Depth Before Breadth
Our first priority at King Solomon Academy is that we build a foundation in literacy and numeracy, as this provides a gateway to all other learning. In order to achieve this, our pupils partake in four literacy lessons and two mathematics lessons per day, as well as having regular opportunities to read to an adult on a one-to-one basis. Thanks to this structure, each of our pupils learn to read, write and work with numbers confidently.
All ARK schools specialise in mathematics and we invest in attracting and training the best mathematics teachers. Children have daily maths lessons and between 3 -5 maths meetings per week.
We believe that children from all backgrounds can succeed in mathematics. Our focus is on raising standards – working together to show what pupils are capable of and finding effective ways to enable every child to succeed.
We have been a pioneer school behind developing the Mathematics Mastery programme. ARK’s mathematics leaders and teachers have worked together to develop a curriculum and pedagogy based on international research and tailored to UK schools.
Our collaboration now extends beyond ARK’s network of schools to a community of 36 primary and secondary schools. Mathematics Mastery is a not-for-profit programme, developed by ARK Schools to meet its aspiration to achieve success for every pupil.
The key features of the approach have been demonstrated by education research to be most effective for pupils’ understanding of mathematics. They draw significantly on the curriculum and pedagogy of the highest performers in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science study (TIMSS).
They are also the tried and tested approaches used by the best teachers, departments and schools in the UK. What is special about Mathematics Mastery is that it brings these approaches and techniques together in a rigorous and systematic structure.
The three key features of Mathematics Mastery are:
• High expectations for every child
• More time on fewer topics
• Problem solving at the heart
The programme emphasises cumulative mastery of the essential knowledge and skills of mathematics. It embeds a deep understanding of maths by employing a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach – using objects and pictures before numbers and symbols so that pupils understand what they are doing rather than just learning to repeat routines without grasping what is happening.
At King Solomon Academy our Maths curriculum is delivered through the Mathematics Mastery programme in year 1 & 2, and ‘Maths in Focus’ in years 3 – 6.
For information on our KS2 Written Calculations Policy, please click here
At King Solomon Academy, we also celebrate maths events throughout the year, these include:
• World Maths Day
• The annual ARK Mathematics Competition
• Primary and Secondary mathematics projects
Our second specialism, Music, is at the core of the King Solomon Academy community. It is key to our learning and how we have fun. We have partnerships with the Voices Foundation, a specialist singing programme; and Colourstrings, which focuses on teaching children how to play instruments. Our aim is for every pupil to play an instrument and sing confidently.
Our pupils perform regularly at our Celebration of Achievement assemblies, as well as at our end of term performances. This is because we believe that collective participation in music builds a sense of community and develops skills in self-expression and performance.
From Year 2, pupils receive lessons in a string instrument. This continues throughout primary to the point where they can play as part of an orchestra. Pupils continue to benefit from having their own instruments and weekly lessons all the way through the school. We believe that by becoming a valued member of an orchestra, all our pupils can be genuinely proud of being a part of something exceptional.
The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum Programmes of Study are divided into Key Stages:
- The Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage is a fundamental time in a child’s learning and development. It is the time when the groundwork for each child’s learning is established and a time to develop many early skills.
We provide a variety of learning experiences for children which reflect their level of development and plan and teach activities which allow children to develop vital skills such as listening, speaking, concentrating, persistence, and learning to work and cooperate with others.
The seven areas of learning that make up the Foundation Stage curriculum are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social, and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Children are also encouraged to develop their characteristics and styles of learning under the following headings:
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
Children in the Foundation Stage need to experience things in a wide variety of contexts and as such, the outdoor learning environment is a large part of the curriculum. Activities across all areas are planned for to allow children the opportunity to develop holistically and grow as individuals.
Every child has the opportunity to experience situations first-hand through a mix of both play and structured activities. All adults involved in the children’s learning keep records on the children’s experiences and this feeds into all assessments. These records are kept in profiles and show the children’s learning journey over the year.
We encourage reading, communication, and mathematical skills from the very beginning. Reading is taught through a structured phonics scheme supplemented with a wide range of other books. Books are organised in a structured, graded way to allow children many opportunities for consolidation of key vocabulary. We encourage parents to work with their children at home by listening to them read on a daily basis.
We are always pleased to discuss ways in which parents can help their child at each stage of their reading development.
- Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7 years) and 2 (ages 8-11 years)
The core curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2 comprises:
- Information Communication Technology (ICT)
At King Solomon Academy, we have a strong focus on both Literacy and Numeracy in the curriculum to provide children with the skills necessary to access all areas of learning. In Literacy, we focus on Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening.
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1 (Ages 3-7), all children learn to read and write using a phonics programme called Read Write inc. This programme is based on synthetic phonics. Children are taught combinations of letters and their sounds and use these to decode and blend words. In addition to this, children receive extra literacy lessons to develop their reading and writing skills further.
