Staff in Key Stage One work closely with Early Years Staff to ensure there is a smooth transition for all children. Throughout the year, reception children visit all Year One classes and get to spend time with all staff in the Key Stage. In addition, they also have a number of ‘Transition Days’ in the summer term where they get to meet their new teacher and see their classroom. Parents’ meetings are also held so there is an opportunity to meet the staff, see the environment and ask any questions they may have.
All children in Key Stage One have several visits to teachers across the school to ensure they are confident in such a large building and are happy to approach all teachers in the school. Teachers and Senior Leaders also meet each half term to discuss the progress of all children and how to help move learning forward. During these meetings any social and emotional needs are also discussed to ensure the transition between classes and key stages is seamless.
We have worked extremely hard to ensure the transition between a very play based Early Years setting and a more formal Year Two environment is as smooth as possible. When entering Year One, children will experience a mixture of formal guided sessions with an adult as well as time in our ‘Creative Workshop’ and outdoors environment. During these sessions, children lead their learning and are able to demonstrate how they can transfer the skills they have learnt in English and Maths to other situations. In these areas, the children have the opportunity to take part in activities such as woodwork and cookery. Staff carefully observe and facilitate learning, offering suggestions and advice to help move the children’s learning forwards. Our online assessment tool, Tapestry, allows us to track objectives met and also allows parents and carers to see photographs of their child’s progress. As the year progresses, the level of challenge in these areas increases to meet the needs of the children and to help prepare them for Year Two.
Maths is all around us and is an essential part of everyday life. That is why we strive to foster confident mathematicians who have the resilience to tackle any problem set for them. All children have daily maths sessions where they are taught the skills they need to problem solve. We regularly have problem solving sessions where children can demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge in different ways and maths is weaved through our entire curriculum.
Each year Key Stage One hold a ‘Maths Fair’. During the week the children plan, make and sell products to friends and family. This allows the children to see the importance of maths in everyday life. Children cost the price of their product, visit the supermarket to buy the items they need, weigh and measure products during the making phase and finally run their own stall at the fair.
Numbers Count is a national accredited scheme to help children who are struggling with mathematics. This scheme involves one to one lessons for three 30 minute sessions per week. Our specialised teacher Miss Cooper teaches Numbers Count in a dedicated teaching area and lessons are designed specifically around gaps in the child’s knowledge. On average children make 15.8 months progress in just 42 thirty minute sessions.
As with Maths, we aim to inspire children to develop a love of writing and to recognise the importance of this skill in the real world. We aim to provide children with real life writing opportunities wherever we can; from writing letters to post home, to books for other children to read and warning signs to display around the school.
With ever increasing demands with regards to spelling, grammar and punctuation for young children, we try to make the more difficult elements of English accessible to all. Visual clues used in our marking policy remind children of things they need to include in their work and allow even the youngest of children to self assess their own work and discuss how they could make it even better.
There are a number of skills that children need to acquire in order to become successful readers. One way in which we teach children to read is by developing their knowledge of phonics. The English language is made up of over 44 sounds known as phonemes. We teach the children how to split words into sounds and then blend them back together to read the whole word. (sh-ar-k/shark).
We use the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme to teach phonics in Year One. We aim for all our Year One children to have completed the programme by the end of the summer term. This enables us to teach spelling rules, punctuation and grammar in Year Two. This also ensures the Year One children are fully prepared for the Phonics Screening check in June.
Children are grouped by ability so they learn rapidly at the right level. Lessons are full of pace and fun. Children’s reading books are matched with their phonic ability. There are purely de-codable books available for all children to practise their decoding skills (using their phonics) when reading.
As well as dedicated ICT lessons, we try to incorporate ICT into other areas of the curriculum. Every class has a class blog which is regularly updated. Children are given the opportunity to write posts for the blog and to respond to comments from others. Throughout both our ICT and PSHE curriculum we learn about e-safety and the importance of staying safe when online.
With a number of Ipads in each classroom, children are encouraged to use these as a tool to document their own learning as well as for research purposes. We also use the Ipads to promote speaking and listening by creating our own videos and BBC news reports.
In Key Stage One we teach Humanities through a ‘Topic’ approach. Each half term begins with an ‘Inspiration Day’ to excite the children about what they will be learning. We have had police officers in school to ask for help investigating a spaceship that crash landed in our woods; dragons hatching and flying around the school; giants losing their glasses; and our models of London burning to the ground! Children are encouraged to ask questions about what they would like to find out and to make links between different areas of the curriculum. Colourful and creative ‘topic books’ are a fantastic record of learning and are a excellent keepsake at the end of the year.
During the year, each class in Key Stage One also gets to spend time in Forest School lessons. Our fully qualified Forest School’s teacher takes children into our dedicated woodland area to learn a wide variety of skills. As well as learning about nature and wildlife, children also gain lots of valuable lessons into the importance of teamwork, resilience and risk taking to name just a few.