At Radipole Primary School we believe that the School Curriculum should be broad and balanced, offering children the opportunity to achieve success in many different areas. Although our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum, there are other planned opportunities that make up the wider curriculum. The curriculum consists of core subjects; English, maths and science and foundation subjects; art and design, computing, design and technology, French at key stage 2, geography, history, music and physical education. Religious education is also taught throughout the school.
We operate a cross curricular approach, blending a variety of delivery innovations across the curriculum. The school also delivers learning that is beyond the national curriculum, deepening and widening understanding of the content being covered. Each year group sends out half-termly curriculum outlines, informing parents and carers about pupils’ learning.
Children are taught through topics which last for two or three weeks and are planned in year group phases.
Before the start of each topic, teachers will send home the knowledge that children will need to use in school. This might be in the form of a ‘Padlet’, a fact sheet or links for the children to use at home. The children will then be able to apply this knowledge and complete tasks in school under the direction of the teacher. Some work in English and maths lessons will be linked to the topic and topic lessons will give the children time to apply the skills they have learned in English and maths. The work in topic lessons will be assessed by the children reflecting on what they have learnt. This will be done individually at the end of a task (using ‘WIL’ What I have learnt) and teachers will also allow time at the end of a topic for a class to discuss/reflect on their learning. Where appropriate this work will be put into a topic book.
SOLE stands for Self Organised Learning Environments and is based on the work of Professor Sugata Mitra of Newcastle University. In SOLE, teachers pose big questions to the children, who then work in groups to answer them. This can be with the aid of books, artefacts, or the internet. The children choose their own groups, they are allowed to move groups and learning from other groups is encouraged. In each session the teacher spends about 5 minutes presenting the big question, 30 – 45 minutes is spent researching the answer and 10 – 20 minutes presenting their findings to the rest of the class. SOLE activities will be linked to the current topic and children can be asked to use the findings from SOLE research in other lessons.
The knowledge for each topic will be sent home for the children to share with their parents. They should read through any documents, watch videos and follow the links that the teachers have provided. Some children may choose to do additional research if the initial information given inspires a particular interest to find out more.
Teachers will also regularly send home maths work for the children to complete, either as a task or on Mathletics. There will also be spelling and phonic activities, times tables to be learned and every child is expected to read daily, with a parent signing their book at least 3 times each week.
English & Literacy
We are committed to developing literacy skills through uniting the important skills of reading and writing. We teach children to read initially by using Jolly Phonics, which is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics following the Letters and Sounds programme. This is supplemented by a variety of means as children’s skills develop.
In addition to individual reading at home and school, regular ‘Guided Reading’ sessions take place in the classroom where children are supported in a small group and encouraged to read and discuss a variety of texts , developing their comprehension skills and enjoyment of reading. The children have the opportunity to select from a wide range of good quality reading books, from an extensive range of reading schemes (including Rapid Readers, Oxford Reading Tree, Story Worlds, Ginn Pocket Books, Collins) as well as a well-stocked library.
We know that the development of early reading and writing skills are of paramount importance and children’s progress in reading and writing is carefully monitored throughout the school. A variety of opportunities are provided across the curriculum for children to develop their writing skills. For example, writing reports, stories, poems, notes, plays, lists and diaries and frequent creative writing days to promote writing across the curriculum.
To help children progress in their learning and understand what they need to do to improve, they have individual targets, which are shared with parents.
Children are provided with regular opportunities to develop the essential skills of speaking and listening. This is done through discussion, drama and specific listening activities in pairs, groups and as a class. Good oral work enhances pupils’ understanding of language in both oral and written forms.
From Foundation Stage, children are taught letter formation and joins following our cursive handwriting scheme, which enables children to develop an independent, mature style of writing. Good presentation is expected at all times and displaying children’s work is an integral part of this process. Ultimately we want each child to develop a fluent, legible and attractive style of handwriting.
Mathematics / Numeracy
Our aim is to develop children into confident mathematicians who are able to use mathematics as a tool in a wide range of activities both in and out of school. Throughout the school the children are involved in mathematical activities based on the requirements of the National Curriculum. The school has written a calculation policy, which was shared with parents at our ‘Maths evening’.
A high priority is given to teaching children mental strategies to calculate independently. They partake in problem solving activities and use both basic and more advanced numeracy skills as they move through the school. The children are given many opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of mathematics through practical experiences in the classroom.
