Our Approach to Teaching

Ensuring high standards of teaching is at the heart of our vision and we have high expectations of our staff. Our teachers are qualified primary experts and we only recruit the best staff.

The varied and different needs of students are met by our highly experienced staff. A special educational needs coordinator provides support for pupils who have additional learning needs.

High quality teaching and individual learning plans ensure that pupils are also always challenged and able to achieve their best. Teachers will get to know the children in their class really well as individuals, meaning they can provide the best teaching for each child.

Subject leads

You can contact our English lead Mrs Bunton at: 

You can contact our maths lead Miss Peck at:

 

More information

English

In Early Years we teach children to read using the Read Write Inc. system of phonics teaching, providing them with the ability and confidence to sound out both familiar and new words. Children are regularly assessed to ensure they are in the right group for their stage of reading development. When needed, our children are also supported with phonics teaching in Key Stage 1.

In addition to phonics, all children are given the opportunity to learn about literature and poetry; our curriculum is focused on high quality literary texts. We have carefully planned our sequence of core texts to ensure children encounter a range of themes, narrative perspectives and structures, cultures and historical contexts. Texts range from Shakespeare and to Greek myths, to modern classics such as ‘The Railway Children’ or ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’.

Children are directly taught grammar, handwriting and spelling and have regular opportunities for extended writing.

Specific English expertise

Our school is supported in its English curriculum and teaching by our Inspiration Trust English leads, who provide expert advice and guidance to our teachers.

Maths

Our maths curriculum is based on the ‘Maths No Problem’ approach and we use their resources and textbooks. The curriculum is based on the evidence-based and highly successful approach developed in Singapore.

We take a mastery approach, where the whole class works through the programme of study together, ensuring enough time on knowledge and concepts before moving on. Ideas are revisited at higher levels as the curriculum progresses through the years, to ensure knowledge is retained.

Features of teaching include:

Access and challenge for all - Tasks and activities are designed to be  accessible for children, while still containing challenging components. For advanced learners, the textbooks also contain non-routine questions for pupils to develop their higher-order thinking skills.

Problem solving - Lessons and activities are designed to be taught using problem-solving approaches to encourage children’s higher-level thinking.

Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach - Children learn new concepts initially using concrete examples, such as counters, then progress to drawing pictorial representations before finally using more abstract symbols, such as the equals sign.

Variation - The questions and examples are carefully varied by expert authors to encourage pupils to think about the maths. Rather than provide mechanical repetition, the examples are designed to deepen pupils’ understanding and reveal misconceptions.

Our maths expertise

Our school is supported in its maths curriculum and teaching by our Inspiration Trust maths lead, who provides expert advice and guidance to our teachers. We are also fortunate to have the support of the Norfolk and Suffolk Maths Hub (Angles Maths Hub) which is led by Inspiration Trust.

Wider curriculum

History, geography, religious education and science subjects are taught as individual, weekly lessons. Children benefit from a knowledge-rich curriculum which has been designed by specialist subject leaders and implemented in a thoughtful, coherent way with plenty of embedded opportunities for challenge and creativity.

In order to further enrich children’s learning, staff regularly organise interesting, informative and exciting trips and experiences based on what the children have been learning in class. Further, we regularly invite speakers and experts to share their knowledge with children.

Religious education

Why is the study of religion, world views and philosophy important?

The study of ‘Religion’ (as a subject discipline) is fascinating, provocative and profound. Religion has been (and still is) so intertwined with human society that it is simply not possible to be culturally literate without knowledge of religion. Additionally, more than eight-in-ten of the world’s population identify as being ‘religious’. 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84 percent of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion. So not only is the study of religion merely interesting, it is vital in a world which is defined by global and historical patterns of religion and belief.

There has been a lot of confusion about what this subject looks like on the curriculum. The subject has been known by various names within the history of schooling in England and Wales. Speaking very generally, the subject began with confessional and instructional origins, i.e. how to be a moral, upstanding citizen in a Christian country. In many ways, this has to do with the religious origins of education in England and Wales and the social history of the Church. (For that reason, it has also been linked sometimes with collective worship in schools).

However, in an increasingly multicultural, but at the same time liberal and non-church attending country, the aims and objectives of the study of religion became less and less clear. To make matters more complex, the study of religion has sometimes been lumped in with PSHE, SMSC and strategies such as ‘Prevent’. So the result is a current educational climate in which, according to the RE Subject Council Review, there is “still widespread public uncertainty about the nature and purpose of RE”. So there is a need, even within the subject-community, to define the purpose of the subject.

