At Mab’s Cross, English lies at the centre of our working day. Whether speaking, listening, reading or writing, the teacher set high standards on pupils to ensure that they are able to develop what we believe is one of the key life skills, Literacy.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening is key to children’s development in writing and reading – we find that if children are able to express themselves well, then they can write well, and answer questions well.
With this in mind, the Foundation Stage teachers place huge importance on ‘Communication and Language’ – an area of learning that encourages children to learn to express themselves and share their ideas and thoughts with others.
This work continues all the way through school, with children given time to talk about their learning, share their ideas with others and share their opinions of others work.
The aim for all children at Mab’s Cross is to be a confident, independent writer. Children begin to write as soon as they arrive – The Foundation Stage Curriculum builds in lots of opportunities for children to make marks and express themselves, before moving to more formal writing later on in the year.
Once they enter Key Stage One, they are given opportunities to develop their handwriting, spelling and sentence construction to ensure that they are able to work independently. Again, the teachers give the children plenty of opportunity to write from their experiences, using books and a whole host of exciting stimuli in a number of different genres. They are also taught some of the basic rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling so that they begin to proof-read and improve their own work.
In Key Stage Two, teachers build on the excellent foundations the children have to develop the children’s range of writing, skills and vocabulary so that they are able to write in a number of different ways using a wide range of genres. Again, the emphasis is put on children taking charge of their own learning and improving their work as much as they can on their own.
By the time children leave our school, they are competent, confident writers who can produce wonderful examples of fiction and non-fiction writing – something we feel very proudly about. This is as a result of our Writing Learning Journey, an approach where children are given time to explore writing, develop skills, plan and draft ideas and then reflect on their writing.
Reading is an essential life skill: if children are to function well in the world, they must be confident and accurate readers who comprehend what they are reading.
Initially, children are taught to read through Phonics, an approach where the children identify the sounds that match letters, so that they can read words. This is done through The Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.
Once children are confident readers and able to read well, we begin to teach them how to understand what they are reading – this is reading comprehension, a vital part of enjoying and understanding books.
At Mab’s Cross we teach reading comprehension in two ways: through ‘Reading Comprehension’ (where we develop new skills) skills and in ‘Guided Reading’ (a small group approach used to rehearse and revise taught skills). We use a range of exciting texts to engage our readers and build a love of reading, and link our writing to books wherever possible.
Children are also given reading books, so that they are able to practise their reading skills at home, and develop the love of reading that we aim to encourage in our children.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
Children are now expected to have a good grasp of the building blocks of speaking and writing – grammar.
Here at Mab’s Cross, we dedicate time to teaching the children accurate use of grammar and Standard English. This helps children to better communicate just how they wish to write, or understand why their writing is not accurate.
This includes the accurate use of punctuation, and the different types of punctuation that could be used to add variety and flair to their writing.
We also use a program of spelling designed to help children identify spelling patterns, find mistakes and spell more accurately. Spelling is an important part of writing, and does have an effect on grammar too, so we try to enable the children to be as accurate as possible.
At Mab’s Cross we believe that every child can succeed in Maths and we maintain high expectations throughout school. It is a subject that equips pupils with vital skills they will use throughout their everyday lives. We encourage children to enjoy Maths and become more enthusiastic mathematicians by developing their skills, qualities and knowledge through meaningful contexts.
A mastery approach to teaching and learning Maths has been developed at Mab’s Cross to support the aims and objectives of the New 2014 Curriculum. Our curriculum focuses on depth of understanding rather than content coverage. All children are given time to understand something before they move on. A large proportion of time is spent reinforcing number to build competency and ensuring teachers support the ideal of depth before breadth. We provide plenty of opportunities to build reasoning and problem solving elements into our curriculum.
At Mab’s Cross, we believe all children, when introduced to a new concept, should have the opportunity to build competency by taking a Concrete- Pictorial- Abstract approach.
Concrete – Children have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing.
Pictorial – Alongside this children use pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to help reason and solve problems.
