Our Curriculum

Staff at Heber have the highest aspirations for our children and have a clear and ambitious vision for the school to ensure that each and every child is given the opportunity to flourish and excel through a united commitment to a creative and challenging curriculum.  We are committed to meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of all children, whatever their starting points as they progress through the school. Our aim is for pupils to have the knowledge and skills to be successful, independent and motivated learners in readiness for their next stage of education. We encourage our pupils to contribute positively to their local, national and global communities. Children are taught that their opinion matters and that their voices can be heard. They are encouraged to develop resilience, responsibility and thoughtfulness in all they do.

We have developed our own challenging and creative topic based curriculum that enables children to learn in context. They are inspired to learn through exciting, meaningful cross-curricular learning opportunities.

Each unit of work starts with an immersion day that is designed to capture children’s imagination about the learning ahead. We encourage children to be curious in order to make learning relevant and purposeful. Regular educational visits, immersive topic days, visits from experts and members of the local community further enhance the learning experience and bring topics to life. Specialist Art, Music and PE teachers are employed at Heber to ensure the highest quality of teaching is taking place across the curriculum. These teachers plan lessons and projects that are linked, where possible to the topic in order to broaden children’s knowledge, skills and attitudes. Making meaningful links to Literacy and providing regular writing opportunities through the topic ensures that children’s reading and writing skills are continually developed throughout the school day. Children are encouraged to work collaboratively and to be reflective and adaptable learners.

 

Curriculum Overview
Maths

Mathematics is all around us; it is an important part of the world in which we live and to function in society we need to able to think and communicate mathematically.

At Heber, we believe that every student should be encouraged to develop an enthusiasm and love for mathematics through experiencing a wide range of challenging activities. In order to achieve this we have developed a rich mathematical curriculum that is accessible to everyone but at the same time insists on challenge for all. With the guidance of the teacher, children take ownership of their learning, using their experiences of a topic area to inform their pathway through each and every lesson, by choosing bronze, silver or gold tasks that reflect their learning needs. This ensures progress for all children is optimised as a result.

Alongside a rigorous approach to developing each child’s building blocks of maths through developing their fluency in the subject, we invite our learners to make decisions, to explain their findings and to reflect. Teachers promote discussion and communication within each lesson, with an expectation that accurate mathematical vocabulary is used. Opportunities to problem solve and apply understanding to previously unseen contexts are regularly used to deepen each child’s understanding of a concept, before moving on to new content.

The Curriculum
Our aim at Heber is to build passionate and resilient mathematicians who have a strong base in number and place value, and who have regular opportunities to problem solve and reason in order to deepen their understanding of concepts. We believe that every child, no matter what their starting point, has the right to a curriculum that enables them to progress as a mathematician through exciting and engaging experiences informed by the National Curriculum.

The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time. They should develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. This is an in which we strongly value the support of parents and carers and includes skills such as times tables, number bonds, and calculation for the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
  • Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
  • Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

The main areas in the programme of study for mathematics are called domains. These are number (including ratio and proportion and algebra), measurement, geometry and statistics. Each area is divided into subdomains. The way that the curriculum is organised varies across the primary age range – every year group has a unique combination of domains and subdomains.

At Heber we follow the ‘White Rose’ scheme of learning, which provides a termly plan for each year group from Year 1 to Year 6.  Each term is split into twelve weeks. As part of each overview, a significant amount of time is devoted to developing key number concepts each year. This ensures students build their fluency as number sense will affect their success in other areas of mathematics. Students who are successful with number are much more confident mathematicians.

Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach
At Heber we recognise the importance of establishing a secure conceptual understanding before standard written methods are introduced. In order to support the teaching of our ‘challenge curriculum’,’ we have implemented the CPA approach (concrete-pictorial-abstract).

  • Each skill or concept is first modelled with concrete materials (e.g. unifix cubes, base ten blocks, beans and bean sticks, pattern blocks).
  • The mathematical concept or skill is next modelled at the representational level which involves drawing pictures that represent the concrete objects previously used (e.g. tallies, dots, circles, stamps that imprint pictures for counting)
  • The mathematical concept/skill is finally modelled at the abstract level (using only numbers and mathematical symbols).

Challenge Curriculum: Bronze, Silver and Gold:
Lessons give the children opportunities explore concepts and tasks first, in order to inform the level of challenge they move on to. This ensures that teachers are reactive to the children’s needs before facilitating appropriate learning designed to enable progress for each individual. Pupils then choose their level of challenge (bronze, silver, gold), with guidance where necessary. Their choice of challenge may vary from day-to-day and topic-to-topic. This allows them to have autonomy over their learning but also be supported in developing their understanding of Problem Solving, Reasoning and Fluency in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding.

