Curriculum

Our school curriculum

At Ashdon School every learner is entitled to an experience of learning which is rich, varied, enjoyable, challenging and inspiring.  Our curriculum embeds, where possible, the ethos of our school – Caring, Challenging, Celebrating.

The curriculum plays a vital role in promoting the physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual and economic health of all its pupils.  We work with parents and carers to ensure that children leave Ashdon School with an enthusiasm for learning, positive self-esteem, a sense of wonder about the world a strong sense of responsibility towards their environment and the community, respect and understanding of different cultures and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Reading opportunities are at the centre of our curriculum and opportunities are taken to enrich the curriculum through reading.

Click here for our recommended reading books for Class 1. Click here for our recommended books for Class 2 & 3.

The curriculum overview for each of our classes can be viewed by clicking on the image on this page. You can also read a little bit more about our approach to each subject area below.

English

Up to one hour each day is devoted to English activities throughout the school.  The children are taught to use speech to express their thoughts clearly and accurately and are encouraged to learn to value the ability to listen carefully and attentively. 

Reading is given high priority with direct teaching and guided groups in class.  To support individual reading there is a graded scheme at the early stages which broadens into a variety of progressive bands of suitable reading material and a wide selection of more advanced books.  Children are encouraged to take books home to practise and consolidate their reading skills. 

Children write in a variety of forms and genres, including creative and factual writing, reports, instructional texts, poetry and persuasive accounts. 

Spelling is taught using a variety of strategies.  The Cambridge ‘Pen Pals’ scheme is used to teach both the mechanics of handwriting and appropriate speed and style for different purposes.

From Reception onwards, pupils receive a daily phonics lesson, targeted at their current level of attainment, and are encouraged to apply this learning in their reading and writing. Pupils continue to receive daily phonics teaching until they are confident with using and applying the skills taught within phase five of the ‘Letters and Sounds’. Pupils who are making slow progress are identified through formative assessment during lessons and intervention is immediately put into place, alongside the usual phonics teaching. Children are sent home with reading books which are fully decodable. Supplementary readers, which are 90% decodable are sent home later to reinforce the sounds. Children also have access to the online Bug Club reading resources.

In KS1 (Year 1 and 2) the phonics programme Letters and Sounds is taught in groups according to age and/or ability with an increasing focus on spelling and spelling rules. Y1 focus on phase 5 Letters and Sounds (having reviewed phase 4) and Y2 focus on phase 6 (having reviewed phase 5.) Some children may be supported with Read, Write Inc resources to supplement Letters and Sounds. Children are also taught to read and spell the appropriate High Frequency Word (HFW) lists. Phonics and English are taught daily in KS1.

 English is taught by a variety of genre units which are covered over a sequence of weeks. These units cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts as outlined in the National Curriculum. The units develop reading skills, sentence formation focusing on grammar and punctuation and writing and re-drafting skills. They may link directly to the teaching of non-core subjects when appropriate. The meaning of vocabulary is explored and glossaries are developed from reading material.

The key resource used to support children’s spelling learning in KS2 is The Spelling Shed. Daily spelling practice and rule teaching takes place in KS2 moving on from and referring back to phase 6 Letters and Sounds. A weekly spelling test takes place in each class.

Across Years 3-6, Letters and Sounds may still be used where needed to support children’s learning, in addition to Read, Write Inc resources to support children where appropriate.

Mathematics

Mathematics is also taught throughout the school.  A daily mathematics lesson, of between 45 minutes and 1 hour, is held in all classes.  Children are encouraged to talk about their maths using appropriate vocabulary and explain their methods.  The development of mental mathematic strategies is an important part of this.  We aim to teach children the importance of maths in all aspects of their work and its practical applications in everyday life.  We supplement mathematical work with games and other resources to help children find pleasure in the subject and to reinforce the important concepts and skills.

We have produced a guide outlining the main strategies we use when teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. To download it, click here.

Science

The children are taught a variety of scientific facts and methods of enquiry through topic work.  They are encouraged to read, investigate, experiment and record their findings in order to develop the skills of predicting, setting up fair tests and obtaining evidence from their own observations.

Computing

We aim to prepare children for the challenges of a rapidly developing and changing technological world.  Computing is used to enhance the children’s learning, develop their understanding of how programs work and to communicate and present information in a variety of ways.

Design Technology

Design technology is taught through the three elements of design, making and evaluating.  We present the idea that there are many solutions to a design problem with aesthetic, economic and safety issues taken into consideration.

Art & Design

We encourage appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts and children are given opportunities to explore all aspects of art and design.  They are taught to use different materials and encouraged to develop their creativity and imagination in communicating through visual media.  We explore the work of artists, craftspeople and designers to learn about the diverse roles and functions of art and design in society.

History and Geography

History and geography are taught through topic work.  Children begin by studying the familiar and extending their learning to develop a wider appreciation of the world in which they live.  To broaden their experiences, the children often have the opportunity to visit events and places of interest.  Years 5 and 6 are offered an extended residential trip to study a contrasting location.

Music

Ashdon is fortunate to have a specialist teacher to work with each class every week.  All children are taught to read music and are encouraged to explore rhythm and melody.  There are class and whole school singing lessons and we have an active and enthusiastic choir. All children have the opportunity to participate in a musical production during the year.

French

Children have specific lessons in French and are also exposed to French vocabulary during the course of the day.

RE

In this school, religious education is in accordance with the Agreed Syllabus approved by Essex County Council. This covers major world religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam.

PE

Our approach to PE curriculum coverage is based on the Cambridgeshire scheme of work for Physical Education. In addition to the class teachers, we are also fortunate to have specialist teachers work with the children for dance, swimming and some other aspects of their learning.

Relationship, Sex and Health Education

We teach RSHE through different aspects of the curriculum.  While we carry out the main RSHE teaching in discrete lessons, we also teach some RSHE through other subject areas (for example, science and PE).

In Key Stage 1, we teach children about how animals, including humans, move, feed, grow and reproduce and we also teach them about the main parts of the body.  Children learn to appreciate the differences between people and how to show respect for each other. 

In Key Stage 2, we focus on life processes and the main stages of the human life cycle in greater depth.  We ensure that both boys and girls know how babies are born, how their bodies change during puberty, what menstruation is, and how it affects women.  We always teach this with due regard for the emotional development of the children.

The Relationship, Sex and Health Education programme is available here and it is also outlined in our school policy, a copy of which may be obtained from the school office or in the policies section of this website. Like many areas of our curriculum, the coverage is organised over a 2-year rolling plan, which reflects our mixed-aged classes.

Parents have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of the RSHE programme that we teach in our school, except those elements taught as part of the science curriculum.  If a parent wishes their child to be withdrawn from lessons, they should discuss this with the Headteacher.

Meeting the needs of all learners

We strive to meet the needs of all our learners across the curriculum that we offer. Below is our Inclusion Policy, which outlines principles that we follow to achieve this:

Inclusion Policy

Further information on our SEND offer can be found within SEND Policy and SEND School Offer documents found on policies page of this website.