Curriculum

The National Curriculum is part of the whole curriculum and the School is required by law to teach it to all children over the age of 5 years. At the centre are the ‘core’ subjects of English, Maths and Science as well as Information Communication Technology and Religious Education. The Foundation subjects comprise History, Geography, Art, Design Technology, Music, Physical Education and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE), Modern Foreign Languages – Spanish in KS2

Pupils in the Foundation Stage (3 – 5 years) have their own Early Years curriculum. In the Nursery (F1) the children are helped to progress across the “Stepping Stones” of learning. In the Reception class (F2) the children are assessed through the Foundation Stage Profile to see how many of the Early Learning Goals they have met. Years 1 and 2 will be working on ‘Key Stage 1’ of the National Curriculum and those in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 will continue through ‘Key Stage 2’ of the National Curriculum.

We try to ensure that the children receive a broad, balanced and relevant education by making links between subjects so that children are taught in a more holistic, meaningful way. Careful planning ensures that an adequate amount of time is allocated to each subject, and that links are made between subjects which will make learning more meaningful for the children.

Children are taught and have opportunities to learn in a range of ways – individually, in groups and as a whole class, as appropriate.

At all stages, children learn, practise and refine a wide range of skills in all their activities across the National Curriculum. These are described as ‘key skills’ as they help learners to improve their learning throughout their education, as well as in later life. They are: communication; the application of number; information technology; working with others; improving their own learning and performance and problem-solving.

The key skills are complemented by the development across the curriculum of ‘thinking skills’ – information-processing, reasoning, enquiry, creative thinking and evaluation skills.

We plan our topics around 4 main drivers: Respect & cooperation, resilience, diversity and aspirations.

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British Values

In June 2014 Prime Minister David Cameron emphasised the important role that British Values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is now an aspect of OFSTED inspections.

Although this is something new in significance for schools, it is not something new at Swillington Primary. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least in our school assemblies, RE and PSHE lessons.

Of course as well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: that we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including “extremist” views.

The term “British Values” might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most countries.

Below are a few examples of how we promote British values:

  • Being part of Swillington, Leeds and Britain.
  • As a school we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everyone at Swillington Primary. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of our local community and Britain. This means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs during the year, for example Harvest Festival during the Autumn term when we also collect for the local food bank in our local area. We also value and celebrate national events such as Remembrance Day, The Jubilee, The Olympics and other major sporting events.

Literacy

We aim to provide children with knowledge of the English language as well as the skills to use it confidently and effectively in a range of contexts. We also want children to enjoy their language.

Speaking and Listening

Children’s first approach to language is through speaking and listening. The effectiveness of both skills is determined not only by the ability to use speech appropriately but by the ability to listen. Children are encouraged to develop a range of speaking skills for different purposes, to speak clearly and to adapt their speech to meet the needs of the listener. They are encouraged to listen carefully and constructively. Children with specific difficulties will be given appropriate additional support.

Reading

Children learn to read by being taught a range of strategies including the learning and application of letter sounds (Phonics) and whole word recognition.

We use a literacy scheme called, Read, Write, Inc. This is a very successful phonics-based scheme. After an initial assessment children are grouped by ability and are taught in small groups by teachers and teaching assistants. They are re-assessed at regular intervals and moved into a higher group as they make progress.

The Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) scheme books continue to be used to teach reading.

While much publicity is currently being given to the importance of phonic knowledge in learning to read, because children need to learn how sounds are combined to make woords, there are other skills which are required such as the acquisition of sight words. (This means there are some high-frequency words which we must learn to recognise ‘on sight’ because they cannot be worked out using phonic knowledge, eg. does, said.)

Children also use information from pictures in books which is another important step in learning to read, not to be discouraged.

We aim to inspire in children a love of books and reading and to share this vital task with parents. In Key Stage 1 children will have a Reading Diary to take home in which teachers and parents can write comments to encourage children to take an interest in books and in their growing skills as readers, and the children can record their responses to the books they are reading.

In Key Stage 2 the children will have a Reading Diary and be encouraged to become more independent in recording their views about the increasingly wide range of literature and reading skills they use.

