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Teaching & Learning

Early Years

The Early Years at Duncombe consists of a Two-Year-Old room, Three-Year-Old provision and two Reception Classrooms.

Early Years learning

Teaching and learning across our provision takes place, both inside the classrooms and outside in our purpose-built open-ended spaces. Our fully experienced Early Years practitioners use a range of whole class, small group and 1:1 activities under the areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum to inspire and evoke a love of learning from our youngest children. Learning environments across each phase are set up to provide continuous provision for each area of learning which encourages the children to access resources freely and become independent learners by following their own interests as well as learning about the termly topics that are planned for.

Across our nurseries we use the ‘focus child’ system to assess the progress of each child once a term. Strengths and next steps are then identified and planned for accordingly at the weekly team planning meeting. Parents are involved in the process each term as we ask about opportunities and experiences out of school, invite them in for learning journey sessions and lead parent consultations each term.

Nursery and Reception take part in whole school activities such as: subject based topic weeks, and the ‘Read Write Inc.’ phonics programme. The Reception curriculum also includes more formal lesson structures for maths and literacy to ensure children are ready for Year 1. Children are assessed each half term across areas of maths, literacy and phonics to accurately track their progress and to support planning for their next steps. By the end of Reception, the children are assessed using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.

Key Stage 1

KS1 includes Years 1 and 2. The transition from the Early Years curriculum to Year 1 is a key time in a child’s school journey. We begin to prepare the children for the shift to a more structured timetable at the end of their time in Reception. We aim to further ease the transition by building opportunities for learning through exploration and play into the Year 1 timetable, particularly in the Autumn term.

KS1 learning

All children in Year 1 and 2 attend a weekly assembly which covers local, global and moral issues. We also have singing assemblies and opportunities to celebrate achievements, in order to develop our sense of community. As the children move through KS1, they are encouraged to become increasingly independent and take more responsibility for their behaviour and learning.

Before the end of Year 1, the children will take a Phonics Screening Check which will help us to see how well they can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1 and to identify those children who may need extra phonics help. For more information on phonics, please see 'Our Curriculum' tab.

At the end of Year 2, the children take their SATs. We thoroughly prepare the children for these tests during their time in Year 2 and aim to send the children forward feeling confident and ready to take on the challenges of KS2. It is common practice for classes to be slightly adjusted between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 to allow for a more even spread with regards to different groups of pupils.

Lower Key Stage 2

The Middle Phase includes Years 3 and 4. This phase represents a crucial stage in our children’s academic and personal development. The transition from KS1 to KS2 can be challenging so we support pupils by focusing on developing their independent learning skills and fostering a nurturing environment that allows children to learn about themselves and others.

Children attend a weekly phase assembly which covers important issues that are relevant to them locally or globally, as well as moral issues. These assemblies nurture a sense of community and are a time when achievements can be celebrated.

Through years 3 and 4 children are encouraged to take on more responsibility for their behaviour, their learning and being part of the school community. By the end of the Middle Phase, children are fully prepared for the challenges of the upper KS2 curriculum.

Upper Key Stage 2

The Upper Phase consists of Years 5 and 6. Children in the Upper Phase begin to assume whole school responsibilities. Many Upper Phase children have the opportunity to become a Stair Monitor or a Playground Friend. In the Upper Phase children have the chance to take on responsibilities and are encouraged to take on more nurturing roles throughout the school.

The Upper Phase has weekly assemblies with their phase leader or with visiting speakers. Assemblies cover a range of topics which focus on moral issues or other national and international topical issues. We are also lucky enough to have regular, lively music assemblies!

At the end of the Upper Phase, we are always sad to say goodbye to our pupils but we take comfort in knowing that we ensure that all of our children are prepared for life in their new secondary schools: academically, socially and emotionally. Our children know that they are always a part of the Duncombe family and are welcome to visit us at any time.