Curriculum

The school uses the National Curriculum 2014 as a basis for all schemes of work. Curriculum overviews can be found on a separate page. Futher details about each term’s work can be found in individual class teacher’s termly curriculum letters; these are sent out to parents at the start of each term.

At Boltons C of E primary we have designed our curriculum in a way that allows us to recognise our children’s prior learning and to maximise the opportunities within our local area in order to provide first hand learning experiences that allow our pupils to not only make progress academically, but to also develop life skills. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community and aim to deliver a curriculum that allows pupils to become creative, critical thinkers, develop inter-personal skills, build resilience and  become life-long independent learners. All that we teach is underpinned by Fundamental British Values and our ‘Star Christian Values’ of respect, love and friendship, courage, forgiveness, trust and compassion.

We regularly provide enhancement opportunities, in and out of school, to engage learners and to promote positive attitudes to learning. We strive to provide a stimulating environment, and a curriculum, that provides opportunities for children to be happy and engaged, provides new experiences and extends knowledge in ways that allows them to develop enquiring minds in order to investigate the world around them.

Children are given opportunities to contribute to their learning with ideas for research in some subjects and through their pupil learning journals. They have chosen our core Christian values for this year.

We hope that the impact of our curriculum will be seen not only in attainment and the acquisition of skills and knowledge, but also in the manner in which our pupils conduct themselves as they journey through life. We hope that our pupils leave us as tolerant, caring, confident and polite members of society who understand and respect everybody’s differences and are able to make decisions that will have a positive impact on their community. We celebrate achievements in all areas, not just academic, during our weekly Friday achievement assemblies.

During a normal week all classes cover the following subjects: Computing; Maths; English; History or Geography; Art or Design and Technology; PE; RE; Science; Music and a Modern Foreign Language in KS2. From January 2020 we re-introduced lessons in PSHE to cover new RSE requirements.

Mathematics

We want to equip all of our pupils with skills and knowledge in maths that mean they are able to use these successfully and confidently in every day life. We seek to promote an enjoyment of maths and problem solving which fosters engagement. In Maths, we aim to encourage all our children to want to become confident mathematicians. We want them to feel that they are able to achieve whilst allowing them to challenge themselves in order to extend their own learning. Learning facts (fluency) is only a part of becoming a mathematician. Being able to question, explain and prove their own thinking demonstrates our desire to encourage our children to be willing to take risks and accept that mistakes will inevitably happen and to learn from these. Encouraging resilience and perseverance is a key factor of becoming a successful learner and we therefore aim to provide challenges which will help to develop these skills.

The children work in their classes for Maths, but if necessary some children are moved to fit in with their ability ensuring that no child is held back in their development.

Each lesson starts with a basic arithmetic element, in which a knowledge of their tables is essential.  This is followed by the teacher explaining the main mathematical context for the day and the last part of the lesson is group work based on this.

Formal recording of work begins once children in KS1 are confident using numbers and the way this is done is explained to parents by the teachers at consultation evenings or at an open evening to discuss the curriculum. The school has a calculation policy that outlines how maths is recorded. Problem solving activities are built into every maths unit so that children have regular opportunities to use and apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Weekly maths checkers allow teachers to see any areas that require more work or to identify pupils who may be struggling or exceeding in some areas of the maths curriculum. Pupils also have opportunities to use mathematical skills in other curriculum areas, e.g science and D/T.

English

At Boltons CE School we want all pupils to develop their oracy and writing skills and techniques so that are able to effectively and confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions. Children are taught that speaking aloud and writing can be a means to entertain, to inform, to persuade and to discuss, while showing a real awareness of purpose and audience. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and to be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time at primary school. We want our pupils to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We encourage all of our pupils to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a clear, joined handwriting style by the time they leave primary school. We actively encourage pupils to edit and draft their own writing, learning from their mistakes. Pupils are supported to become independent learners, so as to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. All pupils are challenged to write to the best of their ability in a variety of ways: creatively, imaginatively, factually and in more formal ways to engage their reader, not only within the subject of English but also across the wider curriculum. We run sessions for parents to explain how phonics is taught and how this builds on reading skills. Early reading skills are taught when children enter school and we actively promote reading for pleasure throughout the whole school.

