Reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum so the ability to efficiently decode is essential. Reading helps children to develop their language skills and also helps them learn to listen. At Danesfield School, Letters and Sounds is used in the teaching of phonics.
Guided Reading and Whole Class Guided reading
Guided Reading is used in KS1 while Whole class guided reading is used to teach reading from Year 3 upwards. Please click on the link below for more information.
Children follow the Nation Book Banding Scheme, which starts at Pink and progresses through all of the levels to black (please see colour chart below.) Once the teacher has assessed your child’s reading ability and allocated them an appropriate colour, they will be encouraged, with guidance, to select their own home reader book from the relevant book shelf. Not only does this help to develop your child’s independence, it will also ensure they are bringing home books which they are excited and motivated to read.
The class teacher will carefully monitor which colour book your child reads. Children will be moved through the scheme at an appropriate pace, ensuring they are sufficiently supported and challenged. Please note that if a child reads fluently and with expression, they will not move onto the next colour until the teacher is satisfied that they have a deep enough understanding of the text. Children must secure the ability to read, understand, process, and recall what was just read and being able to retrieve and infer information, from a range of different text types, is necessary before children move on to the next reading level.
Reading at home
When reading with your child at home, it is important that you give your child the opportunity to discuss the book and ask questions of them to check their understanding. It is important to ask a range of questions to determine their ability to retrieve information (e.g. What colour is his hat?) as well as infer information (e.g. Why do you think she is feeling sad?) which will demonstrate your child’s deeper understanding of what they are reading.
We teach writing through ‘Talk for Writing,’ which was developed by Pie Corbett. The aim of Talk for Writing is to develop imaginative, creative and effective writers and enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
Writing is also taught creatively where appropriate, for example where the children may be learning about WW2, they may write letters from an evacuee to build links between subjects. Cross curricular links will be made where teachers feel it is appropriate and where they believe it will aid the development and improvement of children’s writing. We also endeavour to ensure that children are writing for a purpose wherever possible, for example, writing to local supermarkets to persuade them to reduce their use of plastic or when Year 6 worked with a child in Reception to create a story based on their interests which they then read to them.
Spelling is taught systematically to ensure that all spelling rules relevant to each year group are covered over the academic year. The teaching of spelling in Key Stage 1 is covered through the teaching of phonics.
We use Spelling Shed to encourage children to learn their spellings in a fun, interactive way. The game-like format, based on the spelling requirements for each year group, helps builds the children's confidence in spelling and has online and offline activities. It provides phonics based lists for children in Key Stage 1 and teachers are able to track the children's progress.
Grammar and Punctuation
The teaching of grammar and punctuation is embedded throughout the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. There is also discreet teaching of grammar and punctuation which will vary between year groups.
At Danesfield School, we aim to support children by equipping them with a range of skills to solve problems in a variety of ways. We aim to develop lively, enquiring minds which encourage pupils to become self-motivated, confident and capable in order to solve problems that will become an integral part of their future. Pupils solve complex problems by breaking them into simpler steps to solve. They use their knowledge to achieve learning throughout the various areas of mathematics and we link Maths to real life situations wherever possible (e.g. The Fiver Challenge and Finance Fortnight) to enable children to recognise the relevance and importance of Maths in the real world.
At Danesfield, we have adopted Power Maths in our approach to teaching the maths curriculum. This mastery programme is designed to spark curiosity and excitement and nurture every child's confidence in maths and as a result we do not set for these lessons. It has been written specifically for UK curriculum classrooms by leading mastery experts from around the world and is recommended by the Department for Education. This embedded approach across the whole school ensures consistency in the teaching of maths is built around a child‑centred lesson design that models and embeds a growth mindset approach to maths and focuses on helping all children to build a deep understanding of maths concepts.
For more information on what is taught in computing, science, history, geography, DT, Art, music, RE and SMSC, please see the yearly overviews below which will be uploaded in due course for the next academic year.
