Our Curriculum

Introduction

At Occold Primary School we cover the full range of the National Curriculum and take the children beyond those constraints to explore and experience the world they live in. We aim to create opportunities that engage children and help them to become active participants in their own education. It is important to us that the children leave us as well developed, rounded citizens who are well disciplined, interested in the wider world and have good basic skills to support them into the next stage of their lives and beyond. This includes an understanding and appreciation of fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

Our curriculum is not set in stone and may be subject to change as we like to capitalise on the children's interests as well as significant local and national events, projects and initiatives as or when they arise. We believe such flexibility will ensure that our children enjoy creative learning opportunities.

Whilst we place a emphasis on key skills, knowledge and understanding in each area of the curriculum, we find that making strong relevant links between different subjects as part of a cross-curricular topic helps to make children’s experience in school more cohesive. It also gives them a context in which to apply the skills they are learning.


We also like to make good use of proximity to the countryside to encourage children to explore the outdoors. At Occold we run a Forest School programme that all children are involved in. The aim is for all pupils to have regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland and other natural environmenst with trees.

Pupils in Reception taking part in Forest School activities.

Pupils in Year 5 and 6 are also involved in Forest Schooling.

Copies of our termly overviews are sent out to parents and can be found on this website. We encourage family members with skills and interests in particular curriculum areas to join us in the classroom to share their expertise. Towards the end of every term, each class presents their learning to parents through an interactive curriculum afternoon.

English

The teaching of English is fundamental to everything we do at Occold Primary School. Literacy lessons take place daily in every class in the school and opportunities are frequently provided for children to develop their oracy, reading and writing across the scope of the curriculum. Our goal is for children to develop into confident speakers, thoughtful and reflective listeners, enthusiastic readers and engaging writers.

Reading

Our approach to teaching reading at Occold is based on developing the full range of skills involved in this complex process. Children are encouraged to develop a love of books and are given many opportunities to listen to stories, to share books with each other and to choose fiction and non-fiction. On starting school they are expected to take books home to read and talk about with their parents and a dialogue is started between school and home in the form of their reading record.

We use a teaching approach based on systematic synthetic phonics as set out in the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. It is structured and tailored to the needs of each individual right up until the end of Key Stage 1.

Phonics sessions are structured to build on previous learning and introduce new phonics skills and subject knowledge. Sessions often follow the model of revisit/review, teach, practise and apply. Sessions are planned to include opportunities for development

of speaking and listening skills, reading and writing. Each June, all children in Year 1 undertake a National Phonics Screening Check. This check consists of 40 words (20 real words and pseudo words) which children will be asked to read. The focus of this check is to see if pupils can decode a range of words which they have not seen before.

We use engaging multimedia and interactive resources from the Phonics Bug programme (www.bugclub.co.uk/) and Jolly Phonics  (http://jollylearning.co.uk/overview-about-jolly-phonics) to enhance our teaching in this area. There are lots of resources to support learning at home in this area and if you are interested please explore the websites linked above. More detailed information on the teaching of early reading is presented as part of our induction process for new parents and is available on request.

In addition to all the work we do together in class involving books, stories, language, print, reading and writing your child will have a reading book from our “banded reading books” and you are always welcome to chose a book from our Library and we will provide lots of opportunities for your child to access library and free choice books in class. 

·         Our reading books are “banded” - put into categories/bands of similar abilities – usually based on the number of words and the difficulty of these words.

·         Some books do not have any words at all – but there are always stories to be developed and told, from your child’s own imagination and experiences, so these books are just as valuable as those with words. The purpose of these books are to encourage language – regardless of a child’s individual confidence as a reader.

·         Each category of book has a sticker on the spine, all books with the same colour sticker are of a similar level; however, you may find that there is a variation in the book lengths etc and some are stories and others non-fiction; all are valuable early reading opportunities.

·         We aim to share reading time (hear your child read), work with books with your child on a very regular basis and we will note on their reading record (inside your child’s book bag) what your child has been doing.

