Our curriculum is divided into termly themes, plus stand-alone subject planning and teaching (Some English, Maths, R.E., P.E., most Science, most music and Jigsaw); each theme is driven by, but not limited to, a particular area: History, Geography or Science and is centred on key identified quality texts (identified in both the long term and medium term plans). Teachers take the key skills, knowledge and understanding from each subject area and translate these into meaningful learning activities for the children; ensuring that children experience a cohesive learning journey, identifying links between and beyond curriculum areas. Teachers are encouraged to draw on and extend children’s own experiences and to make learning motivating, engaging and meaningful. For more detailed information of what our children are learning on a termly basis please look in the relevant Key Stage.
Subjects and Aspects
Being able to read and write are the fundamental skills that we all rely on in order to complete the simplest of tasks. At Highlands we firmly believe that if you can read and write, opportunities are endless and because of this we place a great deal of importance on basic skills within our curriculum. As a result our curriculum themes have been developed around quality texts.
Reading and Phonics
Synthetic phonics is taught throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 systematically. Targeted phonics teaching is also evident in Key Stage 2. We use the Letters and Sounds document and the objectives from the National Curriculum to inform our phonics teaching.
Daily shared, guided and independent reading sessions, led by the teachers and support staff, teaches children how to read, children are encouraged to read at home in order to develop their fluency and expression. We have a vast range of books which are referenced to book bands, which enables children to make progress in their reading at their own individualised rate.
The school has a well-stocked library and children can borrow books to develop their enjoyment of reading for pleasure.
Writing and Spelling
Spelling is skill children need to practise. Whilst we teach the rules of spelling in the classroom there is an expectation that children will practise this skill at home. Children practise the application of spelling rules learned as part of dictated sentences.
Writing is evident in every aspect of our curriculum and varying text types are taught throughout the school. Writing is linked very closely to a key text and the theme. The objectives of the National Curriculum are followed to ensure that the skills learnt in spelling, punctuation and grammar are embedded and transferred into writing. ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies are used throughout the school to support the teaching of writing.
As part of our teaching methods for writing we use what is known as ‘Talk for Writing.’ We expect and encourage children to present their work neatly so Handwriting and fine motor skills are taught from the Early Years. By the time children reach Year 4, 5 and 6 we expect them to be using a joined script
At Highlands Primary School Mathematics is a key part of our curriculum. Fluency, reasoning and problem solving are at the forefront of the curriculum. These aims are essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering and necessary for developing our children’s financial literacy. We firmly believe that if want to give our children the best possible chance of all forms of employment in the future then we need to ensure they have every opportunity to become masters of the mathematical curriculum whilst at our school.
Our aim is to ensure our children:
* become fluent in the basics of mathematics including thorough; varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time so that they develop an understanding of the links and relationships between number facts.
* display a growing confidence to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, for example; by being able to develop an argument to prove whether a statement is right or wrong using the appropriate mathematical language.
* have the ability to solve a range of problems, by applying the mathematics they know in both familiar and unfamiliar problems, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
The Mathematics Curriculum at Highlands Primary follows the Singapore Maths approach and strongly promotes the mastery of maths by developing, collaborative, exploration work alongside independent learning and thinking which allows children to make rich connections across mathematical ideas. Currently the children in Years 1 and 2 are following the ‘Maths No Problem’ textbook approach.
As a school, the focus is on providing visualisation thorough using a range of concrete apparatus, developing mental strategies to support the ability of making connections and on developing the foundations for learning and thinking mathematically rather than just following formulas or procedures.
The mastery of maths, which builds gradually as our children go through school, we believe is a tool for life, and immeasurably more valuable than the short term ability to answer questions in tests or exams. Our aim is to ensure the children at Highlands have the opportunity to acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of maths and who will then confidently be able to apply what they have learnt in any situation. But, most of all we want children to ensure children enjoy maths and get excited about the fun and exciting challenges the subject can bring.
At Highlands Primary School science is taught by building knowledge and developing our understanding of the world through first hand experiences and exploration. We strive to provide an environment where children are willing to take risks when trying out their ideas and are given the opportunities to develop their skills when working scientifically.
We want to inspire and challenge our pupils to become independent thinkers, who use their knowledge of science to develop their understanding of the constant changing world they live in. We aim to ensure that our children can learn about how science impacts upon and underpins much of our lives in today’s society, while practical activities should stimulate their curiosity and develop a deep understanding for the future. This will be done through engaging science lessons, practical experiments, visits, talks, and links with our local community.
At Highlands we believe the early years are critical in children’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. In F1 we focus on developing children’s skills in the three prime areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. We develop early speaking and listening skills so that the children are able to share their interests, needs and wants with adults and children alike. We focus on encouraging children to share and develop friendships as well as developing their gross and fine motor skills. Alongside these prime areas we begin to develop an early understanding of number and, through daily phonics sessions, raise children’s awareness of environmental sounds, rhyme and alliteration as well as beginning to learn letter sounds. The children have opportunities to learn about their immediate environment and their community, as well as developing their creative skills in relation to music, dance, painting and design and technology. As the children move into F2 (Reception) the emphasis changes slightly as we prepare them for Year 1 and the curriculum focuses on the specific areas of learning: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. We continue to build on skills mastered in F1 and teach the children to read and write simple words and sentences, solve mathematical problems and develop independence.