Abstract – Both concrete and pictorial representations then support children’s understanding of abstract methods.
In addition to the daily Maths lesson, children in Y2-Y6 receive several basic skills sessions of approximately ½ hour per week. Children complete a basic skills test which is then marked and analysed by the teacher. The gaps in knowledge determine the teaching and learning sessions the following week. These sessions hook the children into their learning and inform them of how to become more successful during their basic skills tests.
At Mab’s Cross we aim for our students to become real scientists by stimulating their curiosity for the world around them. Children are natural investigators, so practical and experimental work is the key to unlocking this enthusiasm. We develop observation and reasoning skills to help their understanding, and use mathematics in order to interpret results and draw conclusions from their investigations. This link between direct practical experiences and scientific ideas is crucial and engages learners at many levels.
In EYFS and KS1 science is planned and delivered via a series of six topics throughout the year. The emphasis is on exploring and observing to generate questioning about materials, living things and physical phenomena. Children begin to work together to collect evidence, evaluate its meaning and question whether their tests are fair.
Science is also taught through topics in KS2, but the content is now deeper and of a wider range. Students work cooperatively in groups to solve problems and answer scientific questions. They develop their use of tables, charts and graphs to present their findings, and use ICT to communicate ideas.
At Mab’s Cross, we aim to equip our students with the necessary computing skills and knowledge to succeed in an ever-changing technological world. Computing is taught through all aspects of our curriculum, to ensure children are engaged, motivated and safe. Further opportunities are provided to develop computing skills at a range of clubs. At Mab’s Cross we have introduced blogging to allow better communication with parents and give children a purpose for writing, allowing them to showcase their work to a world-wide audience.
Here at Mab’s Cross Primary School, we view History not only as simple facts and dates but encourage pupils to become detectives who explore the past in an exciting way. History is taught mainly through a topic based approach and gives pupils a chance to explore a wide range of sources from which the past may come alive.
History allows our children to compare and contrast, to examine how and why things have changed, to learn about historical characters and expand their research skills. We teach children to be open minded and enquiring thinkers who understand cause and effect. We want them to understand how people have lived in the past and compare this to modern life. Children learn how the past influences all aspects of our lives and how it shapes the customs and beliefs of the community to which we belong. Learning about the past and the methods used to study it helps children make sense of the world in which they live.
We encourage first hand experiences through handling real artefacts and wherever possible arranging field work visits to relevant sites of historical interest in the region or bringing in specialists for in-school workshops.
To enable children to develop curiosity about the past and how it influences our lives now, we aim:
- To develop chronological understanding of periods of time.
- To develop a range of skills necessary to communicate their knowledge and understanding.
- To increase knowledge and understanding of key events.
- To recognise that the past is represented and interpreted in different ways.
- To enable our pupils to enjoy history and develop a curiosity about the past, which will help them understand the world in which they live
- To know about famous people who have influenced the course of history.
- To be able to use a range of resources to select and record relevant information.
- To develop key skills as well as making its own distinctive contribution to the school curriculum, history also contributes to developing key skills in other curriculum areas.
At Mab’s Cross Primary School we want to foster pupils’ sense of wonder at the beauty in the world around them. We help pupils to develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment, the use of resources and the future of human habitat and thereby enhance pupils’ sense of responsibility for the care of the Earth and its people.
In Geography pupils develop their knowledge of people and places to understand the physical, social and economic forces which shape those places and the lifestyles of the people who live there. We study local areas/issues and extend these studies into the wider world. The children learn to use maps to locate cities, countries, mountain ranges, rivers, seas and oceans. They use atlases, photos and the internet to explore the environment and economics of those countries which they study. They then use the skills they have developed in literacy, numeracy and ICT to report and record their findings.
Teaching and learning
- In our reception class the early learning goals are addressed by teaching geography through “the world’. The medium for learning will often being stories, play activities and hands on environmental experience.
- In Key Stage 1 geography is topic based as well as taught through stories, play activities and hands on experience.
