If parents, or others, have any questions about what’s being taught teachers are glad to talk things through: make informal contact at the beginning or end of the day or ask for an appointment in the school office.
What and how we teach depends on your child's age. There are three 'key stages' within our school:
The Early Years Foundation Stage describes learning from birth to the age of 5. Children in their first year at school are in the Reception year which is the last part of this stage. There's a framework that sets out national expectations. It's organised under headings:
The curriculum is flexible so that learning can follow children's interests, and activities are organised to suit children’s needs.
Every day children enjoy a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Children learn a great deal by playing and exploring, being active, through creative thinking and by using their imaginations. Our large and well-equipped classroom provides first-class opportunities for all these things to happen, indoors and out. Playing with others develops important social skills and promotes a positive, problem-solving attitude.
Reading skills are developed systematically in daily phonics lessons and by sharing books with adults. Children learn the sounds that letters make (phonics) and the names of each letter. They learn to write accurately and are encouraged to use their emerging writing in their play. Maths skills are developed through daily teaching and practised in carefully planned activities and play situations.
For children aged 5 to 11 years old we teach the National Curriculum. National Curriculum subjects are English, Maths, Science, Art and Design, Computing, Design and Technology (DT), Geography, History, Languages, Music, and Physical Education (PE). We also teach Religious Education (RE), Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE).
Language is crucial for communicating clearly and it's the key tool in developing children's thinking. Children of all ages develop their language skills every day in just about every school activity.
Speaking and Listening: Teachers create classrooms where speaking and listening are used purposefully. As they grow, children use more and more precise vocabulary. They're given chances to speak aloud: to partners, in small groups, to the class or to larger groups (e.g. in school assemblies or beyond the school in public speaking events). Drama and role play are used to develop the expressive and emotional uses of language.
Reading: We teach children to read accurately and with understanding. Teachers use all sorts of texts - fiction and non-fiction - to teach the skills that allow children to enjoy, and gain from them all. Enjoying reading is crucial. There's a lot parents can do to help. In fact it's easily the single most important contribution you can make to your child's success in school.
Writing: We teach how to compose pieces of writing using well-chosen vocabulary, an appropriate style, accurate grammar and correct punctuation. These skills are used frequently in writing tasks that are part of broader topics, so purpose and interest is built in. We teach spelling and handwriting progressively throughout the school.
Phonics: Phonics is about linking sounds and letters. It’s about being able to break a written word into sounds to help read it (‘segmenting’), and putting together the letters that represent sounds to spell it (‘blending’). In the Reception year and throughout Key Stage 1 children have a structured daily phonics lesson. In Key Stage 2 these skills are reinforced and developed as necessary. We combine two main resources for phonics teaching: ‘Phonics’ Play' and ‘Letters and Sounds’.
We teach maths as a subject in its own right and as a tool to apply elsewhere. Children are taught the skills they will need in the future, and experience the satisfaction of solving problems at their own level now.
All children have a daily maths lesson. As well as building up key skills bit by bit we aim to develop confidence and enthusiasm.
Teachers plan lessons on a wide range of subjects including shape and space and practical measuring. The main emphasis, however, is firmly on handling numbers skillfully and applying them to real-life situations.
We teach efficient mental methods. Children learn number facts including times tables, which we hope, with help, they will also practise at home.
We teach science to expand children's understanding and knowledge, building on their natural curiosity. By learning about the way things work children are invited to enthuse about the remarkable world around them. Children learn science at first hand as they make observations and carry out experiments, some of which they help to design themselves. They also carry out research from books, the internet etc.
We enjoy superb school grounds, including a wildlife area with a pond. These resources are used to support children's learning about living things and the environment.
Art is valued at Nursteed School. By creating their own works of art children develop practical skills, extend their imaginations, express themselves and build up a feel for what is beautiful. We build art into the curriculum, allowing all subjects to be explored in creative ways. Children draw, paint, print, and use textiles, clay and junk materials.
Learning about art involves an appreciation of other people's work. Children observe the work of artists from many cultures and times, helping them to develop their own ideas in new ways. We maintain a lively school environment that raises interest and celebrates children's achievements.
Children see the power of technology all around them every day. In school we use this for a host of creative activities including presenting information imaginatively, retrieving and interpreting information in different ways, plus control technology including simple coding. Children are introduced, at their own level, to skills they will need as adults in work and leisure. They're also taught to use technology safely and responsibly.
By designing and making items in school, children come to understand the processes involved in making things. Activities include building with construction kits, cooking, and making models of various kinds, some with working parts. Children learn to work safely and co-operatively, handling simple tools properly. They plan, test, predict and re-think their ideas. They apply their growing knowledge to help solve problems, get a feel for how different materials behave, and see the need for accuracy and care.
Learning about the Earth interests children and helps them to understand their place in the wider world. As far as possible our teaching is from direct experience. For the younger children the starting point is always their immediate environment. Older pupils also undertake local studies using a variety of sources of information, including maps and atlases. All children enjoy trips into the immediate environment and the older children have an opportunity to take part in a residential visit to a contrasting location.
