The Curriculum at Sicklinghall C.P. School
From September 2014, schools are required to teach a new National Curriculum. At Sicklinghall, staff have developed plans that meet the requirements of this new curriculum whilst reflecting and promoting our core aim, which is to Achieve the Best We Can.
Sicklinghall School’s Curriculum :
- Is an inclusive journey full of challenge, inspiration, creativity and involvement.
- Is reflective of our inclusive ethos that helps us to Achieve the Best We Can.
- Guides our pupils in their first steps to becoming well rounded and richly educated global citizens of the future.
- Inspires pupils to become lifelong learners.
Teaching and Learning at Sicklinghall C.P. School
Our curriculum is organised into broadly based, child centred topics that engage interest, promote enquiry skills and develop pupils’ abilities to become independent learners. A range of methods are used by staff to promote learning and enrichment through visits and visitors are central to each topic. Pupils are involved in the planning of topics at the appropriate level and assessment for learning is central to the approach of staff in all classrooms as this approach fully involves pupils in each stage of the learning process.
The core subjects of English (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and maths are taught daily and skills in each of these areas are developed in each topic through cross curricular provision.
As a small school, pupils are taught in mixed age classes throughout their time at Sicklinghall. Working in this way enables pupils to learn from one another through developing peer mentoring and assessment for learning skills. Staff who teach mixed age classes are highly skilled in meeting the individual needs of learners through providing learning opportunities that are clearly differentiated. In addition, remaining with one teacher longer than one academic year enable strong relationships to be built and reduces the impact of settling into new routines and establishing relationships with new teachers each academic year.
Our current class structure is as follows:
Cherry Blossom- Reception and Year 1 (4,5 and 6 year olds)
Silver Birch- Year 2 and 3 (6,7 and 8 year olds)
Willow – Year 4, 5 and 6 (8-11 year olds)
We use the Jolly Phonics scheme alongside ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach a daily phonics lesson to children in EYFS and Year 1. In Year 2, phonics provision continues and is taught alongside discrete teaching of spelling patterns and common exceptions.
We primarily uses the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ and ‘Rigby’ reading schemes but supplement these schemes with reading books from a number of similar high quality schemes (e.g. the ‘Jelly and Bean’ series). Pupils have access to a rich range of reading material, linked closely to phonic progression in the early stages of reading. Through close partnership with parents/carers and encouragement to read at home daily in addition to reading in school, teachers place great emphasis on the enjoyment of reading for pleasure and to learn new things.
We believe that clearly focused homework tasks extend, consolidate and inspire new learning in pupils whilst developing their independence and personal organisation skills. In years 1-6, pupils complete weekly tasks related to their learning in the core subjects. These tasks are often placed within the context of their wider learning (e.g. a written account of a day in the life on an Ancient Egyptian) Pupils are also required to practise spellings linked to the National Curriculum 2014. It is important that, in practising spellings, pupils put each word into context, verbalise each word in a sentence and practise writing their word in a full sentence. This makes each word more meaningful and avoids spelling practice that merely results in success in a spelling test.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Provision (SMSC)
SMSC is threaded through our curriculum and is clearly planned into each topic through the school’s programme of Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE). Emphasis is placed upon the values required to be a well-rounded citizen of the future and on the British values of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance. Examples of this provision in school include:
- School Council- each class elects a representative from each year group within their class and this representative attends half termly meetings.
- Visits into school by specialists and organisations – ChildLine, faith and community leaders, sex education provision.
- Links with the wider community in Sicklinghall and Wetherby, across North Yorkshire through our membership of the HART Alliance, nationwide and global through school links.
- Weekly PSHCE lessons in all classes.
