The Curriculum at Mackie Hill
Putting our children are at the heart of our curriculum.
At Mackie Hill Junior and Infant School, we encourage our children to have high aspirations and strive for the best. We want our children to be responsible, self-confident and connected to the world in which they live by the time they finish their journey at Mackie Hill and progress onto the next exciting stage in their lives.
Our main aim is to provide a curriculum that is uniquely relevant to our children and provide them with a vast range of experiences that will excite, stimulate and enable them to become confident and successful learners. We carefully plan and deliver each topic with children at the heart of the planning stage. Children can explore and contribute their own ideas and are encouraged to direct their own learning. We want our children to be inquisitive and passionate about learning and be adventurous in the acquisition of new skills and knowledge.
Our curriculum commitment to our children
- To provide opportunities to understand the world in which we live and to develop an understanding of contributing to our communities and appreciate human achievements and aspirations.
- To enable a rich environment where you can achieve in English and Mathematics.
- To provide many events where you can explore your artist and creative skills, whilst developing an appreciation of historical and geographical context.
- To develop respect for religious values and tolerances of other religions, races and ways in which others live.
- To instil healthy approaches to lifestyles and minds whilst understanding the difference between right and wrong.
- To embed skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime.
- to have a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment;
- to read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including self-monitoring and correcting their own errors;
- to have an interest in words and their meanings, developing a growing vocabulary in relation to grammatical terminology;
- to have a suitable technical vocabulary to respectfully articulate their responses in any discussion;
- understanding a range of text types and genres;
- to be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation;
- to use their developing creativity, imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
- Develop positive attitudes towards reading so that pupils find it a pleasurable and meaningful activity.
- Use reading skills as an integral part of learning throughout the curriculum.
- Read and respond to a variety of texts whilst gaining increased levels of fluency, accuracy, independence and understanding.
- Develop different strategies for approaching reading and be able to orchestrate the full range of strategies.
Home reading is recognised as an important element in ensuring pupils can read confidently and fluently. How this operates in Mackie Hill is described below:
- Pupils follow the Oxford Reading Tree Reading Book Band Levels Scheme throughout school.
- The Schonell reading age test will be used each term to ensure that children are choosing books with an appropriate level of challenge.
- Teachers will monitor pupils’ book choices.
- Children are encouraged to read at home at least three times per week.
- Class teachers will check Reading Diaries daily to ensure children are reading at home. Each child will receive a positive recognition, decided by the class teacher, every time they read at home,
- Where reading is identified as an area for an individual pupil’s development, appropriate strategies will be put in place.
Pupils have access to a wide range of reading opportunities that include:
- shared reading;
- regular independent reading;
- home/school reading;
- hearing books read aloud on a regular basis;
- selecting own choice of texts;
- reading in other subjects;
- weekly visits to the school library.
- Develop pupils’ literacy skills to a level that, as a minimum, adequately prepare them for the next stage of their education.
- Develop positive attitudes towards writing so pupils enjoy writing and do so with purpose.
- Use writing skills consistently across the curriculum.
Pupils have access to a wide range of writing opportunities that include:
- shared writing;
- modelled writing;
- independent writing;
- writing different text types and narrative styles;
- writing in different curriculum areas;
- handwriting practice;
- collaborative writing;
- writing related to own experiences and enjoyment;
- writing from a variety of stimuli;
- planning, drafting, editing and presenting;
- using ICT.
Spelling is taught following the Babcock No Nonsense Spelling Scheme using a variety of strategies:
- The teaching of spelling should focus on a “rule” each week.
- A number of spelling list words are sent home each week to be learned for a test.
- Spelling is taught discreetly in class each week.
- Children are encouraged to use dictionaries and independent strategies to find and correct spellings in their independent writing.
