At Hillstone, we are passionate about English: we inspire our children and ensure they achieve as highly as possible. We ensure that all the different strands of English (writing, reading, spelling, handwriting and speaking and listening) support one another, and that high quality English learning takes place throughout the day across the curriculum.
We make use of the excellent RW Inc program to ensure our children get a rigorous introduction to the world of phonics, thus giving them the building blocks they need to blossom as readers and writers. Although this program is focused on phonics (for reading and spelling), it also provides super handwriting phrases that we use to support children in remembering how to form letters. Across the school we use the Sassoon family of fonts as a model for good handwriting, but we do expect our older children to develop their own style. Some children in the Juniors are taught using RW Inc’s sister program, Fresh Start.
Every child has a home reading book, which will generally be from the superb and wide-ranging Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Children on the RW Inc program will also regularly bring home a RW Inc book to share with their parent/guardian.
As a school, we ensure that children know why they are writing (the purpose) and who they are writing for (the audience), and link this all into their current topic. We embrace a ‘Read It, Talk It, Write It’ approach: this means that children first of all read an example of the type of writing they are aiming to complete, then they engage in specific speaking and listening activities to warm up the content and style they will write in, and finally they write!
Our aim is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Children are encouraged to see the mathematics that surrounds them every day and enjoy developing vital life skills in this subject.
Carefully planned activities encourage children to work mentally, observe patterns, make predictions and discuss relationships. Mathematics skills are also used in other subjects such as science, ICT and art.
Maths in the Early Years is evident in daily activities, independent learning and taught sessions. Children are exposed to maths at all times and mathematical vocabulary and cross curricular opportunities are seized upon daily. Children use a range of concrete resources to explore maths practically. Learning is primarily focused on number but also ensures a good understanding of shape, space and measure. Children also investigate a problem a day to develop these crucial skills.
Key Stage 1
In KS1 we follow Maths No Problem which is a scheme based on the Singapore approach to the teaching of mathematics. All children have a work book, textbook and a Maths Journal to complete maths learning. Lessons start with a problem which the children investigate as a class using concrete equipment. Children are actively involved in this and physically manipulate resources themselves and explore outcomes and investigations. When children have a secure understanding of this they move on to the pictorial stage of the lesson where their learning is presented in different ways. This may be through the part part whole model or the bar model but many other pictorial representations for all areas of maths will also be evident in their Journal’s. It is only when a child has fully understood this concept that they move on to the abstract stage and actually write number sentences and show their learning in different ways. Questioning is used very effectively throughout the lesson to ensure that the children can explain reasons for their answers and therefore show a mastery understanding of the topic.
Key Stage 2
In KS2 a variety of resources are used to ensure that high quality learning and mastery is taking place. We follow the medium term planning set out by the White Rose Hub but alongside this use resources published by the NCETM such as the mastery assessment materials and the reasoning guidance. Lessons follow a similar structure to KS1 and start with a problem which often involves the use of concrete resources. In most lessons, children then demonstrate their learning pictorially before then completing the abstract task. At the end of the lesson the children will refer back to their learning slip and complete a ‘Prove it’ task to show that they have fully succeeded in mastering the objective. A weekly arithmetic lesson is also taught to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of number and the associated methods.
Children are encouraged to develop their mental maths skills every day throughout the curriculum. Times tables are explicitly taught giving children the knowledge of what they actually are and how they are formed and also the opportunity to spot patterns and make links. Target Tables are used to assess children’s fluency in recall and also their problem solving and reasoning skills.
For each times table there are three tests which show a build-up in skills. Test one assesses the child’s basic counting skills, test two assesses fluency and recall and test three ensures that the child has fully mastered the times table. These tests also give the child a clear maths target and end goal.
Gifted and Talented
Gifted and talented children will be challenged further in lessons through questioning and explanations. A ‘Going Deeper’ activity will also be planned for in each lesson to enable pupils to take their learning further forward. These will not involve bigger numbers or concepts from a year above but instead will ensure that a child has fully mastered an abstract idea by asking them to explain it in a different way or look at things a little bit differently. Skills in problem solving, reasoning and fluency will be developed even further with ‘Going Deeper’ tasks.
Personalised provision will be provided for children with SEN in maths. This may involve children spending a longer time on a concept or using concrete resources to aid understanding throughout the lesson. In some cases, children may be working on objectives from previous year groups. Specific interventions will need to be planned for some children in line with the SEN policy.
We foster strong partnerships with parents, as we believe good links with home have a powerful influence on the child’s development. We know that children feel more confident and positive about their learning when parents and teachers work together, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation. We look forward to developing this partnership with you and trust you will feel happy to communicate with us about your child at any time.
The curriculum we offer our children is varied, rich and relevant. It consists of all the learning activities, experiences and interactions which promote our school values, meets the requirements of National Curriculum and also includes what we believe is important for our children’s all round development.
Aimed to provide a creative, inclusive, challenging and real-world curriculum that inspires future thinkers, innovators and problem solvers in an immersive environment that stimulates and supports high quality learning.