A solid foundation for your child's future
Below you will find an over-view of the curriculum that we follow at Twickenham Primary Academy. If you would like to talk this through with our Principal or a member of our leadership team please contact our school office on 02030196196. A member of the office staff will arrange a call to you or a visit to the school if preferred.
At Twickenham Primary Academy, we strive to ensure that all children are given a curriculum which is relevant broad and balanced, promoting their emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs. We create a stimulating and inviting learning environment where all children’s interests and learning are built upon, with a focus on play-based learning supported by adults. We wish for all our children to feel safe and secure in their environment, developing self-confidence, independence, self-esteem and an eagerness to learn. We aim to work in partnership with parents, carers and families, promoting the very best relationship to support learning.
Every day, we will be firmly focused on the core basics of Phonics (using the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme), Reading, Talk for Writing, Writing, and Mathematics. Creative approaches to learning, independent thinking, collaborative problem-solving skills and the arts will be used to engage and motivate children to love learning and understand how they learn.
The National Curriculum is used as the baseline from which we develop an enhanced curriculum to extend knowledge and skills and develop the interests of pupils in our school. The core academic subjects English, Mathematics, Science and Computing are allocated sufficient time to enable pupils to be both challenged and supported. Particular focus and curriculum time will be given to Phonics, Reading, Basic skills, Writing, Mathematics, Mental Mathematics and Basic Number skills and Science.
All pupils learn one foreign language from Reception class. We offer an optional, second foreign language in upper KS2 to talented linguists. Learning languages at young ages not only has proven benefits for cognitive development, but also offers our pupils a competitive advantage when they are older.
We actively promote British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs to prepare our pupils for life in modern day Britain. We also provide opportunities for our pupils to learn about the contribution of Britons to innovation, excellence and changes in the world.
The additional curriculum time is afforded by the length of the GEMS school day (8:30am-3:20pm) for reception children increasing slightly each year to 4pm by year 6. The longer day ensures that the important and enriching subjects such as languages, PE, music, art, independent learning projects and response to feedback and self-improvement targets is possible without compromising a focus on high academic outcomes in core subjects. A truly enriched and enriching education is offered to the pupils.
Reception Curriculum Overview
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, published in March 2014 by the DfES. This Framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. These areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
We also have also included the learning of a modern foreign language, music, and ICT skills in our curriculum and devoted specific time to the development of thinking skills.
Free Flow Play is an important part of the weekly timetable. The amount of time allocated to this will reduce as we progress through the academic year.
Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary. Literacy is taught in a cross-curricular way, linking up with other areas of the curriculum. We teach our pupils to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions. Their vocabulary is developed systematically. Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely.
We use the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme and a phonics programme. Phonic awareness helps the development of reading by segmenting and blending sounds. The children will be heard reading individually and in groups. The guided reading sessions cover both fiction and non-fiction books. Guided reading also develops the children’s comprehension skills. A range of ICT programmes are used to enhance learning. Parents are given clear expectations about reading at home.
We develop writing skills so that our Reception pupils have the stamina and ability to write simple statements and sentences. To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of activities including use of film and imagery, modelled, shared and guided writing, peer editing and discussion. We use talk for writing to encourage pupils to express their ideas, exchange ideas and to develop more sophisticated vocabulary. We provide opportunities for writing for purpose and we encourage pupils to see themselves as authors. We promote the status of written work by providing opportunities for children’s writing to be published and read by real audiences.
Handwriting sessions are incorporated into the English lessons. A range of extra activities are used to promote literacy within the school including an annual focus week.
Our teachers will ensure that mathematical skills are taught every day. They also use every relevant subject to develop pupils’ mathematical fluency. Our pupils understand the importance of mathematics, are encouraged to be confident in numeracy and to apply the skills that they learn to simple problem solving. The activities cover a wide range of mathematical knowledge, many with an emphasis on practical work. In each lesson there is a short and simple mental maths session. In Reception pupils work on number, place and value, learn how to do basic addition and subtraction, take measurements and recognise basic shapes and their properties. We build on skills and understanding in a step by step way and continue to develop place value, the four number operations and the understanding of fractional parts. There are extra activities throughout the year to promote mathematical skills and thinking including participation in World Maths Day.
Science will be taught as a separate lesson but will be linked to our Topic work where appropriate. We will encourage our pupils to be curious about natural phenomenon and to be excited by the process of understanding the world around them. In Reception we start to develop blocks of knowledge and concepts alongside the development of enquiry skills. Key scientific terminology will be introduced each lesson. Pupils will be able to carry out simple tests and experiments using equipment and to gather and record data. Our lessons will include learning about plants, animals and the seasons. Visits by specialists such as The Science Museum Education Team, Mad Science and The Bug Man will enhance the delivery of our science curriculum. In the spring term we will be looking to hatch and nurture our own chicks and in the summer term we will release the butterflies we have watched develop from their caterpillar stage. We will also have dedicated science days throughout the year.
