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A Grimley and Holt Reader

A Grimley and Holt child has a good understanding of phonemes and graphemes which allows them to get the most out of their reading experiences. They know which sound or sounds each letter makes, like how a g sounds in goose and how it sounds in gel. They know how to take apart the sounds in a word, blend them and how groups of letters can work together to make a single sound.

A Grimley and Holt Child often ‘gets lost in a book’.

They are fully engaged and interact with text, actively acquiring information to make inferences and draw conclusions.

They have excellent metacognitive skills and habits which allow them to consider background information, visualise, question, explore vocabulary, infer, evaluate and synthesize.

Before reading a text, they set a goal, preview the text and imagine where it will lead.

While reading, they skim some parts, and focus on others-often rereading these sections to clarify meaning. They make mental or physical notes of the main points and ideas and use these to predict. Through monitoring they adapt predictions and repair their comprehension, referring to their experiences and knowledge of the world.

After reading a text, they reflect.

They think about the information and ideas, considering how they might use this information in their future understanding or own compositions.

A Grimley and Holt child actively seeks reading material, steadily develops the ability to select their own texts and generates a personal interest in different genres, authors and subjects.

What is Mantle of the Expert?

Our curriculum is built around Mantle of the Expert –  a drama enterprise approach invented by Professor Dorothy Heathcote to give children greater responsibility in their learning. The key elements in Mantle of the Expert are that:

  • The children are given expert roles
  • They set up a fictional enterprise
  • They are set tasks set by the client(s) which engage many aspects of the curriculum such as mathematics, English and PSHE.
  • A collective imagination, inquiry, problem solving and power develops

We have been using ‘Mantle’, as the children call it, for 10 years; with every class running a new drama enterprise each term. They might be running an animal sanctuary, a museum, a factory, a hotel or a shop. They might be documentary makers, party planners, safari park keepers, publishers, underwater archaeologists, travel agents or scientists. The children learn about real life companies, they have deadlines to meet and clients to please. However, the enterprise is not ‘real’ in the sense that there is no profit involved, and the companies can be based upon pure fantasy. Recently, our Y5/6 class became dragon trainers in a world of Vikings, which was, of course, based upon the world created by Cressida Cowell in her famous series of children’s books. If you like the sound of this approach, why not try one of these examples that have been successful across our school?

• Party planners who have to plan an authentic Roman party for Victoria and David Beckham
• A board game company commissioned to create a game of Monopoly with a World War 2 context
• Designing a range of healthy and informative walks for locals to learn about their surroundings
• Underwater archaeologists who are asked to find lost artefacts from the wreck of the Titanic.

But how does it work?

Imagine being part of a KS1 class when Mummy Pig (the client) enters the room looking very upset! She needs some help because the three little pigs have left home, but they haven’t got a clue about building houses. What’s worse, there’s a wolf on the loose! Mummy Pig needs some help from the experts at the Story Town Council.

Stepping out of role, the teacher can then ask the children “Shall we agree to help her as town councillors?” (The children will be very willing to help.)

After spending some time ‘building belief’ through a variety of tasks such as creating badges and writing about their character, the children decide to meet with Mummy Pig and listen to her concerns. They agree that they must design and build houses for the three pigs that will protect them from the wolf, and that to do this they must find out about wolves. Mummy Pig then sets the criteria for the maths and technology work that follows. For example, she wants all drawings labelled with measurements, as the children have been learning how to use a ruler accurately in maths.

The town councillors then receive a call from the Wolf Protection League who ask them to ensure that the Wolf will not be hurt. This naturally leads the children to more inquiry using a range of sources, and the children also go home talking about the dilemma.

Even young children are able to present their ideas, debate and discuss. They know they are all a valued part of their ethical company and it is serious work trying to meet their clients’ needs. This style of learning is child-led and it also challenges the children to use higher level communication and thinking skills.

A sense of purpose

The client is crucial to ensure challenge is high and children are given clear feedback. The teacher can use the client to ensure that learning outcomes are clear and challenging and we find that constructive feedback from the client is often more readily received.

In the Story Town ‘Mantle’ the children were introduced to many clients, like the Giant’s wife who wanted Jack found and locked up as he had hurt her husband and destroyed their home. The client can be introduced in many ways using the drama conventions set out by Dorothy Heathcote (see Examples include letters, pictures, the person speaking in role, a phone call, an email, and two people conversing in role – as if the children are watching a film and cannot interact. It is possible to cover so many curriculum areas in a natural, engaging way. Our children will tell you that their teachers treat them as adults with really important work to do. One pupil said, “You are more in control of things when you work in Mantle and the things you do are like they are real.”

