Developing the Whitewater Curriculum
The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of learning experiences that we deliver in order for school to be a magical place of learning. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, to help pupils become the very best that they can be.
At Whitewater, we aim to equip pupils to make a positive contribution to society in the future through a rich, broad and engaging curriculum which inspires all pupils to learn through the acquisition of knowledge & skills with the school values of Fellowship, Creativity and Courage at its core.
When developing the Whitewater Curriculum, the following principles guide our decision-making:
Inclusive & Accessible
We provide an inclusive education within a culture of support and high expectations. All staff work together to nurture and support children, ensuring they feel happy, safe and cared for in school. Our curriculum and teaching enables all children to make progress from their relative starting point. Our overarching aim is to ensure that we make every lesson count, for every child.
Aspirational & Challenging
We will guide and support all children in finding who they really are. We foster a ‘growth mindset’ and model determination and perseverance which enables opportunities for all children to experience what success feels like. We use open-ended questioning and apply high order thinking tasks that allow children to solve problems both independently and collaboratively. Through devices such as the ‘Learning Pit’, we aim for every child to embrace challenge and recognise that this is a fundamental part of effective learning.
Inspirational & Engaging
At Whitewater, we ensure that learning is vivid and real. We want our children to develop understanding through enquiry, creativity, use of technologies and learning behaviours. We foster thinking skills to make learning interesting, flexible and inventive. We create an effective environment to embed learning skills across a range of subjects, using a varied approach and a variety of learning techniques to create and maintain a ‘love of learning’.
Relevant & Purposeful
We ensure both teaching and learning are well-structured so that children know what is to be learned and how they learn best. We set clear targets, making every learning experience count. We use rich and interesting content which children can relate to and make connections with to drive our curriculum. We actively strive to develop confidence and self-discipline; ensuring children understand and are aware of the learning process. Our curriculum generates enthusiastic and resilient learners who strive to exceed their goals.
Progressive & Fulfilling
We plan and deliver a curriculum which builds on prior learning by assessing and reflecting on practice. We ensure that we make links explicit between what has previously been taught to current learning. Our planned curriculum ensures that children have the opportunity to make links in their learning and apply knowledge and skills to new problems whilst recognising the need for retrieval practice to enable the retention of learning. We work to ensure learning is ‘fun’ and that children are keen to learn more.
The English curriculum covers reading, writing, speaking and listening. At Whitewater C. of E. Primary School we follow the National Curriculum which sets out the expectations of learning for each year group.
In English, a unit of work may last between 2-6 weeks. Where possible, English units of work are linked to our curriculum themes. These themes are shared with parents on our termly topic webs (available to view on class pages). Throughout the year, children will cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry genres.
Teaching of reading
Reading is a fundamental skill for children to acquire and we are keen to equip children with the skills to be independent readers as soon as they are able. Reading is taught to every child in some form every day, through both phonics and reading sessions and we aim to foster a love of reading.
In Key Stage One we use a systematic scheme to teach phonics daily following the ‘Little Wandle’ programme from Foundation Stage onwards. During these sessions children are introduced to new sounds in order to de-code new words and recognise the more common words for both reading and writing. More information on this can be found on our Phonics and Early Reading page.
Later on, when reading is more fluent, daily reading sessions are used to provide children with key reading strategies to ensure a greater understanding of the text. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. The comprehension levels become progressively more complex and the children spend time in a group discussing the structure and language used by the author.
In our school library, as well as in every classroom, we have a large collection of books which are varied in type and level. Children are also given the opportunity each week to borrow books from our school library to share at home with their family, promoting reading for pleasure.
We ask that children read at home as often as possible with a parent or carer, either listening to stories being read to them or reading to adults will support their reading in school.
