Science and Foundation Subjects
Our curriculum is planned on a subject based approach; however we aim to make as many meaningful connections between subjects as possible so that children are able to make links and connections. This helps children to engage with their learning and to build a more holistic understanding of the curriculum.
Approaches such as 'Let's Think in English' and wider school events and opportunities, such as Mix Up Mornings and Theme Days/Weeks add to our curriculum offer and are designed to develop children's creative, thinking skills and team work as well as curriculum knowledge and understanding.
We are currently refining and further improving our foundation curriculum after two slightly disjointed years of learning at home and school. This forms part of School Improvement Plan, which sets out our key aims and objectives.
Intent, Implementation and Impact Statement
Our aim is to provide our pupils with a rich range of experiences within the Art curriculum, making many cross-curricular links. The children have the opportunity to discover artists and crafts from around the world, across Historical time periods and cultures. We believe it to be very important to foster a love and curiosity about Art and for the children to develop their own artistic identity through lessons that engage, challenge and inspire them. We aim to support our pupils to develop a ‘growth mindset’ in their attitude towards their abilities as an artist particularly in respect of fine art skills such as drawing and painting.
Art is planned and taught as a discrete subject across Years 3 -6. Each year group has one unit of work per term and these are typically taught in afternoon sessions by the class teacher. Units are planned with a key art focus and are often strongly linked to another area of the curriculum of that year group to enable children to make links between their learning. The planning includes explicit teaching and development of key art skills and techniques for example drawing, painting and sculpture. Skills are developed over a sequence of lessons culminating in a final piece of artwork. Critical analysis of their own and the art of others is another key focus area to all planning.
The sense of themselves as artists is bolstered through giving autonomy over the composing of their final artworks. This is created by planning for open-ended outcomes where children can utilise the skills developed during a unit and exercise their own sense of control and ownership over their work.
Every child is taught how to use a sketchbook, which they keep all the way through the school. The sketchbooks are owned by the pupils, and are at the centre of the pupils’ creativity. Sketchbooks can be used to gather, collect, experiment and reflect. They are used as a tool and safe space to gather their thoughts and rehearse their technique. Final pieces of art are photographed and added to their sketchbooks as a celebration of their work.
Skills and techniques that are taught in the lower school are revisited and developed in the upper school and children are encouraged to use their sketchbooks as a journal of their learning and a way to chart their own progression.
Our children will be creative and critical thinkers who show an appreciation of a wide range of artistic styles, movements and craft techniques. Our children will have a strong ‘growth mindset’ and ‘can do’ attitude towards fine art skills such as drawing and painting. They will enjoy having freedom to show the skills they have developed and express their creativity through artworks of their own design.
Physical Education (PE)
Heatherside Junior School believes that Physical Education (PE), experienced in a safe and supportive environment, is essential to ensure children attain optimum physical and emotional development and good health. We intend to deliver high-quality teaching and learning opportunities that inspire all children to succeed in physical education and in developing life skills. We want to teach children skills to keep them safe such as being able to swim. We also want to teach children how to cooperate and collaborate with others as part of an effective team, understanding fairness and a sense of play to embed life-long values. Our curriculum aims to improve the wellbeing and fitness of all children at Heatherside, not only through the sporting skills taught, but through the underpinning values and disciplines PE promotes.
- PE at Heatherside Junior School provides challenging and enjoyable learning through a range of sporting activities including; invasion games, net & wall games, strike and field games, gymnastics, dance, swimming and outdoor & adventure.
- The long term plan sets out the PE units which are to be taught throughout the year and ensures that the requirements of the National Curriculum are fully met.
- Pupils participate in two high quality PE lessons each week, covering two sporting disciplines every half term. In addition, children are encouraged to participate in the varied range of extra-curricular activities. Lunch time sports clubs are available every day and children can attend after school sport clubs which are available four evenings per week.
- Children are invited to attend competitive sporting events within the local area. This is an inclusive approach which endeavours to encourage not only physical development but also mental well-being. These events also develop teamwork and leadership skills and are very much enjoyed by the children.
