The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the National Curriculum, but also the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true potential.
Heasandford School aims to provide all children with a broad and balanced curriculum. All pupils are taught in line with national requirements, and the teachers endeavour to enrich the children’s learning with purposeful and creative learning experiences.
‘The Early Learning Goals’ are taught to our youngest pupils as specified in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, and cover the seven areas of development including:
- Communication and language;
- Personal, social and emotional development.
- Physical development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design.
Throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, children follow the National Curriculum. The full breadth of subjects taught are – English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Religious Education, History, Geography, Art and Design, Physical Education, Music, French, and Personal Social and Health Education.
Whilst at Heasandford, the children are taught how to use phonics to aid their reading and spelling. The DfE (Department for Education) ‘Letters and Sounds’ phonics programme is used which sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills.The children are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes, identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and learn how to blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. The children receive support with this important skill until they are assessed to be fully fluent readers and spellers. Informal assessment of phonic skills is on-going, with formal screening of the children in Years 1 and 2.
The children are also taught reading skills through whole class, group and individual reading sessions. Teachers at Heasandford engage the children in their reading by using a wide variety of styles of text, including reading texts on the screen. A wealth of books are available for the children to read in school – including books from a wide variety of ‘reading schemes’ which encourage children to use the breadth of reading skills, class libraries and reading areas, and a large selection of books in our school library.
Heasandford believes in providing our children with a wide breadth of reading opportunities. In the Early Years Foundation Stage and in KS1 the focus for reading is phonic based so children read books from the Oxford Reading Tree fully decodable schemes and the boy friendly Project X scheme. Once children are securely using phonic strategies they are encouraged to select from a wide variety of high of high quality reading schemes and publishers. This allows children to develop their skills by accessing a variety of text types and styles. The books are organised into ‘book bands’ so the children can access books which are appropriate to their level of reading at any time, and they can be used to move the children’s learning forward.
The teachers and support staff at Heasandford work hard to make the curriculum accessible to all pupils, and work is closely matched to the ability of the individual child. Staff are available to specifically support pupils who may have English as an additional language, or who may require specific physical or learning support. A copy of the Special Educational Needs Policy and further information on the teaching of pupils with Special Educational Needs is available on this web site or from the school office.
The subjects taught in school are often linked together in the form of class “Topic Work”. This helps children to learn and practise a wide range of skills, within the setting of a common theme. Topic work in school provides a real variety of learning for the children – some examples of topics covered are “Dinosaurs”, “Toys”, “Ancient Egypt”, “Outerspace” and “The 1960s”. Teachers work hard to ensure the themes are motivating and creative for all the children, and constantly review the teaching after consulting the children in order to provide the best education possible. Children are encouraged to contribute topic ideas and are involved in the initial planning of many of our topics. Classes are well resourced and school trips/visitors are used to extend the child’s learning even further – making the whole learning experience a fun and exciting one
Each term, parents receive a ‘Curriculum Overview’ which shows the work their child will be covering that term. It provides some suggestions for activities you can do to support your child’s learning at home. We are keen to work together with all parents in supporting a child’s education. Workshops are held in school, to explain how particular subjects are taught. ‘Open Days’ are held and parents are invited to come into school and join in the lessons. Parents are welcome into school, and should any parent wish to offer their support as a voluntary ‘Parent Helper’, this is always appreciated – simply put your name down at the school office.
A child’s grasp of basic skills is regularly assessed in school to ensure the child makes appropriate progress for their age. Assessment is generally informal and on-going, and teachers use the results to help them plan what support individual pupils need next. On occasion, some children may benefit from additional help with their learning, which can be provided both within school and in the form of homework. Other children may be ready for higher level challenges within their school work. These are also catered for at Heasandford.
In line with current Government requirements, pupils at the end of Key Stage 2 take part in the statutory national assessments (SATs). Pupils at the end of Key Stage 1 are also closely assessed, mainly by the teachers, although the SATs still have to be used in order to inform these judgements. As the pupils move through Key Stage 2 teachers carry out regular assessments, so that pupil progress can be closely monitored.
Homework is sent so that children can practise the skills they have been learning in school. This is mainly in the form of reading, spellings, mathematical tasks and topic based activities in their ‘Learning Journal’. Your child’s class teacher will notify you when homework will be sent home. In KS2 a pack is provided termly. Whilst in KS1 the homework is usually weekly.
Should you wish to find out more about the curriculum at Heasandford, please feel free to make an appointment to see the appropriate teacher in school – or come along to our informative ‘Open Days’ and get involved in the learning for yourself.