Teaching Early Reading
All pupils from Reception to Year 2 take part in guided reading. In guided reading, pupils apply their phonic knowledge alongside developing other essential reading skills: sight vocabulary, reading behaviours, comprehension and fluency.
At Kelvin Grove, we are dedicated to developing and maintaining a positive and enthused reading culture for our pupils. We ensure book corners are well-stocked with relevant, high quality literature from a range of authors. Teachers read stories to pupils every day.
During reading and English lessons we prioritise planned time for quality discussion of texts, using ‘book talk’ – based on Aidan Chamber’s book Tell Me: Children, Reading and Talk. ‘Book-talk’ focusses on the ability to talk about books, developing the confidence to offer ideas and then reshape them in the light of other contributions. It helps children to trust their own ideas and interpretations, to talk effectively about a book, deepening their understanding, shifting their ideas, thinking together as a group and moving comprehension forwards. Guided sessions support pupils’ early comprehension skills, understanding vocabulary, locating information and making simple predictions and inferences based on what they have read.
Teaching Reading Across KS2
In year 3 pupils take part in guided reading sessions until January. In these sessions children focus on developing their fluency and comprehension skills. Teachers plan for guided reading based on our reading curriculum (see below)– with a focus on decoding, comprehension, themes, patterns and viewpoints. Each group of pupils read with a teacher at least once a week. During this session, pupils have the opportunity to read independently, developing fluency, intonation and expression. They will take part in a discussion around the text, developing strategies of retrieval, inference and unpicking unfamiliar vocabulary. For the rest of the week pupils work independently on activities planned to develop comprehension skills. Pupils also have time to develop their love of reading in allocated time for reading for pleasure.
- Year 4 – Year 6 have moved to Whole Class Reading. There are many advantages to whole class reading – mainly that pupil engagement and productivity can be increased as pupils receive daily teaching and are part of a rich dialogue around books. Teachers can build on prior knowledge and understanding by linking texts to the wider curriculum. They can make ambitious text choices so that the whole class are exposed to age-appropriate high-quality literature. As the whole class are involved, there is the potential for wider and richer discussion than teaching small groups. To support all children to access and engage with the learning, teachers offer support for all through:
- Pre-teaching vocabulary: Teachers identify the vocabulary that children would benefit from and then explicitly teach the meanings of these words. Teachers use child-friendly definitions and visuals to support this.
- Visual learning: We help pupils to visualise what they are reading using images, sound effects, soundscapes, film clips. These help pupils to better understand setting descriptions which may be unfamiliar, characters or a particular scene in a narrative.
- Reading to and with children: Teachers combine a range of teaching strategies in lessons – all children will be able to participate whilst improving their fluency, pace and understanding. Teachers use echo reading, individual reading and paired reading as approaches to scaffold children’s reading as well as pupils listening to the teacher read.
- Thinking out loud: an important role for the adult in whole class reading is to model learning. Verbally modelling thoughts whilst reading will support and challenge readers but also show them the mental processes that we employ as we read. When we read we are constantly questioning, predicting and making links to our own lives and other texts we have encountered. Children need to be shown how to do this through I wonder…I know… I remember…I think….
- Children are given independent tasks to complete which show their understanding of the text. These tasks are to scaffold, support, extend and challenge pupils.
Across a year, teachers plan to use a range of texts in whole class reading which covers novels, poetry, graphic novels, non-fiction and picture books.
Choosing Quality Texts
Pupils in EYFS and KS1 read book-banded books which allow them to read at a pace suited to their growing phonics knowledge whilst developing their sight vocabulary. Pupils then move onto non banded books as soon as possible in year 3. Across KS2 we endeavour for pupils to read a wide range of texts, including quality novels, poetry, non-fiction, graphic novels and picture books such as:
Pupils who read fluently but who find comprehension difficult take part in reciprocal reading groups across the week. Reciprocal reading teaches pupils to be active readers by developing the skills of predicting, clarifying new vocabulary, questioning and summarising. Pupils who are still finding decoding difficult in KS2 receive additional guided/individual reading sessions with a focus on decoding, as well as dedicated phonics teaching for some.