To start with, young children consider changes in their own lives and in the lives of people around them. Older children build on this foundation by studying events from ancient times to the modern day. Children learn at an appropriate level using books, objects, pictures, film clips, and the internet. They use their imaginations when hearing stories, doing drama and visiting museums or historical sites. Knowing that things haven't always been the same is interesting for its own sake and helps explain what happens now. It makes it possible for children to identify with modern British culture and encourages them to understand and respect other cultures, past and present.
Children in Key Stage 2 (Year 3 to Year 6) learn French and build up their knowledge of different languages and cultures.
In music lessons children express themselves through singing, dancing and playing instruments. They're taught the important skill of listening as they hear different kinds of music and they're introduced to their own musical past, and that of other cultures.
Children are encouraged to share music with others - to sing, dance or play to audiences large or small - building their confidence as they do. We have a school choir. Each year we put on concerts and performances, and take part in musical activities with other schools.
Recorder tuition is provided each week to Year 3 children by our music subject leader. Some children learn to play instruments (mostly the guitar), individually or in a small group.
Physical education allows children to develop and explore their physical capabilities, learn to persevere and work as part of a team. Children take part in a wide range of activities including football, netball, gym, dance, athletics, swimming and adventurous activities (during residential visits).
Approximately 2 hours is allocated to P.E. each week. In addition there are after-school clubs for various sports led by keen coaches. School teams compete in inter-school matches and tournaments, and enjoy a lot of success. The majority of children take part in these at some point and every year there is a sports day for everyone in the school.
Children have equal access to all areas of P.E. They are encouraged to engage in friendly competition and to learn to win or lose graciously. We expect each child to try hard to fulfill his or her potential.
The school has an exceptionally large, well-equipped hall, plus floodlit hard play area for netball and other team games, and a generous-sized sports field.
We teach children about religious beliefs and practices, and their importance. Children learn how people's beliefs affect their lives and how they can express the mystery and wonder that is a part of being human. We follow the Wiltshire Agreed Syllabus which incorporates Christianity and other major faiths. Teachers use pictures, objects and stories in their teaching. Discussion plays an important part as children are encouraged to think about, and care for, others.
(Parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education. Any parent considering this should please speak to the head teacher.)
We happily accept our responsibility to help prepare children for the opportunities and responsibilities of adult life. Day by day we work to maintain a community that is accepting and caring. To this end teachers work with their classes to encourage tolerant and thoughtful behaviour, responsible attitudes and an awareness of personal safety. Learning about being healthy is important, as attitudes learnt in childhood can have a big effect on lifestyles adopted as adults. We support and promote good attitudes, encouraging children to look after their own bodies. Children learn about keeping themselves safe, about personal hygiene, food and nutrition, exercise, substance use and misuse, sex education and environmental aspects of health.
This is taught in age-appropriate ways as part of topic work linked to science, R.E. and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). We inform parents in advance when sex education is part of the programme of work for their children. Parents have the right to withdraw their child if they so wish (please speak to the head teacher).
There is an assembly each day. Singing songs, some with a broadly Christian character, takes place weekly. Children are given regular opportunities to share their achievements in assemblies. Parents and friends are invited to some of these sharing assemblies. Themes for assemblies include moral issues plus stories from the Christian tradition and other faiths.
(Children may be withdrawn from collective worship at the request of parents. Parents who do not wish their children to take part should contact the head teacher.)
You can learn more about what we teach by following the links below.
Teaching subjects separately doesn’t always suit primary school children. Because of this some learning is combined in projects. This organisation suits young children well. It helps to motivate and sustain interest.
Projects often have a particular subject emphasis. During the year a range of themes is chosen to ensure that there is balance and breadth.
Teachers use a range of teaching styles to suit:
Direct instruction suits some learning whilst more activity-based methods will be appropriate at other times. Often a style combining several approaches will be best.
Sometimes teachers teach the whole class together, sometimes children do individual work and sometimes they are formed into convenient groups.
Groups are chosen in a variety of ways (by prior attainment, age, friendship etc.) to suit the lesson. Sometimes groups are formed expressly to promote collaboration, requiring children to work together as a team with a common purpose. At other times groups are used to help match activities to specific needs: this approach allows teachers to meet the needs of children of a wide range of differing attainment.
The number of activities taking place at one time is modest. Extra adults working alongside the teacher are often asked to help supervise one of the learning groups, talking to the children about what they are learning and drawing out their best efforts.
Children get regular feedback about their learning. Sometimes teachers offer their feelings in response to the work. Sometimes shortcomings are identified, and corrections and improvements suggested. At other times teachers may choose simply to describe the work, eliciting further comments from the child or children. With younger children responses are usually immediate and spoken. With older children comments are often written when work is marked. The opportunity for further discussion between teacher and child is always available and is actively encouraged.
Regularly throughout the year teachers assess children’s performance in reading, writing, maths and science so that progress is noted and, where necessary, teaching adapted to ensure the best attainment for every child.
Teachers set age-appropriate homework. Children are expected to complete this to the declared deadline. We ask parents and carers to encourage and support children as they complete these tasks. Reading, to children and with them, is easily the highest priority. We ask parents to establish and maintain this hugely helpful activity throughout the whole of their children’s primary school years.
At the start of each school year parents are invited to meet their child’s teacher. At this initial meeting we provide guidance about homework. Helpful advice and useful resources to support learning at home can be found on the school website.