All pupils are taught Maths and English on a daily basis and this follows a highly structured programme of teaching, based on the requirements of the National Curriculum.
Pupils are assessed coming into school using Reception Baseline assessment, and progress is measured throughout the year against the Early Learning Goals and at the end of the Foundation Stage using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. Children across the school are assessed continually using Assessment for Learning strategies and termly using diagnostic tests. This information helps the school project targets for pupils termly and track their progress from Foundation to KS1 and from KS1 through KS2.
Due to the mixed age classes, the school operates on a two year, rolling programme of study based upon the National Curriculum, to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.
During the Autumn Term, there is an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher to discuss their targets for the year and any concerns. During the Spring Term, there is an opportunity to see how your child is progressing and discuss any issues with the teacher(s) concerned. During the Summer Term parents receive a report on their child’s annual progress. An open evening is held for parents and pupils to wander through the school, talk to teachers and look at children’s work.
Click each subject below to link to our intent and implementation statements.
Children in Early Years through to Year 2 are taught Phonics using Letters and Sounds which has been adapted to meet all the requirements. Spelling is taught through a variety of strategies, including use of the Rising Stars scheme. The school has a wide variety of reading scheme materials, including the Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and Bug Club. Teachers use both phonic and guided reading approaches to develop reading. Children are given opportunities to write freely. Much of our writing is taught through ‘Talk for Writing’ an approach inspired by Pie Corbett. Children are taught to write clearly using a cursive script and are expected to present their work neatly. The school has a clear marking policy.
The school plans teaching and learning based on the National Curriculum. We aim to give the children a rich variety of experiences in Maths. We use a mastery approach and teach using concrete materials, help children to learn to make their own pictorial representations and move to more abstract work. We use the Herts for Learning Essential Maths, with additional maths problems solving materials and investigations, such as those found on the nrich website. Times tables are essential and the school places great emphasis on pupils knowing them off-by-heart as soon as possible. Considerable work is carried out developing and extending mental arithmetic skills, through maths fluency sessions.
The school teaches science through a two year rota of topics, planned around the subject knowledge requirements of the National Curriculum and with support from the Kent Primary Scheme of Work. Emphasis in this subject is not only on the importance of subject knowledge, but also the development of curiosity which encourages children to ask questions and make predictions. Children solve problems and investigate scientifically, using results and data from tests and simple experiments. Practical activities are carried out wherever possible.
The school follows the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and we focus on Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Understanding Christianity is used to support the learning of Christian concepts. In addition, each year there is an R.E. week based on an aspect of Christianity and a week based on a different world religion.
Following the National Curriculum, children are taught to plan, design, make and evaluate their work. They are taught technical skills in how to strengthen complex structures; understand mechanical systems and understand and use electrical systems. Children are taught about cooking and nutrition.
We follow the national curriculum for computing which aims to ensure that all pupils: can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. Children learn to analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems. They evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems. Children are developed to be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. We use Purple Mash to support children’s learning.
Computing comes into all areas of the curriculum and the school is fortunate in having a range of IT equipment in each class: laptops, iPads, Chrome books, recording equipment etc. for whole class computing lessons. E-safety is covered in every lesson and through Safer Internet sessions.
Much of the work in History is taught in topics, planned on a two year rolling programme. In Key Stage 2, children learn British history chronologically and World history chronologically. The Rising Stars scheme is used to support learning. Children have the opportunity to take part in a number of visits linked to their history learning, e.g. visits to the British museum and Jorvik Viking museum.
Similarly, Geography is taught in class topics and the Rising Stars scheme is used. In addition there is an annual geography week when children across the school focus on geographical skills, such as map reading. Children in Key Stage 2 take part in residential trips and field trips and this gives further opportunities to extend children’s geographical skills.
At Ponsbourne, our music teaching is based on the expectations of the National Curriculum and the Model Music Curriculum. Teachers use the Charanga scheme to support their teaching. Music is taught in units, with each unit comprising of listening, singing, playing instruments, improvising and composing.
Each year there is a progression in children’s knowledge and skills. (Click Music to view the full document).
In addition to the whole-class teaching using tuned percussion instruments, children will be taught the guitar and recorder during their time at Ponsbourne. We will also take advantage of the possibility of learning an instrument through the First Access programme from Herts Music Service.
Children are given many opportunities to perform, including Christmas and Easter performances, a Summer Concert, playing and singing in collective worship and performing in weekly church services. We also take our older children to perform in national events, such as Young Voices at the O2.
We give our children opportunities to experience live music. This includes watching local pantomimes, West End musicals, national ballet and opera.
