At Edmund Waller, we believe that the acquisition and development of English language skills - reading, writing, speaking and listening, are essential tools for success, and are necessary to communicate effectively and manage the challenges of our fast changing world.
We aim to develop these skills by providing regular, consistent, high quality teaching from the Foundation Stage through to KS2, supported by engaging texts and a wide range of educational resources.
In writing, we deliver units of work based on high quality texts which encompass elements of structure, vocabulary and sentence construction. We provide opportunities for children to write within a range of contexts, providing real purposes and audiences for their writing. Our teaching scaffolds children towards high quality outcomes, covering both fiction and non-fiction.
In reading, each class has a well-stocked fiction library and there is a growing non-fiction library too. The school has a structured approach to teaching reading, with phonics sessions, guided reading and class stories featuring as part of the children’s learning every day. We encourage children to read at home and provide a record book to share information about the children’s progress and areas of particular interest.
There are elements of reading, writing, speaking and listening within all lessons. These aspects of literacy, along with drama and debate, are used to enhance children’s developing understanding of the world around them, texts, characters and the topics being studied.
Our aim is to ensure that all children develop a high level of skill in English, enabling them to be successful communicators and citizens.
We are proud of our maths curriculum here at Edmund Waller. We aim to ignite an enthusiasm for number in our youngest learners and nurture this positive attitude as our children progress through their time here. Maths is a key skill and crucial to the development of our children, both academically and socially. We strive to show children how maths extends beyond the classroom, and endeavour to make links between children’s maths learning, other curriculum areas and to see ‘real-life’ applications for their numeracy skills. Problem solving is a core principle behind our maths teaching and we expect our children to be confident and able to explain the thinking behind their solutions. This dialogue is fundamental to the development of our children as mathematicians.
At Edmund Waller Primary School we follow the Primary Advantage maths curriculum, which ensures that this enthusiasm for the subject is matched with clear progression, challenge and meets the demands of the new, statutory, Maths curriculum. Below is a statement from Primary Advantage about the key concepts behind their programme:
“The Primary Advantage programme aims to build a strong foundation for the acquisition of mathematics knowledge and skills in later years. Our curriculum emphasises conceptual understanding, skills proficiency, learning of process skills and focuses on mathematical problem solving. The programme was developed by a group of teachers from Primary Advantage schools and is rooted in current research into best practice in mathematics teaching.” – Primary Advantage, July 2014
In science, children develop intellectual skills, practical abilities and ideas which enable them to make sense of the things that happen around them by relating science to their everyday lives. Through a practical scientific approach based on hypothesis, observation, recording and analysis, we aim to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of their own experiences and their local environment. We encourage and develop pupils’ natural curiosity about the world. In their science work, children are given opportunities to gain skills and understanding through first-hand experiences, discovery and research. Throughout each year, children will be expected to study topics and within each of the topics, scientific investigations will be at the heart of the learning that takes place.
Geography is a valued part of the curriculum at Edmund Waller, as it provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. Geography explores the relationship between the Earth and its people. Geography stimulates curiosity and imagination and we aim to build upon the child’s ‘personal geography’ by developing geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through studying places and themes. We encourage children to learn by experience and we value fieldwork as an integral part of the geography Curriculum.
History at Edmund Waller is both fun and rigorous. We seek to ignite each child’s natural curiosity about the past so that they are motivated to learn vital historical skills. Overarching skills such as chronology or having a sense of the order and timescale of key events is a recurrent theme with children’s understanding developing as they progress through the school. Children are encouraged and supported to raise questions for historical investigation such as ‘Were the Romans who came to Britain more civilised or more brutal than the Celts?’ Raising children’s awareness of similarity and difference is important along with looking at the cause and consequence of different events. Whilst our primary focus is in developing children’s knowledge of Great Britain, children also learn about ancient civilisation such as The Greeks or Egyptians. We run a full range of educational visits to enable children to study historical artefacts at close hand and to benefit from the knowledge and experience of experts. We want children to realise that historical knowledge is open to interpretation and that it is important to consider bias and viewpoint when looking at historical sources of evidence.
Historical enquiry is supported with a range of sources such as archaeological evidence, contemporary letters, diaries, paintings and sculptures, buildings, structures and children are encourages to explore their learning in an active way with a creative approach taken to how children demonstrate their learning. This might involve drama, model-making, dance, painting, sculpture, re-enactments, writing reports, diaries and news reports as well as making presentations both individually or during group work.