The school has a library which is well stocked with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. We have a computerised library system. This will be set up in the Key Stage 2 hub. Every week each class has a timetabled library session when they choose a book to take home. There is a selection of books from the school library, which is changed regularly, in each class book area.

We ask for a contribution of £5 to cover the cost of any books which are lost or returned from home in a damaged condition.

We will be providing Guidelines for parents on helping your child learn to read.

At the present time the raising of standards in Literacy is a priority for the school. We urge parents to encourage their children to read every day as this is vital for their development. It is one of the most important skills in the curriculum, and one which can significantly affect your child’s future life, happiness and employment.

Writing

The main aim is to encourage children to write legibly, fluently and confidently in different styles, for a range of purposes and for different audiences. They should be able to convey information and express their views and thoughts in writing. Children are taught to create and edit text on paper and using computers. Grammar, spelling, punctuation and handwriting are taught both as separate elements of writing and in an integrated way, using shared texts. Joined-up handwriting is introduced at an appropriate time, from Year 2 onwards.

We will be providing Guidelines for parents on helping your child to practise the handwriting script, and with spelling.

Mathematics

The school uses the framework of the National Numeracy Strategy. The Strategy aims to make children numerate and confident in their ability to apply their knowledge and skills in the use of measures, shape and data-handling. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the number system and the use of mental calculation strategies before written strategies are introduced.

At each stage, at the level appropriate for their knowledge and experience, numerate children should:

  • Have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system;
  • Know by heart facts such as number bonds, multiplication tables, doubles and halves;
  • Use what they know by heart to figure out answers mentally;
  • Make accurate calculations using appropriate methods, both mentally and using pencil and paper;
  • Make sense of number problems, both mathematical and real-life;
  • Be able to explain their methods and reasoning using the correct mathematical vocabulary;
  • Judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them;
  • Suggest units for measuring and make sensible estimates of measurements;
  • Explain and interpret information in graphs, charts, tables and diagrams.

As well as specific Maths lessons, teachers plan cross-curricular activities in which children will have the opportunity to apply their mathematical knowledge and skills. There is much you can do to support your child’s understanding of Maths eg – when shopping, telling the time.

Science

Children’s curiosity and experience of watching and exploring the natural and material world around them provides the basis for most Science in the primary school.

The Primary Science Curriculum covers the areas of Life Processes, the Properties of Materials and Physical Processes. There is a rolling programme of topics appropriate to meet the attainment targets for each year group. There are important links with Literacy and Numeracy and the key skills in the need to describe their observations, give explanations, use measures, record their results and find information, as well as with the other foundation subjects.

Children are taught to develop the scientific skills of:

  • Developing interest and awareness;
  • Observing, exploring and questioning;
  • Developing basic concepts and logical thinking;
  • Posing questions and devising experiments to answer them;
  • Estimating, measuring and recording results;
  • Drawing conclusions based on evidence, and discussing them;
  • Acquiring knowledge and learning new skills.

History

There is a planned rolling programme of topics in History. Children build an increasingly ordered picture of their world, extending outwards from their own families to an awareness of other peoples, places and times. They consider how the past influences the present and how societies change; they see the diversity of human experience and understand more about themselves as individuals and as members of society. Children learn about people’s lifestyles and about significant people and events from the recent and more distant past, including those from Britain and the wider world.

They develop an understanding of chronology. As they progress through school they learn more about history from a range of perspectives: political, economic, technological and scientific, social, religious, cultural or aesthetic.

Children learn the skills of researching, finding and questioning evidence and drawing reasoned conclusions. They use historical vocabulary and dates to describe different events. We place emphasis on an inquiry approach and try to provide experiences for the children which bring the subject to life, for example through enacting scenes from the past.

Geography

In Geography children develop their knowledge of places and environments across the world, an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative and problem-solving skills both inside and outside the classroom. Geography provides a focus for understanding issues relating to the environment and sustainable development. Children learn about different societies and cultures, which helps them to realise how nations rely on each other. It can inspire them to think about their own place in the world, their values, and their rights and responsbilities to other people and the environment.