There is a strong link between learning to read and learning to write. Children first learn to write by making marks on paper and then developing letter formation. They are encouraged to express themselves through writing for a range of different purposes, across all areas of the curriculum, knowing that all of their attempts will be valued. During this time, they will be encountering new words and phrases: some of which will be displayed around the classroom. The experience of seeing words and phrases regularly around the school and at home helps to bring meaning to the written word.
As their writing develops, children are taught to plan, compose, draft and punctuate their work. As they progress to Key Stage Two, the focus becomes writing longer texts and becoming consistent with their skills and their ‘writer’s voice’ throughout their work. They will write for a variety of purposes and audiences building on links made with other areas of the curriculum.
At Whitewater Primary School, we believe that mathematics is an important life skill. Our mathematics curriculum offers a broad range of experiences designed to provide pupils with the mathematical understanding, skills and knowledge needed to deal with everyday situations, learning in other areas of the curriculum and investigations within mathematics itself.
We believe that mathematics:
- is creative and enjoyable
- is a means of communicating information and ideas
- involves generalising about patterns and relationships
- should involve fluency to enable children to access concepts, make links, deepen understanding and achieve success
- develops the skills of problem solving
- enables decision making, logical thinking and reasoning
Through the mathematics curriculum, we will encourage and develop a mastery level of skills in mental calculation concepts, develop and reinforce problem-solving strategies, develop and maintain speed of recall and introduce, practise and understand a range of mathematics vocabulary.
At mastery level a pupil really understands a mathematical concept, idea or technique if he or she can…
- describe it in his or her own words
- explain it to someone else
- represent it in a variety of ways (e.g. using concrete materials, pictures and symbols – the Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract approach)
- make up his or her own examples of it
- see connections between it and other facts or ideas
- recognise it in new situations and contexts
- make use of it in various ways, including in new situations
At Whitewater Primary school, we believe that science inspires children, encouraging them to be inquisitive about the world. Our Science curriculum nurtures their innate curiosity and enables them to explore and discover the world around them through excitement and exploration, ensuring that they have a deeper understanding of the world we live in. To achieve this it involves exciting, practical hands on experiences that encourage curiosity and questioning, helping children to secure and extend their scientific knowledge and vocabulary.
We believe that these opportunities will ensure that our children are confident, lifelong learners who will explore the world around them.
The computing revolution - over the last thirty years - has changed the way in which the world functions on a day-to-day basis. This has not only had an impact on how children learning within school but also on teachers too. Since the first Acorn computers were installed into classrooms in the early 1980s, to the handheld devices, which some children in our school already have a well-developed understanding of, the manner in which the computing curriculum is planned, and delivered, has never been so important and exciting, yet fraught with many ’elephants in the room’.
At Whitewater, we aim for children to have secure skills on a range of computing devices. Despite laptops allowing the children to access a full QUERTY keyboard and develop the fundamental computing skills, smartphones are now the number one device used to access the internet. Therefore, it is paramount that children are confident in transferring between all devices almost seamlessly.
Alongside the skills needed to switch between digital platforms – where critical utilities such as banking and shopping are available at the touch of a button – our children need to have a set of core skills, which will allow them to flourish as we move into the next decade and beyond. With over 1 billion ‘selfies’ taken in the UK in 2015 alone, an understanding of your digital footprint, and personal security is vital as well as knowledge of file sizes and the organisation of documents and folders.
We aim for all children to leave Whitewater being competent in computing, having had the opportunities and platforms to develop in the use of a laptop and tablet. This includes an understanding of the limitations and strengths of both platforms through ‘plugged and unplugged’ learning.
We aim to prepare all children for the potential benefits and pitfalls of being brought up in the digital world. This will include how to keep ourselves and our data safe to ensure that every child will feel confident to utilise the online world but also know the steps to take when support and advice is required.
From the first website created in 1991, there are now over 1 billion websites on the world wide web. Some research has shown that the careers in which the children at Whitewater might move into do not even exist yet. The recent introduction of the computing science qualification at GCSE level in 2014 shows that computing is an intrinsic part of learning nowadays and therefore we have a very important job to achieve at Whitewater: to ensure the children investigate and enhance their skills in coding (as an example) within computer science and be able to weave digital literacy through information technology to achieve as much as they can in the digital era.
