Firm emphasis on writing.
Our topics are carefully designed to support the children's learning in Literacy. Constructive links to other subjects are made throughout.
An example of how the focus of a topic can enrich writing can be seen in the Year 2 topic, 'Castles'. Here pupils learn about 'Traditional Tales'. Many of these are set around castles, thus providing good opportunities to compliment the learning in both History and the English.
Another example is in the Year 6 topic, 'Tomb Raiders'. In this topic the children combine what they have learned in English, History and IT to produce newspaper articles recounting important events in Ancient Egypt.
In order reach their full potential children should be challenged. We build this into our curriculum by beginning each topic with a challenge. The challenge provides our pupils not only with motivation, but also adds a sense of purpose to their work.
In many cases the challenge involves entering a local or national competition, such as submitting a film to the Leeds Young Person's Film Festival. In other topics the challenges might include performing dramas, or holding exhibitions for parents.
Everyone performs their best when inspired. With this in mind each of our topics begin by providing our children with an inspiring experience. These experiences can take many forms such as educational visits, watching films or examining artifacts.
If you are Leeds based school and would like to learn more about how you can use your local museum service to provide a variety of 'hands on' artefacts for use within the classroom, click the link to visit Artemis.
If you represent a school and would like to know more about how you can use film to support learning in school, click the link to visit Film Club.
Learning with experts.
Children respond well to seeing a different face in the classroom, to enhance each topic, where possible, we identify key partners with whom we can work. Many of our partners are now regular visitors to school. Currently our teachers are regularly supported in school by professional archaeologists, architects, animators, artists, musicians, dance instructors, sports coaches and representatives from our local churches.
Other partners, such as Total, BP, BAE, Yorkshire Water and Lloyds TSB provide specialist resources through their educational outreach work and national competitions and schemes.
If you'd like to share your area of expertise with our children, please contact us to discuss the potential opportunities.
Learning with families and our community.
Parental support has always been a strength of our school and community. To build on this, opportunities for parents to become involved in the learning are identified at the very beginning of each topic. These opportunities are primarily communicated to parents via the 'Learning Blogs' on this site.
Through using these it's our intention to open up life in school, enabling parents to gain a clear view of what their children are learning, how they can best support this at home and what opportunities exist for them to become involved in school itself.
Traditionally schools have been designed with pupils and teachers in mind. The plans for our new school give equal consideration to the needs of parents. The inclusion of a Parents' Internet Hub/Cafe will create a comfortable base for parents who are both visiting and working in school. It will also provide an informal environment to meet staff and other parents. It's our intention to use the cafe as a venue for delivering regular informal seminars on how to support children at home.
Children are individuals. They learn things in different ways and enjoy variety in how their learning is acquired. To provide this we carefully plan our topics making sure that opportunities to learn through performing arts, ICT, design technology and art are all provided. Over the past two years we have worked closely with Education Leeds Artforms developing our expertise in this area.
Recent examples of how we have used Creative Learning to develop our children's Literacy skills include Year 4 pupils making digital film versions of their playscripts and Year 6 pupils producing digitalised soundtracks to accompany their poetry.
To provide an even better environment in which to achieve this, plans for our new school building include the following features:
* classrooms paired with complimentory specialist features. For example in each pair, one class contains high quality DT and wet areas to facilitate large scale practical activities. The second class in each pair contains high quality IT provision to enable maximum use of technology in all lessons.
* Dedicated Food and Design Technology area.
* Media-suite with sound recording studio and 'green walled' film studio.
* Large sports hall with retractable auditorium style seating to increase audience capacity and comfort.
* two outdoor amphitheatres
Learning outside the classroom.
Children enjoy being outside. Each topic of our curriculum provides opportunities for learning outside the classroom. To provide our pupils with more opportunities to do this, plans for our new building contain the following outdoor features which have been planned to improve our outdoor learning environment:
* direct external access from each classroom.
* secure fenced outdoor gardens and learning areas for Foundation Stage and Year 1.
* covered, hard surfaced outdoor learning areas for all classrooms in Key Stage 2.
* outdoor amphitheatre in new court yard.
* outdoor seating/classroom in existing courtyard.
* new habitat areas to be created.
* allotments and orchard to be created in school grounds.
* natural outdoor amphitheatre to be created in school grounds.
Learning in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM).
We also make sure that our topics provide opportunities for children to apply what they have learned through practical challenges. In some cases these challenges are supported in school by experts from the commercial sector, such as architects and engineers.
Recent examples of STEM Learning in our school can be seen in Year 3 where children were set the challenge of building disaster shelters from limited resources. Other recent examples include architectural workshops where children in Years 5 and 6 worked collaboratively to build large-scale Pyramids and Greek Temples.
To develop this further we are currently in discussion with The Royal Society, exploring the establishment of forming sustainable links with locally based fellows of The Society.
Learning about money.
Managing money is an important part of all our lives. All our topics provide opportunities for our children to develop their financial capabilities. To achieve this we work in partnership with HSBC and Lloyds TSB through the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG).
An example of this was at last years Summer Gala where the children in each class we allocated a small budget of £20 each from which to design, stock and run their own stalls; collectively they raised over £600. Each class now has the responsibility for deciding how their profits are used.
Click here to find out how PFEG can enhance the curriculum in your school.
Learning in a Global World.
Our children are growing up in an increasingly global community. To better prepare them for life we have designed our curriculum to add a global dimension to each topic. To develop this further we are actively seeking to work collaboratively with overseas schools.
Click here to learn more about how the Global School Partnership can benefit your school.
Learning through fun.
Education should be fun. Children should leave our schools with a life-long passion for learning. By providing inspiring challenges, welcoming parents and experts into our school and working hard to make sure that our lessons are not boring, we hope to achieve that.
There is however, one final aspect of our curriculum which is perhaps, the most important part of all when it comes to planning our topics. We listen to our children and place their ideas at the centre of our teaching. By doing this we make sure that there is sufficient flexibility in topics and lessons to allow our children to learn in the ways which are most effective for them, and that's usually fun.
One example of how we encourage this is through providing children with open-ended homework challenges allowing them to explore subjects in their own individual ways.
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