Children learn skills in the correct use of geographical vocabulary, fieldskills, using globes, maps and plans, drawing maps and plans and using a range of secondary sources, including ICT. They learn about patterns (how physical features occur or are arranged, including weather) and processes (causes of flooding, land formation, increasing traffic), starting with home, school and the local community and later extending to more distant localities, both in Britain and abroad.

Art

Our aim is to stimulate imagination and visual perception so that children can appreciate their own artistic efforts and those of others. Children work with a variety of media and develop skills in a range of techniques in two and three dimensions. The subject is often linked to other curriculum areas – for example, pattern in Mathematics and Islamic art; the human figure in Egyptian and Greek art; drawing for design in Design and Technology.

The two strands of the experience of Art are: the expressive, which links art with the other arts (music, poetry, dance) and provides the opportunity for a variety of personal expression; and the design aspect, which links it with curriculum areas concerned with planning, crafting and making, and evaluation processes and activities.

Modern Foreign Languages

Spanish is taught in KS2. Ocacasionally, when available, we have had the support of a Spanish assistant. Children love learning Spanish through the games, songs and activities which make it fun.

Music

The National Curriculum’s attainment targets for Music are Performing and Composing, Listening and Appraising. We aim to provide a range of opportunities for enjoying different ways of making music, developing skills and encouraging understanding. This includes singing, the use of percussion and other simple instruments in every class. Children will make their own instruments and experiment with a wide range of objects to strike, pluck, blow, shake or roll. They will compose and practise performing individually and with others. They will listen to a range of types of music from different times and cultures, and respond to it. They will have opportunities to record, evaluate and improve their music.

Each class has a weekly singing lesson with a peripatetic pianist from Education Leeds’ Music Support Service. Children begin to learn the recorder when they are in Year 3.

(See Extra-curricular Activities for additional information about music.)

Physical Education

The three main elements of the curriculum are gymnastics, games and dance. Swimming is an additional activity for Year 4 and it takes place at Rothwell swimming baths on Tuesday mornings. The aim of PE is to enable children to build and maintain fit and healthy bodies, to develop co-ordination, balance, strength, speed and endurance; to encourage creative expression through movement, and be aware of the effects and consequences of actions upon others.

Gymnastics involves floor work to encourage appropriate use of space and awareness of body parts. Control and quality of work and simple sequence work is encouraged.

The children are introduced to minor games skills using a variety of equipment such as various-sized balls, quoits, hoops, ropes, bean-bags and bats. Children practise skills individually, then in pairs and small groups, and eventually in larger teams for games such as rounders, netball, hockey and football.

Children are made aware of safety aspects for themselves and others and are encouraged to develop the ability to handle success and failure and the concepts of competition, fair play and good sporting behaviour.

Children also learn about the importance of exercise and fitness and the part these play in developing a healthy lifestyle.

From Year 1 onwards most classes receive coaching from professional coaches for 6 weekly sessions in cricket, rugby, soccer, basketball or racquet skills.

At Swillington Primary School we are committed to the delivery of a high quality PE and sport curriculum and to the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles. We aim to develop skills and knowledge through participation in diverse and varied physical activity and sport, as well as improving fitness and developing social skills.

In order to promote health and fitness, the government allocated £8000 (plus £5 per pupil) to all primary schools.

To read a full breakdown, you can view our Sports Premium Funding page.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

ICT prepares children to participate in a rapidly-changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology.

Our aim is to enable children to be confident and skilled users of ICT applications. Increased capability in the use of ICT develops initiative and promotes independent learning. Children develop skills in developing their ideas and recording creative work, becoming familiar with an increasing range of hardware and software. They develop their research skills and make decisions about the selection of information. They learn to amend their work and to present it in a way that suits its audience.

From Foundation 1 upwards the school has provision for several computers in every classroom. F1 also have a touch-screen computer.

The new school now has a combination of wired and wireless networks and, therefore, has the facility for a whole class to work on a computer together.

Every classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard.

The use of computers should be an integral part of learning across the curriculum.

