Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2
The National Curriculum is organised into Key Stage 1 for children aged 5 to 7 and Key Stage 2 for children aged 7 to 11. In Key Stage One, the children are taught for 21 hours per week. In Key Stage Two, the children are taught for 23.5 hours per week.
Classes are organised by National Curriculum Year Groups, plus Nursery and Reception Class, known as the Foundation Stage, with approximately thirty children in each class. We aim to make our teaching as exciting as possible for the children. This can sometimes be done most effectively by integrating the National Curriculum into topic work. Topic work is carefully planned and monitored to ensure that all aspects of the National Curriculum are covered.
Assessment of children’s progress is continuous and records are kept of children’s work. The staff at St Clement Danes take special care to adapt their teaching methods to the particular learning needs of the children and the subject being taught.
There is a policy and a scheme of work for each subject and any interested parent or carer who would like to look at these can do so by contacting the subject leader. Set out below is a brief introduction to each curricular subject as it is organised and taught at St Clement Danes.
How do we teach reading?
We begin a structured phonics programme in Reception using the Letters and Sounds programme and Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc resources. Children learn that our alphabetical system has 44 phonemes (sounds) and throughout Reception and Key Stage One they learn how to represent these sounds with different graphemes (the way the letter is written). Children learn how to blend and segment these sounds to read and write. This consistent approach to phonics enables the children to access many books and prepare them for the Phonics Test which occurs at the end of Year 1. This test is also repeated for Year 2 children who were unable to reach the pass mark.
Alongside this the children learn high frequency words or ‘tricky words’ which cannot be sounded out or are words with sounds that the children haven’t learnt yet.
In Key Stage Two, if children still struggle with reading then the phonics programme will continue as necessary.
In Key Stage 1 children read twice a week to a teacher or teaching assistant using some of our wonderful reading resources.
In Key Stage 2 children read at least once a week with a teacher for half an hour. We have recently bought into the Reading Explorers programme which has an extensive variety of reading extracts and supports the teacher in teaching specific reading skills. Children may focus on skimming and scanning the text, finding the meaning of words, deducing and inferring what is happening in the story.
While Guided Reading is taking place other children in the class may be working with a teaching assistant or doing other reading based activities.
If children struggle with reading interventions are put into place to ensure rapid progress is made.
How do we teach writing?
Children at St Clement Danes love to write and we try to ensure that it is celebrated at every possible moment. We have short daily lessons on a different aspect of grammar, punctuation and spelling, for example building up the children’s knowledge of a variety of ambitious vocabulary; understanding the use of conjunctions and openers and how these affect sentence structure. Teachers then expect to see grammar, punctuation and spelling used accurately in children’s independent writing.
Different genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry are taught in different year groups. Teachers plan creatively and use cross-curricular links to ensure that children have a solid experience of all text types. Children work through small writing tasks in the week which then build up into extended pieces of writing. This enables teachers to see how well the children write independently and put into practice the skills which have been taught.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
Year 6 SATs now include a grammar, punctuation and spelling test. This means that as a school we explicitly teach this through short lessons as well as in English lessons. We also teach lessons which relate to the use of grammar and follow a clear spelling programme. For years 3-5 we use the Ruth Miskin 'Get Spelling' programme. This provides systematic exercises which enable the children to complete 10 minutes of spelling 3 to 4 times a week, with a weekly spelling test on Friday. This relates to the spelling sound, pattern, prefix or suffix which has been taught in the week. Year 6 work through their own spelling programme.
How do we teach handwriting?
At St Clement Danes we have high expectations for handwriting in all subjects. Handwriting is taught daily for 15 minutes. Pupils achieve scribe certificates and pen licences when they are ready to use a pen.
In Reception the children are taught to form printed letters correctly. In Year 1 the children are encouraged to write on the line, begin to make their handwriting smaller, using finger spaces so that their work can be clearly read. In Year 1 and 2 the children who are ready are taught how to join up their writing and by the end of Year 2 it is expected that most children will be joining up in all their work.
In Key Stage 2 the aim is for all children to be writing in a neat cursive style by starting the join on the line. Children who achieve Scribe status receive a pen, which we expect all pupils to achieve by the end of Year 3.
