The School Curriculum
As stated in our school aims, we endeavour to 'provide a broad and balanced, but flexible, curriculum which meets the needs of our children, and enables every child to fulfil their potential'. We pride ourselves on our ability to tailor our curriculum to the interests and needs of our children and involve the children in their own learning as much as possible.
Across all areas of the curriculum, we try to give children an understanding not only of what they are learning, but why they are learning it. In this way, we can make children’s learning much more meaningful. We use a range of teaching styles to appeal to different children’s learning styles; these include demonstration, discussion, using visual stimuli or models, ICT, research work and drama based activities. Sometimes, children will work individually, sometimes they will work in pairs and sometimes in groups, depending on the activity. Teaching in the school appeals very much to children’s different learning styles, with a good mixture of visual, auditory and movement activities to help children learn as well as they possibly can.
Each classroom has a digital projector and a range of other I.C.T. equipment. The children also have access to a set of laptops which, thanks to the wireless network, can be used anywhere in the school.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, children are taught phonics using the national Letters and Sounds materials. In meeting the needs of mixed age classes, linked learning objectives at different levels are selected for lessons so that teaching can be differentiated for the different levels of ability within the class.
At Lower Heath, we follow the National Curriculum, and the full range of subjects taught is as follows: English, mathematics, science, computing, history, geography, art, music, physical education (PE), religious education (RE), personal, social and health education (PSHE), modern foreign languages (MFL) and citizenship. Further details about how these subjects are taught, or detail of the content of these subjects can be obtained from school - please contact Mrs. Sadler who will be happy to discuss this with you.
At Lower Heath, we have adopted a whole school learning way of working. Therefore, each term, every child will be learning about the same parts of the curriculum, e.g. Romans in history, sound in science, architecture in art, but at very different levels. We have found this to be an excellent way of organising the curriculum; it enables us to make sure that the progression in children's learning is very good, and also helps our families who may have children in different classes to share their learning together as a family more easily.
For each subject taught, we have long term plans which map out the aspects to be covered each year. In this way, we can ensure that our children receive their full entitlement to the curriculum without repeating any aspects of learning. Each term we write to parents to let them know what their child will be learning for the term, with as much detail as possible to enable parents to take an active role in their child's learning.
Outdoor learning is very important to us. Our two outdoor learning areas are used by children in a wide range of subject areas to enhance the their learning experiences. We have developed a Forest School area, which is also be used for outdoor learning, for example, lighting fires safely, making shelters and learning about how nature changes throughout the year.
We make excellent use of outside visitors to enrich the children’s learning. In the past few years, children in the school have worked with experts in historical dance, local historians and wildlife experts, among others. These experiences are very important to us and offer children wonderful experiences which stay with them for a very long time.
In order to enhance the curriculum, children take part in various educational visits, for example, visiting Chester as part of a history unit about Romans, or a power station as part of a unit of work about electricity. Children also have the chance to attend visits to events run by other groups or agencies, such as Safety Scene, run by the local police force, Open Door at Shrewsbury Abbey, run by the church and Riding with Giants, run by the local Baptist Church.
Children in Years 5 and 6 have the chance to attend two different residential trips, which alternate annually. One trip is of a more ‘outdoor activity’ nature, where children visit Stottesdon and have the chance to take part in activities such as caving, abseiling, rock climbing, etc. Our other residential trips take place in a town or city such as York or Llandudno. During these trips, children have chance to stay in a different location, and go to museums, cathedrals, beaches, etc. All of our residential trips give children a chance to experience living away from home for a few days, and being independent, which is an excellent experience for them. Children are fully involved in planning these visits, taking responsibility for risk assessments, managing budgets and selecting destinations to visit during their time away.
We take our children to join in various activities with other schools, to give them chance to experience working with new children in new contexts, for example, all children take part in singing festivals with other local schools. Key Stage 1 children take part in a ‘Mini-Olympics’ event, competing in a range of sporting activities against children from other schools. Our older children take part in out of school sports activities against other local schools, for example swimming galas, the Clive Run, cricket tournaments, hockey events and many, many others.
In undertaking all of these activities, we believe that we can provide children with a very wide range of experiences that will give them a well rounded, exciting and relevant education.