·         We encourage the children to read with expression.

·         We develop the skills of inference and deduction by talking about what might happen next, how characters feel in the relation to clues in the book.

·         We introduce key words/tricky words as appropriate. These are words which children will encounter frequently in their reading and writing. Since some words can be sounded out phonically eg c-a-t whereas others can only be recognised by sight eg “said”, your child will sometimes have a list of these tricky words to learn.

How to help your child at home:

·         Read lots of stories and look at books together whenever you can

·         When reading at home, don’t spend too long asking your child to “read” the text; we usually “read” for about 5 minutes; high quality work with the text, looking closely at words etc – then a further 5 minutes talking about the book, asking questions and developing answers and finally another 5 minutes looking at words (including playing games with the words, checking recognition and confidence with finding key/tricky words).

·         Point out words around you – print in the environment; draw attention to print, letters and words in all places and of all kinds.

·         Share a wide variety of books not just their school reading books; take it in turns to read, so that your child enjoys the time with you, loving reading.

·         Take your child to the library, let them choose their own books

·         Play games like “I Spy” and “I went to the market and bought...” these develop links with new letters and sounds, help with concentration, recall and sound recognition.

·         Make up stories with your child about what they see, also about their own imaginative play experiences (fantasy/adventure) to help with further imaginative development and language skills.

·         Remember that each child will read when he or she is ready to do so, and this will be at his or her own pace.

·         Praise – lots of it! – especially for effort.

Encouraging confidence as a reader is the most important thing of all; pressure to achieve and comparison with peers or siblings can mean that you as parents/carers can feel under pressure and also a child can become easily disheartened and put off reading.

Writing

Occold pupils are actively encouraged to develop as confident, engaging and creative writers. We believe it is important that children see their work as having purpose and that they regard themselves as authors. Opportunities are provided for pupils to develop the skills required for writing for a wide range of different purposes and audiences such as for example using modern technologies including green screen (see images below). 

Photograph showing children using green screen technology to inspire writing.

Like reading, we endeavour for our children to write for pleasure and the school takes part in writing competitions such as the Radio 2 Younger Writers Competition and the Suffolk Young Poet’s Competition (which we won in 2014).


Our prize winning poets with esteemed children's author Alan Ahlberg.

Mathematics

At Occold Primary School we are committed to both fostering curiosity and developing skills in mathematics. Our calculation policy has been carefully constructed to build sequentially on deep understanding and develop fluency as the children move through the year groups. By the time they reach Upper Key Stage 2, we will be expecting the children to be using efficient methods. We also encourage children to develop a range of mental methods so they can carry out calculations in their head and thereby use mathematics in their everyday lives. Indeed, using and applying mathematics is important to us at Occold and we encourage children to solve problems, notice patterns and explore mathematical phenomena in the world around them.  The school shares its approach to calculation through parent information evenings held at school.  A copy of our latest mathematics calculation policy is available on request. If you would like to discuss how we teach mathematics at Occold, please contact the school to speak to the Headteacher Mr Williams or Mathematics Subject Leader Mrs Watts.

Children at all levels of confidence are encouraged to use mathematical manipulatives to scaffold their thinking in mathematics.


Science and Computing

We have a strong commitment to science and technology at Occold at all classes are timetabled for approximately one afternoon of each week for these subjects. Science is taught through both traditional classroom approaches where children gain a good grounding in key knowledge and principles as well as practical enquiry where children are encouraged to raise questions and investigate them in order to fully understand the skills and processes.

Children are using the chemical process of chromatography to solve a mystery

Ċ
Paul Parslow-Williams,
14 Nov 2016, 06:04
Ċ
Paul Parslow-Williams,
25 Jan 2017, 02:57
Ċ
Paul Parslow-Williams,
14 Nov 2016, 06:04
Ċ
Paul Parslow-Williams,
25 Jan 2017, 02:57
Ċ
Paul Parslow-Williams,
14 Nov 2016, 06:04
Ċ
Paul Parslow-Williams,
25 Jan 2017, 02:57