What is the purpose to our curriculum?
Our curriculum is driven by our school’s vision and aims so that children can grow to be the best they can be. Each year group follows the aims of the National Curriculum which we ensure is broad and balanced in order to excite and enthuse all pupils. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves to become successful learners and develop key skills for lifelong learning. Our curriculum enables children to learn about and engage with the world around them in order to become responsible citizens.
How do we implement our curriculum?
At Hillside, we are passionate about our children learning through a creative and knowledge-rich approach called enquiry based learning. Every half term, each year group begins with a question for the children to investigate which is based upon the National Curriculum requirements for their age range. Although these questions have an historical, scientific or geographical focus, other national curriculum subjects are woven into the children’s learning.
We also use enquiry work for our children to apply key literacy skills, including reading and writing, as well as mathematics. During each half term, the children gain essential knowledge to be able to answer the enquiry question and, in addition to this, have the opportunity to develop key learning skills such as team work, evaluating, perseverance and the ability to reflect.
The children also participate in special themed events such as Science Week, World Book Day and International Week. Whole school enquiries are also planned across the academic year. Year groups organise enrichment days, including trips to local educational sites and residential visits for our older pupils.
At Hillside Avenue Primary and Nursery School we wish our readers to have a secure understanding of the skills required for reading leading to a life-long love of reading. We wish them to have the confidence to use texts with understanding, appreciating the knowledge and pleasure that can be gained from our books.
At Hillside Avenue Primary and Nursery School we wish our writers to have the ability to write fluently and with interesting detail in a wide range of areas. We wish them the transcription skills to ensure writing is neatly presented, accurately spelt and with the correct punctuation. We wish them a love of words, rich vocabulary, jokes, word play and the confidence to experiment with language.
At Hillside Avenue Primary and Nursery School we wish our speakers a talent to listen attentively and to understand what is being said. We wish them the confidence to participate in discussions and debates, expressing themselves clearly, showing respect and understanding of others’ viewpoints.
At Hillside we have developed a reading culture throughout the school. We are proud of our beautiful library. Each classroom includes a welcoming book area, a print rich environment, and attractive book displays promoting the written word at every opportunity.
Guided reading plays an important part in our whole school approach to teaching reading. During these sessions children are taught a wide range of reading skills in ability groups, which they can practice when they are individually reading at home and in school.
We work closely with parents/carers to teach reading this involves:
- A beginning of the year reading meeting in Reception and Year 1 to explain how we teach reading in school and to try and ensure the continuity and quality of phonics and reading methods at home.
- Shared use of home school reading records throughout the school to communicate progress and next learning steps.
We formally report progress two times per year in parent consultation evening and send home an end of year written report in the summer. Parents however are encouraged to see their child’s teacher throughout the year if there are any worries.
Children are tracked and their progress monitored. For children not making the required amount of progress there are a number of interventions including Sounds Discovery which reinforces phonic knowledge, Fresh Start which supports children’s comprehension skills and Code X an exciting adventure series which helps children to revisit phonics knowledge and build key reading and comprehension skills.
Our children have access to a wide variety of individual reading books which are book banded according to the level of difficulty. We use a number of different reading schemes to help support the teaching of reading. These include:
- Oxford Reading Tree
- Project X
- Collins Big Cat
- Pearson Bug Club
We are very proud of our new library, which each class visits at least once a week. We hope it further develops the children’s’ love of books and reading.
We have a whole school approach to phonics learning. All teaching and support staff share the same phonics training so there is consistency in understanding and practice. In EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and KS1(Key Stage 1) we teach phonics using a systematic synthetic phonics system. It is taught regularly, discretely, explicitly and in an agreed and rational sequence according to the programme in Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics. We also use Jolly Phonics as an effective and interactive way for young learners to recall phonemes and apply their learning in a fun environment. Phonics is also taught in a language rich curriculum where books and stories are shared every day. Phonics tracking ensures that children are carefully monitored so that support can be put in place if necessary. The aims of our approach are to ensure all of our pupils are fluent readers by the time they are 7.
In KS2 (Key Stage 2) some children will require continued support in segmenting and blending and will continue to follow the above programme. Most children will continue to access phonics as well as other spelling rules in explicitly taught spelling and grammar lessons.
