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Our Curriculum

Our Curriculum

It is important to us that your child loves learning! In a rapidly changing world, we want to equip children with the skills to easily adapt to changing circumstances.

We:

  • Expect all our children to make as much progress as possible;
  • Provide an environment where children can feel secure, be imaginative, are able to take risks and make mistakes without damaging their self-esteem;
  • Encourage responsibility – enabling every child to become independent and ambitious;
  • Promote curiosity – fostering lively and enquiring minds to develop the ability to question and reason.

We provide a broad, balanced curriculum which teaches children through many first hand experiences. A curriculum letter, sent home at the beginning of each new learning phase, will tell you about the learning that is planned and how you can help.

Reading and Phonics

We use a variety of reading schemes in school which follow the UK Book Band colours and Oxford Reading Tree Levels. This is to expose the children to a wide range of text types, characters and settings.

Oxford Level: 1 | Band: Lilac (Age appropriate for Reception)
Oxford Level: 1+ | Band: Pink (Age appropriate for Reception)
Oxford Level: 2 | Band: Red (Age appropriate for Reception)
Oxford Level: 3 | Band: Yellow (Age appropriate for Reception)

Oxford Level: 4 | Band: Light blue (Age appropriate for Year 1)
Oxford Level: 5 | Band: Green (Age appropriate for Year 1)
Oxford Level: 6 | Band: Orange (Age appropriate for Year 1)

Oxford Level: 7 | Band: Turquoise (Age appropriate for Year 2)
Oxford Level: 8 | Band: Purple (Age appropriate for Year 2)
Oxford Level: 10 | Band: White (Age appropriate for Year 2)
Oxford Level: 11 | Band: Lime (Age appropriate for Year 2)

We follow the Government recommended Letters and Sounds programme for phonics. More information can be found here: http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/

We also use a website called Monster Phonics to support the children with their phonics learning. This website uses colour coding, monster pictures and actions to support children with remembering the sounds. The children use the monsters to help them with learning and recalling each sound.

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Free games: https://monsterphonics.com/games/

Downloadable apps: https://monsterphonics.com/monster-phonics-apps/

Free activities and worksheets: https://monsterphonics.com/free-phonics-worksheets/

 

Thinking Skills

As a Thinking School, we believe that cognitive education is vital for pupils to confidently solve problems and apply their learning across the curriculum and in the wider world. We have a responsibility to make sure our pupils are fully able to make the most of their time in school and beyond. We do this by providing secure foundations and support systems on which pupils can structure their thinking in any given situation. In a Thinking School, pupils learn that no idea is a wrong and everybody’s contribution is equally valued. Pupils are taught dispositions such as perseverance, listening, taking controlled risks and the ability to question all of which are important skills needed to be a successful learner.

More information is available here Thinking Tools

In 2018, we were officially accredited as being a Thinking School by Exeter University. The Thinking Schools Accreditation is a national award that provides us with a cognitive curriculum that is incorporated it into a ‘whole school’ approach

You can find more information about the award at https://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/education/thinkingschools/accreditation/accreditation/

Quotes from the report written by the evaluator:

“The school has high expectations and high aspirations for both staff and pupils, underpinned by a supportive and caring environment. “

“It is clear that New Horizons Children’s Academy places a great deal of emphasis and effort into creating a strong ethos and identity that is able to quickly assimilate the numbers of children and staff who join this growing school.”

!The pupils’ response to their experiences of school life is very positive. They are confident and secure in expressing their own views and values according to their age and capacity. They are proud of their school and appreciate that their school is a Thinking School.”

“There is clear evidence that the school has fully embraced the cognitive approach and embedded a range of thinking tools and strategies into their practice in a relatively short space of time.”“De Bono’s Thinking Hats and Thinking Keys are used extensively to support and evaluate learning.”“Throughout the school, ‘Visual Tools’ are used across many areas of the curriculum.  As even the youngest pupils are engaged in all types of thinking such as classifying, comparing and contrasting, sequencing, seeing analogies, cause and effect and whole to part relationships.”

“There is a strong emphasis on developing positive pupil learning behaviours and dispositions to learning.”

“The school uses a range of strategies to develop questioning in the classroom of staff.”

“Good quality displays showing thinking tools in use across the curriculum give evidence of high expectations from staff and make apparent to visitors from the moment they enter the school, the value that is placed on cognitive education.”

 

Thinking Maps

Teachers and TAs have been trained to use David Hyerles 8 thinking maps. These are visual teaching tools that foster and encourage lifelong learning. Each map is for a particular thought process and having such visual representations enables our children to make sense of abstract concepts and remember information more effectively. The maps are used by both staff and pupils in all areas of learning.

More information is available here: Thinking Maps

 

Thinker’s Keys

Teachers and TAs are have been trained in the use of Tony Ryan’s “Thinkers Keys”. Thinker’s keys are used to foster creative thinking which is important as it strengthens our ability to cope with change. Thinker’s Keys are used as part of daily teaching, as well as during times of reflection.

More information is available here: Thinker’s Keys

 

Thinking Hats

Teachers and TAs have been trained in the use of De Bono’s “6 Thinking Hats”. They are a tool that enables children to structure their thinking by using one type of thinking at a time. Children are encouraged to use different hats to encourage a wider perspective of thinking. We have also introduced our own ‘Purple Hat’ that enables pupils to edit and improve their work.

More information is available here: Thinking Hats

 

Habits of Mind

Teachers and TAs have been trained in the use of Habits of Mind. These dispositions enable children to think in a variety of ways and apply skills to a range of situations.

More information is available here: Habits of Mind

 

Religious Education and Collective Worship

We follow the Medway agreed syllabus for R.E. Children learn about the beliefs of the world’s major religions through studying artefacts, places of worship, core values and festivals. A daily act of collective worship is held at school. These follow the themes of community, specialness, communication, relationships, values, journeys and celebrations. We aim to open the children’s eyes to understand the rights and responsibilities they have, to act with tolerance and understanding and to appreciate the advantaged of diversity. The Education Act gives parents/carers the right to withdraw their child from R.E. and Collective Worship. Please contact the Headteacher if you wish to withdraw your child.