Our Curriculum Areas
Your child’s education at The Forest CE Federation schools spans seven years and is divided into three phases:
- Foundation Stage (Reception class)
- Key Stage One (Years 1 and 2)
- Key Stage Two (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6)
The National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 & 2 comprises:
In addition to the National Curriculum, the children’s learning is extended through enrichment activities such as visits and visitors, and extra-curricular activity clubs.
We teach a creative curriculum through termly themes. The classrooms fully immerse themselves with the theme to keep learning alive for the children. Please see our theme overview below. The teachers then create a theme newsletter to send home to parents which goes into more detail about the learning. These can be found on individual class pages.
Daily English lessons develop the skills of written and verbal communication. We aim to equip the children with the ability and confidence to express themselves with clarity. Through speaking and listening activities, we help children to sustain and develop their ideas and adopt active listening strategies. Drama is used as a medium to learn across the curriculum, providing opportunities to improvise, work in role and perform. Children are encouraged to work collaboratively and join in group discussions; they are also taught the skills of critical analysis. Children are equipped with the important skills necessary to read for both enjoyment and understanding. We aim to foster a love of reading and our classrooms contain a broad range of both fiction and non-fiction books. There is a progressive reading scheme that is used to support the teaching of specific reading strategies such as using phonics, visual and contextual clues. Much time is spent during a typical week with reading opportunities, including individual, group and class reading. All children have a reading book that they will bring home on a daily basis for you to share and enjoy with them. We follow letters and sounds programme to teach phonics and hold parents sessions to support parents .
Writing is taught to enable children to coherently communicate their thoughts, ideas and experiences. Grammar, punctuation and spelling skills are taught in a structured way enabling children to write effectively for a range of audiences. Much emphasis is placed on children being creative in their use of language, and they will learn how to write in a variety of styles and for different contexts.
Phonics and Reading
Our Approach to Phonics
At The Forest Federation, we follow the Sounds Write scheme. Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. In Foundation Stage, children are introduced to phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as one way of spelling each of the other 16 phonemes used in the English language, such as 'igh' and 'ch'. Children are taught to blend or sound out phonics to read a variety of words and segment or break down the sounds in simple words for spelling.
In Year 1, children learn more about the variety of ways in which each phoneme can be spelt and they also learn about the different pronunciations made by different letters or groups of letters, such as 'a' in 'ant' and 'was'. At the end of Year 1, children will be tested on their phonics knowledge, using a national test featuring 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words. From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses.
Our Approach to Reading Schemes
At The Forest Federation, children are encouraged to read at home every day. In Foundation Stage, children begin by taking home wordless books, to allow them to spend time talking to a parent about the book, without being constrained by the necessity to read words. Once children have a good understanding of how books work and have gained some phonics knowledge, they begin to read books containing simple words which can be blended or sounded out. The reading books are colour banded and, as children become more confident and able readers, they will take home books from different colour bands. The books in the first few colour bands are primarily phonics based, allowing children to apply their phonics knowledge. Once children become fluent readers, a range of books is provided to allow children to engage in more lengthy discussions about the content of the book.
Through teaching Maths, we aim to equip pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. The children develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through practical activity, exploration and discussion. They focus on various aspects of number, shape, space and measures, and data handling. Children are taught to identify mathematical relationships, apply mental skills with speed and accuracy, and acquire an ability to apply Maths skills in everyday practical situations. Pupils have many opportunities to apply their knowledge and understanding of Maths in other curriculum areas. We have recently introduced the Singapore Method of solving problems. Parents are invited to share in our mathematics parents meetings. Click on Singapore Maths to see parental videos.
We adopt an approach to science which aims to stimulate and excite the children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. Through practical activities and investigations, children are taught to plan, hypothesise and predict; design and carry out their own investigations; interpret results and draw conclusions; and communicate their findings to others using scientific vocabulary. Children are taught about life processes and living things, materials and their properties and physical processes (e.g. electrical circuits, facts about the Sun, Earth and Moon). Through work in these areas, children are taught about scientific enquiry, answering challenging questions which they attempt solve through experimentation and fair testing.
