THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM AND CLASS ORGANISATION
Classes are organised in year groups. Each class is organised into ability groups for Maths and English and mixed ability groups for other subjects. There needs to be order and discipline in the classroom. There are skills that the child needs to acquire and these skills are more easily learned within a structure proceeding by stages, relating to what has gone before and what is to follow.
The achievement of goals is important. Teachers use a variety of teaching methods ensuring that children are motivated and that their learning is aimed at understanding and not simply memorising.
Children are given and are expected to complete on time formal homework.
The ‘Come and See’ Programme forms the basis of the religious teaching within the school. This programme involves parents who are the first educators of their children. Class assemblies, Class and School Masses, for the children and their parents, are means used to organise the life and worship of the school and through which we strive to link R.E. to the home in order to form a caring, Christian community.
Since the ability to read opens the door to knowledge, great stress is put on reading and other Literacy skills.
Children have access to a wide range of material using a structured approach, so that all children get the help they need at each stage of development. Children are encouraged to listen, to read and write for a variety of purposes, and in a variety of ways, to develop the appropriate vocabulary, appreciation of ideas and an attitude leading to confidence, enjoyment and enthusiasm for language.
Regular practice in the motor skill of handwriting is necessary. The aim is a good legible hand and a style that comes easily. Children are provided with regular handwriting practice.
Our aim in language teaching is for every child leaving our primary school, having enjoyed their years here, to be able to read fluently and with understanding, able to write and enjoy writing, and to be articulate and at ease with people they meet. The school uses the National Literacy Strategy Framework for teaching English.
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Below you will also find an example of the handwriting we teach at St. Helen's. This is the handwriting that all children should be aiming to use for their classwork and homework.
Through mathematics, knowledge of number combinations, order, pattern and concepts of space, time, estimations and the understanding of principles help a child to think logically and systematically. At all stages skills and concepts are related to a variety of practical examples and situations.
Notation of natural numbers - place value, computation, fractions, money, decimal fractions, length, weight, shape, angles, graphical representation, time, sets, plans, area, symmetry, volume, percentages, number basis, measuring temperature, surface, solids and problem solving.
Constant revision both oral and written is required, and to vary the approach other aspects of number work may also be introduced.
In years 5 and 6 children are taught in 3 groups across the year group (top and 2 parallel groups).
The school uses the National Numeracy Strategy for teaching mathematics.
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Science is concerned with a fuller understanding of the world we live in. We aim to develop skills and positive attitudes in our children by developing their understanding. Where possible we try to ensure that learning is a first hand practical activity where questioning is encouraged and investigation promoted.
Activities and experiences in science can be given either through a purely science-based topic or through a wider topic approach, where science is integrated with other subject areas whilst studying a particular theme.
Our aim can be fulfilled and our objectives reached through carefully and progressively developing skills and understanding and by fostering attitudes and working towards a core of knowledge.
In Science, we aim to provide children with a solid foundation of knowledge to understand the world we live in, by engagement with elements of physics, chemistry and biology. Children progressively develop their knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills, through the designated topics from the National Curriculum. In addition, creativity, critical thinking and collaborative skills are promoted. Practical, first-hand experience is encouraged through a range of investigations, experiments and practical activities. Where possible, links are made with other subject areas to enhance children’s understanding.
Teachers plan a wide variety of activities to motivate and engage pupils which include reading, discussing, answering questions, drawing and labelling diagrams, presenting data in different formats, using ICT for research, presenting data and delivering presentations. Furthermore, practical investigations require children to hypothesize, formulate questions, make observations, record results in different ways, analyse data, explain results and form conclusions. Through working scientifically, children’s thinking, reasoning and questioning skills are nurtured.
The school has a computer suite where Computing lessons take place. The school is well equipped with various software applications to address the teaching and learning needs of the Computing curriculum and also those of other subjects which may be taught using desktop computers. The children are taught to become confident in aspects of technology such as: word processing, presentation, spreadsheet, database, graphic manipulation, programming and '3D-modelling and control'.
The school has a policy defining the pupils’ use of the internet. The school requires all parents to sign its home-school internet agreement.
In addition to the computer suite, children have access to tablet devices for use in their classroom environment. These can be used to enhance the teaching and learning of all subject areas across the curriculum.
History curriculum revision
The teaching of history at St. Helen’s provides our pupils with the opportunities to develop an awareness of the past. They will develop secure, chronological knowledge and understanding of World, British and local history. They will be able to make links and contrast events over time and acquire the appropriate use of historical terms.
Pupils are taught to understand how important historical events have developed chronologically and how they have influenced our lives today. Pupils learning is progressive, from Year 3 to Year 6. They build upon and link their existing knowledge to new historical events, beginning with the Roman Empire in Year 3 and they are taught to construct informed responses that use selection and organisation of relevant historical information. In addition to our curriculum learning objectives, pupils study anniversary days regarding significant historical events, people and places who have contributed to national and international achievements.
Pupils are given opportunities to develop geographical skills and knowledge through the study of their locality and contrasting localities. They are taught to use atlases and maps to build up a knowledge of physical geography, to investigate climates and seasonal weather patterns as well as learning about aspects of human settlements and changes to the environment.
ART AND DESIGN
Pupils are given opportunities to express their ideas and responses in drawing, painting and collage. Artwork is used by children to illustrate other aspects of their curricular work and to display that work to its full advantage.
Pupils are given opportunity to explore their musical talents in a variety of ways. The pupils musical experience and knowledge, as well as their application, is developed using instruments and songs from different cultures, styles and traditions. They are encouraged to perform with others, to compose and communicate musical ideas and to listen and develop an understanding of music from different times and places. All children in year 3 and 4 have regular recorder lessons. Music making and singing also takes place during assemblies and liturgies. Instrumental tuition in various instruments is available on a voluntary basis at school. Parents are required to pay for the instrumental tuition.
Children are encouraged to join the school choir and those who play instruments, the school orchestra.
The school aims to encourage a lifelong enthusiasm for sport while promoting the physical and social benefits of exercise. Children are encouraged to develop team work and enjoyment of sporting competition, together with a sense of fair play. Through physical education children are guided to develop such personal qualities as co-operation, self-esteem, confidence, tolerance, empathy and perseverance. The sporting facilities include a well equipped hall, football pitches and netball courts, playing fields and a 20 metre covered and heated swimming pool.
EXTRA CURRICULUM ACTIVITIES
Such activities take place before and after school or during the lunch hour. Information on school clubs are provided here, and also in the school’s newsletter at the beginning of each term about clubs and activities available.