At Simon Balle, we follow the National Curriculum for the teaching of all subjects at Key stages 1 and 2. 

 

We believe in the importance of subject integrity, such that a high profile is given to knowledge building in every subject area. 

 

Equally it is essential that children have the opportunities to continually learn and apply reading, writing and mathematical skills to ensure a proficiency which will allow them to continue to achieve success in learning beyond Year 6.

  • Phonics is taught from the very beginning of Reception. A letters and sounds programme is followed so that children can progress through phases of learning which are sequential (for example, learning all individual letter sounds before moving on to digraphs and trigraphs). Children’s individual reading books match precisely to their level of phonics so that they can apply their learning with success. Children are supported both to reach the expected standard within the national phonics screening check in Year 1, and to apply their phonics learning to spelling and writing.
  • We recognise the importance of teaching spelling. Learning spellings by rote and then testing them is not enough. We support children to learn spelling patterns, apply their phonics learning, and research the etymology of words. We develop an accuracy in spelling through marking and feedback, and through dictation practice. We have high expectations for the learning of common exception words in each phase. 
  • Reading and Writing. Our English curriculum is designed to inspire children. Through study of excellent literature, for example, they then progress to writing texts of their own in a wide range of genres. Reading is an important part of every subject in the curriculum. Reading is taught through individual reading (at personalised levels) and guided reading; a love of reading is promoted through our library and literary canon. Through a careful design for teaching writing at both text and sentence and grammatical levels, children achieve well, both in English and in the opportunities they have to write at length in other curriculum areas. Writing is assessed using ‘teacher assessment frameworks’ at the end of each year in key stages one and two. 

Mathematics medium term plans for each year group ensure coverage of a wide range of mathematical concepts and skills. Teachers are always responsive to children’s learning such that more time may be spent on parts of the curriculum which are harder to grasp. A focus is placed on children’s abilities to remember and apply their learning in the longer term and with independence. Therefore, regular revisiting of skills is planned, both through mathematical fluency teaching and in each mathematics lesson. The importance of learning times tables is promoted, so that children can recall facts with speed; they are well prepared for the multiplication times tables check in Year 4. Children are expected to think in mathematics lessons! All mathematics teaching and learning has a mastery and reasoning emphasis.

“A high quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.”

(National Curriculum, 2014)

Science has the power to stimulate pupil’s curiosity and create a sense of awe and wonder about natural phenomena. Our science curriculum is designed to give children practical experience through which to build a wealth of scientific knowledge and vocabulary, helping them to understand the world around them. Each half term a new topic gives opportunities to ‘work scientifically’ with children encouraged to ask questions and seek out answers. Important skills such as predicting and hypothesising, collecting and recording data, observing and noticing patterns as well as drawing conclusions are practised in preparation for transition to secondary school and beyond. As an All-through school we have the unique opportunity to draw upon resources from beyond the primary scope to allow our children to fully immerse themselves into their learning and gain a secure depth of knowledge and skills in order to make progress and, just as importantly, enjoy the sciences.

Our Computing curriculum at Simon Balle will equip our pupils to take part in the rapidly changing world of technology, teaching principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming, with deep links to mathematics, science and design and technology. Pupils will develop the skills which will enable them to create programs, systems and a range of content using a variety of technology (Chromebooks, iPads, BeeBots, PCs and more) alongside learning about esafety and how to use these devices safely.

The children will be exposed to vocabulary such as abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation, gradually being able to understand and apply these concepts as well as analysing and evaluating them, all taught in a progressive and sequential way.

Art and Design promotes children’s understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of art. It aims to engage, inspire and challenge children to experiment, invent and create their own works of art. Children will have the opportunity to use colour, form, texture, pattern, different materials and processes to explore their ideas and communicate what they see, feel and think. They will also explore the work of a range of artists, thinking about the ideas and meanings behind their pieces of art, whilst using and developing their language of art and design. 

Within Design and Technology the children will develop skills in areas such as: construction, textiles and cookery. They will have opportunities to create stable and usable items for themselves and items that could be used in a wider community. They will understand and build vocabulary in designing, making and evaluation; this will enable them to reflect and develop their work as they feel necessary. They will discuss nutrition and develop an understanding of cookery skills and health and safety.

At Simon Balle we aim for our Geography curriculum 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. We aim to meet the pupils personal needs by developing their geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through studying a variety of topics and themes, while also equipping children with knowledge about diverse places and people. As the learners progress through their school journey, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between both physical and human processes, and of the use and formation of landscapes and environments. At Simon Balle we are eager to encourage pupils to learn by experience, therefore we value fieldwork as an integral part of our geography curriculum. 

