In the Reception year, children are taught in accordance with the Foundation Stage guidance. This covers the six learning areas of:
· Personal, Social and Emotional Development
· Communication, Language and Literacy
· Mathematical Development
· Knowledge and Understanding of the World
· Physical Development
· Creative Development
In Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1), lessons are planned and taught in accordance with the National Curriculum requirements.
Assessment is undertaken as set down in the Education Reform Act 1988. We have our own regular assessment procedures starting with a baseline assessment on entering school. The results of the National Curriculum assessment of seven year olds are reported separately and can be found at the end of this prospectus.
Language and Literacy
The Literacy Strategy is used throughout Key Stage 1. Within this framework, children are encouraged to acquire the following skills in the use of language:
• reading with fluency, understanding and enjoyment;
• writing with interest and sensitivity, showing knowledge of basic grammatical skills;
• learning the correct spelling of basic general vocabulary;
• developing a style of handwriting that encourages speed and legibility;
• communicating through clear speech using description, narration and explanation;
• developing an interest and appreciation of literature, poetry and drama appropriate to their age and interests.
All children participate in the Christmas play and other school productions.
The Numeracy Strategy is used in Key Stage 1. Here the focus is on numeracy and the acquisition of number skills including mental agility. The children’s work is carefully planned and among other features they acquire experience in areas such as time, shopping, weighing, capacity and measurement. As children develop, they are taught to record their findings in a systematic and logical way.
Through discussion, observation and investigation, children study a number of topics, including:
• health education;
• the environment;
• animal and human life cycles - reproduction is dealt with as questions arise from the children;
• the properties of materials.
As children progress, they learn to conduct simple experiments, again, recording their findings in a systematic and logical way.
The rural location of the school gives an added dimension to the study of nature with the rich variety of wildlife within the school grounds.
Children work with a wide range of materials and techniques to enable them to experience and understand the design process. They design, make and evaluate articles to meet a specific need.
We joined the National Grid for Learning in April 2000. We now have a computer room with 5 PCs. These are used as tools to enhance learning in all areas of the curriculum. Applications include mathematics, design, communication and data collection. There are also 4 new PCs available for pupils in other areas of the school.
The children learn about people, places and times beyond their immediate experience and communicate their findings using simple historical and geographical vocabulary.
Art is integrated into the whole curriculum. Children express their creative ideas using a range of materials and techniques. They are also encouraged to develop an appreciation of the work of well-known artists.
Children experience and enjoy music through singing and movement, and by using tuned and untuned percussion. They listen to music from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. A specialist music teacher, whose services are
currently paid for by the Friends of Dropmore, teaches them on a weekly basis. Older children are taught to play the recorder. Children are encouraged to perform in public.
Children develop their physical skills by the use of a variety of apparatus, ranging from wall bars and climbing ropes to bats and balls. Team games, such as rounders, are taught to older children, as are the basic skills for other team games. Maypole and country dancing are also taught alongside creative dance.
Sex Education is not taught formally in this school but questions asked are answered frankly as and when necessary.
Dropmore is an interdenominational school. Children are invited to attend the local Church of England church to take part in main church festivals. They are also encouraged to learn about other religions.
Religious education at Dropmore concerns the whole of life, the environment and relationships with others. Children are helped to grow in awareness of themselves and others, and to develop an interest in and reflect upon the world around them. Religious education is provided in school assemblies, class prayers and with carefully selected stories and topics of interest. The children are encouraged to take part in and lead assemblies. Children participate in assemblies unless parents specifically ask for them to be withdrawn. In this situation, they read in the library under supervision.