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Years 4, 5 and 6 otherwise known as Upper Primary (UP)

The teachers all attend a staff briefing at 8.15 together in order to stay aware of all news for the day and immediate organisational matters.

 

The children can be dropped off from 8.25 in the classroom.

 

For Years 4, 5 and 6, the school day starts at 8.35 with Registration.

 

On Monday morning we discuss and note our learning targets for the week. Each child has a learning diary where their targets for the term are noted and then broken down into weekly goals. At the end of the week, on Friday afternoon, we discuss the week’s work to identify what has or has not been achieved and how we need to react to that.

 

This is an approach common in Scotland and is known there to give the children a sense of ownership and empowerment with their learning. It also allows us to find ways that the children can work together for everyone’s benefit and so builds a sense of team work, community action and working for the collective good as well as our individual good. This is a great way for children to see their own progress and develop pride in their learning and their ability to lead their learning. It also aids transparency in accountability.

 

‘Circle Time’ in the context of Upper Primary is like Lower Primary; it is a lesson during which the children learn about being members of the community and the whole concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. It is the non-scholastic, social part of schooling. It is where any issues or difficulties that arise during the week are worked out and it is also where metacognition is taught.

 

Assembly is a meeting once per week led by either a teacher, the Head or a Guest Speaker. This is where whole-school issues are discussed and direct leadership is provided to the pupils. We discuss ethical questions, learning questions, school questions, social questions and thematic things like Book Day and other such events. This is also the moment in the week where we recognise excellent work and effort in our pupils and award certificates.

 

For international children the entire school day is conducted in English. For Polish citizens, who are subject by law to Polish Ministry for Education MEN requirements, the whole day is in English except for Polish language lessons; all other MEN requirements are met bilingually in the class with a bilingual Polish teacher team-teaching in partnership with the other class teacher with key terminology being translated. This team teaching strategy gives us capacity for a higher level of individualisation to all of the children.

 

We combine direct instruction in specialist lessons (Maths and English, Music) with inquiry-based learning in the IPC to guarantee a rounded and balanced education of a high quality which is fun and exciting, and satisfying as well.

 

Religious Education is where children learn about the different things that followers of major world religions believe and is structured thematically around special events in the year. Traditions related to religion are also discussed. This lesson is learning about different world religions, not a programme of faith based instruction.

 

PE combines activities specifically designed to aid learning to control the body with team sports. From time to time playtime will include organised sports.

 

Lunch is provided by an outside caterer (at extra cost) or children can bring food from home.

 

The breakdown of subjects in terms of number of lessons in the week is as follows:

 

English – 5 (direct instruction)

Maths – 5 (direct instruction)

Reading – 1 (guided reading, this is in addition to the reading learned in English)

PE – 3 + Swimming – an extra 2

Music – 2

ICT (computers) – 2

IPC* – 9 (Science, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology as well as other curriculum areas integrated into the programme)

Circle Time/metacognition – 1

Assembly – 1

 

*It should be noted that IPC includes repetition, reinforcement and extension of language, literacy and mathematical learning. IPC also includes art activities, history, geography and science learning, integrated into a single programme.

 

Another way of saying this is that our English and Maths strategies feature a high level of direct instruction, which is then reinforced and validated through inquiry-based learning in the IPC sessions. This ensures a balance between highy structured learning and learning through discovery, both of which are vital at this age in order to be sure the children are learning well and making the progress we think they are making, but also that school is great fun and a joyful adventure.

 

Music also features a high level of direct instruction in specific music skills. These music lessons are not the same as music activities, which many schools offer. They are lessons, during which children are taught transferable skills such as active listening, predicting, rhythmical and pitch solfege (our methods are derived from the Kodaly method), audiation, vocal emission techniques (there is no such thing as a child without musical talent). Children feel great when they can hear themselves sing nicely and know it is good. We use songs in many subjects, including in IPC lessons.

 

Circle times include metacognition. We teach the children how to learn, as well as guiding them in doing so. Metacognition is learning about learning and this not only helps children be as effective as possible in learning, but also gives them motivation and helps them feel determined to keep trying and overcome difficulties when they encounter them.

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