At Mendell, we strive to provide a curriculum that is rich in experience, excitement and challenge and one that prepares our children both for their next stage of learning at secondary school and for their life in modern Britain.
Children in the Early Years' Classes (F1 and F2) follow the Early Years' Foundation Stage Framework, consisting of 7 areas of learning: Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development; Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; Expressive Arts and Design.
We use the National Curriculum programmes of study, set by the Government and updated in 2014, as the basis of our planning for children from Year 1 through to Year 6.
Skills and Knowledge:
The following documents provide the core skills and knowledge that all children must understand and. be able to remember at the end of each year. The children's journey begins in Early Years and this knowledge is built on as they move through the school, being revisited and added to as they move towards the end of each key stage.
Phonics: Letters and Sounds
Reading: Pathways to Read (supported by Bug Club - online reading and Nessy)
Writing: Pathways to Write
In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, phonics sessions take place every day for at least 20 minutes following the 'Letters and Sounds' document. In order to address each child’s different needs teachers assess each child’s phonic and reading progress regularly. This allows us to quickly identify children needing additional support both during lessons and through additional intervention. During whole class phonics sessions, each class has a teaching assistant with them during the lesson to observe and record names of any children who are not secure with new sounds or previously taught sounds. On the same day, teachers deliver intervention to these children to address gaps.
At the end of Year One all children are tested on their basic knowledge of phonics (initial sounds and blends). Children continue to work on elements of phonics until they are proficient through the rest of KS1 and KS2. Children who do not achieve the national standard in the Year One Phonics test will be re-tested at the end of Year Two. In key stage 2, we follow the 'Babcock' spelling scheme to teach spelling strategies.
At Mendell, all our early reading books are phonetically decodable and matched closely to sounds that are being taught in school. This gives children as much opportunity as possible to practice fluency. Currently, we use ‘Collins Big Cats’ as well as the whole school online reading scheme ‘Bug Club’ by Pearson.
To support the teaching of reading and writing, we use 'Pathways to Read and Write’ as a teaching resource across the school. All year groups follow this unique approach to text-based teaching to create fun and engaging English lessons for pupils. A wide range of teaching approaches are used, such as drama activates and cross curricular links. As the lessons are focused around good quality, age-appropriate books, this enables us to promote a love of reading and encourage our children to read for pleasure.
Across the Pathways to Write units, year group skills have been considered in a progressive way to lead to success in learning. These are referred to as ‘Mastery Keys’. There are 3-4 mastery keys per unit from the National Curriculum that are revisited throughout (lots of short writing tasks are used to practise skills). The final piece of writing gives the opportunity to apply the newly acquired mastery skills. Skills are revisited throughout the year as well as skills taught in previous year groups. By the end of the year, each class should have built up their set of skills to show the full range of end of year expectations.
Pathways to read sessions (in years 2-6) teach key skills needed to become competent and fluent readers. In Early years and year 1, guided reading will focus on fluency using decodable books focus on phonetically decodable books (this will also apply to some year 2 children who are not secure with Phase 5).
Pathways to Read planning is progressive and follows a mastery approach. There are 6 units for each year group that use inspiring and engaging texts that are age appropriate and link to Pathways to Write. There are ongoing skills taught and revisited throughout the year and each unit has a mastery focus (mastery keys).
The National Curriculum combines both 'Core' and 'Foundation' subjects (for more information, click on each subject):
We also teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education to all children throughout the school and Philosophy for Children for children in Year 2 to 6.
Following the publication of the new National Curriculum in September 2014, our half termly themes combine local links, points/dates of special interest and national teaching and learning requirements enabling children both to engage with their learning and build upon prior knowledge.
If you would like further information on our curriculum, please do not hesitate to contact the school office.