Education at William Austin Junior School will follow on progressively from your child’s experiences at their Infant School.
Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum. English and Maths are taught daily. Science, Computing, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology, Religious Education (RE), Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship & Economic Education (PSHCEE), French, Games, Spelling, Phonics, Tables and Reading are taught throughout the week by the class teacher. We also employ specialist teachers for Physical Education (PE) and some computing lessons.
The classteacher will assess your child’s work throughout each term and this will be reported to you at our regular Parent Consultation evenings and through the end year report. When your child reaches Year 6, at the end of Key Stage 2, they will take the Key Stage 2 National Tests (SATs). These tests will indicate their progress and achievement, the results, along with a teacher assessment grade will be reported to you. A copy of our latest Key Stage results can be seen in the performance tables pages on our website.
Whole school policies for all subjects are available on the website or from the school office, on request.
Reading is an integral part of our school curriculum: opportunities for reading are embedded throughout. Children are expected to read with an adult at home for a minimum of ten minutes each evening. We have a comprehensive, up-to-date library from which children can select their home reading books. A weekly library lesson is incorporated into our school timetable. Teachers read novels to their classes and topics are supported by a range of non-fiction.
We expose children to a range of high-quality literature within guided reading lessons and across the curriculum. Key reading skills are modelled and practised in these. Additional reading support is provided through 1:1 and small group intervention.
Each classroom has a well-stocked and cosy reading corner to promote reading for pleasure across the school. In addition, there are two larger reading areas to instil a love of reading in a relaxed and calm environment.
Grammar and punctuation are taught progressively and these skills are matched to the relevant text types. We encourage children to use Standard English in their writing, and place emphasis on grammatically accurate usage.
At William Austin, we follow the Talk for Writing approach. This develops children’s speaking and listening skills and vocabulary. A range of narrative and non-fiction text types are taught through high-quality model texts. These exemplars are used to guide children towards higher-quality writing.
The development of a legible and joined handwriting style is encouraged in all lessons. Children should write in pencil or blue ink. When children’s handwriting has reached an acceptable standard, they are awarded a pen licence. Pens are sold in the school shop.
Children follow a spelling programme throughout the school, informed by the National Curriculum requirements. These are taught in discrete, 20 minute lessons. During these sessions, the school aims to improve children’s knowledge of spelling patterns.
Children are encouraged to make plausible attempts at spelling unknown words, using their phonological and morphological knowledge. Children are also taught words from a statutory list; these can be found in the middle of children’s reading records.
Homework is considered to be an important and integral part of education at William Austin Junior School. We set a 5 minute daily maths and English task (which includes spellings) and a weekly open ended Learning Log task. Children are expected to read their reading book on a daily basis and also learn their multiplication tables and spelling patterns they have been working on during the week.
Additional tasks to be done at home
- Daily reading is considered essential to promote fluency and understanding which is fundamental to all learning
- We expect all pupils to be heard to read at home by an adult for at least ten minutes daily and have their reading card signed
- Parents and carers are asked to encourage their children, listen to them read as often as possible and talk about the stories being read
- Pupils who have not been heard read by an adult at home will be given an opportunity to read during playtime to a member of staff
We use the Times Table Rock Stars online programme to learn multiplication tables. Parents are expected to ensure that their child practises multiplication and related division facts regularly. There are regular tests during the week in class, including opportunities to compete against other classes and pupils, making this a competitive activity.
The children are expected to learn any spellings patterns they have been working on during that week. Children will be given a weekly test in class; Friday for Y6, Wednesday for Y5 and Thursday for Y3 and Y4.
Holiday Projects: Holiday projects are set for half term/end of term holidays. These are arts based projects that may involve 3D models which may be displayed around the school.
We appreciate parental support in the completion of high-quality homework.
The study of mathematics is an important and well-liked part of daily life at William Austin Junior School. Children have a maths lesson with their class teacher each day as well as regular timetabled sessions to practise and learn their multiplication tables.
We aim to make the teaching and learning of maths as effective as it can be and staff receive regular in-house and external professional development opportunities to develop their practice. In the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic years, we participated in a primary mathematics Teaching for Mastery Research Group led by one of the Enigma Maths Hub’s Mastery Specialists. Working closely with a small group of schools we have sought to introduce and develop approaches to teaching for mastery as well as developing policies and structures that would allow this to happen. As a result of involvement in the work group we took the informed decision to follow the White Rose Maths schemes of learning to help address the three aims of the National Curriculum – Fluency – Reasoning – Problem Solving.
