The Willow Bank Primary Curriculum
The Woodland Academy Trust aims to provide learners with an educational experience that provides them with the skills, knowledge and character to understand and contribute to the world they live in.
Wherever possible we look for meaningful opportunities across the curriculum for the children to make connections with their learning whilst not compromising on the knowledge they need to build upon.
Willow Bank uses a core text approach and aim to provide children with cross curricular contexts which are diverse and rich in local history, as well as areas of geographical interest, in order to develop a love for where they live and a deeper understanding of the world. Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum as we celebrate and learn about the local area and traditions, learning new skills to enable the children to take an active role in events throughout the year. We also want them to understand how where they live fits into the wider locality, e.g. London and beyond. Each theme therefore looks at local impact, before considering regional impact, the wider UK, and where appropriate, across the world.
In addition, we are proud of our PSHE curriculum which has been written and developed by teachers across our schools. Character Education focuses on how to best educate the whole child, beyond the purely academic curriculum and is made up of the unique traits that define a person, their strengths, personal values and behaviours. Character Education helps children discover their unique traits and develop an understanding of how to use them in everyday life to benefit them and the wider community around them.
Our teaching and learning model is linked to Rosenshine’s Principles and the use of Teaching Walkthrus by Tom Sherrington and Oliver Caviglioli.
We have high ambition for all of our learners, providing equality of opportunity for all. Our aspiration is for all children to leave our Trust with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become self-regulated learners.
At Willow Bank, our Art, Design & Technology (DT) curriculum seeks to captivate, motivate and stimulate lifelong creative learning, through a clear progression of both knowledge and skills. Over the course of the year, children will be looking at a range of artists, designers, architects, craftsmen and women throughout history as a reflection of culture, creativity and diversity.
The Art and DT curriculum has been carefully linked to each year group's half term topic so children can make connections with their learning, building on prior knowledge and skills, adding to what they already know. In Art, our children will have regular opportunities to engage with different mediums such as sketching, painting, sculpting, printing and working with digital media. Similarly in DT, children will learn to be resourceful, innovative, enterprising and problem-solving citizens, following the design, make, evaluate process. Where possible children will deepen their understanding through cross curricular activities and real-life experiences.
At Willow Bank we value the process of Art and DT, not just the final outcomes, children share this process through parent showcases and published displays. To further enhance specific subject knowledge, visits, trips and workshops are planned throughout the year. We also take part in art week, where an emphasis is placed on exploring how local and global issues are represented through art. It is another opportunity for our children to recognise different perspectives, ideas, beliefs and values.
The Art and DT curriculum aims to develop children’s confidence to explore and express themselves through different art and design forms. Children will be able to develop critical thinking and analysis skills, by accessing a curriculum that is adapted and developed; every child achieving their full potential through interpretation.
All of the schools in the Woodland Academy Trust are part of London South East Children’s University, an award programme that encourages children to get involved in lots of exciting activities and experiences in their local area. All school sites are recognised Learning Destinations, and all of our extra-curricular clubs are validated through Children’s University.
In Key Stage 2, children will receive their own Passport to Learning and gain a stamp for every hour of activity completed at a validated Learning Destination, as they work towards their Children’s University Award, Certificate, Diploma, Degree and eventually Fellowship. At the end of each year, children who have earned enough stamps are invited to a special university-style graduation ceremony to celebrate their success!
There are lots of Learning Destinations that have already signed up to the London South East Children’s University, from kayaking on Danson Lake to following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin at Down House, with plenty more places and activities looking to get involved.
You can see the full list of Learning Destinations in the area by clicking here.
Technology in Education
At the Woodland Academy Trust, we strive to make sure all children are equipped with the digital education that they need for the future. We use technology to foster creativity, confidence, and collaboration, as well as to remove individual barriers to learning, allowing all children to realise their full potential in a way best suited to them.
Throughout Y1, children are taught how to use all the functions of an iPad correctly and independently. Through basic tools such as accessibility features, children learn how to personalise their own learning experience to tailor the way they interact with digital devices. From Y2 onwards, children continue through our bespoke computing curriculum to develop essential skills across a range of themes, including e-safety, digital literacy, coding, and design. These themes are revisited every year to allow students to enhance and develop their skills and knowledge whilst using a range of devices, applications, and operating systems.
Each Autumn, children complete a unit around online safety which is revisited each half term as part of our safer online relationships education lessons. Our coding and design units provide children with the skills required to move from basic algorithms and presentation platforms, to advanced coding and designing and developing their own applications.
Technology Across the Curriculum - Universal Design for Learning
At Woodland Academy Trust, we utilise technology to allow all children to experience success.
Children are provided with access to a variety of mediums in which they can demonstrate their learning, from sending a voice note, to making a short film or presentation, or simply to write in their book. By providing children with options, they are able to engage with and demonstrate their learning in a way most suited to them. This removes the need for any child to feel isolated from a task or unable to achieve.
