Living and learning with faith, friendship and fun
Charing School is an inclusive family, proud of our faith in God and our friendship with our community. We develop respect, aspiration, curiosity, tolerance and determination. We are a creative, compassionate and confident team.
Our Christian values of love, hope, truth, friendship and kindness underpin everything we do at our school. We work together as a community, within Aquila the Canterbury Diocese Multi Academy Trust.
- We believe our school plays a significant part in a pupil’s childhood providing a safe and nurturing environment. A place a child can enjoy being an individual and develop as a well-nurtured human being.
- Our curriculum is broad and balanced. It builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points. We want our children to experience a wider curriculum in abundance, ready to embrace the next chapter in their learning journey.
- The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all pupils. We will fully embrace the surrounding resources and utilize our vast outdoor space.
- We aim to educate our children for the present and also for the future: giving them an understanding of the world, everlasting experiences and life skills that they will take forward.
- We celebrate the diversity and cultural wealth of the wider community, specific to Charing.
- We will engage parents in supporting pupil’s achievement, behavior and safety and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
The creative curriculum at Charing was designed during the academic year of 2018/2019 for it to begin at the start of the 2019/2020 academic year and be taken on into the future. The main purpose of ‘The Charing Curriculum ‘is to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all pupils. It aims to give all children the rich knowledge and understanding together with essential skills to prepare them for future learning. The curriculum is aimed to meet the particular needs of the children at Charing and familiarise them with the local setting and all it has to offer.
Aims for the Charing Curriculum 2020-2021
Charing as a school wants to grow and be the school of choice whilst still having its diverse intake which makes the school unique. Our unique curriculum will define Charing as a school along with clear Christian values and character. We aim for every child to see school as a safe sanctuary, that they enjoy attending and have a love for learning; feel motivated to achieve; taking pride in everything they do; showing respect to everybody.
As a result of observations; monitoring in the classes and books; pupil, parental and staff voice and outcomes in previous academic years, a change to the curriculum, to meet the needs of our school community, had to take place. The following aims were put into the new curriculum that was designed in 2019 (and have since been adapted) that would drive it forward to get the best outcomes for all cohorts of children-
- Ensure children are integrated back into the school routine and feel safe with all Covid-19 risk assessments in place
- Ensure the children enjoy learning and are proud to be a member of Charing Primary School
- Ensure the curriculum is relevant and promotes the school’s distinct Christian character
- Identify and close the gaps, especially in the core subjects, to ensure achievement for all
- To have a curriculum that promotes resilience, physical development, mental health and well-being to support and develop the whole child
- To have a curriculum that supports and actively develops the pupils’ cultural, spiritual, moral and social development which allows children to collaborate and have mutual respect for all
- To promote the school within the local community and working alongside members of the parish
We believe that this school plays a significant part in the lives of the children and the wider community. During the time of the school closure, the school had one of the highest percentage of children returning to school (in term 6) in the country due to the support of families and we hope this will continue to impact on attendance during 2020/21.
How we aim to achieve this – The Curriculum
The time table has been restructured to meet the needs of the children to ensure they reach their potential. The final week of a term is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate, reflect and consolidate their learning journey.
In Key Stage 2, the English Writing lessons will be an hour and ten minutes from Monday to Thursday. In these writing lessons children will be taught basic English grammar and punctuation to help improve their writing, as well as the skills needed to help meet the success criteria for particular writing genres. Writing tasks will mostly be based around a class text. The text will be age appropriate and challenge the children’s understanding and be based on the class’ topic for the term. This increases the children’s understanding of the topic and can lead to further thinking on the issue. The text does not just create stimulus for the writing task, it has many other benefits: language enrichment, shared and modelled; it enhances a love of books and reading; it supports children’s understanding of texts through teacher led questions. Pupil voice came back at the end of last year very favourable on the text based writing lessons and the books chosen were very popular. There will also be non-fiction writing linked to the class topic.
