How do we prepare children for adult life?
Rooted in the Community; Growing for the Future.
At Shire Oak, we want to make sure that children go off to secondary school as confident young people with a love of learning, the academic skills they need to do well in their studies and the social skills to make the best of the opportunities that are offered.
As well as core skills in English, maths, computing and science, we make sure our curriculum is balanced with a broad range of subjects and learning experiences that prepare children for further study, work and adult life. We dedicate curriculum time to philosophy, Cook It Grow It, learning an instrument and Forest Schools because we believe these help to develop the cognitive, practical, communication and reasoning skills that articulate adults need.
Our school structure includes an active School Council and engaged Peer Mediators. Year 6 pupils buddy new Reception children and older children act as reading mentors for younger ones. Our House Teams help to develop leadership skills, and House Team Hobby Half Days are keenly anticipated by children throughout school. Our sports teams are inclusive and give children a chance to lead in different ways. These opportunities help children become active citizens and our House Team Points, Superstar Certificates and Citizen of the Week award each show children that we value these qualities.
At Shire Oak, our motto is 'Rooted in the Community; Growing for the Future'. This, and our values, underpin the way that we plan our provision. From making sure that we walk to, or learn to take the public bus to go on trips, to ensuring each Shire Oak pupil leaves with a physical activity or sport that they love; our approach to school life helps children to grow up well.
From September 2014, schools need to follow a new National Curriculum. This sets out what pupils should be taught but it is for schools to choose how they organise their own school curriculum. The new Primary National Curriculum can be found here (Please note that academies and free schools do not need to follow the National Curriculum.)
At Shire Oak, all decisions about teaching and learning are made in keeping with our values. Our Values Statement was agreed by the whole school community and sets out what we want for our school and how we try to live those values out. The section on teaching and learning is particularly relevant to how we approach our curriculum.
Specific aims of our curriculum
At Shire Oak we aim to provide a curriculum that is innovative yet structured and challenging whilst being supportive. We hope it is exciting and motivates children to make the most of their potential, regardless of ability, race or gender.
Through providing pupils with a range of stimulating activities covering all curriculum areas, we aim to enable children to develop new skills, assimilate knowledge and develop the ability and understanding to make informed choices and judgements.
Our curriculum is designed to enable pupils to make links, develop their ideas, extend their learning and identify their strengths and areas for development with independence and increasing confidence.
We aim to create enabling classrooms and spaces inside school, we prioritise learning outdoors and we seek to enrich the curriculum through utilizing available outside agencies, local amenities, parents with relevant skills and partners of the school.
At Shire Oak Primary School we follow a cross-curricular approach where that is beneficial. This enables a child to make links, learn new skills and gain insight into the world in which we live. Rather than teach each subject as a discrete unit where no links are made, we foster in the children the ability to apply skills and knowledge they have gained in one area, to other areas of the curriculum and to apply such skills in the activities they carry out. The topics we choose depend on two factors: what areas of the National Curriculum we must cover and the interests and needs of the children. Some subjects are taught within topic lessons, but others (particularly maths and English) are taught as separate subjects with relevant links made.
Within each topic, there are enrichment opportunities to bring the subject to life. This can include, but is not limited to educational visits in the local area and beyond, visits from experts or drama practitioners, virtual workshops and theme days and weeks. These provide a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn outside of the classroom, and an exciting stimulus from which to extend and consolidate their work in school. Each term has a topic focus but may be supplemented by many other learning opportunities which can include things like a specific focus on philosophy, creating drama production or an intensive swimming course.
At the beginning of each term teachers write a letter to parents and carers with more information about what children will be learning in their class. Ideas for how parents can support their child`s learning will be given as well as details of extra-curricular activities and homework. These can be found here.