The Curriculum 2015/16
At The Meadow, we are committed to fostering a learning culture for all. We believe that
children learn best when they experience a thematic curriculum based on relevant context.
Our curriculum is based on the Government’s National Curriculum and follows the National
Numeracy and Literacy Strategies.
There is a dedicated Maths lesson of one hour each day and the children are grouped
according to their ability and year group. Numeracy is taught as a separate subject although
it is linked to topic work where possible. To ensure children understand that maths has a
real function, there is a strong commitment towards practical work based on ‘real life’
scenarios throughout the school with an emphasis on mental calculation as well as written
Literacy is taught through the cross curricular themes, where possible, and is rooted in ‘real
life’ contexts so once again the children gain a real sense of purpose to their reading and
writing. There is a dedicated literacy lesson each day and the children are taught in mixed
ability class groups. Speaking and listening has a very high profile throughout the school as
it allows children to experiment with ideas and language prior to actually writing, giving
them confidence to put their thoughts onto paper.
Phonics and Spelling
A daily phonics lesson is taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. The children are
grouped according to their understanding across the classes. Our phonics teaching follows
the progression of the Government’s Letters and Sounds programme. To equip children with
the foundations of early reading skills, a mixture of materials such as big books, flashcards,
puppets and interactive software are used. Children are encouraged to learn spelling
patterns through weekly practice at home and in school. An understanding of spelling rules
is taught throughout the school and children’s progress is closely monitored.
In our school, we aim to foster a life-long love of reading. We ensure that children read
many different styles of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry whilst
developing the full range of skills needed to learn to decode and understand text. There
are many opportunities for children to learn to read in school including Guided Reading with
a teacher or teaching assistant, reading to parent helpers, independent reading as well as
wider reading opportunities that occur through everyday classroom teaching.
In the autumn term, Foundation Stage children are encouraged to share school library books
at home with parents, to learn the letter sounds and the most common high frequency words such as like and said. In the spring term, children are introduced to our variety of reading books and will share these in school with a teacher and at home. We believe children learn to read best when school and home work together in partnership and written communication is directed through the Reading Record Book. In learning to read children follow a structured programme of carefully selected books organised into coloured book bands. When a child has developed the skills to be an independent reader, they may choose books from our well-stocked library.
Where possible, subject such as Science, History, Geography, Art, DT and ICT are linked to
a cross curricular theme. The idea is to immerse the children in a theme so they engage
more quickly with the different concepts, are able to use skills across the different subjects and in so doing, gain a greater overall understanding.
There are generally two topics per term for the Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1 children and
one topic for the Key Stage 2 children.
Each topic begins with an ‘Entry Point’ which concentrates on an exciting event that captures the children’s imagination. This may include a visitor to the school, a theatre production or even a day trip - for example, a trip to Hatfield Forest recently ended the topic on ‘If you go down to woods today…’ for the Infants. This is then quickly followed by a session called ‘The Knowledge Harvest’ where the children are asked to share all that theyalready know about a topic and what they would like to find out. Their questions then guide the teacher on how they should direct the teaching and learning
to ensure that the children’s questions are answered by the end of the topic. The ‘Exit Point’ draws the topic to a close and illustrates clearly what the children have learnt during their cross - curricular lessons, an example of this is a battle held between two enemy Roman tribes of Y3/4 children after studying Invaders and Settlers.
We aim to encourage and develop the children’s understanding and enjoyment of music
through active involvement in performing, composing and listening. This usually takes place
in class and is linked to the topic the children are studying. However, there are lots of
other opportunities such as performing in the school production, playing instruments in
assembly joining the school choir and singing in concerts etc.
Peripatetic music teachers visit the school each week and there are opportunities for the children to learn to play a variety of instruments such as the piano, guitar, recorder, violin, clarinet, flute and
French is taught throughout Key Stage 2. We believe that learning a language has an important part to play in the children’s education as it supports general language and literacy development as well as complementing other aspects of the curriculum.
Religious Education (R.E)
The school follows the Cambridgeshire syllabus for RE which enables the children to study
the rich variety of faiths and cultures across the world through stories, celebrations and
customs. The children study both the common elements as well as the differences between
the major religions and as they get older, they consider complex issues of how people should
lead their lives according to these religions.
If parents/carers do not wish their children to take part in RE lessons or daily assemblies,
they have a right to request that their child(ren) be withdrawn and supervised separately.
Personal and Social and Health Education (P.S.H.E)
There are four broad themes within this subject; the aims of which are to develop
confidence and responsibility, to prepare children to play an active role as a citizen, to
develop a healthy and safe lifestyle and to build good relationships, respecting differences
between people. To meet these aims, The Meadow follows the Cambridgeshire PSHE
scheme and the National Curriculum for Science and RE. The lessons are graduated
according to age and use varying teaching approaches such as circle times, small group work
and where appropriate, single sex groups.
Sex and Relationship Education
This key area is studied under the umbrella of PSHE, which together with science, provides
a natural and caring environment for learning about growing and changing, both physically
and emotionally. Parents are always given the opportunity to discuss the details of the
programme and become familiar with it before it begins. Parents may withdraw children from those elements of Sex and Relationships Education not required by the National Curriculum Science Order. Such a request should be made to the Headteacher in writing. The Sex and Relationships Education policy was developed by a working party of teachers, parents and governors and ratified by the Governors. If you would like to see a copy of the full policy, please contact the school office.
Physical Education (P.E) and Games
Each class has two PE/Games lessons per week. In the summer terms, swimming takes place in one and sometimes two of the PE sessions. All children have the opportunity to take part in a variety of sports both in and outside of the school day. Sports ’Festivals’ take place throughout the year for each year group; these are hosted at different schools within our cluster. The school also uses some of its PE Sport’s Funding to pay a trained coach from Cambridge United to come and support the teaching of PE across the school.
Each week, the children take part in an Enrichment afternoon where a variety of activities that are linked to their topic work or are outside ’normal’ curriculum studies are provided. Children from different classes within each phase are mixed so they experience working with different children outside their normal class. The activities change on a regular basis. The range of activities offered to date are Gardening Club, Cookery, Needlework, Arts and Crafts, Construction, Fun Games, Philosophy, Music and Computers to name but a few.
Extra Curricular Activities
Activities outside the National Curriculum provide children with the time and expert support to develop their areas of interest or specific skills or to enjoy each other’s company outside the constraints of the classroom environment. At The Meadow we have developed many clubs and extra curricular provision over the past few years; the current clubs are: Netball, Football, Multi-Skills, Karate, Tennis, Dance, Computer Club, Music, Choir, Archery, Fundamental Movement and Mad Science to name but a few.