Phonics is taught daily, using RWi Phonics, for all children in Y1, Y2 and lower Key Stage Two (for those who still require the programme) until they are confident to read any word and understand and begin to use the alternate ways of spelling the sounds in words. Frequent assessment helps us to track the gaps in learning and let us know when each child is ready to move off the phonics programme. Once children have mastered phonics, we transfer them into Reciprocal Reading. This continues to develop skills for reading new words, as well as building children’s competence in reading and understanding different texts. We teach children to clarify vocabulary, predict what a text might be about, answer questions and summarise key information verbally. Throughout the EYFS children access 1:1 reading on a daily basis and this continues into Key Stage 1 together with a focussed group guided reading. At the end of each half term, in Key Stage 2, children learn how to answer with a written response in order to communicate their understanding of what they have read.
The ability to communicate in writing is vital to life-long learning and it takes high priority in our school. We deliver writing using a bespoke approach which has been designed and developed by our teaching staff, in collaboration with experts in the field. Our approach is constantly adapted and changed in order to meet the individual needs of our pupils. In EYFS, a huge emphasis is placed on getting our youngest children to view themselves as writers. There are frequent opportunities for them to write, both independently or to be guided by a member of staff, about the things that interest them the most. Much of the EYFS learning environment is developed around providing engaging and exciting writing opportunities. Lots of emphasis is placed on creative ways to develop fine motor skills to allow the children to write independently. Once the children are able to see themselves as writers, Key Stage one focuses on mastering the basic skills in handwriting, punctuation, spelling and grammar so that children have the building blocks to produce exciting and engaging pieces of work. We pride ourselves on providing engaging imaginative and real-life contexts for children to write in, most of which are linked to the topic that the children are learning about. The children have a clear purpose and audience for each piece of their writing. We are very proud of the high standard of writing that our children are able to produce.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling can be some of the trickiest skills for our young learners to grasp. Because we are aware of these, we endeavour to teach these skills in context and with a purpose so that the children are able to apply them when they are needed.
- Spelling is approached in a number of ways throughout school, including using phonic knowledge gained through Read Write Inc. and teaching age appropriate spelling patterns using games and the interactive whiteboard. In lower Key Stage 2 these words are taught through ‘Super Spelling’ which is a daily spelling session, followed by an individualised test on up to 10 words per week. Super spelling books then go on to form a personal reference point for each child. In upper Key Stage 2, the focus is on learning and applying spelling rules and patterns, followed once again, by an individualised test on up to 10 words per week.
- Throughout school, punctuation and grammar are taught discretely and then the children apply those skills in their independent writing linked with topic themes.
Monkwood Primary School uses the ‘Sheffield Script’ which was developed in collaboration with other schools within our partnership trust. We are aware that legible, fluent handwriting is another important life-long learning tool. From EYFS, a minimum of three 15-minute sessions per week is focussed on developing a fluent written style. Our young writers are exposed to lots of fun activities to build muscle strength, develop fine motor skills and select a dominant writing hand. This then develops into mastering the correct pencil grip, handwriting position, followed by accurate letter formation. Once lower and upper case letters are formed accurately, line guides are introduced and children begin to practice pattern forming. This is followed by early joins in letter families and finally whole words. When our children have a fluent, joined style, they are rewarded with a ‘Pen License’ and are able to use a handwriting pen for their work. In Y6 the children are expected to apply their own fluent and unique style.
In daily maths lessons, our children are taught the required skills and knowledge outlined in the National Curriculum areas of Number, Measurement and Statistics. Mathematical learning is made fun, memorable and exciting by linking it to the current topic, therefore making it cross curricular whenever possible. By setting learning in a range of meaningful contexts, our children develop the ability to apply their skills to ‘real life’ situations and can solve problems with increasing accuracy. Children are assessed against their year group key expectations and are encouraged to deepen their understanding by applying what they know with independence. In Key Stage 1 children develop confidence in counting and place value. They are taught to work with all four operations (+, -, x and ÷), often using practical apparatus to develop a sound understanding. As children progress through school, they develop more complex mental methods and perform written calculations, using larger numbers with increasing accuracy. Our calculation policy outlines the progression in the written methods we teach to each year group. At every stage, children are encouraged to communicate their understanding, using the appropriate mathematical vocabulary. They learn how to reason and justify by investigating their ideas and making links between different areas of mathematics, often following their own lines of enquiry.
