Subjects

English 

We aim to provide opportunities for learning that develop the children's ability to become effective communicators through skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing and phonics.

At Simpson’s Lane Academy we aim to immerse children in a rich reading environment and to give them the opportunity to explore a wide range of quality texts. This provision supports phonics, word recognition, comprehension and vocabulary development.

At Simpson’s Lane Academy we use the Phonics Bug phonics programme. Phonics Bug is a Foundation and KS1 reading programme that makes teaching synthetic phonics fun and easy. Phonics Bug also include 134 decodable readers and ebooks which children can access both in school and home.

We use the Bug Club guided reading scheme which works seamlessly with Phonics Bug, providing the opportunity to practise and apply phonic and tricky word knowledge within reading. All books are matched to the Letters and Sounds phases and Book Bands and all books are also available as ebooks. Bug Club is a whole school scheme ensuring continuity and progressions for all readers throughout school.

Where appropriate we also use Rapid Phonics, which is a phonics catch up programme designed for struggling readers, EAL readers, and readers with SEN or dyslexia from Year 1 and up. 

Alongside the teaching of phonics, there is also an important focus on comprehension and reading for enjoyment in our school. To encourage this, a variety of books are available to pupils of all ages, which are updated regularly. We use the Book Band system to ensure children have access to books which match their reading ability and confidence, as well as providing sufficient challenge. The bands include a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry reading scheme books, as well as 'real' picture books, short stories and longer novels. We also have a number of 'Reading Trees' throughout the academy. Children are free to choose any book from the Reading Trees to read or share at home.

Our Reading Strategy is a trust-wide approach to develop reading comprehension skills. It takes place EVERY day for a minimum of 30 minutes, incorporating age-appropriate, challenging texts, which are rich in vocabulary.

Further details of this approach can be found in the attachment below.

Mathematics

We provide opportunities for children to make sense of maths and enjoy investigating numbers and solving problems to develop the children’s mathematical understanding and confidence. Children also learn to apply these number concepts, interpret data, study shape and space and explore measurement through practical investigations and problem solving activities.

Maths at Simpson’s Lane Academy follows the Same Day Intervention (SDI) model.

SDI is a trust-wide approach to develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills in Maths.  It takes place every day across two sessions. This approach to teaching aims to ensure that no pupil is left behind, built on a culture that everyone can achieve.  The lesson is structured to allow marking and assessment time in the middle of the session, in order to provide appropriate intervention immediately to address any misconceptions as well as appropriate challenge.

During SDI, pupils who fully achieved the age-related expectation are given related tasks to further embed their understanding. Those that need extra support work with the class teacher in a guided group, and can also be supported by support staff. This lasts for approximately 20 minutes. During their independent tasks, children are able to self- marking their work in order to move on to the deeper learning tasks - Gold or even Platinum! Our aim is to get as many children as possible to the Gold level. 

We also place great emphasis on recall of number facts, using regular arithmetic sessions to practise and apply knowledge of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and resources such as Times Tables Rock Stars to encourage practice at home.

SLAM Curriculum

At Simpson’s Lane Academy, we are very proud of our SLAM curriculum, which encorporates foundation subjects such as Science, History, Geography, Art, Design Technology and IT.

During this year, the school has been working on curriculum development, creating realistic learning contexts through our child-led SLAM (Simpson’s Lane Academy Mission) curriculum.  We use moments of shared experience as the engine room for generating genuine excitement and engagement for learning and then to develop this energy as a way of integrating the curriculum and making learning more purposeful and meaningful to children.

SLAM is a problem solving based approach to teaching and learning focusing on developing skills and knowledge in order for children to understand the world in which they live and develop crucial elements which can be applied in a range of situations. Although the curriculum is directed by the children, who work in focused teams, the teacher, as enabler, provides a context for learning through visionary opportunities, in the form of missions (challenges, problems and enterprises). This independent learning ensures that children are immersed in judging situations, problem solving, questioning, presentation and innovation. In order to find a solution to a given problem (mission), they work in one of three or four enterprise teams.

When planning their work for the mission, the children have to consider seven essential elements:  

  • Being Responsible;
  • Questioning;
  • Global Awareness;
  • Lifestyle;
  • Community and Environment
  • Research and Technology;
  • Presentation and Communication. 

Planning is very much child led with each team working together in order to find a solution to the mission they have been set. The children develop their own success criteria, thus identifying the skills needed for the task. The teacher supports, often adding additional problems and missions in order to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum. The application of reading, writing, communication and mathematics skills can be clearly seen within ‘SLAM’.

This curriculum really is something to be celebrated. Pupils are engaged and enthused; they work together independently and collaboratively, they take on specific roles and responsibilities, question, negotiate and solve problems. 

Music and PE

Specialist teachers and coaches are employed for Music and PE to ensure children have access to the best possible teaching and to support the professional development of teachers and support staff. All children in Key Stage 2 have the opportunity to learn to play a different instrument in Year 3, 4 and 5 as well as vocal coaching in Year 6. 

In Year 5 children have weekly swimming lessons to ensure that all children learn to swim before they leave the school. The school uses Pontefract Swimming Pool. There is no cost for parents. 

RE and PSHE 

Religious Education is delivered through the Wakefield Agreed Syllabus. 

At Simpson’s Lane Academy we strive to develop a strong sense of moral purpose in addition to a respect and understanding of people who have different characteristics to themselves, whether that be age, disability, gender, race or sexuality. A rigorous, well planned curriculum, delivered by excellent staff in an ethos of care, love and support enables our pupils to be well rounded, empathetic young people who have a thirst for learning and respect for all around them. 

Sex and relationship education is taught to all children, mainly in Years 5 and 6 in Key Stage 2. If parents do not want this taught to their child, they can withdraw them from these sessions.

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