AT1 and AT2

AT1 and AT2 are terms that practitioners in Religious Education have used to denote two different ideas: "Learning about Religion" (Attainment Target 1) and "Learning from Religion" (Attainment Target 2). The basic idea was that one strand of learning focussed on the knowledge and understanding of religious belief (AT1), whilst the second focussed on how pupils, in the light of their learning about religion, express their responses and insights. What is problematic about this somewhat arbitrary dual set of Attainment Targets is that they contain the rather positivistic assumption that one can and should learn from every religious encounter. Practically, this meant that practitioners sometimes shied away from exploring the more challenging, complex and darker sides of belief, because they wanted to extract (somewhat reductively) positivistic 'moral' lesson.

The 2013 Curriculum Framework for Religious Education in England suggested three developed 'Aims' to an RE curriculum, such that students should:

  • A - Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews

  • B - Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews

  • C - Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews

The very structure, nature and content of this Inspiration Trust curriculum itself facilitates progression through these different areas of the subject. For example, students will be equipped with knowledge of theological, philosophical and religious concepts that enable them to understand a range of worldviews. Through the suggested discussion questions and written tasks, they will express their ideas about the nature and significance of religions and worldviews. Each of the readings explores the 'impact' of religious beliefs and narratives in areas of human life and culture such as art, music, literature and architecture. All of these serve to provide students with the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews. But all of this is predicated on possessing powerful knowledge of beliefs and worldviews.

Religion

Before we said that the study of religion is vital in a world which is defined by global and historical patterns of religion and belief. The study of religion and belief therefore needs to be able to confer to those who study it powerful knowledge about the world which is defined by global and historical patterns of religion and belief.

  1. Powerful knowledge of religion includes concepts that unlock belief systems and world views.

  2. Powerful knowledge of religion shows how belief systems provide meaning that shapes the lives of believers.

  3. Powerful knowledge of religion needs to reflect honestly the global and historical reach and diversity (i.e. extent and variety) of faith, religion and belief.

  4. Powerful knowledge of religion deals with questions of truth, proof and evidence (this is the ‘philosophical’ aspect of the discipline)

  5. Powerful knowledge of religion enables the culture in which learners exist to be understood.

What does that look like in practice?

  • First, students should know the concepts that form the different belief systems: religious, philosophical and theological concepts such as ‘salvation’, ‘enlightenment’ or ‘afterlife’.

  • Second, they should know how people make the world seem ‘meaningful’. This would include actions such as ‘rites of passage’ and any other way that beliefs are significantly expressed in the lives of people who follow different worldviews.

  • Third, pupils should possess knowledge to navigate the complex ways that people express beliefs (including differences within religions such as Catholic and Orthodox Christianity)

  • Fourth, they should know about the relative merits of the claims believers make to truth (thus be able to make a philosophical judgement about them)

  • Fifth, students should possess knowledge that permits them to interpret the religious-influenced world around them (from literature to architecture).

 

History

The curriculum is designed so that subsequent parts rely on knowledge gained in earlier parts of the curriculum as the children move from year group to year group. From 2017, all Key Stage 2 children are entitled to around 1 hour 15 minutes of history a week.

One of the things that enables historians to think historically is an extensive knowledge base  as part of our curriculum readings containing reference to sources, these sources have been used to construct arguments about the past. Similarly, in some places in the reading it is made clear that historians have produced different interpretations of the past, and why and how this has happened. Pupils do need to know that what we can say about the past is sometimes uncertain and that this happens for a range of reasons.

writing tasks have a particular historical focus. Each time, the focus is on a particular type of historical question.  These questions require pupils to think and begin to build arguments in special, historical ways. For example, writing tasks might address questions such as:

-       What were the long-term and short-term causes of something?

-       What were the political, social and economic causes of an event?

-       Why did something happen at that time?

-       What were the consequences of an event?

-       How quickly did something change?

-       To what extent did something change?

-       What sorts of change were taking place?

-       How much continuity was there across a period?

-       What generalisations can we make about a period?

-       How similar/different were various groups of people in the past?

Art

At Charles Darwin we believe it is important to promote the importance of art and celebrate every child’s unique ability and interest. We have an Art Rich curriculum focused on a variety of periods and techniques in every year group.