At Edmund Waller, the children and teachers from years 1 – 6 learn to speak Mandarin. The weekly sessions are led by a specialist Mandarin teacher and new vocabulary is practised with class teachers in between sessions. During Mandarin classes, the teacher introduces and practises new vocabulary with the children using a variety of games, songs, videos and images. Actions and repetition encourage all children (and adults!) to participate in developing their Mandarin recall and pronunciation. The children in Years 4 – 6 also learn to write and read simplified Chinese characters.
During the Summer holiday, a small number of children moving up to Year 6 are chosen to attend a Mandarin residential school organised by the British Council. You can learn more about their experience here. Mandarin Summer School 2016
We believe that quality music teaching is the right of every child. All children are encouraged to become participants in music making.
Pulse and rhythm are taught first, using the body as the primary instrument. We interweave the teaching of musical elements during the early developmental stages. Conceptual engagement with musical elements is developed through movement and hand-beaten percussion. Intonation is developed though singing songs. Listening skills and awareness of sound are introduced though games and conversational prompts in the early years. These prompts begin with the elements discernible by the child at each stage of their development e.g. what is that sound? How loud is that sound?
We celebrate the diversity found in our school and our community with music from all over the world, from various times and cultures. Our children enjoy playing Samba, classical European music, African drumming and steel pans to name a few.
We are proud of our 60-piece orchestra, led by Una Britchnell. We include children from Year 2 to 6, with a mix of abilities. They have performed at several public events, from our local St Catherine’s Church to the famous Royal Festival Halls.
We love singing at Edmund Waller, and it is a central part of both our music education and our weekly school life. We sing in assemblies, in class and in our music lessons. We use the power of song to unite us as a school, to aid memory of facts learned in our topics, and to support the ethos and values we seek to instil within our children.
Early Birds Music Club
Every Thursday, our Early Birds music club provides small group instrumental tuition and general musicianship classes for up to 50 children. Typically, they start at age 7 and many stay until they leave the school in Year 6.
We ensure that every child who goes through the school gets the chance to try an instrument. We do this by providing whole-class instrumental tuition in violin and cello in partnership with the Lewisham Music Service.
We also have a Steel Band, School Choir and Staff Choir.
The teaching of Art at Edmund Waller ensures the children acquire skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, collage, design and IT. Each activity builds on the skills already achieved and are linked to the pupils’ stages of development. These are developed continually through KS1 and KS2 focusing on the visual elements of shape, line, pattern, colour, texture, tone, form and space. Pupils work from direct observation, imagination, man-made and the natural environment. Their knowledge of other artists’ and designers’ work is developed and related to their own work. They are taught to develop their own ideas using a variety of different stimuli to express ideas and feelings.
The teaching of R.E. at Edmund Waller provides children with an understanding of the religions and beliefs that form part of contemporary society. It also promotes pupils’ broader spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The curriculum reflects Christianity as the main religion of the United Kingdom whilst celebrating other faiths that make up our rich and diverse community. The school encourages children to learn about one another’s backgrounds and actively encourages a culture of respect, tolerance and understanding in order to prepare them for wider society and later life. Parents have the right to withdraw children from religious lessons and assemblies but it must be understood that such activities make a contribution to cross-curricular objectives pursued during the course of the school week.
Computers and other technological aids are used throughout Edmund Waller. ICT skills are taught as a discrete subject and as a means of supporting other areas of the curriculum. The children are encouraged to communicate ideas and information in a variety of forms, where appropriate, using equipment and computer software to enhance their learning.
At Edmund Waller Design and Technology is taught within the context of our topic-based curriculum. Design and Technology encourages the development of knowledge, skills and understanding in a practically based subject. Pupils are taught to develop, plan and communicate ideas. They work with tools, equipment, materials and components to make quality products. Upon completion of their task, they evaluate the processes and products.
In Key Stage 1 pupils learn how to think imaginatively and talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making. They build on their early childhood experiences of investigating objects around them. They explore how familiar things work and talk about, draw and model their ideas. They learn how to design and make safely and start to use ICT as part of their designing and making.
In Key Stage 2 pupils work on their own and as part of a team on a range of designing and making activities. They think about what products are used for and the needs of the people who use them. They plan what has to be done and identify what works well and what could be improved in their own and other people’s designs. They draw on their knowledge and understanding from other areas of the curriculum and use computers in a range of ways.