English includes speaking and listening, reading and phonics and writing. English is an integral part of the whole school curriculum.
Speaking and Listening
At Brierley we believe that in order for children to be able to write something they first need to be able to say it. For this reason, regular speaking and listening opportunities are provided in all areas of the curriculum, giving children the chance to speak to their peers as well as to larger audiences within school. All new topics – across the curriculum – are introduced with a focus on key vocabulary and opportunities to talk. Our children are encouraged to speak clearly and confidently in sentences using standard English. Effective questioning is used by staff to ensure children are able to give detailed answers and explanations. Similarly, and just as importantly, is the need to listen to others and respond appropriately. Having regular opportunities to communicate their ideas, opinions and feelings not only helps our children to build confidence but also deepens their understanding of sentence structure and audience.
Reading and Phonics
At Brierley we recognise the importance of reading. We understand that a child’s journey to becoming a reader starts with a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics programme which begins with foundations for phonics in nursery where children are taught how to tune in to different sounds and repeat patterns. In Reception and Year 1 our children work through the phonics phases and are taught a new sound each day with the fifth day of each week focusing on recapping and reviewing. Additional phonics teaching takes place daily for any children who need extra practise. Phonics is also taught further up the school to children who need it.
Our reading books are colour banded and each child is provided with a book which is carefully matched to their phonics knowledge, providing them with the opportunity to practise the sounds they have been taught by reading books at home in addition to those in school. Once a child is secure in phonics they continue to move through the banded books, accessing a wide range of quality texts appropriate for their age. In addition to this, children take home a ‘share book’ which provides an opportunity for children to share a quality text with an adult. Staff keep a log of what children are reading and support them in choosing books of a wide range of genres and authors. The books which children read within school are above the level they are on to provide extra challenge.
Our main focus is for our children to have the skills necessary in order to be able to read books - for both enjoyment and to learn - as soon as possible and to do so with automaticity, fluency and expression. This is something which is specifically taught in reading lessons and is also encouraged to be practised at home through daily reading with an adult. It is important that our children have a good understanding of what they are reading and the vocabulary they come across in books. We also recognise the importance of our children being able to think about author intent and impact on the reader as this, in turn, helps with their own writing. Reading skills are taught through group and whole class lessons using texts which are linked to English units of work, topics from other parts of the curriculum and books which have been chosen to suit the interests of the children. Many of these texts can be found on our reading spine. Children are heard on a one-to-one basis in addition to during whole class and group choral reading sessions.
Not only do we want our children to be readers but we are also passionate about instilling a love of reading in each and every one of our children. This is modelled by the teachers during daily ‘drop and read’ sessions, where teachers read a book to the children for enjoyment and engage the children in book talk linked to what has been read. Children at Brierley are exposed to a wide range of quality texts, genres and authors with regular opportunities to read throughout the curriculum.
At Brierley, there is a clear link between reading and writing and, ahead of a new English unit, reading sessions are used to allow children to familiarise themselves with different text types, including their purpose, audience, language and features. It also provides an opportunity for our children to build up the language and vocabulary needed to be able to write a specific text type. Our long-term English plans are used to ensure that children are exposed to a range of genres throughout their time at Brierley, although sometimes teachers change the texts and outcomes to suit the needs and interests of their children. English units always begin with a speaking and listening focus where children are able to build up the background knowledge and language needed in order to be able to access the unit of work as best as possible with a deep understanding of the text that is being used.
Daily work on SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar), along with handwriting, is used to help children to build up the skills they need in order to eventually plan, write and edit their own independent pieces of writing. Effective feedback through one-to-one discussions and marking is used by the teachers to celebrate children’s writing and support them in editing and improving it. During this build-up of skills, there are regular opportunities for children to engage in shared writing sessions in addtion to watching writing being modelled by the teacher. Writing outcomes often link to other areas of the curriculum in addition to current texts which are being read in class.
It is important that our children have some free reign over their writing which is why they are often given choices in what they would like to write. We want our children to be confident writers who take pride in both the content and presentation of their work. We feel that this is best achieved when children see a purpose to their writing and have the skills, language and background knowledge necessary in order to produce their own written piece.
In addition to any spelling covered in English lessons, separate regular spelling lessons are then used – and taught whole class – to teach spellings from the National Curriculum. The teaching of spelling at Brierley builds upon the children’s phonics knowledge as taught through our SSP. Each week there are one or two sounds to focus on across Years 1 to 6. The phoneme of the week is the same in all year groups and the lessons follow the same structure in all classes.
From the time the children first come into school, they are introduced to the world of mathematics, its language, use and meaning. Children have daily maths sessions where they develop their fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills across all aspects of the maths curriculum. We use concrete resources to support and build on understanding of concepts before moving to pictorial and then abstract concepts.
We follow a long term plan for the teaching of mathematics and ensure that there isn’t a ‘ceiling’ put on children’s learning in day to day lessons with the implementation of maths ‘steps to success’. The learning objectives from Development Matters and The National Curriculum are broken down into a series of steps which include greater depth and mastery support to support the children with fluency, reasoning and problem solving within each objective. Learning is pitched at year group expectations however, staff use a whole school progression grid to scaffold and support children’s learning. Children in years 1-6, who are currently not accessing National Curriculum Maths, are tracked and assessed using the Pre-Key Stage standards. Our medium term plans include number topics that run alongside one or more weekly shape, space and measure sessions.
Children in year 4 complete the DfE Online Multiplication Check which tests their fluency in multiplication facts up to 12 x 12. At Brierley, years 2 to 4 follow a medium-term plan in order to teach, practise and secure times table facts so they are not only ready for the Year 4 assessment, but also to support them while they apply multiplication and division facts across areas of maths. Children in years 5 and 6 continue to have regular times table sessions in order to embed and secure these facts.