We use a number of tools to support maths in school, with a particular focus on mental maths. The children use Mathletics to practise their mental skills in school and at home and Numicon resources within the main body of lessons.
Science teaching follows the National Curriculum guidelines through a topic approach, providing a broad, relevant science curriculum for all the children. Active engagement in learning is encouraged and children often work co-operatively, communicating scientific ideas to each other.
Basic scientific concepts are developed with the aim of helping children understand their world and encouraging them to develop a sense of responsibility towards it.
Pupils are encouraged to combine interest and curiosity with a responsible attitude towards health and safety, as well as respect for living things and the physical environment. Scientific ideas are applied to real life problems including those that require aspects of design and technology to solve them.
We teach geography throughout the topic-based curriculum. The children are taught to use maps, atlases, globes and compasses. We endeavour to extend children’s interest, knowledge and understanding of people and places both near and far.
Carefully planned visits are arranged where appropriate. Children are encouraged to think deeply about the environment in which they live and the scarce resources that the Earth provides and upon which all life depends.
We teach history throughout the topic-based curriculum. We encourage our children to find out about the past by looking at evidence and considering informed opinion by using original sources. We aim to bring history to life and to instil a desire to find out about our predecessors.
We organise a number of visits to sites of interest and have a wide range of historical artefacts that we use with the children. We help our children to understand that history means everything that has happened in the past, and also our actual record of what has happened.
Design & Technology
We teach technology throughout the topic-based curriculum. Design and Technology encourages the development of knowledge, skills and understanding in a practically based subject. Pupils are taught to develop, plan and communicate ideas.
They work with tools, equipment, materials and components to make quality products. Upon completion of their task, they evaluate the processes and products.
There are three main strands to music – singing, listening and performing. Children are taught a wide repertoire of songs appropriate to their age group. These include traditional songs from other lands and cultures and songs from former times as well as modern songs.
Children are encouraged to develop an awareness of the different effects of instruments used in music, as well as to give a thoughtful and sensitive response to recorded music.
Children are taught how to play pitched and unpitched percussion instruments. They are taught to recognise and discriminate between the various elements of music such as pitch and rhythm.
Children are given regular opportunities to perform to a range of audiences including their peers, parents and the wider community.
Additional Small Group Music Tuition
A number of different music teachers visit the school to deliver individual and small group lessons in brass, guitar, woodwind and strings. We also have a samba band, a school orchestra, a hand bell group and singing groups.
Art & Design
Our sporting aims are to provide children with a balanced range of activities and the opportunity to develop these in more specialist clubs. Each week our children work on at least one area of the physical curriculum. The children benefit from a wide range of qualified coaches, who deliver lessons and provide support for teachers. In the past year these have included: tennis, golf, rugby, cricket, football, dance and table tennis.
Gymnastics and dance both take place in the school hall and involve all the children following various themes. Through dance and movement, they learn how to express themselves whilst being able to work at their own level. Whereas gymnastics, involves learning how to use equipment safely and acquire, develop and gain new skills.
Games, outdoors and adventurous activities take place outside and children learn a variety of skills that are developed into small games and team building situations. All children swim in the school pool during the summer term, with most year groups having 3 lessons each fortnight.
Religious Education and Collective Worship
Religious education is non-denominational and taught through our topic approach as well as in separate RE lessons and through assemblies. The aim of religious education is to enable children to develop an understanding of the nature of religion, its beliefs and practices.
Children acquiring knowledge of religion, exploring and reflecting on human experience, as well as developing sensitive attitudes will achieve this. Children will be encouraged to develop sensitive attitudes towards others. We follow the guidelines produced by Dorset SACRE.
Parents retain the right to withdraw their children from religious education. In such cases, this is done after prior arrangement with the Headteacher, and alternative arrangements are made.
There is a daily act of collective worship for each child, sometimes as a whole school or in a smaller group. This is an important feature of school life, and a positive focus of its ethos and values.
As a community school, collective worship is mainly of a broadly Christian nature, promoting British values. Parents also retain the right to withdraw their children from collective worship by prior arrangement with the Head teacher.
As part of our ethos we value the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education and provide opportunities for pupils to have ‘reflection’. This is often delivered within RE or PSHE.