Children join Finchampstead Primary School at the start of the academic year in which they will be five years old. Before starting school the children have two visits when they will meet their teachers and the children in their class. They will also be assigned a buddy from Year 6 who will look after them in and around the school and help them to settle in.
Our Early Years curriculum complies with the “Early Learning Goals” as defined by the DfE and is based around seven areas of learning:
Children work towards the Early Learning Goals in the reception class and there is a strong emphasis on learning through play and child initiated activities.
Being outdoors offers opportunities for learning in different ways and our outdoor area is equipped for the reception children where they can explore, use their senses and be physically active whatever the weather.
“Staff in this caring school know pupils’ abilities extremely well” OFSTED 2012
Keystage One and Two
In studying English the pupils develop skills in speaking, listening, drama, reading and writing. A sound grounding in basic skills of reading and writing enables the children to express themselves creatively, communicate effectively and also gives them access to a range of rich literature. Literacy skills are used and applied in all areas of the curriculum. From Reception we follow a Phonics Scheme 'Letters and Sounds'.
All children are encouraged to enjoy and value reading. Children begin to bring their reading books home in Reception, and are given a book bag to keep the books safe. Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 are paired with a Reading Buddy from Key Stage 2 so that children can enjoy reading together and encourage one another. We have a well-stocked, computerised library which children and their families are encouraged to visit regularly, and children are given the opportunity to be Librarians during their time at the school. We encourage the children to read regularly both at school and at home. We have reading scheme comprising of books from Oxford Reading Tree and Rigby Star. We are currently building up a school Reading Spine to support our learning in the classroom.
A wide range of experiences and stimuli are provided to help children become interesting and independent writers and writing skills are applied and used across the curriculum. A carefully structured programme of spelling and writing guides the children’s development through the school. We aim to develop good handwriting and expect a high standard of presentation.
Mathematics in its widest sense is a vital area of learning for everyday life and should be a source of great enjoyment for children.
The understanding of number through practical experience is taught from the outset of the child’s school life. By means of practical activities children acquire a grasp of basic mathematical concepts and a language with which to communicate understanding.
Mathematics includes not only number work but also the study of shape and space, measuring and data-handling, which are linked to the solving of practical problems. In the early stages most work is practical and verbal. Only when the ideas are firmly understood do the children need to record their findings.
Older children build on these skills and use them in more formal operations and in a variety of situations including scientific and geographical investigations. Mental calculations form an important part of the daily maths lesson.
Computing is used to enhance learning in mathematics and a range of maths programs are used to develop children’s maths skills.
Science at Finchampstead Primary School begins in the Early Years with simple investigations and close observations of the world around us. This approach is continued throughout Key Stage 1 with a gradual introduction of recording skills and the extension of the children’s ability to use scientific language to describe their findings and to ask “Why?” and “How?”.
The children become more familiar with scientific concepts and are encouraged to make predictions, record findings and choose the right equipment for the investigations of a more complex nature. All children are encouraged to develop enquiring minds and to play an active part in the discovery of their world and how it evolved.
Speaking and Listening
The skills of speaking and listening are promoted throughout school life and children have the opportunity to participate in class discussions as well as debates and more formal presentations. Ample opportunities are also given for drama and formal and informal speaking and our pupils are encouraged to speak to a wider audience through events such as assemblies, church services, school productions, Family Learning Events and showing visitors around the school.
The stage in the playground is used by the children for learning and play and the reception children especially enjoy putting on impromptu shows for everyone to enjoy!
Our vision for computing is to enhance learning through the effective and up to date use of technology.
It is our view that from the very early years of school, computing should be used to support and enhance children’s learning. We are constantly developing our programme of study to embrace the new technologies available to us and recognise the increasing computing skills that children have. This provides children with a wide range of experiences which they can apply to other areas of their learning in a more cross curricular, creative and exciting way.
The school has an up-to-date computer suite which is used extensively by all children. We are constantly developing our own Electronic Learning Platform which can be accessed via a link on our school website. The learning platform is used by pupils and teachers to support learning.
“Pupils are extremely keen about all the school has to offer and display enormous enthusiasm for learning”
“Across the school, pupils talk with considerable confidence and share their ideas willingly with one another”
Religious Education (RE)
As a Church Aided school, Religious Education is an important part of the curriculum. Our RE teaching contributes to the distinctive character of the school and children learn about religion and learn from religion in a range of contexts. There is a key focus on Christianity and children also learn about other world faiths. St James’ Church is often visited to enhance learning as are other religious establishments.
Children of all ages are given the opportunity to learn French. In Key Stage 1, the learning is largely through games and song. In Key Stage 2, the children are taught in individual year groups. The curriculum is varied and includes learning about the cultural differences. Throughout the school there is a strong focus on speaking and listening and having a French Café each year gives some children the opportunity put their French language skills to practical use.
Through the teaching of Geography, children develop a knowledge and understanding of places and environments throughout the world. Children are taught the skills of geographical enquiry and there are strong links with other curriculum areas. Where possible, the children learn from experience through field trips and exploring the local area.
In History, we build an appreciation of past societies and how they have influenced our modern culture. Children are taught the skills of historical enquiry through history topics such as The Romans and we encourage a policy of active learning aiming to bring the past to life by participation in day visits and enriching learning experiences.
Design and Technology
At Finchampstead, children develop their knowledge and understanding of design and technology through activities that explore structures, mechanisms, food, textiles and control technology. Children are encouraged to work together and develop their ideas through discovery and evaluation of both processes and products.
Music provides a wonderful medium through which children are able to express themselves. We aim to develop children’s knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of music by providing a wide range of activities including singing, playing, listening to music of different styles and opportunities for composing and performing.
A specialist music teacher is in school once a week. Children also have opportunities for instrumental tuition. The school enjoys strong links with Berkshire Maestros and encourages all pupils to learn to play an instrument. Pupils can join the school choirs, which perform at concerts both in and out of school. There are performance opportunities which include both music and drama and these take place on a regular basis.
Physical Education (PE)
At Finchampstead children enjoy a wide range of activities including games, dance, gymnastics, athletics, and, in Years 3 and 4, swimming. Children are continuously involved in planning, performing and evaluating their work and through this process they learn to apply and appreciate the patience and skill necessary to carry out their activities. The children work hard to improve on their personal best and enjoy both inter- and intra-school competitions.
Art and Design
Children experience a wide range of materials and media. They learn drawing, painting, printing, 3D work and textiles work. Children are encouraged to enjoy art for its own sake, as well as using art skills to develop understanding of other curriculum areas.
Personal, Social and Health Education
The essential feature of health education is the promotion of a good quality of life through the physical, social and mental well-being of individuals. The PSHE curriculum provides information about what is good and what is harmful and involves the development of skills to help children to use their knowledge effectively.
Sex education is included as part of the curriculum which also gives the children a healthy attitude to living with reference to diet, hygiene, reproduction and environmental health. Our sex education policy is available in school and parents are invited to view video material before it is shown to their children. The school’s emphasis on caring relationships and the acknowledgement of other people as individuals means that the subject is always taught with sensitivity.