About our lessons
ABOUT OUR LESSONS
Central to learning at Aurora schools is our Paragon curriculum. This is a humanities-based curriculum studied regularly throughout the week from Reception onwards. It helps children discover different parts of the globe at different times in history.
The keys to Paragon learning are the deep questions that children are taught to answer, such as, “Why does a culture flow from a river?”, “Why Do People Create Art?”, “Who Am I?” or “How Can You Tell What A Civilisation Valued When The Civilisation No Longer Exists?” Our children, parents and staff love Paragon – it is a hands-on spiral curriculum that has a global and citizenship dimension and it has received very positive reviews from educators and Ofsted inspectors alike. Once a year in July all of Aurora’s academies get together to produce the Paragon Spectacular a huge performance usually held at a Sussex theatre. These events have been truly magnificent with a cast of our 400 children and an audience of over 1000!!
If you would like further information regarding any part of our curriculum, please contact the school office on 01323 502525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Key Stage 1 Maths
In KS1 the development of a mastery understading of mathermatics is crucial and we use lots of resources to help the children grasp tricky abstract concepts. We cover lots of topics such as number, algebra, shape and space, and data handling through a structured mathematics programme with a great emphasis placed on exploration through practical work and discussion. We factor in throughout the day, maths meetings, mental arithmetic, and counting practice to ensure children are exposed to maths constantly to develop their understanding even further.
We aim to provide a mathematical curriculum where children are able to think, reason and question, develop confidence in understanding maths in their daily life and develop a passion for the subject itself.
At Heron Park we aim to embed positive attitudes to Maths, giving our pupils the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills to use Mathematics as a natural part of their lives. Our objective is to develop a "can do" attitude to solving mathematical problems using logic, visual manipulatives and determination, following methods and concepts taught through the AET Maths Mastery curriculum.
The key features of the Mastery curriculum are:
High expectations for every child
Stress on the importance of number sense and place value
Resources used to assist understanding
Greater depth in each topic
Understanding of the reasoning behind methods
Problem solving across all topics
Our overarching aim is to foster an enthusiastic attitude to the subject, with teachers planning exciting, challenging lessons for pupils of all abilities, resulting in children who are fluent in the fundamentals of the subject and keen to use their knowledge to explore and investigate mathematical problems.
An exciting online platform for times table learning is used by the pupils: Times Table Rockstars, which allows competitions within classes and across the Key Stage.
At Heron Park Primary Academy, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. Through our English curriculum, we strive to help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners.
We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety. Reading is at the heart of all children’s learning. English enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to examine their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas. With English at the centre of a child’s intellectual, emotional and social development, it has an essential role across the curriculum and helps pupils’ learning to be coherent and progressive.
- To promote a shared love and understanding of reading
- To develop in children a love of books that will not only support their learning across the curriculum, but also extend beyond the classroom environment and enrich their lives.
- To develop in children the confidence and competence to express their views both orally and in writing.
- To establish high expectations for teachers and pupils.
- be effective, competent communicators and good listeners;
- express opinions, articulate feelings and formulate responses to a range of texts both fiction and non-fiction using appropriate technical vocabulary;
- foster an interest in words and their meanings and to develop a growing vocabulary in both spoken and written form;
- enjoy, engage with and understand a range of text types and genres
Approaches and methods
Read, Write, Inc
Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.
In Reception, RWI is fully implemented but the class will not be split into groups until the initial sounds have been taught. Once the sounds have been taught assessments will take place to determine groupings. The sessions will occur daily for 40 minutes. Within this time a 10 minute speed sounds session will occur with follow up handwriting, assisted blending, independent blending and word time reading.
RWI groups will be set across Year 1 and 2 following assessments carried out by the Reading leader. Children in Year 3 that need further sound support will also be part of a RWI lesson. The sessions will occur daily for 1 hour. These sessions will include a 10 minute Speed Sounds session followed by a reading and writing session. Children will also be introduced to basic grammar and spelling rules.
Children in Years 5 and 6 who need further reading support will take part in a Fresh Start lesson. The lesson will occur daily for 1 hour during literacy time. Children in Fresh Start will experience a RWI style lesson taught at a faster pace with age appropriate texts and outcomes.