We pride ourselves on our student’s access to musical instrument tuition. We currently teach Ocarina in years 1 and 2 and the Ukulele to both Key Stage 2 classes. We have also had whole class music tuition in keyboard, recorder and trumpet in previous years. 
We currently have small group instrumental lessons in Violin and Trumpet, all delivered by qualified music teachers from the Worcestershire Music Hub and the West Midlands Brass Academy. Other instruments are available for small group lessons. Please enquire with Mr Carpenter or at the school office for more information.
The school choir is a very important part of our school, numbering around 30 children from years 1-6, it meets twice a week to rehearse. The choir have represented the school at many events in the local area including the Chantry Applefest, Holt Village community events and The Royal Three Counties Show. They regularly perform at school based events such as the Christmas and Summer fayre’s, open evenings and during or after our religious services at Harvest, Christmas and Easter.
For the past 4 years the school has taken part in Young Voices, the world’s largest concert series for children where 6000 children from all over the Midlands perform together at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. As part of the concert they have the opportunity to sing and dance with a variety of guest artists which in past years has included, Stacey Soloman, The African Children’s Choir, Laura Wright and the Urban Strides Dance Company. This is a truly wonderful experience for our pupils and an evening they will remember for a very long time.
All classes have weekly music lessons. These enable children to listen to and respond to a range of musical styles including classical, pop, folk and music from around the world.  They also learn to give constructive feedback to their own and others work. They have the opportunity to compose music regularly on a range of instruments and using music technology. Children develop a understanding of the main musical features (pitch, tempo, dynamics, duration, timbre, texture, and structure) right from reception, enabling them to identify these important features in recorded, live and composed music. Our pupils also come in contact with standard musical notation.
To veiw our music progression, please click here.

Modern Foreign Languages (German)

“You live a new life for every language you speak. If you only know one language, you only live once.” Czech proverb.

At Grimley and Holt Primary School, modern foreign languages are introduced across the school in Key Stage 1 and German is taught formally in Key Stage 2. We believe that learning a language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for pupils but it also prepares them for a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly carried out in languages other than English. “Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures.”(National Curriculum 2014)

The MFL curriculum is based on a scheme of work developed by the subject leader. This is linked to the statutory guidelines for KS2 outlined in the National Curriculum Framework as well as the learning objectives of the non-statutory KS2 Framework for Languages. The curriculum is delivered in weekly sessions across Years 3 to 6, taught by the Subject Leader who is a fluent German speaker. ICT is used through language web-sites to support the teaching, providing engaging and fun games, songs and activities as well as ensuring that correct pronunciation is taught to the children.
Through our teaching of German we aim to:

  • foster a love of learning other languages by stimulating and encouraging children’s curiosity about language in an enjoyable and engagingway
  • develop their understanding of what they hear and read and have an ability to express themselves in speech andwriting.
  • extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between German and English
  • promote a deeper intercultural understanding through learning about the traditions, culture and geography of other countries including Germany
  • lay the foundations for the learning of further languages when they move onto secondary school.

Additional opportunities to use the German language the children are learning, are explored in a variety of ways, including year group assemblies, family days and European Day of Languages annually. Other languages are taught as part of the Mantle of the Expert approach- for instance, in preparation for work on WW1, children have the opportunity to expend on French skills.

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” (Frank Smith)

Attainment targets:

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.
Subject content

Teaching may be of any modern or ancient foreign language and should focus on enabling pupils to make substantial progress in one language. The teaching should provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and should lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at key stage 3. It should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures and vocabulary.
The focus of study in modern languages will be on practical communication. If an ancient language is chosen the focus will be to provide a linguistic foundation for reading comprehension and an appreciation of classical civilisation. Pupils studying ancient languages may take part in simple oral exchanges, while discussion of what they read will be conducted in English. A linguistic foundation in ancient languages may support the study of modern languages at key stage 3.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
    explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
  • engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
  • develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
  • present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
  • read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simplewriting
  • appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
  • broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using adictionary
  • write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
    describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing

For further details about our Science curriculum, click here

Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing
problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.
A high quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation
of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. 

For more information, click here.

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