At Monkfrith we believe that all pupils, whatever their class, colour, religion, gender or ability, are of equal value. We are committed to providing a balanced curriculum and achieving the highest standards of teaching and learning.
At school we use many different ways to teach including whole class lessons, group work and individual teaching. Teachers plan and prepare extremely thoroughly to ensure that all subjects in the National Curriculum are taught, with particular emphasis on English, Maths and Science.
Children in Key Stage 1 are taught for 21 hours per week and children in Key Stage 2 for 23.5 hours. These hours do not include daily collective worship, registration, lunch and other breaks.
Language plays a vital role in the curriculum because it is through language that children formulate and express their ideas, organise their thinking and attempt to make sense of the world.
Children in all classes spend at least an hour every day on Literacy skills. In the early years speaking and listening play an important part in developing the skills to read and write. The opportunities children are given to listen to and talk about stories, poems and their own experiences will help them to understand the structure of writing in its many forms.
Teaching children to read as soon as they are ready is a priority. We teach reading using a variety of strategies such as phonics and word families. The children start in Reception on a phonic reading scheme as part of Oxford Reading Tree. They continue on this until they are confident with their phonic decoding. All children in Years 1 and 2 also read books as part of guided group sessions, which are also part of Oxford Reading Tree.
Children develop a real love of books and are encouraged to try a variety of types of book e.g. poetry, non-fiction, plays.
Children are encouraged to write independently as soon as they enter school. They will write for a variety of purposes and audiences e.g. story writing, reporting, letter writing.
Children are taught joined writing throughout the year groups in an appropriate way. By the end of Year 2 we expect the majority of children to have developed clear, legible, joined handwriting that is consistent in size, letter formation.
Children are taught to spell during their Literacy lessons in a way that is appropriate to their age.
Foundation Stage and KS1 – Phonics
At Monkfrith, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme for the systematic teaching of phonics. This resource was published by the Department for Education in 2007 and sets out principles and practices for high quality phonics teaching and learning to enable them to become fluent and confident readers by the age of 7. Further information can be found at:
It is structured into 6 overlapping areas:
|Phase||Phonic Knowledge and Skills|
|Phase One (Nursery/Reception)||Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.|
|Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks||Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.|
|Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks||The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.|
|Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks||No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segent longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.|
|Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)||Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes, which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.|
|Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond, as appropriate, based on child need)||Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.|
At least one hour each day is spent on developing skills in Maths. There is an emphasis on developing mental calculation skills and counting, the teaching during the first 10 minutes of the Maths session enables the children to practise these skills orally.
Mathematics is planned by the teachers using the objectives from the National Curriculum 2014. Children are taught about number, shape and space, algebra and data handling. We also help the children to recognise mathematical relationships and record their work systematically, accurately and neatly.
The Creative Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and 2
The school follows the New National Curriculum 2014 (except in Year 2 and 6 for 2014/5). At Monkfrith, we believe in a cross curricular approach to teaching the curriculum that will help us create a vibrant and creative curriculum excites children’s imaginations, inspires them to learn, extends their understanding and develops their independence.
The Cornerstones Curriculum is divided into four stages that develop different skills:
At the ‘Engage’ stage, children:
- gain memorable first-hand experiences,
- get an exciting introduction to a topic or theme
- begin researching and setting enquiry questions
- get lots of opportunities to make observations
- develop spoken language skills
- take part in sensory activities
- have lots of fun to fully ‘engage’ with their new topic.
At the ‘Develop’ stage, children:
- improve their knowledge and understanding of the topic
- develop and practice their new skills
- compose, make, do, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes and read across the curriculum
- research their own questions and those set by others
- follow new pathways of enquiry based on their interests
- complete homework activities that support their learning.
At the ‘Innovate’ stage, children:
- apply skills, knowledge and understanding in real-life contexts
- solve real or imagined problems using everything they’ve learnt
- get inspired by imaginative and creative opportunities
- revisit anything not fully grasped at the ‘Develop’ stage.
At the ‘Express’ stage, children:
- become the performers, experts and informers
- share their achievements with parents, classmates and the community
- evaluate finished products and processes
- link what they have learnt to where they started celebrate their achievements!
Topic Overviews are available here but more detailed information about each class’ curriculum topics can be found on their class pages and are updated each term.
Although we look to make meaningful links between all areas of learning, there are some subjects which are taught discretely, such as Maths, Letters and Sounds (in Year 1 and 2), Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, PE and Spanish.
At Monkfrith there is an emphasis on investigation and practical work wherever possible. Children are then able to ask questions, devise solutions and test them. Children can develop their scientific knowledge by taking part in discussions, fair testing and discovering things for themselves.
By observing, exploring, collecting, ordering, experimenting and recording, the children will be taught skills that will lead to a greater understanding of the world.
Throughout the school children are given the opportunity to work with various materials and tools in order to design and make products. We encourage the children to work together creatively to find solutions to problems.
Computing, or using computers and ipads, is taught throughout the school. Computers and ipads are used for a range of purposes by children including maths games, data processing, word processing and accessing the Internet. Children often use the computer to publish their stories and poems and print these for display or to share them with others. Children will also become familiar with code through practical activities and use of software packages. Safe practise using technology is encouraged throughout the school through our online safety sessions.
History and Geography
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, history is taught through a range of interesting topic areas which fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum. Children learn about changes within living memory through the Street Detective topic in Year 2, which focuses on local changes ,and Moon Zoom in Year 1. They are also introduced to significant events beyond living memory, for example the Great Fire of London which is taught through Bright Lights, Big City in Year 1. Throughout most of the topics, references will be made to significant people who have contributed to national and international achievements.
