Leaders have designed and developed an ambitious curriculum. They have carefully selected the most important knowledge they want pupils to learn in each subject.
Curriculum Content, Organisation and Teaching Methods
Ickleford Primary School teaches the National Curriculum subjects and R.E (religious education). The National Curriculum consists of English, maths, science, computing, history, geography, modern foreign language (French), D. T. (design and technology), art, music, P.E. (physical education) and PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education, including relationship and sex education). Our curriculum is specifically devised by our subject leads to ensure complete coverage of the key knowledge, skills and concepts required by Ofsted and to meet the needs of the children in our school. Much of the learning is taught as individual subjects, although different subject areas often overlap.
Throughout a child’s time in school, the class teacher continually assesses your child’s learning informally. Parents are told of their child’s progress at two parent consultation meetings, in each of the first two terms, and in a comprehensive summer term annual written report.
We place great emphasis on developing our children’s phonological knowledge for the Year 1 phonics national screening test; along with the fluency and recall of times tables for the Year 4 multiplication tables check. At the end of Key Stage 1 (7 years old) and Key Stage 2 (11 years old), the children will be assessed by national tests and formal teacher assessment arrangements and the results will be shared and celebrated with parents.
To aid the delivery of our curriculum, we have a brand new mobile bank of 31 laptop computers and we also have a bank of iPads. We have wireless internet connection throughout the school, provided by HCC. This ensures that only appropriate sites can be accessed. Each classroom has a large smart interactive screen. Online safety is a prerequisite to every lesson that requires internet use. Our children are well versed in what to do if they see something inappropriate.
Reception - EYFS Curriculum
Playing, exploring, active learning, creating and thinking critically are all essential building blocks crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, at Ickleford Primary School. This is also vital for building their capacity to learn to form relationships and thrive. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum where the ‘Seven Areas of Learning’ are an integral part of each day. We follow the children’s interests and set themes and topics to stimulate excitement and enthusiasm.
All children are valued as individuals and work at their own pace, with the support of knowledgeable staff who are able to differentiate activities specifically tailored to the needs of our children. Children learn and develop through opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments that is crucial to their personal, social and emotional development.
As well as following a structured approach to synthetic phonics, Little Wandle Scheme, to reading and writing and a maths curriculum based upon the White Rose Scheme that encourages the use of manipulating equipment to support conceptual understanding within small groups or as a whole class, there are many opportunities for children to participate in a very active timetable. Such activities may include music, PE lessons and free flow opportunities to explore and learn in our redeveloped outdoor space. This area is equipped with mud kitchen, stage, adventure play frame and outdoor classroom. Depending on the theme or topic there are a wide variety of trips throughout the school year that have included visits to an animal park and farm. The children have also enjoyed visits from people who help us in our community.
Reading should be a pleasurable experience for all children. We encourage parents to take an active role, as we believe children need to be supported at school and home alike. In all our classes, children will bring books home on a daily basis to practice and enjoy. It is also important that children are also read to, talk about and write about what they are reading. We use the systematic synthetic phonic approach to teach reading, following The Little Wandle Scheme. Our reading book scheme dovetails this approach and we introduce banded nonfiction and fiction of different genres as early as possible. We also integrate real books into the scheme, which our children enjoy. The teaching of reading skills is an integral part of every lesson in school and children develop their reading ability in a wide range of contexts through all curriculum areas. Throughout school, staff develop children’s reading skills through ‘guided reading group’ sessions on a daily basis. The children tackle a variety of reading material that is appropriate for their age and stage of development. We aim to engender a love of reading in all our pupils through enrichment activities such as author visits, trips, visiting Book Fairs and World Book Day celebrations.
Our bespoke scheme of work to develop writing has been carefully considered to ensure all children are actively engaged and stimulated to write. Throughout each year group, the children will be exposed to a variety of genres and techniques centered on a significant text. They will be given the opportunity to explore a diet of fiction, nonfiction and poetry composition. Within each unit, we teach the essential skills of grammar and punctuation. We routinely and regularly teach spelling building on our systematic approach to teaching phonics. After acquiring phonics skills and high frequency words to spell in Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 follow a detailed spelling program that ensures they are taught the skills required by the national curriculum. We place an importance on developing legible and fluent handwriting from an early age, ensuring correct pencil grip, pressure and posture, correct cursive formation of letters, with the introduction of joined handwriting in year 2. Beyond this children are then encouraged to develop speed, fluency and style for different audiences.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Resources for Parents
Our detailed scheme of work ensures coverage of the full range of national curriculum areas, including, number – counting, calculations and fractions; measurement; geometry; and statistics throughout each year group. Within our daily maths sessions, teachers place great emphasis on pupils acquiring rapid recall of number bonds and times table facts.
However, teachers also develop our children's understanding of the different elements of reasoning and they enjoy the challenge when asked to justify, prove and conject. We call this a ‘mastery approach’ to the teaching and learning to maths, where pupils:
- are provided with the opportunity to develop a deep, conceptual understanding of the different facets of mathematics;
- are empowered to develop their reasoning, thinking skills and grapple with problems; and
- can apply their knowledge, use multiple strategies and representations.
Using our addition and subtraction calculation policy and our multiplication and division calculation policy to ensure consistency, teachers expertly use manipulatives (hands-on equipment), such as tens frames, Cuisenaire rods, bead strings, and Dienes equipment; and representations (symbols, images and diagrams), such as cherry (part, part, whole) models and bar models to expose underlying mathematical structures, to deepen thinking and challenge understanding. Precise mathematical language is used consistently by teachers to ensure all pupils can naturally explain their mathematical thinking. Teachers and TAs intervene swiftly to address children’s gaps and misconceptions to secure learning or provide greater challenge to deepen learning.
