At New Town Primary School, we are passionate about developing children as life-long learners.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
- W. B. Yeats
A crucial part of this is equipping children with the necessary Literacy skills to access the curriculum with confidence and enjoyment. As soon as children join our school, they experience a wealth of Reading and Speaking and Listening opportunities. Communication skills are of the highest priority throughout the school and are developed across the curriculum.
We follow the Letters and Sounds Phonics scheme alongside Jolly Phonics and our children receive tailored Phonics provision through streaming across the school. Phonics provision continues into Key Stage Two, naturally progressing into discrete Spelling and Grammar lessons. Guided Reading is highly valued by both staff and children, providing the opportunity to read and reflect on texts as a group. Basic Writing skills are continually a focus in both Literacy and cross-curricular lessons. Through Shared and Guided Writing sessions, children practise and build on these basic skills and enjoy developing as writers.
Our children are extremely positive about Literacy provision at New Town and they especially enjoy our annual Book Week. Reading Schemes that we use in Foundation Stage include Songbirds, Floppy's Phonics, Lighthouse, Collins Big Cat, Comics for Phonics and Pearson Bug Club. Reading Schemes that we use in Key Stage 1 include Collins Big Cat, Lighthouse, Songbirds and Floppy's Phonics.
At New Town, Numeracy is taught through daily lessons which aim to cover all aspects of mathematics through a topic based approach.
Within the Numeracy lesson, teachers aim to provide stimulating and exciting activities which promote interest and enjoyment in order to engage the children and help develop a sense of confidence and achievement. Importance is placed on the need to develop good mental arithmetic skills and resilience to tackling problems.
Class teachers also plan for regular opportunities for children to use and apply the skills they have learnt in a variety of ways and across many topics.
Science is a core subject in the National Curriculum. The teaching of Science begins in the Foundation Stage through the Early Years Learning Area ‘Understanding the World’. This involves guiding the children to make sense of the physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. These opportunities are provided through activities which allow the children to play and explore, while developing their own ideas, making links between them and developing strategies for doing this.
In Key Stages One and Two, Science lessons focus on engaging students with scientific enquiry, including practical work, and developing investigation skills. Each year group has a balanced programme of study to develop knowledge and understanding in three main strands of Science- life processes, physical processes and materials and their properties. The standards children achieve in Science are assessed regularly. Their progress in Science is reported to the Local Authority at the end of Key Stages One and Two. The standards children attain in Science are also passed on to their Secondary Schools at the end of Year Six.
Children at New Town are taught RE using the Discovery RE Scheme which is in line with the Pan- Berkshire RE Syllabus. They are encouraged to respect other cultures and religions through the acquisition of a deeper understanding and knowledge of the similarities and differences of other people’s beliefs.
Respect for all is reinforced in our Daily Act of Worship which although broadly Christian in nature also embraces the other main religious beliefs of the world and the children in our school.
Many faiths are represented at New Town and we see this as a major strength in the achievements of our pupils. We are one family together and our children work and play well together having great respect for the diversity of our school community.
At New Town we teach a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, social and cultural development of pupils at the school. We have been working hard over the last year to develop and embed core values which form the foundation for all our learning and experiences at school. ‘Respect for all’ and making ‘good choices’ is at the core of New Town Primary School’s ethos. Good choices are celebrated at a weekly whole school assembly with termly celebrations of academic effort and achievement as well as any other awards such as handwriting, attendance or sporting events. Our behaviour policy and code of conduct, ‘Respect for all’, is evident throughout the school and embraced by all members of staff and children. We celebrate our cultural diversity through studying our local area and the wider world. We have visiting speakers representing a variety of faiths and beliefs. We have members of the local services regularly visit the school to help children develop an awareness of people who serve us and who help to make up our society.
At New Town the children are taught a wide range of methods, skills and techniques to enhance their Art and Design learning. They are provided with opportunities to explore, design and investigate different topics and artists using a variety of media. Teachers encourage the children to discuss and evaluate their own and other people’s work with confidence. At New Town Art and Design is taught through the Creative Curriculum. Works of art are often used as the starting stimulus for a term’s topic.
Design and Technology
During a child’s time at New Town Primary School, children have the opportunity to investigate, design, make and evaluate a range of products. Design and Technology is incorporated into our Creative Curriculum, which ensures an even coverage of skills. We have an annual Design and Technology focus day that encourages children to experience a wide range of Design and Technology concepts. Over the course of a year, children are encouraged to be innovative, use a range of materials and tools, and as a result, develop, adapt and evaluate their ideas through a series of practical projects.
