National Curriculum

National Curriculum

There are approximately four and a half hours teaching time available for a typical school day. Teachers in all classes teach the requirements of the National Curriculum. This means that all children will be taught

  • The core curriculum areas of English (Literacy), Mathematics (Numeracy), Science and ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
  • The foundation subjects of History, Geography, Music, Art, Design and Technology, PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) and PE (Physical Education), Religious Education andFrench (KS2)
  • Each class from Year 1 to Year 6 receives one hour of specialist dance tuition per week.

The curriculum is largely taught according to a weekly timetable of lessons and a meaningful cross-curricular approach.. Some subjects, such as History for example, mean more to children if they can study them in a concentrated block. We have carefully balanced the curriculum for the whole year and have planned a structured delivery for all subjects to ensure progression and continuity as the children go through the school.

The children progress through the following stages during their Primary School education:

  • Foundation: Nursery and Reception (R)
  • Key Stage 1 (KS1): Years 1 and 2
  • Key Stage 2 (KS2): Years 3 to 6
Your Child’s Progression Through Our School

Foundation Stage
In the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception), a high priority is given to settling the children into School and allowing them to become familiar with the School and its way of life. The children’s own experiences are the starting points for a lot of work. Recognising numbers, counting, and using simple numbers and measures are developed. Work takes place in cross-curricular topics, with structured play a rich source of learning. In Reception, we build on their experiences in Nursery and create an exciting environment in which children can develop their confidence, independence, social skills and love of learning. The children learn using play-based activities across the breadth of the curriculum.

Key Stage 1
In Year 1, learning continues to be experiential, drawing upon previous experiences and established knowledge. A formal Literacy and Numeracy hour is introduced. All subjects are taught in a practical and accessible way.

In Year 2, various new ways of working are introduced as skills and knowledge are acquired. Joined-up handwriting is introduced. More emphasis is placed on practical investigations in Science and Mathematics as the children develop learning independence. Year 2 pupils are assessed towards the end of the year in accordance with Statutory Assessment arrangements (SATs).

Key Stage 2
In Year 3, children begin to use their skills acquired in KS1 in more complex ways; for example, through Science topics, such as healthy eating and rocks and soils, and in their History investigations. All children learn French fom Year 3 onwards. French lessons are led by a specialist teacher, Mrs Leila Jones.

Year 4 pupils, (aged 8, turning 9 during the year) continue to expand upon their range of activities and experiences. They develop a wider range of formal methods of written work in Mathematics. Their English focuses on more sustained reading and development of a range of writing forms with a growing emphasis on organisation, style and punctuation. Their Science work reflects their increasing ability to devise their own investigations or experiments and to conduct a fair test. Year 4 children always enjoy their topic on the Romans during the autumn term, enriching their learning through role play activities and a visit to Verulamium.

For Year 5 pupils, variation in written structures, both fiction and non-fiction, become increasingly important. Mathematics and Science content is extended further and children are encouraged to identify relevant links across the curriculum.

Year 6 is an important year for the children; a much greater degree of independence is expected in both their work and their roles around the school. Secondary transfer features increasingly in our planning. Towards the end of the year, Year 6 pupils are assessed in accordance with Statutory Assessment arrangements. During the summer term a residential field study trip to Snowdonia is arranged.

The National Curriculum Subjects

English (Literacy)
Language, whether spoken, written or read, is essential to all areas of schoolwork and is therefore integrated into the curriculum as a whole. All classes follow the National Literacy Strategy, which provides a structured lesson every day lasting an hour.

Reading
We place a great emphasis on children’s reading in order to further their education and enjoyment. We have an extensive library, which provides suitable reading for all ages and abilities. Children are encouraged to use the library as a resource to promote independent learning skills. In order that children gain confidence with their reading, parents are encouraged to share books and listen to their children read; thereby developing their motivation, competence and joy of learning.

Read about Literacy at Skyswood.

Mathematics (Numeracy)
Mathematics plays an important role in everyday life; it has many uses, for example spending money, measuring and calculating. At Skyswood, we aim to help each pupil to develop within his/ her capabilities the mathematical skills and understanding for adult life, for employment and for further study. We follow the National Numeracy Framework for teaching Mathematics. This gives detailed aims for teaching Mathematics, which is taught during a daily Numeracy lesson for all pupils. Children are taught to “use and apply Mathematics” as well as tackling problems.

Read about Mathematics at Skyswood.

Science
Science in Skyswood uses children’s natural curiosity to develop basic scientific concepts. As they progress through the School, the children carry out investigations with more formality and develop strategies to analyse what they have found out. Science encourages children to look closely at phenomena and, through many other subjects such as Art and Mathematics, to increase their understanding of the world around them. The topics covered include light and sound, materials, forces and magnets, living things, growing and plants.