- Each year, all Year 6 children are invited to become Young Leaders for the school. They develop into sporting role models for the younger children, assisting with lunch-time activities. In addition, a small number of Year 6 children are voted in as House Captains and assist in our annual Sports day and any other Sporting activities.
- Children participate in workshops covering a variety of outdoor and adventure through Forest Schools, again providing the children with an opportunity to develop, improve their fitness and to try something new.
- All children in Year 5 swim once a week for 6 weeks during the Spring Term.
- The children are given daily active brain breaks which contributes to 60 active minutes a day.
- We regularly collect feedback from the children using student conferencing and make changes accordingly.
We help motivate children to participate in a variety of sports through quality teaching that is engaging and fun. From our lessons, our children learn to take responsibility for their own health and fitness, many of whom also enjoy the success of competitive sports. We impart good health habits, including a positive attitude toward regular physical activity, which are likely to carry over into adult life. We also ensure that children are aware of the many benefits physical activity can have on their mental health and wellbeing.
Our aim is to deliver a high-quality Modern Foreign Languages education with a focus on French. We aim to engage children in language learning using a variety of learning approaches that inspire the children to use the language first, before learning to write it. We aim for children to become confident language learners through using games, projects, songs, stories and creative sessions alongside more traditional language methods. Through this approach, we also take the opportunity to look at cultural similarities and differences and intend for our children to appreciate the traditions and characteristics of cultures around the world.
French is taught during PPA time. Each class has a two-hour French lesson, every 3 or 4 weeks (depending on year group). With a view to further embedding the use of language across the school, we also encourage children to use French around the school and try to incorporate simple classroom phrases and admin tasks in French during every school day.
Structure of the lessons:
Each lesson begins with an opportunity to rehearse general greetings in French. This builds across the key stage as the children become more familiar with the language and are able to ask and answer a wider variety of questions. This ‘conversation practice’ is usually followed by a rehearsal of numbers. The main focus or learning intention for the lesson then follows, with a variety of tasks that scaffold or support children’s learning. Year 3 and 4 first learn to use the language through speech, games and songs, with a little focus on simple recording. Year 5 and 6 continue this but also use more formal written recording, progressing on to understanding simple grammar and sentence structure.
We use both incidental opportunities and planned multicultural lessons to develop children’s awareness and appreciation of different cultures. In some lessons, this may be a simple discussion around an aspect they have learned, for example how a particular religious festival is celebrated. In other lessons, the focus is entirely placed upon the cultural differences, for example the unit on Morocco in Upper Key Stage 2. We regularly discuss the use of languages within a country and how many different languages can permeate elements of English.
The children at Heatherside Junior School are confident, inquisitive language learners. They are keen to understand the roots of French (and other modern foreign languages) and will ask questions to clarify their understanding of what they are learning. They also frequently make comparisons between French and English. Children can often be heard trying to use French around the school, for example when ordering their meal choices for lunchtime or greeting their teacher in the morning. EAL children are encouraged to use their first language to develop their understanding and those who currently attend the school are really enthusiastic about sharing their home language with their peers. Children leave the school enthusiastic about learning languages, giving them the best possible start in the next key stage.
Design Technology (DT)
We believe Design and Technology is a creative process, involving children in learning about the world we live in. We aim to enable children to become autonomous and keen problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. By engaging in design and technology, children will learn how to think and plan in a logical sequence to overcome problems and find possible solutions. Our broad curriculum will allow pupils to be inspired by work of engineers, designers, chefs and architects and to use own their ideas and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others needs and values; making links and connections between subjects including S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Our Growth Mindset approach at Heatherside is especially relevant to the DT curriculum, where mistakes and failures are sometimes necessary aspects of a design process.
Design and Technology is planned as a discrete subject but, wherever possible, we make links with other topics being taught. Sometimes we may deliver design and technology in longer blocked sessions or in a condensed two or three-day timeframe to give greater coherence to pupils’ learning and enable ongoing modifications and improvements to be made. Using the National Curriculum as a basis for our planning, our DT units across the school provide children with opportunities to learn and develop a range of skills through the Design, Make and Evaluate approach. Key skills and knowledge for D & T have been mapped across the school to ensure progression between year groups.
