School Curriculum

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“A particular strength is the level of trust between the pupils, so that they routinely share their work with each other and ask each other for help” – OFSTED 2010

The school uses a rich topic based curriculum. We offer a broad range of opportunities to cater for the interests, aptitudes and particular needs of all pupils.

We endeavour to adapt and develop the curriculum to make sure it is:

  • Rich – being flexible in allowing scope for further investigation.
  • Diverse – by providing a wide range of experiences.
  • Relevant – to the children’s own personal experience and to give responsibility to the learner.
  • Differentiated – what is taught is matched to the pupil’s ability.

We believe that learning should be an immensely enjoyable experience, and that the learner should have the opportunity to be creative and responsible.  We endeavour to deliver subjects in a way that children find engaging and meaningful.  We adapt our teaching to the pupils’ needs in order to give them as many opportunities to learn as possible.

See Class webpages for current topic information.

TEACHING THROUGH TOPICS
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We have a broad, balanced topic based curriculum. The different themes and topics are carefully planned for children to develop their skills and learn more about the world they live in. Developing skills in literacy and number are at the heart of our work, but equally important, are skills, attitudes and knowledge which make up a child’s whole learning experience. To become confident, enquiring and excited about the world, children need to exercise and develop their skills through frequent practice. Ideas and skills are therefore revisited regularly, in different ways to consolidate children’s knowledge and understanding, with topics being taught in greater depth according to the age of the child.

English
Learning in this subject includes speaking and listening, reading and writing, we promote quality handwriting and presentation, accurate spelling and correct usage.  Children use their creative skills in exciting and imaginative ways. This enables children to communicate effectively, become active listeners and foster a love and understanding of the written word.

A joined handwriting script is taught from early in Key Stage One and the link between good handwriting and success in spelling is underlined at all times. Creative language is encouraged through story writing, poetry and drama and opportunities given for performing in front of an audience through school plays and assemblies.

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Reading is taught initially by using phonics (sounds), we use a variety of established schemes including Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics.  We aim to help our children become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, information texts, poetry and drama through exploring a rich variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.  This links directly with our topic work and provides opportunities for children to learn from history or geography through their literacy education.

There is also a great emphasis on reading skills throughout the school; we consider reading to be the key to unlock so much knowledge and independence.
We work closely with parents to help children become independent and confident readers to help ensure life-long learning

Maths
At Shirwell we believe Mathematics to be an artistic and creative subject.  We aim to inspire confidence with Mathematics and develop an appreciation of the history and culture of the discipline. We help each pupil develop, knowledge, understanding and skills in Maths, to realise their full potential as creative and logical thinkers.

mathsPupils are given opportunities to use and apply Maths in practical classroom tasks as well as through real-life problems. We encourage children to develop their own mathematical strategies as well as teaching different approaches to a problem. Correct mathematical language, the appropriate use of apparatus and the clear recording of results and information are always emphasised. Before your child reaches school you will have encouraged mathematical thinking at home, through nursery rhymes, simple counting activities and games. We are keen to bring together a child’s real life experiences of Maths with classroom activities, to build on the many opportunities children have encountered at home and to develop their expertise and confidence.