Our aim is for every child in our school to feel both inspired and supported to achieve their academic, social and personal best. We want each child’s experience of primary school to be full of joy and wonder as they learn and achieve, make friends and discover the world around them.
Our school values underpin everything we do and we believe every member of our school community should strive to demonstrate these values.
Our curriculum is ambitious and challenging with a focus on key concepts and topics being developed and revisited over time, building progressively year on year.
Reading sits at the heart of our curriculum and we aim to cultivate a love of reading in every child.
Our curriculum is broad and balanced, and as an all through school, our pupils benefit from a wealth of subject specialist knowledge and facilities.
We know that many children thrive in an outdoor environment and we regularly take the opportunity to develop learning beyond the classroom.
We aim to instil lifelong learning behaviours that enable children to be reflective and resourceful, taking responsibility for their own learning and striving to achieve their best.
We want every child to experience a wide range of arts, sport and cultural experiences, with the aim of invoking joy, awe and wonder as well as developing a greater understanding of the wider world.
We aim for every child to become an active citizen, engaging with their local community and knowing how to keep themselves safe and healthy.
Please find below more detailed information about all our curriculum areas.
YEAR GROUP OVERVIEWS
Please find below the year group overview for each class. This summarises the curriculum that each class will experience across the year. Please note that the mixed age class follow a bespoke curriculum. Please contact us if you would like further details.
All Through School
As a primary within an all through school, we are able to expand on the traditional primary school offer, taking full advantage of the secondary school facilities and the expertise of enthusiastic subject specialists.
While embracing all these advantages, we are also committed to retaining the nurturing, community feel of a primary school, and our primary site is secure and situated separately from the secondary buildings.
All our primary pupils are taught dance and PE by subject specialists, with children from Year 1 onwards also being taught by specialists for Spanish and music lessons. All children also enjoy swimming lessons at the onsite pool across the year.
Our Early Years Approach
Our Early Years curriculum is ambitious and carefully sequenced to allow children to develop their learning over time. It is designed to broaden and deepen children’s knowledge and understanding and with the intention of developing the whole child. We aim to support children to become critical thinkers, play and explore, and be creative and active in their own learning.
Children are encouraged to lead their own learning and become an active part of their learning through play. We ensure children have access to well planned indoor and outdoor enabling environments for high quality play. Our curriculum provides children with meaningful experiences which provide purpose for their learning e.g. arranging a seed sale, organising a birthday party, writing letters to new children. We recognise that young children are driven by their interests and so planning needs to be flexible and activities and play will involve the interests of the children to ensure they are engaged in the environment.
Communication and language underpins all areas of learning in the EYFS. There is a clear focus across the year on introducing children to new vocabulary in a structured way; high quality modelling of language by adults; lots of engaging opportunities to encourage children to talk to adults and peers about their learning. Reading sits at the heart of our curriculum and we use high-level and interesting books and stories to enrich children’s experiences.
We aim to foster the following characteristics of effective learning:
playing and exploring – children investigating and experiencing things and ‘having a go’
active learning – children concentrating and keeping trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoying their achievements
creating and thinking critically – children developing their own ideas, making links between ideas, and developing strategies for doing things
Our art and design curriculum enables children to experiment, explore and create a range of art and design pieces during their time in the primary phase. Children are exposed to a broad range of art and design pieces and they are taught to evaluate and analyse them as well as using them as inspiration for their own work.
Children are introduced to different strands within art and these are revisited to build and secure learning. For example still life is introduced in autumn year 2, revisited with printing year 2 summer, and then again in painting in Year 5. There is a strong focus on drawing and painting, and both of these areas are taught robustly every year. We also provide other opportunities to experience different art skills across the primary phase.
Over children’s time in the primary phase there are a mix of local, national and international artists included. Within units we consider different artist perspectives on topics to demonstrate to children that there are various ways to interpret stimulus. There is a particular focus on being broadminded, with artists from all over the world, a balance of male and female artists and those with disabilities.