How do we teach speaking and listening?
Talk is vital to improving children’s literacy skills. In class we always encourage children to speak in full sentences and to take part in discussions or debates. Our speech and language practitioner works with individuals and groups throughout the school.
St Clement Danes bursts with creative children who love to take part in performances and drama projects. Due to our location we have many opportunities to work with music and drama groups. For example Year 5 work with the Primary Shakespeare Project and Year 6 work with the Rambert Dance Company. We have many school performances throughout the year including a poetry recital, class performances for the annual Oranges and Lemons Festival at St Clement Danes Church and an end of year performance at the Peacock Theatre.
As a core curriculum subject, Mathematics is given a high priority throughout the school. We aim to give each child the skills and knowledge to be fluent mathematicians, who are equipped and confident problem solvers. By using statutory curriculum criteria and other relevant planning documentation, we ensure that every year group covers and builds on each area of mathematics. In addition we strongly support the theory that mental computation is the foundation of being numerate. We teach mental maths at the beginning of every maths lesson. Similarly, we consider the application of mathematics to problem solving and reasoning.
The overall aim is that when children leave primary school they:
- have a secure knowledge of number facts and a good understanding of the four operations
- are able to use this knowledge and understanding to carry out calculations mentally, to apply general strategies when using one-digit and two-digit numbers and particular strategies to special cases involving bigger numbers
- make use of diagrams and informal notes to help record steps and part answers when using mental methods that generate more information than can be kept in their heads
- have an efficient, reliable, compact written method of calculation for each operation that they can apply with confidence when undertaking calculations that they cannot carry out mentally
All classrooms reflect mathematical learning and teaching. Teachers use displays as working walls to reinforce, model and extend the children’s current learning. Collaborative and independent methods of working are taught and encouraged within and across ability groups.
In order to deliver all areas of the Mathematics National Curriculum (number, shape, space, measures, handling data and using and applying mathematics), we use a mixture of topic work, subject-based activities and text books. Where possible, mathematics is integrated into other areas of the curriculum.
Below are the Medium Term plans for Term 1 and 2 showing the end of year objectives.
Our aim is to build on the children’s natural enthusiasm and curiosity to find out about the world around them and make better sense of their environment. In the early years, science teaching is based on everyday observations and simple activities. As the children progress through the school, they are introduced to more complex scientific ideas. We aim to teach the scientific skills of observing, measuring, classifying, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting and interpreting discoveries.
We also teach children to act in a safe and responsible manner when involved in scientific activities. The curriculum covers experimental and investigative science, life processes and living things, materials and their properties and physical processes.
We follow the 'Switched on Computing' scheme of work to follow the Computing Programme of Study. Online Safety and digital literacy is taught termly and threaded throughout the curriculum. Learning about how to be responsible digital citizens and how to stay safe online is central to our learning.
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
- can use technology safely and responsibly
- can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Key stage 1
Pupils are taught to:
- understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
- create and debug simple programs
- use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
- use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
- recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
- use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.
Key stage 2
Pupils are taught to:
- design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
- use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
- use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
- understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
- use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content
- select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
- use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact
The school has a computing suite with up to date operating systems and software. We also have a class set of iPads which are used to integrate computing across the curriculum.
At St Clement Danes our Christian values are at the core of everything we do; we foster spiritual and moral development within a caring Christian community.
Religious Education is taught as a discreet subject with each class receiving a minimum of 1 hour each week from a specialist RE teacher. We teach from the LDBS scheme of work and have developed inclusive lessons which include other world religions and relate strongly to our multi-faith community. We aim to provide children with an understanding of what it means to have a faith and to develop an opinion on beliefs and values.
Children take part in Collective Worship every day. Our Parish Priest, Father Simon leads collective worship weekly based on a Bible story, tradition or festival. Key Stage 2 children attend Eucharist at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, every term.
At St Clement Danes we use our local environment to enrich learning about history. We have strong links with many of our neighbouring museums, with classes going out on visits and with outreach teachers from museums and galleries coming to visit our school. Not only do we visit the large museums such as the British Museum and the Victorian and Albert Museum but we also visit small local venues of historical significance such as Dr Johnson’s House, Sir John Soanes Museum and Benjamin Franklin House.