Read about Science at Skyswood.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
ICT is taught as a discrete subject, as well as being used to support cross-curricular learning. Pupils are taught a range of knowledge, skills and understanding through four areas of learning: finding things out; developing ideas and making things happen; exchanging and sharing information; reviewing, modifying and evaluating work as it progresses. They use word-processing, multimedia, graphics, data handling and modelling software. We also have digital cameras, a microscope and programmable toys. We have a designated ICT space, networked computers in classrooms and laptops for pupil use.

Read about ICT at Skyswood.

History
Children will be introduced to basic historical concepts such as sequencing, listening to stories and studying photographs, in the early years. This is followed with specific study of Ancient Egypt and Greece, Romans, Invaders and Settlers, Exploration and Encounters, Tudors and Victorians as the children move through the school. We arrange visits to museums and also invite specialist groups to visit us to enhance our understanding of areas of study. Theme days are also arranged to really bring the subject to life and we place great emphasis on following an enquiry-based approach.

Geography
The younger children learn about Geography by talking about and exploring their home, school and local environment. They go on to develop these themes and develop ideas about why people make journeys and the types of transport used. They begin exploring plans and maps, seasons and growing.

At KS2, children go on to develop mapping skills, and learn about land use, settlements, landscape features and environmental issues through comparing and contrasting locations around Britain to those in another continent.

Music
We aim to make Music an enjoyable learning experience for all children through enabling them to: know and understand how sounds are made and then organized into musical structures; know how music is composed and written down: know how music is influenced by the time, place and purpose for which it was written; and to develop the inter-related skills of performing, composing and appraising. Music plays an important part in assemblies, where the children are encouraged to play their instruments and are exposed to music of many cultures. The school are delighted to have our own music specialist teacher, Mrs Janet Bird, who teaches music from the Foundation Stage right through to Year 6.

Art
Children will be offered a wide range of media to work with, such as paint, crayon, textile, clay and printing to develop skills and techniques. We encourage children to express themselves in a creative way and use the QCA scheme selectively, enriching and personalising our curriculum in order to provide a progressive and exciting art curriculum.

Read about Art & Music at Skyswood.

Design and Technology
Children are given the opportunity to explore solutions to a variety of practical problems. They make their own plans and designs, test ideas, and develop skills through focussed practical tasks to create their own products. Children discuss and evaluate their solutions and products to improve their original ideas.

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
Personal, Social and Health Education encourages children to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. PSHE will enable children to develop important life skills, such as how to react in difficult situations, and to learn about rights and responsibilities for themselves and others. In doing this, it is anticipated that self-confidence and esteem will be promoted.

Sex Education
Sex Education is part of the overall provision of personal and social education in the school. It is concerned not only with the knowledge of facts, but also with the development of attitudes and values. Sex Education is developmental, and is about relating to other people, respecting the feelings and rights of others and about developing responsible and caring relationships.

At Skyswood, our younger pupils receive Sex Education incidentally when they ask questions about situations as they arise, e.g. when a pet has an off-spring, twins in the class, a new baby in the family. Questions about Sex Education will be answered as and when they occur.

Children in Year 6 have formal Sex Education lessons. Permission is sought from parents to allow their children to participate in these lessons, anyone wishing to withdraw their children from all or part of these lessons is asked to contact the Headteacher to discuss alternative arrangements. The lessons are planned in consultation with the school nurse and parents are always informed well in advance about the content of these lessons and the teaching materials used. The school nurse will talk about puberty, including menstruation, personal hygiene and relationships.

Religious Education (RE)
As part of Religious Education, children are taught about the six major faiths represented in Hertfordshire, and in particular Christianity. It is our aim that children respect the beliefs and practices of others and think about their own ideas with regard to religion.

Physical Education (PE)
Physical education is an essential part of school life and is not just confined to the school timetable. Children are taught a wide range of skills and will begin to play games, such as netball, short tennis and tag-rugby. Gymnastics and Dance develop control and co-ordination. Swimming is part of the National Curriculum and is a part of the KS2 curriculum. Building self-esteem and confidence is of utmost importance. We employ specialist sports coaches (Kidsports) to enhance the curriculum in Key Stages 1 and 2. We also offer a variety of after school sports activities.

Read about PE & Sport at Skyswood.

French
In partnership with our local secondary schools, we teach French as a Modern Foreign Language to children in KS2. The lessons are very active in content and are given by a specialist teacher. Children learn the language by using it in a variety of fun and engaging contexts using a wide range of acting, playing and singing activities.