There will be a maths lesson Monday to Thursday that teaches, practises and embeds particular areas of mathematics for an hour and 5 minutes. Teachers are encouraged not to race through areas of learning but instead ensure children have an understanding of the area before moving on. Each lesson starts with a 5 to 10 minute daily practise which revisits previous learning. On a Friday morning there will be a 45-minute arithmetic lesson. For KS1 and years 3 and 4 this lesson will focus on number recall and improving the speed of mental calculations. For years 5 and 6 this will be arithmetic based questions, again to help improve each child’s speed and confidence. This had a positive impact on the last 2 year’s Year 6 and the arithmetic test scores were much improved. In September 2020, Year 6 will have their arithmetic lesson on a Monday.
From Year 2 onwards there will be four focussed reading lessons a week which will be text based work. This will be an opportunity for pupils to become immersed in a text, to foster a love of reading through reading aloud and delving deeper into the reading material.
Class texts will be chosen carefully to match class learning and engage pupils in literature and language. Sometimes these texts will be the same as the class book in the English Writing lesson. Texts will embed children’s knowledge but also challenge them in terms of language acquisition and promote a literary language rich environment in the classroom.
Although reading results improved significantly in recent years, it is still one of the key priorities of the school. To help with this the school has introduced the Read, Write inc phonic programme to the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. This forms the basis of the English lesson in EYFS and KS1 for up to an hour, four days a week. Children in Year 2 should make rapid progress and complete the RWI programme then move onto English lessons which use a class text to inspire writing opportunities.
In Key Stage 2, there is an expectation for every child to be heard read in school at least once a week (with vulnerable children to be heard even more) and incentives to read at home regularly including dojos and Buster’s book club. In EYFS and KS1 children will be regularly immersed in favourite and classic children’s picture books, through story times and be heard read at least 3 times a week.
There are 4 twenty-five minute slots for Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation lessons in Key Stage 2 a week. With grammar and punctuation teaching happening in the writing lessons as well, this is an opportunity to consolidate what has already been taught but most of the lessons will be spelling based with a new approach to spelling being designed for Key Stage 2 by the English team which will start by term 2.
In recent years, writing in English books across the school were becoming a strength but we now need to see high quality writing in all subject areas. To support this, both Science and RE have been moved to a Friday morning. This will be on a Monday for Year 6 from September 2020. RE and Science, despite not being subjects that children have to undertake statutory testing for, are key subjects that should hold the same importance and have the same high outcomes as English and Maths. The Science areas of learning are planned out by the Science subject leader and are linked to the national curriculum. Wherever possible links will be made between Science and the class’ general topic to broaden and deepen understanding.
Every afternoon will start with five minutes of Mindfulness. This will give children an opportunity to manage their thoughts and pause, reflect and be present in the moment. They will be guided by their class teacher. This mindfulness approach is designed to feed into lessons where children are reflective and open and can approach the curriculum with broadmindedness and a natural curiosity for new experiences.
We aim for the children to be inspired through creative and practical approaches to learning, which not only embed knowledge and skills but gives children the opportunity to develop as an individual and celebrate a diverse range of talents.
Geography, History, Art and DT and Music will become part of our ‘Topic’ lessons and link to this immersive style of learning. These curriculum areas will form a sequence of lessons building on knowledge and acquiring new skills rather than distinct unconnected subjects. However, we do recognise that on occasion there will need to be stand-alone lessons to develop an area. We allow our teachers to develop this according to the needs of their pupils.
2020/21 Topic titles
Rabbits – Magical Me! Tell Me A Story; Amazing Animals; Ready, Steady, Sow; Brilliant Bugs; Under The Sea.
Squirrels – Once Upon A Time; Heroes and Villains; Land Ahoy; My Secret Garden; Mad about Mini beasts; Home Sweet Home.
Foxes – Globetrotters; Stone Age; Going Wild; Romans; Once Upon a Time; Community Living.
Badgers – Changes; Full Moon (Space); What’s Mine Is Yours (Refugees and Migration); We’ll Meet Again (World War II); Creature Features (Evolution); Community Living.