Social, Moral Spiritual and Cultural Development
The importance and benefits of promoting children’s Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development cannot be over emphasised.
SMSC has often wrongly been assumed to relate predominantly to RE or PSHE, possibly because the word ‘spiritual’ has been confused with ‘religious.’ All areas of the curriculum lend themselves, to a greater or lesser degree, to the development of SMSC which contributes significantly to the ethos and values of our school
Social development is about our children working effectively with each other within the school community. It is also about the development of the skills and personal qualities necessary for living, working and playing a full and active part in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society.
Acquiring a knowledge and understanding of what is right and wrong is central to moral development. It is the basis upon our children make choices about how to behave and is the standpoint from which they consider the behaviour of others in school and society in general. Our whole school and class ‘norms’ are an important early introduction to issues of fairness for all and to the consequences of operating outside the agreed rules. Children are encouraged to understand the need for school and class ‘norms’ and to follow them from conviction rather than because of consequences or sanctions.
Moral development is also about understanding that there are issues where there are a range of views and that sometimes these views are very different, or indeed may change over time. Moral development is about gaining an understanding of the range of views and the reasons for the range. It is also about developing an opinion about the different views.
Spiritual development relates to the quest for individual identity and the search for meaning and purpose in our existence. It is associated with a dimension of life which is not necessarily experienced through the physical senses, but has much to do with feelings and emotions, and attitudes and beliefs.
Our provision for cultural development is informed by our knowledge of the religious and ethnic ‘make up’ of our local community which enables us to further develop and strengthen our children’s knowledge and understanding of their own cultural beliefs, customs and traditions and those of others within the school, wider community, city, country and globally.
Computers are essential to children’s lives at school and at home and one day, the work place. The new computing curriculum focuses on ‘Computational Thinking’ which is a skill children must be taught so they are ready for the future workplace and to take part in the rapidly changing digital world. ‘Computational Thinking’ is a problem-solving process that includes the following characteristics: Analysing and logically organising data, formulating problems such that computers may assist, Identifying, testing, and implementing possible solutions, algorithmic thinking and applying these key skills to other problems. We want our children at Highlands to think of Computing as fun but we also want them to see that it allows them to solve problems, design systems and explore and understand the endless possibilities of the computer based technology.
At Highlands, our children are given the opportunities to develop their computer skills using a range of IT equipment to provide them with the computing knowledge that they will need for the rest of their lives.
A high quality physical education curriculum can inspire all pupils to succeed and excel, not only in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities but in everyday life. At Highlands, we strive to deliver quality physical education and school sport games with the aim to develop each child in terms of their physical literacy. We are passionate about giving children the best start in life by promoting healthy and active lifestyles across all areas of the school day. We provide opportunities for our children to become physically confident with a focus on the development of agility, balance, coordination, healthy completion and cooperative learning with a holistic approach. We know that participation in physical education and sport can help to improve a huge range of social skills, and allows children to become self-managers and critical thinkers. We form strong links with the local community and schools in our area to allow our children to experience competition and we celebrate our victories. Whether it be our sports day, sports week, Sports Relief, Rock Challenge or our weekly lessons, physical education is at the heart of Highlands. We are sport, through and through.
Music is in an important part of the curriculum at Highlands. We passionately believe that all children should have the opportunity to experience music of different styles and genres, and from other cultures and traditions. Teaching is supported via the online resource ‘Charanga’ which ensures that children are exposed to all areas of music in an enjoyable and engaging manner. This also affords children the opportunity to listen to and appraise the music of great composers. Children learn to sing and perform in tune, time and unison, and are encouraged to use their voices expressively. Composing music using tuned and un-tuned instruments is also important and children are encouraged to create musical scores using standard and non-standard notation.
The school provides brass instrument tuition in Year 4 through the Hull Music Hub and where possible supports the continuation of this learning through extra-curricular activities. Our school choir regularly take part in local events and perform in school assemblies / services and also across the wider community. In addition, we proactively work with partner schools and other outside agencies, such as Opera North, to develop the quality of music provision and engage in many musical events and projects throughout the course of each academic year.
Art and Design
Art and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity.
Every society and culture has expressed their deepest beliefs and feelings through Art and Design and at Highlands Primary School the Art and Design curriculum enables children to understand and appreciate other individuals, communities and cultures. This can enrich the lives of our children and make a major contribution to arousing interest in and encouraging responses to their immediate environment and the wealth of our nation.
The high quality art and design curriculum at Highlands engages, inspires and challenges pupils, equipping them with knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design as well as develop the understanding of how art and design both reflect and shape our history.
