5. Information Tech
6. Design Tech
8. Religious Education
9. PHSE & Citizenship
12. Art and Design
13. Physical Education
A large amount of the school curriculum is delivered through thematic or project work. This almost always involves a visit or a visitor to support the learning, and base it in the world around us. Each term, teachers develop an exciting term's work based around a theme, for example invaders and settlers. This project approach embraces not only the use of spoken and written language but it also may include mathematical, scientific and other curriculum elements. Working on a thematic curriculum allows children to develop and use their skills in an exciting and relevant manner. It also challenges the child to develop their thinking and encourages them to experiment and take risks with their learning. Our aim is to provide children with a curriculum that makes them successful learners and encourages a thirst and excitement for all aspects of education.
Every term, teachers spend a lot of time planning the work they are going to do with the children. This detailed planning highlights the specific activities that each child will undertake in the course of the term. Each activity is designed to teach the child the appropriate knowledge and skills outlined in the National Curriculum. Each subject area is planned separately in order to guarantee that the children have a broad and balanced curriculum. Termly topic plans are sent home to inform parents of the proposed planning for that term. Academic excellence is obviously what we are striving for, however, we recognise the importance that the arts play in a child's development and often organise special events to celebrate the arts, including an annual Arts Week.
At Dartmouth Primary School we strive to develop children's confidence in the use of both spoken and written language. From the Nursery onwards the vital skills of discussing, listening, writing and reading are taught.
We encourage children to appreciate and care for books and children are introduced to the library as soon as they enter school. We have a large range of fiction and non-fiction books and belong to Devon Library Service, which ensures that we refresh the content of our library regularly.
Teachers help children to choose their own books from a range of reading schemes. As the child becomes a confident reader they become free readers and are able to select any of the books available in the school. Parents are invited to share in their child's reading at home, and indeed, many parents choose to work voluntarily in school hearing readers.
As soon as children come into school they are encouraged to write. This early form of written language is called emergent writing. Skills are then developed through learning the letter names and sounds, building up phonetic competence and learning to sight-read key words. The school's English programme closely follows the guidance and planning outlined in the National Literacy strategy.
Every class engages in a daily Literacy Hour devoted to developing children's skills and knowledge of text, grammar and punctuation. We encourage the children to use these skills in other areas of the curriculum.
The creative and expressive content of children's writing is deeply important. We teach children to write fiction and non-fiction styles for specific purposes. On many occasions these opportunities arise as a result of topic work, such as a study of Children in World War Two, or life during the Victorian era. At all times correct spelling, grammar, sentence formation and handwriting are explicitly taught.
Drama is a very powerful tool to develop language skills. Through role play and improvisation children are able to investigate and explore situations that they have not met before. Drama often becomes the stimulus for extended written work.
The schools mathematics programme follows the guidance contained in the National Numeracy Strategy. Mental and oral mathematics is of vital importance and forms the basis for the children investigating and exploring number, shape, space, data handling and measures.
The National Numeracy Strategy emphasises the need for children to be able to use a wide variety of strategies to solve real life problems. We like to use mathematical investigations to encourage children to develop their knowledge and application of mathematical skills.
The use of mathematical apparatus is extremely important in developing children?s mathematical skills. Children of all ages are encouraged to use apparatus, including pictures and jottings, to help them solve mathematical problems and they are also encouraged to discuss their thinking. Paired or partner work is particularly useful for this, and is used in most, if not all daily maths lessons. A child only truly understands a mathematical concept when they are able to explain it in words to another person.
Primary science sessions often leave children with a sense of awe and wonder; through science children begin to make sense of the world around them. Children are encouraged to observe, generate hypothesis and develop ways of fair testing. Children begin a scientific project by recapping what they already know, next they are asked to pose questions, make suggestions and plan experiments. All the time children are explicitly taught scientific skills such as measurement, handling of data, reporting and recording.
The main areas of scientific study covered include: knowledge and understanding of living things and their environment, materials and their characteristics, energy and its interaction with materials and forces and their effects.
5.Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
ICT is a tool that helps children to unlock other areas of the curriculum. We actively teach children to use computers for word processing, graphics, databases and movement and control purposes. Children regularly use the Internet and are becoming skilled in the use of email. For safety and security reasons children are not permitted to use the Internet unless supervised.
The school has made a commitment to continue to develop and increase its range of hardware and software. ICT is increasingly playing an important part in education. In Dartmouth Primary School we recognise this and ICT has an important place in our vision or the future development of the school. We currently have a suite of 12 PCs mainly used by KS2, and a set of 6 portable laptops used mainly by KS1 and Foundation Stage. The laptops can be moved around to be used either in class or shared areas. We have two digital cameras and two scanners, and we hope to purchase data projectors in the near future to enhance whole class teaching.
Through Design Technology children develop their skills as budding engineers, architects and fashion designers! Children are taught the design process; they are given a design brief, develop their designs, make prototypes and then test and evaluate. Design technology is practically based, drawing on other subject areas such as art, mathematics and science.
Correct use of materials and the safe handling of equipment such as scissors and wood working tools are taught.
History and Geography form a strong base to the thematic curriculum adopted by the school, and are essential to the development of a child?s understanding of the world.
History is an attempt to make meaningful reconstructions of the human past and therefore helps us to understand the present. Key concepts taught are time, change, evaluating evidence, research and the ability to discriminate between fact and points of view. Children are encouraged to weigh up evidence and to use it to support their own views on historical events.
