The Curriculum at Quernmore
Where appropriate, the curriculum has an environmental focus. Many topics covered in school lend themselves to learning about the environment and considering our impact upon it.
Good use is made of the diverse habitats in the two woodland areas, the nature garden and elsewhere in the school grounds, for educational purposes. From this, children learn to respect and develop an understanding of nature in all its forms.
The teachers and support staff raise awareness of environmental issues, not just through delivery of the curriculum, but also through demonstrating good practice in their management of the classroom and the surroundings of the school. From this lead, the children are encouraged to act in an environmentally responsible way. There are many opportunities for reusing and recycling in school and techniques for saving energy are actively promoted.
We have a dynamic Eco-Committee, which is constituted of children from each class, staff and parent members. The whole school and the wider community are informed of and involved in their activities and initiatives.
Our aim is to provide a quality, investigative education, enriched by experiences gained from using the environment whenever appropriate.
Our high expectations help children fulfill their potential within a broad and balanced curriculum. Ofsted found this took place in ‘a caring community, a large loving family in which children are happy and secure’.
Children start school in the Reception Class at 4+. This is called the Foundation Year and pupils will work towards achieving the Early Learning goals. We aim to give the children a practical approach to learning with many opportunities for exploration, discovery and activity. We wish to help the children to develop lively, enquiring minds and lay the necessary foundations for literacy and numeracy. The children learn to develop in a friendly atmosphere and an interesting environment.
Play is an important part of the Foundation Year curriculum. It provides opportunities for all aspects of learning and helps to give children experience of the world in which they live and to stimulate their imaginations. We aim to provide time and materials for all types of creative and imaginative play. Children love to read and share books with their parents, and we like them to take home a book every day.
We believe in teaching English through real experiences following the New National Curriculum. There are four main aspects of language development: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
After a programme of pre-reading activities designed to promote the skills necessary for learning to read, the children move on to a reading scheme. We use many reading schemes, all supplemented by a selection of other reading material so that the children read a variety of books at each level. The children develop a basic sight vocabulary through look-and-say, and phonics are introduced in an ordered way. The ‘Jolly Phonics’ system is used to teach the alphabet and phonic awareness.
Extended reading skills are encouraged and a wide selection of reading books is available to stimulate reading for pleasure. Non-fiction, stories and poetry are read to the children. We aim to encourage children to think of reading more as a pleasure than as a task. The children
are encouraged to use reference books, dictionaries and thesauri. The library is catalogued using a simplified Dewey system. Children in the Infant Classes take home books on a regular basis as part of a shared-reading project.
Children are introduced to writing after the acquisition of the 44 sounds of the English Language. They have experience of a range of multi sensory apparatus to help them foster a comfortable writing style. Emergent writing is valued and supported in the early stages. The children progress to writing on their own, sometimes using the word processor, with a diminishing amount of direct help from the teacher.
As their work progresses the children will be given experience of the many forms of written expression, including poetry, narrative, factual and imaginative. Errors in written work are used as a basis for teaching spelling, punctuation, grammar and sentence construction, and this is backed up by structured language work in the Literacy Hour. Children are encouraged to extend their written vocabulary by experimenting with new words and using a thesaurus.
Printing is taught in the Infant Classes and children start to join up letters from Yr 2/3. We use ‘Penpals’ scheme for handwriting. This form of writing leads naturally from the printing taught earlier and is a basic form from which a more personalised style can be developed. Children progress from writing in pencil to writing with an ink or rollerball ink pen. We do not encourage ball point pens except for rough work in the upper Junior Classes.
As all parents are aware, children first learn to speak by listening to adults. Language throughout life, and especially at the primary school stage, is constantly being refined, and listening to different forms of speech is an important part of this refinement process. Children are encouraged to listen to the teacher and the other children, to visitors in school, and to television, C.Ds and tape recordings.
As the most common use of language, speech is obviously important. We seek to encourage purposeful talk. We encourage the children to communicate their ideas and questions clearly and accurately but not at the cost of destroying their pleasure in the use of language. Speech is seen as a springboard for both reading and writing.
Maths is one of life’s essential skills; a solid foundation of which is essential in everyday situations as well as the world of work. Our aim is to nurture a desire for knowledge and understanding and equip pupils with the mathematics they need to become numerate, applying skills learnt in other areas of the curriculum. We believe in making learning fun and use lots of practical resources and strategies in maths lessons.
Early Infant work is based on number games and practical experience of mathematical ideas. Children learn to count, explore shapes and measure length, weight, time and capacity through practical activities; opportunities to further explore mathematical concepts are provided through the continuous provision.
