Knowledge-Rich, Diversity-Led Curriculum
Subjects: Our Approach
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” ~ Albert Einstein
Though we teach a connected curriculum, we believe that children have the right to the knowledge, skills and applications in the real world that each subject has to offer.
Aspects of different subjects will be taught through specific subject-based learning; in mathematics in particular, children need to learn key concepts in order that they can apply them in problem-solving contexts. When planning units of work we:
- highlight connections between ideas in different subject areas
- incorporate the distinct skills and approaches of different subject areas
- develop awareness of what expertise looks like in each subject area i.e. what it means to be a mathematician, historian etc.
Our curriculum is based on the 2014 National Curriculum which requires all pupils aged between 5 and 11 years to study the following three core subjects:
Eight non-core subjects (known as foundation subjects) must also be studied in this age group. They are:
- Religious Education, in accordance with the locally agreed syllabus
- Art and Design
- Design and Technology
- Physical Education
In KS2 French is also taught.
Each subject has its own objectives that are woven into our curriculum. Where possible, we link objectives from more than one subject; for example using the mathematical skill of interpreting data when analysing the results of a science investigation. Children also will learn things that are outside the National Curriculum which may come from their own areas of interest.
Performing Arts – Music, Drama and Dance
The performing arts of music, dance and drama form a prominent part of the curriculum at Stoneydown and are supported with specialist teachers. Links are made with other areas of the curriculum but we also teach specific skills within each discipline. We recognise the potential within the performing arts for children to create collective pieces of work that rely on them cooperating as well as each individual doing their best.
Regular opportunities are provided for children to perform in front of an audience and we teach them the necessary skills to do so which helps build confidence and co-operation. It is hugely pleasurable to perform to the best of one’s ability and to be praised for doing so.
We also try to provide children with the opportunity to see professional performances either at the theatre or from visiting performers.
Watch young children. What are they very often doing when left to their own devices? That's right - play-acting. It seems that drama play comes naturally. Tapping into this natural interest in drama play can give educators a way of providing students of any age with an enjoyable learning experience through which they not only gain knowledge but develop many life skills.- Carollyn Rogers
Drama strategies such as role-play and visualisation are used throughout the curriculum for example to help children empathise and understand events in stories and history or to problem-solve dilemmas in PSHE. Drama also enhances children’s language development and enables them to rehearse and hone ideas for writing.
As well as using drama across the curriculum, children may also work on more in-depth drama-led units of work that may result in a finished performance. Developing the acting skills to convey different situations, characters and emotions and working with others to create scenes and simulations helps children to develop confidence, social awareness, sensitivity and teamwork. They are also guided to comment constructively on drama they have watched or in which they have taken part.
In order to set a high standard in drama as well as music, we have a specialist drama teacher working at the school.
Dance activates your brain and gives you energy for everything else, the energy to be enthusiastic about your work. So all your work will gain.-Darcey Bussell, The Royal Ballet.
Although dance comes under the umbrella of P.E, and drama is part of the English curriculum, we value the creative potential of these disciplines and recognize that the specific skills within each are worth learning in their own right.
Dance may be taught as part of the P.E curriculum or within a performing arts sequence of work. Pupils are taught to use movement imaginatively, responding to stimuli - including music. They practice specific skills such as travelling, making a shape, turning and gesturing. Children learn to change the rhythm, speed, level and direction of their movements to create different sequences and patterns. During p.e lessons and dance/drama sessions, children create and perform dances using simple movement patterns, including those they have improvised, to create pictures, tell stories and express ideas and feelings. Children are supported to refine and improve their work to bring it to performance standard.
Ask any person in any city in any country what their favourite music is, and they’ll always have an answer.- John Suchet, Newscaster
Music aids communication with others and ourselves.- Evelyn Glennie OBE, Percussionist.
Music is highly valued at Stoneydown. We aim to give children opportunities to experience music as a fundamental part of the curriculum, developing skills that will enable them to be active and creative musicians.
Music is interwoven through class projects and assemblies with very tangible results. Children are introduced to a range of music from different times and cultures. Parents and visitors are welcome to attend our weekly singing assembly that is led by Rachel and Mauricio as well as other special assemblies and concerts to witness for themselves the spirit, creativity and skill of our pupils. Children develop an inherent musical sense and understanding through singing and this is further developed through instrumental learning either as a whole class or through individual tuition. They experiment with rhythm and sounds to compose their own music from a variety of starting points. Pupils identify and explore the relationship between sounds and how music reflects different intentions. Through performing music by ear and from simple notations, children form an awareness of how different parts fit together and how to achieve an overall effect. They learn how to improvise melodic and rhythmic phrases as part of a group performance and develop ideas within musical structures. Children are taught musical vocabulary to describe and compare different kinds of music, including their own and others’ work.
Click here to see the National Curriculum Music Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2.
Click here to see KS1 & 2 progression in skills, knowledge & understanding.
PSCHE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education)
PSHCE is about developing the knowledge, skills and understanding for a healthy and well-balanced life. Our whole-school approach builds on and reflects the school’s aims and ethos - we want all our pupils to become informed, active and responsible citizens who are well-equipped to make good decisions.
Much of the curriculum is delivered through the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme. Other aspects are integrated into topics. Drugs and sex education are taught to specific year groups. There is a whole range of planned opportunities and events throughout the school year that support PSHCE e.g. visitors to school, celebrating diversity, residential visits or learning first aid.
Through these activities, children develop their social skills and discover how to make confident and informed choices.
Sex education lessons form part of our PSHE curriculum (see Sex and Relationship Education Policy). We give children an overview of how their bodies work and change as they grow up and discuss the importance of forming good relationships with others within a values framework. During their time at primary school, children will find out about the physical and emotional changes they will experience in puberty and also learn about reproduction. Parents are invited in each year to see for themselves the materials we use.