Through our computing curriculum we teach children to use and apply the fundamental principles of computer science, how to study problems and approach them in a controlled and systematic way, how to stay safe when using technology and to understand that it can be manipulated. The nature of technology is that it is always developing and our curriculum reflects that. Online safety is explicitly taught and there is also an e safety strand within the PSHE curriculum.
We use Teach Computing’s curriculum as the basis of our Computing curriculum. The curriculum is research based and uses the National Centre for Computing Education’s computing taxonomy and the National Curriculum to ensure comprehensive coverage.
Children will encounter learning from across 10 strands during their time in the primary phase: algorithms; computer networks; computer systems; creating media; data and information; design and development; effective use of tools; impact of technology; programming; safety and security. Each theme is revisited at least once every year, to allow children to build on their knowledge and skills. This allows pupils to make stronger connections with their learning, as well as consolidate what they have learnt previously.
design and technology
Our DT curriculum allows children the opportunity to design, make and evaluate products using a range of materials in every unit, keeping the users and purposes in mind. It is based on the D&T Association’s Projects on a Page.
Each DT project is based around an enquiry question and incorporates the following elements: user (who the project is for); purpose (what the product is for); functionality (product needs to have functional characteristics); design decisions (children making choices about their project); innovation (scope for children to be original with their thinking); authenticity (believable, meaningful products with a clear user and purpose).
Children have the opportunity to work with construction materials, textiles, food, mechanical components and electrical components.
We believe that an understanding of nutrition is an essential life skill so we cover food every year with a focus on healthy eating. We also focus on where food comes from and include food we have grown ourselves for some units. In KS1 children focus on preparing and combining food before moving onto cooking using a heat source in KS2.
We follow a Mastery approach to English through the programmes ‘Pathways to Write,’ ‘Pathways to Read’ and ‘Pathways to Spell.’ Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for reading and writing. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the reading and writing activities provided.
We deliver one whole class shared reading lesson per week from years 2-6 with bespoke grouped reading for every pupil at least once a week as well as individual reading. For pupils still needing support with phonics from years 2-6, we provide an individual reading programme that has phonically decodable texts at the heart of it. In our shared and grouped reads, there is a clear teaching focus with the opportunity to master key reading skills in each session. There are follow on reading tasks to enable pupils to evidence the skills they have mastered independently.
Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through our approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary.
Our spelling programme is designed to deliver the statutory content of the Primary National
Curriculum for spelling from Year 2 onwards. Through weekly teaching of spelling objectives and development of a whole school approach to word transcription, vocabulary development and proof-reading, the programme aims to develop children as proficient spellers.
The majority of geography in EYFS/ Year 1 is linked to children’s local area to help them develop their sense of place and for them to be able to make more informed comparisons with other places as they move through the school. There is a strong focus on the geography of the UK to enable children to understand where they live and to make regional comparisons.
There is a balance in the breadth and depth of the areas covered with some being covered with a wider lens (e.g. South America) whilst others are in depth studies (e.g. development in Great Dunmow). We are conscious that case studies portray areas accurately and avoid stereotyping.
Children begin in the EYFS by focusing on their school and the school grounds. This expands into the local area of Great Dunmow and then widens into the regions of the UK. Alongside this, children are introduced to every continent over their time in the primary phase.
Children are introduced to weather in the EYFS and this is also a focus in KS1 as so many physical processes are driven by it. In KS2 children build on this knowledge to focus on specific aspects of physical geography such as biomes. Where possible we incorporate both human and physical geography into each unit as we believe the interplay between the two can be best understood in this way.
There is the opportunity for fieldwork at least once a year. This helps to ground geography into familiar, concrete contexts for the children. The skills required for fieldwork build as children move through the curriculum (e.g. using picture charts to record the weather in EYFS; taking river measurements in Year 5). Maps, at an appropriate level, are incorporated into every geography unit. Children have the opportunity to study, create and plan routes from maps at a progressive range of scales (e.g. a plan of the classroom to ordnance survey maps). Aerial photography and satellite images also provide pupils with another insight into the areas being studied.
