We believe that exciting, engaging lessons, adapted individually to each child’s needs are the best way to ensure every child succeeds.
Reading, Writing and Maths are taught daily in our school, ensuring that all children develop the key skills they will need. Pupils are exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum, enjoying a wide range of Foundation subjects taught once per week. The skills taught in core subjects are then used in other subjects, giving children opportunities to refine, practise and apply their knowledge. All teachers tailor their lessons carefully to ensure that every child can access the curriculum – whatever their ability – in order to succeed.
Our curriculum will enable each child to not only enjoy their education but also to make progress and achieve.
At Elm Academy, every child is important and deserves success. We will support and help every child to become the best they can possibly be. We want each child to:
- Have high expectations of what they can and will achieve
- Achieve the very best they can
- Make progress in their learning
- Have a positive attitude towards their learning
- Have a healthy lifestyle
- Feel safe and secure
- Be proud of their school and their uniform
- Be polite, kind and helpful members of the community
But most of all to…
- Enjoy school!
At Elm Academy, we endeavour to achieve all of this, for all our children. Our Curriculum is carefully planned to fully engross pupils in a topic; our whole class reading books, English, Geography/History and Art/Design Technology all link to each other to allow pupils the opportunity to apply and embed knowledge learnt across a broad curriculum.
Elm Academy’s approach to the teaching of reading
In KS1, Elm Academy use the synthetic phonics scheme Read Write Inc. It is a phonics-based approach to reading which allows children to progress at a rate individual to them. By learning the smallest sounds, children can break down unknown words to read fluently, as well as, learning words that cannot be sounded out. The aim is to become a successful and independent reader, ensuring children have a love of books and an enjoyment of reading.
As pupils progress through the school they enjoy Whole Class Reading sessions where pupils enjoy a high quality text and engage in discussion with their peers and teacher to develop a deep understanding of the text. Pupil discussion is guided by VIPERS sentences starters; questions about Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarise. They will also experience Reading Comprehension sessions where pupils develop the ability to apply a range of reading skills to a piece of text they have not seen before. This gives the pupils the chance to develop VIPER skills across a wide range of texts.
Daily, all pupils will be involved in story time. This is an allocated, protected time slot in the pupil’s timetable where they can listen to and enjoy an engaging text. This is aimed to develop pupil’s love and passion for reading. We hope pupils will then carry this love of reading with them throughout their lives. Staff at Elm also expect parents/carers to listen to their children read at home for 5-10 minutes per day and to record this in their Planners so they can apply skills learnt at school. All pupils are sent home with at least one banded book of their choice that is appropriately challenging for their stage of reading, for them to enjoy at home.
We believe it is vitally important that all pupils are exposed to a wide selection of authors from different cultures, ethnicities, gender, and backgrounds to support their wider understanding of the world around them. That is why all our Whole Class Reading books and Story Time books are meticulously hand-picked by our teachers and the Senior Leadership Team to ensure all these different elements are reflected on and are woven throughout our curriculum.
To develop pupil’s passion for reading we engage in numerous events throughout the year including Roald Dahl Day, World Book Day and ‘Get Caught Reading’. These events encourage pupils to enjoy reading further and are always a big success at Elm! We also invite in a range of authors and other writers to encourage pupils to read a wider range of books and develop their writing skills.
Elm Academy Reading Schemes
Reading skills in the lower school are taught mostly through Ruth Miskin’s Read Write, Inc. phonic scheme. The children begin learning letter sounds in Reception and put them together to read simple words. They also learn some key words, which cannot be sounded out. They move on to reading very short stories, called ‘ditties’, followed by longer and longer texts over the next 2 or 3 years, until they are fluent. They also answer questions about the texts that they have read. All of this is done in the context of a small group, set according to the children’s own reading confidence.
Pupils in years 5 and 6 have access to Reading Plus where they can work on their reading speed, accuracy and understanding. This scheme exposes pupils to a range of different text styles and supports them to become more fluent readers.