In addition to our DT curriculum, we provide a range of additional opportunities for children to develop and use their DT skills. These include Mix-Up Mornings where children take part in a challenge task, Theme Weeks/Days, Family Afternoons and homework activities.
The school has a Children’s Kitchen and through the support of parent helpers, offers all children the chance to cook three times a year. Children have the opportunity to learn a range of cooking and baking skills in addition to the food nutrition aspects of the D & T curriculum.
Through the DT curriculum and wider opportunities, children will develop the expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. They will develop their knowledge, and learn the techniques and skills needed to design, make and evaluate prototypes and products. Children will be able to apply learnt skills in a range of contexts and develop their understanding of trial and improvement, problem-solving, teamwork and how technology applies to life today, the past and the future. They will be able to understand and apply the principles of nutrition through cooking and design tasks and experiences.
Our aim is to deliver a high-quality music education that will engage and inspire our children to develop their love of music and their talent as musicians. We aim for children to develop a good understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles and musical genres. We intend children to develop transferable skills such as team-working, leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and performance skills that are vital to their development as learners and can have a wider application in their lives outside school.
Our music curriculum comprises five key strands; performing, listening, composing, the history of music and the inter-related dimensions of music. These strands are interwoven into cross-curricular units of work that are taught throughout the school. The music curriculum ensures children sing, listen, play, perform and evaluate. This is embedded in the classroom activities as well as our weekly singing assembly, choir, recorder club, various concerts and performances and the learning of instruments.
Music is taught on PPA afternoons by a music specialist. In Y3 and Y4, each class has three one-hour music lessons over a four-week period. In Y5 and Y6, each class has a two-hour music lesson, every three weeks. In each lesson, children actively participate in musical activities drawn from a range of styles and traditions, developing their musical skills and their understanding of how music works. Lessons incorporate a range of teaching strategies from independent tasks, paired and group work as well as improvisation and teacher-led performances.
The dimensions of music are taught in classroom lessons so that children are able to use some of the language of music to dissect it, and understand how it is made, played, appreciated and analysed. In the classroom, children learn to play a variety of untuned and tuned percussion instruments. Playing instruments enables children to use a range of methods to create notes, as well as how to read basic music notation. They also learn how to compose, focusing on different dimensions of music. Where appropriate, children use music apps to compose and perform. Composing or performing using body percussion and vocal sounds is also part of the curriculum, which develops the understanding of musical elements without the added complexity of an instrument.
Children at Heatherside will be confident performers, composers and listeners and will be able to express themselves musically. They will show an appreciation and respect for a wide range of musical styles and will understand how music is influenced by the cultural, social and historical contexts in which it is developed. Children will understand the ways in which music can be written down to support performing and composing activities. They will demonstrate an enthusiasm for music and be able to identify their own personal musical preferences.
Our aim is to provide children with the essential knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science so that they can understand the world around them. We intend to build a wide range of key knowledge and concepts whilst encouraging the importance of explanation and curiosity. Through our curriculum, we want children to become confident at explaining, predicting and analysing so that these skills can be transferred to other curriculum subjects.
Our science curriculum is broken down into two strands, so that both the children’s substantive (scientific knowledge) and disciplinary knowledge (scientific skills) are built upon in unison. This approach not only allows us to ensure that pupils know ‘the science’ but so that they can support their finding with evidence they have collected.
The curriculum is broken into topics of work, which we have shared between year groups. This approach is vital to ensure that the children develop a secure understanding of each key block of knowledge before moving onto the next stage.
Each year group plan their own science lessons, using the progression of skills document to determine the specific learning objectives for each unit. The progression of skills document has also been broken into two strands and has been written by the subject lead, to ensure that all of the children have an opportunity to develop their scientific knowledge and key skills throughout their time in KS2. Whilst all disciplinary skills are covered from Year 3 onwards, planning and teaching allows pupils to become more confident with these and they are able demonstrate an increased independence by the time they reach Years 5 and 6.
