Approach To Teaching

We expect our children to be active, reflective learners with learning habits which will set them up for life. We expect them to share in an ongoing dialogue with their teachers about their learning. We expect West Lodge children to have a genuine spirit of inquiry which will set them up for the rest of their lives.

Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning; they are taught from Nursery to evaluate their work and understand where and how to improve.

At West Lodge we pride ourselves on providing a broad and balanced curriculum to promote the children’s learning, personal growth and development.
As well as a strong emphasis on the academic subjects and a particular focus in English, Mathematics and Science, from Reception our pupils have a creative and rich curriculum with specialist teachers for Languages, PE/Games, Music, Computing and Science. Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning skills are taught from Year 1 to ensure that the children are fully prepared for selective grammar and independent school tests.

“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” Roald Dahl

The importance of reading cannot be overstated. Books form the very back bone of our curriculum. Children have access to a recently updated Infant Library focused on the Oxford Reading scheme and as their reading progresses, they have the opportunity to select books as ‘free readers’ from the wide range within the school library.

We offer a creative English curriculum following a text-based approach, allowing for cross-curricular study. Children are exposed to a wide range of written texts including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, myths and legends. These texts provide the inspiration for the children to create rich and varied writing. Grammar is taught both through the texts used, and independently from them, which helps to introduce and embed challenging concepts.

Through oral presentation workshops and competitions, children are encouraged to become confident, articulate speakers. Regular opportunities to participate in drama productions also develops each child’s ability to perform publicly. These skills are further supported by extra-curricular LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) lessons.

English at West Lodge is an integral part of every child’s learning journey.

West Lodge aims for all learners to reach their potential through differentiated activities, games, investigations and exercises. Pupils are encouraged to develop enquiring minds, to become increasingly self-motivated, confident and capable of solving problems and participating in investigative work. As confident mathematicians, our children are encouraged to embrace challenge and have the confidence to use and apply their mathematical knowledge. Most of the children sit the Bexley and Kent 11+ tests, we prepare them thoroughly for these tests and the emphasis upon using and applying their knowledge means they can approach these tests with confidence.

Year 5 and 6 participate in the Primary Maths Challenge run by the Mathematical Association. Our children in recent years have gained Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards – this is an exceptional achievement and a great thrill for our gifted mathematicians.

There are half termly maths challenges which many children take part in, with the chance to win prizes and pupils in Key Stage 2 take part in Inter-House maths competitions. The children work as teams, decide on roles, share tasks and enjoy the excitement of the chase!

Whether they are studying Sidcup or Kenya, volcanoes or rivers, children at West Lodge are encouraged to be inquisitive about their world. Our Geography curriculum provides all children with the opportunity to explore both the physical and human attributes of the world and question their place within it. Children develop their geographical skills through fieldwork as well as broad and balanced variety of class-based activities and appropriate links are made with other subjects to make their learning even more meaningful. As the children get older they consider ‘big issues’ in our world and learn that as individuals we can have an impact.

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

At West Lodge we believe it is important for children to understand the link between the world today and an event that has happened hundreds or thousands of years ago. History is about people and the decisions they make, motivated by the human emotions that we all have. We want the children at West Lodge to understand the potentially huge impact of decisions made.

We look to bring the past to life for our children, seeking to capture their imagination by teaching a wide-ranging and exciting curriculum. From learning about the local history of Sidcup in Year 1, the Roman invasion in Year 3 and World War 1 and World War 2 in Year 6. Each topic is covered in a suitable way for the age group, using a range of different teaching styles and techniques such as themed days, visiting speakers, trips and workshops, diary entries, newspaper reports and letters to imaginary family members to ensure learning is unforgettable and great fun!

At West Lodge, we take our creative subjects seriously. Our children are given weekly lessons in Art where they are taught using a range of media and given many opportunities to explore their own creativity. We encourage our children to take part in competitions and have enjoyed many successes. Every year, the whole school studies an artist and produces a collaborative piece as well as individual ones. Throughout their time at West Lodge, the children will have been able to learn about many famous artists from the past and more contemporary ones too. In addition, the children have lessons in Design and Technology where they are shown the process of designing, making and evaluating products they have made. They are able to build up a wide range of skills which equips them well for the years ahead.