Science is one of the subjects that allows our children to apply lots of the skills that they are developing in other curriculum areas. Children at Monkwood love science as it is creative, inventive, investigative and messy! In EYFS and Year 1, the children are given opportunities to investigate, explore and question the world around them and natural phenomena. All science is mainly taught through the context of our topics and teachers love to be creative with the ways in which opportunities to work scientifically are presented to the children. We ensure that in all year groups, scientific investigations or enquiries take place each term, with the addition of core knowledge and understanding for each year group also covered. Visitors and ‘experts’ are sometimes used to deepen understanding for our children. Often, the first-hand experiences that are provided by teachers spark a line of enquiry that the children wish to follow independently. This is actively encouraged.
Our history curriculum ensures that children have an understanding of chronology, detailing how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. At Monkwood Primary School we understand that children need to learn significant facts from different periods in history but believe it is much more important to develop skills through historical enquiry and questioning. This means that, from a very young age, our children are thinking their way through historical problems by asking and framing questions, undertaking research, making judgments and then effectively communicating their answers. Staff always endeavour to make historical learning fun and interactive including; first-hand experiences, historical costume re-enactments, experts in their field and genuine historical artefacts. Children are encouraged to use their understanding of people, events and time periods in history to develop their writing skills, adding depth and flair to their written work.
At Monkwood Primary School, our curriculum enables children to have an understanding of how both physical and human geography has shaped the way in which we live. Children need to develop the skills of exploration, collection, analysis, interpretation and communication of geographical knowledge. This means that, from a very young age, our children are thinking their way through geographical problems by asking and framing questions, undertaking research, making judgments and then effectively communicating their answers. Teachers at Monkwood plan ways to make geographical learning fun and interactive, through the use of ICT, including as many first-hand experiences and also allowing children to use and apply their knowledge. In Foundation, children develop a sense of wonder of the world around them and they are offered daily opportunities to develop and expand this knowledge. In KS1, children begin to use geographical resources through a cross-curricular approach. This helps to bring their learning to life and further their knowledge. In KS2, children begin to build on their existing knowledge and continue to build their basic geographical skills. As children enter UKS2, elements of PSHE are tied into their geography learning, which helps them to develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment. They are also encouraged to develop their sense of responsibility for the care of the earth and its people.
Here at Monkwood we teach computing in a range of ways from Foundation through to Year 6 and we learn about all three strands of the computing curriculum: digital literacy, information and communication and computer science. ICT is integrated into the curriculum through our topic-based approach to ensure that the learning is both purposeful and enjoyable. Generally, pupils will have the opportunity to use iPads each week to either support their learning in another subject or for an explicit computing lesson. In addition to the sessions that are taught in school, each of the KS2 classes, from Year 3 – Year 6, have the opportunity to visit Rawmarsh CLC and are able to use the range of equipment in the learning centre.
As e-safety is such a crucial life-skill for all of our children to develop, we also ensure that all children throughout the school are taught about how to stay safe when using technology. These lessons are taught in ICT lessons, PSHCE lessons and through whole-school assemblies. As the children progress through school the content of these lessons is constantly tailored to suit the needs of the pupils. Year 6 pupils learn more about Internet safety when they visit Crucial Crew in the Autumn term.
Design and Technology is taught with a cross-curricular approach and we always try to link the children’s learning to other subjects by drawing on their knowledge of science, literacy, ICT and maths. Children will often produce creative writing about the products that they have created and conduct science investigations to test the materials and structure of their design. At KS1 pupils are encouraged to develop an understanding of their product audience by focusing on their needs, wants, values, interests and preferences. We also aim to help children develop an ability to clearly communicate the purpose of the products they are designing so that they can creatively make products that fulfil a purpose. In KS2, we offer the same approach whilst also aiming to provide pupils’ with opportunities to make their own design decisions. Where possible, KS2 children are encouraged to spot gaps in the market so they can show off their original thinking. This gives the children an open-ended starting point for their learning so that they can design products that have a real life purpose.
