At Westmeads, our curriculum is exciting, rich and inclusive, driven by carefully selected texts from either the Centre of Literacy for Primary Education or the Literacy Tree, to ensure they stir their thinking to create deep and authentic questions to fuel each topic.
We follow our children’s interests in their learning, carefully weaving the national curriculum into stimulating and illuminating learning opportunities. We believe children learn when they are having fun, engaging in purposeful, hands-on experiences and when they take a lead in where their learning journey goes.
It has been exciting to work as a whole staff team to develop our curriculum carefully, considering every topic and how they sequence together to build a wonderful journey of learning specifically aimed at our children here at Westmeads.
Please note that our bespoke curriculum is the intellectual property of Westmeads Community Infant School. These documents shall not be used or published either by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the permission from Westmeads Community Infant School.
Parents/ carers can request printed copies free of charge.
Information Sessions for Parents/Carers of Westmeads
We follow a bespoke Westmeads' Developed Discovery-led curriculum, utilising the National Curriculum for end points in all subjects.
When teaching children to write, we place high-quality books at the core, using them as the context for teaching the requirements of the national curriculum. We always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful and to feel authentic. Whether these are short or long, the intended audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity, giving children real reasons to write, whether this is to explain, persuade, inform or instruct. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach, with our carefully selected texts offering opportunities for empathy and philosophical enquiry, through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text. Children are supported with understanding writing as a process right from the start of their Westmeads experience, from drafting through to editing and publishing, in an age appropriate way.
Our reading curriculum is designed around a spine of carefully curated texts that were chosen to reflect our context and and inspire a life-long love of reading. The children are taught to read using systematic synthetic phonics based on Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) within dynamic next-step groupings with carefully matched books to take home for practise and consolidation. They develop their comprehension skills alongside their decoding strategies through Reading Workshops, where all children are scaffolded and stretched while learning from the same high-quality text within a Guided Reading carousel.
We place a high value on reading and enthusing the children about books. All the children spend time in the school library at least once a week and choose books from the library to take home along with their reading book. We also hold regular reading events such as World Book Day activity days, inviting parents in to read with the children, and visits from authors, poets and storytellers.
Speaking and Listening
We believe that developing good speaking and listening skills are vital to our holistic approach to learning. Children are engaged in plentiful discussions throughout the school day, whether that be as a whole school, in classes, in small groups or in pairs. Drama, debate and outdoor learning activities all give rise to an enormous amount of high quality talk! Whole school assemblies and PSHE lessons also offer regular opportunities to understand and practise the conventions of discussion and asking questions.
At Westmeads, we use a mastery approach (White Rose Maths) to support children in meeting the end goals of the National Curriculum for Mathematics. This means that number is at the heart of our teaching, developing children’s fluency, reasoning and problem solving, enabling every child to become confident and competent mathematicians. We teach for depth rather than breadth within each concept and we believe that collaboration and the use of practical resources are vital to the learning process in maths. Central to our pedagogy is the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach. Research shows that when children are introduced to a new concept, working with concrete physical resources and pictorial representations leads to a better understanding of abstract concepts.
Science is taught in a practical way at Westmeads in order to excite the children and engage them in their learning. By the time our pupils leave Westmeads they will have begun to develop a strong understanding of the world around them. Not only will they have gained knowledge of key scientific concepts and be able to use associated technical vocabulary, children will also be able to demonstrate how to answer questions (including those that they have raised themselves) by working scientifically, as opportunities to observe, identify, group and classify, perform simple tests, etc. are incorporated into each topic. Science is taught linked to our themes wherever possible and the children enjoy lots of practical investigations. We make good use of our grounds in studying plants, mini-beasts and habitats as our pond and garden are full of wildlife.
Design Technology (D.T.)
DT should provide children with a real life context for learning. The purpose of teaching DT is to provide children with an opportunity to practically explore their world and to affect it by creating products to improve it. Through our DT curriculum, children should be inspired by engineers, designers, chefs and architects to enable them to create a range of structures, mechanisms, textiles and food products with a real life purpose. Children will learn to appreciate and evaluate products in the world and also those produced by themselves and their peers. Our curriculum will enable the children to develop, apply and embed their skills through linked topic learning, building on what they already know and can do. We have a kitchen for the children to use in school so they have opportunities to cook a savoury and a sweet dish.
We believe that Art is inclusive and encourages creativity and curiosity for all children. We believe that Art should be a stimulating and enjoyable experience for all children, allowing them to express themselves through a piece of artwork, which has been produced individually or collaboratively. At Westmeads, we want our children to have the confidence and freedom to experiment with their own ideas, through different mediums. Children have opportunities to create artwork from natural materials found in our outdoor environment, during forest school and at the local beaches. Through the use of sketchbooks, children will have the opportunity to evaluate, analyse and re-visit their work and develop resilience by making and learning from mistakes. All children should leave our school with a set of basic skills in drawing and painting, sculpture, textiles, printmaking and computing programmes of study; an appreciation of work by a range of artists and an inquisitive nature meaning that they are capable of producing a piece of creative artwork which they and others can be proud of.
Our Computing curriculum ensures all children have access to a balanced coverage of the three Computing strands - Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. We aim for our children to be critical thinkers, to understand how to make informed and appropriate digital choices. In school we use a range of hardware and devices to support teaching and learning: laptops in our 'new' computer suite, interactive white boards, programmable robots and I-pads. Our software packages/apps support children's learning in other areas, such as Maths, Reading and Phonics.
Children are taught computing both discretely and integrated within our themed curriculum, this enables children an opportunity to further and enhance their computational skills, application and knowledge.
History and Geography
We study a skills-based curriculum in these subjects linked with our themes. For example, for our Local Area theme, we study local history and geography fieldwork skills. We bring the subjects alive through drama and outdoor learning as well as visitors to school and trips. Through this hands on, practical approach to learning, the children make links to their prior understanding and their lived experience, and further embed holistic knowledge in a purposeful way.
All children engage in P.E. lessons twice a week, plus daily Wake Up Shake Up, mindfulness, yoga or Gentle Touch sessions. In P.E. lessons, children develop fundamental movement and control skills through a range of sports and games. To support our teaching and learning of P.E., we use Greenacre Sports resources, which are nationally recognised by the Association of P.E. This helps to ensure that every lesson builds upon the previous to promote the progress of every child. The sports we cover in our curriculum include, but are not limited to, tag rugby, tri golf and tennis, as well as gymnastics and dance. We also offer all children swimming lessons in Year 2.
We study all major religions in the world following the Kent Agreed syllabus and the children learn about tolerance and diversity as well as specific customs and practices within different religions and cultures.
During their time at Westmeads, the children explore a range of instruments, including the recorder, djembe drumming and other percussion instruments. We also enjoy singing together and learning new songs in our singing assembly every week. We stage performances including singing at Christmas and a summer carnival for parents, carers, grandparents and friends.
Developing children's social skills and ensuring their emotional well-being is central to our ethos at Westmeads. We follow our own bespoke PSHE curriculum that meets requirements of the National Curriculum and recommendations of the PSHE Association. We also use KAPOW, which is a highly recommended resource, to support our teaching and learning of PSHE.
For more information about our curriculum, please see our Teaching and Learning Policy, or contact the headteacher or curriculum lead. Curriculum letters are sent our termly detailing the overview of the programmes of study that the children will be following.