The school teaches English daily and through this the skills of reading and writing are taught.

All children, when they  start school, have different levels in their ability to communicate and understand language. As the ability to express oneself is of vital importance each child is encouraged, from an early stage, to talk to the teacher and others in the the class and also to learn to concentrate and listen when others are talking.

Reading

Great emphasis is placed on an early interest in reading and in developing a love of books.  From their first day in school all children are encouraged to listen to stories, look at books, and take part in making class books. All teachers in all classes read to the children every day; the amount varies, but, as a rule of thumb, children in Early Years and KS1 have stories read to them at least three times a day and in KS2 the classes end the day with a chapter from their class book. The children are encouraged to select the books they would like to hear in KS1 and Early Years and teachers choose books in KS2 based on their class’ interests. All staff encourage children to identify and discuss unfamilair vocabulary during these reading sessions.    The Oxford Reading Tree is our main reading scheme, supported by The Flying Boot, Wellington Square, Heinemann, Books on Demand, Nelson Thorne’s reading scheme and, in KS2, Collins Pathways Readers.  These are the reading books the children will bring home to practise their skills with.  A partnership of learning between home and school is needed: school to teach skills, home to practise these by a regular sharing of reading books. Once a child has reached a certain level of competence and confidence they read from a wider range of free choice books, which are regularly added to.

As well as teaching the necessary skills for fluent mechanical reading we also teach children how to understand and interpret the nuances of different texts through structured reading comprehension lessons. In the Early Years’ class children learn, through discussion, to retrieve information and make simple predictions. Higher level reading skills, such as inference and deduction, are taught in all other classes on a weekly basis and progress is checked through weekly reading comprehension activities; as children progress through school there is more emphasis on providing detailed written answers. Reading comprehension texts are closely matched to the particular genre of writing being studied.

Reading is a cross-curricular activity and the children are given opportunities to extend their reading skills, sight vocabulary and language acquisition in all subjects.

Phonics

We have introduced the ‘Twinkl Phonics’ Scheme (an approved Phonics teaching scheme).

The Twinkl Phonics Approach is a rigorous and proven multi-sensory approach. The children can join in with the adventures of Kit, Sam and the Twinkl Phonics family, while they receive the vital building blocks they need to read and write. Our multi-sensory approach includes: engaging activities focused on developing and applying reading and writing skills. mnemonics, actions, handwriting formation rhymes and songs to reinforce sound and letter recognition, as well as active repetition to ensure rapid recall of grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPCs) and common exceptions words.

New reading books have also been introduced to support the structure of this teaching scheme. These are an an exciting, original collection of engaging fully-decodable books, exactly aligned with phonics. Children will only encounter the sounds and tricky words they’ve already learnt at their stage of the scheme. The books include a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, quizzes and fabulous illustrations. The books reflect the world in which we live, promote diversity, and keep 21st century readers turning pages.

 Writing

Writing skills are also taught and, from emergent writing, the children are encouraged to use writing in other areas of the curriculum as well as in play activities.

Creative writing, in the form of stories and poems, is emphasised throughout the school, and writing skills are taught within and beyond English lessons. Children are taught a cursive style of handwriting from Year One onwards.

In the Early Years’ class children have opportunities to write for a purpose and this is usually child initiated.

In all other classes writing planning is done with the teacher; pupils are provided with structured planning ideas and teachers model the different types of writing styles necessary for different genres. Pupils are encouraged to use language they have acquired through reading and teachers also provide word banks as well as using pupil generated ideas and language.

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) skills are taught as discrete weekly lessons.

Parents can greatly enhance their child’s reading and writing skills by providing encouragement and interest at home and ensuring that books and reading have a high priority.  A shared story develops your child’s understanding of the written word and how it is used; so please continue to read to your child for as long as you both enjoy it.