Art and Design
Art has a very important place in our curriculum and is weaved into our half termly topics. We see art as a vehicle for creativity and individual expression and it provides opportunities for collaborative work. It is an important form of cultural expression and, therefore, has significance and meaning for all our children. Our teaching provides an understanding of all the diverse art forms so that the children experience drawing, painting, collage, textiles, 3D designs, printmaking and digital media. They will be introduced to the Great Masters and a wide variety of other artists and their styles. Trips to our wonderful London galleries and the fabulous local Orleans House Gallery are regularly organised. We have Art Days with a whole school focus on one artist or painting and we include art in our themed weeks. Our school art gallery holds a central place in the building. We will work towards Artsmark targets and participate in competitions such as the superb Young Art held by Cancer Research UK.
Our design and technology lessons encourage the designing and making of products to solve real and relevant problems. Our pupils learn to select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics. Our cooking lessons teach the principles of nutrition and our pupils learn how to prepare and make a wide variety of simple recipes. They understand where our food comes from and how it is grown. We believe that by instilling a love of cooking we will open a door to one of the greatest expressions of human creativity.
Drama is used as a key tool in developing oral skills, vocabulary development, building confidence and self- esteem, and as an essential tool in developing imaginative, expressive, and persuasive spoken and written language. ‘Hot seating’, and ‘response in role’ drama techniques are used in literacy lessons aid the development of speaking and listening, reading and writing skills. Imaginative role play is fundamental to developing the whole child, not just in Early Years and KS1 education, but also as they children develop, and our curriculum provides opportunities to perform to wider audiences through assemblies and events around key festivals. There are increasing opportunities for our pupils to perform as they progress through the school. External partners such as The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond Theatre, The Rose Theatre as well as community practitioners are engaged with at regular intervals. The children are taken to theatrical performances and are expected to stage their own! Pupils also have the option of taking external examinations from LAMDA, an organisation accredited to offer exams in the ‘Speaking of Verse and Prose’ and ‘Acting’.
We do have discreet timetable time for the development of ICT skills but our approach is to integrate ICT into all lessons: the use of laptops and other hardware such as cameras and film cameras is as much part of our learning tools as pencils and pens. Subject specific software, from one-off programmes to learning platforms, support teaching and learning across all years. The children develop their skills, starting in reception with mouse control, keyboard skills, saving and printing work. They draw pictures, write and use the internet to carry out research. They then progress to more complex skills such as data analysis and coding. Pupils will use technology safely and identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns.
Modern Foreign Language
From Reception to Year 6 we teach Spanish to all children. Our approach is to make learning a new language fun! Young pupils are very receptive to learning a new language; they like to mimic pronunciation and they can easily pick up and duplicate new sounds. They feel a real sense of accomplishment when they learn to say something new. Repetition and practice are essential in learning a new language so songs and games such as Simple Simon Says and What’s in the bag? will be regularly used. We will have discreet lessons on the timetable but we will also integrate the foreign language into the everyday routine.
At Key Stage 2 level we will offer the opportunity to learn another language such as Mandarin. Our Year 6 pupils will have a series of taster sessions in lots of different languages including Latin, Greek and Arabic. This will excite their curiosity and may help them with choices of what to study at their next schools.
In their music lessons pupils use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. Assemblies will also provide an opportunity to practise singing. Pupils will also be taught to play a variety of instruments musically and encouraged to play together in ensemble groups. We encourage listening to a wide range of music with concentration and understanding. Music lessons are linked to Topic work and music is used in a variety of lessons and activities to create, mood, atmosphere and to help thinking. Music will be heard every day in our classrooms. Parents will be given access our individual class classical music track list.
PSHCE, or personal, social, health and citizenship education, is a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives. As part of a whole school approach, PSHCE develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. It prepares them to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up in such rapidly changing and challenging times. It also helps them to connect and apply the knowledge and understanding they learn in all subjects to practical, real-life situations while helping them to feel safe and secure enough to fulfil their academic potential. In our programmes we actively promote British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs to prepare our pupils for life in modern day Britain. Our citizenship lessons enable our pupils to understand the British democratic process and how to effect peaceful changes in society.
