Curriculum and Phonics
Our Maths and English policies can be found here
High expectations for all learners – a Mastery Approach to the Curriculum
The Hearts Academy Trust is developing a Mastery approach to the curriculum consistent with the New National Curriculum. We have very high aspirations for all our children in Hearts schools and we employ the Mastery approach to help children to become fluent and confident in the skills and knowledge they need.
We believe that all children are capable of making good progress in learning and we reinforce a “can do” attitude and approach to learning . The expectation is that the large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Depth of understanding is prioritised, alongside high expectations of every child.
However, decisions about when to progress will always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources.
Some children will grasp a skill or concept particularly rapidly and teachers ensure that there is always challenge for these children to engage them and ensure that they are making good progress. The challenge will not usually be to accelerate them through new content but will be an activity to broaden their understanding and encourage them to think more deeply about what they have learnt or to apply the skill fluently in different contexts.
Some children may need support or different strategies to help them to keep up with the class’ learning. This can include giving different resources, additional practice to consolidate their learning or extra teaching support either during the lesson or outside the lesson.
In most lessons in Hearts schools, all children will access the initial teaching together with teachers targeting questions to check and move on each child’s understanding. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge, and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up.
We have developed an assessment system that enables us to track what children can do and what their next steps are in the most important things in each subject. Teachers continually adapt teaching of the whole class and additional support for individuals to meet needs identified in these assessments.
Phonics are taught across the school using elements of the "Letters and Sounds" programme. In order to ensure that children receive the most suitable teaching, teachers carry out careful assessments of the children's understanding and use of phonic skills. These assessments take place on a regular basis. Following these assessments children are placed into sets for phonics lessons.
Reading is a very important part of life at Hilltop Infant School and we aim for all children to develop a love of books and reading. Where school and families work together children make the best possible progress so we ask that all children read at home at least four times a week.
At Hilltop Infant School, children learn to read using a range of different books; a wide range of Oxford Reading Tree books are available alongside books from other schemes and individual titles. All books are grouped into colour bandings; this helps the staff and older children themselves to choose books that are at a level they can read independently with just a little support. We teach children to use a range of different strategies, including phonics, to read unfamiliar texts.
As well as their leveled reading books, children have the free choice of books from classroom book boxes to enjoy in class and they also make regular visits to the school library (once they have been in school for a couple of terms).
All children are encouraged to read daily at school; they will read captions, worksheets, group reading books and a range of other materials. Teachers will also hear them read books on an individual basis; the frequency of this will depend upon the age and ability of the children.
Children learn to read best when supported effectively at school and at home. We actively encourage all families to read with their child at home at least five times a week.
Monday to Friday
8.30am - 4.30pm
Hilltop Infant School
T. 01268 762531
Head of School: Mr Dan Chapman
Executive Headteacher: Mrs Karen Mackenzie
Senco: Mrs Hanli Bouwer
Enquiries: Mrs V Adkins
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