The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the domains at broadly the same pace. 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. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly will be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. They are provided with opportunities to practise and extend their skills in these areas and to gain confidence and competence in their use. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material will consolidate their understanding, including additional practice if needed, before moving on.

Cross-Curricular Links
Mathematics is taught as a discrete subject but every effort is made to link maths with other areas of the curriculum.  We try to and identify the mathematical possibilities across the curriculum at the planning stage. We also draw children’s attention to the links between maths and other curricular work so children see that maths is not an isolated subject.

Home-School partnership
At Heber we value strong partnerships with parents and carers. As a result, we put on a number of parent workshops designed to help parents support children in their learning . We also make use of online learning platforms (Mathletics and Times Tables Rockstars) in order to further foster a love for learning beyond the classroom and to give parents a better idea of what the children are learning about in their lessons:

Mathletics
Mathletics is a powerful learning resource which, when used regularly*, has a significant impact on every child’s progress and attainment. Your child has access to Mathletics at home and school through a unique username and password which is given to them by their class teacher. The class teacher can set activities to support home learning that your child can complete online using a computer or tablet. These activities are directly linked to the maths learning in class and should be completed with the aid of writing equipment in order for children to calculate answers if needed.

Parents and carers can sign up for a parent account at:  www.mathletics.co.uk/parents. This will allow you to receive weekly progress reports about your child’s use of Mathletics and see where they are spending their time, their strengths and areas to work on.

(*Regular use is defined as students completing 3 or more curriculum activities per week which can equate to as little as 20 minutes. It is recommended that 5 minutes is spent on ‘Mathletics live’ for their mental maths skills and then 15 minutes on curriculum activities)’

Times Tables Rockstars
This online learning platform for times tables is a favourite with the children! Children are provided with unique log in details and can customise their rock avatar before using online games, printables and interactive tools to deepen their conceptual understanding of times tables and develop quick recall of times table facts. The times tables questions each child is presented with can be customised in order to give our children the best chance of making progress in this area of fluency. In addition, a fortnightly ‘Battle of the Bands’ pitches year group classes against each other, with results shared and celebrated in our weekly merit assembly. Children who improve their recall are also celebrated as their ‘Rock Status’ develops over time.

Home Learning
Maths home learning is set weekly on a Friday and includes the following:

  • A paper based number bonds task (Year 1) or a paper based times tables task (Years 2-6).
  • A fluency task linked to the previous week’s learning (through mathletics or paper based).

Please encourage your child to complete both tasks. It is particularly important that children are meeting age-related expectations with regards to times tables, as so much of the maths curriculum depends on fluency in this area. Please contact your class teacher for any home learning queries.

A link to our Times Tables Policy can be found here

Assessment and Interventions
Teachers make regular use of assessment within lessons in order to inform each child’s pathway through a lesson, reacting to needs and facilitating progress for all.

Purpose – Continual Progress for All
Because all children learn differently and progress at varying rates throughout their time in school, we also make use of summative assessments (end of unit or end of term assessments). These assessments help us to identify children whose progress may have begun to plateau. We then make use of consultation with the child’s teacher, as well as a deeper analysis of the child’s assessments and learning to date, in order to inform narrowly focussed and impactful interventions that keep children from falling behind.

Times Tables Assessments
Children also undergo half termly times tables assessments from Year 2, at the point which the tables are introduced through our curriculum. This prepares children for their statutory times tables assessment in Year 4 and is used to inform the teaching of the tables moving forward. Progress is celebrated and recorded internally at the school. There are three assessments your child might complete half termly depending on where they are in their learning journey:

 

Assessment type Number of questions Times Tables included Time limit Example
Bronze 48 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 10 minutes
Silver 95 Bronze plus 6, 7, 8, 9 (with related division) 8 minutes
Gold 95 Silver plus 11, 12 (with related division, squares and square roots) 6 minutes
Platinum 95 Gold plus extending into decimal facts and multiples of 10 (e.g. 2 x 0.3, and 2 x 30) 5 minutes

Calculation Policy.
Our calculation policy for the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) can be found here

English

The teaching of English incorporates Speaking and Listening, Writing and Reading.  At Heber we use the Power of Reading Project and The Literacy Tree which both emphasise the importance of high quality texts. The use of high quality Reading Material provides motivation and excitement and hence learning

Speaking and Listening

Speaking & listening is not taught explicitly; it permeates every element of school life.  A key strength of our curriculum is in the time dedicated across the school to the use of drama to support writing. Children are given the opportunity to rehearse and practice their ideas before committing them to paper. This is a particularly successful strategy for reluctant writers.
Debate also plays an important part in the development of children’s Speaking & Listening skills. Debating is also crucial to the development of children’s critical thinking skills.
Children have the opportunity to participate in debates throughout their school life during whole class teaching – these debates are linked to the class text and topics.