We hold an annual World Book Week celebration where pupils and teachers all come to school celebrate the pleasure of reading. This may involve dressing up, accessorising as a man character from a book, bringing in a favourite book. The week also involves workshops, visits from published authors and book fairs. Last year Jubilee Books came and set up a bookshop in our hall – pupils enjoyed two days browsing and parents were able to buy after school. The author and story teller Sandra A Agard came to tell stories and lead a poetry workshop with year 2.
Our World Book Weeks usually follow a theme. The last three years have been:
KG Loves Reading (2021)
A Celebration of Diverse British Authors (2020)
KG Loves Rebel Girls (2019)
Here is our KG reading curriculum by year group:
In KS1 pupils make progress through the book bands, aiming for them to have reached, at least, Orange by the end of year 1 and Lime by the end of year 2. Pupils respond to simple comprehension tasks planned for by teachers about books they have read together as a group. This work goes into pupils’ reading journals. These tasks may be responses to questions, predictions based on what has been read/images, vocabulary exploration, character exploration, ordering events and book talk response grids.
Three times a year, we use the NfER comprehension tests across KS2 to assess pupils’ reading and comprehension. We use this information alongside ongoing assessment for learning, pupils’ progress in guided reading sessions and the work they produce in their reading journals.
Home School Reading
Each week pupils will bring home a reading book that has been chosen for them by their class teacher. In Reception, KS1 and lower KS2, we use a Rising Stars scheme which closely matches phonics teaching and allow pupils to apply their decoding skills more independently.
The home school reader is designed to be a slight challenge– this may be in the language the book contains or the theme of the text. Pupils’ books will be changed weekly. Over the year, pupils should read a range of genres (stories, poetry, non fiction, graphic novels etc). They will also be able to choose an independent reader from their class library.
Pupils bring home a home/school reading diary. This enables them to record reading done at home and parents/carers have an opportunity to comment on the reading and enjoyment of the book.
We encourage all children to read at home on a daily basis. Parents can support with this by asking children to read aloud to them – this could be a whole book with younger children; with older children, this could be a chapter or a selected extract of what they have read independently. Reading aloud helps to work on fluency – but will also help to open up a discussion between parent and child about what is being read.
We offer reading workshops for parents in the autumn of every school year. Although Covid has made this difficult over the last two years, we intend to plan for a reading workshop in the autumn term of the academic year 2021-2022. These sessions are an opportunity for parents/carers to find out more about the teaching of reading at Kelvin Grove and how they might support their pupils at home.
English is at the heart of the curriculum and the development of language is crucial for children to become successful learners.
At Kelvin Grove, our aim is for all children to be able to speak clearly, listen with understanding, develop a love of reading and write with confidence.
When planning writing, teachers follow our writing curriculum (based on the National Curriculum). There is a link to this below. Units are planned around quality texts and children’s cross-curricular experiences. Through these high-quality texts, pupils are shown how a writer uses his / her craft for different effects. They are given the opportunity to develop and experiment with grammatical structures to create a particular impact upon their reader and they are guided through creating their own written ‘expert’ pieces with an intended audience and purpose.
Pupils are given time to talk through their ideas, plan their writing and to take an increasing responsibility for the editing and proof reading of their own work.
We endeavour to teach pupils to consider these points:
- How do writers make sure their writing is fit for purpose?
- How does it attempt to engage the reader?
- How is the vocabulary fit for the purpose/audience?
- How do writers use sentence construction and other grammatical features to engage their audience?
- Which tenses do they use to be consistent and accurate?
- How is the writing organised?
Then pupils practise and apply this in their own writing.
These are the purposes for writing we teach in each year group:
- Writing to entertain could be narratives, poetry, diary entries or letters.
