Lower Key Stage 2 – Years 3 and 4
In years 3 and 4, all children are supported as much as possible by teachers, senior management, teaching assistants, parent helpers and peers to excel in all areas. The school day like in Key Stage 1, begins at 8:50 however the children can walk into their classrooms from 8:40 each day, and are then collected by parents/carers at their 'lines' on the infant playground when the school day finishes at 3:20pm. Every day we ensure that every minute counts and every hour matters. Paying close attention to the levels of progress made in reading, writing and mathematics. All lessons are differentiated to ensure that identified groups of children are challenged appropriately. In maths, this is achieved by grouping children in the whole phase according to their mathematical ability.
Giving the children a personalised curriculum is very important to us and we aim to ensure individuals receive the support they need by constantly assessing individual’s national curriculum levels in reading, writing, maths and science. This is achieved through assessment of individual pieces of work, testing and through use of ‘Assessing Pupils’ Progress’ (APP) forms which enable teachers to track progress with key areas of each subject. These APP sheets are also used by the children, as we believe that it is vital that pupils take ownership of their own learning and are aware of their targets and how they have improved.
To ensure that all children reach targets and make the expected level of progress, there are many intervention programmes in place which are implemented by teachers and teaching assistants. These take the form of short sessions in small groups outside of lessons where key targets and areas for improvement receive special attention. The results of interventions are reviewed regularly to see if children need to remain on intervention programmes.
Literacy lessons are focussed on developing children’s reading comprehension, oracy and ability to write with grammatical accuracy in a range of styles. We have introduced regular extended writing sessions based on Ros Wilson’s ‘Big Write’ programme which encourage children to talk about their ideas. We believe, as Ros Wilson explains, that ‘if a child can say it, they can write it.’ The children’s extended writing is added to their portfolio. Children’s reading comprehension skills are developed during daily ‘Guided Reading’ sessions, in which class teachers work with small groups to improve critical reading of texts.
Each class has a ‘Sentence of the Week’ which is decided by the children. They are encouraged to use their ‘Writer’s Toolkits’ to come up with an interesting sentence. The toolkit contains examples of exciting and interesting verbs, adverbs, adjectives, connectives and advanced punctuation. The children are encouraged to improve the Sentence of the Week each morning.
Teachers want their pupils to become fluent and effective writers; accurate spelling is a means to that end. Competent spellers need to spend less time and energy in thinking about spelling to enable them to channel their time and energy into the skills of composition, sentence structure and precise word choice. ‘Support for Spelling’ sessions aim to create these competent spellers.
In Maths, there is an emphasis on basic number skills, including learning times tables. It is important in our phase that children have a sound understanding of the four number operations before moving on to learning standard written methods. As with all subjects, we strive to make maths lessons as practical and enjoyable as possible. We have introduced daily mental maths sessions and weekly mental maths tests in order to develop children’s speed of mental calculation. The school has introduced from September 2013, mental maths challenges and there is a weekly ‘Mathematician of the Week’ award. Children are all given maths number cards which they can take home to learn and which contain key number facts suited to their ability. Children are then tested at school on these key number facts. They can achieve bronze, silver and gold stickers before moving on to the next level.
We have also introduced from October 2013, the use of the MyMaths website to aid in the teaching of maths and for children to use for homework activities. ‘MyMaths offers a fully interactive, online learning solution for all abilities’ – MyMaths.co.uk. Interactive lessons, games and worksheets are linked to a powerful Assessment Management system that allows teachers to teach in a fun and dynamic way while tracking progress effectively.
In science, practical science is what we are all about. Giving the children 'hands on' activities to explore and develop their scientific enquiry. Over the year we will be learning about electricity, human and other animal bodies and the characteristics of materials. It is important in our phase that children learn key investigative skills as well as the concepts covered in individual units. This includes planning investigations, fair testing and drawing logical conclusions from evidence. We look forward to taking part in the ‘Science and Engineering Week’ in March. Year 3 and 4 children enjoy being part of the school’s ‘Green Team’, working on projects to help improve and preserve the environment.
Our children our looking forward to completing their pop-up books in Design Technology. Once completed, they will be read to our Reception children.
The children have enjoyed learning about Roman Britain in History and have the opportunity to visit the site of a real Roman Town when we go to the Verulamium Museum in St Albans.