Within the new National Curriculum, expectations have increased across the key stages. In many cases it can be seen that what was expected as extension work for higher ability children is now being expected for all children. In addition to this, some aspects of areas of learning are to be taught at an earlier stage e.g. formal written methods, introduction of standard units of measurement, tables to 12 x 12 to be learnt by the end of year 4.
A range of published mathematics schemes are used to complement the new National Curriculum of more formal work in Classes 2, 3 and 4. Care is taken to balance the acquisition of the basic skills of computation with knowledge of the language of mathematics and the development of mathematical concepts. The number work in the Infant classes is taught in such a way as to allow each child to develop at his or her own rate. Calculators, computers and maths games are used alongside the Mathematics Scheme, to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical ideas and their practical application..
Science is taught through observation and investigation of the physical world. Children are encouraged to interpret their observations, compare, construct and test hypotheses and communicate their results in speech or writing. Science is often incorporated into project work. Units of work from the New National Curriculum are linked to topic work wherever possible. Studies of plant and animal life and the changes that occur in the natural world continue throughout the year. Staff make good use of the outdoor environment to enrich teaching and learning.
History and Geography
The themed approach is used for these two areas of study following the guidelines laid down in the National Curriculum Documents. This work may be organised to incorporate the whole class, or groups of children working together. Subjects chosen will have a definite historical or geographical bias, but may also include religious or scientific content. Completed work may contain many different forms of expression, e.g. writing, art or craft.
Art and Design & Technology
Children are encouraged to use a variety of media to develop techniques and skills and also to produce individual work. We will cover drawing, painting, collage, needlework, modelling, printing and cookery. Art, and Design and Technology are also used to model and illustrate work in other subject areas.
The school has a wireless network of laptops, iPods and iPads, enabling all classes to enjoy the benefits of a wide and varied curriculum. We also have a website, which has been developed in order to complement the school curriculum. By the time the children reach Year 6, they have had the opportunity to develop a wide range of ICT skills, including presentations, animations , Desktop Publishing and programming.
P.E. and Games
Children will be given opportunities to explore, develop and control body movement in six main areas of physical education, gymnastics, games, dance and drama, swimming, outdoor pursuits and athletic activities. The hall is used for P.E. and we are fortunate to have it fitted out with gymnastic apparatus. Rounders, cricket, football, skittle ball and athletics take place on the playing fields close to the school. Years 5 and 6 have the opportunity to go to the Isle of Man for a week of outdoor education in June. Those pupils who choose not to go will enjoy an Activity Week in school.
At Key Stage 2 all pupils have an entitlement to swimming as part of the National Curriculum requirements for Physical Education. To this end children in Years 3, 4 and 5 go swimming once a week to 3-1-5 Gym in Lancaster, in the Spring Term, and Years 4,5 and 6 go in the Summer Term.
Music is an important part of the school curriculum. Singing is taught in all classes, and pitched and unpitched percussion instruments are used throughout the school for composing and performing music. Children are given the opportunity to listen to a wide range of music. Instrumental classes are given in the recorder to all the children who wish to participate, (except Reception) in woodwind and stringed instruments (including guitar) in years 3, 4, 5 and 6 subject to available places. The Governors regret that due to the current financial situation in schools, there will be a termly charge for instrumental tuition (see Charging Policy).
Sex education is provided for all children in a manner appropriate to their age and development as part of a wider teaching programme which emphasises the importance of family life and personal development. Parents will be given prior notice of any topic of work which involves sex education and will be given the opportunity to discuss the teaching materials with the teachers concerned. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education lessons.
R.E and Collective Worship
Religious Education is taught throughout the school, in addition to collective worship in daily assemblies.
In accordance with the Lancashire Agreed Syllabus the R.E. curriculum and the collective worship are predominantly Christian. The children are encouraged to develop a caring attitude to the natural world, and to explore their response. As part of the Lancashire Agreed Syllabus, the children are also introduced to the other major world faiths. Children have the opportunity to visit places of worship and meet members of different religious communities. They are encouraged to explore their own beliefs and values whilst developing understanding and acceptance of the beliefs of others.
You have a right as parents to withdraw your child in whole or part, from religious worship and collective worship. During the period of the withdrawal your child will be given the opportunity to do some meaningful work.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the curriculum, these can be directed to the Headteacher in the first instance, or to a member of the Governing Body. Please see the Policies section of the website for the Complaints Procedure.
Statistical evidence has consistently and clearly shown the vulnerability of the young and inexperienced road user. Road safety education is a learning process that involves developing a range of skills and knowledge that will enable children to become aware of, and competent in, the traffic environment. The school will actively support the development of positive attitudes towards road usage. This will be achieved through the integration of appropriate road safety themes and topics into the curriculum. In addition efforts will be made to work in partnership with parents in order to further encourage safe practices on or near the road, through the provision of relevant publicity materials and information.