The Core Subjects: English, Maths, Science, RE, ICT
At the start of each term, parents receive newsletters from each team detailing courses of study the children will follow.
A variety of language skills (talking, listening, reading, writing, and spelling) is progressively taught throughout the school. Children are constantly using these skills in other areas of the curriculum.
Pupils are set by ability for English and may move to a teacher and classroom other than their class teacher during these sessions. Sets help staff focus their teaching and target the needs of the children. Targeted groups of children receive additional support through the Special Needs Co-ordinator and teaching assistants who operate the Early Literacy Support Programme (ELS), Additional Literacy Support Programme (ALS), Further Literacy Support (FLS) and Springboard Maths. These programmes complement classroom activities.
The National Literacy Strategy is embedded in the organisation of English teaching to provide a clear structure and set of expectations. Objectives are set for each age group and ability range to be delivered in structured lessons. The children undertake exercises in class and group guided reading, guided writing individually, in groups or as a class, they examine aspects of spelling, punctuation, grammar and phonics.
Books are of great importance and an emphasis is placed on the ability to read for a variety of purposes – including pleasure. The library is open daily and the children are encouraged to borrow books. Reading development is a partnership between home and school. Parents can do so much to encourage and support their child’s development by putting quiet time aside to hear and enjoy reading together.
Handwriting skills are taught in each year to develop a legible and fluid handwriting style. Initially pupils use pencil and when assessed to be ready move to fountain pens.
The National Numeracy Strategy is the core to Maths in the school. As with English, the children are set by ability for Maths. Lessons begin with a mental and oral starter to promote and extend mental calculation and the development of problem solving strategies. The main body of the lesson continues the exploration of number, the development of strategies to solve problems and, as the children move through the school, standard recording systems. Maths is assessed in several areas: Using and Applying Maths, Number, Shape and Measure and Handling Data.
At all ages we still consider learning multiplication tables to be important. The classes are regularly set tables practice for homework to be tested in class.
Science is taught both as an integral part of cross-curricular studies and as a separate subject. We encourage the children to explore and investigate, to test their theories and describe and communicate their findings and observations.
Information and Communication Technology
A new ICT suite opened in May 2004 where timetabled classes are taught computer skills. The focus of the work is on desktop publishing and use of graphics, data handling, LOGO (programming and control language) and communications through the use of e-mail and the internet.
As part of the core curriculum RE is taught throughout the school. The teaching reflects that religious traditions in this country are, in the main, Christian. However, it is essential we take into account an increasingly multi-cultural society, to respect and understand other religious practices.
History, Geography, Art, PSHE, PE, Games, Design Technology, Music
The Foundation subjects are taught across the school following the expectations of the National Curriculum and structured planning within Westwood. The subjects are at times taught through a cross-curricular thematic approach. They are also taught as separate subjects.
We aim to maintain a broad and balanced curriculum whereby the children gain an insight into the processes of learning, the confidence to experiment, investigate and question and the skills to make use of their studies.
The children follow a programme of activities to promote personal, social and health education. Some of their activities link with aspects of Sex Education, Staying Safe, RE and Science studies. The topics and activities address issues relating to dental care, drug abuse, healthy eating, exercise, bullying and mutual respect.
Appropriate and responsible sex education, imparted with care and sensitivity, is an important element of school preparing for adult life. For younger children the subject is introduced as a discreet topic within Science, PSHE and class discussions. As the children mature, or when local incidents make it appropriate, lessons that are more formal are introduced by the teachers, outside speakers, the school nurse, or video programmes are considered. Parents are given the opportunity to view material used and may withdraw the child from some or all of the sex education lessons.
PE and Games
Pupils of all abilities take part in this compulsory part of the curriculum. They experience a wide variety of activities as guided by National Curriculum expectations. We aim to instil enjoyment and a positive attitude to health and exercise, personal achievement, the notion of fair play and teamwork and self-discipline. This applies to all pupils whether or not they have reached a level of expertise enabling them to represent the school at a competitive level.
As they move through the school, opportunities are available to participate in many additional out of school activities and coaching, including football, netball, high 5s, hockey, tag rugby, kwik cricket, athletics and swimming.
Parents are reminded that, for health and safety reasons the children must remove jewellery during PE and Games.
All children follow a programme of classroom activities introducing them to a wide variety of musical experiences including playing and composition. In addition, the school offers many opportunities for the children to develop and enjoy involvement in music. Members of staff undertake extra curricular music teaching leading the choir, percussion bands, recorder groups, and guitar and key boards.
Peripatetic teachers visit Westwood weekly to tutor children who have a particular interest or talent in playing woodwind, brass or stringed instruments. For these the school makes a termly charge.
Pupils who are identified as having special needs may be targeted for specific reasons ranging from those with learning difficulties, physical difficulties, specific difficulties or being more able.
Special needs teachers from the North Fenland Learning Support Centre work in the school throughout the week. They are available to provide support in addition to that available by the school.
Our aim is to enable all pupils, including those with special educational needs, to work to their full potential by offering in-class, small group and individual teaching.
We continually monitor the progress of all pupils and place them into groups best suited to their current performance and needs. If a member of staff should have a particular concern about a pupil, they discuss the difficulty within the year group team of teachers, with the headteacher, the school’s special needs co-ordinator and the manager of the special needs centre. Parents are informed at each stage and asked to play an active role.
A system of stages operates throughout the special needs procedure. Children identified with special needs and able to operate while in class are placed at School Action on the special needs register. Should the difficulty continue following targeted activities in the classroom the pupil might be referred to a specialist support teacher. They are given diagnostic assessments and may be moved to School Action Plus. The needs of children who are placed at School Action or School Action Plus may better be met, at times, by support out of class either individually or in a small group. The child may be working with an Individual Education Programme (IEP) specifically designed to meet their needs and agreed by the school, parents and the child.
Children who continue to have difficulties and fall further behind their peer group, despite individual support and differentiated work, can be referred with parental permission, for an assessment by the Educational Psychologist (EP). The EP will involve parents in his/her recommendations and findings.
After considering the E.P.s findings, the school may then apply for a request for a statutory assessment of Special Educational Needs. If the request is successful, the pupil moves to ’Statement’ and a statement of special educational needs is drawn up. This may include Learning Support Assistant time specifically to support the individual child.
More Able Pupils
More able pupils are generally taught within sets and classes with appropriately differentiated teaching and preparation. Pupils identified with particular strengths may be advanced to another year group for sets and classes. Pupils showing all round ability matched to the level of social maturity to cope with older children can be advanced a whole year group. They subsequently transfer to secondary school earlier. Such advances will only take place following consultation with parents and the child.