Computing and the use of Technology to enhance learning
The use of technology is completely embedded in our curriculum; its use is carefully considered to enable the children to best fulfil the learning objective of the lesson. Teachers make learning opportunities relevant and purposeful, engaging children further and giving their work meaning. Imaginative teaching strategies, for example, using Minecraft in Maths to create equivalent fractions, enable children not only to learn in exciting and inventive ways, but also develop key life skills such as communication, collaboration, problem-solving and resilience, ensuring that the children are secondary school ready.
Our children develop a love for learning, enhanced by the use of technology across the curriculum, from the varied and stimulating experiences they are provided with. Not only has this had a significant positive impact on our results but more importantly, it has helped to create successful, happy learners with a thirst for knowledge, a determination to succeed and necessary skills to continue to flourish in secondary school and beyond.
These skills have been invaluable during the period of remote learning, where children have been able to access all their work remotely through the use of Microsoft Teams. This has enabled daily contact between the class teacher and children and teaching has had to be adapted to accommodate this new way of learning.
We are surrounded by technology and use the products of science every day: science is everywhere. Our children are growing up in an increasingly technologically and scientifically advanced world, where they need to be scientifically educated in order to succeed.
In an increasingly scientific and technological age children need to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to better prepare them for modern life. Teaching our pupils scientific methods is teaching them how to think, learn, solve problems and make informed decisions. These skills are central to every aspect of a student’s education and life, from school to whichever career path they choose to pursue.
We want to instil a love for learning science early on in children’s education; primary school children should be given a much richer, deeper foundation in science. Our dedicated science teaching space will not only inspire and motivate the children to develop a love for learning science but it will also reinvigorate their passion for science. This will enable our staff to run wild with their imagination and creativity to produce incredible lessons, inspired by magic, that children will remember for the rest of their lives.
In an educational climate where Ofsted claim that science is being "squeezed out" of the primary school curriculum, we want to ensure that our students are receiving an exciting and stimulating science curriculum – which develops life-long skills- and we aim challenge gender stereotypes and encourage our girls to recognise their passion and potential in Stem subjects.
Science lessons and experiments will now be able to take place in our newly finished science teaching block. Teachers and children will be able to work in our tailor-made environment, kitted out with all the resources and facilities required to carry out exciting and inventive science experiments, while children put their skills of 'working scientifically' to the test.
After School Activities
We engage with children to discover the type of after school activities in which they would like to be involved. There is a huge variety of clubs on offer including: music, drama, sports, technology, pottery, cooking, forest school, languages and ‘fun’ games. A full list is available under the clubs/activities section.
Danesfield is set within a beautiful woodland environment. We are extremely fortunate to have very large outdoor areas, including a dedicated EYFS learning garden, Key Stage 1 playground, with accompanying play equipment and outdoor learning space, offering a variety of play opportunities with hard surface, grassed and woodland areas. The separate Key Stage 2 area includes the AstroTurf, a large playground with a greater variety of equipment, including a timber treehouse play area located in a wonderful wooded part of the grounds. We have an outdoor classroom with firepit and the whole school makes use of an extremely spacious playing field to the rear of the school for sporting activities. We also have a allotments where we grow our own food and sell the produce.
Please visit our Forest School and Farm School sections to learn more about benefits of Forest School, which children across the whole school benefit from.
We believe our children benefit enormously from having such excellent outdoor opportunities.
Danesfield School offers a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society. Our curriculum prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in the 21st century. Our curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that we plan for our pupils.
The Early Years Curriculum
The Early Years curriculum comprises seven areas of learning covering each Early Learning Goal (ELG). To reach a Good Level of Development (GLD), pupils must achieve at least expected levels in the prime areas and in literacy and mathematics by the end of the Reception year.
The prime areas of learning:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
The specific areas of learning:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
Characteristics of effective learning:
- playing and exploring
- active learning
- creating and thinking critically
Assessments are based primarily on observation of daily activities and events. Teachers and Teaching Assistants note, in particular, the learning which a pupil demonstrates spontaneously, independently and consistently in a range of contexts. Accurate assessment takes account of a range of perspectives including those of the pupil, parents and other adults who have significant interactions with the pupil.
For each ELG, teachers judge whether a pupil is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year (expected), exceeding this level (exceeding), or not yet reaching this level (emerging).