- Pupil involvement in all aspects of school planning and organisation, including our recently revised Behaviour Policy.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The EYFS is a crucial stage of learning that includes a child’s time in pre-school and the first year at school (Reception class). Our EYFS pupils share a class with Year 1 pupils and spend two years in Cherry Blossom Class. This provides a range of opportunities for pupils to be challenged and supported in all areas of learning. Learning through play is actively encouraged in all areas of the curriculum and the skills of reading, writing and mathematics are developed in small groups, through song and in 1-1 work with an adult. The seven key areas of learning in the EYFS, split into prime areas and specific areas, are:
Prime areas of learning:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
Specific areas of learning:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
Assemblies take place daily, either as a whole school or within individual classes. Assembly themes focus on moral, cultural, social and current affairs and form part of our commitment to providing high quality personal, social, health and citizenship education to our pupils. In addition, clergy members from St Peter’s Church in Sicklinghall lead a half termly Collective Worship session with the whole school. Parents/carers have the right to withdraw their child from Collective Worship on religious grounds should they so wish. All such withdrawal must be requested in writing.
Our Long Term Plans (see the link below) provide subject information for each class in school. Due to pupils being taught in mixed age classes, this information is not arranged by year group but indicates the content of learning within each topic and cycle.
English lessons are taught daily in all classes and focus on developing the key skills of writing and reading. Promoting high quality speaking and listening for all learners is a key part of our whole curriculum and opportunities are provided in all subjects and through pupils’ citizenship opportunities to speak in full and well organised sentences, develop a rich and broad vocabulary and listen carefully to others.
Reading- children are introduced to sounds, letters, words, picture books and story books from their first day in school and daily discrete phonics teaching helps to build the skills required to read independently. We firmly believe that helping a child to learn to read is a partnership between family and school and we actively encourage child to gain pleasure and enjoyment from reading a wide range of texts. Guided reading is introduced in Cherry Blossom Class and is taught throughout school using Oxford Reading Tree banded books and the Rigby Guided Reading scheme from Year 2 onwards.
Writing- Pupils begin their journey of writing development with daily synthetic phonics teaching and soon progress to writing in sequences of sentences. Pupils learn spellings with particular patterns and common exception words with patterns that cannot be decoded using phonics. Talk is central to our approach to teaching writing and pupils are given regular opportunities to write under the direction of the teacher, alongside an adult or peers and independently. The school encourages pupils to join their handwriting as soon as they are ready as this results in consistent presentation across a pupil’s written work in all areas of the curriculum.
Maths lessons are taught daily in all classes and focus on pupils’ ability to calculate mentally, develop efficient practical and written methods of calculation and solve a range of mathematical problems. Homework in maths is set weekly as part of which pupils work on their key instant recall facts (KIRFs).
The school follows the North Yorkshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (2013-2018) which focuses on teaching s from and teaching about a range of world faiths. RE is taught either as part of a class topic or weekly as a discrete subject. Where RE is taught within a topic, teaching may be blocked (i.e. 2 days of learning focused on the Easter story).
Pupils are taught to use a range of software and hardware through discrete computing lessons and within the wider curriculum. Pupils are also taught how to keep safe online and when using rapidly developing technologies such as tablets. Pupils use hardware such as laptops and iPads to learn how to manipulate software, programme and find information efficiently and safely for use across the curriculum. They create presentations using graphics and sound and edit their work to create final products. They use technology to communicate with our friends at Goldsborough School and will begin to communicate with link schools further afield.
Science is taught as a driving focus within topics in all classes. Investigation plays a central part in all science learning and children are taught to plan, carry out and carefully consider the results from a series of fair tests. Science is recorded in our learning journeys and also in ‘Big Books’ which capture photographic evidence of science learning, pupils’ comments and the processes followed in preparing and carrying out a range of experiments.
In KS1, pupils study:
- Plant growth and consider what plants need to grow,
- Human development, comparison of different animals and what they need in order to survive.
- Compare a range of materials and investigate their properties and suitability for a range of tasks.
- Seasons and how they change.
- Light and dark, including how shadows are formed.
In KS2, pupils study:
- Classification of living things, investigation of life processes and a study of the differences between living things.
- Further study of the human body, how it develops and functions (including a study of teeth, the digestive system, physical changes, circulation and reproduction)*
- Nutrition, diet and the importance of exercise on our bodies.