We carefully design lessons to focus on the key area of learning. Using Showbie as an online interactive platform, teachers can easily send out documents for children to interact with and quickly return for personalised feedback. This is directly linked with Socrative – an online assessment tool which quickly allows teachers to address misconceptions, and identify any targeted intervention. Augmented Reality applications are used to provide children with engaging interaction with 3 dimensional objects in the classroom, and features such as Apple Maps allow children to understand their place as a global citizen in context with their own community.
Throughout Key Stage 2, children are given the opportunity to earn their Woodland DigiStamps by completing 8 tailor made projects as they develop their portfolio to apply to become a Woodland Digital Expert.
Our phonics curriculum follows the clear systematic approach set out in Little Wandle Letters & Sounds. Key skills are developed through the Review, Teach, Practice, Apply teaching structure.
At Woodland Academy Trust, children are taught to use phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words, alongside language comprehension processes (our ability to acquire and understand vocabulary).
At Woodland Academy Trust, we use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids. Our chosen reading scheme is Collins Big Cat for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. The decodable reading practice book is used to teach reading in school and is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
When our children are secure with all the phases within our phonics scheme and can apply this in their reading, they are taught to read books that are not fully decodable. These books are high quality texts, covering a range of literature types seen in fiction, non-fiction and poetry across each half term. At the Woodland Academy Trust, we enhance learning in the wider curriculum by linking the books that are studied during these lessons to topics learnt in geography, science and history. This may include core texts, which can be found in each school’s curriculum handbook. We ensure that the content domains from the National Curriculum are taught through this approach.
Reading for Pleasure
We are committed to developing our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy and are committed to ensuring that children’s experiences of reading are enriched through commitment to well-resourced library areas and book corners. Our aim is to build a community of readers.
Our writing curriculum aims to enhance topical learning through the use of core texts and teaching draws upon the EEF Improving Literacy Recommendations and Talk for Writing principles. The writing process is constantly adapted to meet the needs of the children in our schools. There is a culture of writing for a range of purposes to best prepare our children for the world beyond primary school. Children are taught to formulate and articulate increasingly sophisticated sentences as well as having regular opportunities to develop quality vocabulary and language choices. We provide regular opportunities to apply their writing skills in extended quality pieces of writing.
Our children are taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They are taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This enables them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.
Acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to learning and progress across the whole curriculum. Teachers develop vocabulary actively, building systematically on their children’s current knowledge. They also make links between known and new vocabulary ensuring the children expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write. Vocabulary is explicitly taught in all curriculum areas.
We have developed our very own bespoke Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling curriculum. Each year group covers key aspects linked to the National Curriculum starting with a ‘ready to write’ lesson and culminating in consolidation of learning opportunities. Each year group has a clear long-term overview which covers progression of grammar and punctuation skills. Our bespoke curriculum sets out the knowledge that children should learn for each GPS skill in each year group, including model questioning and ideas for teaching the content.
At Willow Bank, we teach the children to write in a joined, cursive handwriting style, progressing from pre-cursive in Early Years and Key Stage 1 to fully cursive in Key Stage 2. Practicing cursive has been shown to foster a higher level of spelling memory. The ability to master the skill of writing clearly and fluidly improves the child’s confidence to communicate freely with the written word. Cursive writing leads to better spelling because words are visualized as units rather than separate strokes.
Mastering maths means children are acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. We believe and adhere to the following principles to help our children have a secure understanding of maths, using White Rose Maths as the core delivery tool for this.
Lessons are broken down into small, connected steps providing access for all children and leading to the ability to apply the concept to a range of contexts.
Representation and Structure
We use concrete resources and pictorials to make maths visual so children can see and manipulate it. Concrete maths resources are objects that can help children see maths. For example, “five apples” and “half of a pie” are concrete numbers, while “five” and “one half” are abstract numbers.
In every maths lesson, teachers model how to use precise maths language to explain mathematical thinking and encourage children to discuss their ideas and thinking while they explore maths concepts. Teachers encourage children to share their thinking to deepen their understanding of a maths idea by questioning; for example: What have you discovered? How did you find that out?
Quick and efficient recall of maths facts, for example, number bonds to 10 (numbers that add up to make 10), times tables, days of the week, and months. Each year group has a daily ‘maths meet’ which helps support the development of fluency.
The teacher represents the concept being taught, often in more than one way, to draw attention to a particular idea and develop an overall understanding. We encourage children to pay attention to what is kept the same and what changes, connect the mathematics and draw attention to mathematical relationships and structure. For example, if I know 2 + 2= 4 then 12 + 2 =?
The diagram below shows how the steps above link and weave through to build children’s understanding and enable them to understand, apply and eventually master the concepts of mathematics (NCETM).
