Curriculum

The Howard School curriculum, broadly based on the revised National Curriculum, is engaging, exciting and relevant to the children at our school and aims to prepare our children for life in modern Britain. It is driven by a desire for our children to have a greater knowledge of the world and an awareness of the possibilities open to them in their future lives and careers. Our aim is to promote aspirational, independent children who are happy, respectful and have self-belief. We want all children to become creative, active and reflective learners, enabling them to be able to respond positively to the opportunities and challenges of a rapidly changing world and promote a commitment to lifelong learning.

The National Curriculum seeks to provide continuity as children progress through a series of stages:

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) - Nursery (3-4 year olds) and Reception (4-5 year olds);
Key Stage 1 - Years 1 and 2 (5-7 year olds); and
Key Stage 2 - Years 3-6 (7-11 year olds).
Teachers assess, track and monitor children's progress against the national curriculum year objectives, which is in turn shared with the children and their parents.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Our Nursery and Reception classes follow the framework laid down in the EYFS statutory framework which aims to support children's development in seven areas of learning and development.

The three prime areas are:

communication and language
physical development
personal, social and emotional development

There are also four specific areas through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:

Literacy
Mathematics
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
The EYFS is underpinned by four overarching principles which acknowledge that each child is a unique and constant learner and needs to grow and develop through forming positive relationships in an enabling environment.  In addition, children develop and learn at different rates and thus the framework supports the learning of all children including those with special needs and disabilities.

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

As the children move further up the school, the subject areas of the National Curriculum become more distinct.  Religious education and worship in assemblies are an integral part of the children’s experience. There are five core subjects:

Literacy
Numeracy
Science
Computing(ICT)
PE
We also teach a rich curriculum incorporating History, Geography, Art and Design, Languages, Music and Personal, Health & Social Education (PHSE).  Teachers plan topics of work for each year group from the national curriculum.  We supplement our provision each term with events to broader experiences.

English

We have a systematic and dynamic whole school approach to developing reading and writing skills.  The cornerstone of our literacy strategy is phonics taught through the letters and sounds programme.

Across Foundation stage and Key stage 1, the children learn phonics, reading, writing, grammar and spelling simultaneously in small, ability led groups, taken by teachers and teaching assistants who have received training.  Children learn at their own pace and are regularly assessed to enable them to move forward appropriately.

The introduction of the new English Teaching and Learning Sequence has had a demonstrable effect on standards of writing throughout the school and is strongly backed by staff and governors.  In addition to core literacy work with a daily focus on writing, handwriting and spelling, we encourage high standards of written work across all subject areas.

Mathematics

We want our children to be fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics and problem solving and to develop reasoning skills essential for everyday life.  We begin in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 with the foundations of mental arithmetic, developing the concept of number and place value, shape and dimension, time and money.  We use visual and physical aids such as numicon practical apparatus, and our interactive whiteboards to develop concepts and encourage investigation.  We want children to be able to select and use mathematical methods to solve problems and to be able to apply those methods to different contexts.  Gradually through Key Stage 2 the children are introduced to more formal written methods.  We use small group teaching to stretch the most able children and to support those children needing additional support.. 

In September 2017, we saw the introduction of The Maths Hub materials which are having a positive impact on the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Science

Our children are natural scientists and are keen to explore, enquire and understand the world around them.  Within the National Curriculum framework we investigate life processes, materials, physical processes and concentrate on developing children's scientific skills, encouraging them to question, investigate and test appropriately.  We focus on group work and collaboration, with lots of practical work and experimentation. We want our children to enjoy science, and we support their learning in a variety of ways including school trips and fieldwork.

Computing

In recent years we have seen investment in technology in our school and this will continue to be a priority.  ICT is used as a tool to learning alongside developing their ICT skills.

Our children are familiar with technology resources and we use ICT across the curriculum to support children's learning.  Our facilities, integrated into all the classrooms, include interactive whiteboards and computers, laptops and iPads.

We also teach ICT to enable our children to develop skills in using the Internet, utilising different software and programming and to increase their awareness of Internet safety.  Children in KS2 are encouraged to use ICT in their classwork and projects.  ICT is also used as a resource to support the learning of children with Special Needs.

Here's an example of one of the school heritage quizzes Year 3 made: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/247666533/ 

Cross-curricular computing from Year 4. They've been coding interactive retellings of the story of Boudicca's rebellion for their Romans topic. https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/252554516/ 

PE

We want our children to develop physically and to be healthy and active.  We have plenty of outside space and equipment and teach our children a variety of indoor and outdoor sports.  We also encourage social skills and collaboration through team games and shared activities.  We have extra-curricular sports clubs and our children have the opportunity to undertake cycle training, swimming, specialist coaching and the opportunity to participate in inter and infra sports competitions.

Religious Education and Worship

Our school has a strong Christian ethos and close links to St Cuthbert's Church in Ackworth.  We actively support those children who are Christians to grow in faith and develop their knowledge of the Bible and Christian teaching.  We follow the Leeds Diocese and Wakefield Local Authority curriculums, exploring the stories and themes of the Old and New Testaments and core Christian values such as justice and forgiveness.  As part of the National Curriculum we also teach children about world faiths and perspectives.

Worship is part of our school life.  We have daily assemblies and children are encouraged to participate.  Once a fortnight Reverend Paul Fox delivers our collective worship and we also have visitors from other Christian denominations to lead worship.  The whole school attends church for special services such as Christmas, Easter and Y6 Leavers as well as Y4 and Y6 who visit church during the year to take part in community services. 

Extra-curricular Activities

We support a wide a range of activities outside of the daily curriculum as space and time permits.  Music teachers from Wakefield provide private instrumental lessons and we have a fantastic choir.  Pupils are also offered opportunities to participate in an array of clubs.

School Trips

Our children take part in a wide variety of school trips, usually once or twice termly to support their learning.  Recent trips have included the Imperial War Museum, Old Moor Nature Reserve, York Museum, Local Castles and the school council have recently had a tour of the Palace of Westminster.

We also have outside agencies come into the school to run workshops for children and have developed strong links with the local community.

Older children have the opportunity to undertake a school residential. Year 5 undertake a residential to Northumberland and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne following in the footsteps of St. Cuthberts whilst Year 6 visit Robinwood activity centre.