The School Curriculum
The aim of this section of our school website is to help parents and carers to help their children.
Supporting children in their educational journey is hugely important but the content and style of learning in primary schools has changed a lot since many parents were in school themselves. This does not mean that parents cannot play an important role in helping their children learn but means that sometimes they will be learning alongside them rather than knowing all the answers before their child does.
We encourage parents to, wherever possible, use the same words and methods to approach work as we do in school. There are times when new and different strategies and ways of thinking can help but sometimes what we think is a helpful shortcut can accidentally get in the way of children learning not just a way of getting an answer but a deeper understanding of the concept of why that works.
In this section of the website you will find information about lots of the key things that we teach in school and how we go about it. If you unsure of how to support your child with their learning, there is probably something here to help. If you need more help, please do come in to talk to your child’s class teacher.
Also, keep an eye out for updates and additions to this section. We really value the commitment that our parents have to their child’s learning and we are aiming to continue to add to the resources here to help you to help them!
Technical Tip: The documents within this section are nearly all multiple page PDFs. To click through pages, use the arrows at the base of each one.
At Grange Farm Primary School we follow the White Rose Maths scheme as part of our Maths Mastery teaching programme. Children start this in Reception where they have short Mastering Number session each day and Maths based activities are part of their continuous provision. In Key Stage 1 and 2, children will have a daily maths lesson following the White Rose Maths scheme of learning and in Key Stage 1 this is supplemented with a daily short Mastering Number session as well.
Parents are able to access the sequence of learning for White Rose on their website: Maths home learning | Home learning | White Rose Maths (whiteroseeducation.com)
Home learning videos are provided for each small step of learning if parents wish to consolidate any of the learning done at school, at home. If you look between year groups you will see the strands of learning in Maths repeat and build on each other as the years progress. Indeed, within any one year group children will return to each area several times to help consolidate, build on and make links to their previous learning.
When we think about Maths, we first tend to think of the four operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. However, Maths is a huge subject that also involves decimal numbers, fractions, ratio, proportion, shape and space, algebra and statistics to name just a few elements.
Although there is much more to Maths than just the four operations, we do spend a good amount of time perfecting and then using methods for each one. We follow the White Rose routeway throughout school to ensure that the work each teacher does builds on what the children will have met previously. It is provided below to help parents and carers see the approach that children are taught as they progress with these skills through school. It is important to note that whilst children may be able to learn the final processes more quickly than the routeway suggests, the steps along the way help them to understand why these calculation methods work and seeking this deeper understanding of the maths behind the method is a central tenet to maths in the primary curriculum and beyond.
A key focus of the work we do is Maths is securing key facts such as number bonds and times tables facts. National Curriculum expectations are that ALL children will know their times tables facts by the end of Year 4 and be fluent and confident in using and applying all of them throughout Years 5 and 6.
The quick recall of times tables facts through knowing tables OFF BY HEART …
- gives confidence and develops self-esteem
- enables a ‘can do’ attitude in approaching more challenging maths
- is the building blocks for all multiplication, division, fraction, ratio and percentage work
- is a life skill that many adults still use every day
- can be satisfying, enjoyable and fun!
Children are expected to learn different number facts based on which year group they are in. This is progressive in its difficulty and supports the other mathematical learning going on within their year group curriculum.
- Year 1 – Counting in 10s, 2s and 5s. Number bonds to 10.
- Year 2 – Number bonds to 20. 10, 2, 5 times tables.
- Year 3 – 3, 4, 8 and 6 times tables.
- Year 4 – 7, 9, 11 and 12 times tables.
- Year 5 & 6 – Application of all tables including in the context of fractions, decimals and percentages.
You will know when your child has achieved their target when they bring home their badge. As you can see from the list above, this could take up to a term to achieve; the aim is that achieving the targets takes a ‘quality not quantity’ approach.
How can you support your child in earning badges?
1. Learn a little at a time. If you start a new times table, don’t try and master it overnight. Start with 1 x 5, 2 x 5, then add more in when they are used to it.
2. Constant revision of all the tables is important, as they are easy to forget when you move onto a new set.
3. Demonstrate using real objects so children can see (e.g. 3 lots of 4 as 3 rows of 4 matchsticks).
4. Use real life situations to develop understanding of times tables. (E.g. If you save 3p every day, how much do you think you would have saved in a week?
-www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button (speedy practice and available as app)
-timestables.me.uk (online tests and practice sheets)
-timestables.co.uk (lots of games and tests)
-Kool Kidz videos on Youtube
-Mr DeMaio videos on Youtube
There are also numerous apps that can be downloaded for number bonds and times tables practice
At Grange Farm Primary School, we fundamentally believe that reading is a crucial life skill that enables children to become successful, lifelong learners. Children need to be able to read fluently (out loud and in their head), comprehend the simple and more complex meanings behind what they are reading and also to use their reading skills as an aid to learning across the curriculum.
In school, we have a number of ways of approaching reading that begin with the teaching of phonics (see separate section on this page) and develop through shared reading as they become increasingly independent.