In Key Stage 2, children learn about a range of historical eras ranging from Pre-historic Britain and the Ancient Greeks to the Battle of Britain. History is taught in an engaging and hands-on manner that enables children to think creatively. All children are encouraged to ask questions about the past, challenge given information and make comparisons between the past and present.
Across the school, children are taught to describe and understand key aspects of human and physical geography as well as naming and locating countries across the world using maps and atlases. In Key Stage 1, the emphasis is on the local area while in Key Stage 2, children are challenged to learn about lands further afield.
All our children enjoy music and from Reception upwards have the opportunity to sing and play musical instruments. Listening and appreciating music composed in the past and present from a variety of cultures is also part of the music curriculum. This year, Year 3 will also take part in the Barnet Wider Opportunities project and will learn the African Drums!
From year 2 onwards children have an option to play an instrument. They can receive lessons from the borough’s Instrumental Teaching Service and there is a charge for these lessons. If the places available are oversubscribed then children’s names can go on the waiting list. More details of lessons are available on request.
Our children have the opportunity to express themselves in many different ways using paint, collage and modelling materials. Children are taught to understand and enjoy many aspects of Art and Craft throughout the world and study the work of artists from many cultures. They have the opportunity to use a variety of materials and techniques to create their own masterpieces.
Physical Education is so important in all our lives. On a daily basis at Monkfrith we try to use physical education and activity to help both children and adults develop healthy lifestyles and choices.
PE at Monkfrith aims to provide all children with a range of opportunities to learn, practise and use a wide variety of skills that challenge and extend children’s physical and mental development. Throughout the year all children have the opportunity to experience gymnastics, athletics, games, dance, drama and swimming(Year 4 only). On top of this, our school offers many lunch time and after school clubs that encourage physical activity and fun. Some of the clubs we are currently offering are: fit for fun, dance, gymnastics, football (KS1 & 2), netball, multi-sports, table tennis and cricket.
Physical education is not limited to PE lessons at monkfrith either. Through our creative curriculum that we follow at Monkfrith, our teachers are regularly incorporating healthy lifestyle learning into classroom lessons through topics such as: science, PSHE, maths, literacy and design and technology. Teachers are consistently promoting physical education and sport as a way of helping to keep you fit through a balanced and healthy diet and regular exercise.
We aim to attend a number of inter and intra competitions, tournaments and festivals throughout the school year and have a strong link with the Barnet Partnership for School Sport.
In line with the National Standards, all children are expected to participate in a minimum of 2 hours of Physical Education each week.
Currently our school employs and external coaching agent, Non-Stop Action, who deliver 1 hour of Games Based PE lessons, as well as some Gymnastics and Dance lessons. Class teachers teach the remaining one hour.
In KS1 it is expected that children should be developing fundamental movement skills and have opportunities to become increasingly more competent and confident within themselves. Tat Monkfrith they have access to a range of opportunities and experiences to help extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. In KS1 they will begin to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.
In KS2 children continue to apply and develop a range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and begin to use their skills to create sequences of movement. They will continue to enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other and develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports. An important part of our PE lessons at Monkfrith concentrate on children learning how to reflect, evaluate and recognise their own success. Clear learning objectives and key vocabulary is given at the beginning of each lesson and referred to throughout.
It is expected that all children have a full PE kit of t-shirt/shorts, socks and plimsolls.
Please view the PE page of our website for further information, dates of trials and competitions and photographs of PE at Monkfrith.
For further information regarding the PE curriculum please follow the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/425601/PRIMARY_national_curriculum.pdf
There is an assembly every day where children have an opportunity to reflect on many different moral issues concerning us all today. Tolerance and a caring attitude towards others are stressed and valued.
Festivals, celebrations, stories and customs from all religions are included in assemblies and also within class teaching. Parents are entitled to withdraw their children from RE and Collective Worship by prior arrangement with the Headteacher.
Health And Sex Education
The children learn about personal hygiene, nutrition and the human body through their usual studies. Sex Education is taught in Year 5 and 6. It is approached in a sensitive manner and the teaching materials used and the school’s policy is available for parents to see. A meeting is held in the spring term for parents of children in Year 5 and 6 to see the videos and books used and ask any questions they may have. The issues around drug and solvent abuse are also covered in their studies.
In PSHE, we teach children about relationships, and we encourage children to discuss the changes that happen as they grow up. We teach about the parts of the body, including the private parts, why males and females are different, and we explain to the children what will happen to their bodies during puberty. We encourage the children to ask for help if they need it. By the end of Key Stage 2, we ensure that both boys and girls know why children’s bodies change during puberty, how to manage puberty when it happens, and how babies are made and born in the context of an adult sexual relationship. We always teach this with due regard for the emotional development of the children. Under the science curriculum, teachers inform children about males and females and how a baby is born. In Key Stage 1, we teach children that animals, including humans, produce offspring, which grow into adults, and we also teach them about the main parts of the body. In Key Stage 2, we teach about life processes including reproduction and the main stages of the human life cycle, in greater depth.
Please see the Christopher Winter Project website for extra information.
RE is taught across the school on a regular basis, following the Barnet SACRE Scheme of Work. Click here for an overview of the different aspects taught throughout Monkfrith. Monkfrith RE Overview
Special Educational Needs
Children can have Special Educational Needs at any time in their school career. We believe that early intervention is helpful and the class teacher will speak to parents if they have concerns about a child. The child will be given an Individual Education Plan to support them and parents will be kept informed about their child’s progress. The school often works in partnership with specialists from other services and involves them in a child’s learning, where appropriate. The school complies with the national Code of Practice and parents are welcome to see our full policy.