We aim to provide a broad, balanced, interesting and creative curriculum that provides for the needs of all our learners. Within it, we promote equal opportunities, high moral, spiritual, emotional and social values, and firmly believe in the idea of a healthy and happy school.
A range of teaching methods are used, including whole class, group and individual teaching Children are encouraged to be independent in their learning, and to express curiosity about the world.
The National Curriculum
The current National Curriculum comprises Core subjects and Foundation subjects.
- Physical Education
- Statutory Subject:
- Religious Education
Each subject is allocated a set amount of teaching time across a school year. Many teachers choose to block Foundation Subjects or Science so that they can spend longer periods of time on a particular topic. For example, children may be working on a History topic for several afternoons in a week so that the momentum of the topic and their enthusiasm is not lost. They may be basing their Art and other creative work on the same topic.
With the introduction of the new primary curriculum in September 2014, Priors Wood Primary school has adopted the Herts for Learning cross curriculum planning tool which enables the teachers to link Maths and Literacy with the foundation subjects. This enables the children to make links within their learning much more effectively. It also enables the planning to be based around how to enhance the children’s prior knowledge.
Enriching the Curriculum
The school enriches the Curriculum with these opportunities:
- All classes take part in interesting day visits to enhance their learning
- Year 6 have a wonderful residential visit to Dartmoor
- A wide range of high quality sports activities
- Specialist Performing Arts, Games coaching and Spanish Language teaching to Nursery, Reception and Years 1 – 6.
- Watching and taking part in drama and music productions
- Joining the Choir and singing in gala’s
- Joining the Dance club and taking part in an event to show case dance with other local schools
- High quality peripatetic music tuition in piano, violin, flute, saxophone,clarinet, guitar,cornet
- A wide range of Sports clubs and event
- Extra curricula Clubs
- Arts and Curriculum events for children and parents
- Joint activities with local Secondary schools
- Opportunities for Gifted and Talented pupils, particularly in the Arts and Sports
- Literacy: Teachers use the Herts for Learning planning tool to plan their lessons. Teachers have access to a wide variety of up-to-date high quality resources to support their planning and delivery of the curriculum.
- Speaking and listening: Speaking and Listening are very important elements in the teaching of English. They may be included as an integral part of any lesson or as a stand-alone activity.
- Drama: All teachers include elements of drama in their planning over many curriculum areas. Drama may include role-play, hot-seating, debate and working from scripts.
- Reading: We aim to give children a lifetime enjoyment of books and reading, building on the interests, personality and different levels of ability each child brings to school. Children follow a progressive phonics programme from the time they start school. Reading is taught and practiced individually, in groups or as a whole class and children are given access to a range of stimulating reading materials from their first days at school. All children are expected to read regularly at home, and the close partnership we have with you as parents is vital to the process of learning to read
- Writing: Children are encouraged to be aware of the many and varied purposes of writing across the whole curriculum, including reporting events, descriptions, instructions, stories and poems and recording investigations. Creativity and enjoyment in writing are nurtured, and close attention is paid to teaching spelling, grammar and punctuation. Every class has a special extended writing session once a unit which allows greater time and flexibility for writing at length in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Both children and teachers value this time highly.
- Numeracy : Teachers use the Herts for Learning planning tool to plan their lessons. Teachers have access to a wide variety of up-to-date high quality resources, including a large element of IT, to support their planning and delivery of maths.
- Maths is taught daily and generally as a complete lesson but teachers also look for opportunities to link their Maths teaching into other class topics and to find real Mathematical situations to explore. The Mathematics Curriculum is divided into these areas; Using and Applying, Number, Shape Space and Measures and Handling Data.
- At all Stages, mental maths work is considered to underpin the development of numeracy skills. In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, great emphasis is placed on work of a practical nature, which then leads readily into more advanced recording and complex computational skills at Key Stage 2. Practical work and activities that promote the development of mental skills, logical thought and problem solving are given high priority at all levels.
- The Science Curriculum is taught under the following headings; Life and living processes, Materials and their properties and Physical processes, and the school follows the new curriculum guidance for Science.
- Children are encouraged to be curious about the world and to ask questions at all levels. Investigation and problem-solving are seen as vital components of children’s science work. Science may be taught as a discrete subject or as part of a topic.