At home, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to how your child develops as a reader. It is perhaps the area of their learning in which you can have the most impact (as well as having lots of enjoyment along the way). The simple thing to do is read with your child every single day. Ten minutes reading per day is a priceless investment in your child. Children should always have a book from school (either from our banded book reading scheme from Reception or in independent choice further up school) which you can read and/or you are of course welcome to extend that reading into whatever will inspire your child the most.
Please find below some ideas on the sorts of questions you can ask your child to help them develop their fluency and their comprehension of what they are reading (just reading the words out loud does not necessarily mean they understand the full meaning an author is trying to convey). The first document is aimed at younger readers:
This second document is more helpful for older readers:
These hints and tips can help you to get the most out of the time you spend reading with your child but please remember that not everything we read is a comprehension exercise. We want to turn our children into life-long readers and the best way of doing that is to make sure that some reading is just for sheer pleasure. Below are some lists (you will find other similar ones if you search on-line) of books to have a look at if you would like some inspiration but going with children’s interests, be that a particular author, a magazine or even a blog, is always a good start-point.
Year 1 and 2:
Year 3 & 4:
Year 5 & 6
Grammar and punctuation has become increasingly important to the primary curriculum in recent years and there is no doubt that the knowledge and understanding expected of our children is now far beyond what was expected of their parents when they were at primary school (and indeed at secondary school).
Keeping up with this can be very tricky. If your child is coming home asking for help with modal verbs, relative clauses or where to use an apostrophe for possession, the following documents will hopefully help.
Grammar Glossary – explaining the meaning behind all of the terminology we use in school:
At the end of Year 6, children’s understanding of specific grammar terminology is assessed as part of the End of Key Stage 2 SATs in a combined Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling paper. This test assesses the children’s knowledge from across the full primary age range and each year the children are taught specific aspects of grammar and punctuation. This is taught in discrete lessons and then reinforced through writing opportunities. The following Grammar Routeway explains when different aspects of grammar and punctuation are taught in school:
Spelling remains a crucial element of the primary English curriculum. There are very high expectations for the children to reach, both in terms of the spelling rules they are expected to know and also the irregular words we are aiming for them to be able to spell by the end of each year group.
Each week, children in years one to six learn a specific spelling pattern and practice this by applying the pattern to different words. We use the Spelling Shed spelling app for children to practice these spellings at home and in school. We also focus on a wide variety of ways of children learning spellings. The aim is to get the children to think about spellings in different, fun ways that help them to remember them in the long-term. When children just learn spellings for a test in a traditional rote fashion, they often run the risk of not then applying these to their independent writing after the test.
Spelling Shed is designed for pupils to practise their weekly spellings online via the use of the web link https://play.spellingshed.com which is free of charge. An information guide for parents is attached here . All children have received their own Spelling Shed log-in details.
Children can also practice their spellings using a range of different strategies including:
Fancy Letters – writing spelling words using fancy writing (e.g. letters could be curly or dotty)
Blue Vowels – Tracing the vowels of spelling words with a blue coloured pencil
Pyramid Writing – Shaping spelling words into the shape of a pyramid (e.g. shorter words at the top with words of increasing length lined up underneath
Acrostic Poems – Creating a poem that uses the letters of a spelling words as the first letter of each line
Three Times – Rewriting spelling words three times, using a different colour or design each time
Spelling Shapes – Drawing different shapes to surround each of a set of spelling words
Spelling Flower – Writing all of a list of spelling words on the petals of a drawn flower
Air Write – Writing spelling words in the air with a finger (or toe)
Rainbow Spelling – Writing each letters of a spelling word in different colours to match the colours of the rainbow
Across and Down – Lining up spelling words with common letters in the style of a crossword
Upper and Lower Case – Writing spelling words all in UPPER CASE and then all in lower case – or alternating between the two
Silly sentence – Using spelling words in nonsense sentences, underlining them
Our approach to teaching spelling across school encourages children to recognise typical spelling rules, strings and patterns so they are able to apply these to new words when they come across them. However, English can be a complicated language and there are some words that do not follow the rules. The following document gives the “common exception” words that children are expected to learn by heart in each curriculum year group – these are commonly used words that do not follow the rules:
For more detail on spelling rules, the document below details spelling rules (and also lists the same common exception words) for each year group. Be mindful though that this is a document intended for teachers so does contain a great amount of detail. As always, if you want any help with supporting your child with spelling, please ask your child’s class teacher.
Phonics is the teaching of the building blocks of reading, spelling and writing.
Phonics relates to the 44 sounds that make up the English language. For each of these sounds there are multiple graphemes (ways of writing them) but from the beginnings of Phonics we focus on learning one for each and ensuring that children can hear the difference between them and pronounce them correctly. As children they learn more ways of representing each sound using different combinations of letters, the teaching of Phonics blends into the teaching of spelling.
We structure our teaching of Phonics on a DfE accredited scheme called Jolly Phonics which has been successful in ensuring that our children attain very well (compared to national averages) in the end of Year 1 phonics check.
