Teaching and Learning is at the heart of school life here at Wylye Valley School. It is the means by which we offer and put into practice, a curriculum which is broad and balanced, with planned progression and differentiation, meeting the requirements of the Curriculum Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage, the National Curriculum, 2014, Religious Education and Collective Worship. We provide high quality, memorable and enjoyable learning experiences.
Our planning, each term, is based on a Take One theme and every teacher produces an overview of the learning for each curriculum area, which is available on our website. At the start of each seasonal term, we hold engagement days, where opportunities and experiences are provided, which immerse the children in the theme. This includes visits to school by poets, authors, theatre groups, Wessex Water, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Fairtrade. We have also taken children out to Waitrose, Horse racing stables and to see a mechanic at the local garage. Children never know what they are coming back to, so are keen to get back to school after a holiday.
Vision and Values
We believe our approach to the curriculum enables children to develop their own spirituality and self-confidence, to reach their potential and raise aspirations within a positive, creative environment.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Children in Reception follow the EYFS Framework. The curriculum covers seven areas of learning:
Children learn through experience of a wide range of practical and play-based activities, many of which will arise from the child's own interests and previous experience. Staff support, guide and assess children and modify the provision of activities to meet children's needs. Our purpose built EYFS environment provides a well-resourced learning environment with a large classroom, enclosed outdoor area and lovely quiet room.
In EYFS, the children bring home a Home / School contact book which has all the high frequency words in.
Once children have developed a secure knowledge of key words, they will bring home colour coded books from a range of reading schemes. We expect parents to hear their child read every day and place emphasis on what has been read to ensure comprehension skills are developed.
We encourage a love of reading in our school. All teachers and Teaching Assistants have been trained in a reading programme called Read, Write, Inc., a systematic approach to literacy, covering the teaching of reading, writing, spelling and comprehension. All children in Reception and KS1 are assessed regularly on their ability to say pure sounds and read words that can be built up phonetically. Once assessed, the children are put into small teaching groups to access learning at a stage appropriate to their need and are taught in these groups every day for one hour. The aim is for children to complete the Read, Write, Inc programme by the end of term 2 in year 2, at which time they return to class English lessons and a structured spelling programme. For more information on Read, Write, Inc please click here.
Help for Parents
Knowing how to help your child to learn to read can be incredibly worrying and confusing for parents. In order to help you understand how what your child is doing in their Read, Write, Inc lessons and how to help, we have provided some links to some tutorials. These tutorials are videos clips which give you information about what to do and how to do it! Have a look and if you want to know more, come and have a chat to your child's teacher.
In school, guided reading takes place at least three times a week, where children work in ability groups and access suitable texts. The teacher and teaching assistant will work with every group during the week, focussing on fluency, expression and comprehension.
We are very fortunate to have many volunteers who offer to come in and listen to readers regularly.
A special time of the week is on Friday, just before lunch, when we hold ‘Buddy Reading.’ Older children pair up and share books with younger members of the school community. It is a very special atmosphere with pairs scattered all round school, even in the Head’s office!
As part of the English lesson teachers dedicate time to specific grammar and punctuation activities, as well as a discrete lesson every Friday afternoon.
In September we introduced Big Write in every year group. Teachers bring in a stimulus and children write for up to one hour. It has proven to be very popular with them all.
Our school uses Maths Makes Sense – a unique maths programme that develops true mathematical understanding right from the start. We were made an Advocate School for MMS in December 2014. Maths Makes Sense recognises the importance of maths in our daily lives and helps our children to:
· Learn the skills of numeracy, geometry and measure that can be used in everyday life and developed later for the specific demands of a particular career.
· Develop problem-solving and reasoning skills that are so vital in day-to-day life.
· Develop thinking skills – an invaluable skill in every subject area.
Maths Makes Sense gives our school:
1. A consistent whole-school approach. A structured and coherent mathematics curriculum for the whole school, helping us to deliver a high-quality mathematics education to every child.
2. High expectations for all. Underpinned by the ambition for all children to excel and develop a sense of excitement about mathematics.
3. Fluency with number. Strong emphasis is placed on developing quick and accurate number skills.
4. Deep understanding. Using a powerful learning system of concrete objects, actions and vocabulary, a solid understanding maths is developed from the earliest stages, leading to strong reasoning and problem-solving skills.
5. Sustained Professional Development. Supported by a comprehensive Professional Development service for all the staff in our school.
The Maths Makes Sense Learning System
Maths Makes Sense uses a learning system of concrete objects, exaggerated actions and special vocabulary to help every child succeed in our school and become a confident mathematician. The combination of objects, actions and vocabulary makes maths accessible to children from the youngest age. The learning system builds deep understanding and embeds a picture of the maths in children’s minds so they progress to thinking without the aid of physical objects; they refer to their mental images instead.
If you want to know more click here.
Key Stage 1
Children are also taught computing skills. History, Geography, Science, Music, Art and Technology are taught through cross-curricular themes, where possible, which also embrace the application of the skills learnt in literacy, numeracy and computing.
At this stage there is continued provision for some play-based learning and physical development through PE and games.