- Writing to inform could be recounts, news reports, non-chronological reports, explanatory texts, instructions.
- Writing to persuade could be adverts, letters, news articles, speeches, posters.
- Writing to discuss could be news articles, debates, speeches.
Here is our writing curriculum:
We have a flexible approach to choosing texts as there are always new and exciting books published every year. Here are a few we use:
When assessing pupils’ writing we look to find evidence that they have met a set of criteria. We look at a range of pupils writing over a term to see what they have been able to do consistently and increasingly independently.
Follow the link below to the assessment statements for each year group.
Spelling and Handwriting
Learning to spell is not easy – we recognise this and it is our aim at Kelvin Grove to support and guide all our pupils to become confident writers and spellers. We teach pupils to spell with five main strategies:
- Learning conventions and rules
- Sight vocabulary
- Memory tricks for tricky words
Each week, as part of their English lessons, children will be introduced to the spelling pattern they are learning that week. Pupils will investigate the spelling rules/patterns, apply their new knowledge and develop strategies to help them remember how to spell words which follow these rules. We follow the spelling scheme ‘Essential Spelling’ for years 3 to 6, which ensures pupils get the chance to revisit prior learning and consolidate this before moving on.
Pupils are taught handwriting each week using Pen Pals. Pupils are offered pen licenses in Upper Key Stage 2 once a fluent handwriting style is established.
High quality, daily phonics teaching at Kelvin Grove begins in Reception and continues throughout KS1 following the Letters and Sounds phonics programme. Children are taught to apply their phonic knowledge to their reading and writing, with the aim that they are confident readers and writers by the end of Year 2.
Phonics teaching is systematic, reinforcing and building on previous learning to secure children’s progress. It is taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace. The children reinforce and apply this acquired phonic knowledge across the curriculum. Pupils take home a Rising Stars home reader each week which closely matches their phonics knowledge and enables them to apply their phonics to read and enjoy a book independently.
Here are our progression documents for the teaching of phonics:
Here are links to phonic lesson videos with Miss Drewe:
At Kelvin Grove, maths is taught using a Teaching for Mastery approach. Care is taken to plan a sequence of learning that gradually builds fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills. We believe that all children are mathematicians and with time and practice, everyone can reach a good level of confidence. Children are routinely given opportunities to consolidate their learning, or are provided with level of challenge to deepen it.
In Nursery and Reception, we follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. Time is taken to make maths meaningful and linked to other topics that children are learning.
Throughout Key Stage 1, children will spend time learning the key facts to allow them to calculate fluently and flexibly. This starts with learning number combinations to all numbers within 20 before learning strategies to add and subtract. They also learn how to multiply and divide through increasing their knowledge of times tables.
In Key Stage 2, children see how strategies learned in Key Stage 1 can be furthered through knowledge of place value. They learn flexible, informal strategies as well be becoming proficient using formal methods to add, subtract, multiply and divide. By year 4, children will aim to be confident in using and applying all times table to x 12.
Children will learn how will learn how to apply their knowledge of number to other concepts such as fractions, shape and space, measure and statistics.
Science and Technology
At Kelvin Grove, maintaining curiosity is a driving force behind ensuring children develop key skills in Science, including, collecting data, making observations, classifying, asking relevant questions and designing practicals to help answer these lines of enquiry. We believe that developing an accurate scientific vocabulary helps children to explain their observations and insights with clarity and that practical experiences help develop understanding of key concepts. Where possible, Science is linked to other areas of the curriculum and is always made relevant to the wider world. We know that the skills, knowledge and understanding provided through learning Science are key to developing children to become scientifically literate and informed citizens while nurturing their sense of wonder.
We take environmental science very seriously at Kelvin Grove and understand the importance of working with our local community and immediate environment to enhance the children’s lives. We have taken part in initia- tives such as the London Schools’ Environmental Awards and Lewisham’s Clean and Green Campaign and have been very successful in these, winning a number of prestigious awards.
