IN THIS SECTION
At West Walker Primary School all children are encouraged to achieve success and develop a lifelong love of learning through a relevant, broad, balanced, stimulating and memorable curriculum. We will provide a happy, healthy and secure environment that develops good communication and nurtures confidence, social skills and mutual respect. We will promote an understanding of local and global issues enabling us all to make a positive contribution to society.
At West Walker Primary School we follow the National Curriculum. Through our teaching, we aim to help our children succeed and feel positive about themselves, so they may contribute to society as educated, happy and well-balanced young people. We believe that ‘happy children learn well’. We aim to meet the needs of all pupils through the provision of a well-structured, stimulating curriculum.
Our classes are staffed with teachers, teaching assistants and supporting adults. We also use specialist music, trumpet, dance and PE teachers in some lessons. Our Reading Specialist also delivers targeted reading, writing and GPS lessons to children across the school.
Our curriculum is designed to support children’s natural curiosity and stimulate their creativity. It offers the children the opportunity to work in depth throughout the curriculum, giving them time to reflect, consolidate and transfer their learning. Direct experience is placed at the centre of the curriculum so that teachers draw out and develop children’s thinking and capacities in meaningful contexts. Knowledge, skills and understanding are expressed in a range of ways, often making use of the creative arts. Children, adults and parents draw resources from the school, locality and wider community to create a challenging, distinctive and exciting curriculum.
At West Walker, we value highly the importance of developing literacy skills and place great emphasis on reading and writing for pleasure. From Nursery to Year 2, our pupils take part in daily phonics lessons, through ‘Letters and Sounds’. GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) is interwoven into the teaching of literacy in all year groups. Children are assigned a levelled text until they become an independent reader. For levelled texts we use a variety of schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree, as well as classic fiction and non-fiction texts. We believe that children benefit from a broad selection of books, which include a variety of authors. Once children are independent readers, they make their own choice of reading book.
Quality literature is at the heart of our English lessons; children are inspired and challenged through a variety of methods including ‘talk for writing’ and ‘reading into writing’ techniques.
The teaching of Maths is based around maths mastery techniques. The school has developed consistent strategies and teaching methods over the last 4 years and has been commended by external consultants. A concrete – pictorial – abstract approach is embedded across the school and the children make excellent progress.
I.T. is an area of great importance at West Walker. We have an I.T. suite and iPads in all classrooms. We work with GEM, an innovative educational company who work with staff and children across the school.
Foundation subjects provide a powerful medium for learning, and cross-curricular links are carefully planned across the year groups. We particularly value science and outdoor education and have specialist teachers leading daily / weekly wildlife walks in our forest and river bank areas and OPAL (Outdoor Playing and Learning) experiences. Our Food Technology room provides us with the facility to teach healthy eating and food preparation and our excellent P.E. provision, including before and after school sessions, is essential for improving children’s physical and mental well-being.
Organisation and Planning
We plan our curriculum in three phases: long, medium and short term. We use the National Curriculum and a range of planning resources to create the yearly overview for each year group. These long term plans indicate the half termly themes to be taught in each subject and cross-curricular links are carefully planned
to ensure coverage, the development of skills and the acquisition of knowledge. Medium term plans give clear guidance as to the objectives to be taught and the progression of skills. Teachers use the long and medium term plans to write their short term plans on a weekly or daily basis.
Please see our Teaching and Learning Policy for further guidance.
Curriculum Intent, Implementation & Impact
Nurture Educate Achieve Transform
Within our schools we aim to develop Resilient, Respectful, Resourceful, Aspirational, Creative young leaners who are able to Communicate Effectively. We aim to achieve this through providing experiences that develop and nurture these characteristics.
The NEAT curriculum is rooted with the child, influenced by their passions, needs and skills but has an eye to the future. Real life, relevant experiences and opportunities to develop life skills are embedded throughout the school journey and every opportunity is taken to broaden horizons. At the heart of the curriculum is our belief that we need to open our children’s eyes and minds to the world of possibilities therefore it goes way beyond the National Curriculum. Learning always aims to hook the learner and engage with the learning and is designed to ensure seamless transition from cradle to career.
The Curriculum at West Walker Primary School
At West Walker, our curriculum is constantly developing to ensure that it is fully inclusive of every child and that it addresses each aspect of how a child develops, progresses and grows, both academically and emotionally.
Our curriculum is designed so that all children make progress from their starting points and that all children develop a love of learning with a particular focus on reading. Our children will develop a vast array of skills and knowledge which they can transfer across different subjects within the curriculum. The staff at West Walker ensure enrichment is at the heart of the curriculum we teach. Enrichment is woven into the very fabric of our planning, teaching and assessment process in each and every subject. Our children come to school with different life experiences, which impacts on their vocabulary, reasoning and understanding throughout all key stages. We intend to provide a wealth of trips and visits to improve learning outside the classroom and to create links between learning and fun for our children, such as theatre experiences, book illustrator visits and trips to castles, farms, museums and the coast. The learning gained from these trips ensures that our children develop an understanding about the world in which we live and how it can help learning inside the classroom become more tangible. Our whole school community is valued and we aim to work together to prepare our children for the next stages in their educational careers as well as allow them to develop their aspirations for adult life.