- In key Stage 2 a topic based approach is supported by cross-curricular activities and use of the library. Progression and continuity is achieved by pupils returning to themes where the work will become increasingly challenging as detailed in the schemes of work.
- Firsthand experience and practical work is used as frequently as possible. Field trips particularly in the local area are used to develop geographical skills as well as use of the school environmental area.
Art and Design
Art and Design provides all children with the opportunity to express themselves imaginatively and creatively whilst developing their ability to respond to the world around them. The bespoke curriculum covers the six main areas of art: drawing, painting, printing, sculpture, textiles and digital media. Each project is integrated into the wider curriculum and informed by a diverse range of artists and craftspeople. Our school enables our pupils to become involved in, enjoy and appreciate the visual arts and how it can enrich their personal lives. They are encouraged to critically evaluate their own work and that of others in order to learn from their experiences and develop their artistic vocabulary.
We offer a range of art clubs across the Key Stages, providing our pupils with the opportunity to explore and develop different creative techniques.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology provides the children with the opportunity to learn important life skills through the process of design, make, and evaluate. It incorporates many traditional skills including cooking, model making, drawing, problem solving, observation and discussion. The cross curricular nature of this subject enables the children to apply the knowledge and skills obtained within other subjects within a practical context.
We offer a cookery-club, where the children can learn about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, learning how to plan and prepare meals, whilst developing their understanding of basic food hygiene.
Music in KS1 and KS2 is taught by a specialist teacher with the aim of developing each child’s musical potential, providing our pupils with the opportunity for self-expression and creativity.
We support the ‘Wider Opportunities’ programme, thus enabling all our current Year 4 children to learn how to play a musical instrument as part of their weekly curriculum. Our children also annually perform during Wigan’s ‘Let’s Sing’ concert, and a local Carol Concert at St. Michael and All Angel’s Church.
Instrumental tuition is available to those children in Key Stage 2 who wish to take advantage of it.
At Mab’s Cross Primary School, our children are taught to understand and respect the importance of religious beliefs in the world around them. The curriculum content reflects the religious diversity evident within Wigan and ensures the children develop their knowledge of the key customs and teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. We encourage pupils to learn about different religious beliefs, values and traditions whilst exploring their own beliefs and developing their sense of identity and belonging.
All children participate in a daily act of collective worship, which is broadly Christian in nature. Our assemblies celebrate good behaviour, progress and achievements. They create, nurture and sustain a sense of community and bring to life the core values of our school and local area.
Religious Education does not seek to urge religious beliefs on children nor does it promote one religion over another. All parents have the right to withdraw their children from collective worship and Religious Education, but parents must provide alternative activities for their own children at these times.
Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship
At Mab’s Cross Primary School our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship curriculum inspires our children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. Our pupils are encouraged to develop their sense of self-worth by playing a positive role in contributing to school life and the wider community. They learn how society is organised and governed and experience the process of democracy in school through the school council. We provide opportunities for them to learn about rights and responsibilities and appreciate what it means to be a positive member of a diverse society.
Our aims are to enable the children:
- To recognise their own worth;
- To work well with others;
- To develop positive relationships and respect for others;
- To understand our common humanity, diversity and differences;
- To know and understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle;
- To develop safety awareness;
- To be positive and active members of a democratic society;
- To develop self-confidence and self-esteem, and make informed choices regarding personal and social choices;
- To form good relationships with other members of the school and the wider community.
At Mab’s Cross we teach physical education (PE) using a skills based approach which is designed to develop the basic skills needed to excel in all sports: balance, speed and agility. The philosophy of our teaching is to support, challenge and include every child and develop their own confidence and abilities in sports and physical performance.
Lessons are delivered not through a sport, but through the acquisition of skills and abilities that can be applied to all sports, enabling children who could otherwise be reluctant to get involved in a more formal game situation the chance to excel, and progress in their development.
As well as physical skills, the approach we use also develops numeracy, Literacy, communication and team skills. These are all vital life skills that we believe children need to succeed in life.