Writing is a major part of the curriculum and makes a significant contribution to the development of children as thinkers and learners. Writing involves a set of complex skills that will not develop without structured teaching and practice.
Throughout the school the children use a variety of texts, to gain more knowledge about improving their own writing and to experience writing in different genres, both fiction and non-fiction. They then have the opportunity to apply their writing skills in cross-curricular enquiries.
Grammar, spelling and handwriting are important technical skills, which are developed through specifically taught lessons and applied during the children’s writing. Each year group has a list of explicit terms and definitions the children will need to become familiar with as they progress through the school.
During writing lessons, across the curriculum, the children will be expected to demonstrate their ability and understanding of these skills. They will become confident with using grammar and stylistic features in a variety of ways in order to engage the reader which will ultimately lead to our children becoming successful writers.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help to make reading a positive experience.
- Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.
- Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.
- Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to ‘sound out’ words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than ‘alphabet names’.
- Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don’t say ‘No. That’s wrong,’ but ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
- Success is the key. Finding the right level
Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
Talk to your child’s teacher if you have any concerns about the level they are bringing home.
- Visit the Library
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.
- Regular practice
Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is best. Show your child that you find reading an enjoyable pastime. Children often imitate their parents and if they see you reading they are more likely to want to try it for themselves.
Remember that the more pleasure children get from books, the more they will want to read.
Allow your child to join in with your own reading activities such as; websites, shopping lists, letters, newspapers, looking at television listings, reading recipes…
Encourage your child to read print in the environment such as; traffic signs, shop names, billboards, menus, advertisements, the print on cereal packets…
Let us know in the reading diaries how your child is progressing at home.
- Talk about the books
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
- Variety is important
Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials eg. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books.
Sometimes children will want to use picture or reference books in which there is very little text or in some cases no text at all! These books are good for stimulating ideas and discussion and for extending expressive vocabulary. You can share these books, drawing attention to the author, the illustrator, the blurb, an index or contents etc.
Young children enjoy listening to, and later on reading, stories which are familiar to them. They will often want to read books that they have encountered before, either at school or at home, even if the vocabulary is too difficult for them. Do encourage this as their knowledge of a story will help them to ‘guess’ some familiar words and join in with whole phrases or sentences. You can easily supply any words which they cannot manage.
What Should I Do If My Child Gets Stuck?
Your child will make mistakes; we all do when we are learning a new skill.
If your child is having difficulty with a word you could try some of the following prompts, but labouring over one unknown word can cause a great deal of unnecessary misery that could turn your child away from the enjoyment of reading. If a few of the prompts fail, simply give the word yourself and move on with the story.
Let him/her make two or three guesses;
Give him/her a little time to try to work out what the word might be (but not too much time);
Let him/her finish the sentence to see if this will help him/her to make sense of the word;
Discuss what they think the word might be;
Show him/her the first letter of the word and talk about the sound it makes;
Try to help your child to ‘sound out’; unknown words, but don’t get too bogged down in teaching them rules about spelling which might confuse them.
Look at the pictures to give them clues. This is very important as it maintains interest in the story and can prompt word recognition through thought association.
- Allow your child to set the pace;
- Try not to put pressure on your child to read. If they are unwilling, try another time or read to them instead;
- Always be positive and encouraging, however many mistakes your child has made;
- Allow your child to read silently sometimes, if that is what he/she wants;
- Most importantly, have fun.
Useful Reading and Phonic Websites for KS1 Children
Mathematics is part of everyday life; whatever jobs our children may go on to do will involve maths. We want our children to understand the number system and become fluent in their recall of facts in order to use them when completing calculations and solving problems. This fluency supports children so that they can apply concepts, make links, deepen understanding and achieve success.
Children are encouraged to use concrete materials when meeting new concepts. They have lots of practice with manipulatives before moving on to pictorial representations and finally to abstract concepts. Manipulatives are available in all classes for the children to self-select when they need them.
We aim to enable the children to develop skills for decision making, logical thinking and reasoning for everyday situations, investigations in other areas of their curriculum and within maths itself.
