How teaching and learning is organised
We have classes from nursery to Y6. Teachers in these classes work together to plan the Curriculum so that there is continuity and progression across the age ranges.
Work is planned in Topics, lasting half a term, which include activities and learning in all curriculum areas; the highest proportion of your child’s time will be spent on English and Mathematics. In each class children are divided into groups, according to their learning needs and styles for some work and activities, and at other times the class teacher will gather them together as a whole class. We use discussion and paired work to enable the children to clarify issues and talk about their learning. All classes also have a teaching assistant so that there is a good adult/child ratio.
Classrooms are organised so that children have all the apparatus and materials they need readily to hand, and learn to make choices independently of the teacher. At times a group of children will work under the direction of the teacher and at other times they will be given a task to complete with only the minimum of help.
From time to time, educational visits are planned in connection with class work. You may be asked to make a voluntary contribution towards the cost of these visits. Please speak to the Headteacher if this causes any difficulty. Teachers may also ask for parents to volunteer to help supervise the children on outings, and this can be a good way to get a better understanding of what your child is learning.
In the following sections, we have described some of the things your child might do in each of the curriculum areas and some suggestions of the ways you might help and support your child’s learning.
The Early Years Foundation stage
We organise our Nursery and Reception Classes as an Early Years Unit; children are grouped for maths and English and work in small groups for other areas of the curriculum. We have a high staff/pupil ratio, which is enhanced by having learning support assistants, students and volunteer parents!
We believe that this system enables the children to achieve good results in early reading and maths and will prepare them better for later learning. We offer children in the Early Years high quality learning experiences appropriate to their age and ability.
The Curriculum is not just a list of subjects taught in a school. The Curriculum describes everything that goes on in a school and helps children to learn about the world around them. Any curriculum must cover all the activities in a school designed to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life and society.
We believe that we provide a broad and balanced curriculum that develops the whole child.
At Merton Abbey we believe that every child can achieve in maths and that lessons should be fun, investigative and related to everyday life. Children are encouraged to work individually, in pairs and in groups, learning that there is a time for each. Through the use of practical resources, all children are able to develop their concrete understanding of maths, which they can then carry through to the pictorial and abstract. The work is differentiated by depth and not all about speed, but having a clear understanding that can be justified through mathematical reasoning. We also have a strong emphasis on the correct use of mathematical language. In addition, children know that it’s ok to make mistakes and that through these we can take our learning further.
At Merton Abbey we use Letters and Sounds which is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme published by the Department of Education. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills as well as prepare them for learning to read by developing their phonics knowledge and skills. We teach daily whole class sessions of phonics for 10-20 minutes from Nursery up to Year Two. Where children need extra support, they take part in additional small group phonic interventions which helps them to catch up with the other children.
At Merton Abbey we use a cursive script. An information sheet is available in the School’s Welcome Pack. Children are encouraged to write for a range of purposes including letters, accounts of visits and experiences, stories, poems, recipes and lists. As children become more confident and practised in expressing their thoughts, we help them to write clearly, accurately and appropriately for the audience and purpose.
In our science teaching, we encourage children to be aware of their environment, of changes over time and how things work and why things happen. They are encouraged to question and investigate, as well as to communicate their ideas in groups and to the class. At home you can help to develop your child’s curiosity about the world we live in by making time to answer their questions or to find out together if you are not sure. Many activities are linked to science, such as floating and sinking, looking at bubbles investigating materials and exploring the natural world around us. Science at Merton Abbey is fun!
The new Computing curriculum is significantly different to the old ICT curriculum. There are three main strands of the new Computing curriculum: information technology, digital literacy and computer science.
Information technology is about the use of computers for functional purposes, such as collecting and presenting information, or using search technology. This made up the greater part of the old National Curriculum.
Digital literacy is about the safe and responsible use of technology, including recognising its advantages for collaboration or communication.
Computer science will ensure children begin to understand how computers and networks work. It will also give children the opportunity to learn basic computer programming, from simple floor and screen robots in Years 1 and 2, right up to creating on-screen computer games, apps and programmes by Year 6.
