Curriculum Information


Maths is one of the 'core' subjects taught in primary schools.  At The Ferns, we follow a scheme called White Rose Maths which helps children apply their knowledge and skills in a range of ways to encourage fluency and reasoning skills.  Maths is taught discreetly – in separate lessons – but we do our best to ensure Maths is meaningful and applied across the curriculum.  Talking about Maths and numbers at home – for example when baking, measuring, telling time etc – will help your child(ren) make links with their learning.  To find out more about the different strands of Maths taught in school, please see the following links:

Times Tables
Fractions and Fraction calculations

How you can help at home
There are many ways you help support your child with their learning in Maths – most of which are fun and not a worksheet in sight!  Developing language is key to understanding Maths so lots of talking – e.g. “We’ve got 6 biscuits.  If I share them with 3 of us, how many biscuits will we get each?” - starts to develop the concepts of division and multiplication.  Games like Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders and Yahtzee are great for developing early calculation skills.  Different sized containers filled with water in the bath will help develop the idea of capacity for younger children.

Reading & Phonics

Reading is so much more than sounding out words.  There are a whole range of skills and strategies your child will need to develop to enable them to become fluent, successful readers.  At The Ferns, we aim to help all children develop each aspect of their reading through a range of individual and guided reading lesson, in addition to reading activities and comprehension exercises.  We hope they leave us with a love of reading that opens a window to the world!
All children visit the school library on a regular basis and are allowed to borrow a book to read at home.  All children also have access to Wheelers online books and Oxford Owls online books.  Please speak to your child’s class teacher if you do not have their password.

Reading with your child for 10 to 15 minutes each day helps develop pace and fluency.  Because reading is so much more than just sounding out words, it helps to talk about the books as you read.  Discuss the characters, the setting; predict what might happen next or even make you your own ending.  More tips for reading at home can by following these links:

How to Read With Your Child

Reading at Home - Tips for Children

Reading at Home - Tips for Parents

Reading to your child – even when they can ready relatively competently by themselves - brings huge benefits.  Children get the opportunity to hear and remember stories and vocabulary they may not yet be able to read for themselves and this stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world.  It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word.  Even after children learn to read by themselves, it's still important for you to read aloud together.

Lists of suggested books for each age group can be found by following these links:

Recommended reads for 3 to 4 year olds

Recommended reads for 5 to 7 years olds

Recommended reads for 9 to 12 year olds

Essential Letters and Sounds

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.
We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).

We teach children to:

Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.
The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.
ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.

Supporting Reading at Home:

Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:
Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.

Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.

Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.
At the beginning of each academic year, we will hold an information session for parents and carers to find out more about what we do for Phonics, Reading and English at our schools. Please do join us.

More support for parents and carers can be found here:

Phase 2 pronunciation

Phase 3 pronunciation

Phase 5 pronunciation

Link to Oxford Owl home support for parents



Internet Safety

At The Ferns, we teach our children how to stay safe on line. Internet safety is woven through all curriculum areas when using the internet. We refer to “Safety Top Tips”:

• People you don’t know are strangers. They’re not always who they say they are
• Be nice to people on the computer like you would in the playground
• Keep your personal information private
• If you ever get that ‘uh oh’ feeling, your should tell a grown up that you trust

However, the best form of protection from harm starts at home. Careful monitoring of what children access helps children to stay safe. For further help, please see the links below:

5 Tips to Keep Your Child Safe On The Internet

Keep Kids Safe On Line (NSPCC)

Parent Guides to:

Instagram Snapchat TikTok Roblox
Fortnite Facebook Fake News Cyberbullying

British Values

All schools have a duty to “promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” (Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, Nov 2014)  At The Ferns, we uphold and actively promote British values in the following ways:

We have our own School Council with elected representatives from each class.  All children are able to put themselves forward to their classmates and a ballot is held to select two representatives from each class.  Regular class council meetings inform school council meetings.  During Class Council meetings, all children are encouraged to debate topics of interest, express their views and make a meaningful contribution to the running of the school on matters that directly involve pupils.  The Academy Head and Governors are informed of, and involved with, the activities of the School Council.

The children were responsible for the development of our 4 key values: Curiosity, Resilience, Co-operation and Reflection

The principle of democracy is explored in the History and RE curriculum as well as in assemblies.  Visits to appropriate venues, such as the local council offices, or meetings with local political figures such as the Mayor, have proven to be very enriching experiences.  Pupils are actively involved in the selection processes of new staff.

Rule of Law
The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days.  As a school, we recognise our chances of success and happiness, both in school and in the future, depend considerably upon the ability to demonstrate self-control and to make responsible choices regarding behaviour.  From a very early age, we all make choices about our behaviour, understanding the differences between right and wrong.  Our system for behaviour revolves around three simple rules: Be Ready, Be Respectful and Be Safe..  These rules, detailed in our Behaviour Policy, are explored in greater depth in assemblies, class PSHE lessons and day-to-day interactions.

To ensure a positive learning environment, we recognise that all members of the school must accept responsibility for their own behaviour and for correcting misbehaviour.  For this to work, there has to be cooperation, communication and consistency for pupils, parents, staff and Governors.  All are helped to distinguish right from wrong and are actively encouraged to be aware of the choices they make and the consequence of those choices.  All are helped to respect the law.  They are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.  All are helped to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals.

Good behaviour is actively sought by each member of the school.  Achievement in learning and behaviour is celebrated in class, with parents, through the SeeSaw App, and recognised during Celebration Assemblies.

Individual Liberty
Within school, all in our learning community are actively encouraged, and given the freedom to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.  As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for everyone at The Ferns to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment, a planned curriculum and an empowering education:

All are supported to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.
All are encouraged to take responsibility for their behaviour.
All are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, e.g. through e-safety teaching and PSHE lessons.
Freedom of speech is modelled through encouraging pupil participation.
All vulnerable members of our school community are protected and stereotypes challenged.
A strong anti-bullying culture is embedded in the school.
Pupils have key roles and responsibilities in school e.g. Year 5/6 Playground Pals/Play Coaches, Library Monitors, Eco Warriors, Environmentalists. E-Safety Group etc.

Mutual Respect and Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Respect is one of our three rules and helps form the fabric of our school.  All know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small.  The school strongly promotes respect for individual differences.

All are helped to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures and ways of life.  Actively promoting our values also means having the courage to challenge anyone expressing opinions contrary to fundamental values, including extremist views.

Links and visits are promoted to share knowledge and enhance learning within assemblies and in class.  Through the PSHE and RE curriculums pupils are encouraged to discuss and respect differences between people, such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexuality and differences of family situations, such as looked after children or young carers.

We follow the Surrey Agreed syllabus for RE and use the Jigsaw materials to enhance PSHE teaching.

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