Core Curriculum Subjects
Reading is at the heart of everyday life at Broadwater Down Primary School. Our classrooms are filled with books and stories to inspire children to dream of their own futures, escape into imaginary universes and immerse themselves in new experiences, learn more about our human societies and the world that we live in, and to empathise with other human beings from all walks of life and cultures.
Early reading is especially crucial because we are well aware that it is one of the most fundamental factors in helping our pupils improve their life chances and live out their full potential. In Early Years and KS1, our skilled adults work hard to build children's basic reading skills and love of reading to stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
Our systematic synthetic phonics programme is Monster Phonics. This is a DfE validated child-centred phonics programme that rapidly improves results. Children make progress because the approach is meaningful, interactive, and easy to understand, creating high engagement.
The systematic colour-coding of graphemes linked to phoneme monsters makes phonics easier to understand. Children also love the monsters, who bring phonics to life. Our activities are multisensory requiring reading, writing, singing and actions.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. At Broadwater Down Primary School, children in Year 3 upwards use AR, with some children in Year 2 using the system in the summer term if they are ready to do so.
What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood what has been read. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results which the teacher then uses to help the child set targets and ongoing reading practice. Children using AR have a free choice of the books they read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they feel in control and can choose books that are interesting to them. In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all they learn and grow at their own pace. If a child does not do well on a quiz, this will be monitored by the teacher and the book level can be adjusted accordingly if this is the reason.
How much will my child read during the school day?
According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, your child should have at least 20 minutes set aside for independent reading during each school day. They will also bring their book home for extra reading time.
How does the school determine my child’s reading level?
Teachers determine your child’s reading level using a STAR Reading™ test and using their best professional judgment based on their knowledge of your child. A STAR Reading test is a computerized reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 15 minutes. As a result the teacher is provided with a Zone of Proximal Development for your child.
What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?
In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD range after taking a STAR Reading test. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPDs. ZPDs should be adjusted based on the needs of your child.
How can I help my child become a better reader?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookshop on a regular basis and by letting your child see you reading. When reading with your child stop and ask questions to be sure your child comprehends what they have read and in general make a habit of discussing books that each of you has read.
Can I find more books that are suitable for my child?
You will be informed about the Zone of Proximal Development that we have suggested for your child. This means that you would be able to select books for them from their exact level. If you wish to withdraw books from the public library, or purchase books for your child, it is possible to access a website called ‘AR bookfinder’ www.arbookfind.co.uk
On this website you can search for a particular book and discover the book level, interest level etc. Alternatively, you can type in the level that your child is reading at and see a vast range of suggested books at that level. Unfortunately, not all books are on the AR system but the list is increasing every day, so it is worth checking a book on different occasions as it may well be added. It is also worth typing in the author’s name if the title does not appear to be on the list. Sometimes a misplaced apostrophe for example will suggest that the book is not on the scheme when actually it is.
Click here to access Parent Guide to Accelerated Reader
Our termly projects drive the learning throughout the term, both in English and in the wider curriculum. Teachers plan meaningful opportunities for children to write, ensuring that each piece is planned, drafted, evaluated and published with a clear purpose.
Teachers continually track their English progression document detailing the writing genres, grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting objectives outlined in the National Curriculum for their year group. Teachers use this document to ensure all areas of the National Curriculum are covered, whilst maintaining pupil input in their writing planning.
The writing process that we use follows the same structure no matter the piece of writing so that children learn to understand the means by which writing is created:
Plan > Draft > Share > Evaluate > Revise > Edit > Publish
Knowledge and Skills Progression
Please click here to see how writing genres progress across the school.
Please click here to see how writing skills progress through each genre.
At Broadwater Down we aim to provide a high-quality mathematics education that 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 curriculum provides a balance of fluency, problem solving and reasoning following guidance on best practice from the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Maths (NCETM).
We follow a mastery approach, using small steps which are sequentially built upon both within and across year groups. The children make use of manipulatives (equipment), working walls, the outdoors and each other in order to develop their understanding. Teachers develop children's independent higher order thinking skills. When children are able to describe, represent, explain, and create their own example of a concept, idea or technique they are demonstrating 'mastery'. When children are able to solve problems of greater complexity, demonstrating creativity and imagination, independently explore and investigate, communicate results clearly, and systematically explain and generalise, they are working at greater depth.
(If you would like to know more about the mastery approach, click on the link below)
Click on the links below to see an overview of the small steps taught in each year group.
The science curriculum at Broadwater Down is well planned and executed to ensure that all children receive a rich and varied learning experience. Practical lessons provide access for all children and enable them to develop good communication skills in the classroom. Children are able to observe scientifically the world around them, and inform their own experiences. It allows children to be inquisitive and have a greater understanding on the impact of science in our everyday lives.
The journey starts in reception where children begin developing their understanding and knowledge of the world through the Early Years Foundation Framework. It then progresses into Key stage 1, where they begin to observe, experience and develop simple questioning through scientific enquiry. Then finally into Key stage 2, where understanding of scientific ideas are deepened and pupils are able to draw simple conclusions through enquiry and data analysis.
Knowledge and Skills Progression