Visits to the theatre and having simple theatrical performances in school are also a regular part of the school year.

Computing and ICT

In computing we strive to give our pupils the life skills that will enable them to embrace and utilise new technology in a socially responsible and safe way. We encourage our children to become independent users of computing technologies, gaining confidence and enjoyment from their activities so that it is an integral part of their life. Children will work with a range of algorithms to design, write and debug programmes to accomplish specific goals. They will understand various computer networks including the Internet and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration. Computing is valued as a teaching and learning tool across the curriculum: it is applied to real life situations and used to create purposeful products. Computing significantly enhances teaching and learning in all subjects by enabling rapid access to knowledge, information and experiences from a wide range of sources. Internet safety is an integral part of all computing taught at Boltons School; we strive to ensure our children use technology safely and respectfully, keeping information private and knowing how to act and where to seek help should any issues arise. We want our children to leave primary school excited about the ever-changing technology in our world and be equipped with the skills to use it within their lives.

Each class has an hour each week to learn computing and then at least one other slot to ensure that ICT skills are developed systematically throughout the year groups. The school has a mix of laptops and tablets so ICT can be used in other subjects. All classrooms are networked and have supervised access to the Internet. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard to enhance lessons in every subject. Each year the school adds to or updates its computers and software.

The school also has digital cameras, Beebots, Probots, iPads and a video camera to aid and extend its ICT provision.

We use the PurpleMash units of work as our scheme of work to teach lessons in computing and we have identified key basic ICT/word processing skills for each year group.

At the start of each half term we reinforce the importance of e-safety and teach children how to keep themselves while online.

Science

Science offers many opportunities for investigation, both inside and outside the classroom. Through our science curriculum we aim to provide opportunities for our pupils to develop the skills to explain and question what they have observed, investigated and learnt, as well as creating excitement and curiosity. As far as is practical and possible lessons give children a hands-on experience and enable them to discover science for themselves. It is taught throughout the school, allowing children of all ages to enjoy the subject. Lessons are as interactive and meaningful as possible. Science is all around us and we aim to contextualise pupils’ learning by making the lessons relevant by relating what they are learning to their everyday lives. We want them to talk about the world around them, be curious about what they see and to ask questions and not to take things for granted. We encourage them to describe and explain what they find. We build upon previous knowledge and skills, revisiting themes several times throughout the children’s time here, allowing for consolidation and an accumulation of knowledge which begins in our Early Years. Within the curriculum we also focus on the skills the children need to become accurate, careful and confident practical scientists, mastering the skills of planning and carrying out fair tests, using equipment accurately, taking exact readings and measurements and recording this in appropriate ways.

Wherever possible science is a mixture of whole class teaching and practical activities; opportunities for group work are built into most lessons. The school follows the National Curriculum for science and pupils are encouraged to develop skills of inquiry through all science topics. Science is taught on a two year rolling programme.

 Art and Design

Art and Design plays a vital role in our curriculum- it stimulates imagination, creativity and self-expression while allowing our pupils to develop resilience, confidence and critical thinking skills. Art and Design promotes careful observation and helps children develop a natural sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. We explore a wide range of media and techniques to encourage our children to communicate what they see, think and feel through the use of colour, texture, form and pattern. We study the works of artists from around the world and from different time periods and cultures, teaching children to develop critical thinking and to appreciate, be inspired by and learn from the skills of others. We ask children to challenge themselves, using sketching and planning to explore ideas and for them to look back reflectively, making adaptations and developing their skills as they work. Through painting, drawing, and sculpture children explore a range of starting points and inspirations, developing the confidence to experiment and understand that there is no set or predetermined way to produce artistic pieces; artwork is an expression of their ideas and therefore individual to them. While it is essentially a practical subject, art does also provide opportunities for reflection and gives pupils opportunities to make informed, critical responses of their own work and that of others in a sensitive manner.

