We believe every child is unique and our Early Years’ team have high expectations of what all our children can achieve. We support each individual to overcome any barriers to learning so that they can all reach their potential.
Through play-based, active learning in our Nursery and Reception Year we provide each child with a range of engaging opportunities to stimulate their creativity and support their development. We value the importance of the indoor and outdoor environment to develop children’s thinking, problem solving and communication skills. Our unique All-through School provides many exciting opportunities.
Colleagues promote and encourage a Growth Mindset to allow all children to develop through effort, good teaching, learning and persistence. We are committed to giving our children the best start to their education, teaching them skills which ensure their current well-being and future success. "We are ambitious for all our children to develop a lifelong love of learning."
Our curriculum is built around the EYFS Characteristics of Effective Learning:
Playing and Exploring
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to 'have a go'
2. Active Learning
Being involved and concentrating
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
3. Creating and Thinking Critically
Having their own ideas
Choosing ways to do things
We integrate our School Values into our curriculum and everyday interactions. They are to be caring, be respectful and be responsible.
The Early Years Foundation Stage provision
Our children are nurtured within a play based curriculum which is broad, planned and balanced using indoors and outdoors spaces with both adult led and child initiated learning. The play is enjoyable, devised to promote thinking and problem solving, improve language competence and encourages the exploration and investigation of materials. In the Early Years Foundation Stage at the Westgate, we aim to develop and nurture the Characteristics of Effective Learning in all our children. These characteristics are: playing and exploring, active learning, creating and, thinking critically; together they enable children to become happy and effective learners. Our specialist Early Years Foundation Stage Leader oversees provision in both our Lower School and the Nursery ensuring continuity for all children who progress through this route as well as, from other settings. Colleagues work together to develop teaching, learning and the environment and ensure the highest quality provision and the best possible start in readiness for Year R - whether that be in our own Lower School at The Westgate, or other primary settings in the area.
Primary Phase (Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2)
Our Lower School curriculum is uniquely shaped by the breadth and depth of expertise available in our all-through setting and, by our vision for learning in the primary years. There are golden threads that run through the curriculum and inform Westgate’s teaching and learning. In particular, pupils are encouraged to adopt a Growth Mindset: to understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and learning, and persistence. Pupils are encouraged to have high expectations of themselves and to develop resilience in their learning.
Phonics and Reading Schemes For Key Stage 1 - at The Westgate School, we believe that a strong foundation in the Early Years Foundation Stage includes an early mastery of the basic skills in Year R, enabling all pupils to successfully access the wider curriculum as they progress through the primary years and beyond. Years 1 and 2 and Key Stage 2, Years 3 - 6 children follow the statutory national curriculum for both phonics and reading. We use 'Bug Club' core reading programme and initial reading and writing skills are taught in Reception and Key Stage 1 classes using systematic synthetic phonics teaching, including cued articulation, providing pupils with a rigorous and thorough grounding. Handwriting skills are taught with the aim of enabling all pupils to write with a confident, joined and fluent script.
Through our maths curriculum, we aim to develop pupils’ early mastery of maths skills together with a deep understanding and real enjoyment of mathematics. Pupils are provided with regular opportunities to apply their maths skills in a range of contexts. Pupils are taught using a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach in order to develop a deep understanding. Pupils are given opportunities to reason and apply their skills.
Planned around half-termly topics, the curriculum provides pupils with the opportunity to learn subject-specific knowledge and understanding, explore links across subject areas and practise their writing. Each topic begins with an enrichment activity such as an educational visit or special event that captures the children’s interest and imagination and builds towards a showcase event such as an exhibition or assembly where children’s learning can be shared and celebrated.
Additional to topics, our curriculum includes discrete teaching in the foundation subjects, specifically Spanish, PE, Music and Computing are planned and co-taught by subject specialists from Year 3. As pupils progress through the Lower School they will receive a breadth of subject specialist teaching using specialist facilities in a range of subject areas including Science, Design and Technology and, Computing. Pupils' confident and assured use of new technology is developed through its application across the curriculum. Discrete skills in coding and programming are taught over the primary years which culminates in a programming project in Year 6 led by a specialist teacher of computing. The RE curriculum follows Hampshire's syllabus, ‘Living Difference’, reflecting mainly Christian traditions of Great Britain whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.
If pupils are absent, teachers ensure they catch up on learning using a pre-teaching model. This is carried out as the children come in to school in the morning. Class teachers contact home if children are absent for more than three days to organise learning at home for pupils, if appropriate.