We believe at Highlands, Art and Design gives children the opportunity to explore the world of thoughts and feelings and express their ideas using a range of skills and techniques which create a sense of personal achievement. These skills provide access to other areas of the curriculum and help develop motor skills, language development and decision making. The acquisition of good basic Art skills will encourage children to use their imaginations in ways that enrich their whole lives.
Here at Highlands we view Design Technology as an inspiring, practical, hands-on subject which motivates children of all abilities. Children are able to use their own creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts. Through the teaching of Design Technology, the children learn how to take risks, be resourceful and inventive. Key Design Technology skills are covered in depth to ensure a deeper understanding and an ability to apply them in different contexts. Evaluating their own and others’ work also helps the children develop an understanding of Design Technology’s impact on daily life and the wider world. Several subjects feed into the Design Technology curriculum such as Maths, Science, Computing and Art. Design Technology is a subject that can be accessed and enjoyed by all. Here at Highlands we believe that it also opens the door to new opportunities for our children after they leave primary school able to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
At Highlands Religious Education is enquiry based which enhances children’s critical thinking skills. It aims to increase children’s knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religions or other views. It provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other religions and traditions around the world. Religious Education encourages pupils to learn from different religions. It also helps pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging and enables them to flourish individually and within a community. It helps to prepare our children at Highlands for adult life by developing respect for and sensitivity to others and acceptance of other faiths.
Geography inspires in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. We aim to equip children with knowledge about people, resources, natural and human environments, in and around Hull. We will also inform children with knowledge about diverse places around the world, in ways that is meaningful and relevant to them. Here at Highlands we ensure children are able to collect, analyse and communicate through a range of data gathered through experience and deepen their understanding of the geographical world. As children progress, their growing knowledge will help them to understand the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes. Children should leave Highlands with geographical knowledge, understanding and skills that allow them to explain how the Earths feature, both in Hull and in other places, are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
At Highlands, our learning environments inspire children to become curious about the past. Our teaching encourages children to: pursue independent lines of enquiry; ask perceptive questions; think critically; weigh evidence; sift arguments; and develop perspective and judgement. History enables pupils to gain awareness of what happened in the past, reasons for these events and how they have shaped the world that we live in today.
History helps pupils understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, diversity of societies, the relationships between different groups as well as changes and challenges of their own time.
Personal, Social and Health Education
An individual’s physical, mental and social attributes affect all aspects of their lives, both as a child and as an adult. At Highlands we fervently believe that the personal, social and health education (PSHE) of our children underpins all their learning and is central in preparing our children so that they are afforded the greatest opportunity to reach their full potential and become productive and caring citizens living in a culturally diverse society.
Because of this, our PSHE curriculum is delivered through Jigsaw, a whole school programme underpinned by mindfulness, which focuses on personal development and understanding, and the skills needed for children to learn how to be good learners. The Jigsaw programme comprises of a comprehensive scheme of work covering Personal, Social and Health Education – including sex and relationship education, emotional literacy and social skills, and spiritual development (SMSC). Our PSHE curriculum also incorporates restorative practices. The purpose of restorative practices is to develop community and manage conflict by repairing harm and building relationships through a structured system which provides a fair process that children understand and can access.
Assemblies and Collective Worship
Collective Worship takes place in either: classes; phases; key stages or whole school. Whilst assemblies are broadly Christian in nature we take every opportunity to promote all aspects of Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education, responding to identified themes and priorities and promoting tolerance and respect for people of all faiths and cultures.
Out of School Learning
Out of school learning enhances and enriches the curriculum and offers our children the opportunity to achieve the highest standards in a wide range of activities outside of the every-day curriculum. Out of school learning can take many forms and guises and contributes significantly to children’s physical, social, moral, spiritual and cultural development. At Highlands, it is vital for us to provide additional opportunities for our children ensuring they have access to new experiences outside of the normal school day. We believe that Out of school learning can improve children’s motivation, build their self-esteem and help them become more effective learners. Above all its main aim is to raise achievement for all children in new and exciting contexts.
“What’s on this term?”
At the end of each term we send home and post on our website what each year group will be learning over the forthcoming term. We hope that this not only keeps parents informed but also enables them to support and encourage their children’s learning.
Environments and Enhancements
In order to maximise the learning experiences for our children, we believe that children should be fully immersed in the current theme; in addition to producing thematic overviews and the ‘What’s Ons’, all teacher plan and produce a classroom environment plan which clearly sets out how they will immerse the children in a well-designed learning environment.
Teachers are encouraged to plan in quality visits and visitors to further enhance the learning experience for our children.
Over the year we plan in additional enhancement curriculum days/weeks to further promote a love of learning; Typically, but not exclusively, these include: an Art week, a Design and Technology Week; a Sports week; and a Science day.
Debbie James and Helen Smith lead on our curriculum at Highlands and should you require any further information please speak with them. Alternatively each phase leader is more than happy to speak with parents or carers.