We have a two year rolling programme and within this we have identified local and international artists that we teach the children about.

Design and Technology

Through our design and technology curriculum we aim to give pupils opportunities to make links to the real world through exploration of different designers and their works. We strive to teach in a way that allows pupils to develop their creativity and gives them the practical skills needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and successfully.  We aim to give meaning to what they do by creating a range of structures, mechanisms, textiles, electrical systems and food products that have a purpose. Children are taught where our food comes from and are encouraged to develop a healthy lifestyle, while designing and creating food products. We teach the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to design, make and evaluate a product in practical ways. Whenever possible the design process is relevant and rooted in real life to give a relevant context to their learning. Children are given choice and a range of tools to choose freely from. Children are taught to evaluate their own products against design criteria and are taught the relevant technical vocabulary.

We have designed our D/T curriculum to ensure that products made are meaningful and, wherever possible, have a purpose/use and that the skills acquired will be of use. Cooking is part of our D/T curriculum and all classes have opportunities to learn about nutrition and cooking skills through discrete lessons.

Pupils in KS2 receive one hour tuition in design and technology or art per week. In KS1 art and design and technology are taught in half termly blocks.  Some art lessons are linked, whenever possible, to topics being covered in other areas.

History and Geography

History and geography are taught in half termly blocks, with both key stages having lessons in either subject once per week. To bring these subjects alive we try to take children to visit sites of interest or bring visitors in to school whenever possible and we also encourage the children to use skills in maths and English within their topic work. We take part in workshop sessions led by local museum staff and these provide opportunities for the children to view and handle artefacts from the past. We have tried to use our local areas as much as possible so that children can gain first hand experiences.

History

Learning about and from history should not take place solely within the classroom, but should make use of the world around us and include visits, practical and outdoor learning as well as learning which centres on real artefacts and voices. We believe that in doing all of this we can truly bring history to life for our pupils. Our intention is that our teaching of history will help pupils gain an understanding of chronology and when events happened in relation to one another. We want to inspire curiosity and a love of history in our pupils, within an accessible curriculum that gives pupils opportunities to ask questions, select and evaluate evidence and use this evidence to make judgements about the past. We believe this is vital so children can understand that there is often more than one side to a story and that history can be viewed from different perspectives. Historical enquiry is all about asking questions about the past that we hope the evidence will help us to answer. We believe that skills and knowledge go together and are taught hand in hand. We aim to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history, including knowledge of key events, dates, people and innovations from the different time periods studied.

History in KS1 is centred around developing a sense of chronology and an awareness of the past, and how and what changes have occurred. We teach the children through a mix of knowledge and skills based lessons covering topics such as The Fire of London, The Romans in Cumbria, Queens and Kings and studies of local and international famous people e.g William Wordsworth and Neil Armstrong. In KS2 we aim to widen the children’s understanding of how historical events in the wider world have had an impact on our lives today through studies of ancient civilisations (Ancient Greece and Egypt; The Maya); local studies (Romans; Carlisle Castle; Invaders and Settlers -Vikings, Anglo Saxons and Scots; WWII; Stone Age to Iron Age) and also studies of different periods of British History (Tudors, 20th Century Britain, The Roman Invasion, and the Struggle for a Kingdom- Anglo Saxons to Edward the Confessor).

Geography

We believe that Geography can excite and inspire a fascination and curiosity about the world we live in. Our teaching aims to equip pupils with knowledge about different places, people, resources and both the natural and human environments. We strive to deepen pupils’ understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of their locality, our World, and their place in it. Experiential learning is key to our geography curriculum;  the most memorable moments come from first-hand experience of being a geographer while outside. Geography is by nature an investigative subject; we seek to inspire in children a life-long curiosity and fascination about our planet and all that inhabit it. We want our children to gain confidence and have practical experiences of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills. We aim to promote their interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources, as well as encouraging debate and opinions on local and global issues. The curriculum is designed to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive, as well as being transferable. Global Citizenship links to the subject and will encourage children to challenge ignorance and intolerance and build their own understanding of world events and how these can impact on all of our daily lives.