The history curriculum is broad with a range of historical periods and timescales; places and societies; people, groups and experiences, taught across the primary phase. Our history curriculum has a strong focus on the history of the UK, and in particular on local historical sites to enable children to develop a clearer understanding of the history of their local area, and the historical significance of local places.
There is a balance in the breadth and depth of the areas covered with some being covered with a wider lens (e.g. the story of migration to Britain) whilst others are in depth studies (e.g. Audley End in the Victorian times). We are conscious that we present pupils with a balanced portrayal of people and events and avoid stereotyping, encouraging pupils to make their own informed opinions.
Key concepts are revisited over time to enable children to revisit and build on their knowledge and understanding (e.g. the concept of historical heroes is introduced in Year 1 and revisited in Year 4; Empire, when studying the Romans in Year 3, and then the British Empire in Year 6). Where relevant pupils work through the areas covered chronologically (e.g. Romans, Saxons, Vikings).
Each unit allows children to engage with a historical enquiry. For some units children might generate their own enquiry questions. Children are taught the specific contextual knowledge for the period and issue being studied as well as fitting it into a chronological framework and learning appropriate vocabulary. Each unit also develops one or two key elements of historical understanding (evidence; interpretations; continuity and change; cause and consequence; similarity/ difference; significance). Each unit allows children to communicate what they have learnt.
At HRS Primary Phase, all students have the opportunity to be successful in mathematics. We use a mastery approach as the basis of our curriculum and enhance it using resources and tools from Whiterose and NCTEM. Objectives from the National Curriculum have been broken down into small steps, which can be taught across one or two lessons.
Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline and a sound knowledge of mathematics is vital for young people. A high-quality mathematics education provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
Our maths curriculum is designed to teach fundamental mathematical concepts clearly and purposefully, with a focus on concrete, visual and abstract representations. All new concepts will be taught using the CPA continuum using a variety of concrete and pictorial representations alongside formal and informal abstract algorithms. Our curriculum highlights the importance of representing maths in different ways including part whole models, number lines, number tracks, bar models.
We have high expectations of our pupils and our curriculum will challenge and engage children, no matter what their ability. We encourage pupils to challenge themselves in maths and use resilience as a tool to keep trying. We want children to be ambitious in the mathematical vocabulary they use and have confidence when talking about maths.
The maths curriculum is delivered through blocked strands, with additional opportunities for interleaved practice through regular ‘maths meetings’. We have thematic links across our curriculum, which gives children the opportunity to implement knowledge and skills they have learnt in maths in different contexts within their daily lives. All small step learning includes opportunities to practise fluency, reasoning and problem solving, which in turn leads to rich connections across mathematical concepts.
Oracy sits at the foundation of our teaching and learning methodologies and will be seen in the form of precise mathematical vocabulary, stem sentences to apply their emerging understanding and questioning to deepen understanding.
Our philosophy of music education is based on the principle that it should be fun and engaging for all concerned, and that every child is a born musician. Music plays a role in every aspect of our lives, wherever and whoever we are.
We follow Charanga’s English Model Music Curriculum Scheme which is aligned with the National Curriculum for Music and the non-statutory Model Music Curriculum (MMC) Guidance published by the DfE in 2021.
We follow a spiral approach to musical learning, with children revisiting, building and extending their knowledge and skills incrementally. In this manner, their learning is consolidated and augmented, increasing musical confidence and enabling them to go further. The academic year is divided into six units, each corresponding with one of six recurring social questions, combined with a unique musical spotlight.
Within every unit for every year group, children will listen, sing, move, play instruments, improvise and/or compose, and perform a wide variety of songs in many styles. With a focus on teaching about the elements of music through songs, children will continue to develop their knowledge and skills related to these foundational building blocks of music.
At HRS, our vision is to inspire EVERY child to be passionate about physical education and sport, while bringing PE to the heart of the school. We aim to have a fully inclusive, broad, balanced curriculum that encourages a lifelong involvement and love of PE, develops resilience, and promotes key values including honesty and teamwork.
