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Curriculum

Our Curriculum at Castle Newnham School is based on the Development Matters Framework for Nursery and Reception and the National Curriculum for Year 1-6.

We pride ourselves on exceeding the requirements of the National Curriculum by providing our pupils with a knowledge rich curriculum and extensive extra-curricular provision. Our curriculum intends to build knowledge over time with vocabulary being at the core, ensuring that pupils have the knowledge and skills required to be successful as they enter into Key Stage 3. We focus on extending children’s long term memory allowing for acquisition of skills and depth of learning through making connections across the curriculum.

Within our curriculum and school life, we believe in valuing each child’s experiences and giving them the opportunity to flourish through our curriculum. Therefore, we incorporate wider opportunities for learning and encourage our children to have a positive attitude, contribute to the community and to show resilience, creativity, integrity and kindness.

Development Matters

The children in the Early Years Foundation Stage at Castle Newnham are taught using the EYFS framework which has an emphasis on developing key knowledge, skills and understanding through direct teaching and structures continuous provision.  The children’s learning and progress is assessed in Early Year through building a profile of observations and photos which are shared with parents via the 2Simple programme. Please click here to view a copy of the ‘Development Matters’ document.

National Curriculum

The children in Years 1-6 are taught using the National Curriculum.   From this we have developed a curriculum built on current research about how memory and learning works. Our curriculum is structured to have carefully sequenced knowledge and vocabulary at the core to enable long term learning. Our curriculum focuses on how we can ensure that long term learning takes place by taking the load of the working memory. We do this by using retrieval practise methods, so that the children know more and remember more which will support them with remembering the curriculum content as they progress through the curriculum at Castle Newnham School. Please click here to view a copy of the ‘National Curriculum Framework for KS1 & KS2’ document.

To further enhance our curriculum, we are dedicated to widening the experiences our pupils have by going on Educational Visits and inviting visitors into school. We have also been developing our outdoor learning provision, using our allotment and the wildlife garden. We are very lucky to have a member of staff who is able to work with groups of children in our outdoor learning provision. We have an incredibly successful performing arts team, who provide specialist teaching and extracurricular activities for both Primary and Secondary pupils. As part of our through school education, we are able to offer Primary pupils specialist teaching in some of the curriculum areas in some year groups including Performing Arts (Music, Dance & Drama), Modern Foreign Languages, Art, Design & Technology and PE.

At Castle Newnham we teach Religious Education, following the National curriculum and also the Agreed Syllabus as set out by Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. Our RE curriculum asserts the importance and value of RE for all pupils.

Phonics

In Reception, Year 1 and 2 we use a phonics program called Sounds-Write together with a variety of other quality reading schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree. The pupils will take part in phonics lessons. We ask that parents help the children to practice their phonics, reading and spelling with them at home. Towards the end of year 1 pupils will take part in the national Phonics Screening Check where pupils read a set of 40 words (mixture of real and nonsense words) to a teacher. At the end of year 2 pupils take part in the national end of key stage one SATs assessments. It is our intention that whilst going through these assessments pupils feel confident happy and positive about their own learning and do not feel under any pressure at such a young age.

Reading

During the children’s early reading, they will be provided with sound-write books which match the learning that has taken place in the phonics lessons. Once they have become confident and competent readers, they will progress onto books from Oxford Reading Tree scheme. We may also provide the children with other books not from Oxford Reading Tree as we want our pupils to have exposure to a range of high quality books including different genres, styles of writing and authors. The children are expected to read both in school and at home.

Alongside our phonics scheme, we also have whole class reading lessons, which allows the children become immersed in a variety of different texts, focuses on enriching vocabulary and developing their understanding of these words, improves critical and creative thinking skills through the comprehension questions and imparts a desire and love of reading.

Maths

Throughout Primary we use a mastery approach to teaching Maths. This focusses on whole class teaching using small steps of learning to develop a deep understanding of the Maths taught.

In a lesson, children will use objects and pictures to physically represent mathematical concepts (the concrete > pictorial > abstract approach), alongside numbers and symbols. The pace of the lessons is brisk, with teachers constantly asking questions, inviting pupils to demonstrate solutions, and quizzing them about their thinking. There’s a mixture of short tasks, explanation, demonstration and discussion – and a lot of practice to help reinforce children’s learning.

There is a large focus on developing the fluency of number which will help the pupils to solve problems related to new concepts taught. This ensures that the children have a deeper understanding of number which they are able to interrelate into other aspects of Maths.

Times tables

Children are also expected to learn key maths facts like times tables and addition facts by heart to free up working memory and give them the mental space to focus on new concepts. We do this by teaching and practising number bonds and times tables in every Maths lesson. We use Numbots and Times Tables Rock Stars to support the children’s learning and we encourage parents to support them with this at home also. To download a copy of the Time Tables Rock Stars parents handbook, please click here.

By the end of Year 4, the children are expected to know all of their times tables up to x12 and the corresponding division facts in any order and rapidly. The Year 4 children will all take part in the National Times Tables Check.

Parental support

At Castle Newnham School, we recognise and value the importance parents have on their child’s learning. To support this we offer ‘Meet the Team’ evenings, parent drop in sessions and curriculum workshops to support and empower parents and carers in helping their child learn and progress.

We recognise that homework is something parents have different views on and we are aware that many of our children have extra-curricular commitments outside of school. Therefore, we have created a guidance sheet outlining the expectations for homework in each year group or phase.