In geography at KS1 we start in our local area and focus on mapping skills and comparing our local area to contrasting localities. We explore seaside areas and look at how our school and village fit into children’s understanding of the wider world. In KS2 we continue to develop geographical mapping skills and studies include learning about the UK and how we fit into our diverse world. We teach the children about environmental issues through exploration of climates in different countries, alternative energy sources, food miles and water conservation. The children are taught about how land is used in different regions of the world and the impact this has on the land and the people.

PE

Here at Boltons CE School we recognise the importance of PE and the role it has to play in promoting long term, healthy lifestyles. We aim to provide a PE Curriculum that all pupils from Reception to Year 6 not only enjoy, but also allows them to experience a range of activities that help them to develop their health, fitness and wellbeing. We strive to offer a high quality physical education curriculum that inspires all pupils to exceed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities, where they are given an opportunity to embed values such as fairness and respect. We want our pupils to appreciate the benefits of a healthy and physically active lifestyle.

All pupils in KS1 and KS2 recieve 2 hours of curriculum PE per week.

Swimming is part of our PE curriculum with KS2 pupils visiting the swimming baths for one term in the year.  Parents are asked to collect their children from the pool after these lessons.

The school has continued to encourage sports through team games of rounders, cross-country, tag-rugby, kwik-cricket and football.  Sports tournaments against local schools take place throughout the year.  Parental help with sport is used whenever possible. Coaching staff visit school for a range of actvities; this year we have coaches booked for tennis, rugby, cricket, football, gymnastics and dance. School staff work alongside coaches to develop their skills. We also hold a Daily Mile run and all children participate in this.

See our PE and Sport page for more details about competitions.

 Music

We aim to give opportunities for our pupils to experience, explore and appreciate music in its many and varied forms. We strive to provide opportunities for our pupils to sing with confidence and expression and to play musical instruments within a variety of different contexts; we want our pupils to be able to use their skills to compose short musical pieces and to play along with familiar songs and poems. We also provide opportunities for our pupils to use new technologies to compose and express themselves musically.

Mr Clarke teaches music to all classes for one hour per week; as part of these lessons he also incorporates dance and drama activities, which may be linked to other areas of the curriculum.

Workshops and concerts by visiting musicians play a regular part in the school curriculum.

Religious Education

As well as enabling children to study a range of religious and worldwide views and reflect on their own opinions, our RE curriculum provides opportunities for children to understand how our school values are rooted in the Christian faith and to also recognise how these values are widely held across many key world religions and cultures. RE at Crosscanonby St John’s CE School develops children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and promotes respect and understanding of others and their beliefs. The teaching of RE allows children to question, express and reflect on their own and others’ views and beliefs and prepares them for future life. RE helps to develop children’s confidence to speak and be able to clearly articulate their ideas and arguments. The RE curriculum is enriched by visits to places of worship and engagement, when possible, with members of different faith communities.

A daily act of Collective Worship is held and pupils are involved in writing prayers and choosing hymns for these. All class teachers teach RE once per week and children are encouraged to join in with class discussions and to record their thoughts and opinions in a variety of age appropriate ways.

RE is taught in accordance with the County Agreed Syllabus, and is of a broadly Christian nature.  The children also study a number of other faiths to help prepare them for their future in our multi-cultural society.

It is a legal requirement that all children have access to knowledge of both Christian and other faiths. Parents have the right of withdrawal if they do not wish their children to participate. If children are withdrawn from either RE or collective worship, they would be supervised by a member of staff in a suitable activity. RE is taught once a week by class teachers.