From Nursery to Year 6, the children of West Lodge School learn how to speak French and have the wonderful opportunity to copy a genuine French accent. Fun and engaging activities encourage and enable them to assimilate the language in a progressive manner, ranging from songs and rhymes, short exchanges of conversation and role-plays, reading and writing activities such as studying a pancake recipe or a French fable, interactive games, listening to and watching authentic audio and video material. They also gain an awareness of French culture and festivals; every year, for example, they learn about the tradition of the Cake of Kings (le gâteau des rois) and taste a slice; they find out about French markets, shops and regions and discover a French-speaking country. Whether it be being able to greet someone, asking for an ice-cream or their way around town, these short exchanges of conversation are built upon to give them a wide range of vocabulary and develop their confidence, giving them a sound base and a head start for languages in secondary school.

Learning Spanish at West Lodge in the Curriculum is a fantastic new initiative offered to Year 5 and 6 children alongside their study of French. This will give them a taster as well as some knowledge of vocabulary and Spanish customs should they choose to study that language in secondary school. Pupils will learn with fun and engaging role-play situations, singing, listening to and watching authentic podcasts and videos. There will be lots of repetitions, focusing on the different sounds of the new language and the children will have the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge with interactive games on the iPad in class.

Food technology is taught to Years 1 to 6 in small groups with a focus on Healthy Eating in a fun and engaging way. Children also get the opportunity to learn key food topics relating to food handling and safety.

Children are encouraged to work safely and independently to learn various cookery skills which will stand them in good stead for secondary school and making the right food choices throughout their life.

Children approach their lessons in an enthusiastic way, are keen to get involved and find out what they will be able to eat during their lesson (whether they will be able to sample what they have made during their lesson) – many children get the opportunity to explore foods new to them and make personal judgments accordingly. Children are often impressed by this experience and know that they can now add additional tastes to the foods they enjoy.

This enthusiasm is reflected by the way the children fully participate in an inquisitive manner keen to know more about each of the topics being discussed.

They are also encouraged to share their food knowledge learnt at home giving the class a greater insight into different cultures.

It is lovely to see so many pupils continuing their learning through cookery and cake decorating after school clubs.

PSHE enables our pupils to become healthy, informed and responsible members of society. At West Lodge School, we follow the Cambridgeshire Primary PSHE Programme, alongside SRE (Relationship Education) and the fundamental British Values. Through PSHE lessons, West Lodge pupils reflect on their experiences: understanding how they are developing personally and socially, as well as many of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community. We also have a very active school council, with pupils from Year 2 upwards, who strive to create positive changes.

Science should be a fun subject for children and teachers with a focus upon understanding and finding out about our world. This is most certainly the case at West Lodge where children are encouraged to explore and investigate. There is an emphasis upon practical, investigational work which helps the children to understand theoretical concepts. Children love the chance to learn through being totally hands-on and finding things out for themselves and this is the basis for our science teaching.

All classrooms have a PC which is attached to an interactive white board, and children in Nursery to Year 6 are taught a weekly lesson in the Computer Suite or Science Room for Nursery. Computing prepares pupils for the challenges of a rapidly developing and changing technological world. Children are given opportunities to experience Computing and develop their skills linking this work with other areas of the curriculum where applicable.

As both work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by technology, pupils need to gain confidence in their ability to use Computing tools in an effective and discriminating way. Through teaching Computing, we encourage children to understand its relevance and importance in everyday life. Pupils need to be able to decide when and where to use Computing to best effect, and to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information. The use of Computing enhances and extends pupils’ learning across the whole curriculum whilst developing motivation and skills.

We run various projects in each year group for computing. Some of which are listed below:

  • Year 6 – Build an Arcade Cabinet (understanding hardware and building computers)
  • Year 5 / 6 – Design and build an App
  • Years 3 / 4 – Green screen work and Designing games on a computer
  • Years 1 -6 – Design and create 3D models and then print them using our 3D printers in school