Teaching & Learning
At Apex we follow a thematic curriculum called Learning Journeys where subjects are taught linked to a theme making learning a rich and meaningful experience for children. Most subjects follow the new National Curriculum 2014.
Here at Apex Primary School, children are immersed in the learning of al-Qur’aan Yr 1 onwards, following a detailed Weekly Surah Plan.
We place particular emphasis on ḥifdh (memorisation), Tadabbur (contemplation), Qirā’ah (Reading) and Tajweed (correct pronunciation).
The Weekly Surah Plan outlines the minimum ḥifdh required from the pupil at their stage. Children may advance these targets after mastering the revision of previous sūrahs with a satisfactory level of tajweed and the ability to recall some taddabur lessons (look below for further information).
KSU Electronic Qur’aan
All pupils engage in a variety of activities in order to understand, analyze and extract valuable lessons from each sūrah they learn in a relatable and contemporary context.
Children then manifest these lessons in projects to embody and implement the values learnt; e.g. sponsoring orphans to act upon the teachings of Suratu ‘l-Duha.
The lessons are taught by a qualified teacher in a dynamic and stimulating way to enhance the love of the language and the Book of Allah.
Qirā’ah (Reading) and Tajweed (Correct pronunciation)
Individual reading journeys are continued with the aim of becoming readers by the end of Y2 (approximately 6 years of age), ‘fluent’ readers by the end of Y4 (approximately 8 years of age) and ‘proficient’ at the end of Y6 (approximately 10 years of age). The stage following would be to become exposed to simple KS2 level texts (e.g. qaṣaṣ an-nabiyy’īn).
Formal teaching of Tajweed commences in KS2 in preparation for further Islamic education at Secondary school stage, though children are made familiar with the names of the rules in KS1. An enormous emphasis is placed on the verbal and constant rectification of the pronunciation of the Arabic letters.
Learning Roots “Read & Rise” series
We follow a bespoke curriculum that has been designed specifically with our children in mind. This includes aspects of SMSC, PSHE, and Citizenship.
The broad teachings of Islam are interwoven in "The Journey" which takes our children through the history of the world (from beginning to end: Adam ‘alayhissalaam to Jannah).
The lessons are based on stories from the Noble Qur'an and the authentic Sunnah. Children learn about the articles of faith, previous Prophets, the Seerah as well as the rich Islamic history. The aim is to find connections to contemporary life and develop skills that are rooted in the pure teachings of Islam. The spirituality of our children is also supported with religious assemblies, the Muhasabah Booklet and an emphasis on Islamic morals and manners which are reflected in our Apex values: Faithful, Informed, Tolerant, Responsible and Active
During the first three weeks of the academic years, pupils learn about the main concepts of a muslims creed including the famous ḥadīth of Jibrīl (ʿalaihis-salām) in which the pillars of Islam, the foundations īmān (faith) as well as the concept of iḥsān (excellency) are explained. Each year this year is reintroduced with further concepts and themes added to enhance the understanding of the faith. Principles of faith are then reinforced throughout the year within other parts of this syllabus.
We also look at a different side of fiqh which aims to nurture their understanding of worship in Islam. Pupils learn about fiqh principles in this syllabus through a project-based learning approach. Projects may include the recording of a tutorial (video/animations), designing of leaflets, mind-maps, presentations, posters, infographics, etc. on the termly topics.
This also teaches students to understand that there are different views on certain topics and therefore accepting other people's (valid) views and opinions as long as they are within the framework of the established sunni fiqh.
Usul (subject foundations)
Children will be made familiar with structures and components for each subject (e.g., asbāb an-nuzūl in the tadabbur lessons, foundations of madhāhib in fiqh lessons, etc.) alongside the other values.
Every week students learn one hadith with the intention of bringing them closer to the sunnah at a young age. The chosen aḥādīth are age appropriate, suited to the happenings/environment inside the classroom, span a wide range of topics and also touch upon contemporary glocal events. You may also find more information in the duaa plan.
