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Wickham Market Primary School

Opportunity and enrichment for pupils and staff



Intent: why do we teach what we teach?

At Wickham Market Primary School we place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can be successful with further study and employment, go on to be active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners. 

Our curriculum therefore aims to develop the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. We also begin our whole school Jigsaw programme for Personal, Social and Emotional development and whole school Character Matters programme in EYFS to ensure a strong foundation in these areas.

Some of our pupils arrive below national expectations for their age and approximately 38% come from disadvantaged backgrounds and with some complex needs. In the nursery we prioritise children’s personal, social and emotional development as well as their speech, language and communication skills so that children are able to listen, speak, demonstrate excellent learning behaviour, work together and be kind to others. Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. 

As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils develop a love of reading, writing and mathematics.  This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained shared thinking following children’s interests and ideas.  We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and regular forest school sessions. 

Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?

Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities.  The timetable and learning environment is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English (Jane Considine: The Write Stuff), maths and phonics (Floppy’s Phonics) everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED (Jigsaw).  These sessions are often followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their learning further at an individual level.  This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.   

Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. 

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  Children follow the rigorous and comprehensive Floppy’s Phonics programme with fidelity so that they meet good outcomes for reading. In Nursery children have daily access to pre-phonics activities, such as stories, songs, rhymes and listening games, based on the Phase One Letter and Sounds document to give the children a strong foundation of listening skills, blending and segmenting to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running with systematic, synthetic phonics.

As in the rest of the school, in Reception we use the ‘Jane Considine: The Write Stuff’ approach to structure and inform our English planning. This approach uses high quality texts, promotes many cross curricular links and supports a heavy focus on vocabulary development. 

We use the White Rose approach in Reception and across the school to support the delivery of the mathematics curriculum with an emphasis on studying key skills through a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach so that pupils develop deep understanding. We use this approach alongside training from Karen Wilding which focuses on developing a robust concept image of number through the use of five and ten frames and the development of children's subitising skills. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily whole class sessions, small group work and through adult interactions during child initiated play based activities. 

Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. We have recognised that some of our children may have barriers to learning through our speech and language assessments. All children in Nursery undertake a  Wellcomm assessment and those in Reception are assessed using Language Link and NELI.

Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?

Our curriculum meets the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning.  This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals. Staff use ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. This information is tracked on Target Tracker and Tapestry records observations which enables us to measure our starting points against a national data set.    We use this information to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively.   During each assessment window, three times a year, teachers update the progress children have made onto Target Tracker which allows us to assess the impact of teaching and evaluate whether it has been enough.   Evidence of children’s learning including observations, work samples, photographs and contributions from parents are kept in Tapestry ‘learning journals’ which children use to reflect on their progress through pupil voice. 

Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. Children in our early years, on average, arrive with much lower starting points than national.  During their time in our EYFS, children make good progress so that we meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year.  Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year One.  We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.