Key Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4 lower KS2) and (Year 5 & 6 Upper KS2)
As in KS1, History, Geography, Science, Music, Art and technology are taught through cross-curricular themes where possible, which includes daily literacy and numeracy lessons based on the national frameworks. Science may be taught as a separate subject or as the focus for cross curricular topic work. French is taught at KS2 and children continue to develop and apply their computing skills across the curriculum.
Some topics may take the form of a short focus week, others may be a whole-school topic over several weeks. Children are encouraged to contribute to the development of the topic and carry out independent research to share with the class. Learning is enriched through visitors, artefact collections and visits to places of interest in the locality and further afield.
Religious Education & Collective Worship
At our school we comply fully with the statutory requirement to include RE in the curriculum, and to provide a daily act of collective worship of a broadly Christian nature. Our worship follows the Values for Life programme and incorporates spirituality.
We follow the locally agreed syllabus for RE (Wiltshire agreed syllabus) and place an emphasis on the practical application of Christian values to daily life and decision making. We recognise that some of our pupils may be of other faiths or no faith; however we believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to learn about the Christian faith and other major faiths which they will encounter in their lives. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from RE and Collective Worship. This should be expressed in writing to the headteacher.
As well as dedicated Computing lessons during which children learn specific skills (such as word processing and using the internet safely), there are many more lessons in which ICT is used as a ‘vehicle’ to learn in other areas. Teachers use National curriculum guidance and the School’s newly written Computing scheme of work (in line with the 2014 Curriculum) to plan lessons. Staff training is provided by the subject leader in addition to other outside agencies when appropriate. Individual support is also given to staff as required. The subject leader attends regular network meetings and attends additional training courses as necessary.
Computing encompasses two main areas:
– Preparing our children to be competent, safe users of a range of digital equipment (computers, photographic and recording equipment, tablets, mobile phones etc.).Click here for our E-safety policy
– Developing our children’s understanding of how the technology we use daily actually works, the science behind the computers.
During KS1 the children will progressively develop skills in programming, creating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully. These skills will be further developed in KS2 and in addition the children will learn about computer modelling, networking and how the internet and search engines work. Where learning is enhanced by its use, children will use a variety of ICT equipment across the curriculum, selecting the appropriate hardware and software for the task. From Reception upwards our aim is for pupils to become as confident and skilled as possible in order to fully empower them in our increasingly technological age.
Progress in Computing is monitored continually by staff using an assessment checklist directly linked to the National Curriculum.
We provide links to useful E-safety websites in our newsletters and on the school website.
We are extremely proud to be able to offer our children opportunities to fully engage with outdoor learning and to learn about the environment, conservation and nature. We have a qualified Forest School member of staff, who this year has been working with every year group in school. The children participate in outdoor activities which develop creativity, team work and spirituality. Each class has twelve one hour sessions a year. We also enable vulnerable groups to have extra sessions.
At Wylye Valley CE Aided Primary School, we provide two hours of sports’ provision a week, as part of the curriculum, and a range of extra-curricular sporting activities. The School prides itself on the value it places on sport and physical education. It boosts self-esteem and confidence, reinforces team work, provides an outlet for built up energy and improves health and fitness – all of which can only have a positive impact on the children’s general education.
We enter a range of local sporting events; Annual Dance Festival in Bath, Warminster Small Schools’ Swimming Gala, Area Sports, Quad Kids, Orienteering, Kwik Cricket, Tag Rugby, Football and Rural Sports. Our hall, large playground and spacious field provide ample space for a variety of physical activities throughout the day.
Our P.E. curriculum covers knowledge, skills and understanding within the areas of games, gymnastics, dance, athletics and outdoor/ adventurous activities. These lessons are delivered in two, one hour sessions each week over the course of a year. During the year we also target children from year 1 up, who are unable to swim 25m confidently. They have swimming instruction for eight ½ sessions.
On a Wednesday we employ a sports coach to give children high quality, specialist sports experiences.
More recently, we have started to pay for gymnastics coaches to come in and work with each class for five, one hour sessions as a way of developing the skills in this discipline for the staff.
We offer a variety of sporting extra-curricular activities. These change depending on the time of the year but range from Football at KS1 and KS2, Tag Rugby, KS1 and KS2, Kwik Cricket KS2, Multi Skills, Martial Arts, Forest School, Athletics, Dance , KS1 and KS2 and orienteering.
After school clubs provide a large percentage of our children with extra physical activity beyond the school day so we continue to pay for most of these. Transport to events presents huge costs to the school so the grant supports this so that our children can participate in events held at venues within Wiltshire and beyond.
Sex and Relationships Education
In addition to the topics on Life Cycles, Life Processes and Our Bodies which form part of the science curriculum, the Governing body have authorised a programme for Upper Key Stage 2 which prepares children for puberty. Parents are informed of these lessons in advance and have the opportunity to view the materials used before giving their consent to their child's participation.
We expect all children to read as often as possible and, at least four times a week. We provide reading record books and issue stickers and certificates for children who read regularly at home during the term. At key points children complete activities based on books they have read, such as writing their own blurb, creating a new cover and writing to an author.
Every Friday, teachers give out maths homework and spellings which are then handed back in the following Wednesday.