In Reception and Year 1, we have a very comprehensive Phonics and Early Reading scheme that is planned in line with the Government’s Letters and Sounds guidance. It is a systematic approach for teaching children phonics and is split into five phases, from starting to learn about sounds at Reception to becoming fluent readers around age 6.
The children are placed in small groups and are taught using games and activities. It is a fun, noisy lesson that the children really enjoy. Teachers follow a Revisit & Review/ Teach/ Practise/ Apply/ Assess format. They are encouraged to blend and segment sounds from the earliest opportunity.
Reading is a key focus at Holy Trinity. Our last OFSTED report noted that children here are ‘keen readers both in school and at home’. We aim for all children to leave Holy Trinity with a life-long reading habit and a love of books.
In Reception and year 1, children read in small groups led by an adult. Their books are fully decodable to match the sound they are learning in their phonics lesson. We use books from Oxford University Press. In year 2, once children are secure in their phonics, they continue learning to read in small groups with books that are organised into coloured bands (from Orange to Lime). Children are taught key comprehension strategies such as prediction, sequencing and making inferences.
In Key Stage 2, our children transition from learning to read to reading to learn. As a class, they are introduced to high quality, engaging texts that support their curriculum, introduce them to esteemed authors and reflect the diversity of our school. Reading for pleasure is kept at the heart of all sessions and talk is central. Our children enjoy having open-ended discussions around the text both with their partners and as a class to share their reading experiences. The children are taught key strategies which enable a deeper understanding such as prediction, inference and summarising. These strategies are formatively assessed so that lessons are tailored to the needs of the children.
As a school we are passionate about developing children’s love for reading outside the classroom. We believe that reading has the capacity to inspire children creatively, broaden their world views and improve their academic performance. We have introduced a scheme called ‘40 books’ which makes available high quality age-appropriate literature for children to take home weekly – children and parents have commented on how much they love this. Each child is paired up with another child with their 40 book so that they can discuss it and enthuse about it! We also have an annual book fair from Scholastic and celebrate World Book Day.
At Holy Trinity, we aim to support our children to become confident, enthusiastic, independent and effective writers who are willing to take risks in their written work.
Teachers really enjoy teaching writing and take time to plan engaging writing opportunities. These include first hand experiences such as trips, storytellers and drama. Writing is linked to work in Humanities, Science and RE as well as being inspired by classic and modern texts. Texts that are used in reading lessons are often linked to writing allowing children to fully immerse themselves in characters and the narrative.
We believe it is essential that children have a keen understanding of the purpose of writing and introduce them to a wide range of genres including narrative, non-fiction and poetry.
Our writing outcomes at Key Stage 2 are consistently some of the highest in the borough and nationally. Children here are very proud of their writing.
Spelling and Grammar
At Holy Trinity, we believe that knowing how to apply spelling rules and recognising key words is empowering for children. From year 2-6, spelling lessons are based on ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ units that follow clear patterns to aid understanding. Our spelling lessons are full of games and activities; a far cry from traditional dictation!
Grammar is taught explicitly during whole class work and contextually in pieces of writing. We link our grammar teaching to the National Curriculum guidelines for year groups and it is taught and planned to fit in relevant writing genres.
Speaking and Listening/Oracy
Children at Holy Trinity love debating and drama! They also enjoy debating subjects such as the morality of war and conflict. Our Year 4’s particularly like discussing ‘Which is more dangerous – a volcano or an earthquake?’
OFSTED noted that our children ‘are articulate in lessons and enjoy asking questions and using their thinking skills to seek out answers’.
Children at Holy Trinity love maths! The aim of our maths lessons is to explore ideas in a fun and engaging way, and, in doing so, promote a confident attitude in tackling mathematical challenged.
Teachers provide a rich and balanced mathematics curriculum that develops fluency, reasoning and problem solving- the key ams of our National Curriculum. We follow the “White Rose” sequence of learning and believe in teaching concepts rather than ‘tricks’. To support this, children are taught with the aid of concrete resources and visual representations in all year groups.