Every pupil in the school has access to Oxford Reading Owl which has a vast online library where all books are banded in line with the school’s book banding system. This will support pupils to engage in a wide range of books, appropriate for their reading level, and to develop a love of reading.
Elm Academy’s approach to the teaching of writing
At Elm Academy we intend to teach writing in a purposeful and meaningful way. Teaching pupils key skills within a context and then giving them the opportunity to apply their understanding in a range of different ways. All writing is linked to the pupil’s topic to further engage and engross them.
Pupils are exposed to high quality vocabulary as part of their morning tasks; being encouraged to learn the meaning of new, versatile language and learning how to apply it in different ways. This vocabulary is always taken from the class text so the pupils can hear it in a range of contexts. As part of their writing, they are then encouraged to apply this vocabulary independently.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar is consistently taught and revisited discretely as part of our English lessons. It is carefully planned to ensure these vital elements of English are taught in context, with the pupils having the chance to apply them in a meaningful way. Skills are taught progressively, giving pupils the opportunity to build upon learning they have done in their current and previous year groups.
Elm Academy Writing Schemes
Pupils from Years 2 – 6 have access to Read Write Inc. Spelling Scheme which builds upon the knowledge they have gained from the RWI Phonics Scheme taught through Early Years and KS1. This scheme uses characters and interactive videos to teach pupils age-appropriate spelling rules which giving them the chance to apply these skills and revisit them consistently.
Elm Academy’s approach to the teaching of maths
Our aim at Elm Academy is to build a culture of deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths. Encouraging pupils to become resilient mathematicians, who relish a challenge, will support them to develop mathematical thinking skills. All pupils have the opportunity to use concrete and pictorial resources to deepen their understanding and to widen their mathematical skills. The aim is to give children a toolkit of skills to rely upon when becoming fluent in the basics of mathematics, reasoning mathematically, and solving mathematical problems. To ensure mastery, it is important for children to test their own conjectures, formulating hypothesis and using generalisations.
Elm Academy Maths Schemes
With the use of White Rose Scheme of Learning, teachers progressively build upon skills taught in previous year groups helping build a relational understanding in mathematics through high-level questioning and challenge.
We use Times Table Rockstars across the school to develop pupil’s knowledge, understanding and speed of all times tables. Incorrect answers are corrected immediately, and pupils have the chance to apply their understanding of times tables, including inverse operations.
Elm Academy’s approach to the teaching of science
Science is carefully planned and designed to give all pupils the opportunity to become ‘Scientists’. Encouraging pupils to reflect on what they already know, use this to plan what they need to find out, observing what they can see and measure, recording what they have found out, concluding their observations and evaluating where this leads them ensures they follow scientific process. A visual Science Process wheel, that all units of science teaching follow, gives pupils support to follow this process and acts as a tool to help them if needed.
We encourage as many practical inquiry lessons as possible to develop pupil’s understanding in a meaningful and ‘hands-on’ way. Ensuring pupils write up and reflect on their findings, not only encourages them to apply skills learnt in English, but also develops their ability to be scientists. Trips to a range of scientific locations helps to embed and engage pupils even further with their science curriculum.
Elm Academy’s approach to home learning
All pupils are provided with a planner where home learning is recorded and to enable parents and teachers to communicate frequently. Pupils receive home learning books for English and Maths with homework being set weekly. As part of our RWI Inc. Spelling Scheme, pupils may also be asked to develop their understanding of a spelling rule or skill they have learnt in school.
We also use an online tool called Purple Mash where home learning may be set in the form of 2Dos. All pupils have logins to this that are glued into their planners and if homework is set on here, it will be written in their planners. Pupils may also be asked to use our other online learning platforms such as Times Tables Rockstars or Oxford Owl to complete a piece of homework.
All home learning will be acknowledged by a member of staff and pupils will receive feedback in order to develop their understanding further.
To find out more about Elm Academy’s approach to the teaching of foundation subject please click on the link below to our Curriculum Statement.