All teaching follows the frameworks of the National Curriculum and the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. Assemblies, morning and afternoon breaks and the lunchtime, are used to reinforce the values of living and playing together as a community.
The National Curriculum consists of the following:
English, Maths and Science ? the core subjects
Information and Communication Technology, Religious Education (RE), History, Geography, Design Technology, Music, Art and Design, Physical Education (PE) and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC).
Each subject is guided by a clearly defined Programme of Study, which has a detailed scheme of work to ensure continuity and progression.
Being a Church School our assemblies and R.E. are predominately Christian and have a daily act of worship. However we teach to an Essex agreed scheme ?Open World? at KS2, which includes many faiths, and the QCA scheme at KS1. We welcome people of all denominations and faiths. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the Daily Act of Worship. Alternative provision is made for these pupils in their classrooms. There are strong links with our Church, St Mary and St Lawrence, in Great Waltham, where school services are held for festivals such as Christmas, Easter and Harvest.
English is organised into three sections in the National Curriculum:
* Speaking and Listening
* Writing (which includes Handwriting and Spelling).
Speaking and listening
We encourage children to engage in purposeful talk and time is given so that each child feels the audience values his/her contribution.
Children are encouraged to:
* introduce and discuss topics from their own experiences, with other individuals and in groups
* express themselves through drama
* listen to each other, to their teacher and other adults
* listen and respond to instructions, stories, poetry and music
All these activities will develop and extend understanding and use of spoken language.
This is a vitally important skill and we give every support to your child.
Reading is taught carefully and systematically using reading schemes supported by other books. At Great Waltham we use a colour banding system. Your child will be given a reading scheme book of the appropriate level and will be asked to chose one or more books from the same colour band. They may complete a level of the reading scheme but not be ready to move on, in which case they will continue reading other books from that colour band. This system ensures that children experience a broad range of texts including non-fiction, poetry and play scripts. Our aim is to teach the children a variety of skills to enable them to read with fluency and understanding. We do this using a system known as Early Reading Research which was developed at Warwick University, in conjunction with the National Literacy Strategy. Progress is closely monitored so that we can build on the children's achievements. At all times we strive to develop an enjoyment of reading and a love and respect for books.
Sharing books with children is more than just hearing them read. We therefore try to ensure that these times are undisturbed and enjoyable. We positively encourage parents to take part in this process and to aid communication we have a home/school partnership book in which both parents and teachers can comment. Parents of children in the Reception class are invited to accompany their child into school at 8.45 to read with them prior to registration at 9.00 a.m. Every child has a reading partner from another year group within the school and once a week we have a paired reading session during which these partners read a book together. Book backpacks are available from the office to keep our reading books clean and protected. Parents will be asked to make a donation of £2 to replace books that are returned damaged.
We urge parents to continue to read to their children, even when they have begun reading for themselves, and introduce them to the huge variety of printed materials such as: leaflets, magazines, recipes and instruction booklets. Books are shown to be important and valued in the class book-corners, the library, and in displays around the school and are an integral part of the literacy hour. As children progress, the study skills of skimming, scanning, note taking and use of indexes are introduced.
Most of the writing in the early stages arises from children's own language experiences. They are encouraged to write about life outside school and shared experiences in school. They write for a wide range of purposes and a variety of audiences. Flow of writing is encouraged through discussion and attention is drawn to language structure, spelling, grammar and presentation.
All children have a daily numeracy lesson and mathematical skills are developed through:-
* oral work, in the form of songs, rhymes, stories, discussions and descriptions of objects and investigations in mathematical terms, all of which help the child to develop mathematical language, understanding and concepts
* practical activities which are important at every stage of primary maths
* carefully matched work from books, worksheets and games to reinforce practical experience
* investigations which encourage children to use and apply their mathematical knowledge
Children are not encouraged to become reliant on calculators for number work. However, calculator skills are taught in order to:-
* increase speed in number investigations
* allow children to use larger numbers
* make sensible estimates and understand which process is required
* understand place value
* check mental computation
* play games
Science is essentially a practical subject with the children learning through first-hand experiences. It is planned to give opportunities for critical reflection, perseverance, creativity and inventiveness. Sensitivity to the living and the non-living environment and co-operation with others are encouraged.
Concepts and skills are taught using a variety of approaches, which include whole class, year group and individual teaching, topic-related activities and investigations.
Science work is recorded, progressing from pictorial representation to written accounts with appropriate use of graphs and diagrams. As they mature, children are expected to extend what can be learned from first-hand experiences to include ideas from secondary sources such as books, television and videos.
As part of the science curriculum sex education is given in such a manner as to encourage children to have due regard to moral considerations and the value of family life. In years 5 and 6 the physical and emotional aspects of growing up are dealt with in the context of caring, loving, responsible relationships, family life and respect for others. The school nurse and other professionals are invited to support and answer their questions. Parents are invited to view resources used and withdraw their children from the programme if that is their wish, except for those aspects that are part of the National Curriculum for Science.
The school environment is used to extend and develop mathematical experience and awareness. Cross-curricular links are made but not contrived.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
This subject teaches how modern technology is used to gather and process information with computers and software, to appreciate how things like the internet help to improve communications and to control a variety of equipment such as computers, fax machines, video/sound recorders and projectors. It is used to support every other area of the curriculum and leads the children from first introduction to full use and an understanding of equipment, software and applications.
We are connected to the National Grid for Learning and committed to keeping abreast of technological changes to enhance our pupils? learning and provide the skills needed for the demands of this new century. Each classroom has its own computer and there is a networked computer suite which has access to a printer, scanner, digital camera and the Internet. At Great Waltham we also have laptop computers for whole class sessions and every class has an interactive white board.
SPIRITUAL, MORAL, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION
SMSC and citizenship help to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible. Pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of our school community. The children learn to recognise their own worth, work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning. They reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. They also find out about their responsibilities, rights and duties as individuals and members of communities. Pupils learn to understand and respect our common humanity, diversity and differences so that they can go on to form the effective, fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life and learning. Each class elects representatives to the School Forum, which meets several times each term.