Relationships, Health and Sex Education

In PSHE, as well as across the other areas of the curriculum, we explore many social and moral issues and also teach children about British Values and different respectful relationships. Lessons also provide opportunities to look at global issues, health, wealth and friendships. Our aim is to ensure that our children become healthy, independent and responsible members of society with an awareness of their rights and respect for our diverse society. Wellbeing and awareness of mental health issues are an integral part of our curriculum, not just in PSHE. Relationship education is taught through PSHE and also through our Science Curriculum. Our PSHE curriculum is designed to give the relevant context to build skills and to develop positive attitudes, self-esteem, resilience and confidence, all of which need to be taught explicitly as well as nurtured implicitly, through a well-structured curriculum that builds upon previously learnt knowledge and skills.

The Governors’ policy on Sex Education in school is that this should be taught as part of the  Science curriculum. It will be treated in a sensitive, but factual way throughout the school.  Lessons will be appropriate to the age of the children being taught.

Parents of Y6 children will be invited into school to see how this area will be taught to their children.

A parent has the right to withdraw their child/children, from Sex education, except that which is part of the National Curriculum for science requirement.

There is no right to withdraw children from health or relationships education. From January 2020 we have taught realationships and health education as part of PSHE lessons. Our policy for this will be available on our policy page and we have developed our own scheme of work for this area of the curriculum.

Modern Foreign Languages

We teach French to all pupils from Year 3 upwards and it is taught by class teachers. Our curriculum is based around developing basic grammatical and reading skills alongside learning new vocabulary. Teaching about inter-cultural understanding is interwoven into lessons.

Our French curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for the children to learn and use basic words and phrases that they can use with increasing confidence in real life situations and, as their confidence in speaking and understanding these basic phrases grows, to be able to independently read and understand simple texts and write short grammatically correct sentences to show their understanding. Alongside this the children learn about French culture and how daily life is similar and different to our own lives. We hope that a basic understanding of vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language helps broaden our pupils’ understanding of their own language and gives them a thirst to develop skills in other foreign languages and, by learning about how cultures and countries are linked, to develop a tolerant attitude towards all.

 Homework

The school has a homework policy. As the children progress through the school the amount of homework will increase.  We will try not to overload; we fully appreciate that they need time to relax too.  Where possible we try to make homework an activity that can be done with your child, particularly in the Early Years and KS1.

Please hear your child read as they may not always be heard regularly in school. Help your child to learn tables, go over them, then ask out of sequence or as a problem to check they really are known. By the end of Year 4 pupils should know all of the tables.

The school expects homework to be done on time unless a parent/carer has given sound reasons to the child’s teacher saying why this was not possible.  If homework is not completed then the child will be asked to do it at a set supervised time in school.

Spellings

Spellings are given weekly from Yr 1 up and we ask that the children learn these in the following way: Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check, so that they cannot see the word as they write it down.

Educational Visits

We believe that taking children out of school to gain first hand experience is a valuable way of learning.  These may be taken at any time during the school year and are connected to the work the children are doing at the time.  Parental permission is obtained for any journey. A voluntary contribution towards such visits is usually requested. We take pupils in Years 5/6 on residential visits to either London or an outdoor activity centre.

Involving Parents

In Year Reception parents are able to view and comment on their child’s day to day progress and learning through home/school books and our online learning platform, Tapestry.  To access this, please speak to Mrs Smith and she will provide the link and your own password – this is only for pupils in Year Reception.

All pupils in other classes use a web based learning platform called Purple Mash and pupils are able to access this at home using their own individual password and they can share their work with parents if they wish.


Assessment

Assessment of pupils’ progress in all subjects is important and, at parents’ consultations, we aim to talk to you as parents about your child’s achievements in all areas, not just maths and English.

Children in Reception take part in a baseline assessment during their first few weeks in school.

We use Key Performance Indicators to assess progress in maths, English and science in KS1 and KS2 and these allow us to see exactly what pupils know and need to improve on. The statement banks are updated by teachers regularly and feed into end of term assessments. More formal termly assessements are carried out in maths and English from Year 1 upwards.

For all other subjects we have developed our own end of Key Stage outcomes and are developing end of unit assessment grids based on our schemes of work and the requirements of the National Curriculum.

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