Our current focus is to ensure that all children 'catch up' on lost learning due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are also ensuring that we are supporting children with their mental health and well-being.
Art and Design
In Art lessons, children at Castilion are involved in looking at the work of artists and craftspeople and studying the methods they have used. They will look at work from different cultures and from different times and will be asked to discuss their likes and dislikes in order to develop their appreciation and understanding of art. They will also be involved in producing artwork themselves. They will be taught how to use a variety of materials and they will be encouraged to develop basic skills in drawing and colour mixing so that they can produce good observational sketches. As children progress through the school they will be given wider choices of materials and techniques, including clay work, and will need to make more complex decisions in developing their sketches into pieces of work.
The art curriculum has been designed with the ultimate goal to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. It aims to provide the pupils with opportunities to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design.
In order to develop pupils’ critical eye and appreciation of art, pupils discover and learn about great artists, architects and designers in history and develop their understanding of the historical and cultural development of their art forms. Through discussions, self and peer assessments, pupils develop their ability to describe the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines and make links to their own work.
The school has an annual art festival, displaying artwork from across the school. Festival dates can be found on the school website and in the school newsletter. During our arts festival, pupils are given the opportunity to produce creative work, explore their ideas and record their experiences. They also develop their skills and knowledge to enable them to evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design. The artwork produced is often inspired by their topic work and cross-curricular links are planned, to enrich the pupils’ learning in other subject areas. Likewise, the skills and knowledge taught during the teaching of art are transferred and used in other subjects, helping to provide a more creative curriculum.
Links to the local and wider community have helped develop pupils’ enthusiasm and appreciation of art. Trips are regularly planned at art galleries, museums and other interesting locations. Above all, the teaching of art at Castilion is full of enthusiasm and love for the subject. Previous art festivals have been highly successful and pupils are extremely proud of their attainment and progress.
Computing at Castilion is integrated where possible into other lessons so that Computing becomes a natural tool for supporting children's learning.
At Castilion, we follow the New National Curriculum for Computing, delivering a high-quality computing education to create active participants in a digital world. Informed by developments in ICT and best practice nationally, we teach pupils to use their computational and creative thinking to solve problems; to use ICT to communicate effectively and to become digitally literate, preparing them for their future place in the twenty-first-century workplace.
The computing curriculum covers four main strands:
- Computer Science (Coding): Children are taught to create, debug and follow simple algorithms; to understand inputs and outputs; to understand computer networks, including the Internet.
- Information Technology: Children are taught to use appropriate word processing software to create, store, retrieve and manipulate digital content.
- Digital Literacy: Children are taught to instinctively apply their digital skills to a range of technology, recognising the common uses of technology both inside and outside school.
- Online Safety: Children are taught how to be responsible, safe users of technology. They are taught to recognise and report unsafe practices and to understand how to keep private information safe online.
How can you help your child at home? As with all subjects, the more practice your child has with using technology, the more accomplished they will become. You could:
- Sign up to your local library, where there are computer banks which your child can use free of charge
- With your child, use the Internet to research your child’s interests, discussing how to carry out an effective and safe search.
- Download ‘scratch’ from https://scratch.mit.edu/ - free coding software suitable for years 5 and 6.
- Download free ipad apps such as ‘hopscotch’ to help your child code.
- Log on to Khan Academy at https://www.khanacademy.org/computing for hundreds of free computing ideas. You can make your own algorithms, learn about cryptography, and watch videos about how the Internet works and ancient computing.
We believe that a creative Computing curriculum is one that is never taught without being linked to another aspect of our learning. By linking Computing with life, children are better able to see the real use of the taught skills and apply them effectively outside the classroom.
Design and Technology
In Design and Technology, children at Castilion are involved in looking at, taking apart and studying simple objects to see how their shape and design suit their purpose. They will also work with different tools and materials learning the skills involved in using them safely and proficiently. They will be given opportunities to design artefacts and make them following their designs and practising the skills they have been taught.
- To deliver programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2 of the National Curriculum in Design and Technology;
- To develop imaginative thinking in children and to enable them to talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making;
- To enable children to talk about how things work, and to draw and model their ideas;
- To encourage children to select appropriate tools and techniques for making a product, whilst following safe procedures;
- To explore attitudes towards the made world and how we live and work within it;
- To develop an understanding of technological processes, products, and their manufacture, and their contribution to our society;
- To foster enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose in designing and making.
Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject at Castilion. The curriculum allows opportunities for pupils to use their creativity and imagination, to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.
Exciting design briefs are given to the pupils to provide them with opportunities to learn how to take risks, become resourceful, innovative and enterprising.
The pupils begin all design projects by gathering background research and are taught how to effectively evaluate past and present design and technology and develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. They also learn the importance of the target audience and the relevance of market research. The pupils learn how to write design specifications, developing their ability to plan for products that are fit for purpose. Pupils complete focused practical tasks before they make their final product to help develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to design and make high-quality prototypes. Pupils are also able to select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities. Throughout the design and making process, the pupils learn how to develop their ability to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others. They do this through regular formal and informal self and peer assessment opportunities.
The teachers at Castilion are skilled and knowledgeable in this subject area and are effective in transferring their knowledge, in creative and engaging ways, to develop pupils’ technical knowledge. This can span from learning how mechanical systems such as gears, pulleys, cams and levers function to preparing and cooking a variety of seasonal dishes using a range of cooking techniques.
All Key Stage 1 and 2 children learn French.
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
- speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation.
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt.
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in French.
Listening, exploring and speaking:
- listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding.
- explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words.
- engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help.
- speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures.
Understanding and communication:
- develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases.
- present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences.
- read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing.
- appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language.
- broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary.
Applying and developing fluency:
- write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly.
- describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing.
- understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.
Primary National Curriculum
As part of a new Primary National Curriculum, learning French has become a requirement for children within Key Stage 2. The focus of study in modern languages will be on practical communication.
Aims: At Castilion, we aim to develop children’s experience of language acquisition and stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about languages; we intend to introduce young children to another language in a way that is enjoyable and fun; we thrive to develop their understanding of what they hear and read. We aim to extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences between French and English. We want to strengthen their sense of identity through developing an awareness of cultural differences in another country. The teaching of Modern Foreign Languages should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of grammatical structures and vocabulary.
Expectations: At Key Stage 1, children will be introduced to French informally. They will embark on the programme of study when they enter Key Stage 2. By the end of Key Stage 2, most children will be able to:
- Listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding.
- Explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words.
- Engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help.
- Speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structure.
- Develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases.
- Present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences.
- Read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing.
- Appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language.
Geography is about places and children are required to study contrasting localities, so much geography will be linked, where possible, to educational visits to a variety of different areas. In geography, the children will be involved in looking at maps, in surveying different areas, using compass directions, using ICT and in looking at atlases and reference books to gain information. Using the skills taught they will explore the school environment first and then gradually move on to study localities in the British Isles and then work on a worldwide scale.
The Geography Attainment Target is divided into five areas:
- Locational Knowledge.
- Knowledge and understanding of human and physical geography.
- Following directions and maps.
- Geographical enquiry and investigation.
- Map Making.
At Castilion, children of all ages are involved in looking at everyday life in times past. They will do this through class visits, looking at artefacts, through the use of ICT, reference books and through drama. The children will be concerned with their own history, the history of their family / local community and of famous people and special events.
The History Attainment Target is divided into five areas:
- Chronological understanding.
- Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past.
- Historical interpretation.
- Historical enquiry.
- Organisation and communication.
Literacy (including Reading & Phonics)
English can be thought of as being made up of:
- speaking and listening
- writing and reading
At Castilion we use the following to ensure pupils are motivated in a meaningful and exciting way.:
- the Power of Reading Project
- Big Writing
Speaking and Listening: Speaking & listening is not taught explicitly but it permeates every element of school life. A key strength of our curriculum is in the time dedicated across the school to perform in front of large audiences, particularly with our regular class assemblies which parents and carers attend.
Writing: Teachers plan rich and varied writing tasks, and they often relate to the topic being studied at the time. Whatever writing children are doing, teachers use the Castilion writing expectations and our recently developed punctuation and grammar guidelines to guide their planning, as well as our punctuation & grammar glossary. Our writing curriculum has been developed to meet the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum legislation.
Phonics & Reading: At Castilion we are passionate about reading and we endeavour to make sure that all our children develop a love of reading and that every child leaves us as a reader. We use the ‘Power of Reading’ and ‘ Big Writing ’projects as a basis to promote reading and high-quality literacy work in the school.