At Monkwood Primary School we feel it is important for children to develop as creative and imaginative people. We believe that creativity helps us to deal with the unexpected, think flexible, take risks, use information in new ways, and be innovative individuals. We teach art through investigation and experimentation through building children’s knowledge of different media and techniques and allow them the time to explore possibilities. This form of art teaching benefits all children this is because it encourages a can-do approach to learning, allows every child to feel successful as an artist. Our aim is to encourage independence and equip our children with the creative skills they need to express themselves effectively. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our work. This is achieved through whole class teaching, group/paired activities and individual work. In all classes, there are children of differing abilities and through the effective use of differentiation/ support/ challenge, we can build on skills to ensure maximum engagement and progress. AFL strategies are used within lessons to inform future planning and maximise learning.
Religious Education contributes to the development of all young people to become responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society. At Monkwood Primary School, we endeavour to provide opportunities for learners to explore and respond to different religions, including Christianity and other principal religions in the United Kingdom. We help children to develop an understanding of the different beliefs, values and traditions within our culture. Every aspect of our Religious Education celebrates and respects cultures that hold views which are different to their own. This process helps the children to develop an awareness of other’s beliefs and ways of life, in a positive environment that is based on mutual respect. We have strong links with our local Christian church and invite the RE Team to deliver assemblies and focused RE lessons on a regular basis.
A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect. At Monkwood Primary School, PE is delivered both by class teachers and by our Sports Coaches (RCS). Children develop skills across a range of sports, play competitively and co-operatively, both indoors and out. They study dance and movement, developing their ability to respond to music and build their gymnastic skills. In Y4, all our children learn to swim. Teams from Monkwood also take part in a range of sporting competitions against local schools and a range of after school clubs are available to further enhance and develop their physical skills.
At Monkwood Primary School we follow the Rotherham Healthy School’s scheme of work for delivering high-quality PSHCE (Personal, social, health, citizenship and economic) education. Throughout all Key Stages, we offer the children the chance to participate in weekly circle time sessions in order to raise and discuss local, national and topical issues. The teaching staff weave PSHCE themes throughout their medium-term planning in order for the children to have relevant contexts in which to develop their thinking and make safe and considered choices both in and out of school. Our PSHCE sessions provide a platform for us to foster our children’s SMSC (social, moral, spiritual and cultural) development and to ensure that we are promoting Traditional British Values in all parts of school life.
Although PSHCE is delivered through direct teaching sessions, it also plays a huge part of all aspects of our school community – such as whole school assemblies, visitors in school, our behaviour and reward systems etc. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and in the wider community; developing their self-worth and understanding of how society is organised and governed.
At Monkwood, we believe that learning a language enables children to develop their language and communication skills, develop their linguistic abilities and gain knowledge of how language works. It is also vital that children are aware of the multilingual and multicultural world, giving them an insight into other cultures. Nationally, it is statutory that children learn a language from Year 3. At Monkwood, our children have the opportunity to learn a language when they begin FS2. All children receive weekly MFL lessons from a teacher who is fluent in the language that the children learn. This enables our children to receive high-quality language teaching. Children at Monkwood have had the opportunity to learn French and Spanish. We learn through games, memorising, songs, videos and role-play.
Children are taught how to:
- Ask and answer questions
- Memorise words, often using a strategy
- Understand meaning
- Use dictionaries
- Communicate with each other in a different language
- Write from simple words and phrases to sentences/short paragraphs in French
Music is an important part of daily life in school, in lessons such as PE, and in assemblies. The enjoyment of singing plays an important role during class lessons, music time and the school choir.
In addition, we offer music tuition on a variety of instruments from visiting peripatetic teachers.