At Kelvin Grove, we have scientific and environmentally orientated events such as science week, recycling week, growing events and gardening club to support and extend the children’s classroom experiences, and to allow parents and carers to take an active role in their children’s education. We also ensure that events such as health week and design & technology activities are closely linked to what the children have learnt about in their classroom based lessons.
Design and Technology
Children are taught to develop their design and technology capabilities through designing, making and evaluating a variety of products, using a range of materials.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
At Kelvin Grove, we continue to invest substantial time and resources into developing our ICT provision. Although we cannot know what future awaits our children, we can confidently predict that a solid grounding of ICT skills will serve them well.
ICT permeates almost every aspect of the curriculum. Each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard, enabling teachers to design dynamic lessons that involve the whole class. Digital cameras, scanners and MP3 recorders aid the children in recording their work immediately, accurately and in a variety of forms. Classes use our well-equipped ICT suite to explore an exciting and stimulating range of software. Our wireless network and banks of laptops add flexibility that releases ICT from the suite, fully integrating it into school life.
We are now in the process of building a ‘virtual’ Kelvin Grove that will even further increase access to learning. We hope this will strengthen home-school links by providing online learning material, portfolios of children’s work, parent-friendly assessment data, current school information and an array of discussion forums. By providing these tools and information, we aim to open new parent/child and parent/school dialogues. With an ever-expanding range of technologies available both in and outside of school, we feel it is important that we educate our children about the responsibilities and potentially negative aspects associated with some new technologies. Through portals such as internet safety lessons and cyber-bullying workshops, we aim to guide them in how to make informed decisions so that they can enjoy and achieve whilst staying happy, healthy and safe.
History and Geography
History and Geography
History and geography are both taught through enquiry-based learning. In history, pupils develop their skills of historical enquiry, chronological understanding and historical interpretation. Using a range of historical sources, they develop their knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past, and how those changes have affected us. In geography, pupils develop their location and mapping skills, their understanding of human and physical features and fieldwork.
History and geography learning is driven by depth enquiry questions. For example in history Why Should We Remember? looks at the impact of the World War II on London and the immediate local area. In geography, Why Can’t a Meerkat live in the North Pole? is a study of contrasting localities. These enquiries are built on the basis of genuine, worthwhile historical questions that pupils are ultimately required to answer following several weeks of study.
We use a wealth of local resources to our advantage, including the Horniman museum, the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the British Transport Museum to name a few.
Our curriculum is new and has been in the design process for a couple of years. We have worked hard to ensure that knowledge is built upon across the school. For example pupils in year 2 look at what London was like at the time of the great fire in 1666. In year 4 pupils consider Would you rather have been a royal, a rebel or a rogue in the 15th Century?” and revisit London at that time. In year 6, pupils study Medicine Across the Ages and as part of this learning journey they consider reasons why the plague was so rife during Stuart England.
Our curriculum is constantly being reviewed and improved.
This document shows the areas of history we cover and the skills taught:
This document shows the geography topics and the skills taught:
Physical Development, Health and Well-Being
At Kelvin Grove we believe that physical education has a vital and unique role to play in a child’s development. As part of the PE curriculum, our children experience a wide range of individual, partner and team activities that help to build a positive attitude and help children to understand the role that regular physical activity can play in a balanced lifestyle. The range of physical activi- ties we provide includes: athletics, games, gymnastics and swimming. All activities are designed to be enjoyable, vigorous, purposeful and regular, to give children the maximum benefit. Children go swimming for one term each in year 4, year 5 and year 6. Each term, children at Kelvin grove participate in both indoor and outdoor PE sessions.
Personal, Social, Health and Economics Education
At Kelvin Grove, our personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) curriculum brings together healthy relationships, social responsibility and personal well-being, whilst promoting fundamental British values.
Although PSHE is taught through discreet lessons, it is also integrated into all activities, shared stories, assemblies and educational visits.