All our year groups have timetabled PSHCE time but we encourage a cross-curricular approach to the development of PSHCE skills and understanding. Circle time is used to listen to others and to be heard with the help of class friends eg Talking Ted. Pupils learn about similarities and differences between people and cultures. They participate in a variety of cultural events such as Diwali, Hanukkah, Shrove Tuesday and Shavuot. Planting and growing things are important aspects of our PSHCE curriculum and we link this to an understanding of healthy eating. All pupils are taught how to use the TAG anti bullying strategy.
We follow the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (SACRE) produced by The Educational Framework for Religious Education in Richmond upon Thames. Religious Education (RE) is taught to all children except those who are taken out by their parents. Our teaching promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils. It reflects the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of other principal religions represented in Great Britain.
Our teaching enables pupils to acquire knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, attitudes, practices and rituals. They will also develop their own beliefs and values. We will not convert or steer pupils towards a particular religious belief. They will also be aware that some people have no attachment to religious beliefs and follow secular philosophies.
Thinking skills are the mental processes that we apply when we seek to make sense of experience. They enable us to integrate each new experience into the schema that we are constructing of how things are. Better thinking will help us to learn more from our experience and to make better use of our intelligence. In the past children were largely considered to be ‘clever’ if they demonstrated the ability to commit to memory huge amounts of data and to recall that data on the appropriate occasion. The problem with learning ‘facts’ is that they become outdated, or new research requires modification of previously accepted ‘knowledge’. Even more importantly, in our evolving world, the ability to think is fast becoming more desirable than any fixed set of skills or knowledge. We need problem solvers, decision makers and innovators.
Our thinking skills lessons and thinking adventures will enable our children to become thinkers who can not only receive information but can manipulate and judge information. As their confidence grows and skills develop they will become less passive thinkers and more pro-active thinkers who are able to make sense of information and tackle more complex problem solving situations. In our thinking lessons we use Thinking Hats to encourage empathy and different viewpoints, talk based activities to help language acquisition as a tool for analysis, questioning techniques to encourage expression of opinion, mind mapping to make sense of the issue plus lateral thinking games and Brain Gym exercises.
In Key Stage 2 we introduce discreet Philosophy For Children (P4C) lessons. These will encourage our children to think for themselves and at the same time to encourage them to think with others. Our teachers will provide the stimulus for discussion and facilitate the enquiry. As skills develop the children not only state their own ideas but support them with reasons. They will become aware of the differences and similarities between their own ideas and those of their classmates. Respect for one’s own views and respect for the views of others is an important part of these lessons.
We use topics to deliver humanities subject skills and understanding. Our topic programme is carefully balanced and planned to be age appropriate across the years. Topic maps are produced to show how each is taught, the knowledge and skills covered and links to other parts of the curriculum. It is important to us that art, music, literacy and where appropriate numeracy and science are linked in topic teaching. So, for example, a history Romans topic could include urn making in art, catapult construction in design and technology and catapult testing and measuring in maths and science. Our topics have a history and geography base so that we teach location and place knowledge, weather and climate skills and knowledge and about significant historical events, people and places in our own locality. Topic time also provides further opportunities to learn about people and cultures. A timetable of trips to support pupils’ learning and to enhance the curriculum is published each term. We welcome parental help on these.
We are committed to the broadest educational offering, and that means looking beyond the National Curriculum. A very successful enrichment programme that draws upon a wide range of adult skills is offered through school trips, visiting specialists and themed days and weeks. The programme is planned throughout the year but we have an enrichment focus in the summer term called Fabulous Fridays.
Workshops and specialists
Each year group will take part in a variety of workshops throughout the academic year. These will link to their topic work or to a whole school theme. We invite specialists from a range of institutions eg the Science Museum, the National Physical Laboratory and the Orange Tree Theatre. We also have links with small independent educationalists like The Bug Man. We undertake an audit of parental skills each year and this enables us to form connections with new organisations or to facilitate a workshop/talk led by a parent.
Themed days and weeks
Once a term we vertically group the children into their House groups for a morning of themed activities eg art, sport, music, history. Pupils’ preferences and views are taken into account when planning the theme. Typically the morning will begin with a whole school assembly to set the scene and four activities will follow.
We also have themed weeks throughout the year. Healthy Living week falls in January to help boost exercise and good nutrition at a time when the winter might take its toll on both. Pupils take part in an Enterprise Week in the summer term. Each class is given a budget which they use to prepare items to sell at a Parents Market. They are required to cost their product, to show their profit etc.
Themed days are also incorporated into curriculum. These may be designed to fit with national initiatives eg World Maths Day, to match with events in the UK eg a national election and also to highlight our curriculum subjects eg Art Day.
Once a year we replace the home learning timetable with a whole school home learning challenge. This lasts for two weeks during which pupils can respond in a variety of ways (prose, poetry, model making, graphic design etc) to a stimulus statement eg Up and Down.