What is it like on an 'African Safari'? Where would you find 'Nature’s Fury'? When is it 'Too Cold for Camping'? How can we make a rabbit pop out of a hat using a cam mechanism? These are just some of the many questions children are finding out in our school.
We follow the National Curriculum for Key Stages One and Two and the Foundation Stage Curriculum for our Reception class. Within this framework we seek to make links between subjects where possible.
We teach a ‘joined up’ curriculum that link many subjects together into themed topics. These adhere to the requirements of the National Curriculum and are reviewed regularly to take account of different pupil needs and interests. We find that children become absorbed in a topic of work when taught in this way and that this increases their enthusiasm and engagement. We want our children to love learning! In order for children to make the most progress with their core learning (reading, writing, communication and maths), the skills taught in their English and Maths lessons are reinforced and practised through their topic work in the afternoons. Maths, Science, RE and PE are taught as separate subjects but linked where possible. In addition, we teach phonics using the 'Letters and Sounds' scheme (supplemented by Read Write Inc) and our reading scheme is based on the Oxford Reading Tree (and other books organised into 'bands'.
Each class is taught three themed units that are particular to that class and two themed units that the whole school is taught. These ‘whole school’ curriculum units are based on world themes because we love the fact that Blakesley CE Primary is a small school in a beautiful rural setting but we would like our children to have a global outlook and learn about other cultures and parts of the world.
Teachers try to incorporate ideas from the children in each unit. Also, every class has a ‘Flexible Planning Unit' so that we can respond to national or international events - we used one to learn about the Magna Carta in 2015 - or respond to ideas come from the children – we want the children to be engaged with their own learning. For instance, if the class wanted to learn about pets or robots, we could build a unit of work around these ideas (making sure that we incorporated basic skills into the work, of course!).
Learning is not all about what goes on in the classroom though. In today’s society, there is no guarantee of the life experiences children have had. Consequently, we believe that there should be a wealth of experiences provided as part of our curriculum – trips to enhance learning, visiting artists and making the most of our local facilities around Blakesley are just some of the experiences we aim to provide.
Details of our curriculum topics are sent out to parents/carers via our Curriculum Newsletter each term and the latest newsletters can be found on our website.
Our PE curriculum covers dance, gymnastics and games. All pupils in Class 3 are given swimming lessons at the Towcester Leisure Centre. In addition to PE lessons, pupils have the chance to take part in a wide range of sporting opportunities and competitions e.g. football, netball, rugby, dance, athletics, cross country, cycling, judo, basketball etc. One of the advantages of being a small school is that pupils have an excellent chance to be part of a team for any competition.
We employ a specialist music teacher to deliver music lessons within the curriculum. In addition, pupils have opportunities to learn brass, woodwind and stringed instruments, to learn the recorder and to sing in our choir. Our school has a reputation for encouraging musical development and pupils regularly perform for parents and friends.
The school is well equipped to deliver the Computing curriculum. We have two roving suites of laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards in each classroom, a projector and laptop in the hall and a wireless network throughout the school and playground. Pupils quickly acquire the skills they need and transfer these to all aspects of their learning. Safe use of the Internet is taught and the school network has a robust filter system for inappropriate content, ensuring that pupils remain ‘safe’ while using it.