Central to our approach is the teaching of systematic phonics using ‘Letters and Sounds’. Daily, discrete high-quality teaching alongside effective assessment and tracking helps to ensure that children meet the ambitious reading targets that are set for them. Pupil premium funding has been targeted effectively to support the reading skills of identified groups of children.
The school uses the following reading schemes in KS1 and throughout the school where appropriate to support the teaching of reading:
- Project X
- Floppy Phonics
- Longman genre and info trail
- Rigby Star
- Wolf Hill
- Oxford Reading Tree
- Reading Explorers
All of our classrooms feature bright, stimulating and inviting books corners for children to sit and read in and we regularly invest in high-quality texts for the children. In our book corners, you will often find children’s recommendations and reviews of their favourite books. By the time children leave us in year 6 they have read many books by many significant authors
Guided reading is a daily occurrence throughout the school and in this time children have further opportunity to engage with high-quality texts and show their understanding through a range of responses such as drama, extended writing opportunities and reader’s theatre. We also ensure that throughout their time at school children regularly hear adults reading aloud.
Our reading curriculum is primarily delivered in two ways:
- through ‘guided reading’ (from Year 2)
- through reading-focused lessons
During these sessions, children are taught the key skills of retrieval; inference; structure; language choice; purpose/viewpoint and context.
At every stage of a child's life, reading should be pleasurable and we believe that time should be devoted at school and home to 'reading for pleasure'. During curriculum time throughout the week, children have the opportunity to read books of their own choice, which they take home, read and discuss. This is key to the development and enjoyment of reading.
- Read more guidance on our homework expectations in relation to reading.
- Read more guidance on supporting your child with reading in KS2.
Throughout our school learning is planned in a cross-curricular way and we routinely use books as our starting point for a topic. Using a high-quality text as a basis for learning really engages the children and helps to develop quality writing as well as stimulating learning in other areas of the curriculum.
In Music, the children will spend time listening to different types of music and speaking about their likes and dislikes. They will also have opportunities to compose their own music. We have an active school choir that participates in a wide variety of music festivals. Children receive Specialist music provision. Performing is an important part of music too. This may be through performing arts, class assemblies, visiting workshops or it may be through playing instruments e.g. Guitars, Recorders, Djembe and Samba drumming.
Music curriculum: We aim to provide children with a range of inclusive opportunities to discover and develop their musical or dramatic competencies, cultivate their cultural understanding and establish the foundations of essential life skills, such as expressing oneself clearly and confidently. By the time they leave Castilion, children have been equipped with this knowledge and understanding as well as having an appreciation of a breadth of musical forms.
Foundation Stage: In Foundation Stage music and movement is part of every-day learning. The children learn new songs and dances linked to the topics they are learning and over their time in Nursery and Reception build a repertoire of familiar songs and ways of dancing. Additionally, the children are encouraged to explore a range of percussion instruments, both with an adult and independently. By letting children explore how these instruments sound and how to alter the sounds, they are better able to access them in a more formal way in Key Stage 1.
Year 1: At this stage, it is important for children to learn to use their voices expressively and creatively, through songs and chants as well as to be able to experiment using both un-tuned and tuned instruments. In each lesson they are exposed to a range of music from different cultures and eras, giving them the opportunity to listen with concentration and developing their understanding of the musical elements. As their fine motor skills progress, the number of instruments that children have access to increases.
Year 2-6: Each term has a different theme, and incorporates all strands of the Music curriculum, including listening to and discussing music, composing, performing and learning about the history of Music. Pupils have access to the school's percussion instruments and electronic music-making on ipads for their compositions and performances. In upper Key Stage 2, a focus on musical notation and basic music theory will be incorporated, in line with the national curriculum expectations.
At our school, we are committed to providing a range of musical experiences for our pupils, alongside the music curriculum. Musicians and music professionals are invited to visit our school throughout the year to further enrich our pupils’ music learning.
Extra-curricular opportunities: Instrumental lessons are currently available as follows.
|Instrument||Day and Time|
School Choir: Our choir take part in a range of music festivals:
- Young Voices Choir Festival at the 02 Arena.
- Bird College Music Festival at the Royal Festival Hall.
Specialist Music Provision: We work in partnership with Bird College to provide specialist music tuition. All children learn to play the guitar. Children also have the opportunity for one to one tuition using a range of instruments.