Our curriculum focuses on practical, hands on learning. We have adopted this approach in order to help foster children’s curiosity and because it allow teachers the opportunity to pinpoint any misconceptions within key topics.
Some year groups focus on the use of longitudinal studies to show the effects of science over time, whilst planning also shows that children are being given the opportunity to apply new concepts to a range of real-life scenarios.
Children at Heatherside will be both observational and reflective learners, who make predictions based on prior knowledge. They will be able to focus on the key areas of a fair test and decide how they could change or improve it next time. Whilst there are, no formative assessments carried out in KS2, summative assessments will show that children are able to make connections between their prior learning and the current world around them. They will be able to make cross-curricular links and apply their skills to other areas of the curriculum.
Our aim is to give children a wide experience of using different digital devices for a range of purposes in order to develop their skills, which can then be transferred to Maths, Science and DT. We intend to develop digitally literate children who are able to use, express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology.
Through our curriculum, we intend the children to be active and safe participants in the digital world.
The computing curriculum is taught as three strands, which support each other and also the use of technology in other curriculum areas. These three strands are: digital literacy, online safety and programming. The objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum are used, and also the new objectives covered in the online safety section of the PSHE curriculum. These latter objectives may be covered in the one hour computing slot, or at other times when relevant to other lessons (such as PSHE).
Each class has access to CHQ (the computer suite) for one hour a week. There are enough computers for all children to work independently. In addition to this, extra time can be spent by using the laptops or iPads which are signed out in advance on weekly timetables.
Each hour-long computing lesson should cover one of the three strands, and have a learning objective to be covered during that session. These should follow progression across a unit, which usually lasts for 4-6 weeks, and across the academic year.
Year group teachers plan their own Computing lessons, using the progression of skills document to determine the specific learning objectives for each unit. The progression of skills document, written by the subject lead, has been devised to ensure that all children have an opportunity to develop their skills throughout their time in KS2 and that they cover each of the three strands every year.
Digital literacy includes effective use of word processing software (usually Microsoft Word), presentation software (usually Microsoft Powerpoint) and spreadsheet software (usually Microsoft Excel). Proficiency is attained through using these programs in every year group. Programs available on the Internet, and apps on the school iPads are also used so that children have a wide range of experiences.
Coding is developed through different programming languages: Logo for Year 3 and 4, Scratch for Years 3-6, Flowol for Year 5 and 6. Children learn general programming skills such as using repeat and variables, and see how these are similar and different with different programming languages.
Children at Heatherside will be logical thinkers, able to solve problems within computing and continue these skills into other curriculum areas. They are able to find mistakes in their own work, and know how to resolve these themselves.
The children will have useable digital literacy skills such as typing, saving documents, retrieving documents and sorting folders, which they use in all subject areas that involve the use of computers.
Learning about History at Heatherside encourages our children to ask questions and relate their historical knowledge to the world in which they live. We aim to inspire children to be keen historians for life, examining a range of evidence critically and evaluating how it has changed our interpretations of the past. By linking their learning to a range of topics, children have opportunities to investigate and interpret the past, understand chronology and build an overview of Britain’s past as well as that of the wider world. As well as developing their knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts, children develop their ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas confidently for a range of purposes. They are encouraged to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past by formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
There is a clear progression of historical skills and knowledge across the school, which is mapped out in the History Learning Journey, the Progression in History Skills document and the Medium Term Planning for each year group. On our plans we have identified the key skills and knowledge for each History topic, as well as the Age Related Expectations. Each plan includes the main historical knowledge and understanding which the children will learn, and an overview of relevant historical vocabulary and themes.
The children are encouraged to place historical events on a timeline, and we are working on the commission of a custom-made timeline to embed the idea of chronology, overlap and duration across the school.
Our library is a valuable resource in fostering a love of history, as the children can be signposted towards historical fiction, thereby fostering further opportunities for breadth in their historical experiences as well as allowing them to evaluate the accuracy of the way in which historical events are portrayed. We also have a “History in the News” board in the library which focuses on recent archaeological and historical finds – this allows the children to see how our interpretations of history are constantly changing.
