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 may be opportunities for the children to go on educational visits in the local area and beyond. 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 or an intensive swimming course. We are proud to provide our children with a broad PSHCE curriculum, an overview for which can be found here.
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.
English and Maths
Please follow the link for a copy of our 2014 English Curriculum Document. This is being refreshed with new texts and links to our new class long term plans and topics.
We follow the Maths National Curriculum, supported by White Rose Maths and multi-sensory resources such as Numicon.
Reading and Phonics
At Shire Oak we plan our whole class, differentiated phonics lessons based on Letters and Sounds and the National Curriculum requirements. Children have home reading books chosen from our wide selection that we continually update. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics, Jelly and Bean, All Aboard, Fireflies and Ginn 360 and are chosen to be phonically decodable or to build sight vocabulary, appropriate to need. All children visit our well stocked library weekly to choose books for information and pleasure. Upper KS2 Library Monitors support younger children to use the library and role model positive reading behaviours. This is supplemented by visits to Headingley Library to build good reading habits for life.
PE and Sport
At Shire Oak, all of our children access a broad PE curriculum and also have the option to participate in our school teams or in extra-curricular sport. All of Year 2 swim three times a week in the summer term in an intensive course. They then swim once a week during Year 3 and some children may continue in Year 4 if they have not yet achieved a good level of competence. We aim for all children to leave Shire Oak with at least one physical activity that they love. We currently receive additional sports funding from the government; please see our PE and Sport Funding document for further information.
Children across school receive a broad and varied art curriculum; please refer to the cycle planners for further details.
In Key Stage 2, Art is taught by HLTA and artist, Lydia Virgin. She says:
"Art in KS2 provides the opportunity for pupils to delve into the realms of exploration and investigation as they develop their creative skills. I firmly believe that we all need the chance to experiment, make mistakes and find creative ways through them in order to broaden our artistic capabilities.
As a result of this, I ensure that whilst linking our art lessons to the national curriculum topics and expectations, our priority is to gain confidence - learn how to use both sides of our brain - to see 'mistakes' as wholly acceptable learning opportunities - and to develop our ability to THINK creatively rather than to insist on a pristine finished result! As is often the case when this approach is taken, the children seldom fail to impress me with their ability to work through challenges and produce a final piece of work to a very high standard. The process is the important bit at this stage - but fantastic finished results are the icing on the cake for all of us!
We learn to think critically but constructively about our work and that of our peers - always finding ways to overcome a problem and to adapt with the materials and techniques we are using. We use a broad range of materials and equipment and encourage each other to use them appropriately and maturely. Whilst I ensure each child has the opportunity to use all the materials, there is often the chance to choose which materials to use for a particular job - based on personal preference.
It has been wonderful to see some former Shire Oak pupils become fantastic artists and leave their high schools to pursue their artistic career - but it is my desire that all the children leave Shire Oak with great confidence to use their artistic skills - and as they are hugely transferrable, to apply them in what ever area they enjoy the most."
(BA Hons Textile Design)