Our approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics:
- Whole class together – at William Austin we aim to nurture a Growth Mind-set ethos. We have high expectations of all children and believe that by working hard they can succeed in maths. Challenge is provided through rich and sophisticated problems in order to achieve a greater depth of understanding. We also recognise that some children may need longer to grasp concepts and require careful scaffolding or extra time and support.
- Longer and deeper – Longer time is spent on each topic. Each lesson focuses on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics. By breaking the learning down into manageable steps children should understand the concepts better.
- Key learning points – Are identified during planning and a clear journey through the maths will be reflected in lessons. Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout and responses are expected in full sentences, using precise mathematical vocabulary. Stem sentences will be used to identify key learning points in all lessons.
- Potential misconceptions – Are identified during the planning process and used as opportunities for learning. Children are then supported through these.
- Fluency – We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts and aim to develop all aspects of fluency through lessons. We are however focussing on developing instant recall of key facts, such as multiplication tables, which are taught and practised daily. This will allow the children to have a free working memory to solve more complex problems.
- Procedural Fluency – Conceptual understanding and written methods are developed and applied in tandem by following the school calculation policy (White Rose Maths).
- Develop reasoning and deep understanding – problems are usually set in real life contexts with carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) used by all to explore concepts. The use of practical resources, pictorial representations and recording takes place during every concept following the Concrete Pictorial Abstract approach (CPA).
- Questions – to challenge thinking are used throughout every lesson to check understanding. A variety of questions are used to foster different levels of thinking e.g. How do you know? Can you prove it? Are you sure? Is that right? What’s the same/different about? Can you explain that? Questions are also used to further challenge children who have grasped the concept.
- Practising – All children will have the use of a jotter that they can use to explore their ideas and strategies without fear of making a mistake. Children may record models, diagrams, thoughts and explanations during any part of the lesson.
- Conferencing (same day catch up) – new learning is built upon previous understanding. In order for learning to progress and to keep the class together, areas of difficulty are dealt with as and when they occur. Where possible, these are addressed through same day conferencing sessions.
- Marking – the marking policy follows the NCETM guidance published in April 2016. Children’s work is marked by the teacher daily. A comment or prompt will only be given if it necessary to move learning forward. The most valuable feedback will be given immediately, during lessons.
At William Austin Junior School, science is a world of exploration and discovery. The children are taught the key scientific principles of biology, chemistry and physics. All lessons follow the national curriculum and the children have two hours a week dedicated to this core subject.
Throughout the units the children are encouraged to plan and conduct experiments, question and explore phenomena. This allows the children to work scientifically and become confident independent learners. The implementation of practical learning experiences allows children of all abilities including SEND and EAL to understand the underlying principles.
The Willow Garden provides a valuable outside learning environment. Through guided sessions, the children are able to explore natural habitats as well as planting, growing and harvesting a wide range of fruit and vegetables. This safe, welcoming environment is a place not just for science, but also provides a tranquil place for the children to explore in their own time. Children are encouraged to continue their learning at lunch times with the implementation of Playground Science. This self lead initiative develops confidence and the ability to question the world around them.
Science capital plays a vital role in our school. Throughout the year, numerous STEM based visitors share their knowledge and skills with the children. In March, the entire school takes part in National Science Week, allowing the children to participate in exciting experiments and challenges. Cross curricular links within the curriculum also allow opportunities for children to build on their capital, and aid them in future career choices.
In studying Computing at the school, pupils are given the experience of working at a variety of disciplines in the subject including designing, writing and debugging programming, using sequencing and selection in programming and understanding algorithms. Pupils will also be taught how networks work, including the internet, and how to use them safely and securely. They will also undertake various design and creative projects using a wide variety of software. Further opportunities to hone these skills are practiced in other subject areas across the curriculum.
The school is well equipped with computers. In addition to the Computer room, where the children have a weekly lesson, there is also a networked computer in every classroom for pupil use.
Pupils have access to laptops, iPads, digital equipment and gaming devices in order to stimulate interest in learning. All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, DVD players and visualisers. These provide access to a greater range of resources and teaching methods used to promote learning.
Art is taught in termly blocks in all year groups. Across the four years, children learn techniques of sketching, drawing, painting, collage and sculpture in a range of contexts. Furthermore, they develop their understanding of different styles, artists and historical periods.
Progression is secured in the knowledge and skills of how to appreciate and control the various materials that they work with. Additionally, each term, an Art award is given to one child per class to celebrate their outstanding effort in this subject. Children are also set a 3d holiday homework task where they have the opportunity to practise their Art skills further making significant contribution to display boards around the school.
We are also delighted to inform you that we have recently been awarded an Artsmark Silver Award as we have extended our arts provision for children in a number of ways. Pupils develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of arts and culture through a broad range of experiences and opportunities.