When supporting your child at home with their phonics, it is hugely important that you focus first on the phonics sounds and later on the names of letter. The pronunciation of those sounds is also very important. Clicking on this link will take you to a YouTube video that demonstrates how to pronounce each of the sounds so crucial to the teaching of phonics.
Each year we run a phonics workshop for parents new to Reception to help them understand how we teach phonics and how important it is to their child’s overall learning.
Handwriting is taught from Reception all the way through to Year 6 if necessary, although we hope that children will have developed a fluent, joined, consistent style during Key Stage 2 and will require less and less focussed work on this by the time they get to the older year groups in school.
Consistency is a key word in handwriting – letters should always look the same and we look for consistency of height between letters that are formed in the same way (e.g. the height of a, e, c, n and m should always be the same and this should match the lower part of letters such as b and d.)
Forming letters in the right way (from the very beginning of writings in Reception) is crucial to developing a style which will lend itself to fluent joined handwriting as the children get older. When children are younger, we pay close attention to their pencil grip to ensure this will make extended periods of handwriting easier when they are older.
We follow the Penpals handwriting scheme in school and the following document demonstrates the style and formation of lower-case letters (and how they are joined) to support you with helping your child with this in their writing at home:
If you would like to see handwriting modelled in action, this link will take you to a Youtube video made by the Penpals company.
Children use pencil for handwriting at least up to the end of Year 2 during the time they are developing their handwriting style. Across Year 3 and 4 they aim to develop a style fluent enough to use a handwriting pen and we expected children in Year 5 and 6 to use handwriting pen for all of their writing.
When we teach writing we follow the National Curriculum and have a set of expectations that we work to in every year group. There are key skills that children are taught each year and these build up as they move through the year groups. You can find these by clicking here and clicking on the curriculum overview document for your child’s year group.
Our writing follows on from our reading curriculum. The books we read in reading lessons are then used as a stimulus for pieces of writing the children produce. Throughout each year the children will write a variety of different text types to entertain, inform or persuade. Each piece of writing will be built up through a series of lessons focusing on specific punctuation, grammar and sentence skills. The overview of the writing units can be found here:
We know that writing is very complex and combines many skills at the same time which is something that many children find a challenge. As children continue to make progress and try to learn and apply new skills, it is not uncommon for them to make simple mistakes with things they have already learnt. This is something that we constantly support the children with and to help children to focus on taking care and to check and edit their own work independently, we have developed a set of “non-negotiable” key skills for Year 1 to Year 6. These are referred to frequently as they have to be correct in all pieces of writing (whether in English or in other subjects):
Science teaching begins in our Reception class as part of the children’s learning about the world. This is then built upon in years one to six where the children study specific science units following the Cornerstones Curriculum. Each units lasts for either a half term or a term depending on the level of detail in it.
Year 1: Everyday Materials, Human senses, Seasonal Change, Plant Parts and Animal Parts
Year 2: Human Survival, Habitats, Uses of Materials, Plant Survival, Animal Survival
Year 3: Animal Nutrition and the Skeletal System, Forces and Magnets, Plant Nutrition and Reproduction, Light and Shadows.
Year 4: Food and The Digestive System, Sound, States of Matter, Grouping and Classifying, Electrical Circuits and Conductors.
Year 5: Forces and Mechanisms, Earth and Space, Human Reproduction and Ageing, Properties and Changes of Materials.
Year 6: Circulatory System, Electrical Circuits and Components, Light Theory, Evolution and Inheritance.
The sequencing of the units ensure that children build up the knowledge needed to meet the National Curriculum requirements and are able to make links where possible to other areas of the curriculum. Some of our science units link to other curriculum learning, for example in Year 3 children learn about Plant Nutrition and Reproduction alongside the Design Technology unit Greenhouses. This enable use to bring the learning into real life contexts where possible.
For more detailed information about what the children learn each year please see the document below:
At Grange Farm, we believe that music is a key part of the wider curriculum and we work closely with the Coventry Music Hub to ensure that all children have access to high quality music lessons both as part of their curriculum and as an extra-curricular activity.
In all year groups from Reception to Year 6 the children study a range of different styles of music and composers as well as having the opportunity to play a wide range of percussion instruments. In Years 1 to 3 the children have lessons from a specialist Singing teacher who combines singing lessons with teaching around pitch, rhythm and percussion instruments. The skills the children learn build year on year. In Years 4 to 6, from this year, we have also arranged for children to have whole class instrumental lessons from a specialist brass teacher who is teaching the children to play the cornet. It is a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn how to play an instrument and ensures all children have the opportunity for this.
As well as whole class music lessons, children from Year 1 up to Year 6 have the opportunity to take part in a range of different 1:1 and small group instrumental lessons. These allow children to learn a range of instruments including the piano, drums, guitar and ukulele. Lessons are booked through the Coventry Music Hub by the parents and take place during the school day in our dedicated music room. At different points throughout the year, the children are invited to play in an assembly which parents and families are invited to attend too.
More information about the lessons available to children is available from the Admin Team.
Grange Farm Primary School