Children are naturally curious about the world around them and we are fortunate at New Town to have such a varied experience of place and culture. In FS children explore that world, and key geographical vocabulary and skills are modelled. In KS1 children are taught to ask geographical questions, to observe and record, and to express and communicate their learning, as they compare different parts of the world like Africa and India. Creative Curriculum topics make natural links between Geography and other subjects like Science and History. Through topics like Egypt in KS2, children develop their skills, making increased use of maps, globes and secondary sources of information.
At New Town we believe that the study of History makes a valuable contribution to our children’s understanding of all aspects of life, enhancing a sense of identity and culture. History encompasses knowledge of the past, how this compares to the present and what impact this may have on the future. The learning of History requires children to ask pertinent and relevant questions, to think critically, to access and decipher information and to analyse opinions and arguments, thus enabling them to develop their own perception of historical events. The new National Curriculum places an emphasis on children in Primary schools developing a robust understanding of the chronological order of local, national and world-wide events that have contributed to the creation of modern Britain as it is today, from the Stone Age through to post war Britain. Currently at New Town the History curriculum is organised by topics, following a yearly programme. Specific topics include Toys, Toys, The Seaside, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Tudors, Aztecs, Victorians and World War 2. Modes of working include whole class teaching, small group work, art, craft, design technology and computing. Valuable hands-on experience is gained via regular off-site educational visits to Reading Museum and through the historical artefacts provided by Reading Museum.
Information Communication Technology (ICT)
The development of ICT at New Town is very exciting, with a wide range of hardware and software available to our children. Through clearly designated ICT lessons as well as by integrating the use of ICT within other areas of the curriculum, we aim to provide opportunities for all children to:
- enjoy and use ICT, tackling all applications with confidence and a sense of achievement
- develop practical skills in the use of ICT and the ability to apply these skills in solving relevant and challenging problems
- use ICT to communicate and handle information, to design, develop, explore.
- explore and understand the potential and limitations of ICT and the implications and consequences of its use for society and the individual
- develop their ability to apply their knowledge, skills and understanding of ICT and its potential, in a range of situations, to support their learning across the curriculum
From Foundation Stage through to Year 6, children at New Town have lessons in e-Safety, which we feel is essential in order to keep children safe online and in promoting a lifelong responsible approach to using a wide range of new technologies.
Children in Foundation Stage have opportunities to learn about programmable technology through playing with remote controlled and programmable toys and vehicles. This is developed further throughout KS1 with pupils learning by using ‘Beebots’, and into KS2 whereby children use computer programs to control characters/objects within a game or activity.
Using ICT for communication is regarded very highly at New Town and we have a wide range of communication devices, ranging from talking tins to digital cameras and video cameras.
We are very excited to have now a set of laptop trolleys, ensuring a whole class at a time can work on a laptop each. This allows the children to experience a wide range of computing devices across a number of operating systems.
We are looking to build on our fantastic provision for ICT following the introduction of the new ICT curriculum this past September.
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
At New Town we embrace learning modern foreign languages through our Creative Curriculum where children learn French. In addition to learning language skills through games and interactive activities, we investigate the geography, history, cultures and traditions of a country.
Music at New Town is highly valued and occurs frequently throughout the school from worship time to individual drumming lessons and singing coaching from a qualified music teacher.
Children learn a range of musical skills during Foundation Stage and build on these through to Year 6. Sound is developed and experimented within the Foundation Stage through playing different instruments and singing. In Year 6 the children begin to learn notation and have opportunities to compose their own music. Musical instruments provide a great resource to support all the learning that goes on in the school and also prove to be a useful addition to celebrations and performances.
Physical Education (PE)
Pupils at New Town are given a wide variety of opportunities in PE, through timetabled lessons - two one hour slots for each year group per week, extra-curricular sports clubs and organised break and lunchtime physical activities and games. We feel that well-structured competition in PE has many benefits, not only physical, but in the development of thinking, tactical awareness and evaluating performance.
It is vital that children have opportunities to acquire and develop, select and apply physical skills; create compositions of movement, evaluate and improve performance; and develop their knowledge and understanding of fitness and health. Whilst many of these areas can be incorporated into competitive sports, other sports such as dance and gymnastics, outdoor and adventurous activities and team building, and swimming have just as high a priority as the more competitive games and athletics.
In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, pupils focus on acquiring and developing physical skills, applying these and evaluating and improving performance, with a growing awareness of tactical play and games rules.
As children progress through the school, opportunities are widened and developed to incorporate a more diverse range of sports and team games which are sometimes played competitively.
All children take part in our annual Sports Day, enabling children of all levels of sporting ability to participate and succeed in a wide range of events.