School has adopted Snap Science: a published scheme of work with flexible teaching strategies that supports the delivery of dynamic and interactive science lessons. Teachers introduce scientific ideas, required by the national curriculum, in a way that is meaningful and accessible to our children. Great emphasis is placed on cultivating the spirit of enquiry with practical exploration and investigative activities. We endeavour to place an excitement around science through whole school science weeks, where children enjoy external workshops and visiting other classrooms to enjoy experiments delivered by other class teachers.
Personal, Social, Health, Economic and Relationships and Sex Education
PSHE and RSE
Our PSHE scheme of work sets out learning opportunities at KS1 and KS2, in three core themes:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Living in the Wider World
We have used the learning opportunities flexibly to plan our scheme of work according to our pupil’s development, readiness, needs and take into account prior learning, experience and understanding. The curriculum overview for PSHE is available below.
In order to meet the needs of all the children and to make our lessons engaging, we aim to deliver our PSHE curriculum (including RSE - see below) through a variety of teaching methods and quality assured interactive activities, as mixed groups, friendship pairs or individually. Using engaging activities such as: responding to videos, scenarios and pictures, discussion and questions, quizzes and questionnaires, circle time, role play, hot seating or other drama techniques, or comic strips, mindmaps, sorting and mapping, points on a scale, diamond 9, open-ended drawing and written tasks including, ‘explain to an alien’.
A new Relationship and Sex Education RSE Policy was made statutory by the Government in September 2020. After close consultation across the school community, this subject is now taught throughout the school. Ickleford Primary School has devised a bespoke scheme of work that offers high quality, evidence based and age-appropriate teaching which will help children prepare for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
Throughout the school, opportunities are taken to discuss and learn about different types of relationships in PSHE; and animal life cycles and human reproduction in science when age appropriate. It is currently the policy of the School's governing body that the sex education element of RSE is offered in Year 5 and 6. In Years 5 and 6, all children will be given the opportunity to discuss the emotional and physical changes which are taking place or are about to take place in their bodies. As part of this topic, a DVD is shown to support the children’s learning. Parents will be given an opportunity to view the DVD before it is seen by the children.
Our RSE policy is available below. It also explains, in detail, that parents can request the right to remove their children from sex education lessons, after consultation with the headteacher. Alternative provision would then be made for a child if removal was granted.
Physical Education and Extra Curricular Activities
Our broad ranging P.E. curriculum is designed and delivered by a specialist full time coach. Each class receives two P.E sessions a week that averages two hours a week. Our PE offer includes: tennis, athletics, cricket, football, tag rugby, netball, basketball, dodgeball, gymnastics and dance, repeatedly ensuring us a School Games Mark Gold Award.
As well as our well-equipped school hall, we have a large school field marked out in the winter with a football pitch and an athletics track and rounders pitch in the summer. There is also a netball court on the playground. The time allocated to sport varies according to the weather, the time of year and the age of the child. Year 5 children have swimming lessons at Hitchin Pool for one term to enable them to become confident swimmers and achieve the National Curriculum standard and beyond. Year 5 also take part in outdoor adventure activities, off site with trained staff at a residential site, as part of the PE curriculum with activities such as: climbing, abseiling, archery and kayaking.
As a whole school, we hold a traditional athletics sports day, when all the children compete in house teams for the school trophy. We have recently extended that to include a carousel of field activities that the parents can walk around and spectate. Each class takes part in a daily mile run to promote physical health and wellbeing on our daily mile track, an all-weather circuit around the school field.
The children at Ickleford School are encouraged to be fit and active. Even from an early age their skills develop and are able to take part in a range of inter-class, outer-school sporting events and festivals. Netball, cricket and football skills are practised during lesson times but there are also after school clubs that form school teams. The school teams regularly play in rallies and matches with other local schools. We also offer a broad timetable of extracurricular clubs such as: cross country, rounders, cricket, gymnastics, athletics, multisports, tennis, netball and rounders.
Our Sports Premium Strategies can be viewed here. Sports Premium Strategy 2020-2021
‘High quality leadership of both RE and collective worship by senior leaders has resulted in excellent practice which is shared with staff to develop and inspire them. The raised profile of each area is recognised and celebrated for the important and essential contributions that they make to this outstanding church school.’
SIAMS Report 2018 Graded Outstanding
Religious Education is taught at the school, following the Herts. Agreed Syllabus. We are proud recipients of a Silver Mark RE Award which celebrates the high quality of RE teaching and learning in School. Our curriculum is devised to creatively and effectively teach key knowledge and understanding of Christianity and the five other significant religions in the UK: Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism. This vital knowledge empowers our pupils for life in a multicultural world.
‘Class collective worship is both inclusive and inspirational. It challenges every child, at an age appropriate level, to ponder on the chosen value and to develop strategies for how these can become an integral part of how they behave to others, modelling the teachings of Jesus.’
SIAMS Report 2018 Graded Outstanding.
A whole school collective worship takes place on four days each week. On Friday, we hold separate celebration assemblies in the classrooms. This is the opportunity for children to share any in-school and out of school achievements with each other. Whole School collective worship always includes a time for self-reflection, an invitation to pray and may include a hymn in celebration. If our school community is not able to gather in the hall for collective worship, class teachers hold class collective worships which follow the same principle. Rev. Margaret or Rev. Mary regularly lead our collective worships, and we visit the Church for festivals, such as Harvest, Christmas and Easter.
Parents have a right to withdraw their child from religious education and collective worship if they so wish; alternative provision would then be made.