The diagram below shows how the steps above link and weave through to build children’s understanding and enable them to understand, apply and eventually master the concepts of mathematics (NCETM).
Please see the attached documents for how we approach the teaching of calculation
At Willow Bank Primary School, we believe all children should receive engaging music lessons which include active participation and practical music-making at the heart of all learning. We ensure that through music our children will learn a host of transferable skills, particularly confidence and high self-esteem, which will support their self-expression and learning across all areas of the curriculum. This will also support their well-being and mental health.
Lessons include listening, composing, performing and appraising at the core.
Whole-class instrumental tuition enables the children to learn how to read musical notation.
Children appraise and analyse compositional features of music from different times and cultures and use this knowledge to inspire their own compositions.
Los límites de mi idioma son los límites de mi mundo
The limits of my language are the limits of my world – Ludwig Wittgenstein
At Willow Bank, we believe the richer your language and broader your vocabulary range, the more you’ll be able to get to know and to express yourself. An individual's world grows with their understanding of language.
The learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works. We believe that learning another language will give our children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others. Many of our children speak English as their second language so it is vital that we celebrate all languages and take time to learn from each other.
We teach Spanish to all of our children in Key Stage Two (from year 3 and above) each week and have a specialist language assistant to support teachers with delivering the curriculum. A majority of the learning takes place through Language Nut App which the children find interactive and engaging.
Our intent is to provide broad linguistic and cultural experiences for our pupils that enable them to foster a love of languages and to develop their communication skills. We endeavour to broaden the cultural awareness of our pupils, to create linguists who enjoy learning languages and who can express themselves confidently in the second most spoken language in the world.
Each year group has a weekly timetabled Personal Development lesson. Across a half term, the Personal Development lessons incorporate all of the statutory PSHE requirements following the Skill Builders system set out by the PSHE Association, the national association for PSHE education professionals.
Under the umbrella of Personal Development, we also deliver Character Education lessons using the 6 WAT Characters. Additional lessons are planned during this time to encourage discussions around the fundamental British Values, and our role in the community and as a global citizen.
At Willow Bank Primary School, we use the Bexley Agreed Syllabus in Y1 to Y6. The syllabus is based around a key question approach, addressing three strands across each year group – believing, expressing and living, and sets out the suggested content for learning for each key question. If a particular religion is followed by a child in the class which is not included in the syllabus (for instance being a Sikh or a Jehovah’s Witness), then the syllabus can be adapted. In EYFS, RE is interweaved throughout their topics, and does not follow the Bexley Agreed Syllabus.
Throughout the teaching of Religious Education at Willow Bank Primary, children will have the opportunities to gain knowledge of how others live their lives, and it will equip them with the appropriate understanding to demonstrate respect for themselves and others as people with their own opinions, rights and social belonging. During our teaching of RE, we will incorporate some or all of the following: the use of religious artefacts, visits to places of worship, visitors to the school from different faiths, teaching approaches that promote Religious Education skills and a variety of ways for children to record their learning experiences.
At Willow Bank our vision for science is to provide a progressive curriculum to enable our children to develop our core value of curiosity to explore and discover the world around them. This will begin at EYFS through to Year 6.
The children will be presented with a range of phenomena to be examined, with time for children to raise and test their own scientific enquiries. This approach will help to develop their scientific enquiry skills; will strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the world allowing them to become confident learners by posing inquisitive questions about what they observed.
At Willow Bank, our focus is to ensure that children communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively, by presenting them in a systematic, scientific manner, incorporating iPads (programmes including Numbers, and cameras to record their findings) using pupil voice, diagrams, graphs, and charts.
“Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.”
In history our aim is to inspire our pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. History helps pupils to understand the process of change, the diversity of societies as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
We will prepare our children to ask perceptive questions, think critically, explore arguments and develop balanced perspective of historical events.
We intend to inspire pupils to develop a broad historical and cultural awareness by:
- Providing opportunities for children to develop a chronological framework by investigating the past and how it influences our present.
- Encouraging children to question evidence and form their own opinions.
- Enabling children to communicate their viewpoints in a variety of ways using appropriate vocabulary.
- Exploring a range of sources of information.
- Fostering enjoyment, empathy and curiosity for finding out about the past.
Our Physical Education curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to enjoy, experience, share and excel in quality P.E lessons. Our curriculum offers physical education lessons that inspire all pupils to develop a yearning for regular physical activity, being physically active and healthy to develop stamina, speed, flexibility, agility and strength. The lessons offer opportunities to inspire team work, fair play, and respect through experiencing both winning and losing. Through P.E, our aim is for our pupils to develop confidence and competence that allows them to develop into physically active individuals who would like to continue participating in later years. We also aim to provide opportunities for pupils to participate in a variety of competitive sports to show a desire to improve and achieve their highest skill levels relative to their capabilities and potential.