Our Waterside Curriculum is based on two key principals:
We work hard to ensure children know more (knowledge), remember more (knowledge) and can do more (skills) overtime. This is how children make good progress.
Since the launch of our new academy, we at Waterside have worked tirelessly to design and deliver an engaging curriculum that ensures children leave our school with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful within the next phase of their learning and development.
We intend to, and indeed do, deliver a curriculum that helps children to understand the world around them, both here in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, but also within the wider world as a whole.
We are passionate about enhancing the future opportunities that our young learners will have in life and believe these all start with a world-class and personally designed curriculum.
Some of our young learners will eventually go on to study at world-leading universities, some will be skilled tradespeople, some will work wonderfully within the creative industries and others may be destined for careers in financial or legal services. Whatever our future leaders choose to pursue, we are driven by the knowledge that they leave us with the ability to 'do things' to a very good standard but also 'know things' that help with that journey.
In addition to the skills and knowledge our children gain from our carefully sequenced curriculum planning we are also very proud to consistently develop our learners' 'cultural capital' through the strategic implementation of enrichment opportunities such as day trips away from the main school site and facilitating visitors here as well, all of which start in the early years foundation stage of the school.
This way we know that today's learning really does prepare our children for, but also vastly improves, tomorrow's world!
Values Based Learning
Waterside Academy is committed to promoting British Values. To see how the National Curriculum understands British Values, please click here
Our curriculum has these values embedded within it. Every term we review what has been taught to identify which values are well represented and where we need to strengthen the teaching. Please click here.
We are also a 'Rights Respecting' School - one that works hard to ensure our children both learn about and enjoy their rights, as laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We pro-actively teach our learners about their rights and about how to help other children enjoy their rights - thus improving the culture and behaviour seen around school.
Our curriculum at Waterside Academy meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum and was recently completely reviewed and strengthened to ensure it meets the needs of the children..
Reading and Writing
Reading and writing are not separate energies - reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out
Teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These key skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.
Reading and writing are both two part processes: readers decode and comprehend, writers create and encode. In one respect, decoding and encoding are the ‘mechanical’ skills that children need to master in order to be able to comprehend what they read and write creatively. Research has shown that by teaching phonics thoroughly and rigorously to children, we can ensure that they use this knowledge to decode effortlessly and automatically. This means all energy can be focused on understanding and enjoying what is read and on composing and creating fantastic writing.
Following the updated list of 'approved' phonics schemes of learning, we are now proud to say that we are using the Twinkl Curriculum for phonics here at Waterside.
Historically, the phonics taught at Waterside has been delivered mainly (but not solely) by using 'Letters and Sounds' - this is true for phases one through to four. Phase five is then supplemented using additional materials from various other sources, which are carefully selected by experienced teachers - one of which has been Twinkl (since 2018).
The Twinkle curriculum is our intent and we are in the early stages of implementing this at school - following the latest announcement from the DfE in December 2021.
We use a 'Letters and Sounds' based approach and we are really pleased with the strong phonics outcomes (higher than national averages) that we have had over many years.
Children are encouraged to read at school very regularly and the books they read from are always matched to their current phase of phonological learning.
When the children have 'guided' sessions; new sounds, words and more challenging texts are used as there are adults leading the sessions who can question and stretch appropriately.
Middle (Subject) Leadership
- At Waterside Academy we believe in the power of middle leadership.
This is no more important than when our teachers lead subjects across the school. This structure enables us to ensure that we have clarity of intent, consistency of implementation and accountability for impact of our school curriculum.
Our subjects are led by the following teachers...
English (inc. phonics) - Miss Wilson
Maths - Mrs Geaves and Mr Craig (STEM team)
Science - Mrs Geaves (STEM team)
Computing - Mr Craig (STEM team)
P.E - Miss Wilson
P.S.H.E - Mr Mills-Bishop
Creative Arts (Art and DT) - Miss Lavos
Music - Mrs Costi
MfL - (Spanish in KS2) - Miss Lavos
Humanities - (History, Geography and R.E) - Mrs Burman
EYFS leader - Mrs Geaves (SLT)
KS1 leader - Miss Wilson (SLT)
KS2 leaders - Miss Lavos / Mr Craig
Curriculum Subject Maps (click below)
One crucial piece of work for our teachers is making 'formal' assessments about how well our pupils are doing, in comparison to the 'expected standard' for other pupils their age.
Teachers make 'dynamic assessments' for learning all the time. These are done during each and every lesson that they teach. Formally, we make 'assessments of learning' once a term (three times a year) for all subjects.