At Ponsbourne, our art and design curriculum gives pupils the skills and knowledge necessary for them to express their ideas in a visual or tactile form. Through art, we aim to provide social and cultural experiences for all children. Children will be introduced to a range of famous artists, so they can appreciate great works of art and as inspiration for their own work. Our curriculum provides children with opportunities to develop their skills using a range of media and materials. Children learn the skills of drawing, painting, printing, collage, textiles, 3D work and digital art and are given the opportunity to explore and evaluate different creative ideas. Teaching is supported through the Access Art scheme.
In Art, children are encouraged to be reflective and evaluate their work, thinking about how they can make changes and keep progressing. Children are encouraged to experiment and then reflect on which ideas and techniques are most effective.
In art and design in the Early Years, we want children to have daily opportunities to explore a wide range of collage, painting and drawing activities, using appropriate tools and materials. . They explore colour, texture, shape and form in two and three dimensions. We encourage children to be creative and experiment to produce work that they can explain and share with others.
The school offers a wide variety of outdoor games, such as Football, Rugby, Netball, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis, Rounders and Cricket. The children in KS2 swim in the Spring term. A football club is available for all Key Stage 1 & 2 children to join after school and Key Stage 2 children can attend netball club. We also offer boxing, athletics and rugby clubs. In the summer months, the children are involved in a wide variety of summer sports including rounders, cricket and athletics. Dance is taught by teachers with support from a specialist.
The intention of the Modern Foreign Language curriculum at Ponsbourne St Mary’s is that children are taught French in a way that is enjoyable and stimulating and provides an opening to other cultures. We have chosen French as this is the most popular language taught at our local secondary schools, and will therefore support children’s transition. We aim to foster a curiosity, not only in the vocabulary and language, but also in the culture of the country. We aim to embed the skills of listening and speaking primarily, so that children can communicate for practical purposes and express ideas, facts and feelings. We will also begin to develop reading skills in French, so that children may read children’s literature in the original language. We will teach children to write phrases from memory that they can then adapt to enable them to express simple ideas clearly. We hope to inspire children to appreciate foreign language acquisition and lay the foundations for enthusiastic future learning.
We are fortunate to have staff trained as Forest School Leaders and Early Years children and Key Stage 1 children have forest schools sessions each week. All children learn through our outdoor area. We have a fantastic woodland and pond. In addition, children in Year 3 and 4 take part in a residential trip to Hudnall Park and children in Year 5 and 6 have a residential trip to PGL and experience outdoor and adventurous activities.
We consider PSHE to be an extremely important part of our curriculum.
We intend that children will develop a positive self-image and learn to be loving to others and accepting and appreciative of differences. We want them to learn how they can be positive citizens in the world. We aim for children to obtain the knowledge, skills and experience to help them to make healthy lifestyle choices.
We deliver a ‘spiral programme’, which introduces new and more challenging learning, while building on what has gone before, and reflects and meets the personal development needs of the children. We adopt a coordinated, positive approach which does not attempt to induce shock or guilt but focuses on what children and young people can do to keep themselves and others healthy and safe, and to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
We start learning from children’s understanding by identifying what they already know. We include planned opportunities for reflection and self-assessment of learning. To ensure that PSHE is part of a whole school approach we are using the Jigsaw PSHE scheme, which is quality assured by the PSHE association. There are 6 themes which are covered at the same time throughout the year by all children: Being Me in My World, Celebrating Difference (including anti-bullying), Dreams and Goals, Healthy Me, Relationships, Changing Me (including Sex Education). Each theme has two learning intentions: one is based on specific PSHE learning (covering the non-statutory national framework for PSHE Education) and one is based on emotional literacy and social skills. The content is relevant to children living in today’s world as it helps them to understand and be equipped to cope with issues like body image, cyber and homophobic bullying and internet safety.
We embed PSHE education within a whole school approach to ensure all children and young people including the most vulnerable, have positive relationships with adults and feel valued and supported. We have achieved the Hertfordshire Healthy Schools Award which advocates this approach.
Pupils in years 5 and 6 have a video presentation and the opportunity of discussing bodily changes and development within the context of a caring, Christian framework. Issues are not avoided, but parental support is sought before entering into this area of the curriculum, and parents are invited to see a video and related support material before they are shown to the children.
Ponsbourne St Mary’s is a Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School, and there is a daily act of worship, which is Christian in character, led by the staff and children. Children attend the church every Monday and for festivals, and the Rector leads collective worship with the school community. If parents wish to withdraw their children from assembly or acts of worship, they may contact the Headteacher.
See the Collective Worship Policy for further details.