We also include regular teaching of e-safety to ensure our children feel comfortable and confident when using the Internet. All year groups are taught how to conduct themselves with consideration for others, and what to do if they come across something inappropriate on the internet.
At Merton Abbey we have a wide variety of computing resources including a new computer suite which accommodates 30 children. Children have access to floor robots, data loggers, digital cameras, voice recorders, PCs, and class sets of laptops and iPads.
The children find out about change through their topics and learn to identify differences between the past and the present by examining evidence, posing questions and making decisions.
Through their topic work, the children learn about the immediate locality of the school and are encouraged to develop their curiosity to investigate other areas in Britain and further afield. They will learn to recognise geographical features such as mountains, rivers and seas and be able to find them on a map. Their work will also involve making simple maps, both real and imaginary, and locating countries and places on maps.
Music has a high profile in the school. In The Early Years and Key Stage 1 children experiment with sounds and when they move into Key Stage 2 we offer Recorder Lessons. We work closely with Merton Music Foundation who provide specialist teachers for children in Y4 and Y5. We do invite professional musicians to work with the children from time to time and we have taken children to participate in concerts at the Royal Festival Hall.
Children sing regularly at assembly and put on performances for parents at Christmas, Spring and Harvest time. The school takes part in inter school ‘Sing Outs’.
Art, Craft and Design
We aim for an ethos in which all children feel valued and motivated. Children are encouraged to believe that ‘everybody is an artist’. All children are given the opportunity to develop their individual creativity in a wide variety of art. Children at Merton Abbey Primary School celebrate one another’s achievements and feel confident in expressing themselves through art, design and technology. Lessons involve learning new skills, planning, designing, testing and reflection in practical contexts. Work is shared and celebrated throughout the whole school on displays, in classrooms, during assemblies and with parents and carers. Above all, art should be enjoyable and rewarding.
Design and Technology
Technology requires children to apply knowledge and skills to solve practical problems. Children are given opportunities to design, make, test and evaluate in practical contexts.
Our PSHE curriculum is based on our 'You Can Do It!' approach that is taught throughout the school. The approach recognises the four keys to success: Organisation, Confidence, Getting Along, and Working Hard. Each key is represented by a character that teaches children about the characteristics. For example, when children learn about Persistence, they meet the character Penny Persistence who teaches them to have positive thoughts and a 'never give up' attitude!
P.E. is an enjoyable and important part of the curriculum; it promotes body awareness and control through gymnastics, develops aesthetic awareness though dance and drama and involves person challenge through participation in games. All children are expected to take part in all P.E. lessons and are encouraged to do their personal best. We play short tennis, cricket, unihoc and 5 a side football so children have the opportunity to experience competitive sports
Sport at Merton Abbey is aimed to be enjoyable, yet challenging, allowing each child to develop a positive attitude towards exercise. Competitive games are encouraged as only through competition can the children learn good sportsmanship.
We are linked to Merton School Sports Partnership and through this relationship aim to develop further the P.E. curriculum. As part of this partnership, we take part in a number of local competitions with other schools. We also have strong links with Fulham Football Club and a qualified Coach comes into school on a weekly basis to teach classes and runs an after school club and football team.
Swimming instruction is given to Year 3 and Year 4 children on a termly basis and a voluntary contribution is asked to cover the costs of tuition.
Merton Abbey is enthusiastic about teaching a modern foreign language. Our aim is for children to enjoy learning a modern foreign language and to become confident speakers.
We have a specialist part-time teacher who teaches French from Year 3 upwards.
In addition to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority Guidelines we use the Agreed Syllabus of Religious Education produced for R.E by Merton S.A.C.R.E.
We aim to develop: -
We have a daily assembly where the children take an active part and where we try to create a calm atmosphere and feeling of belonging together.
Sex and Relationship Education
We begin our managed programme of sex and relationship education in Year 1. We teach children information at an appropriate age and in an age-appropriate way. We begin by teaching the correct names for parts of the body in Y1. In Years 3-6, children study in more depth and by Year 6 look at growth, development and birth. We give parents an opportunity to see the resources that we use with the children.