At Castilion, we understand that our curriculum will not necessarily match the way parents were taught mathematics. As a result, we have written a calculation policy so that parents can understand the methods and approaches in use across the school.
Aspects from school policies are shared with parents during parents meetings and our Headteacher coffee mornings. We value the support of parents because pupils progress better if they are given the same type of support at home. Other useful documents for parents and carers include our calculation policy and our guide for parents and carers on times table tests at Castilion.
KS1 and KS2: Mathematics is an inter-connected and highly creative subject that has been developed over centuries, providing solutions to some of the world’s most interesting problems. It is essential to everyday life, academic discipline and employment. At Castilion, we are passionate about our pupils leaving primary school with a sound foundation in the fundamentals of mathematics and the ability to reason, problem solve and follow lines of enquiry. Central to this lays a sense of pleasure and curiosity about the subject we hope to foster throughout our whole school community. At Castilion, we teach Mathematics using a mastery approach.
What is ‘Mastery’? When taught to master maths, children develop their conceptual and procedural fluency without having to resort to rote learning. As a result, they are able to solve non-routine problems in unfamiliar contexts without relying on memorised procedures.
We all learn together: In maths lessons at Castilion, where possible, the whole class moves through topics and concepts at broadly the same pace. We spend longer time on key mathematical topics and concepts in order to give all learners both the practice and depth of understanding they need. We believe that all pupils can access and understand the full mathematics curriculum. There is nobody who ‘can’t do maths’.
We challenge pupils by asking them to explore mathematical concepts in more depth rather than accelerate them onto new content. This has been found to have real benefits to children’s ability to access more complex mathematical ideas as they get older.
We learn deeply: We give our pupils enough time to explore core concepts and ideas in mathematics at a deep level in order to foster their relational understanding. This slower pace and focus on depth eventually leads to greater progress because it gives all learners the chance to become secure in their understanding. As a result, each year we are able to build new learning onto children’s existing knowledge and it is not necessary to revisit learning from previous years.
We use representations: At Castilion, we use concrete apparatus (things pupils can touch, hold and manipulative) and visual representations (things they can see) to help children to visualise and internalise mathematical concepts, allowing them to access, conceptualise and solve problems. Through the consistent use of these apparatus and representation, our pupils gain confidence as independent learners to use resources and solve problems. This is known as a concrete>Representational>Abstract approach.
Why do we use this approach? Our approach is developed from mastery teaching approaches and pedagogy used by Singapore and other high performing Asian countries. This has produced a high level of achievement for these nations. Singapore ranks first globally for achievement in Mathematics and has been within the top 5 nations since 1995. This is true for learners of all abilities, as the graph below demonstrates.
Our approach is also based on empirical research and sound educational theory. We have followed advice from theorists who are widely considered experts in maths education such as Jerome Bruner, Richard Skemp, Lev Vygotsky and Zoltan Dienes.
The Department for Education, the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), the National Curriculum Review Committee and OFSTED have all emphasised the pedagogy of mathematics teaching developed in Singapore and the mastery approach.
Our aim in Physical Education is to help the children learn more about their bodies through a programme of sporting fitness incorporating gymnastics, athletics, swimming, dance and games. We actively promote healthy lifestyles so that children learn how to be healthy now and when they are adults.
A full competitive sporting programme has been developed with children from all years encouraged to take part at whatever level they can. A positive social attitude towards team games is fostered enabling the children to understand the importance of teamwork and co-operation.
During the Summer term, we host the Castilion Sports Festival. This festival will involve local school's competing against each other in a range of team sports.
We employ sports coaches to work alongside our teachers during lessons. This helps develop our teacher's skills in P.E. teaching.
Children have the opportunity to take part in a range of extracurricular sports clubs. Competitive games played are soccer, netball, hockey, athletics, rounders, swimming, cricket, tennis and rugby.
Children have the opportunity to become Playground Leaders. Playground leaders support younger children in organising and playing games at both playtime and lunchtime.
Each year we hold Sports Days which include a range of activities and races in which all children are encouraged to take part. Parents are invited to attend, support their children and even participate.
Castilion Primary School is a happy vibrant community school where diversity and individuality are celebrated. We are passionate in our pursuit of excellence in all aspects of school life. We nurture and inspire children to develop confidence and resilience, in an environment where efforts are valued and all children flourish.
