Westminster International School in Tashkent offers an adapted English National Curriculum with an international perspective to children aged 2-11.
Children in Years 1-6 will study the following subjects.
- Guided Reading
- International Primary Curriculum, which includes:
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths (STEAM)
- Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
- Physical Education (PE)
- Modern Foreign Languages (MFL, such as Russian, French, Spanish and German)
Pupils in our Primary School will enjoy an exciting range of learning experiences blending collaborative and project-based learning with educational play and traditional teaching. This is an approach proven to promote sustainable high levels of academic achievement as well as personal, social and emotional wellbeing.
WIST’s state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, with interactive whiteboards, mobile devices and cutting-edge educational software in all classes, is one of the keys to our vision for an authentic 21st-century learning journey.
English & Maths
English and Maths lessons take place daily in primary, and follow the objectives of the English National Curriculum.
We have adopted a storybook approach to teaching English in the mainstream classes, whereby speaking, listening and writing skills are developed through fun activities linked to the story. These experiences allow children to think creatively, while also learning how to apply their knowledge of key text features and structures to their own writing.
Children take reading books home every day, and also participate in guided reading lessons, where they develop decoding and comprehension skills. Our book banding system supports progression in reading throughout Primary.
During Maths lessons, learners investigate, develop and use abstract tools such as logical reasoning and problem solving. Learners develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through practical activities, exploration and discussion. Topics covered include calculating, counting and understanding number, handling data, knowing and using number, measuring, understanding shape and using and applying mathematics.
Concrete > pictorial > abstract (CPA) is a key feature of the way we teach Maths at WIST. The CPA approach builds on children’s existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete and tangible way. It involves moving from concrete materials, on to pictorial representations, and then to abstract symbols and problems.
International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
The International Primary Curriculum is a curriculum that is being used in over 90 countries around the world. It was launched in 2000 having taken three years to create by a group of leading experts in children’s learning from around the world.
The goal of the IPC is for children to focus on a combination of academic, personal and international learning. We want children to enjoy their learning; develop enquiring minds, develop the personal qualities they need to be good citizens of the world, and develop a sense of their own nationality and culture, at the same time developing a profound respect for the nationalities and cultures of others. Most of all, we want children to develop all the skills they will need in order to confidently face the world of tomorrow.
The curriculum focuses on Geography, Art, Science, History, Music and Technology. Children learn through a series of IPC units of work. Each unit of work has a theme that today’s children find interesting and relevant. Themes studied in each year group can be seen in the table below. Each unit of work lasts on average between four and eight weeks and children learn many of their subjects through this one common theme so that their learning has meaning to them.
Linking subjects means that children can make lots of connections with their learning. We now know that the more connections that the brain can make, the better a child can learn.
The development of skills is a very big part of the IPC and learning activities have been designed so that children can develop these skills. This development of skills even applies to the personal learning goals which emphasise adaptability, resilience, thoughtfulness, cooperation and respect and which, as a result of progressive skill development, help children to become able and inspired learners.
The IPC focuses children’s learning on a combination of knowledge, skills and understanding. No one can properly predict the nature of work and life opportunities that will be available for today’s primary age children by the time they are adults. Many of the jobs they will have don’t yet exist; especially in the fields of ICT, technology and science. So the IPC focuses on a skills-based approach, developing adaptable and resilient globally-minded learners, prepared for the fast-changing world that they’ll be living and working in.
The IPC has been designed for children of all abilities and all learning styles, and encourages learning in groups as well as individual learning and contributes to our goal of improving learning for all students.
The continued development of the IPC today ensures that children are learning a current and highly relevant curriculum based on the very latest research into the brain and children’s learning.
Learning in the Primary School
Children in our Primary School experience a blend of traditional and modern teaching. Educational games, collaborative and project-based learning and the use of technology are balanced with high-quality teaching and opportunities for diligent practice of core skills such as reading, writing and mathematics. This approach optimises pupils’ engagement and, in doing so, encourages sustainable high levels of academic achievement and a positive attitude to learning.
According to educational research, children are capable of passively listening and concentrating for their chronological age + 2 (i.e. an eight-year-old can listen effectively for around 10 minutes); in recognition of this, we blend concise teacher-led sessions, lasting approximately 10-12 minutes, with independent, paired and group work.
Opportunities for pupils to choose topics and activities that interest them and to select the level of challenge of the work that they undertake are woven into the fabric of both curricular and extracurricular provision.
Most lessons are instructed in English, based on an adapted English National Curriculum with an international perspective.
Lessons in local curriculum subjects (in Uzbek and Russian) are additionally provided to host-country nationals. When local curriculum lessons are in progress, expatriate children receive additional lessons or clubs instructed in English.
Proficiency in English
In line with our ambition to be a high-achieving school and also one that nurtures children’s potential, pupils aged 4 and older will enter one of two educational streams: Mainstream (MS) or Accelerated English (AE).
Streaming students in this manner will enable children who already have full academic proficiency in English to achieve at the highest possible level from day one, while ensuring that EAL
learners also receive teaching specifically tailored to their needs.
In Primary School Mainstream classes, lessons will be pitched at a similar level to those taught at any first-rate international school. We aim for these students to meet or exceed UK age-expectations in assessments by the end of Primary school; most will significantly exceed these by the end of Secondary School.
In Primary School Accelerated English classes will be similarly aspirational environments using teaching approaches closely adapted to the needs of emergent English-speakers. In practical terms, this means making extensive use of colourful images, dual language resources, language-rich educational play activities, hands-on learning and a wide range of other strategies proven to accelerate English language acquisition.
The school aims for the vast majority of children to graduate from Accelerated English to Mainstream within 1.5 – 2 years; we will carefully monitor pupil progress and class numbers to make this a reality.