Daily Supported Reading
The Daily Supported Reading Programme is a classroom programme that helps to move all children on in their reading. It helps children make accelerated progress by working with trained adults in small groups matched to their independent reading levels.
At Heron Park Primary Academy we run the Daily Supported Reading programme (DSR) five times each week. Regular assessments ensure that there is fluid movement between the groups so that children are fully supported and stretched to achieve their full potential. All children continue to take books to read at home from our structured reading scheme.
Destination Reader is an approach to teaching reading in KS2. The approach involves daily sessions incorporating whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading. Children deepen their understanding of the texts they read through the systematic use of a series of strategies and language stems. The approach encompasses the key principles of effective reading provision and fully meets the requirements of the National Curriculum by creating deep understanding of texts, developing oracy around reading and increasing children’s breadth of reading. Destination Reader also helps to build a culture of reading for pleasure and purpose.
Accelerated Reader (AR)
AR is a differentiated reading practise used to create strong, independent readers. Based on individual reading levels gathered from STAR assessments, AR helps teachers to guide children to books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not so difficult as to cause frustration. In addition, AR helps teachers monitor vocabulary growth, literacy skills development, and other reading skills.
SEND pupils are fully involved in RWI and Fresh Start lessons as all pupils work in ability groups and teaching is geared to the speed of progress of each group. 1:1 or small group tuition will be identified by the Reading leader.
In Key Stage Two we use a variety of support schemes and online resources to develop the reading abilities of all pupils. Destination Reader is a whole class, teacher led approach and is delivered daily to pupils from year 3 up to year 6. The pupils work through high quality fiction and non-fiction texts and are specifically taught the skills needed to decode, understand the meaning of the words they are reading and also the more complex inferences behind what is being stated. The pupils work together, use supportive questioning to discuss and have opportunities to read independently and also listen to the story being shared.
Accelerated Reader is used for the pupils independent reading. They are assigned a level based on assessment data and they select books from within the ‘band’ that matches their ability level. They read through the books and then answer an online quiz to challenge their understanding. They gain points for quizzes completed and progress through the bands.
Fresh Start is a scheme used in year 5 and 6 for those pupils who are still finding reading challenging. The scheme takes the pupils through the sounds required to read fluently and they work through booklets with an age appropriate text, comprehension questions, spelling and grammar work and finally a written task.
Alongside this, each teacher will carefully select a class text which will be read to the class each day. Reading will also be promoted with whole school events such as National Book Week where the pupils may dress up or take part in a special reading activity.
Writing in Key Stage 1 is primarily delivered through the programme Read Write Inc. The children are set in ability groups and practise writing every day. They rehearse out loud what they want to say before spelling the words using the graphemes and 'tricky' words they know. They also focus on handwriting each day: Learning how to form the letters correctly and then moving on to join letters speedily and legibly. The children use their own experiences and talk about the stories they have read to help them compose their own writing. When they have completed the Read, Write Inc programme they will move on to writing in response to other high quality texts. Writing is also taught and celebrated across all areas of the curriculum and children will engage in reading, writing and speaking and listening tasks in all subjects, including Science, Paragon and RE/PSHE.
In Reception and KS1 the children learn to read and write quickly and effectively using the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme. The programme is great for incorporating reading, comprehension, writing, spelling, vocabulary and handwriting. The children are taught in differentiated groups to ensure that they are challenged appropriately and move through the levels at the appropriate pace. The interactive lessons keep our children fully engaged and the visuals displayed in each teaching room encourage the children to remember the sounds and accompanying phrases more easily. The children are resilient and we encourage them not to give up but to learn from their mistakes. They gain independence as they move from building their own sentences to writing longer pieces related to the text they have been reading. When they have completed the Read, Write Inc. programme, they will move on to writing in response to other high quality texts. Writing is continually taught and celebrated across other areas of the curriculum including Science, Cornerstones and RE/PSHE. This allows the children to explore more of their own thoughts and ideas showing their curiosity and interest in the world around them.
Key Stage 2 Writing
In Key Stage 2, we aspire to turn children into lifelong readers and writers. To achieve this, writing in KS2 is taught through a wide variety of high-quality texts and we encourage children to see themselves as authors.