In Year 6, children are given the opportunity to participate in ‘Debate Mate’. The classes are each assigned a Debate Mate mentor, who leads weekly sessions with them. Recently, Heber has taken part in local competitions as part of the Urban Debate League. The programme culminates in a one-day regional competition at a prestigious university to compete for the coveted ‘Debate Mate Cup’.
In 2015 Heber took part in two competitions. We competed in the final of the National knock out competition (held at The Oxford Union) and also reached the Final of the London competition. Heber was the only school in the country to reach both finals.

Writing

Teachers plan rich and varied writing tasks that where possible relate to the topic being studied at the time.  Our teaching of writing offers-

  • Quality children’s literature by significant authors.
  • Engaging starting points and immersion through experiential learning with a clear sense of audience and purpose.

Grammar, Spelling and Reading objectives are embedded throughout, with some opportunities for Phonics, all leading to well constructed pieces of work.

Phonics & Reading

At Heber we are passionate about Reading and want to make sure that all our children develop a love of Reading and that every child leaves us as a critical reader.  We use the ‘Power of Reading’ project as a basis to promote both Reading and the production of high quality written work.

Central to our approach is the teaching of systematic phonics using ‘Letters and Sounds’. Daily, discrete high quality teaching alongside effective assessment and tracking helps to ensure that children meet the ambitious reading targets that are set for them.

All of our classrooms feature bright, stimulating and inviting book corners for children to sit and read in and we regularly invest in high quality texts for the children. In our book corners you will often find children’s recommendations and reviews of their favourite books. By the time children leave us in year 6 they have read many books by a wide range of significant authors

Guided reading takes place every day. Children are asked to read high quality texts and show their understanding through drama, extended writing and reader’s theatre. We also ensure that throughout their time at school children regularly hear adults reading aloud.

Our reading curriculum is primarily delivered in two ways, through:

  • ‘Guided Reading’
  • Reading-focused lessons

During these sessions, children are taught the key skills of: retrieval; inference; structure; language choice; purpose/viewpoint and context.

At every stage of a child’s life, reading should be pleasurable and we believe that time should be devoted at school and home to ‘reading for pleasure’. Children have the opportunity to read books of their own choice, which they take home, read and discuss. This is key to the development and enjoyment of reading.

Learning is planned in a cross curricular way and we routinely use books as our starting point for a topic. Using a high quality text as a basis for learning really engages the children and helps to develop quality writing as well as stimulating learning in other areas of the curriculum.

Spelling

Where possible, links to spelling patterns are made through whole class English teaching and Guided Reading sessions. However, this is not always possible. In KS1, spelling is mainly taught through the phonics sessions. In KS2, children have an explicit spelling lesson once a week to ensure that all of the spelling patterns and KS2 word lists are covered.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We run school journeys in Years 5 and 6. School journey in Year 6 is free to both children in receipt of the pupil premium and children with a statement of SEN.

All classes are involved in regular outings and trips (see newsletters and our school calendar)

A variety of after school clubs are available Tuesday – Thursday. Subjects vary but tend to focus on sport, art and music. Current clubs that are running can be found on our on our After School Clubs page.

We are involved in a range of after school sports competitions including tag rugby, football and netball.

We provide a wide range of extra curricular activities in our lunchtime clubs, such as: pen-pal letter writing, choir, mindfulness, speed stacking…

Educational Visits

We aim to provide engaging and enjoyable learning opportunities that enrich the curriculum within the context of London’s history.

Educational visits  are a feature of school life. We regularly use the Globe Theatre, The Wetlands Centre, Science Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Royal Festival Hall and Southwark Cathedral.

Foundation Stage

In both Nursery and Reception we follow the Early Years Foundation stage Curriculum. This is divided into six areas of learning:

  • Personal, social and emotional development (PSED)
  • Communication, language and literacy
  • Mathematical development
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Physical development
  • Creative development

Every child in the Foundation Stage has a Key Worker who takes responsibility for tracking children’s progress across the six areas of learning. Your child’s Key Worker will be your first point of contact in the school.

Children in the Foundation Stage have access all areas of the curriculum simultaneously throughout the day. They can learn both in the classroom and in their own outdoor areas.

We provide a stimulating environment in which they can discover and learn about the world around them via their own exploration. There are also adult-led group activities and whole-class carpet times.

An important part of our approach towards the development of reading and writing is the use of a phonics scheme. This is introduced in Nursery so that by the time our children move into Reception they are familiar with sounds and already beginning to use them in their reading and writing.

PSED is a key area of the Foundation Stage curriculum. We aim to ensure that the children feel secure and valued so that they can develop confidence in themselves and form secure, constructive  relationships with others.

We also encourage the children to make independent informed choices in both their actions, and their learning.

The Nursery and Reception curriculum is further enhanced through visits, trips and workshops. We welcome parental contributions too and have had several parents share their skills (art, music, gardening etc) with the class.