Our PSHE curriculum is taught through Jigsaw. This is a comprehensive Programme for Primary PSHE including statutory Relationships and Health Education. Through this curriculum, we give children relevant learning experiences to help them navigate their world and to develop positive relationships with themselves and others; we put a strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing mental and physical health. We teach mindfulness allowing our pupils to advance their emotional awareness, concentration and focus.
The topics covered across the whole school each term are:
- Being Me in My World
- Celebrating Differences
- Dreams and Goals
- Healthy Me
- Changing Me
We have implemented the new statutory requirements for teaching wellbeing. Pupils are taught what well being means – once this is established, we teach pupils to understand and identify:
- when someone may be experiencing poor mental health
- contributing factors to poor mental health
- positive strategies to improve wellbeing
- when people need help from others.
This overview shows what is taught in each year group:
Art is an integral part of the curriculum at Kelvin Grove, we provide an art and design education that engages, inspires and challenges pupils. Art lessons are always inclusive, and engage children, developing their creativity, self-esteem and confidence. The Art curriculum at Kelvin Grove is continually being reviewed and adapted to ensure art skills and knowledge are being built upon.
As part of our response to the new curriculum, all children in Years 1 – 6 will be using high quality sketchbooks to show their responses and to record the progression of their skills. Pupils are encouraged to experiment with different techniques and to use a range of mediums through directed activities and pupil led enquiry. Sketchbooks are crucial to pupils honing their skills and knowledge, allowing them to build upon their understanding and abilities of drawing and painting, and create pictures in their sketchbooks, that are developed further in class with other mediums.
From the very beginning of school life art is key to pupils learning and understanding of each topic they study. In Reception exploration is the heart of education; whether it is drawing using a variety of tools to create marks, experimenting with colour and learning their names.
Art is interweaved across subject areas through topic based learning. Across Key Stage 1 children begin to develop their observational skills, drawing from life using charcoal, pastels and paints. Children are exposed to new materials and learn to effectively use collage and mixed media, as well as learning new techniques in weaving and stamp printing. Artist study is an important part of developing understanding and appreciating art, pupils learn about artist such as Andy Warhol, Georges Seurat and Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Throughout Key Stage 2 pupils consolidate their understanding of colour, tone and shade through sketchbook work and larger pieces. Topic based learning engages pupils across many key art skills and pupils are taught the fundamentals of using a range of mediums and materials, from sculpting with clay, to weaving and watercolours, lino printing to collage. Children are given the skills to create their own works, choosing both method and medium and begin developing their own artistic styles. Art history is important to our curriculum and pupils are introduced to art throughout the ages, from cave paintings to modern day graffiti art. We look at a diverse range of artists, from Kehinde Wiley, David Hockney, Sara Fanelli and Banksy. Children continue to develop their skill and confidence to compare and comment on different ideas, artists and art techniques and ways of working.
After great success participating in The National Gallery’s Take One Picture project for several years, we have launched our own annual whole school event. In 2019 we wanted to do things a little differently and embarked on a self-directed ‘Take One Artist’ project. Each year group was given a painting by contemporary artist Njideka Akunyili-Crosby to consider and respond to. Children were taught new techniques in painting, print-making and collage and created their own artworks inspired by Crosby’s paintings. In 2020 we will be looking at a new artist which links to our summer focus: sculpture.
At Kelvin Grove we offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities for children to expand and further develop their skills in Art. After school clubs explore both traditional visual arts and expressive arts; Art Attack for Years 2 & 3 learn about a new artist/illustrator every week, looking at different styles of art and exploring a range of different techniques, while Art & Artists for Years 5 & 6 delve deeper into developing drawing skills and learning new techniques in art, such as carving, oil painting and moulding & casting with resin. Club Artisanal combines art, craft and baking with French for Years 1, 2 & 3 and Performing Arts is explored through Friday Musical Theatre, run by professional West End actors, exclusively for Reception and Year 1 children.