We use a range of interesting, exciting, and informative books from established authors to inspire children's writing. Grammar and punctuation are also taught through these texts, in context, so children understand how to apply these skills to their own work. We encourage resilience through the redrafting and editing of their writing and insistence of high standards in presentation and handwriting. Through our daily use of 'Sentence of the Week' we develop children’s ability to speak with confidence and fluency as well as embedding a variety of sentence structures that the children can reproduce independently in their own work.
Where possible, we forge close cross-curricular links between reading, writing and our Cornerstones topics to enrich the children's learning, encourage curiosity and give them meaningful opportunities to write. Using this approach, children understand and are able to talk about both the purpose and audience of their writing.
At Heron Park Academy we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in art and design lessons with paragon. Art enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of colour, texture, form, pattern and different materials and processes. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in art and design. We ensure that the act of investigating and making something includes exploring and developing ideas, and evaluating and developing work. We do this best through a mixture of whole class teaching and individual/group activities. Teachers draw attention to good examples of individual performance as models for the other children. They encourage children to evaluate their own ideas and methods and the work of others, and say what they think and feel about them. We give children the opportunity within lessons to work on their own and collaborate with others on projects in two and three dimensions and on different scales. Children also have the opportunity to use a wide range of materials and resources, including ICT.
At Heron Park Primary Academy RE enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. We develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths and address questions concerning, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children to learn from religions as well as about religious.
At Heron Park, Science is practical and exciting in order to stimulate children’s curiosity, leading them to ask and answer scientific questions. Moreover, outdoor learning on our school field and ‘outdoor classroom’ is utilised to offer a rich and engaging Science curriculum.
Through high quality Science education at Heron Park, children will develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understandings in biology, chemistry and physics. They will develop an understanding of nature, processes and methods of Science through different types of scientific inquiry that will support their understandings of the world around us. High quality Science education at Heron Park will ensure children are equipped with the scientific knowledge to understand the implications of Science in everyday life and in the future.
PSHE will be taught as both a discrete subject using Jigsaw PSHE and embedded within cross-curricular themes. Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development. Teaching strategies are varied and are mindful of preferred learning styles and the need for differentiation. Each class should keep a learning journal to showcase learning in PHSE. Learning could be displayed through photographs, photographs or speech bubbles for example. Special events such as visitors or a general election may present further opportunities for learning. PHSE should also be taught as part of the everyday SMSC curriculum (social, moral, spiritual and cultural).
Paragon - History and Geography
At Heron Park Primary Academy (HPPA) children learn about History and Geography through our Paragon curriculum, which is unique to schools within the Aurora Academies Trust.
At HPPA we aim for our children become confident historians and geographers. Every year the children take a journey through time from the Ancient World to the present day. Each year group takes a different route on this journey visiting a wide range of countries and cultures. Each unit is based around a key question and the curriculum is structured so that the children build on prior learning and skills over the course of their primary education. There is a strong moral and ethical focus within Paragon and it teaches children to be inquisitive, critical, open minded and aware of the impact of cultural influences throughout history.
In Paragon lessons, as well as producing high quality written work, children will experience exciting and engaging learning in art, DT, music and drama. They will also use ICT skills for research and mapping skills.
At the end of each unit of work there is a Paragon Event, when parents and carers are invited to share in the learning. This may be in the form of a shared activity or a performance.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Design and Technology
In our school the study of design technology is valued as a way for children to develop valuable life skills, preparing them for the future. Children are taught specific skills through a variety of projects every other term. The children are encouraged and supported to challenge themselves and work at a greater depth by increasing their technical vocabulary and developing their knowledge of mechanisms, structure and forces so that they can explain how their products work.
Heron Park uses Purple Mash computing software. It is an award-winning cross-curricular website for nursery and primary school children. It enables children to explore and enhance their
knowledge of the computing curriculum in a fun and creative way. Students are able to access their accounts at school and at home to enable them to complete homework or extend their learning.
At Heron Park Primary Academy we believe PE and sport plays an important role in making our pupils happy and healthy individuals. We aim to develop a balanced programme offering a variety of activities which provide pupils with an opportunity to develop high levels of fitness, a broad spectrum of skills and the knowledge necessary to use the skills developed for a lifetime of active participation.
Here at Heron Park we believe sport can and should be enjoyed by all, whatever their age or physical ability.