In September 2014 a new national curriculum was introduced for Years 1, 3, 4 and 5, to be extended to Years 2 and 6 from September 2015: for the current academic year, Years 2 and 6 are continuing to follow the 1999 national curriculum in English, maths and science. The Early Years Foundation Stage (for 3 to 5 year olds) has its own separate curriculum.
The national curriculum comprises eleven subjects: English, mathematics, science, art and design, computing, design technology, geography, history, languages, music and physical education. In addition, religious education is taught according to the local approved syllabus, and we also teach personal, social and health education (PSHE). Although the curriculum is set out in year groups or key stage phases, children do not all develop at the same rate and so the curriculum is in practice adjusted to make sure that it meets the needs of individuals. It includes opportunities for both revision and consolidation of previous learning, and extra challenge and extension to broaden and deepen understanding where children are secure in their learning.
As the introduction to the national curriculum explains, ‘The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum. ‘ At Ashwell School we seek to provide a broad and rich curriculum which inspires a love of learning and stimulates children’s natural curiosity about the world. Classroom lessons are supplemented by a wealth of trips out of school, both to our local environment and further afield, by a range of visitors to the school and by special events, such as ‘Take One Picture Week’ ‘Maths Week’ and ‘Poetry Week’ which foster children’s creativity. The children take part in music and drama performances and sporting events, as well as having the opportunity to watch professional performances. The curriculum offered by the school is sometimes adapted to exploit the educational opportunities provided by current events, such as the 2012 Olympics or the general election, and to build on children’s interests and talents.
Much of the learning at Key Stages One and Two is connected to whole school themes, which link children’s learning across curriculum subjects. We have a rolling programme of termly themes planned, and generally have one term where the theme is mainly focussed on history, one focussed on science and one focussed on geography. The themes provide many contexts for reading and writing, art work, drama, music, design technology and computing, but where the curriculum content does not fit the whole school theme, it is taught separately – for example most of the maths curriculum, the skills elements of English etc.
The curriculum is designed to develop well-rounded, confident, and considerate young people who are respectful and caring towards others and have a zest for learning.