- Comparing and grouping materials, classifying solids, liquids and gases and investigating properties of each.
- Changing state, including dissolving, evaporating and solidifying.
- The water cycle.
- The earth and the solar system.
- How light travels and how sounds are made.
- Electricity and circuits (including switches, bulbs, buzzers, types of circuit)
- Insulators and conductors.
- Recording electrical circuits using symbols.
- Forces, including magnetism, friction, gravity and resistance.
- Use of mechanical devices linked to forces.
*See statement on Sex and Relationships Education
Geography knowledge and understanding is a key driver of our curriculum. Both human and physical geography is studied in all classes and an awareness of the diversity of modern Britain and of the wider world is actively encouraged through direct teaching and independent activities. We are acutely aware that our school is situated in an area with a lack of cultural diversity. We actively promote an understanding of the range of cultures represented in our wider community and around the globe and enjoy active links with schools in the immediate area through membership of the HART Alliance.
History fires our pupils’ imaginations, transports them to times gone by and enables them to investigate the many and varied interpretations of local, national and world history. History is well represented in topics across all four classes. Pupils are taught They are They are taught to recount facts from famous events and explore the character, nature and actions of key figures in history. In KS1, pupils compare their own lives to those of their family and consider similarities and differences. They place key events in chronological order and begin to consider the different ways in which the past is presented. In KS2, pupils use timelines to chart chronology and explore reasons for events and changes. They compare the past with the present day and consider how different views of the past are formed. They gather and present evidence and link learning in drama, art and English to bring history learning to life.
PE is an important part of our school provision, with every pupil receiving two hours of PE provision within the curriculum each week. In addition, a large number of sports and fitness based after school clubs form part of our commitment to ensuring that every child is fit and healthy. Every child from Reception to Year 6 swims for one term each academic year at Wetherby Pool, taught by pool staff and accompanied by school staff. Our PE curriculum is complemented by the work of a qualified and highly skilled sports coach who ‘team teaches’ with our own classroom staff to provide high quality PE for all pupils. Each year, pupils work on a developmental programme of PE activities. In KS1, this programme is based on learning of:
- Multiskills- throwing, catching, stopping, striking, retrieving.
- The skills required to play competitive team and individual sports
- Athletics- running, throwing, jumping.
- Dance and Movement
In KS2, the above skills are developed and pupils are given regular opportunities to use the skills practised in competitive situations. Each year, at least three intra school competitions are held in a range of sports and we are proud to be in a position to enter at least 3 inter school competitions per half term in a full range of sports (hockey, football, rugby, netball, swimming, tennis, athletics, multiskills for KS1).
Art and Design
Pupils learn art skills in pure art lessons and by combining the teaching of art skills with learning in other subjects (i.e. portraits in history of Henry VIII). A range of media is used throughout KS1 and KS2 and there is an artist study week each academic year which enables pupils to learn about the life and works of key local, national and international artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Paul Klee, Vincent Van Gogh, LS Lowry and Kandinsky.
Design and Technology
Pupils follow the process of Investigate, Plan, Assemble and Review in each DT project. Projects are usually integrated into main topic learning and learning is recorded via a whole school planning resource. This enables pupils to evaluate their product and compare finishing techniques with their plan and with other pupils’ work.
The main language taught in school is Spanish and we use the North Yorkshire Scheme of Learning as guidance. In KS1, languages learning focuses on cultures, customs, greetings and basic phrases in a range of languages. We believe that language learning should be practical and give our pupils an insight into the lives of children and adults in other countries and our own who speak a language other than English.
Sex and Relationships Education
In addition to learning about body development in science, we have a programme of sex and relationships education that is reflective of the needs and development of our pupils. With support from the school nurse, we provide lessons on puberty, body changes and reproduction in Year 5 and 6. In addition, our programme of Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) includes opportunities for pupils to learn about relationships, how to keep themselves safe (including online) and understand how physical and emotional changes affect us.