Owls – World War 1; World War 2; Creature Features (evolution); What’s mine is yours (migration); Full Moon (Space); Community Living.
The remaining afternoon sessions will used to teach P.E., French in KS2 and PSHE.
Teachers can adapt our PSHE Curriculum to fit the needs of the pupils at any particular time. After PSHE, the children will be given ‘Team Building’ time to work together rationally and problem solve. We believe this will build children’s resilience and develop their thinking and will include ‘Building Learning Power’. At least once a term, each class will have a Philosophy for Children lesson, giving them the opportunity to think deeply about an issue. This will help develop the children’s empathy and listening skills. This may link to issues arising from a class’ topic or a current political debate which the children feel passionate about.
For a second year we will have ‘Life Skills’ lesson once a week in Key Stage 2 led by the HLTA. We believe that at Charing our children should not just be equipped for their educational journey but also their journey in life; teaching them skills that they may need in their everyday life even into their adulthood. The Life Skills lessons for this academic year are Gardening; First Aid; Cooking for decoration; Cooking to be healthy; Textiles (this includes sewing) and Careers. Each Life Skills lessons will have links to the national curriculum but not in one particular subject, instead in a variety. The ‘Careers’ topic is for children to broaden their horizons and see what job prospects are there for them after school life. When looking into careers we will be looking into the cultural background and life experiences of our children. We want to celebrate every child’s heritage and culture at Charing.
The ten minutes at the end of each day is used by teachers in KS2 to revisit past and present learning thorough class quiz time or to engage in current local, national and global news. In EYFS and KS1 this will be story time with books reflecting the interests of the children and the topic they are learning about.
Through the Charing Curriculum we want every child to grow in confidence and excel according to their abilities. The aim is to give them a love of learning that they will use outside the school environment.
Beyond the curriculum
At Charing we want every child to feel safe, be happy and strive to be the best that they can be. We encourage this by following and living by our Christian values of love, friendship, kindness, truth and hope. Every member of staff is committed to the school and to the children: supporting, teaching and nurturing. Above all we hold the children’s’ best interests at the centre of all we do. Since September 2019, the school has implemented a new curriculum but has also strived to offer pupils experiences beyond the classroom. Along with the regular after school clubs, this academic year alone, the children have been to the pantomime, attended a whole school singing workshop, held a mock general election, represented the school in the local church’s memorial service, regular trips out, raised money for different charities, archaeological digs and many more. The school will be working closely alongside the local community in the summer celebration of ‘The Cloth of Gold’. Although we value our new curriculum the school believes that should not limit the children’s experiences.
Charing – our unique village and its history
Charing is a large, mostly agricultural village; it includes the settlements of Charing Heath and Westwell Leacon. We are located at the foot of the North Downs and reaches up to the escarpment. The Pilgrims’ Way, the M20 motorway and Charing railway station (between London Victoria and Ashford International via Maidstone) serve the parish. Charing village also is home to Charing Racecourse, which hosts the point to point season.
The name Charing first appears in 799 as Ciorrincg. The name probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon word cerring, which means a bend in the road, or it may be from Ceorra-ingas, which is Anglo-Saxon, meaning people of Ceorra. The village is sited on the Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury, and is one day’s walk from Canterbury. There are a number of old manors located around the village, such as Newlands (now a horse stud) and Pett Place. The village had a market recorded in 1285, and a fair recorded in the fifteenth century.
The Church of St Peter and St Paul, the parish church of Charing, is situated next to the remains of the Archbishop’s Palace, just off the High Street. The school has close connections with the church and visits the church on a regular basis. The church’s west tower was built in the 14th century, though most of the rest of the building was reconstructed following a catastrophic fire in the 16th century. The church is said to contain the stone on which John the Baptist was beheaded.
The village’s most famous building is the Archbishop’s Palace, which lies by the church and was an ancient possession of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The palace was an important building in the diocese of Canterbury, and counted amongst its guests King Henry VIII, who took it for himself. Henry VIII, stopped and stayed at the Archbishop’s Palace on his way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. In the summer of the 2020, there was meant to be a weekend celebration of this but unfortunately, due to Covid-19 the event was postponed. The school was to be involved in this event.