Teachers use a teaching for mastery approach. At our school this means that the whole class will work together in some lessons, particularly those that introduce and explore a concept. There are no set groupings in maths and each child is given, or self-selects, tasks based on how confident they feel with the concept being taught. After formatively assessing the children, the teacher will then decide whether it is effective for the whole class to spend more time working in smaller groups or on independent practice.
With a lot of ‘facts’ to learn and memorise, an extra session of ‘Mini Maths’ is allocated each day, to give protected time to this important learning. The focus of these sessions is on the fun and fluency! We learn a particular counting skill or set of facts, and then play a game or take a quiz to practise.
Our policy describes our particular approach, how we group children, how we mark work, and our emphasis on reasoning, problem solving and developing fluency.
At Holy Trinity we believe that through the study of Science, children develop a sense of the world and how it works! We believe has the capacity to encourage collaboration, investigation and can be a spiritual experience that widens the minds of our children.
All year groups have specified Science learning objectives that are in line with the National Curriculum. Science is taught discretely for most of the year however, some topics act as the driving force behind learning across the curriculum (such as “Space” in Year 5). Children need to develop scientific understanding by understanding the key objectives outlined on the National Curriculum however, we treat this as the minimum requirement. Our teachers go above and beyond in Science by encouraging children to be active learners who ask questions and actively seek out answers through experiments. For example, in year 4 we will not just “identify the different types of teeth” as the National Curriculum states, but we will question “which drinks are the most harmful to our enamel?” by leaving egg shells (similar in composition to teeth) in liquids for an extended period of time and observing the impact.
Although our Science teaching is grounded in knowledge, we want our children to experience moments of awe and wonder of our natural world. For this reason, we encourage many trips in the local area. We have strong links with the Francis Crick Institute in Camden; year 5 visit the lab annually and scientists from the Crick Institute come to school to do experiments with other classes. In addition, we visit the Hampstead Heath Education Centre in the summer term to engage in observations of the natural world that link to our topic.
RE (Religious Education)
In RE we learn from religion as well as about religion. It is a core subject in our school and we dedicate 1.5 hours a week to the subject. RE in the school is governed by the same educational principles that apply to all other areas of the curriculum and seeks to introduce children to the world of religion and spirituality.
As a Church of England school, our RE curriculum has a two thirds focus on Christianity with children learning about the key festivals of Christmas and Easter, as well as several Bible topics each year. The children also have the opportunity to learn about and compare different faiths. We follow a scheme of work provided by the LDBS (London Diocesan Board of Schools) in which every topic has a ‘Big Question’ while each lesson has a further question linked to the overall theme.
Children’s skills and understanding in areas such including ‘beliefs, teachings, sources of wisdom and authority’, ‘questions of meaning, purpose and truth’ and ‘ways of expressing meaning’ are developed progressively throughout the school.
Our latest SIAMS inspection talks about the ‘outstanding practice’ and ‘exemplary approach to organising RE teaching’. It also noted that ‘attainment and progress are high and at least in line with other core subjects with many pupils demonstrating greater depth’.
History and geography are central to the curriculum in our school as they are the focus of many of our termly topics. We want children to build up both knowledge and skills in these two subjects. Our history and geography teaching also links to our ethos as a Rights Respecting School and to our vision which focuses on aspiration. We want our children to be empowered through their understanding of history and geography to feel capable of leadership and advocacy in the future.
In each history topic, we pose a Big Question with smaller weekly questions aimed at building up children’s historical enquiry skills and understanding of key historical concepts like chronology, cause and consequence. Children also develop their critical thinking as they think about how there may be different versions of events. We want children to know about the history of this country (including important events and people in our local area) as well as about the influence and legacy of Ancient Civilisations.