Using Primary PE Planning as the basis of our curriculum, all children will have at least 2 hours of PE each week and sports/skills will be taught in blocks to ensure children’s skills can be built on from week to week. Our curriculum is progressive and key sports (multi skills, tennis, football, gymnastics, dance, cricket and athletics) will be taught yearly to ensure children have opportunities to progress in the skills they learn each year. As well as the key sports, every year group in KS1 and 2 will have the opportunity to learn less common sports and skills such as self defence, dodgeball, basketball, outdoor adventure and Muay Thai.
All children in KS2 have at least half a term of swimming each year, ensuring all children meet the end of KS2 requirements for swimming by the time they leave HRS Primary Phase. We also offer swimming to EYFS and KS1 as much as possible as we believe swimming is a fundamental life skill that should be taught as early as possible.
At HRS we offer a range of opportunities for children to take part in intra and inter school tournaments and competitions in a range of sports. Our school values play a huge part in our PE curriculum as we expect our children to be kind and respectful sports people when competing against and with others.
We recognise our children come from different backgrounds, including those where physical activity and a healthy lifestyle may not always be a priority. To address this, Sports Premium Funding is used to provide opportunities to attend after-school sports clubs, represent the school in competitions and provide access to a wide range of playground equipment, for those that would otherwise be at a disadvantage. We also educate both our children and families to develop a greater understanding on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and to support their well-being.
We follow the Schofield and Sims 'My Letters and Sounds' phonics programme, teaching phonics every day in a structured, engaging and multi-sensory way. We further develop phonological awareness through a rich diet of rhythm, rhyme and song.
We begin Reception by introducing children to the initial grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPCs), alongside segmenting and blending skills to enable them to 'sound out' and 'decode' short words. As the year progresses they learn more GPCs and begin to read and write longer words and phrases.
Our learned skills are then applied through a range of connected learning opportunities which include reading, writing and speaking and listening.
Phonics teaching continues in Year 1, with children accessing a wider range of GPCs. By this stage, children are more confident and able to read and spell a range of words and they begin to learn new graphemes as well as alternative pronunciations for known graphemes.
Please use this link to My Letters and Sounds resources page for further details on how phonics is taught, audio clips to support pronunciation of the GPCs and resources to support phonics practice at home.
PSHE education helps pupils to manage the physical and emotional changes at puberty, introduces them to a wider world and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities.
We use the Curriculum Framework designed by the PSHE Association for our PSHE Curriculum. The curriculum is built around 3 key themes: health and wellbeing; relationships and living in the wider world. Progression is built in by revisiting key themes year on year, building on and extending prior learning. It builds on the skills that pupils started to acquire during the Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) to develop effective relationships, assume greater personal responsibility and manage personal safety, including online.
The curriculum covers all the statutory requirements for the primary phase within a comprehensive PSHE education programme. In Reception we use the personal, social and emotional development strand of the EYFS curriculum to develop this aspect of learning. Beyond this, our PSHE curriculum covers economic wellbeing, careers and enterprise education, and personal safety (including assessing and managing risk).
During key stages 1 and 2, PSHE education offers both explicit and implicit learning opportunities and experiences which reflect pupils’ increasing independence and physical and social awareness, as they move through the primary phase.
As part of the Saffron Academy Trust (SAT), we follow the SAT scheme of work for RE, developed to allow schools to implement the new ESSEX SACRE Agreed Syllabus. The scheme offers an enquiry-led, multi-faith approach, considered and explored through three distinct lenses: theology, philosophy and human and social science.
The theology lens focuses on thinking through believing, with children encouraged to ask questions that believers would ask, think like theologians and explore and ask questions and answers that arise from inside religions and worldviews.
The philosophy lens encourages thinking through thinking. Children are taught to ask questions that thinkers would ask, think like philosophers and explore questions and answers raised through considering the nature of knowledge, existence and morality.
Finally the human and social science lens teaches thinking through living. Children are taught to ask questions that people who study reality would ask, think like human and social scientists and explore questions and answers raised in relation to the impact of religions and worldviews on people and their lives.