Through History teaching we aim to develop a variety of key skills in the learners, including: questioning, enquiry, creative thinking, problem solving, resilience and communication.The Simon Balle history curriculum involves our pupils studying different societies, cultures and countries from around the world. We will be learning from the past to develop a coherent and chronological awareness of Britain’s past, as well as that of the wider world. Pupils should begin to develop a sense of identity and cultural understanding based on their own historical heritage, as well as the diversity and challenges of different societies. Ultimately, we aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past, and to be willing to think critically and ask questions.

At Simon Balle the children receive weekly Spanish lessons from Reception onwards. These lessons are taught by subject specialists (from both secondary and primary phases). The children are encouraged from the very start of their Spanish speaking to substitute Spanish for English words that they use daily. For example: class greetings are spoken in Spanish throughout the school and each year group is encouraged to foster this interchangeable use of language. It is therefore not uncommon for a child in Reception to count to 10 in English and then Spanish, or for a Year 2 child to ask for a particular fruit in Spanish, outside of a designated Spanish lesson.  

We believe that  learning a foreign language enables children to learn about and understand other cultures too. A high-quality language provision fosters children's’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world.  The children have the opportunity to develop speaking, listening, reading and, within KS2, writing skills that form a firm foundation for Modern Foreign Language learning in the secondary phase.  

Music is at the heart of what we do. We say it is 'the lifeblood' of our school and its influence affects every aspect of life at Simon Balle All-through school. For many of our children it is a life changer - playing music and their instrument becomes part of who they are and they take this with them wherever they go. In their curriculum lessons the children will develop the fundamental skills of performing, composing, singing and listening to music. They will sing, play, compose and listen to music in a wide range of genres from Western Classical Music to Reggae. Their musical journey will evolve from learning short songs by ear in reception to reading notation and playing complex pieces of music. They will have the opportunity to use a wide variety of instruments and will build their confidence and resilience by learning to perform in front of others.

As well as curricular music which all children enjoy, a range of additional opportunities are available. 

From Year 2, they can join the choir. Also in Year 2, children can begin to learn a string instrument (violin and cello). From Year 3, children can also choose to begin to learn a wind instrument (flute and clarinet). Our Simon Balle orchestra plays together every Wednesday afternoon. Opportunities to perform in concerts are just part of what makes music at Simon Balle so exciting!

As well as curricular music which all children enjoy, a range of additional opportunities are available. 

From Year 2, they can join the choir. Also in Year 2, children can begin to learn a string instrument (violin and cello). From Year 3, children can also choose to begin to learn a wind instrument (flute and clarinet). Our Simon Balle orchestra plays together every Wednesday afternoon. Opportunities to perform in concerts are just part of what makes music at Simon Balle so exciting!

In PE we are passionate about raising sporting achievement and improving the health and well-being of all our pupils and recognise the vital contribution PE can have on the lives of young people. Our aim is to deliver a high-quality and varied PE curriculum which we believe can have a positive influence on the concentration, attitude, attainment and behaviour of all children. Children will have the opportunity to explore and develop their skills in dance, games, gymnastics, swimming, water safety and outdoor adventure activities.  In addition, we want to inspire a love of sport in order to raise the level of physical activity of our pupils outside of school. Through our PE provision we aim to develop the skills and attitudes needed for every child to have a lifelong participation in physical activity and healthy living.

In key stage 1 pupils will develop their fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination. They will engage in competitive and co-operative physical activities,in a range of increasingly challenging situations.

In key stage 2 pupils will continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They will learn to communicate, collaborate and compete with each other. They will also have an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.  

PRE stands for Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and is taught from KS1 to KS4.  Whilst like all Hertfordshire schools we follow the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus, at Simon Balle we also believe that it is important to link PRE lessons with the values that define our school and which are demonstrated by our school community. 

The study of PRE is central to ensuring that our students develop as tolerant  young people who respect and understand the views of others, even when they differ from their own. By undertaking this study, students are able to develop the core British Value  of “mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith” (Ofsted).

 

The curriculum will cover learning about and from the different beliefs and practices of different religions and other world views. For specific curriculum details, see curriculum pages for each year and term.  

Our ‘Learning for Life’ curriculum, encompasses all the key components from the statutory PSHE (physical, social, health and economic education) and RSE (relationship and sex education) curriculum. ‘Learning for Life’ strives to provide children with essential skills for life,  by giving students the knowledge, skills and understanding to be confident, healthy, informed, active and responsible individuals. By the time the pupils reach the end of their primary journey, they will have completed sessions looking at ‘Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Living in the Wider World’. In light of the statutory changes coming into force in 2020, it will be compulsory for all children to be taught RSE. The age appropriate lessons seek to educate and guide discussions on:

  • Families and people who care for me 
  • Caring friendships 
  • Respectful relationships 
  • Online relationships 
  • Being safe

Throughout all the ‘Learning for Life’ lessons from Reception to Year 6, children will be encouraged to discuss, debate and share their understanding.  The purpose is to educate and equip children with vital skills to be able to successfully navigate their way through life.