At Key Stage 1 children begin to develop an awareness of the past and the ways in which it is similar to and different to the present. They are helped to understand subject-specific vocabulary relating to the passing of time and they begin to develop an understanding of the key features of a range of different events and historical periods.
Across Key Stage 2 our pupils are taught the essential chronology of Britain's history. We seek to make them aware that history takes many forms, including cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history. Children are taught about key dates, events and significant individuals. They study local history and the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome.
Geography teaches an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognise the importance of sustainable development for the future of humankind.
Music is alive at St Clement Danes!
We are passionate about music. Our children’s lives are culturally deepened and enriched by our extensive use of the school’s magical and unique setting in the heart of Covent Garden.
Music brings our curriculum to life and is threaded through the life of the school. Our specialist music teacher enables our children to foster an appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of a wide range of musical genre. The children are immersed in the knowledge and skills to develop as confident composers and performers of vocal, percussion and instrumental music. Our children perform on the stage of the Royal Opera House annually as well as Covent Garden Piazza, The Royal Festival Hall, The Peacock Theatre and many other celebrated venues.
Every child at our school has the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument and we provide extra musical activities at after school clubs, including performances with the school choir and our own orchestra. Peripatetic teachers in guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, drums and violin provide weekly lessons. Pupils are encouraged to take graded examinations and we are proud to celebrate our 100% pass rate with many pupils awarded merits and distinctions!
The school has nurtured partnerships with a range of musical talent, including The Young Singers, an exciting youth choir that made its debut in a prestigious concert at the Royal Festival Hall. The Young Singers took part in Berlioz’s Te Deum as well as the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Psalms for Leo.
'I never thought I‘d be able to perform at The Royal Festival Hall as a singer on the stage with The Bach Choir and now I’ve done it! It made me feel more confident in my singing because before I was shy' Yussra Year 5
Drama is valuable for all kinds of learning and is linked to English and other aspects of the National Curriculum. It is used as a way of encouraging children to discuss and explore social, personal and other issues. It is also an excellent way for children to present their learning. At St Clement Danes we have a long-standing tradition of performance and we foster a love of drama throughout the school from Nursery class to Year 6! Our children have many opportunities to take part in high quality drama projects, for example through the Primary Shakespeare and Iris theatre companies as well as performing at the traditional annual Oranges and Lemons Festival and end of year show at the Royal Opera House or Peacock Theatre.
We make the most of our location in the heart of Covent Garden and regular theatre trips are a feature of life for pupils at St Clement Danes and a valuable way of enriching the curriculum. These trips range from The Globe Theatre to the Lion King and 'What The Ladybird Heard'.
Physical Education and Swimming
PE and sports activities encourage children to develop physical skills, fitness and an understanding of the importance of a healthy life-style. The School hall is equipped for gymnastics, traditional games, dance and movement. Children are expected to wear their PE kit for each lesson. All children take part in team sports such as cricket, netball, football and rounders. Children are encouraged to develop a healthy attitude towards competitiveness, teamwork, challenging themselves and doing their best. The experience of winning and losing is regarded as an important aspect of every child’s emotional, personal and social development and helps to build resilience. Sport’s Day is an enjoyable and important event on the school calendar, held locally at Coram's Fields.
It is a requirement of the National Curriculum that all primary school children are taught to swim. Children aged between eight and eleven have a weekly swimming lesson. They are taught how to swim and how to be safe in the water.
Our top-up sports funding enables the school to invest in additional swimming lessons. It also supports PE lessons for pupils in Key Stage 2 who visit Coram's Fields for competitive games.
Primary Languages - Spanish
Pupils at St Clement Danes are taught Spanish by a native speaker. Spanish lessons at St Clement Danes provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and lay the foundation for further foreign language teaching at Key Stage 3. They enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures and vocabulary.
Pupils are taught to:
- listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
- explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
- engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help
- speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
- develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
- present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
- read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
- appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
- broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are
- introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
- write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
- describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
- understand basic grammar, including feminine and masculine forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.