In Key Stage 2 (Ages 8-11), children’s reading skills are developed through small group teacher-led guided reading sessions. In Year 3, spelling is taught through a structured programme called Get Spelling. Writing is taught through a daily Literacy lesson, in which children are grouped to receive help tailored to their needs. These lessons are often linked to a humanities topic to add interest and bring learning to life. All children are regularly assessed to ensure progress and meaningful targets are set. From Year 4 and up, children receive a 1h45minute literacy lesson based on the Blended Learning model. This “blends” children’s learning through teacher lead activities and software activities. At the heart of the model, is the idea that our children receive more tuition time in smaller groups, which has a significant impact on student attainment and progress.
The current ARK Primary Science scheme is to provide children with an investigative approach to science learning, but with a considerable focus on subject knowledge. To break this down, the two main priorities in the teaching of science at King Solomon academy are:
1) To ensure that children are prepared for future education with a strong scientific knowledge base
2) To build investigative skills so that pupils are able to solve scientific queries independently.
The science curriculum at KSA was based on the Singapore Science, ‘My Pals Are Here’ scheme of work. This scheme was referenced in order to provide a rigorous scientific education to our pupils. After consulting this scheme of work, ARK Schools modified the scheme based on the National Curriculum. This is the scheme of work currently used at KSA. We know that children will not be able to access KS3 / KS4 science without strong scientific subject knowledge in KS1 and KS2. When teaching science content, teachers focus on teaching high-level vocabulary and reinforcing important literacy and numeracy skills. We believe that to be successful scientists, our pupils must be able to communicate orally and in writing. Pupils must also be able to use basic data to show their understanding of science.
The units covered in the Science scheme are: Life & Living Things, Our Bodies, Energy, Our Universe, Materials, and Earth & Atmosphere. Each unit is taught from years 1-6 so that children receive thorough coverage of each topic and this allows for repetition of key concepts over time. The investigation skills taught in Science are Predicting, Conducting a Fair Test, Making Observations, Recording Data, Use of Data to Draw Sensible Conclusions.
Information Communication Technology (ICT)
At King Solomon Academy we believe that children will need to be IT literate to thrive in the developing world when they leave school. To this end, pupils attend ICT lessons once a week, and ICT is integrated into their weekly lessons in all other subjects. During their focussed ICT lessons, the children are taught specific programmes designed for their age and abilities.
We are currently in the process of changing the ICT curriculum to incorporate more focus on programming and coding in upper KS2. This will support better opportunities for the pupils in the future, because this will form an integral part of their understanding of expanding and developing technologies.
Children also study the subjects below as part of the National Curriculum. These are called foundation subjects.
- Religious Education
- Art and Design
- Design Technology (DT)
- Modern Foreign Languages (French)
- Physical Education
The aim of Religious Education at King Solomon Academy is to contribute educationally to the development of pupils both as individuals and as members of society. Religious Education is delivered to all children at our school through the Hertfordshire scheme of work. We teach the children about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism as well as a range of non-religious festivals. The children are taught to learn about religion and from religion through a creative approach using artefacts, role play, art, reading, questioning, observation and Literacy. We also organise 6 trips over the academic year to 6 religious places of worship; each year group goes on 1 trip each year and this enhances their understanding about different ways of life. Assembly is an important part of our school community; we meet every Monday morning to celebrate different religious and non-religious festivals that are being celebrated at that time. As well as assemblies; all of the children also have the opportunity to perform a play to the school and parents about different religious festivals. We believe that the Religious Education curriculum at our school will enable the children to understand and respect the beliefs of themselves and others in the multicultural society in which they live.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education and collective worship should they so wish. If parents do not wish their child to be taught the agreed syllabus or take part in short acts of collective worship then they should inform us in writing. Their child can then be excused and suitable alternative arrangements made.
We believe that learning a foreign language is an important part of our children’s academic and social development. As such, all children are taught French from Year 2 onwards. French is currently also the main language taught in King Solomon Secondary, so our pupils are well prepared for the transition to Secondary school.
At King Solomon Academy PE forms an important part of the curriculum and incorporates areas such as ball skills, gymnastics, dance, invasion games (football, basketball, netball, handball), striking and fielding games (rounders, cricket), net-and-ball sports (tennis), swimming, athletics and fitness training. Through these varied sports, children develop their core skills of agility, co-ordination, balance, fitness and teamwork. Competition and individual performance also form part of our commitment to high expectations. We strive to provide a learning experience that will enable all students to achieve beyond their potential and ultimately develop a lifelong passion for sporting participation and physical wellbeing.
The government provide additional funding to primary schools to improve the provision of physical education and sport. To find out how King Solomon Academy use that money, please click here.
Handwriting is taught through the Nelson Handwriting Scheme which teaches the children how to form all of their lower case letters, capital letters and numbers with the correct formation. In handwriting lessons children are also taught how to hold their pencil correctly and become comfortable with their natural writing hand. Handwriting is taught 3 times a week in short lessons where children will learn how to form a letter or complete a letter join and practice writing these in their books. We encourage pupils to explore different styles of handwriting and to develop their own cursive style by the time they leave our school.
Click below to see our curriculum maps for this academic year.
Extra-Curricular and Enrichment Opportunities
For further details on our Enriched Curriculum, please see Primary's School Activities page