Our assessments are moderated, which means we take the views of other professionals to ensure accuracy. We do that internally, here at Waterside but also within local and MAT-wide clusters.
Our assessments were originally based on the 'Herts for Learning Assessment Steps' but now also focus upon the Teacher Assessment Frameworks, specifically selected planning tools, exemplification materials and professional knowledge.
They aim to identify whether a child is working significantly below the expected standard, working towards (but below) the expected standard, working at the expected standard or working at a greater depth within the expected standard for a child their age.
Progress is then reported back to parents three times a year - at the Autumn and Spring parents' evenings and within the summer school report.
When we assess how well a pupil is currently succeeding, we ask ourselves some key questions:
- Does the pupil know (knowledge) what we would expect them to know?
- Can the pupil remember what (knowledge) we expect them to remember?
- Can the pupil do (skills) what we would expect for them to be able to do?
- Can the pupil remember how to do (skills) what we would have expected them to?
For more information, please see your child's class teacher.
In the EYFS at Waterside we meet the requirements of the EYFS Statutory Framework as well as embedding the 'Fundamental British Values' through a child centered approach to teaching and learning.
For the EYFS long term overview please click here.
Should you require any more information about our curriculum, please contact your child's class teacher, one of our subject leaders or the school office.
How do leaders ensure pupils can remember the curriculum long term?
Our curriculum is built on essential characteristics of each discipline giving a consistent and focused approach.
Using the National Curriculum as a baseline, curriculum mapping ensures not only coverage but careful sequencing and progression in knowledge, core skills and understanding.
Links between areas of knowledge are maximised and made explicit.
Repeated learning and repeated skills in different contexts are then built upon or extended - using essential learning intentions and core vocabulary as scaffolds.
Oracy activities are woven into planning to deepen and embed learning and build engagement.
CPD has informed/improved pedagogy and led to planning that is streamlined and purposeful.
How do leaders know if pupils ‘learn the curriculum’ and how do they track achievements?
A range of assessment measures are used as outlined in our Teaching and Learning Policy and Assessment Policy.
The school is currently contributing to the partnership's discussions surrounding developing meaningful assessment and feedback.
What is the role of subject or other leaders in ensuring curriculum coverage, progression and improvements?
We are very fortunate to benefit from dedicated subject leaders, working hard to ensure each subject to logically and coherently planned.
Curriculum overviews and medium term plans are plotted-out using our whole school planning formats - these are monitored by leaders.
The teaching of subjects is then monitored and feedback from lesson observations, learning walks, pupil discussions and work scrutiny informs future planning refinements and developments – under the guidance of the SLT. This ensures coherence and cohesion.
How have we decided on the breadth of experiences you provide?
Whole school timetabling and mapping ensure a wide and balanced curriculum developed from the National Curriculum.
Knowledge, understanding and skills have been carefully considered across key stages to ensure breadth and balance.
Using essential characteristics of each subject and simple yet purposeful learning objectives which are taught repeatedly in different contexts, detailed medium-term planning has been developed by our hard-working subject leads.
Planning is regularly reviewed and discussed for opportunities to further enhance achievement here at Waterside.
Trips, workshops and experiences, such as our 'Together at Waterside Week' are planned to support the academic curriculum and also to contribute to personal development and pupils’ sense of belonging.
How do we use research to support teaching? How do our leaders explain the focus, rationale and impact of staff training on the curriculum?
We are an outward looking school that is keen to be innovative and purposeful.
Whole school CPD is always very closely aligned to SDP priorities and impact in practice is then carefully monitored.
Planning, pedagogy and practice are adapted to incorporate findings from research, eg concepts from meta-cognition, cognitive load theory or central role of timely feedback.
Monitoring feedback informs further support and CPD.
Bespoke and individualised CPD is provided through planning meetings and mentoring.
Sustainability at Waterside
Promoting 'sustainable living' and learning all about the 'global climate crisis' have become huge focuses here at Waterside.
We promote a sustainable ethos through all areas of school life.
The school has a team of 'eco protectors' who work with Miss Lavos to promote 'sustainable living' across the school and to help us reduce our CO2 emissions. .
To find out more about sustainability at Waterside, please do get in touch.
How to find out more...
Should you wish to find out more about the school's curriculum, please speak to one of our teachers or senior leaders and they will be more than happy to help.
Rowans, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL7 1NZ
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Registered Office The Orchard Primary School, Gammons Lane, Watford, WD24 5JW