Vijay International School Praslin
You are not born for yourself...but for the world
Vijay International School, Baie St Anne, Praslin, Seychelles
Vijay International School follows the new UK National Curriculum. In the Primary Section, whilst Literacy and Numeracy are taught as discrete subjects and specialist Computing and French lessons are timetabled, other subjects are taught through cross-curricular ‘Topics’. Every half term each class changes its topic; we match our learning environments within each class to represent the new topic and in KS1 the role play areas make the central theme in each classroom. Classes engage in a variety of educational visits around Praslin or the surrounding islands and many exciting opportunities to support the topic around the school grounds, which further helps bring the learning to life.
We put stories at the heart of our curriculum design to ensure literacy is promoted throughout all we do. We believe that developing key skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing is crucial to children’s attainment in all curriculum areas. Our planning is always based around an exciting and challenging novel or story.
Stories are the vehicle for developing purposeful skills across all curriculum areas in an exciting context with a particular emphasis on securing and embedding literacy skills. Although putting our class book at the heart of our curriculum is intended to be a cross-curricular approach, tenuous links with subjects are avoided and as a result we often teach Mathematics, Science, Computing skills, RE, PSHCE, French and PE discretely in order to ensure that our curriculum remains broad and balanced, and more importantly, so that our children acquire the necessary skills required for their next stage of learning and development. We believe that using high-quality children’s literature as a springboard for all learning will nurture a lifelong love of books and reading as well as ensuring the effective teaching of literacy skills, essential for learning across the curriculum. Curriculum provision delivered in this way offers deeper learning opportunities across many subject areas, as well as focusing on the development of basic skills. Our curriculum not only motivates VISP’s pupils but it has a notable impact on the children’s writing skills.
We use a variety of strategies to teach the mechanics of reading to our students. We teach phonics using the progression of Letter and Sounds, complimented by a variety of resources including Read Write Inc. Using RWI books for Guided Reading in KS1 allows us to closely group and monitor our individual readers’ progress ensuring that all our students are making good progress and meeting their potential. In KS2 we use Reading VIPERS to guide our planning of Guided Reading and encourage reading comprehension skills. All children will be working on VIPERS during class reading, whether it is reading as a class, in a small group, or one-to-one with an adult. It would be fantastic if parents could also be referring to VIPERS when they listen to their child read at home.
If we ensure that children are competent in all of these reading skills, we are covering all of the National Curriculum requirements and enabling them to be strong, confident readers. This acronym is just a great way of helping children and parents to remember what these vital skills are. VIPERS can be used on any text that a child is reading, as well as on pictures, picture books and films! When any adult is listening to a child read, all they have to do is think of questions about the book/picture/film that cover all of the VIPERS. If you would like any more information on how to support your child using VIPERS please speak to your child’s class teacher or Mrs Rafferty.
Our story based curriculum means we place a strong emphasis on English. Throughout VISP we also use Talk4Writing to enable children to internalise a range of stories and build up an extensive and rich vocabulary for use in their own writing. During the initial 'imitation' stage of Talk for Writing, children learn to tell a story off by heart. They retell a text with expression and actions and make use of a story map to support their retelling. Once the story is learnt, children are encouraged to adapt it. At the 'innovation' stage, children make the story their own, for example, by changing the character or setting. Finally, at the 'invention stage, children write their own text independently.
We teach a series of sentence types to each class through their time at primary to ensure that our students can write using varied sentence types whilst also furthering their understanding of grammar. Each year these sentence types are built upon and assessed through their fortnightly Best Writes. These Best Writes are a chance for children to write uninterrupted and demonstrate their newfound writing skills to their class teachers. The English Curriculum design allows our students to make the transition up to Secondary as confident and proficient writers and readers.
At VISP we follow the White Rose Maths Scheme. Teaching maths for mastery is a transformational approach to maths teaching the British Curriculum which stems from high performing Asian nations such as Singapore. When taught to master maths, children develop their mathematical fluency without resorting to rote learning and are able to solve non-routine maths problems without having to memorise procedures.
We encourage students of all ages and abilities to use concrete resources, such as place value counters, Numicon and Cuisenaire to enable and promote discussion around the calculation strategy. Our students are taught initially through concrete objects (using physical objects), moving on to pictorial methods (using drawings to represent the calculation strategy) then on to abstract (calculation methods such as column addition or long multiplication).
We also use Times Tables Rockstars to promote learning of times tables. We have weekly TT Rockstar tests which we complete our test as quickly as possible alongside a rock music soundtrack. All children in from Year 2 – Year 6 are provided with a log-in to the online platform. Follow the link to enjoy practicing your multiplication and division facts.