In geography, we want our children to build up secure knowledge of the names of oceans, mountains, rivers as well as continents, countries and key cities. They also undertake fieldwork locally to build up geographical skills such as map work. Through focus on a specific area either locally in London, in Europe or in the Americas, children learn about human and physical geography, building up a picture of what it might be like to live in other parts of the world.
Our children are taught by specialists in the subjects Latin, Music and PE.
Art & Design
Art & Design provides children with opportunities to explore, express and communicate their feelings about the world they inhabit. They foster an understanding of other people, cultures and events both contemporary and historic. We are therefore committed to providing all of our children with a wide range of artistic and cultural experiences that draw upon the myriad opportunities that are available in London. Art & Design also make a huge contribution to the British economy and offer a wealth of employment possibilities. We believe that is our duty to ensure children have the skills to access these opportunities later in life.
We feel that participation in the arts has the potential to improve levels of engagement and increase our children’s enjoyment of learning across the curriculum. We want our arts provision to challenge our children, building their knowledge of the arts and their creative capacity, whilst developing their critical thinking, problem solving ability and resilience in exciting ways.
Our Arts Leader, Keeley McCleave, graduated from St Martin’s School of Art and has had work published in several publications. Keeley is continually developing the art & design curriculum to include new ways of working and new technologies. We believe we are a trailblazer school for digital art & design.
We actively seek to engage with artists, galleries, museums and cultural organisations. Recent projects include Steve McQueen’s Year 3 Project in conjunction with Tate Britain and Take One Picture with the National Gallery.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology has links with several other curriculum areas, including art & design, science and computing. Where appropriate, we link our design & technology work to other curriculum areas in order to make meaningful products. Design and Technology education involves two important elements – learning about the designed and made world and how things work, and learning to design and make functional products for particular purposes and users.
Design and Technology education helps develop children’s skills through collaborative working and problem-solving, and knowledge of design, materials, structures, mechanisms and electrical control. They are encouraged to be creative and innovative, and are actively encouraged to think about important issues such as sustainability and enterprise.
Design and Technology is about providing opportunities for children to develop their capability. By combining their design and making skills with knowledge and understanding they learn to create quality products. Children like making decisions for themselves and doing practical work. They love creating products they can see, touch – and even taste – for themselves. They feel proud to have done so.
We follow the Teach Computing curriculum, which includes teaching around computing systems and networks, creating a range of digital media, data and information and programming. This curriculum ties in neatly with other areas of our school curriculum, including Art & Design and PHSE.
We also access specialist teaching through our link with the Camden City Learning Centre (CLC). The CLC is used to support us in delivering teaching that requires particular expertise or equipment that is not available in school, including robotics and augmented reality.
Under the National Curriculum 2014, we have a choice of teaching a modern or an ancient language and we decided to partner with the Latin Programme to bring this ancient language alive. The children have a weekly lesson from a specialist which focusses on links to the work we do in English on grammar and the derivations of words. Learning Latin helps children when they progress to secondary school and have a choice of MFL since they will have had a good grounding in how language works as well as knowing the root words of many of the words they will come across in French and Spanish lessons.
Children here are also lucky enough to have specialist music teaching. Every class has teaching from one of our in-house experts or from Ashley Miller, a very experienced music teacher who visits us from Gospel Oak once a week. Children learn to appreciate a wide range of musical genres as well as composing their own work using Garageband and logicPro software.
Year 4 also take part in the Wider Opportunities scheme run by Camden Music Service. They learn to play the ukulele and have the opportunity to showcase their skills to the school community in a range of concerts throughout the year. We also perform at borough-wide events (such as the bi-annual Camden schools concert at the Royal Albert Hall).
Private music lessons are also available on site (booked through Camden Music Service)
PE is taught by Ivan Pastore, a former GB gymnast. He works with classes across Key Stage 1 and 2 teaching gymnastics, athletics and ball games. Children in Years 3, 4 and 5 also go swimming at the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre (https://www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/london/camden/swiss-cottage-leisure-centre) for one term of the year. Both Key Stage 1 and Key stage 2 children have specialist dance teaching.