Our children are given opportunities to challenge themselves and persevere when these challenges become tricky. They are encouraged to understand that there may be different ways to solve problems and to choose appropriate strategies. They are also taught to explain how they have worked through a problem using mathematical language. Through encouraging a ‘Growth Mindset’, we aim to develop the idea that Maths is for everyone.
Science gives our children the opportunity to learn and develop an understanding and respect of the world they live in so that they are more mindful and responsible for their actions in adult life.
The science curriculum fosters our children’s ability to confidently pose questions: why, how, when, what or if to deepen their scientific knowledge and passion for the subject. It gives our children opportunities to investigate, explore and be inspired by awe and wonder moments and to undertake practical work in a variety of contexts, whilst developing resilience and perseverance.
Planning and carrying out scientific investigations, both independently and in group situations, gives our children opportunities to use their initiative, share ideas and accept the views of others and that they may FAIL along the way.
We expect all children to work on logical sequencing for a variety of practical and inventive purposes across the curriculum and to achieve some competence in coding. They should understand the connections between devices and what to do when they fail. They should also be able to communicate safely and respectfully using those devices, understanding the reasons for maintaining personal online security. The children should have the confidence to communicate ideas well using applications and devices across the curriculum.
At Hillside, we aim to promote a passion for History and a curiosity about the past which encourages children to engage enthusiastically in their historical learning, leading to a thorough knowledge and understanding of people and events from a range of historical periods. Pupils will gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
Children will have the confidence to ask and answer questions. They will want to find out what caused events to happen and why. They will learn to use different historical sources to support a line of enquiry and be able to question its reliability. Formulating a viewpoint and respectfully challenging others’ views will become part of the enquiry. The children will think critically and reflectively about history and will then be able to communicate their ideas in a variety of ways. Children will develop a sense of chronology, gaining an understanding of where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework. They will be able to use subject specific appropriate vocabulary appropriately.
Local history studies will enable children to gain a deeper understanding of and connection to their locality through learning about a significant person, place or event. We would like children to recognise the significance of Norwich as a city of historical importance and the contribution made by local people in helping to shape history.
Why do people live the lives they do?
We want our children to leave Hillside Avenue Primary and Nursery School with an understanding of People, Place and Society.
The Geography curriculum will inspire our children to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, learning respect for the environment and developing a social awareness of settlement and culture.
They will ask questions and persevere to find answers, and they will be able to honestly explain their answers.
They will build a confidence of spatial awareness of continents, countries, cities and landmarks in relation to one another. The children will learn about these close to home before they begin to think about and explore on a global scale.
Geography lessons will generate a sense of awe and wonder as the children learn to appreciate diversity, build positive relationships and share values. They will develop their tolerance with an awareness of the impact of humans and the weather on our planet.
They will begin to make sense of a dynamically changing world. The children will be given opportunities to think about their own responsibilities to other people, the environment and the sustainability of the planet
At Hillside, we strive to provide a learning environment in which all children have the opportunity to succeed and excel in physical education.
Through the holistic approach of Physical Literacy each learner will be able to develop skills in 6 key areas:
- Health and Fitness
Our aim is to enable each and every learner to develop these skills, which are fundamental for them to become confident and competent movers and to provide children with the foundations for successful participation in sport and physical activity now and in the future.
Our vision is that children:
- Will develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
- Are physically active for sustained periods of time
- Engage in competitive sports and activities
- Lead healthy, active lives.
At Hillside the PSHE curriculum aims to support children to develop the life skills they need to be prepared for their future both personally and as part of a community. It guides children to develop a better understanding of themselves and their relationships with others. It helps them gain the knowledge and skills necessary to keep themselves healthy and safe. The children are also encouraged to explore difference and contrasting points of view in a respectful way. Our PSHE curriculum also provides children with the opportunity to develop resilience and the ability to problem especially at times of difficulty or change.
In RE at Hillside we aim to show the children that people have a range of beliefs and faiths. We will ensure and children leave us with knowledge of the six major religions and understand some of the beliefs and celebrations from each of these religions. Most importantly the children should understand that we are all different. Some people have faith and others do not, both are ok and all should be respected. Children should develop a tolerance of other people’s beliefs, lifestyle choices, thoughts and opinions and expect others to respect theirs. An ability to discuss sensitively and openly, topics based around religious education will be fostered.