Practical Steps to Achieve Allah's Love
Dhikr (supplications) & Ādāb (etiquettes/manners)
Pupils learn two important adʿīyah and/or adhkār every half-term (according to a separate plan). are learned in class. We make sure that students not only learn these duaas but also understand their concepts in depth.
Teachers ensure that students are reminded of general islamic norms and ethics. It is therefore that we have a Muḥāsabah booklet which aims to help students with their spiritual and academic goal setting.
We make sure that students view islam as a way of life rather than a religion. This part of the syllabus is focuses on cross-curricular links to RE, SMSC and/or PSHE aspects of the wider curriculum as having knowledge of other religions, cultures and values is a precondition of successful daʾwah and dialogue. We also link glocal issues and news by watching newswatch, you can check out the file on our own GoogleDrive and other generally reliable sources.
At Apex we aim to teach our students the fundamentals of the Arabic language in order for them to excel in other aspects of their Islamic studies such as understanding the Quran, hadith, du'ās, adhkār e.t.c.
All pupils will learn some key Arabic vocabulary (mufradat). We encourage students to use and strengthen their understanding of these words in educational yet fun ways such as drama, story, video, Arabic poetry and anachīd.
Nahw (syntax) is also taught to help show how to use Arabic key-words in a grammatically correct form within sentences. This includes linking cultural links and experiences.
We cover easy sarf (morphology), this aims to help students understand how to conjugate verbs and learn how to use different tenses. Students also practice communicating in Arabic in the classroom with their peers and in different forms to enhance the fluency of conversations.
Finally we cover Balagha (poetry) so that students can receive a wider experience and understanding of the Arabic language and discover different words and meanings of the Arabic language through literature. Other extra skills we teach the students include arabic calligraphy to improve their arabic handwriting and allow their creativity to run free.
Arabic students dictionary
At Apex Primary School we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills and that through the English curriculum we should help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language. We also intend to help children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The school aims to:
- To provide a rich and stimulating language environment, where speaking and listening, reading and writing are integrated
- To develop confident children that are able to read and write in English so that they can convey the Islamic message
- To provide an environment where pupils are encouraged to construct and convey meaning, both in speech and writing, of factual, imaginary and personal experiences
- To provide children with skills necessary for reading and writing which the children can take and apply it to all areas of the curriculum
- To provide opportunities for pupils to become confident, competent and expressive users of the language with a developing knowledge of how it works
- To provide opportunities for pupils to be reflective users of language, able to analyse and evaluate its main features
- To foster an enthusiasm for and love of reading for life
- To encourage pupils to have fluent and legible handwriting
- To provide opportunities for pupils to communicate ideas through the use of ICTWe hope that pupils will:
- Be able to participate in a conversation, listening to others, responding appropriately and taking turns to speak
- Use their reading and writing skills and apply to advance their understanding of Islam
- Develop the confidence and ability to speak appropriately and communicate effectively in front of varying audience sizes
- Be able to sustain concentration in a range of listening situations
- Know, understand and be able to write in a range of genres in fiction and poetry, and understand and be familiar with some of the ways in which narratives are structured through basic literary ideas of setting, character and plot
- Know, understand and be able to write in a range of non-fiction genres and structure text in a style suited to its purpose
- Use grammar and punctuation accurately
- Have an interest in words and their meanings and a growing vocabulary
- Plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing
- Understand the phonic system and spelling conventions and use them to read and spell accurately
- Be able to orchestrate a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual) to monitor their reading and correct their own mistakes
- Have a suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading and writing
- Express opinions, articulate feelings and formulate responses to a range of texts
- Be interested in books, read for enjoyment and evaluate and justify their preferences
- Be able to work confidently and increasingly independently in all areas
Speaking and Listening
Pupils should be given opportunities to speak in pairs, small groups, to a large group and encouraged to speak in front of their peers. They should share their news, feedback information from reading and research, and give opinions in circle time and across the curriculum. At Apex, we believe that children should be able to:
- Justify ideas with reasons
- Ask questions to check understanding
- Develop vocabulary and build knowledge
- Evaluate and build on the ideas of others
- Select the appropriate register for effective communication
- Give well structured descriptions and explanations
- Speculate, hypothesise and explore ideas
- Organise their ideas prior to writing
Through the same range of activities, children should be encouraged to listen to others, respect opinions by taking turns within conversations and asking appropriate questions.
Role play and drama activities may be used in literacy to encourage imagination and plot development. Pupils will be encouraged to use a range of dramatic forms to express feelings and ideas both verbally and non-verbally.
At apex, reading skills are divided into two dimensions:
- Word reading/ decoding
We recognise that both these elements are essential to success and we support the acquisition of both sets of skills through various methods. We recognise that these areas are clearly linked to the other aspects of English learning: speaking and listening, writing, grammar and vocabulary. We also understand that reading is a developmental process and part of life-long learning and we encourage and praise children at every stage of it.
- Pupils at Key Stage 1 are introduced to phonics through the Read, Write inc programme
- Pupils are encouraged to recognise key words and word patterns
- Pupils are encouraged to read for meaning and through context
- Pupils are introduced to a full range of texts through shared reading in whole class groups
- Pupils follow an individual independent reading programme monitored by class teachers and teaching assistants
- Pupils are encouraged to make free choices of books based on their own interests from the library to supplement their instructional independent reading
- In group reading,pupils of similar ability are encouraged to interpret and discuss text in more depth (this may happen within or outside the main daily literacy lesson)
- Reading skills are further developed across the curriculum
- Pupils are expected to do regular home reading, book as sent home weekly.
At Apex, we believe that pupils should:
- Develop the stamina and skills to write at length
- Use accurate spelling and punctuation
- Be grammatically correct
- Write in a range of ways and purposes including narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations
- Write to support their understanding and consolidation of what they have heard or read
This is divided into two dimensions:
- Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- Composition (articulating ideas in speech and writing)
We recognise that both these elements are essential to success and we support the acquisition of both sets of skills through various methods. We recognise that these areas are clearly linked to the other aspects of English learning: speaking and listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary.
- Teachers model writing of all genres through shared writing activities
- Writing skills are further developed in group guided writing sessions
- Pupils practise writing through independent writing tasks
- Pupils are given opportunities to plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing
- Pupils use their writing skills to communicate across the curriculum
Spelling skills are introduced through direct teaching, investigations, studies of spelling patterns and conventions and homework. Key stage 1 and key stage 2 pupils have a spelling test or dictation each week.
Key Stage 1 pupils are introduced to phonics through the Read, Write Inc programme and work through a progressive set of words to learn key words.
All pupils are encouraged to:
- Develop dictionary skills to support their spelling
- Attempt words for themselves using a range of strategies
- Write an increasingly wide range of words from memory
- Use a variety of resources to help with spelling e.g. dictionaries, word banks, classroom environment, computer spell-check
The spelling of necessary technical vocabulary is introduced throughout the curriculum. Marking supports self correction and learning of correct spelling.
Grammar and punctuation
Knowledge of the use of correct grammar and punctuation is taught directly in line with medium term plans and through reading and writing activities.
Handwriting and Presentation
Pupils are taught and encouraged to form lower and upper case letters correctly from their first days in school and as they develop, to write in an adjoined style. They are taught to use a comfortable and correct pencil/pen grip and to use a Handwriting pen for some tasks in the juniors. Pupils are also given opportunities to present their work on word processors. Good presentation of written pieces is expected across the curriculum.
Apex offers a high-quality geography education in order to instil a sense of curiosity, inspiration and excitement in its pupils about the world that we live in. Children are taught contextual knowledge of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – and go on to learn about diverse cultures, places, people and resources as well as natural and human environments. Geography, at Apex, also educates children with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of developments on our planet. This framework allows children to explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
Through gaining a high-quality history education at Apex, pupils develop a coherent understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. A thematic curriculum and multi-sensory learning allow pupils to fulfil their sense of curiosity about the past. Children are inspired to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. This gives our pupils develop an understanding about the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
At Apex, art, craft and design lessons allow children to embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. Sessions involve engagement, inspiration and a sense of challenge. Pupils are equipped with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art. Through research, analysis and evaluation, children learn about great artists, craft-makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms. Children are given opportunities for drawing, painting and sculpture, employing a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.
Same maths, different thinking
Our feelings towards maths usually reflect how we were taught at school. For most of us, that meant rote-learning, memorisation and tests — lots of tests.
At Apex Primary school we use Maths — No Problem! It is different. Using a mastery approach to learning, MNP is changing the way children learn mathematics. By incorporating established learning research into a highly effective approach, Singapore has become a “laboratory of maths teaching”. The Primary Maths Series is founded on the international research of Piaget, Dienes, Bruner, Skemp and Vygotsky and has been tested and refined over the last 30 years in Singapore. It is fully aligned with the 2014 English National Curriculum for maths.
Now, it’s your child’s turn. All parents have access to the Parent Hub via individual links for your child and you will be able to go through the books used at school to support learning at home also.
How it works
Structured maths lessons
Lessons build upon previous learning in a spiral structure, revisiting prior concepts to encourage essential connections and deeper understanding.
Children learn using methods proven to help them develop a better understanding of abstract concepts: the CPA approach, bar modelling, journalling.
Everyone learns at the same pace and no one gets left behind. Content is differentiated by depth to support struggling and advanced learners alike.
Peer to peer learning
Collaboration is key. Children are encouraged to work through problems in pairs or groups, promoting teamwork and building resilience.
Learn more at mathsnoproblem.com/maths-success
Alhamdulillah, we are proud of the significant progress that pupils make in our school, particularly in mathematics, where pupils continually make greater progress than those of their peers nationally.
Ms Nirene, Year 6, Apex Primary School
Set them up for success
The MNP approach makes maths intuitive for all learners. It helps pupils build a strong foundation of skills that will take them through secondary school, university and into a future workplace.
Deeper problem solving
Children learn to think flexibly and are more engaged with mathematics. They learn to apply their knowledge and skills to effectively solve problems.
A growth mindset
MNP fosters a culture that rewards growth over inherent ability. Children learn that it’s okay to struggle, in fact, struggle is an important part of the learning process.
A strong maths foundation goes beyond the maths class. Teachers using MNP have seen improvements in other subject areas — even in English class.
Every child can succeed with MNP. Knowing this helps pupils develop a strong sense of efficacy, take more risks and explain their thinking with confidence.
How to get involved
Watch parent videos
Led by world-renowned maths expert Dr Yeap Ban Har, you’ll cover essential maths mastery techniques you can use at home. Go to mathsnoproblem.com/parents
Work through problems
Ask your child to show you how they solve the problem. If they get stuck, don’t rush them. Praise their effort and reassure them that they’ll get it with practice. Ask them if they can think of two more ways to solve the problem.
Find maths opportunities
Maths problems are everywhere. Take real-life situations and look for patterns, connections and things that can be matched. Play games that involve numbers. Show them that maths is fun and isn’t only reserved for the classroom.
At the start of every year, all parents are invited to hands-on workshops, where steps to working through problems and strategies are explained.
At Apex Primary, we believe every child should learn about science in a way that is engaging, educational and relevant throughout their school years. By the time they finish Apex Primary school, pupils will have the right knowledge and investigative skills for their secondary education. They will already be able to see the relevance of science to their own lives, and imagine future science-related careers based upon it.
We know all of these things are important and recent research has highlighted that children's ‘science identities’ – the extent to which they see science as 'for them' – are formed early and affect their future interests and aspirations.
Science in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
he content of science teaching and learning is set out in the 2014 National Curriculum for primary schools in England. Within this, certain topics and areas are repeated across year groups, meaning that children may revisit a particular topic in each year of primary school but with increasing difficulty and with a different focus each time.
For example, the area of animals, including humans is examined in every single year group, with a very clear progression of knowledge and understanding over the six years:
In Year 1 this involves looking at the human body, recognising animal groups and sorting these animals.
By Year 6, this will have developed into knowing the internal structure of the human body in relation to circulation, classifying living things based on more complex characteristics and exploring scientific research into this classification.
Alongside these areas runs the Working Scientifically element. This focuses on the skills the children need to become accurate, careful and confident practical scientists. Children are expected to master certain skills in each year group and there is a very clear progression of these set out for each school to refer to.
In Year 1 a child may have to ask questions, carry out a simple test, record simple data and then try to answer questions.
By Year 6, they should be able to plan and carry out a fair test by using equipment accurately and taking exact readings or measurements. They are also expected to be able to draw conclusions from their results and record them using a range of graphs and charts.
Working scientifically, carrying out practical investigations in a safe way and data analysis are part of our thematic science curriculum at Apex Primary school. Often subjects such as Maths, Literacy, Computing and Design and Technology are all incorporated into the science topic taught.
At Apex Primary we have a science lab with a station which has the latest equipment for students to carry out experiments and investigations.
Regular trips related to science topics are organised throughout the year to give hands-on experience of how science has helped develop our modern world and inspire our students to achieve their best.
Scientists, as well as their theories and research, are all incorporated into the science topics throughout the year from the past Islamic scientists to to the modern day scientists leading the way in their fields.
How can you help your child?
1. Be interested
Find out their termly topics (most schools will provide this information each term, or you can always ask their teacher) and take an interest — find relevant books in the library or bookshop, do some research, brush up your own knowledge about the topic! Then you can have interesting conversations where you are both learning at the same time. Don't forget to attend our yearly parent workshops to help you gain a better understanding of your child’s learning at Apex and how you can help them to achieve their best.
2. Take a trip
Why not take a trip to a science museum, a zoo or an aquarium? These don’t necessarily need to be completely related to what they are learning about at school. Any visit can help their curiosity and engagement with science generally.
3. Make it personal
Find out about famous scientists and research unique and exciting inventions up to and including the present day. Who knows, you may have the next Stephen Hawking or Marie Curie at home!
4. Get hands-on
Look up fun, practical science experiments you can do at home with everyday objects.
The core of computing is computer science, where children are taught the principles of information and how digital systems work. They begin to learn the skill of creating programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also links in with Maths, Science and Design and Technology, and will be integrated into almost every subject studied at school.
In computing lessons for KS1, children be will taught to:
• Write a set of step-by-step precise instructions helping them gain an understanding of algorithms.
• Program a programmable toy such as a Bee-Bot to travel around the classroom floor.
• Use a program such as Paint to create a picture.
• Use a spreadsheet program to record and store the results.
• Use search engines to collect information for a project.
• Design a poster about online safety.
In computing lessons for KS2, children will be taught to:
• Develop a simple computer game using a visual, interactive programming language such as Scratch or python.
• Create a web page about cyber safety.
• Learn to write and edit simple algorithms using HTML.
• Set up a class blog about what they have been learning at school.
• Use search engines to collect information about a project.
• Create a Powerpoint presentation.
• Take photos using a digital camera, transferring them to the hard drive and editing them.
Design and Technology is a practical subject that encourages children to learn to be critical thinkers. They'll use their creativity to solve problems both as individuals and as members of a team.
Children will be creating projects for each term focusing on the school themes. In each project children will be looking at existing products and evaluating it. They will be talking about how things work, drawing their ideas, and developing their imaginative thinking to enable them to talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making.
In Design and Technology we aim to foster enjoyment in designing and making. Children will be using the Chromebooks to assist in designing and learning. When creating children will be encouraged to select appropriate tools and techniques for making a product, whilst following safe procedures.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
This subject is incorporated into all aspects of the school including Islamic studies and the learning journey and is taught to develop life skills, confidence in themselves and the world around them.
Key skills, balance, coordination, teamwork, confidence and fair play are taught through a range of sports activities including archery, ice skating and participating in competitive events.
Children work on a number of different topics such as hygiene, relationship, society, moral issues, bullying, cultural issues and health matters.