New Curriculum 2014
I can’t believe how the first half term break has come and gone (even after eight weeks) as it seemed to approach us quickly. It is amazing to think of all the new learning experiences the children have been immersed in already including their first day at school for our new Foundation Stage 2 (FS2) children, who have settled wonderfully into their new learning environment and are full of curiosity and amazement. Our Year 1 class have also settled into their new classroom and routines and have been challenging themselves within the new curriculum. These two classes were treated to a farm visit, where they enjoyed learning about many different animals from the micro pig ‘Percy’ to the alpaca. This experience led to children wanting to discover more about the animals and their habitats and was used as a topic for self-initiated and focused learning activities.
Most classes throughout school took part on a local walk, as our first topic of the year links to local history and geography topics e.g Year 3 ‘Romans in Whiston’ and Year 6 ‘Who was the Green Man?’ Year 6 also took their residential early this year and tracked off to Kingswood in Colomendy, Wales, where they challenged themselves to develop many new skills including communication; resilience; problem solving; teamwork and independence to reach personal targets. These included jumping the ‘Leap of faith,’ climbing and balancing on the high ropes; working as a team to solve a problem and getting themselves organised and ready (including keeping themselves clean and making beds) with no mum or dad to remind them.
Please see the Celebration from the first half term below...
Assessment – The Government have introduced a new initiative which supports assessing children without levels. We have adopted this approach and will be developing it throughout this and the upcoming year, except in Year 2 and year 6 (Y2 and Y6 will change over 2015/16 to reflect the Governments end of year testing criteria). The teachers are trying hard to implement the new criteria and will be taking part in moderation meetings across the Academy and the Local Authority, to support their half termly and end of year judgements.
The new assessment will use end of year phrases instead of National Curriculum levels e.g. previously the national expectation for end of Year 4 would have been ‘Level 3b’ now it would be described as being ‘secure in the Year 4 curriculum’. However, since the new curriculum has many new changes including higher end of year expectations, we will endeavor to plan, assess and then evaluate these new changes into the daily teaching and learning sessions across the core subjects, to enable all our children to achieve and then exceed their potential.
Curriculum - Our topic planning is still very much in place and is forever being developed. We love giving opportunities for your children to be more creative and believe wholeheartedly in the importance of relevance and purpose when educating through an enriched programme of study, which includes immersing them with school visits, ‘learning themed days/weeks’ and special visitors into school. Throughout the year we will be looking at ways how we can add depth to our curriculum through key skills and through children developing their own interests and quest for knowledge for the ‘why’, ‘how’ and the ‘what next’ within a topic.
At Whiston J & I School the new curriculum will also address:
- The development of an additional programme of study for children significantly exceeding the expected level of attainment for their age.
- The new code of practice for our children with special educational needs and disabilities
- The new safeguarding and child protection legislation including e-safety
In all of this, there is huge importance placed on the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural aspects of development; it is not, therefore, just about excelling but also valuing ourselves and each other and enjoying our learning journey.
And on that very special note…………… I look forward to this new term, as we have our special Harvest Assembly (Whiston Bake Off) on Friday 7th November at 2:30 and we also will have Christmas in our sights and even more excitement filling the air, including our special Nativity presentations and our annual pantomime visit to Rotherham’s Civic Theatre.
Kind Regards to all. Mrs T. Angell
Changes to the New Curriculum
- Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will now be taught in KS1)
- Handwriting not currently assessed under the national curriculum – is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy
- Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating and presenting skills
- Five and six year olds (Year 1) will be expected to learn to count up to 100 and learn number bonds to 20
- Simple fractions (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of Year 6, children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.375 = 3/8)
- By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12×12 (previously 10×10 by the end of primary school)
- Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic
- Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms
- ‘Evolution’ will be taught in primary schools for the first time.
Design & Technology
- Afforded greater importance under the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future.
- More sophisticated use of design equipment.
- In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world.
- Continually developing and high priority within the school
- Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs
- From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data.
- From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet.
- Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language or ancient language (Latin or Greek) will be mandatory in KS2.
- We have taught French in KS2 over the last few years and as part of transition, we will introduce the Year 2 class to French in the summer term.
- Moreover, throughout KS2 children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language.
Celebrations from the first half term
Competition - We also started our KS2 sporting competitions (Festivals) linked to Oakwood School. These included Cross Country/Running and Football achievements which have been shared and applauded in assemblies, however I would also like to say a big thank you to all the parents who took time to share in the children’s success at the finals at Herringthorpe Stadium.
Our new House Celebrations have continued to generate much enthusiasm across other areas of the curriculum, where children can achieve personally and as part of a team and the school council will be organising a competition to choose House names in the coming weeks.
Cultural Week - The children were immersed in Hindu culture in the last week of term and were joined by a specialist company to support them understanding the festival of Diwali. Children across school learn about many different cultures, traditions and faiths within the year, which helps develops their understanding, tolerance and respect of others.
Friends of Whiston - Your children enjoyed a very successful ‘Glow in the Dark Disco’ arranged by Friends of Whiston (PTA) which generated much excitement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and staff who were involved in running and supporting this event. The children loved it! However, the KS2 disco did leave behind an array of refuse which the organisers had to clear away, so please support us and discuss with your child how they should respect their school environment. It’s Bingo time again, and Mr Roberts and Mrs Fretwell held their first stay and play in the last week of term. Please watch out for further dates.
The Friends of Whiston have worked tirelessly over many years to raise money to enhance the school environment and curriculum from a range of quality books, cameras and the ball cage. This year and last year they have pledged to develop the school’s gardening club at the back of the building (pathway up to pre-school) so please watch out for further developments! If you have any spare time or fund raising ideas please get in touch with the Friends of Whiston (see website or school office for contact details).