The wider curriculum at Astbury is developing as we adopt and construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all our pupils the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We currently use the Early Years Curriculum and National Curriculum as the framework for our curriculum.
Acquiring new vocabulary is at the heart of the curriculum at Astbury. Children are taught to know, use, read and write new vocabulary linked to all subjects in the curriculum. Visits and visitors to enrich learning are an important part of our wider curriculum, post COVID these are being planned back into the curriculum.
The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum is split into two key stages.
- Key Stage 1 (KS1) – Years 1 & 2;
- Key Stage 2 (KS2) – Years 3, 4, 5 & 6
In our school we have a mixed Pre-School/reception class, a Y1/Y2 class, a Y3/Y4 class and a Y5/Y6 class. This means that children are taught to their age and ability in these classes and teachers teach all the areas of the curriculum.
We teach the National Curriculum through individual subjects and through topic based themes.
Phonics and Reading
Phonics and reading in Reception and KS1 are taught through Bug Club Phonics (Active Learn). Children are taught daily interactive phonics lessons which include videos, games and assessments.
The reading books are also from Active Learn- Bug Club. Children have hard copy of books to borrow from school but can also read them online at home answering comprehension questions. There is also a lovely collection of real books supplied by Maddeline Lindley.
In KS2 children can access bug club books to read online as well as taking home hard copies of the texts . There are also free reading books in all classrooms for children to access.
Every class has daily guided reading lessons which also include comprehension tasks. Children listen to texts from our selected reading spine which are read to them for ten minutes every day.
Since 2019, from Early Years to Y6, we have used an approach to teaching writing called 'Talk for Writing'. https://www.talk4writing.com/about/
The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
We underpin our English work by establishing a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon. Imaginative units of work are developed to create a whole-school plan that is refined over the years, is well-resourced and documented to release teachers from planning and preparation so that they can focus on adapting their teaching for children’s learning.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
SPaG lessons are taught linking to targets set from talk for writing.
From January 2023, spelling is taught using No nonsense spelling
Since 2019 we have used Power Maths to teach maths from reception to Y6. Power Maths is a whole-class mastery programme designed to spark curiosity and excitement and help nurture confidence in maths. Maths mastery is a teaching and learning approach that aims for pupils to develop deep understanding of maths rather than being able to memorise key procedures or resort to rote learning. Power maths is perfectly aligned to the White Rose Maths progressions and schemes of learning and we use this too to support teaching in mathematics. https://www.pearsonschoolsandfecolleges.co.uk/primary/subjects/mathematics/power-maths
All pupils in Years 2-6 have access to Times Table Rock Stars. This programme is a fun way to practise times tables. When children are able to recall times tables fluently, they can tackle maths problems with increased confidence.
Science is taught using planning from the Association of Science Education planning matrices alongside phizzi resources. These support progression and highlight links between learning.
Religious Education (RE)
Religious Education is taught based on the guidelines of the Chester Diocese. Children learn Christianity for most of the year but also have lessons in Islam and Judaism. In addition there are taught sessions from Churches together in Congleton based around key events in the Christian calendar and the Bible.
Geography and History
We have planned our own curriculum based on our locality. Children start by learning about the geography and history of the school and village then build on their knowledge to learn about the geography and history of the UK and the wider world. A focus for history is the life of a child during different periods of history.
Art and Design / Design Technology
We have planned our own curriculum where children learn about famous artists and develop skills with some links made to our history and/or science curriculum.
Children use Purple Mash to build knowledge in computing, including e-safety. We also have coding days to support learning in Y5/6 and have worked with Ed Tech to widen children's experiences of computing.
Modern Foreign Languages
Spanish was selected as it offered the best opportunities for our children. It is the most widely spoken language internationally after English, is the language most likely to be used by our pupils (many of whom holiday in Spanish speaking countries) and offers continual progression into KS3 agreed by our main feeder High School. Children from Y3 - Y6 are taught Spanish using lessons from Oak Academy, taught be a specialist Spanish teacher.
Music is taught using a progressive scheme called Charanga. This supports teachers who are non music specialists to transform the learning of music. Children are invited to have peripatetic music lessons whilst at Astbury and there is also the opportunity to join other schools in a singing festival. https://charanga.com/site/ Congleton Youth Orchestra visit school to introduce children to the orchestra.
PE is taught using sequences of lessons from Amaven. Children complete challenge days three times a year and lessons support the building of core PE skills. The PE programmes, designed by sport, PE and health professionals outstanding in their field, help us to support the motivation, confidence and physical competence in children to adopt a healthy lifestyle. https://www.amaven.co.uk/about
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – Reception
We have planned our Early Years curriculum with guidance from the our Academy (CDAT) Early Years advisor. See document below.
Children learn skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
- Communication and language;
- Physical development; and
- Personal, social and emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world; and
- Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’s unique needs and interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
For more information on what the EYFS curriculum means for your child, look at the links below.