The school has a Broadband connection to enable fast Internet access. Our Internet Policy requires all children and parents to sign an agreement in the interests of child protection. The Leeds Learning Network, the local intranet through which schools access the Internet, has built-in monitoring and screening systems for security and protection.

Staff and children at all levels are engaged in the setting-up of our School website.

Religious Education

Our vision for RE is based on the national guidance issued by the RE Council in 2013 and the local agreed syllabus, 2014.

Our world is enriched by a wide and profound diversity of cultures and beliefs. Human beings are strengthened and empowered by learning from each other. Engaging and stimulating RE helps to nurture informed and resilient responses to misunderstanding, stereotyping and division. It offers a place of integrity and security within which difficult or ‘risky’ questions can be tackled within a safe but challenging context. Religious education contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.

In RE pupils discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions, in local, national and global contexts, through learning about and from religions and other world views. They learn to appraise the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.

Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and other world views, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities. It should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in society with its diverse understanding of life from religious and other world views.

Pupils should gain and deploy the skills needed to understand, interpret and evaluate texts, sources of wisdom and authority and other evidence. They learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.

Collective Worship

The school complies with the 1988 and 1993 Education Acts in providing a daily act of worship which is ‘wholly or mainly of a Christian character’, reflecting the broad traditions of Christian belief without being distinctive of any denomination.

We are in agreement with the Leeds Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education’s suggestion that the ‘broad traditions of Christian belief’ should include such themes as forgiveness, justice, love of one’s neighbour, festivals, the moral and spiritual dimensions of human experience as well as the teachings of Jesus.

Collective worship aims to promote those values which we believe a caring parent would wish to adopt. For example, kindness, compassion, understanding, honesty, consideration, empathy, encouraging respect for religious and moral values, and tolerance of other religions, races and cultures.

We take account of the family backgrounds of pupils and at times Assemblies will be held which embrace relevant themes shared by Christians and non-Christians alike. An Assembly is a valuable occasion when all can gather together to reflect or celebrate.

We hold a range of different types of Assembly throughout the week:

  • Whole School Assembly every Monday. This may reinforce PSHCE themes relating to values and attitudes and include information about school events and organisation, a reminder of school rules and codes etc.
  • Birthday Assembly KS1 every Wednesday KS1 celebrate the uniquness and worth of children who have recently had a birthday.
  • Key Stage 2 Assembly every Wednesday. Focuses on similar themes to the Whole School Assembly but can be more focussed on the older children.
  • Celebration Assembly Fridays at 3.00pm. Parents are invited on a rolling programme (see newsletters for dates).

On days when the hall is being used, teachers hold a class assembly.

Parents have the right to withdraw a child from RE and/or Collective Worship. All such requests should be made in writing to the Headteacher. A provision will be made for any child so excused; a child cannot be excluded from the school for exercising this right.

Download the RE Policy here

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)

This is a broadly-based area of the curriculum dealing with health education, including diet, exercise, rest, life-style, self-image, relationships, keeping safe, dealing with bullying and personal, social and emotional development. It includes drugs awareness and education.

The citizenship element involves children in learning about their place in society, their growing responsibility as citizens and as members of the global community, and their developing understanding of systems such as Democracy. The school has a School Council through which the children learn about citizenship issues. Many aspects of PSHCE are taught in an integrated way through other subjects, and through daily school routines, while some units are planned for separately.

An activity called ‘Circle Time’ is often used to explore moral and emotional issues. School assemblies reinforce the teaching of many of the themes covered in PSHCE.

Sex Education

This is an integral part of the PSHCE curriculum. Through the Science curriculum children learn about life cycles, including plant and animal (including human) reproduction and the care of the young. Care is taken to match appropriate teaching to the maturity of the child. We encourage our children to develop skills, values and attitudes that will give them confidence when coping with the physical, emotional and social changes of growing up. Sex education is placed in the moral framework of a caring, loving family relationship and showing respect for others as well as for themselves.

Parents are invited into school to look at the materials used for sex education in Year 6. During the next year we will be extending this education to appropriately include Year 5. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of sex education, except for the part which is a requirement of National Curriculum Science.