In our Design and Technology (DT) curriculum, we set a variety of tasks to help develop the children’s creativity and imagination. The children are provided with engaging and exciting topics that encourage them to design items for specific audiences and purposes.
Throughout each unit, the children build upon the four key skills of DT: design and plan, explore new materials, make and evaluate. Additionally, across the four years, the children experience different themes: textiles, mechanical systems, electrical circuits and food technology. We aim to broaden the children’s experience by working with a wide range of tools and equipment and build upon their problem solving skills.
Furthermore, each term, a DT award is given to one child per class to celebrate those who have made an exceptional effort in this subject.
In History, children have excellent opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. The curriculum allows children to explore history using different mediums such as primary and secondary sources of information, historical artefacts and cultural visits.
The teaching and learning of History will develop children’s chronological understanding, improve their researching skills, expand the use of historical terminology and challenge their thinking of the world we live in. Children will explore questions surrounding change, cause and effect, similarities, differences and the significance of specific historical periods. They will be encouraged to discuss key connections, contrasts and trends within their topic of study.
We encourage the children to step back in time and experience life as our ancestors before us, travelling back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the Victorian era, the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and as far back as the Stone Age. It will invite children to become investigators as they carry out local studies of historical places in Luton and surrounding areas. This includes a local walk through the Limbury and Biscot area, a visit to Celtic Harmony and St Albans cathedral, as well as other educational visits and workshops within school.
At our school, we aim to make History an exciting, engaging and accessible topic to all children and one that will inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.
During the course of their four years at William Austin Junior School, the pupils follow the RE syllabus laid down by SACRE for Bedfordshire and Luton. The principal aim of RE is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living. The pupils will also look at how morality, spirituality, ethics and social issues affect people. There will also be some scope to looks at smaller traditions and non-religious but morally based movements such as humanism.
Pupils will cover many aspects of the major religions of the world including Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Hinduism. The syllabus is divided into lower and upper key stages. Pupils will study 6 different subjects during each of the four years, 24 in total. It is developed systematically to build on year on year and expands and builds on that which is taught in KS1. The RE syllabus also links closely with PSCHE and our Values based education programme. Both programmes encourage cross curricular links, reflection and self awareness whilst raising awareness of other beliefs and values.
The purpose of RE includes:
- RE contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.
- In RE, pupils learn about religions and beliefs in local, national and global contexts, to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions.
- They learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response and to agree or disagree respectfully.
- RE teaching therefore should equip pupils with systematic knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and beliefs, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities.
- It should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in our society, with its diverse religions and beliefs.
- Pupils should gain and deploy the skills needed to understand, interpret and evaluate texts, sources of wisdom and authority and other evidence. They should learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.
Learning a foreign language enriches the curriculum and provides an introduction to other cultures. It promotes pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. Here at William Austin, we teach French in an engaging and practical way using physical resources and language-based games. Pupils express their ideas and thoughts through role-play, conversation and writing.
In addition to our timetabled lessons, we hold an annual French Day, nearest to Bastille Day, during the Summer Term where pupils engage in a variety of activities. Examples include food tasting, a French language interactive theatre group, songs and activities across the curriculum with a French theme.
At William Austin Junior School, Geography is taught in all year groups as a stand-alone subject with cross curricular links in English and Maths. The Geography curriculum retains some flexibility, and builds and expands on previous knowledge taught in KS1. The key skills that children will develop are to:
· collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork
· interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs
· communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length
As well as the skills, Geography is further divided into 3 main areas, which are:
· Locational knowledge
· Place knowledge
· Human and physical geography
Locational knowledge examines latitude, longitude and time zones. Your child will use maps to focus on Europe, North and South America, concentrating on regions, key physical/human characteristics, countries, and major cities. They will also work on locating the counties and cities of the United Kingdom, and start to explore their human and physical characteristics.
Children also examine geographical similarities and differences by comparing the geography of a region of the United Kingdom with a region in a European country, and with a region in either North or South America. This is part of the place knowledge aspect of the curriculum.
For human and physical geography, your child will be taught to describe and understand key aspects of geography, for example: climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, types of settlement, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.
The Healthy Schools Program aims to nurture and improve the well-being and achievement of young people, with the view to creating happy, healthy children who are successful both in learning and in life.
The four core themes of the Healthy Schools Program are:
1. Personal, Social and Health Education
2. Healthy Eating
3. Physical Activity
4. Emotional Health and Well-being
At William Austin Junior School, we actively address these themes across the entire curriculum. We also offer a wide array of extra-curricular sports clubs in addition to delegating responsibilities to the Sports Leaders, Junior Leadership Team (JLT), where children represent their peers in the school, and the Junior Road Safety Officers (JSRO), where the children take an active role in promoting road safety.