Religious Education is taught according to the framework of the Northamptonshire Agreed Syllabus. Children learn about the main features and teachings of Christianity and other main religious faiths including Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. Pupils are encouraged to respect others’ beliefs and values helping to promote tolerance and understanding between those of different races and cultures. We also have themed weeks where the schools totally immerse themselves into a particular religion. Visits to different places of worship form part of the RE curriculum. Daily Collective Worship, along with providing structured time for reflection, forms an essential part of our school day. We have close links with our parish and our local vicars play an active role in collective worship.
The schools are fortunate to have the latest technology including touch screen TV’s, Ipads and laptops. Children are taught to use a range of ICT tools and information sources, such as various software programs and the internet, to support their work across the curriculum. They develop their research and communication skills. They learn that information needs to be accurate and relevant and that information on the internet may sometimes be neither! The children are taught how to use databases, word processing programs, spreadsheets and multimedia programs such as Powerpoint. They also learn how to use digital cameras, scanners and recording equipment. All classrooms have touch screen Televisions and internet access. The focus in the teaching of ICT is very much based on preparing children for the future; helping them to see how ICT can be used to solve problems, find, sort and present information, and to model, measure and control events. ICT is changing the way we learn, as well as the way we work.
Our geography curriculum aims to provoke and answer questions about the natural and human worlds, using different scales of enquiry to view them from different perspectives. Children are taught to develop knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, and understand maps and atlases. The children learn through an investigative approach, asking questions, gathering and recording geographical information and using various resources. Their study work is also enhanced by educational visits to places of interest.
Children are helped to recognise that studying history is relevant and exciting. Pupils consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like, how these societies organised themselves, and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. The children learn about local, Britsh, European and international history, and the historical order in which people lived and events happened. We aim to bring history alive through an interactive approach including visits to places of historical interest. Pupils are also taught how the past can be shown and explained in different ways.
French is taught to all KS2 pupils. The teaching of language to early learners is now widely recognized as a significant contributory factor in improving literacy, building self-confidence and broadening cultural horizons. Other benefits include gains in listening and speaking skills, appreciation of other cultures and enthusiasm for new forms of learning. The main principles of the County approved scheme centre on children enjoying their early years of learning French.
Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. Children are taught to sing and play musical instruments in a controlled way. They learn to perform music in groups, and see how their own contribution makes a difference to the whole performance. As children grow older, they begin to learn to express their ideas and feelings through their own music. They listen to many different types of music, picking out the detail and learning how it was created and used.
Art & Design
We aim to promote the arts in all its forms. The teaching of Art and Design is aimed at stimulating children’s creativity and imagination. Children are taught to:
- explore and develop ideas
- combine materials, tools and techniques to achieve effects
- review their own and others’ work, saying what they think and feel about it
- combine colour, patterns and texture, line and tone, shape, form and space
- investigate the roles and purposes of artists, craftspeople and designers in different times and cultures. Children have the opportunity to work with a range of media and explore a variety of starting points for their work.
Design & Technology
Design and Technology prepares pupils to participate in tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies. Children are taught to:
- look at products to see how they work and how they are used, and ask the views of the people who use them
- practise practical skills and tasks, such as joining, fixing and connecting
- design and create their own products, using what they have learned .
Children are shown how to work safely using a variety of materials and tools. Learning is through practical activities and involves much collaboration and problem solving.
PE is taught to develop pupils’ physical competence and confidence and their ability to perform in a range of activities including games, gymnastics, dance, athletics, swimming, and outdoor and adventurous activities. Children are taught to play cooperatively and fairly, fostering good sporting behaviour. We participate in a number of sporting events during the school year and our annual Federation Sports’ Day. We run a wide range of extra curricular sports clubs which are very well attended.
We aim to develop well-rounded pupils who show consideration for others, respect for their environment, an ability to make healthy informed choices, and recognition that they can make a positive contribution to society. Children are taught personal skills including how to:
- develop independence
- recognise their own achievements
- decide what is right and wrong
- set themselves goals.
Children also learn social skills where they think about:
- how the choices they make affect other people and the environment
- different groups in society and how to get on with them
- how and why rules are made
Our schools have a strong and very proactive School Council who meet at least monthly. They are involved in many school improvement initiatives and help to make our school an even better place.
SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) SRE is part of our ongoing programme. Initially it focuses on looking at your body and keeping clean. Later it considers friendships and relationships. As the children grow older, Years 5 and 6, puberty is discussed. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from any (or all) of the SRE programme. The request to withdraw should be made in writing to the Head Teacher.