History has always been a subject about which we are passionate at Whitewater CofE Primary School. Studying history gives children the opportunity to develop an understanding of why the world and its people are the way they are today. They begin to ask questions as they explore the diversity of human experience, past lives and societies. Part of the History Curriculum focuses on British history. The idea is that by the end of their primary education, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from Stone Age to present day and are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this is the need to look at world history. At Whitewater Primary School the children will explore the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and the Mayans, developing their understanding of trends over time and across concurrent civilisations.
At Whitewater Primary School history is taught through investigation and enquiry. Children develop an understanding of how History has had an impact on our lives today both locally, nationally and internationally. Whilst it is important for children to have facts, we wish to encourage independent and critical thinking which will foster an understanding of ‘why’ as well as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’. Lessons are planned so that there is time for discussion and debate, fostering an environment of enquiry which enables children to revise and justify their opinions as well as encouraging children to ask as well as answer questions about history.
We believe that History should be an interactive subject which strives to ignite a child’s natural curiosity. Each unit being planned includes opportunities for children to investigate, handle artefacts, pictorial evidence, watch historical footage, take part in role play activities, visit relevant sites and museums and where appropriate, experience oral history, engaging with historical characters and ways of life.
At Whitewater we want to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our fundamental value of fellowship underpins our Geography curriculum as the children learn to value being a member of a local and global community. We develop the children’s knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Geographical knowledge provides the tools and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
We are an Eco-School (currently at Bronze level, but working towards Silver status) and we ensure that the children get involved in practical, hands-on experiences; taking advantage of our rural setting to develop love and respect for the natural world.
A highlight of the year is Wonderful World Week where all the classes welcome expert visitors into school; explore the village woodland; walk through the fields to a local farm run by the Hampshire Wildlife Trust and leave the classroom behind us - learning by doing, feeling, and being.
At Whitewater, we pride ourselves on being an energetic and determined school when it comes to sport and PE. As of the Autumn term, we offer a range of sports and clubs, before, during and after school: our football, skipping, zumba, netball, cross country, street dance and gymnastics clubs are well attended. We feel it is paramount to always communicate with our children about the sports that they enjoy and when is easiest for them to attend a club. The PE funding has allowed the children to experience taster days, provide more playtime equipment and develop our knowledge of the PE curriculum to drive the children to the best outcomes. Furthermore, we believe that physical activity plays a fundamental part in the happiness and improved self-esteem in young people within our school. As well as enhancing their own attitudes towards themselves, social skills such as teamwork, communication and respect have never been more vital for the children to combine, while learning through physical engagement.
Our Celebration Worship – every Friday – is a fantastic platform for all children to share their experiences of physical activity outside of school.
We aim to:
- Engage with each child in their sporting interests
- Celebrate personal success stories as a school
- Provide opportunities to try new activities
- Develop a ‘growth mindset’ through practise, practise and yet more practise
- Promote fair play and respect through our school houses
- Ensure all children leave Whitewater with a secure understanding of the important role that our bodies play and how we can fuel them efficiently
Our core values at Whitewater of Courage, Creativity and Fellowship are evident throughout our Religious Education curriculum. RE is taught in all years, following the locally agreed syllabus – 'Living Difference IV' and with the Christianity teaching drawn from the Diocesan approved document 'Understanding Christianity'. The make up of the RE curriculum is 50% Christianity and 50% other world religions. It breaks down as follows:
- Years R - Christianity and Sikhism
- Years 1 and 2 - Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism
- Years 3 and 4 - Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism
- Year 5 and 6 Christianity, Buddhism, Humanism and Islam
Building on our children’s natural curiosity, we help them to explore some fundamental questions of life by thinking about their own experiences and beliefs then going on to deepen their understanding by considering those of other people. We encourage them to develop a reflective approach to life in an atmosphere of openness, exploration and enquiry. This helps us develop mutual understanding and respect between people of differing religious and cultural backgrounds, helping to promote a harmonious society in school and beyond.