Geography develops a child?s sense of place; the relationship between people and their environment. Concepts highlighted are: physical geography; how the landscape was formed and human geography; the interdependence of people and their environments.
As far as possible, work in these areas of the curriculum is based on local studies. Educational visits are often used to provide opportunities for relevant first hand experience. Local experts, parents and other members of the community are often invited into school to talk to the children about their experiences and memories.
8.Religious Education (RE)
The school at all times strives to create a secure environment where co-operation, understanding, honesty, discipline and love of one another are all encompassed in the everyday life of the school. The creation of a caring school community, one that supports children and parents, is our ultimate goal.
The teaching of religious studies supports this goal. RE helps children to determine their own beliefs and values and enhances the feelings of awe and wonder that primary school children regularly experience through studying other areas of the curriculum. The content of the RE curriculum is broadly Christian, although children are also taught the main tenets of the other major religions, helping children to recognise and value people of other faiths who live in our multi- cultural society.
NB. Parents have the legal right to withdraw their children from RE if they so desire.
9.PHSE & Citizenship
Citizenship is a form of personal, social and moral education. To be good citizens our children need to develop high self-esteem while at the same time learning to be tolerant of others. Although our entire school environment is geared to developing high self-esteem and tolerance, specific activities are given to the children to help develop important social skills. Many of these are taught or experienced during our PHSE sessions. PHSE is a very important in our school. We follow a plan through the school where one concept builds on another. These are taught during dedicated PHSE sessions, and consolidated in our ?Friendship group? meetings weekly.
We have a school council, giving the children a voice in the running of the school. Ideas are discussed in the classroom, and then put forward to the fortnightly School Council meeting.
We are currently working towards achieving the Healthy Schools Award. The areas we are working towards are healthy break times, PE, Sex and Relationship Education and Citizenship.
School Leaders play an important role at Dartmouth Primary School. They are selected from our oldest children in Year 6, and are asked to set an example to others in all that they do, and be a friend for any children in need. They are also responsible for selling our organic milk and healthy tuck at break time.
The Education Reform Act 1988 stipulates that an act of worship must be included in the school day. The Devon agreed syllabus states that an act of worship is educationally justified if it:
?Encourages a sense of the depth of human relationships and facilitates a sense of sharing in the community life of the school?
Our school?s acts of worship attempt to fulfil these criteria and usually include a simple prayer, story and a religious song. Worship is of a broadly Christian nature. The whole school meets twice a week for collective worship, with KS1 and KS2 meeting as a group once a week. The children are also involved in class worship.
NB. Parents have the right to withdraw children from acts of worship.
We encourage all our children to appreciate music and to understand how music can enrich our lives. In the early years, children become confident with singing and using simple percussion instruments. Through experimenting with different sounds and different instruments they soon become able to create their own music.
As the child becomes older we refine these skills, through the ?listen, compose and perform? approach. Children are introduced to pitched instruments and devise ways to write down their musical improvisations so that they can be performed at a later date. In this way, the child builds up their understanding of differing musical forms and begins to realise that music is another form of communication.
12.Art and Design
Art activities help the child to really look at the world around them; good art teachers maintain that they are teaching children to? see?!
Art activities often begin with studying the work of well-known artists, discussion is based around how that artist viewed the world and the children are asked to express their opinions on the artist?s work. Next, children are taught techniques and are introduced to a wide range of different media. Subsequently, children are encouraged to use their own creative talents and imaginations to create works of art. Pictures and models are then displayed for all to admire.
At regular intervals the school holds an Arts Week. A whole week spent working with resident artists, drama groups, musicians and authors. These are amazing weeks and the value to the children of such experiences is incalculable. It is such experiences that create future aspirations.
13.Physical Education (PE)
?Exercise activates your brain and gives you energy for everything else, the energy to be enthusiastic about your work. So all your school work will gain from Physical Education.?
Darcy Bussell, Royal Ballet.
PE forms an important and integral part of the curriculum at our school. Children participate in high quality physical activity from the Foundation Stage through to Year 6. Children in KS1 and KS2 receive 2 hours of taught PE each week, either as two long sessions or three shorter ones. Over the last 3 years we have been so successful in the development of our PE curriculum that we are currently applying for the Activemark Gold Award ? a national standard denoting high quality PE being taught and learned in school.
The PE curriculum is varied and challenging. Throughout KS1 the emphasis is on control and movement of the body, with skills developed in gymnastics, dance and games. Self-awareness and confidence are encouraged, with children learning how to take charge of their bodies and movements.
During KS2 children receive one session of gymnastics or dance per week and one session of games. During the games sessions the children focus on acquiring and developing skills that are specific to a particular sport, for example basketball or athletics. Children then attend a festival every term that brings together pupils from all the primary schools in the academic council for an afternoon of skills development and sharing. Within gymnastics and dance, children work through units of work designed to build and challenge their existing skills. They work both individually and in small groups to produce fluent sequences, all comprising of a range of taught skills.
Swimming is taught in our local pool on site between May half term and July. Children receive on average two 45 minute swimming sessions per week with the emphasis being upon safe, controlled swimming and stroke development. A lot of work is also carried out to encourage water confidence and children take part in many games designed to make them feel happy and confident in the water.
We are very proud of the PE that takes place in our school. We believe PE not only develops the children physically, but also fosters skills in teamwork, independence, creativity and self evaluation.