The themes explored across the school can be seen below:


Reception

Portraits
Abstract shapes
Modernist Art
Animals
Insects


Year 1

Pop Art
Astronomical Art
Japanese Art
Post Impressionist
Contemporary Print Making
Mixed Media Artist
Avant Garde


Year 2

Post Impressionist
American Modernism
Iron Age
Avant Garde
Ancient Greek


Year 3

UK Pop Art
Pointillism
Modern Contemporary
Expressionism
Land Art
Comic Book Art


Year 4

Optical Art
Roman Art
Surrealism
Romanticism
Expressionism


Year 5

Cubism
Modern Art
Drawing
Abstract Expressionism
Contemporary Art
De Stijl


Year 6

Italian Rationalist Architecture
Symbolism
Renaissance Art
Modern Art
Art Deco
Neoclassicism

 

Modern foreign languages

At Charles Darwin Primary School we strive to provide the children the opportunity to speak another language which is French. There are multiple benefits to learning a language and they can be seen across many different curricula areas using different skills throughout such as speaking and listening and other cognitive benefits. We are fortunate to be able to work alongside Language Specialists that have worked hard to provide a curriculum that encourages them to learn and move forward in their language learning. 

The curriculum is followed throughout the years to ensure that children can become fluent in the subject and their confidence will grow. Another key part to the curriculum is to ensure that learning a language will benefit them in a different country rather than learning set names for things, the importance of a language is the ability to communicate. Finally, they are able to understand a different culture and why it is important to learn another language.

Aims of the subject: 

The National Curriculum outlines many aims of learning a language.

  • To understand and respond to a variety of spoken and written language. 

  • Develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language in which they study.

  • Moving forward, the ability to write at different varying lengths, using different grammatical structures and for different purposes.

  • The main aim of the subject is for children to be able to speak with increasing fluency and confidence to communicate what they want to say. This can be throughout a variety of different ways, whether in a discussion or asking questions.

National curriculum links:


At Charles Darwin Primary:

Children are encouraged to learn a language from the beginning of Reception through to Year 6 with the aim of them continuing their language learning on.

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The French curriculum is implemented from the beginning of the child’s school life with an introduction to the language. 

  • Key Stage 1 (KS1)

The French curriculum is used more throughout KS1, especially later KS1 (Year 2) by slowly introducing the French language throughout the year. This is done in ways such as the register being taken in French, the children learning numbers in French and other smaller items to build a background knowledge ready for KS2. 

  • Key Stage 2 (KS2)

Throughout the Years of 3,4,5 and 6 the curriculum is developed to ensure the children are having a French lesson per week. Year 3 are the pivotal year for learning French and this is where the children see lessons being taught weekly to grow their knowledge and confidence. 

Children in Year 3 could expect to learn particular things such as the phonetic sounds in words, numbers 1-12, gender differences to words leading onto them being able to retell a popular child story. 

 

Assessment

The majority of assessment for learning a Modern Foreign Language is orally through the use of spoken language. Children progress onto the written form of assessment as they move through the Key Stages and therefore this is assessed through the appropriate frameworks given. 

 

Music

Here at Charles Darwin we recognise the value of high quality music education, not only in class but also with our extra curricular ensembles held during lunch time clubs and electives. Our goal is to be able to offer pupils a wide range musical experiences, In addition to our ensembles we are also able to offer; for a fee, instrument tuition led by a highly skilled instrumental teacher from the Norfolk music services.

Our aim is to nurture a school of avid musicians and help them experience live ensemble performances in a range of exciting settings We believe that the chance to sing or play, to learn how to do so properly and to enjoy working in ensembles, is a transformational experience. It builds confidence, wide cultural knowledge, self-discipline, a team spirit and a wonderful sense of well-being.

Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE)

RSHE stands for Relationships, Sex and Health Education and at Charles Darwin we believe it is important to teach our children the skills to be confident and independent individuals to help them succeed in their futures. This is a statutory part of the curriculum, as defined by the government.

The aims of RSHE at our school are to:

  • Provide a framework in which sensitive discussions can take place
  • Prepare pupils for puberty, and give them an understanding of sexual development and the importance of health and hygiene
  • Help pupils develop feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy
  • Create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationships
  • Teach pupils the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies

We use the Educator Solutions package which is recommended by Norfolk County Council. 

The themes explored across the school can be seen below:

Reception

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • My body

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Healthy eating

  • Basic first aid

 

Year 1

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • My body

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Healthy eating

  • Basic first aid

 

Year 2

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • My body

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Healthy eating

  • Basic first aid

 

Year 3

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • My body

  • Physical health and fitness

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco

  • Health and prevention

  • Basic first aid

 

Year 4

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • Changing adolescent body

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Healthy eating

  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco

  • Health and prevention

  • Basic first aid

 

Year 5

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • Changing adolescent body

  • Physical heath and fitness

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco

  • Health and prevention

  • Basic first aid

 

Year 6

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships – including Internet safety

  • Sex and reproduction (please note this is the only lesson children are allowed to be withdrawn from)

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Healthy eating

  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco

  • Health and prevention

  • Basic first aid

For Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) we use resources from the PSHE Association which includes themes of relationships, friendships, staying safe. These are age appropriate for every year group with lots of engaging and fun resources.