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 fostered using a range of sources to meet the needs of the curriculum.
At Twickenham Primary Academy 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.
At Twickenham Primary Academy, we are aware that the children’s learning needs to keep pace with our rapidly changing world. Our creative curriculum is a carefully planned, thematic approach to teaching and learning designed to support children’s natural curiosity, stimulate their creativity and reflects the pupils` cultural capital. It offers children the opportunity to work in depth, giving them the time they need to reflect, consolidate and transfer their learning across subjects. There is a strong emphasis on not only building up the knowledge, understanding and skills within each topic but also why the chosen learning programme is important to the here and now.
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.
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 abundant foundation subjects lesson time and other enriching learning experiences in and out of school is possible without compromising a focus on high academic outcomes in core subjects. A truly enriched and enriching education is offered, and teaching is carefully tailored to meet the needs of all pupils.
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, published in April 2017 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
Communication and Language development
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
We also have included the learning of a modern foreign language, music and ICT skills in our curriculum.
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.
The National Curriculum is used as the baseline from which we develop an enhanced and creative curriculum to extend knowledge, to develop skills and interests of all the children in our school. We offer children a challenging and extensive education, placing due emphasis on English, Mathematics and Science whilst enhancing all areas of each and every child’s development by incorporating the arts, sports, humanities and technology.
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 the Letters and Sounds 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.
To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a 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.
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 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 the 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.
The children enjoy putting their literacy skills into action at our special school events, including readathons, spelling bees, book fairs and author visits. World Book Day provides another exciting opportunity for us to enthuse our young learners, with the whole school taking part in themed events. Weekly class assemblies, school productions and ‘buddy’ reading activities also develop speaking and listening skills and help the children to gain confidence by performing for an audience.
Maths is a very important subject area in life inside and outside the classroom. Bearing this in mind we seek to teach maths through the use of practical equipment where the children can develop and apply their Mathematical skills and knowledge. Children are given the opportunities to experiment with equipment and record their results. Children work with a different mix of whole class, group, shared or individuals on different days. They are provided with ample opportunity to share their ideas, results and recordings with each other. We aim to give our children an extremely solid grounding before moving onto more complicated mathematical concepts. This will give them the confidence to build on skills already gained. Based on the new curriculum and the Maths for Mastery model by the White Rose Maths Hub, we are ensuring children gain an in depth understanding of maths by teaching fluency, reasoning and problem solving.
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. Pupils are encouraged to work scientifically by asking scientific questions, using scientific vocabulary, planning and carrying out investigations and analysing their results. We aim to build key knowledge and science skills and carry out practical investigations, encouraging their curiosity and making learning exciting.
At Twickenham Primary Academy we use the Snap Science programme which places great emphasis on working scientifically within the covered topics. Snap Science is an online programme which guides the lessons and provides support and, ideas and resources for teachers to prepare and deliver outstanding science lessons.
To promote science further within the school and ensure pupils develop greater investigative and scientific skills all year groups work towards achieving STEM Crest Awards by completing related challenges. Visits by specialists such as The Science Museum Education Team, Mad Science and The Bug Man will encourage pupils to use their knowledge and understanding in practical and real-life situations. Every year we are looking to hatch and nurture our own ducklings and watch caterpillars develop and grow into butterflies. We also have dedicated science days throughout the year.
We use topics to deliver humanities subject skills and understanding. 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. The 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. A timetable of trips to support pupils’ learning and to enhance the curriculum is published each term. We welcome parental help on these.
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.
We do have discreet timetable time for the development of computing skills but our approach is to integrate ICT into all lessons: the use of google chromes, tablets and other hardware such as cameras and recording devices 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 through regular online safety lessons.
We use Purple Mash, a creative online space from 2Simple as a basis to plan high quality and engaging computing lessons. Purple Mash hosts an exciting mash-up of curriculum focused activities, creative tools, programs and games to support and inspire creative learning. From poems to newspapers, masks and 3D models, animations and textured paintings, Purple Mash supports our creative curriculum throughout the year. As Purple Mash is online, children can continue their learning anywhere and anytime.
At Twickenham Primary Academy, some form of physical activity takes place every day in our curriculum. Our outdoor PE sessions will be either on site or at The Green. They focus on mastering basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination. Pupils are encouraged to participate in team games and to develop simple tactics for being an effective team member. Indoor PE is held in our large hall and includes music and movement, dance, apparatus work and yoga. In Year 2 children also go to swimming lessons at a local pool.
We believe it is important that every child has the opportunity to play sport competitively. Our school sports teams play against other local schools in tournaments and matches throughout the year.
In addition to curriculum sport, we have an extensive list of sports clubs, which are run in the mornings and after school. Through these clubs children can further develop their skills or try out entirely new sports like basketball.
Every summer we hold a whole school sports day, where all children are encouraged to take part and have fun. Sports day is a fantastic opportunity for parents to come along and see their children in action. Weather permitting, children and parents can round off the day with a relaxing picnic in the sun organised by our parents’ association.
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.
We use Charanga Musical School online programme as a basis for our weekly music lessons to ensure high quality, enjoyable music provision with clear curriculum coverage across all year groups. The learning within each scheme is based on: Listening and Appraising; Musical Activities - creating and exploring; and Singing and Performing.
Next to the discreet music lessons, singing and other musical activities are used to enrich subjects and other parts of the curriculum. Assemblies and plays 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 and background music can be heard daily around school.
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.
Philosophy for children (P4C) encourages the children to think differently and consider topics that they might not have contemplated. Children develop their reasoning skills, agreeing and disagreeing with each other without being disagreeable.
Each week a P4C question is posed to the school. Every child has the chance to write their own ideas and suggestions to answer the question and these responses are stuck on the board in the lunch hall. Throughout the following week, the children are encouraged to reflect upon their peers’ answers and responses to the question, giving them the chance to discuss differences and similarities in their opinions.
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.
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.
Once a term we vertically group the children into their House groups for a morning of themed activities eg art, sport, music, history. The house and vice house captains are planning the theme in conjunction with the senior leader team taking pupils` preferences and suggestions into account. Typically the morning will begin with a whole school assembly to set the scene and four activities will follow in the afternoon.
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.
Twice a year we replace the home learning timetable with a whole school home learning project. This lasts for two weeks during which pupils can respond in a variety of ways (prose, poetry, model making, graphic design etc) to a STEAM or THEME linked statement eg Up and Down.
Children at Twickenham Primary Academy achieve highly and we are proud of the results that we have produced so far; this further demonstrates our firm commitment to high standards of achievement. Our curriculum and environment fosters pupils who are respectful, polite, and honest and contribute to the community in a positive manner. As a school, we are determined that our children will leave us in Year 6 as confident, ambitious, independent and well educated young people who are ready for the next part in their education.
Teachers continually use assessment of the children’s responses and the work they produce to measure impact. Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review. This includes book scrutinies, learning walks and lesson observations to measure the impact of teaching and learning. As well as pupil interviews to gauge children’s engagement and enjoyment of the curriculum. Teachers and leaders also have the school’s curriculum assessment data to support judgements on the impact our curriculum is having.