Every year group from years 2 to 6 have mental arithmetic sessions each week in addition to maths sessions. We follow a medium-term plan for each year group with teaching content, however this can also be adapted using the progression grid to fit the needs of the children.
We regularly re-visit maths concepts in termly consolidation weeks and through our recap sessions at the beginning of each maths session. Children complete a ‘starter for all activity’ at the beginning of each number session where they recap on learning from: yesterday, last week and last month.
We aim to develop the pupils’ scientific skills through first-hand experiences. Pupils are encouraged to solve problems by making close observations, planning, predicting, fair testing, recording their findings in a systematic way and drawing conclusions. The children work in small groups allowing them the opportunity to hypothesise and develop their own ideas and thoughts. Our curriculum sets out to develop enquiring minds, and children are encouraged to ask questions and attempt to solve them.
Emphasis is placed on developing children’s ability to use computing skills across the curriculum and in their daily lives. Our computing curriculum is organised into the following five areas and ensures full coverage of the National Curriculum:
• Computer systems and networks
• Creating media
• Data handling
• Online safety
Children have access to a variety of up-to-date technology in the form of laptops, interactive whiteboards, cameras and iPads. In addition to the ICT suite, we have laptop trolleys to enhance our computing experience. At Brierley Primary School, all children have supervised access to the internet. E-Safety is one of our priorities. All children and parents are required to sign an acceptable use agreement. Our E-Safety policy is available from the policies section of our website.
History fires children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Children consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like, how these societies organised their politics, and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. As they do this, children develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. Children will develop skills, through researching, sifting through evidence and engaging in active discussion -skills that will prepare them for adult life. Through the course of their school life, children will take part in historical experiences with visits to museums and local historic sites, engaging workshops and themed days as part of their studies.
Geography provokes and answers questions about the natural and human world. It develops knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, an understanding of maps, and a range of problem-solving and investigative skills both inside and outside the classroom. We hope to stimulate pupil’s interest in their surroundings and in the variety of physical and human conditions on the Earth’s surface. We wish to develop an informed concern about the environment. Field work is an important part of a child’s learning and children have plenty of opportunities to be involved in field work and experience residential trips in key stage two. Outdoor orienteering activities are enjoyed here, reinforcing geographical skills.
Our art and design curriculum places a large focus on developing sketching, painting and sculpture skills. In each year group, art lessons across the year are divided into artistic skills, 2D projects and 3D projects. We encourage our children to be confident in exploring, experimenting, creating and inventing their own works of art which are then celebrated within class and across school.
Design technology at Brierley gives all children the opportunity to acquire, reinforce and develop knowledge and practical skills. We have a variety of construction materials that will help children to design and make models and prototypes in both ‘free play’ and problem solving situations. The programme of work allows these techniques to be applied progressively as the children design, construct, evaluate and modify objects with a real purpose. These tasks are linked, where appropriate, to other areas of the curriculum.
Physical Education (PE)
We aim to develop skill, agility, balance, co-ordination and confidence through physical activity, both within the indoor and outdoor environment. Pupils are encouraged to sustain energetic activity over a period of time and understand the effects of exercise. The children develop their skills and become increasingly able to plan, perform and evaluate what they do. We encourage a competitive spirit but recognise the value of cooperation with others, sportsmanship and fair play at all times. Pupils are often encouraged to take on leadership roles, in the form of coaches or officials. Children in Years 3-6 are involved in our swimming programme, which covers the National Curriculum Statutory requirements.
Our music curriculum places a large focus on developing listening skills through being exposed to a range of composers, musicians and musical traditions. In each year group, music lessons across the year are divided into musical theory, performance and composition with a termly focus on listening. Children have the opportunities to build on skills linked to singing, performance, composition and knowledge of history of music.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education
Personal, social, health and economic education promotes pupils’ personal social and emotional development, as well as their health and well-being. It helps to give children the knowledge and skills they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives. It aims to help them understand how they are developing personally and socially, and tackles many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. It gives children an understanding of the rights and responsibilities that are part of being a good citizen and introduces them to some of the principles of prudent financial planning and understanding. RSE is a crucial part of our PSHE curriculum and provides our children with the fundamental skills required to build postive and healthy relationship. We equip our children with the strategies needed to resolve conflicts and make decisions based on informed choices.
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
We learn French here at Brierley, introduced through songs, rhymes and stories in Year 1 and children begin weekly lessons in Year 2 – 6. At Brierley, we recognise that learning a foreign language at a young age is fundamental to pupils’ preparation for further study of Modern Foreign Languages in secondary school, and, more broadly, for their participation in an increasingly diverse society and interconnected world. We hope to inspire a love of learning languages by connecting languages to real-life, practical contexts, and aim to develop pupils’ vocabulary through an engaging, thematic approach (e.g. ‘All About Me’ and ‘Le Joie de Vivre’) that develops pupils’ skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Religious Education and Collective Worship
At Brierley, we follow the Cheshire Syllabus for Religious Education and present Religious Education in a balanced way as part of the children’s learning experiences; utilising outside church leaders where possible. We aim to equip our children with knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews, enabling them to develop their own ideas, values, and identities whilst also developing an understanding and respect for others'. This will allow the children to develop an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in society with its diverse religions and secular and non-religious worldviews. Children at Brierley will learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values, and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ. Parents have a right to withdraw their children from Religious Education and from the daily act of collective worship if they wish to do so. Please discuss your views with the Headteacher in the first instance.