We believe that the work we do will allow the children to thrive and flourish both in school and in all their other endeavours.
All classes have two hours of physical activity a week; one PE lesson taught by a specialist PE teacher and one Games lesson. Pupils will develop their knowledge and skill level in a variety of games and aesthetic activities during Key Stage 2 including, netball, hockey, football, rugby, sports hall athletics, basketball, cricket, tennis, rounders, gymnastics, dance, fitness, outdoor adventure and athletics.
Once a term children explore the effects of being active and its importance in daily life. This works nicely alongside our Relationships and Health Education. This also builds upon their knowledge when covering this subject in PSHCEE.
Pupils have the opportunity to develop their skill level further by attending the extensive sports clubs on offer at William Austin Junior School. William Austin staff deliver a variety of clubs each week in cricket, table tennis, football, netball, cheerleading, dance, sports hall athletics, tag rugby, dodgeball and aerobics .
William Austin Junior School has been recognised as a PLATINUM STANDARD school in the Sainsbury’s School Games Mark. The Sainsbury’s School Games Mark is a Government led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their contribution towards Sport and PE in school and their commitment to the development of competition across their school. There are bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels of the mark award and we are extremely proud to have received the gold mark award or higher every year since 2013.
At William Austin Junior School every child has one hour of music a week. In these music lessons the children are taught a range of progressive musical skills whilst learning about different genres of music. Throughout their time at William Austin the children are taught to play the djembe, recorder, ukulele, keyboard and take part in a class samba band.
To further enhance the children’s musical experience there are many extra-curricular opportunities available for the children to take part in such as: Samba Club, Keyboards, Ukulele and Recorders. Children who enjoy singing are encouraged to join the thriving school choir, which has members from all year groups. The choir frequently perform in the local community such as at Luton airport and at a Luton schools’ event, ‘Singing Spectacular’. This year the choir are also taking part in an event run by Young Voices where they will be singing at the O2 arena.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCEE) development of all pupils is very important at William Austin Junior School. This is achieved by providing positive experiences through planned opportunities through the broad and balanced curriculum and through interactions with teachers, visitors and the local community.
At William Austin Junior School, we use PSHCEE lessons to support our children to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives and make the most of their life opportunities. As part of a whole school approach, PSHCEE develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.
Children are made aware of the importance of Anti-Bullying. This is delivered through interactive theatre productions and various activities for the children to take part in at school that raise awareness of this issue.
At William Austin Junior School we value the rights and responsibilities children and young people have as they grow and mature into young citizens. Understanding who they are and where they belong is a basic right and having the skills and vocabulary to express whatever that may mean to them, is fundamental to a healthy start in life.
We take part in the Schools Linking Network project and this develops further understanding of their place in the world and in their various communities, of home, school and any other places they may associate with, strengthens the foundations for healthy citizenship and sets them on a path for adulthood, where they feel they have a place and that they have something to contribute. A healthy sense of belonging can best be fostered through a combination of high quality experiential learning and reflective classroom practice.
The aims of the project are:
- To develop and deepen children and young people’s knowledge and understanding of identity/ies, diversity, equality and community
- To develop skills of enquiry, critical thinking, reflection and communication
- To develop trust, empathy, awareness and respect
- To provide opportunities for children and young people to meet, build new relationships, work together and contribute to the wider community
- To provide opportunities for adults, who work with children and young people, to share good practice, increase understanding of the issues of identity and community in their districts and to broaden perspectives.
This year, we are linking with a class from Hillborough Junior School.
The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of all pupils is very important at William Austin Junior School. This is achieved by providing positive experiences through planned opportunities through the balanced and broad curriculum, through interactions with teachers, visitors and the local community.
We recognise that the personal development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve. It also develops children’s social skills to enable them to become informed, active and responsible citizens.
We aim to provide an education that provides pupils with opportunities to explore and develop British Values alongside their own values, beliefs and spiritual awareness.
All curriculum areas have a contribution to make to the child's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and opportunities for this will be planned in each area of the curriculum.
Emphasis is placed on SMSC via our “Monthly Values” and incorporates the fundamental British values.
Our values are as follows:
- September: Mutual respect
- October: Democracy
- November: Tolerance
- December: Harmony
- January: Forgiveness
- February: Perseverance
- March: Honesty
- April: Kindness
- May: Responsibility
- June: Individual liberty
- July: The rule of law
The curriculum and the extra-curricular activities promote pupils’ reflections on their personality and beliefs, their understanding of what is right and wrong and their creativity, awareness and respect about culture and diversity. Values are developed and explored in a variety of ways.