Each child has the chance to develop the ability to use visual language with skill and confidence and a sense of adventure. Each child is encouraged to have a passion for creativity.Each child grows up to have an open mind with regard to creativity and an acceptance of the unexpected.
At Hillside we encourage a passion and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities throughout the school with all children engaged across the age ranges. Music gives our children opportunities to perform and create music together, with a widening repertoire of music from various genres and styles through time and space. Encouraging children to create their own original compositions helps our pupils to develop their imagination and originality, which in turn builds their confidence to improvise with greater knowledge and aural perception. Music also encourages the development of technical skills and control of sound in areas like the ukulele, recorder and keyboard whilst internalising musical patterns and concepts in their performances. Music allows our children to listen in a focused way, in order to appraise what is heard in a positive and constructive way, in order to improve their own musical performances. It also provides our children with fun, positive and uplifting experiences where a culture of well-being, and a respect and tolerance of others is enhanced as they play and listen together.
At Hillside we believe that the children’s learning in Design and Technology prepares them to take part in the development of our rapidly changing world. We believe that the creative thinking they are required to employ in the study of this subject encourages them to make positive changes to their quality of life and encourages them to become confident and efficient problem solvers, both individually and as part of a team. We intend that it will enable them to identify needs and opportunities in the world around them and then respond by developing ideas and making products to meet those needs and to assist in making the most of those opportunities. We see Design and Technology as a ‘hands on’ subject which will combine practical skills with an understanding of the systems, functions and processes involved in the manufacture of a variety of items.
They will learn to reflect on and evaluate past and present designs and gain knowledge of some of the technology involved and some of the related environmental issues. It is expected that they will become discerning and informed consumers and some may be potential innovators of the future.
Our aim is to develop the confidence and competence of each child in the languages they learn. Our goal is for them to be passionate, curious and confident about their own language learning abilities.The children will build a connection with the wider world through speech and culture. They will be encouraged to take risks in their learning thus inspiring them to have a ‘can do’ attitude.The children will have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning during a range of activities including ‘real-life’ situations such as whole school events.We will help them develop and demonstrate progress in the 5 key language skills necessary for learning Spanish and French:
These skills will develop children’s ability to understand what they hear and read and enable them to express themselves in speech.We will extend their knowledge of how language works and explore the similarities and differences between the foreign language they are learning and English. We will also help strengthen their sense of identity through learning about culture in other countries and comparing it with their own.
Collective Worship is part of Hillside Avenue’s contribution to promoting the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of every child. All pupils join in with our daily assemblies. The school complies with the legal requirements as set out in the 1988 Education Reform Act and more details can be gathered from the Headteacher.
Withdrawal from Collective Worship:
Collective Worship is intended to be meaningful and relevant for all pupils and staff, for those with a faith background and those with none. It is therefore hoped that few parents will feel that they have to remove their child from Collective Worship, as this breaks the unity of the experience of school.
Parents do have the right to remove their child from Collective Worship. Those wishing to exercise this right should contact the Headteacher. Arrangements for those withdrawn from Collective Worship are held within Year Group/class planning.
As well as providing pupils with high quality teaching and learning experiences we seek to provide extra-curricular opportunities so that they can engage with sport and physical activity outside of PE sessions. We have a range of lunchtime and after school sporting clubs that children are able to participate in. Through these clubs children are able to take part in intra and inter sporting competitions, such as the KS2 Hockey Competition and various competitions through the ‘School Games’ initiative.
At Hillside, we firmly believe that all children have the potential to be unlimited learners. Our philosophy is that we should all strive to improve ourselves as we learn and grow. The children are shown that this happens through effort, application and learning from our mistakes. They are encouraged to embrace challenge and persevere with every aspect of their learning.
Sex education is taught within the Science and the Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum in Years 4, 5, and 6. The scheme of work used has been presented to the Governing Body and approved.
Parents can request to see the programmes that support this area of the children’s work. Children can be withdrawn from those parts not covered by the National Curriculum.
Should you require any further information about the school curriculum, please contact your child's class teacher or key stage leader.