Curriculum and Lessons
What does your child learn at school each day? Find information about our curriculum subjects here. We hope that you find the information below useful. If you have any questions about our curriculum please speak to your child’s teacher or contact the School Office.
At Heron Park Primary Academy, we teach the National Curriculum to help our pupils to acquire a broad and balanced knowledge.
At Heron Park we believe in four values that underpin everything that we do - Knowledge; Equality; Determination; Achievement. These values belong to every pupil, parent and member of staff and to any visitor that joins us. We explore these values through our learning each day and in the interactions that we have with each other.
At Heron Park, we aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who are passionate about reading. We believe that ‘Reading is the Key that Unlocks All Learning’.
Our reading offer in EYFS and KS1 includes Daily Supported Reader, Read, Write, Inc. and Accelerated Reader (in Year 2). These programmes are evidence based approaches to the teaching of early reading in KS1 (and where required in KS2). By using RWI and DSR we ensure that children have sufficient exposure to the two strands of the Simple View of Reading (Gough and Tunmer 1986) so that they become confident and fluent readers from the start.
Children who read often or are read to regularly, have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds. More importantly, reading will give children the tools to become independent life-long learners.
Children have English lessons every day and a significant amount of time is given to ensuring that pupils’ phonics (the sounds letters make), reading and writing skills are as good as they can possibly be. We know how important learning to read and write is so we expect it to always be a focus for us!
Children in Early Years are taught phonics right from the moment they start school and this continues until they are really secure in their knowledge and understanding. At Heron Park, we use 'Read, Write, Inc.' (from Ruth Miskin) to deliver our phonics curriculum across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Parents have plenty of opportunities to learn how we teach phonics through our termly workshops and information that we send home.
Pupils are taught to read in daily lessons. ‘Daily Support Reader’ (DSR) is a teaching approach that is used in Year 1 and 2, but also when appropriate in other year groups; it focuses on building on pupil’s phonics knowledge and developing their reading fluency. Every day, children work in small groups with an adult and are taught the knowledge and skills they need to become confident and fluent readers. All staff receive regular training that results in them being highly skilled in helping all children learn to read.
In Year 2, pupils make the transition from Daily Support Reader to reading independently and this is when they will first be able to choose books to read from the school library. We use ‘Accelerated Reader’ to help make sure that pupils are reading books that are not too easy but not too hard. It also provides children with incentives and rewards depending on how much they have read. These are individual and for classes.
In Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6) children take part in daily reading lessons based on the ‘Destination Reader’ (DR) approach. Children continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of reading by learning seven key strategies which enable them to think more deeply about texts and gain a better understanding of what they have read. These are clarifying, predicting, questioning, summarising, inferring, evaluating and making connections. During the lesson there is a focus on talk, talking to a partner and explaining your ideas as part of a class discussion. We feel this is important to ensure children begin to read for pleasure as well as understanding. Children read independently with a partner for 25 minutes a day enabling them to increase their reading mileage. Within the daily reading lessons, we explore new vocabulary enabling children to better understand what they are reading. Children also complete comprehension activities based on seen and unseen texts. We believe it is important for children to read a range of high quality texts, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Making sure that children learn to write is just as important to us and to make sure that we do this well all our teachers and teaching assistants are trained in ‘Talk for Writing’ and we use this approach to help make our English lessons really effective. More information about Talk for Writing is available here www.talk4writing.co.uk. Lessons are planned around a spine of texts that interest the children and provide strong examples of writing that they can use to build their knowledge around. Right from the start of school, children are immersed in poems, rhymes and stories that given them a really solid understanding of story text structures and help to develop their love of reading on.