The curriculum of the school is what is taught and how it is taught. Within this is the National Curriculum which is laid down by government legislation and includes provision for the core subjects – literacy, numeracy and science – and the foundation subjects and RE. Within this framework, we aim to enrich the school day wherever possible by includes additional activities and we aim to make children's experiences both challenging and rewarding.
We believe that the education of young children is best seen as a whole and much of our planning and teaching centres on themes and modules. We aim to use technology whenever appropriate to enhance and enrich the children's learning and we are fully committed to the Government's idea of ‘Enjoyment and Excellence'.
We view the children very much as individuals: we recognise that all children have their own needs, personalities and behaviour patterns. We take this fully into account when we aim to help all children to achieve their full potential.
We are committed to providing a curriculum that promotes racial harmony, tolerance and equal opportunities for all. For this reason, our curriculum includes different personal, social, health and multi-cultural opportunities. It is our aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that will enrich children's lives now and prepare them for the future.
Within each class, a range of teaching methods are used to address the various needs and learning styles of different children and to ensure diversity of the curriculum. Work may be presented to the whole class, to small groups or to individual children. At different times and for different subjects, there will be opportunities for practical experiences, visits out of school and visitors to school. We believe in providing children with opportunities to participate in a broad and enriched curriculum whilst recognising the importance of the basic skills of literacy, numeracy and communication.
Important to the whole curriculum, children's skills of reading and writing are formally developed through the literacy hour. We give a high priority to the teaching and development of literacy skills through carefully planned and structured programmes of work.
We use a reading scheme in the early stages of reading to provide a thorough programme for each individual child. Children develop their skills and consolidate at each level before achieving targets and moving on to the next level. Much of the reading is done in small groups with a teacher or support assistant, but we also try to hear individual children as often as we can.
We use a comprehensive system to teach phonics throughout the school and all children have a graded series of key rings containing words to help with learning spellings.
Our partnership with parents is vital in the development of children's reading. Parents are encouraged to help their children change their reading books when they come into school, but also to read with them at home on a regular basis. Regular practice is the key to achieving high standards in reading from an early age. (Please see our ‘Information for Parents' booklet on how to help your child with reading at home for further details).
The children have writing targets which have been designed to help the process of writing by breaking it down into small, measurable units. The children are helped and encouraged to work towards these targets which are constantly reviewed and include spelling and handwriting in addition to grammar and punctuation.
All classes have a daily maths lesson based on the numeracy strategy. This is a carefully structured teaching programme containing practical activities and games with an emphasis on developing counting, mental calculation skills and recall of number facts. The children experience a wide range of activities designed to help their understanding of number, shape, space and measures, problem solving and data handling. Children are encouraged to discuss their strategies, express their ideas and explain what they are doing as this helps to further their understanding, promotes an engaging and interactive approach and helps them to become independent learners able to select appropriate mathematical strategies.
Right from the start when our children are in Reception, they are encouraged to develop an interest and fascination in the world around them. We want the children to ask questions and to wonder why and what if…? We teach them how and why things work and happen and place great emphasis on the development of investigative skills. The children learn to make observations, devise fair tests, make predictions and draw conclusions; they communicate their ideas and findings using scientific language, through drawings, tables, diagrams and graphs.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
At Heronshaw, we have made substantial investments in hardware and software to give our children the best possible introduction to this ever increasing and rapidly developing area. The children are taught to use computers and other ICT equipment confidently; to know when and how to use the technology to enhance their learning and to recognise the importance of ICT in the world around us. Our suite has 16 computers all linked via the broadband network to the internet, but we also use laptops (with wireless technology) around the school as part of our everyday lessons so that all children have access to appropriate technology to use across right across the curriculum. Children also use our interactive whiteboards in the classrooms which are an exciting and effective learning resource. We are committed to providing the best resources for our children and to training staff to learn new technologies as they arrive to make the best use of the excellent facilities that we have.
Design and Technology
Through DT we provide the children with the opportunity to develop a range of practical skills using a variety of tools and materials. They will learn to design and evaluate their work, consider safety implications and develop skills associated with other curriculum areas.
Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship
A new PSHE programme has recently been introduced based on a successful and popular commercial scheme. This has brought us up to date and enables us to build on our successful circle time where we discuss issues such as friendships, relationships and keeping healthy and looking after our bodies. We also deal with more complex issues such as teasing and bullying and look at our place in the wider community of a multi-ethnic society. We aim to foster positive attitudes, reinforce our Golden Rules, emphasise the importance of individuals and their responsibilities within society and boost confidence and self esteem.
History and Geography
We aim to encourage a curiosity about the past and much of our work in history centres on learning how and why things happened and how things compare with today. Children are asked to consider historical evidence and discuss what this tells us about the past. The children are taught these skills through a range of different topics in each year.
Geographical study inspires children to think about their own place in the world. There is an emphasis on investigative skills based on the local setting and the wider environment. We draw on a range of resources and recognise the importance of first hand information in developing geographical skills.
Special Educational Needs
We are committed to giving each child the opportunity to succeed. Work is planned to cover the diversity of needs and to give additional support to children who may need it. Through assessments and observations we aim to identify any individual child's difficulties as early as possible and plan how these can be overcome. Whenever possible we meet these needs within the context of the classroom. Parents are involved and consulted at all times and we have strong links with the LEA's support services and make good use of their advice and resources.
Any children with specific strengths are identified and are challenged at an appropriate level through extension tasks and differentiated programmes where appropriate. Parental support is always encouraged and valued.
PE is vital to children's well-being and health and we aim for all children to experience a sense of achievement from PE; we want them to develop their enthusiasm for a healthy and active lifestyle. The children participate in dance, gymnastics and games activities to develop skills, improve co-ordination and fitness and develop their ability to work co-operatively with others.
Art heightens a child's imagination and develops their perception of the world. The children are encouraged to make choices, to experiment and to discuss their work and that of others. A wide range of materials are used and we aim to teach the children the necessary technical skills appropriate to their age to enable them to express themselves creatively. The children have the opportunity to appreciate different art forms from different cultures and learn about the work of well known artists.
Music includes listening, singing, playing and composing. Children learn about music from different periods and cultures and are encouraged to discus their opinions. We aim to foster an interest in and enjoyment of music and hopefully engender a lifelong interest in listening to music; hopefully we can also foster a desire to play musical instruments and to sing.
Heronshaw is a non-denominational school and our work is based on the newly agreed syllabus for Milton Keynes . Children share knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other world religions. We teach the children about religious traditions and beliefs and give them the opportunity to reflect and develop personal values. Very importantly, we encourage a caring attitude to one another, respect for all and a tolerance and understanding towards all faiths and beliefs. Our Daily Act of Worship develops this philosophy of caring and respect for others.