Spiritual, Moral, Cultural and Social Development

We aim, through the curriculum, to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and, in particular, develop principles for distinguishing between right and wrong.

Spiritual development involves the growth of one’s own sense of self and one’s place in the world. Children are encouraged to ask questions about the world, their own inner lives and non-material well-being.

We aim to promote enduring values, develop children’s integrity and autonomy and help them become responsible, caring citizens.

Children are helped to promote equal opportunities; to challenge discrimination and stereotyping; to make informed judgements and independent decisions, and to understand their rights and responsibilities.

We promote children’s self-esteem and emotional well-being and help them to form good relationships based on respect for themselves and others. Children are encouraged to respond positively to opportunities and challenges, to manage risk and cope with change and adversity.

Increasingly, we have used a wide range of resources and teaching/learning strategies, to support S.E.A.L (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning).

The personal development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve.

Sustainability

The importance of sustainability issues is now integral across the curriculum. Children learn about the need to sustain resources through being involved in initiatives such as recycling, waste management, conservation of energy, local organic farming etc.

Design and Technology

Children learn to design and make products using an increasingly wide range of materials, tools and developing skills.

They learn about the properties of these materials and about the different ways of shaping and joining them for different purposes. Children work on topics which develop their awareness of the design and purpose of artefacts, and their ability to evaluate their design and fitness for purpose.

As they get older they consider the effects of technological change on  societies, past and present. This subject has many links with other areas of the curriculum, especially, Science, Mathematics, Art, History and  Geography

Curriculum Enrichment

The school plans many activities throughout the year in order to enhance learning opportunities for children.

Teachers sometimes arrange educational visits for their classes to enhance a particular area of the curriculum they are studying. Some examples are: Whitby, Yorvik Viking Centre, art galleries,
museums, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, features in the local community such as a farm or the church, a place of worship, theatre, sports centres etc.

We also provide enrichment activities within school, inviting a range of visitors and providers of practical workshops in History, Music, Science, Design and Technology, PE. These are very valuable experiences which help to bring subjects to life and make learning memorable for the children.

We take advantage of many opportunities to invite sports coaches into school who work with classes on a range of activities such as gymnastics, football, rugby and dance. Some of these activities involve sponsorship which raises funds for both the
school and a charity.

Charging for School Activities

The school is entitled to charge for certain activities (under the 1988 Education Act) including some of the enrichment activities described above. Parents are asked to make a voluntary contribution towards the cost of such visits/activities on the understanding that the activity may not take place if insufficient funds are received.

A charge will normally be made for an activity wholly out of school hours which is not a part of the National Curriculum or statutory religious education. Such activities are not compulsory eg. theatre visits.

For a visit within school hours parents may be asked for a contribution to cover the cost. Children will not be excluded if a contribution is not made for them, and the contributions of others will not be used to subsidise them. If, however, there are
insufficient funds available, the activity may have to be cancelled. We aim to subsidise as much of the cost of these experiences as we can but this is largely dependent on the income generated for School Fund.

There is a charge for the extra-curricular music tuition provided by Artforms peripatetic teachers. Parents will also be required to purchase or hire an instrument. (This can be done more cheaply
through the school.) If parents or carers have problems contributing they are welcome to discuss this with the Headteacher who will assist them in any way possible.

Sending money into school

At any one time throughout the year we may be collecting money for a variety of reasons. Therefore, we ask parents to ensure that money sent into school is in a sealed envelope with details of the contents, together with the child’s name and class written on the outside. Parents are sometimes asked to make a voluntary contribution towards the cost of articles made in art / craft / cookery.

Educational Visits

Planning for educational visits always includes a thorough risk assessment and planning procedure, and sufficient adult supervision appropriate to the safety and well-being of the children and the nature of the activity being undertaken.

All planning and arrangements are made in line with Local Authority and National guidelines. No child may take part without written parental consent. Sometimes we ask parents if they would like to volunteer to accompany classes on educational visits, but parents are not permitted to supervise their own children for health and safety reasons.

If you are having trouble downloading the documents, you can download pdf reader here.

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