It is paramount that children are rigorously taught correct letter formation from the very beginning of their time in school. It is expected that all members of staff, class teachers and teaching assistants, model the school handwriting style at all times i.e. when writing on the board or in children’s books. By the end of Key Stage 2, all children should be displaying an efficient, quick, neat and legible handwriting style that is effective in recording their ideas.
- The Sheffield scheme of cursive handwriting used.
- Pupils are encouraged sit with their feet on the floor.
- Pencil grips are used to support pupils who have difficulty maintaining the correct grip.
- Discrete Handwriting lessons are taught at least twice a week in classes until pupils have developed a legible, fluent and consistently-sized, cursive script. For pupils who need extra support, appropriate interventions take place.
- Regular handwriting lessons will continue to be taught through school.
- Both pupils and teachers should have high expectations of handwriting and presentation.
Children need to be able to:
- Communicate effectively, speaking with increasing confidence, clarity and fluency;
- Participate in discussions and debate in a variety of contexts;
- Listen to the views, opinions and ideas of others with increased interest;
- Articulate ideas and thoughts clearly with appropriate tone and vocabulary recognising audience;
- Respond to questions and opinions appropriately;
- Retell stories and poems which are known by heart;
- Ask questions with increasing relevance and insight.
- Talking about their own experiences, recounting events;
- Participating in discussion and debate;
- Retelling stories and poems;
- Expressing opinions and justifying ideas;
- Listening to stories read aloud;
- Presenting ideas to different audiences;
- Taking part in school performances;
- Responding to different kinds of texts;
- Talking to visitors in school;
- Listening to ideas and opinions of adults and peers;
- Role-play and other drama activities across the curriculum;
Effective Phonics teaching and learning is essential for high attainment in reading and writing. Additionally, confidence with phonics is integral across the curriculum and used in all subjects. Achievement in this area benefits every area of pupils’ development and the school as a whole. We teach the Read, Write Inc. phonics scheme from Lower Foundation Stage into Key Stage 1. Pupils will continue to learn phonics in Key Stage 2 should they need to.
The Read Write Inc curriculum will teach children to:
- apply the skill of blending phonemes to read words.
- segment words in their constituent phonemes in order to spell words.
- learn that blending and segmenting words are reversible processes
- read high frequency words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns.
- read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible.
- spell effortlessly so that all their resources can be directed towards composing their writing.
Teaching and Learning
Read Write Inc is based on 5 Ps.
Praise – Children learn quickly in a positive climate.
Pace – Good pace is essential to the lesson.
Purpose – Every part of the lesson has a specific purpose.
Passion – this is a very prescriptive programme.
It is the energy, enthusiasm and passion that teachers put into the lesson that brings the teaching and learning to life.
Participation – A strong feature of Read Write Inc lessons is partner work and the partners ‘teaching’ each other.
Teaching of Read Write Inc will:
- be pitched at the correct level for each child, ensuring every child is sufficiently challenged while able to make clear progress;
- excite and stimulate children through active learning in which they enjoy achieving and progressing;
- uses phonics, reading and writing skills together to connect and support each of these aspects;
- encourages consistency of teaching and learning across the school in this area;
- accelerates children’s literacy learning leading to improvements in attainment, both in relation to the Phonics Screening Check and throughout the school.
Mathematics teaching and learning
Mackie Hill J & I School is a ‘Numicon’ school. This means that we adopt the principles of the ‘Numicon’ approach in our teaching and learning of maths, to enable children to achieve the 3 main National curriculum aims:
1. Children become fluent in the fundamentals of maths (‘Do maths’)
2. Children can solve problems by applying their mathematics (‘Use maths’)
3. Children can reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry (‘Talk maths’)
This approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics is based on Bruner’s principles of learning, in which he states that children’s understanding of new concepts develops through 3 stages;
Concrete - Using real life objects and concrete apparatus
Visual - Using visual representations and pictures
Symbolic - Using abstract symbols and signs
The main focus of teaching science throughout school is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They will be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They will be helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They will then begin to develop simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways.