The Subjects We Teach

Please read this page alongside the Curriculum Overview and Curriculum Maps to see what is being taught for each subject and year group.

We teach all areas of English, following the National Curriculum of 2014, including Writing, Reading, Spelling, Phonics, Speaking and Listening, Drama, Grammar and Punctuation. Much of our English curriculum is taught in a cross-curricular way, combining the skills of writing the English language with other subjects such as History, Geography and Science. At other times, when appropriate, English will be taught discreetly, particularly when teaching specific skills such aspects of grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Our Writing curriculum in particular makes good use of cross curricular links. Examples include writing instructions linked to making something in Design and Technology, writing factual accounts of events in History and writing scientific explanations. The children are taught to develop a rich and wide vocabulary and encouraged to use their ‘Wow’ words in all forms of writing including stories, recounts and poems. Drama, including hot-seating and story-stepping, is often used to inspire the children’s writing.

We teach the children to read fluently and with good understanding by teaching strategies to the whole class, guided reading with groups of children or hearing individual children read and addressing their specific needs.

Phonics are taught throughout the school using resources including the Alphabetic Code and Floppy’s Phonics. In the Reception and Key Stage One (Year One and Two) classes, the children are taught phonics on a daily basis, with lessons lasting between 10 and 30 minutes. In Key Stage Two (Juniors), phonics are taught at least twice per week as appropriate to the age and the needs of the children.

Speaking and Listening are vital aspects in the teaching of English. The children are given opportunities to discuss their learning and encouraged to explain and elaborate on their ideas and understanding, make formal presentations and participate in debates.

English language skills such as grammar, punctuation and spelling are usually taught as discreet areas during Literacy lessons. The teaching of these areas includes the learning of the correct grammatical terms in English.

(Please refer to the National Curriculum for detailed information on what the children are taught each year)

In teaching Maths, we aim for our children to become fluent and competent in all areas of Maths, including number, measurement, shape and statistics. The children are also taught to recognise the connections between all the areas of Maths.

We also teach the children strategies for mental arithmetic and plan daily opportunities for them to practise and develop their mental arithmetic skills.

The children are taught Maths every day. In Reception, Year One and Year Two, Maths is often taught as part of an integrated day, with the teaching within small groups a key way of children learning the early mathematical concepts. In the Junior year groups (Key Stage Two), Maths is taught in ability sets. There are two sets in each year group, with the lower ability set receiving more adult support. Within these sets, work is differentiated according to the children’s ability and the additional adults are used to support the learning and also to extend the children’s knowledge and skills. In Year Six, an additional part-time teacher is deployed to provide intervention for children falling behind their targets and to teach a group of the most able children in covering the Key Stage Three curriculum in preparation for the Level Six tests in May.

(Please refer to the National Curriculum for detailed information on what the children are taught each year)

Our Science curriculum ensures the children develop their scientific knowledge and understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. The children are taught the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiry that help them to answer specific questions about the world around them.

(Please refer to the National Curriculum for detailed information on what the children are taught each year)

Religious Education
RE occupies approximately an hour a week during which children learn about the Christian religion and about some of the other religions of the world, specifically Judaism and Islam. Whilst we ensure the children are clear about our Christian beliefs as a Church school, we encourage them to develop respect for the beliefs of others. Parents have a legal right to withdraw their child from R.E. lessons and adult supervision will be arranged.

Art and Design
Some of our Art and Design curriculum is taught alongside our topics such as Romans, Tudors and Ancient Egypt. During these topics, the children are given opportunities to explore the Art and the artists of these times. At other times, Art and Design is taught as a discreet subject and the children learn techniques such as drawing, painting and sculpture. The children are also given the opportunity to evaluate their work and that of others. They also learn about great artists, craft makers and designers in order to understand the historical and cultural development of different art forms.

As a school we are constantly reviewing and updating our computing curriculum and the hardware and software we use. We recognise the importance of information technology in the modern world and endeavour to prepare our children to become confident, responsible and safe users of computing technology.

The children are timetabled to use the IT suite twice a week and we have trolleys of laptops and Ipads which enable computing to be taught as part of the everyday curriculum within the classrooms.

Our computing curriculum includes opportunities for the children to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content as well as using the internet for multiple services including the retrieval of information and using a variety of software on a range of devices in order to present information, control systems and analyse data. The children also use the Eschools learning platform to share information and communicate with their peers and teachers.

Design and Technology
Our Design and Technology (D&T) curriculum provides the children with opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in this subject through designing, making and evaluating a range of objects throughout their time at The Batt.

Much of this subject teaching is linked to the topics in other areas of the curriculum, including building structures in history topics, using electrical resources in science projects etc.

Other aspects of D&T are taught discreetly in order to teach and develop specific skills and understanding. At Key Stage Two, children are given more opportunities to combine their technology and computing skills and knowledge.

In Geography, the children are taught locational and place knowledge, human and physical geography, and geographical skills.

A significant amount of geography teaching is blocked in topics, often linked to other curriculum areas, for example the studying of our local area would combine the teaching of geographical and historical skills. Geography-based topics include Around the World, Polar Regions and Our School in Key Stage One, and Rivers and the Amazon, Coasts and North America in Key Stage Two.

Skills such as using maps and atlases, compass directions and observational, measuring and digital technology skills are developed throughout each year.

Our History curriculum is broadly taught in a series of history-based topics such as Stone Age to Iron Age, The Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt. In Key Stage One, the children learn about changes within living memory, significant national or international events such as the Great Fire of London and the lives of significant individuals in history including Guy Fawkes and Florence Nightingale.

In Key Stage Two, the children are taught about British history in chronological order, beginning with the Stone Age and finishing with the death of Edward the Confessor in 1066. In addition to this period, the Upper Junior children also learn about the monarchs of the Tudor period and the history of railways as significant turning points in British history. We also teach the children about the history of Witney and the surrounding area and how significant events or period
in the past impacted on our town. Our Year Six children also learn about the Mayan civilization from the 10th century as their study of a non-European society.

French is taught to all Key Stage Two classes although children in the younger classes also experience conversational French during the week.

The Juniors learn to speak with increasing confidence and fluency, answer questions and work on their pronunciation. They also begin to write in French for different purposes and audiences.

Our main aim in Music is to foster and develop an enthusiasm for all types of music. Within the classroom the children sing, play musical instruments, compose music, listen with attention and evaluate their own and others’ performances. The children also begin to learn about musical notation within class lessons, including the Year Four First Access violin and cello lessons, extra-curricular activities such as recorders and the school orchestra. All the children are beginning to learn about the history of western music partly in their class lessons but also from the Powerpoint presentations displayed as they arrive and leave collective worship in the hall.

We are proud of the opportunities we provide for all the children in terms of extra-curricular activities. The children have the chance to learn flute, clarinet, violin, cello, trumpet, trombone, piano and guitar in lessons taught either by teachers from the Oxfordshire County Music Service or private teachers that visit our school. We have two award winning choirs (Lower and Upper Junior) that perform to a high standard at a variety of locations in around Witney.

Every other year we put on a whole school musical production with a cast of over 300. Recent Batt School productions, performed at The Henry Box School, include Alice, Magic of Oz, Oliver, Joseph and Alice in Wonderland and have had hired backcloths, a live band, scenery and costumes. It is a wonderful opportunity for the whole school community to come together to put on a very memorable experience for everyone. On the years when we do not perform a whole school production, we put a large scale summer concert with opportunities for solo performances as well as small groups, choirs and the orchestra.  

Each year group is taught Physical Education (PE) for two hours per week. Using the government’s sports grant, we employ a sports’ coach to support the teaching of all aspects of PE including gymnastics, athletics-related activities, team games and dance. In Key Stage Two, in addition to the above, the children are taught more competitive games, including learning about tactics and positioning, and outdoor adventurous activities. We have a small Astroturf pitch for teaching outdoor games and a small field. The juniors also swim at the Windrush Leisure Centre for approximately 9 weeks every year. Parents and carers are informed well in advance of their child’s class swimming sessions.

As a school, we participate fully in all the local sports events organised by the Witney Schools Sports Partnership and have had significant success in recent years which you can read about on our 'Our School' tab under  Recent Successes .