Our aim is to develop IT capability in children so that they can:
- be confident in their use of CT
- select and use IT appropriate to the task in hand
- identify situations where their use of IT would be relevant
- be able to think about their own use of IT in order to comment about whether they have used it effectively
- be aware of how IT affects people in their everyday life
To enable us to meet this aim the school has built up a range of IT equipment and resources to develop IT skills across the curriculum. We are keenly aware of the need to upgrade equipment and to embrace new technology.
The school has a class set of ipads and a mobile lap-top trolley which can be used by whole classes or groups. The children have individual log-ins so that they have access to the School Network and the Internet through the Hertfordshire Filter system. Safe use of the Internet is routinely taught to all children.
Interactive Whiteboards are in constant use in all classes, including the Nursery. In their planning, Teachers integrate IT into all areas of learning across the curriculum.
Priors Wood is part of the local schools sports partnership and fully endorses the importance of healthy physical development for children. Every child takes part in 2 hours of physical activity per week. PE is an integral part of the curriculum and all children are expected to take part unless a written note or a phone call advises otherwise.
These elements make up the PE curriculum;
- Development of physical co-ordination and fine motor skills
- Development of Team/Social Interaction skills
- Movement and Dance
The school is always keen to take up offers of help or coaching from outside bodies to help to enrich the curriculum. We employ a specialised PE teacher who provides a high quality games session for all classes each week as well as supporting the class teachers to deliver high quality PE provision.
Healthy competition is encouraged and the school takes every opportunity to take part in local tournaments and competitions both in and out of school time. Individual competitors, and football, netball, tag rugby, speed-stacking, swimming and athletics teams all regularly represent the school in Hertford and Ware events, and sometimes further afield at County level.
Sports Day takes place at the end of the Summer Term, and is organised along the lines recommended by Sport England.
The aim of history teaching at Priors Wood is to stimulate the children’s interest and understanding about the life of people in the past and to develop their sense of identity and cultural understanding based on historical heritage. In this way, they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures, and to understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today. We teach them to investigate these past events and, by so doing, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving. History topics offer the opportunity to link the children’s learning to other areas of the curriculum such as Literacy, Art and Geography.
Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem solving- Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognize the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
PSHE and Citizenship
Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship enables children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community. In so doing we help develop their sense of self worth. We teach them how society is organised and governed. We teach them about rights and responsibilities. They learn to appreciate what it means to be a positive member of a diverse multicultural society. This is all part of the British Values agenda.
Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions. We develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and we address the fundamental questions in life, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions.
Arts Education and creativity in general are given a high priority at Priors Wood. We believe that children should be given every opportunity to participate in and learn to appreciate a wide range of Arts activities. The school received its Silver Artsmark award in 2007 in recognition of its work in the Arts, which includes not only Visual Art and Design, but also Music, Dance and Drama. In 2008 the school achieved its Gold award.
We believe that an Arts rich curriculum enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the media of art, music, dance and drama. They explore ideas and meanings through the work of artists, musicians and performers. Our aim is that children come to understand that the appreciation and enjoyment of the Arts can enrich their lives. There is an annual Arts Week during the summer term.
Visual Art and Design
The children will experience a range of activities which will progress in complexity as they move through the school including painting, printing, drawing and sketching, collage, dyeing, textiles and sewing, clay and sculpture. We organise many visits to Arts exhibitions and events including Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery and the Henry Moore Museum.
Music is an important part of children’s creativity and has a high profile at Priors Wood. Children participate in a range of musical activities, including singing, playing musical instruments, performing and listening. Singing and performing encourage the development of memory, and children learn to co-operate and work together. Music teaching aims to develop rhythm, spatial awareness, self-expression, creativity, confidence and musicality.
Artis Performing Arts come into school once a week to teach high quality music and performance from Reception through to year 6.
The school has a key stage 2 Choir. For children who wish to learn to play another instrument, such as guitar, violin, flute, clarinet, saxophone, piano or trumpet, individual tuition is offered. A remission scheme for instrumental tuition fees is available through the County Council for cases of financial hardship. The school also has a close connection with local charities that may help with the cost of instruments or tuition.
Modern Foreign Languages
We aim to teach a foreign language to all children as part of the normal school curriculum. In this way children build up their awareness of different languages, and we hope that the early acquisition of foreign language skills facilitates the learning of other languages later in life. Currently Nursery, Reception and Years 1 - 6 are taught Spanish.