At Cross Gates Primary Gates we aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which provides opportunities for all our pupils to learn and achieve. We believe that pupils should enjoy learning and we therefore prioritise the planning of a creative and stimulating curriculum. Building on the pupils’ strengths and interests, staff work hard to encourage and motivate pupils so that they can achieve the best possible progress and attainment, and by providing rich and varied experiences, enable pupils to acquire, develop and apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding.
Aims of the Curriculum
We aim to provide a curriculum that will be relevant to our children’s needs and enable them to take an active role both in their local community and the wider society.
It will engage the children so that they develop confidence and resilience in their learning.
Our curriculum will motivate, challenge, inspire, and excite the children so that they value their education. It will encourage independence, build good teamwork skills and provide opportunities for the children to think creatively and solve problems.
The development of oral skills will underpin our curriculum and we will promote the cross-curricular use of Mathematics, English and Computing.
In our curriculum, we will encourage the involvement of parents, carers and the local community in order to share learning experiences at home and in school.
The curriculum will focus on high quality outcomes for all both in attainment and personal development.
How the curriculum is organised
At Cross Gates Primary School all pupils are taught the National Curriculum, together with the wider school curriculum. Curriculum documents are held at school and may be seen by asking the Headteacher.
Nursery and Reception have a Foundation Stage curriculum based on areas of learning.
Key Stage One applies to ages 5 – 7 years (Pupils in Years 1 and 2).
Key Stage Two applies to ages 7 – 11 years (Pupils in Years 3 – 6).
In Key Stages One and Two the curriculum is taught in subjects and through ‘topics’. Pupils are taught in classes which are grouped according to age. Our teaching strategies are flexible and the children are taught as either a whole class, in broad ability groups, in small groups or individually. This approach enables us to match the work to the ability, attainment, interest and experience of each child.
Children learn most effectively through first hand experiences. Their interest is stimulated by visits whenever possible to farms, museums, theatres and special buildings, for example the Jewish Heritage Centre and Skipton Castle. We also aim for children to learn about their community through local visits such as to the local history society, and through links to community organisations. Learning is further enhanced by visitors to school and residential opportunities for our older children. We believe in active learning where pupils are involved in practical activities as much as possible.
Our curriculum is based around questions, for example “What did the Romans do for us?” and “Was it really that bad to have lived during World War Two?” Based on the pupils’ interests, these questions are broken down in to learning challenges which the children are encouraged to investigate and answer. These challenges build up to answer the ‘big question’. This approach enables pupils to ask questions, research ideas and to problem solve; it is designed to encourage and develop independent learning and qualities such as resilience and responsibility. There are opportunities through our study units for pupils to develop a range of skills in Science, History, Geography, Art and Design, Design Technology, ICT, Music and P.E. as well as in English and Mathematics.
English and Mathematics
The teaching of basic skills is a priority at Cross Gates Primary. These are taught explicitly, for example in specific daily Maths and English lessons, but opportunities are also provided for pupils to practise those skills across the whole curriculum.
Great emphasis is placed upon English in school as it is the means by which all learning is accessed. The development of good speaking and listening is central to our work with children and so permeates the whole curriculum.
The teaching of reading is also linked to speaking and listening as the words we read are made up of sounds that we hear. We use phonics as our primary approach in the teaching of reading, and we use a phonics document called Letters and Sounds to guide our planning and teaching which is supported by our school reading scheme. The main reading schemes we use are Rigby Rockets and OUP’s Project X, supplemented by Oxford Reading Tree.
Alongside the learning of letters and sounds, pupils are taught the correct letter formation and begin to use them to record their thoughts in writing. As they move through school, children are taught grammar and spelling skills daily and each week complete a longer piece of writing. Writing skills are applied throughout the different subjects in the curriculum.
Mathematics is taught in each class on a daily basis throughout the school. Our children learn important skills involving ‘number’, ‘shape, space and measures’, ‘handling data’ and how to use and apply their maths in different situations. Elements of maths may also be taught during study units or in other subjects such as science.
Mental maths skills are also taught daily as we believe the quick recall of number facts helps all pupils to use maths more efficiently. Problem solving and investigations make up a significant part of the maths curriculum and enable pupils to use maths in real life situations.
We are in the process of changing our long term plans for September 2014, when the new National Curriculum comes into place.
New plans will be uploaded here shortly.