Charing railway station was opened on 1 July 1884, as part of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) extension to Ashford West of the 1874 line to Maidstone, which itself was a branch off the LCDR’s Sevenoaks branch of 1862, which joined the LCDR mainline of 1840 at Swanley. In the wake of 1955 British Rail Modernisation plan, the “Kent Coast Electrification” scheme saw the suburban electrification of the previous Southern Railway extended from Maidstone East through to Ashford. The only line to stop in Charing is the London Victoria line. The station featured heavily in the television series ‘The Darling Buds of May’.
Watermills – Burnt Mill, a corn mill working until the 1950s, now derelict; Field Mill, a corn mill, the building of which survives retaining its waterwheel.
Windmills – Charing Mill, also known as Field Mill on the Downs above the village is a smock mill which was built in the early nineteenth century and last worked in 1891 (it stands today as a house conversion); Charing Heath Mill was a smock mill that was demolished c.1878.
Charing High Street is, in itself, full of historic buildings and houses dating back to Tudor times. It continues to provide residents with local shops, including a butchers, two hairdressers, a post office and a has thriving and engaged community. The school has been involved in many Charing events including the Christmas lights parade, Remembrance Day celebrations, the Parish Council and Summer Fete. We continue to build on this relationship with the community.
The curriculum beyond 2020-21
Continue to develop the curriculum
Every class has its own curriculum map that is adapted each year to meet the needs of the children. As a school, we will constantly evaluate the curriculum and listen to staff, pupils and parents to improve it and when necessary adapt it.
We are currently at the early stages of exploring the options of having a school dog for the next academic year. The main benefits being, that dogs in school bring greater enjoyment and help support children who are struggling with emotional and mental health.
Forest school and make even more use of the facilities
With the life skills lessons being in their infancy, we will aim to adapt and improve them to meet the needs of all individuals.
With a fantastic outdoor environment at Charing, we must aim to use it to enhance the curriculum further. Forest School was introduced in January 2020, thanks to a kind donation from the PTFA. For the first 2 terms of this year, Badgers and Foxes will undertake the Forest School sessions they missed in the last academic year. We hope to develop Forest School further in 2021.
School to grow into a single form entry school
The long term aim for the school is to grow to be two form entry. A single form entry within the next 3 years will be the first target. To do this the school’s profile needs to continue to grow and become the school of choice in the local area.
For us to be judged as the school of choice we believe it will be our own unique curriculum that defines Charing as a school, along with its clear Christian values that will be embedded into practice.
Curriculum 2020-21 Update – ‘Operation Catch Up’
Due to the school closures in March 2020, the Government has granted school’s money to support children as they catch up on missed learning. In term 1, we amended the timetable to fit in two one-hour sessions from a catch-up teacher and this will be used as follows: –
Each class will be split into 3 groups and be taught either by the class teacher, the teaching assistant or an experienced teacher (each group will rotate with the member of staff who is teaching them). Within the groups the children will focus on maths, phonics/spelling, reading, and writing for improvement. Writing for improvement will focus on the grammar, punctuation spelling (GPS) element. Alternatively, there may be a separate GPS lesson. These sessions will be based on our assessments of what the children have missed or not understood properly (gap analysis) and continued teacher assessment on all the children’s needs. The sessions will not include content that should be taught to them later in their academic year. Instead it is about catching up on work that was missed. These catch up sessions are aimed to run until the end of term 3. The Senior Leadership Team will then make a decision whether the sessions need to continue or not and if they do whether they need to be for all groups or just a small number of pupils. That of course is a decision for the future and the ‘Curriculum Intent’ will be updated when necessary.
We felt that it would be more beneficial for the children to address the catch up in this way and ensure a rounded learning experience, rather than be taken out at different point in other lessons. This would disrupt their learning in those other subjects and it is our belief that every lesson in every subject counts at Charing thus ensuring a rounded curriculum for all.
I hope this information is helpful to you and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the Head of School.