We have a rich programme of trips, visitors and immersive experiences to add depth to the children’s historical understanding, and we use a variety of artefacts to provide opportunities to ask questions and consider the concepts of change and continuity.
The children’s work is recorded and assessed in various ways; through different forms of writing, drawings, and using ICT. When taking part in physical activities such as discussion, sorting, ranking and drama, their work may be captured in other ways, for example with a photograph and a brief annotation. They are also given opportunities to explore historical topics in creative ways, for example by making models as a homework task, and to exhibit these at school. The children’s history books are sent up from year to year. This enables them to reflect on their previous learning and to consider how there may be links and connections between different areas of their studies. Each new topic begins with a “bridging lesson” which is structured to help the children to draw out these connections and differences, both in terms of the historical knowledge and the skills they are developing.
Children at Heatherside will be enthusiastic historians, and relish the many and varied opportunities to find out about the past. They will be well prepared for a future of asking questions, evaluating evidence and understanding that people have good reasons for a different point of view. They will be reflective learners and confident communicators, and they will continue to learn for life.
We believe Design and Technology is a creative process, involving children in learning about the world we live in. We aim to enable children to become autonomous and keen problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. By engaging in design and technology, children will learn how to think and plan in a logical sequence to overcome problems and find possible solutions. Our broad curriculum will allow pupils to use their ideas and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others needs and values; making links and connections between subjects including S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Our Growth Mindset approach at Heatherside is especially relevant to the DT curriculum; where mistakes and failures are sometimes necessary aspects of a design process!
Design and Technology is planned as a discrete subject but, wherever possible, we make links with other topics being taught. Sometimes we may deliver design and technology in longer blocked sessions or in a condensed two- or three-day-time frame to give greater coherence to pupils’ learning and enable ongoing modifications and improvements to be made. Using the National Curriculum as a basis for our planning and our DT units across the school provide children with the opportunity to learn and develop a range of skills through the Design – Make – Evaluate approach. Our progression of skills is planned to help children acquire, use and then apply practical knowledge to projects which include electrical components, moving mechanisms, computer aided design and textiles. They will also learn about the importance of a healthy diet, where food comes from and how to prepare it.
*In addition to our DT curriculum, we provide a range of additional opportunities for children to develop and use their DT skills. These include Mix-Up Mornings where children take part in a challenge task, Theme Weeks/Days, Family Afternoons and homework activities. The school also has a Children’s Kitchen and through the support of parent helpers, offers all children the chance to cook three times a year.
Through the DT curriculum and wider opportunities children will develop the expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. They will develop their knowledge, and learn the techniques and skills needed to design, make and evaluate prototypes and products. Children will be able to apply learnt skills in a range of contexts and develop their understanding of trial and improvement, teamwork and how technology applies to life today, the past and the future. They will be able understand and apply the principles of nutrition through cooking and design tasks and experiences.
Our aim is to deliver a high-quality geography curriculum that inspires a curiosity and fascination in the children about the world and its people. We intend to equip children with knowledge about diverse people and places as well as natural and human environments. Pupils will develop understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
Our geography curriculum comprises four key strands; locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills and field work. These strands are interwoven into units of work taught throughout the school. Children develop their geographical vocabulary as they study these units.
Each year group plan their own units of work using the Progression of Skills document to ensure National Curriculum coverage and appropriate advancement of knowledge and skills as the children move up through the school.
There is a considerable emphasis on investigative and practical skills to provide the children with first-hand learning experiences. Pupils undertake fieldwork activities that utilise the local area and give the children experience of learning outside of the classroom.
The children use a combination of digital and physical maps and atlases to develop their map skills. They develop an understanding that both physical and human aspects of geography are constantly evolving.
Where practical and possible, children’s written work is completed in their geography book. As pupils move up through the school, their geography book moves with them. This helps the children to build more explicitly on previous learning and adds continuity to the learning journey.
Children at Heatherside Junior School will be inquisitive learners. They will develop a curiosity and interest in the world that will stay with them long after they leave our school. Children will be able to apply their investigative skills and locational knowledge to other curriculum areas. They will become conscientious members of the community with an understanding of how their actions can impact on the environment.