In ensuring progress is made and can be measured throughout the school, implementing a holistic approach to teaching and learning is essential for our children. With a successful leadership model embedded in the school, all staff are committed to their role in helping our children achieve.
Our curriculum is carefully crafted to ensure all children have access to all areas of the curriculum, enrichment activities and extra-curricular learning.
We value highly the importance of reading and writing for enjoyment. From Nursery to Year 2, our pupils take part in daily phonics lessons, through ‘Letters and Sounds’. Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling are interwoven into the teaching of literacy in all year groups. Children are assigned a levelled text until they become an independent reader. For levelled texts we use a variety of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree as well as classic fiction and non-fiction texts. We believe that children benefit from a broad selection of books, which include a variety of authors. Once children are independent readers, they make their own choice of reading book. Quality literature is at the heart of our English lessons; children are inspired and challenged through a variety of methods including ‘talk for writing’ and ‘reading into writing’ techniques.
The teaching of Maths is based around maths mastery techniques. The school has developed this approach over the last 4 years and has been commended by external consultants. A concrete – pictorial – abstract approach is embedded across the school and the children make excellent progress.
COMPUTING is an area of great importance at West Walker. We have an COMPUTING suite and iPads in all classrooms. We work with GEM, an innovative educational company, who work with staff and children across the school.
Foundation subjects provide powerful opportunities for learning and cross-curricular links are carefully planned across the year groups. Our multi-agency approach is implemented throughout school and the utilisation of a range of agencies helps to close the gaps for some of our most vulnerable children. We utilise our local area well, to help us build on experiences available to for our children to thrive. We regularly take our children out of the local area, to provide them with rich learning experiences which they are able to talk about with their friends and families and make links with their learning in school. Poets, artists, musicians, sports people and scientists work with our children to enrich their experiences and help them acquire skills and begin to form their aspirations for their future. We particularly value science and outdoor education and have specialist teachers leading daily /weekly wildlife walks in our forest and river bank areas and OPAL (Outdoor Playing and Learning) experiences. We feel that it is essential that children learn about healthy eating and our Food Technology room provides us with the facility to teach about diet and food preparation. Physical education improves children’s physical and mental well-being and our excellent provision includes working with NUFC, Newcastle Eagles and a range of dance and sporting organisations; before school and after school P.E. clubs are on offer most days. Children learn life skills such as swimming and have access to ‘Bikeability’ training, the latter not only inspires them to ride a bike but teaches them how to do it safely and independently. Music is an essential part of our curriculum; a music programme called Charanga is taught to all of our children and every child is taught the recorder in Y3, trumpet in Y4 and ukulele in Y5. Singing is highly valued and children take part in musical shows across the year.
Alongside the teaching of curriculum subjects and assessment of attainment and progress, we ensure that our children’s talents and successes are celebrated throughout school. We hold weekly achievement assemblies which not only celebrate academic gains but personal ones too. Children and parents are invited and encouraged to bring in their ‘out of school’ certificates and trophies and PSHE targets are also celebrated across all year groups; this helps to inspire children to work hard in all areas of their learning as we embed a culture of celebrating all achievements for every child. High expectations of all our children leads to high aspirations and the belief that they can achieve in all they do.
With the understanding that some of our children enter our school with lower than national starting points, we believe that family and community engagement is key to helping children achieve their potential. We communicate with parents and carers on a daily / weekly basis through Class Dojo and encourage families to take part in school activities such as assemblies, the PEEPs project for the parents of the children in Early Years, Family OPAL (Outdoor learning) and Curriculum / Reading meetings. The Early Years team focus highly on play-based learning which is informed by topics and children’s interests and complemented with a balance of adult directed tasks. This approach to teaching ensures high level engagement for all children throughout their Early Years’ education and creates positive learning experiences in readiness for Key Stage 1. Throughout all stages of learning, teachers use this holistic approach to mould and shape the curriculum in order for it to meet the needs of the children in their class.
The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the curriculum but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points. In shaping our curriculum this way, progress can be measured and evidenced for all children, regardless of their starting points or specific needs.
As we teach our children we ensure that they build skills, knowledge and understanding and we define progress as knowing and remembering more. When our children leave us, we are confident that the children have a wealth of transferrable skills which have been developed throughout their time at primary school in an inclusive and nurturing environment. Through the teaching of a stimulating, broad and balanced curriculum, we are proud that the children from West Walker Primary School have a depth of understanding across all primary subjects and have confidence, high aspirations and self-belief.
Reading and Phonics Schemes
Early Years and Key Stage 1 Reading and Phonics
We follow The Department for Education and Skills ‘Letters and Sounds’ Phonics Teaching Programme in school.
The predominant Reading Schemes used in school are Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat. For pupils in Foundation Stage and KS1, all books are closely matched to the individual pupil’s phonic ability.