Other opportunities for art are taken up through our annual participation in competitions and events. Since 2018 Kelvin Grove has taken part in the Fourth Plinth Schools Award, and we have had winners in the Borough of Lewisham category.
In 2019 the Royal Academy launched their Young Artists Summer Show and we are incredibly proud to have had several of our pupils’ works shortlisted and one exhibited in the online exhibition. We are pleased to say we will once again be participating in these competitions.
At Kelvin Grove, we think it is important that all children should be involved in quality music-making. All classes have a music lesson every two weeks led by our music specialist teacher. There are also weekly singing assemblies for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 where the children enjoy songs ranging from curriculum-related songs, to classic favourites, to modern chart singles.
Every year group performs in a seasonal musical production in the Autumn Term, and Year 6 put on an additional production at the end of the Summer Term as a big musical finale before they leave for secondary school. In addition to this there are performances put on by our extra-curricular music groups such as choir, African Drumming, Piano Club, SuperSonics and Fife Club, which parents are always warmly invited to.
As part of our Wider Opportunities programme every child in Year 4 learns to play the ukulele; in Year 5 they have whole-class African drumming sessions led by our specialist visiting African Drumming teacher, and in Year 6 they learn the guitar.
From Year 4 onwards children at Kelvin Grove have the opportunity to join our music school ‘SuperSonics’ which operates after school on Thursdays. Working with visiting tutors these children become proficient in one instrument – either flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, tenor horn, trombone or percussion (depending on availability each term) – throughout Years 4 to 6. In addition the children have a session of Samba percussion, Music Technology, Rock School and after the first year of tuition also join the school Concert Band. SuperSonics has been running for several years, and many of our students have passed instrumental grade exams and gained entrance to secondary schools that are specialist centres of excellence in music and performing arts.
We also offer extra-curricular piano and fife tuition to children in Years 4, 5 & 6, African Drumming to Years 3, 4, 5 & 6, and have two school choir sessions which run on Friday lunchtimes for children in Years 3-4 and 5-6. Our school choir takes part in the international Sing Up Day event every Spring, as well as visiting and performing to our community partners throughout the year.
At Kelvin Grove Primary School we follow the Lewisham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in Primary Schools. The content of this covers each of the six main world religions. Through the teaching of R.E. we encourage our pupils to learn about different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring their own beliefs; challenge them to consider and discuss issues of truth, belief, faith, ethics and questions of meaning; develop their sense of identity and belonging; help them to flourish individually, within their communities, and as citizens; develop respect for, and sensitivity to, others (in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own); and it helps combat prejudice. The syllabus can be found here:
Throughout their first and second year at school your child will have the opportunity to attend a series of regular Forest School sessions delivered by a qualified Forest School Leader.
Forest School is about exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical, hands-on and easily accessible activities. It makes use of an outdoor learning environment to support and complement the work children do in their normal, indoor classroom. The children go out in all weathers, in all of the seasons. Whilst there, they are encouraged to explore their own interests and ideas in the varying natural environment, thereby stimulating their creative thinking, problem solving and skill development.
Research has shown that forest school is a very effective way for children:
- to develop self-esteem;
- to build self-confidence;
- to form positive relationships with others;
- to develop a growing awareness of their emotional needs and the needs of others;
- to learn to co-operate and work with their peers and adults;
At the moment we are able to offer this exciting approach to our children in Year 1 and Reception, but in time we hope to be able to offer it throughout the school. If you would like to find out more about Forest School and how your child will be involved whilst they are in Reception, then do not hesitate to come and speak to us.
Our Forest School relies heavily on the support we receive from all our parents and carers, but in particular, the quality of the children’s experience is hugely enhanced by the small band of parent volunteers who join us each week. If you can spare an hour or two every other week, and would like to get involved in our Forest School, then we would love to welcome parents and carers of children from any year group. If you would like to learn more about how Forest School contributes to the children’s learning and would like to help make it happen, then please speak to Mr Murray in Orchid Class (YR). We look forward to hearing from you.