Science is a way to understand our world by carefully thinking about it and testing our guesses with observations and experiments. Science ignites children’s understanding of the world around them, allows them to explore and discover, and encourages their natural curiosity.
Within our curriculum, topics are revisited over time to enable children to revisit and build on their knowledge and understanding. Cross curricular links are made where appropriate to help develop children’s understanding such as learning about states of matter in science whilst learning about the water cycle in geography.
In KS2 children are encouraged to move beyond the National Curriculum topics and complete an additional scientific project which links science to the real world. This may include researching scientific news stories, looking at scientific careers or looking at how science can solve problems, for example in the world of medicine.
Children are introduced to a range of scientists as they move through the science curriculum. There is a careful balance of representation in the scientists chosen to reinforce a range of positive role models to pupils.
Where possible the science curriculum is linked to the natural world. For example, topics linked to plants take place in the spring and summer term to allow pupils to get outside and see nature first hand.
Pupils undertake a range of investigative activities to explore the curriculum content. They complete comparative tests, identify and classify objects, make observations over time, search for patterns, complete research tasks
We aim for all pupils to develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating. We have chosen to teach Spanish as the language we teach in the primary phase, as this is the language most students choose to continue in the secondary phase. We use Language Angels scheme of work and resources to ensure we offer a relevant broad, vibrant and ambitious foreign languages curriculum that will inspire and excite our pupils using a wide variety of topics and themes.
We teach the four key language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing and all necessary grammar is covered in an age-appropriate way across the primary phase. This will enable pupils to use and apply their learning in a variety of contexts, laying down solid foundations for future language learning and also helping the children improve overall attainment in other subject areas.
Children will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes; developing the building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic language.
Children also have the opportunity to learn more about the culture of Spain across the school, from tasting Spanish food in Reception, to learning about Spanish festivals such as La Fiesta de San Fermin.
personal development curriculum
Our school values:
AMBITION, KINDNESS, RESPECT, RESILIENCE, BROAD MINDEDNESS AND INDEPENDENCE
We want our students to:
Have ambition for themselves and strive for excellence in all they do
Be kind to one another, show empathy and understand the value of altruism
Have respect for all members of the school, the wider community and for the environment
Show resilience, tackling challenges with determination whilst seeing setbacks as opportunities
Be broadminded and consider different points of view with empathy and understanding
Be independent and know how to organise themselves and manage their learning effectively
Our ethos is to:
Provide a high quality educational experience in which all students are supported to make excellent progress
Build a culture where staff are constantly looking to develop their practice in order to provide students with the best educational experience possible
Have a culture of high expectations for all students in which we inspire excellence and encourage students to have ambition for what they can achieve and what they will become
Teach and practise the value of kindness, looking for opportunities to model and celebrate this within the school and wider community
Teach and practise the value of respect, modelling good manners and respect for our environment
Build resilience in our students by giving them the tools to embrace challenges, learn from setbacks and manage their emotional wellbeing
Create an inclusive school that respects diversity and teaches students to be broadminded
Give students the tools and opportunities to be independent
Provide students with a range of enriching opportunities, both within the school and beyond the school gates, that inspire them to reach further, reach higher and broaden their horizons
Our personal development curriculum is designed to ensure that children become well rounded individuals and active members of society. We have developed 3 strands to our personal development curriculum: enrichment; becoming a citizen; learning behaviours. These are all underpinned by our school values. Our PSHE, RE and computing curriculums, and our approach to behaviour all also contribute to our pupils’ effective personal development.
At Helena Romanes School, we are committed to developing a life-long love of reading in our pupils - and ensuring that they learn to read for pleasure and purpose and with confidence and fluency.
Our curriculum and learning environments are rich with language - both oral and written, and provide continuous opportunities for children to learn, practise, apply and improve their oracy and reading skills.
However, learning to read involves more than just reading! Sharing stories, reciting poems and singing songs and rhymes also help to develop children's vocabulary and language comprehension while building their understanding of the world around them.
We ensure that the books children read at home are in line with their age and stage of development, and in the younger years, link closely to our Phonics learning.