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high-quality musical education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon. National Curriculum 2014
At Whitewater the children are given a wide range of opportunities to perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians. This is during dedicated Music sessions or through other subject areas.
They learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others and have the opportunity to use a wide range of musical instruments.
They explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
As part of providing a high quality musical education, pupils must be provided the opportunity to be inspired by professional musicians in a wide range of musical genres. As such, we provide opportunities throughout the academic year for pupils to experience performances by professional musicians. Key Stage 2 are given opportunity to attend ‘Orchestra Unwrapped’. They learn to sing songs and perform them with other schools alongside a professional orchestra at a local theatre.
The children have many opportunities to perform to the rest of the school. Each year we welcome parents to help celebrate their achievements. The Infants enjoy performing their Nativity play and the Juniors their Summer production. Music is always part of our Harvest and Easter celebrations’, Year 6 leavers service and often as part of Class assemblies. During our Summer Fair each class performs a dance or gymnastic display to music. Children who have peripatetic lessons inside and outside of school are encouraged to share their talents and inspire others.
The Reception children follow the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum. Music is incorporated consistently into daily routines and is used to enhance teaching of the core curriculum in addition to being taught as a stand-alone subject. The children have access to a variety of instruments and are encouraged to use them creatively during inside and outside learning. We are regularly invited to watch their bands performing, dances and plays. We endeavor to foster a life-long curiosity for music and an understanding of how it can enhance theirs and others life.
Art and Design
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. National Curriculum 2014
At Whitewater C of E Primary School Art and design skills are taught discreetly or as a link with other subject areas. We use our school grounds and the surrounding area to inspire and natural materials to create. Our Reception children always have access to the craft table with a wide variety of materials and tools. They are encouraged to be creative and select their own resources and with guidance and encouragement to develop their skills and foster a natural curiosity to express themselves.
We are very fortunate to have a kiln. Every class has the opportunity to learn the skills of using clay and glazes, with the excitement of watching the changes that happen to their creations during each stage of firing.
From Year One the children use sketch books to record their observations, gather ideas and practice new techniques.
They use their sketches to produce a final piece of work and they write an explanation of their sketch in notes, expressing their feelings about a subject and to describe likes and dislikes? They explore work from other cultures, artists, craftspeople, architects and designers
Using them throughout their time at Whitewater enables them to review and revisit ideas improving their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials.
Design and Technology
Our vision is that through the teaching of design and technology, our children will learn how to: manage and control risks, work safely with a variety of tools and materials, become resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. By taking part in an inspiring and rigorous practical subject, we hope that the children will use their creativity, imagination and fellowship skills to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems in a variety of contexts – understanding the processes involved from planning through making to evaluation and refinement. During the teaching of design and technology, a wide range of new skills will be acquired and the knowledge of other subjects, such as Mathematics, science, ICT and art, will be drawn upon and applied. Children will also develop the life skills and knowledge associated with healthy living, food nutrition and cookery.
Modern Foreign Language
We believe that the ability to communicate is central to preparing children to participate fully in society. We support our children in developing the skills necessary to read, write, speak and listen in a target language (French) whilst understanding other cultures. This understanding will reinforce children’s own cultures as well as gaining a respect for other cultures in the community, around us and throughout the world. Our goal is to excite and stimulate within our children a desire to learn more about language, to communicate and to interact with others. Spoken language, communication, fellowship, courage and creativity are at the heart of our school’s ethos, nurturing children’s confidence. Most children will start on an equal level thus improving pupil self-esteem as they all learn together; this has a positive impact on other areas of the curriculum, including the core subjects.