Our school vision and ethos is strongly supported through and embedded in the delivery of our PSHE curriculum. At our school, we are committed to ensuring that the emotional and social needs of all our children are met within our school environment and support the development of children’s health and wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence.
We are a Values-Based Learning community. Each month the children find out about and explore a particular value. This approach enables the children to learn about both the Global and the fundamental British Values. Our aim is to ensure that children are prepared for, and have an appreciation of life in modern Britain
As part of providing a broad and balanced PSHE curriculum through our agreed PSHE whole school approach, we are able to nurture and support the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (see SMSC policy). We support children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives and become responsible citizens. We recognise that our school vision is crucial to this learning and should be at the heart of whole school development. This policy outlines our school’s practice and procedures relating to the delivery of our PSHE whole school approach.
The Department for Education has made RSE education compulsory in primary schools.
The Current Status of Relationships and Sex Education (March 2011): The government outlined their commitment to RSE in the Schools White Paper ‘The Importance of Teaching’ published in November 2010. The Paper states that children need high-quality sex and relationships education so they can make wise and informed choices and the government promises to work with teachers, parents, faith groups and campaign groups to improve RSE.
Therefore the most up-to-date legislation relating to sex and relationships education (RSE) are contained within the Education Act (1996) and the Learning and Skills Act (2000). The requirements are that:
- It is compulsory for all maintained schools to teach some parts of sex education i.e. the biological aspects of puberty, reproduction and the spread of viruses. These topics are statutory parts of the National Curriculum Science which must be taught to all pupils of primary and secondary age.
- The broader topic of sex and relationships education (RSE) is currently not compulsory but is contained within non-statutory PSHE within the National Curriculum and is strongly recommended within Government SRE Guidance (2000). School governors are in law expected to give ‘due regard’ to this guidance.
- Both primary and secondary schools are legally obliged to have an up-to-date SRE policy that describes the content and organisation of RSE taught outside the Science Curriculum. In primary schools, if the decision is taken not to teach RSE outside the Science Curriculum this should also be documented in the policy.
A non-denominational approach, following the Bexley, approved syllabus, is used in the classroom where work is based on thematic lines - people who help us, our families, helping others, etc. with appropriate stories from the Old and New Testaments. This syllabus is used from Reception to Year 6. Consideration is also given to the beliefs and main festivals celebrated by other religious groups and cultures. Each term we hold a Religious Education Learning Day where the children get the opportunity to find out about different faiths. Every year group covers an aspect of Christianity alongside another religion during the school year:
- Reception - Jewish Artefacts
- Year 1- Judaism
- Year 2 - Hinduism
- Year 3 - Sikhism
- Year 4 - Islam
- Year 5 - Buddhism
- Year 6 - Big Questions
At some point during each day, the whole school has a period of collective worship.
We may sing songs and have reflection time/thought for the day. Often there is a story and children are encouraged to be involved. It provides the opportunity for pupils to consider spiritual and moral issues and to explore their own beliefs. We encourage participation and response through active involvement in speaking & listening. It is also very important in developing community spirit, promoting a common ethos and shared values and reinforcing positive attitudes.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from the daily act of worship and Religious Education in school. Should you wish to do so, please contact the Head Teacher. There will be an opportunity for each year group to perform at least one seasonal performance over the year where parents and governors are invited. We finish each week with a Celebration Assembly where good work, behaviour, citizenship in and out of school, attendance and punctuality are recognised by the school community.
At Castilion, we emphasis scientific enquiry more than any other area of scientific study. We want pupils to ask questions and find answers for themselves. We also want to challenge their findings to see if what they discover is always or only sometimes true. In doing this, we are encouraging pupils to become even more inquisitive about the world around them.
In order to present their findings, pupils have to be able to use and apply the skills introduced in Maths. They need, for example, to read intervals on a number line so they can compare the value of data on a graph. This is one of many more examples where the knowledge and skills gained in one area of the curriculum deepens their understanding in another.
During Key Stage 1 pupils observe, explore and ask questions about living things, materials and phenomena. They begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and to link this to simple scientific ideas. They evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. They use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas. They share their ideas and communicate them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables.
During Key Stage 2 pupils learn about a wider range of living things, materials and phenomena. They begin to make links between ideas and to explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday things and their personal health. They begin to think about the positive and negative effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. They carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They use a range of reference sources in their work. They talk about their work and its significance and communicate ideas using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts and graphs.