Phonics is a method of teaching reading and spelling by the introduction of sounds or phonemes. At High Cliff Academy we follow the “Sounds Write” programme for the teaching of phonics. We teach the key elements of conceptual understanding, factual knowledge, and the three essential skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation necessary for learning to read and spell. We teach phonics on a daily basis from nursery to Year 6. The children are taught all of the code needed to read, write and spell. In EYFS and Key Stage 1 they explore polysyllabic words and learn the skill of segmenting a word into its syllables. In Key Stage 2 they revisit the code to secure their knowledge into their long term memory. Alongside this, we focus on the study of the English language, exploring the morphology and etymology of words which will help children to understand the meaning of prefixes, suffixes and root words. Regular assessment and effective interventions ensure that every pupil achieves the automaticity that underlies the fluency of every successful reader.
If you would like to learn more about our approach to the teaching of phonics, you can access free online courses from Sounds-Write which cover the ‘initial code’ (taught in Reception and revised in Key Stage 1) and will help to support reading at home.
At High Cliff, our aim is for our pupils to leave us being fluent readers who are able to enjoy, comprehend and discuss texts they have read. Our curriculum is driven by high-quality texts. This is the stimulus for all reading, writing and context work. We have chosen high-quality texts which lead to the development of the personal and cultural capital of the children at High Cliff Academy. During our Whole Class Reading sessions, children are all exposed to the same text. We pitch the texts slightly above the national reading level for that age group in order to boost the children’s vocabularies and their fluency in reading. Children are asked a range of questions to develop their higher order reading skills and understanding of the text.
At High Cliff, our children are exposed to a literacy rich curriculum. In the early years, there is a strong focus on developing communication and language skills and physical dexterity. In Reception, we continue this and start with an introduction to the context through a key text where we focus on learning new vocabulary, speaking in full sentences, retelling the story and exploring structure and features. By the end of Key Stage 1, our aim is for all children to have mastered writing in full sentences and explore with different sentence types. This is so that, by the time they reach Key Stage 2 they can then develop, expand and voice their own thoughts and opinions through their writing. Throughout the entire school, we revisit, revise and recap all of the skills children need to be able to write.
At High Cliff Academy, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident mathematicians, with the ability to work fluently, solve problems and explain their reasoning. We believe that all children can be successful in the study of mathematics and strive to ensure that pupils move through the curriculum at broadly the same pace. Through the mastery approach, pupils develop a deep and lasting understanding of mathematical procedures and concepts. High importance is placed on children using the correct technical mathematical language to accurately express their understanding.
PSHE is taught every week across the school. Within PSHE, Relationships Education and Mental Health and Emotional Well Being are explicitly taught. In EYFS children are taught the fundamental aspects of keeping safe, recognising emotions and learning who looks after us. In Key Stage 1, children practice these fundamental skills and are introduced to concepts such as gender stereotypes, features of healthy relationships, including online and the impact we can have within our community. In Key Stage 2, children build on these concepts alongside learning about the physical and emotional changes which puberty brings. Throughout PSHE the children learn how to assess risk in a variety of different situations and how to seek help if they require it.
At High Cliff Academy we recognise the importance of science in every aspect of daily life. As one of the core subjects taught in primary schools, we give the teaching and learning of science the prominence it requires. Our aim is to equip our children with the key working scientifically skills, knowledge and vocabulary. Our Science curriculum is shaped by the National Curriculum for Science, our school curriculum, our school values and the ethos at High Cliff. Our science curriculum aims to ensure that all children:
At High Cliff, we provide a high-quality history education which helps our children to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
Our history lessons are planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before, ensuring that there is chronology in History and enabling children to communicate their knowledge fluently with a mastery of knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts. Our pupils learn about our local History, the History of Britain and the wider world, and develop an appreciation about how these events have impacted on our lives today.
The teaching and learning of geography at High Cliff Academy is intended to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to understand our changing world and aspire to responsibly contribute to its development. Our teaching equips pupils with knowledge about places and people; resources in the environment; physical and human processes; formation and use of landscapes. We also want children to develop geographical skills: collecting and analysing data; using maps, globes, aerial photographs and digital mapping to name and identify countries, continents and oceans; and communicating information in a variety of ways. By the end of each of the Key Stages, key skills will have been visited and built upon a number of times alongside the acquisition of key banks of knowledge.
Physical Education develops the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding, so that they can perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities. At High Cliff we provide a broad and balanced programme of physical education we believe every child should have; with activities designed to be enjoyable, vigorous, purposeful and regular. Through providing positive experiences, a lifelong interest in physical activity is encouraged, as well as promoting positive attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle.
In DT at High Cliff Academy we follow the ‘Design, Make, Evaluate’ approach and projects are linked to our termly contexts. Across the school children learn the technical skills within Construction, Mechanisms, Textiles and Food and Nutrition. We place a priority on the teaching of Food and Nutrition to meet the needs of our children and the importance it holds in current times. For this reason, children will study a Food and Nutrition unit every year. In EYFS children are encouraged to discuss their design ideas and make adjustments. In Key Stage 1, are taught the design process and basic construction methods. In Key stage 2, these skills are built on and developed through more complicated briefs which include constructing electrical systems.
In art, children are taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design. In EYFS children are exposed to a range of art making materials and are introduced to basic colour theory. In Key Stage 1, children use a range of materials creatively to design and make pieces of art. They use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination. In Key Stage 2, the children create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas. They improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials.
Religious Education makes a vital contribution to the education of our children at High Cliff Academy. Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. At High Cliff, we have chosen to begin by introducing and exploring the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam within EYFS and Key Stage 1. Each religion is visited twice over the academic year with the aim of building knowledge and establishing the foundation blocks to delve deeper and obtain critical RE thinking skills within Key Stage 2. The Abrahamic religions are continued into Key Stage 2 alongside the introduction of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism religions. This will result in clear explicit teaching of the six main religions covered over six half terms of the academic year. The progression is evident through a focus shifting from obtaining knowledge at Key Stage 1 level to, within Key Stage 2, using the knowledge to be able to compare, find links, as well as developing and expressing individual opinions.
At High Cliff, the teaching of music allows our children to perform, listen to, review and evaluate a wide range of musical genres. Each week, our children are taught by a specialist music teacher. In EYFS they build a basic understanding of music through sound-making, singing simple songs and recognising basic rhythms. In Key Stage 1, pupils develop their use of voice and percussion instruments and in Key Stage 2, children learn an instrument in depth over a 2-year period with increasing accuracy and control. Throughout the music lessons, children are encouraged to produce music as an ensemble which supports their listening and performance skills.
At High Cliff Academy, we have chosen to study French which we introduce in all pupils in Key Stage 2. Children should have around 30 minutes per week of languages. We believe that learning a foreign language provides valuable educational, social and cultural experiences for all pupils. Our high-quality languages education fosters pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. It enables pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and gives them the opportunity to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing.
At High Cliff, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to use and experience a range of new technologies. We ensure they have a secure knowledge of e-safety and we aim to encourage children to become computer literate, enabling them to fulfil their potential in an increasingly computer-dominated world. Learning key computer skills develops essential typing, research, coding and data handling concepts which will support our children throughout their future.