to identify countries and communities where Spanish is spoken, developing an understanding of their customs and culture.
¡Buenos Días! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZBy9pniOZ8
¡Hola a todos! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOj4hEk2CtU
Los Números (Numbers) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ydJr1Is8xI
Another song about Los Números (Numbers) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkGFfAGLDg0
Los Colóres - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3ZTuL3U-fY
Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
At Underwood West Academy, we teach PSHCE as a subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, knowledge skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. It is an integral part of our school ethos and is woven in to all we do in order to prepare our children for the future. These skills and attributes will help our children to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. They will help our children to achieve their academic potential and leave school equipped with skills they will need throughout later life. They will also encourage our children to develop responsibility in their home life, the community and the wider world.
We are using a whole school scheme of learning accredited by the PSHCE Association where children are engaged in active and participatory activities, which concentrates on 6 key strands:
Drug, alcohol and tobacco education
Keeping safe and managing risk
Mental health and emotional well-being
Physical health and well-being
Careers, financial capability and economic well-being
Identity, society and equality
In addition we have weekly whole school assemblies which celebrate diversity and British values
Children will learn how to become valued citizens and leave Underwood West Academy ready to embrace the secondary PSHCE curriculum