An Innovative Curriculum & Environment

Learning Stories

Read some of our exciting learning stories.

An Innovative School Curriculum

At Wheatley Hill Primary School, we offer our children a very exciting and innovative school curriculum, which is expertly tailored by our skilled teachers to engage, motivate and support pupils.

Using educational research by the Educational Endowment Foundation, we have developed a teaching model that ensures all pupils are offered every opportunity to succeed.

In school, we do not simply teach children to retain knowledge, we create life long learners, where children lead their own learning. We effectively combine the teaching of traditional subjects (English, Maths  & Science) with an exciting Outdoor Education curriculum. We also explicitly teach mindfulness, mental well being and social development.

English

English develops children's ability to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

At Wheatley Hill Primary, children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. We develop our English skills in various ways including writing focus weeks, author visits, reading buddies, bug club, parent workshops and having our writing celebrated and displayed in school.

 

Writing:

 We place emphasis on teaching the skills of writing through as many opportunities as possible and across the curriculum. We ensure that daily shared writing takes place so that the writing process is articulated and demonstrated to the children. Ideas are generated by the whole class in order to produce a quality piece of writing to share expectations of what good looks like. Through shared writing, we teach the children how they can edit and improve their writing using a wide range of sentence features and punctuation. 

Learning to spell is really important. Confidence in spelling allows children to write more freely and imaginatively.  Spelling patterns, rules and strategies are taught in school. 

 

Reading:​

Guided reading sessions take place on a daily basis and children are encouraged to read for pleasure throughout the day.  Each class also has a class reader which they enjoy reading together daily.  We expect and encourage children to read at home every night and record this in their reading record book. We have invested in a new school library system.  Children can now check the availability of books, reserve items as all classes visit the library on a weekly basis.

Phonics:​

When teaching phonics, we use a scheme of work called Read, Write Inc (RWI) which was developed by Ruth Miskin. It is a synthetic phonics programme that aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills with the aim of children becoming fluent readers by age seven. We hold phonics and reading workshops for parents throughout the year. It is an opportunity for us to share further information about phonics with parents as well as fun ideas to help your child at home.

Math

Maths is a key skill for all children and by ensuring they are fully equipped with the basic skills required in this subject is essential. In order to do this, we have daily maths lessons along with a separate basic skills sessions so that the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are embedded within the children's knowledge - Rapid Recall, Nifty Fifty. To support the children further during the marking process a "Correction" or "Extension" will be given to consolidate their learning or challenge the children further.

 

At our school, we are really trying to encourage the children to learn their times tables. To do this we ask them to practise every night for at least 5-10 mins and for parents there are a variety of activiites provided for you to help support your child with this learning. 

Science

A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Aims

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics

  • Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them

  • Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

  • Explore science in real world contexts through outdoor education.

SMSC

What is SMSC?

SMSC stands for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. All schools in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC. As part of work in this area, it meets Article 2 for the Rights of the Child where they apply to every child without discrimination.

Spiritual: Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.

Moral: Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views and have an appreciation of British Values.

Social: Investigate and moral issues; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the fundamental values of British democracy.

Cultural: Appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain's parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.

Religious Education

At Wheatley Hill Primary, we work to the Durham Agreed Syllabus for RE  and recognise the variety of religious and non-religious families from which our pupils come. We welcome and celebrate this diversity, are sensitive to the home background of each child and work to ensure that all pupils feel and are included in our RE programme. We recognise the importance of pupils’ all-round personal development and the leading role that RE plays in contributing to the spiritual, moral social and cultural elements in particular.

Our Scheme of Work provides a model for teaching and learning in Religious Education from EYFS through to Year 6. The units in Autumn 2 and Spring 1 explore aspects of Christmas and Easter with progression throughout each year group. Whilst it is beneficial to explore these festivals as they occur, there is no requirement to teach units in any particular order in each year group. Teachers may, for example, wish to select material from a range of units to create a block of teaching, or select material from the scheme that fits with a current topic being studied in school.

In Early Years and Key Stage 1 settings, it is suggested that activities used help the children relate stories, celebrations, artefacts and events to children and families in particular faith communities. If the children can for example, talk about the life of a named  Muslim/ Christian/ Jewish/ Sikh/ Hindu/ Buddhist child, then this helps to avoid the confusion that can arise in the children’s minds between different faiths. In Key Stage 2 teaching and learning follows the pattern set out in the ‘Long Term Curriculum Map’ but flexibility and creativity in using the modules is encouraged. 

Computing

A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.

Computer Science

The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content.

 

Digital Literacy

Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

 

Online-Safety

At Wheatley Hill, we also place a strong emphasis on E-safety and ensure that all of our children are equipped with the skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe in a digital world. E-Safety is explicitly taught during computing lessons, in class Safeguarding Assemblies and through whole school assemblies by visitors.

History

A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

Key stage 1

Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

Pupils should be taught about:

  • Changes within living memory. 

  • Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.

  • The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.

  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

 

Key stage 2

Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

Pupils should be taught about:

  • Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age.

  • The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain.

  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots.

  • The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor.

  • A local history study.

  • A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

  • The achievements of the earliest civilizations

  • Ancient Greece 

  • A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history.

Geography

A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

Key stage 1

Pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness. Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

  • Name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans.

  • Name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas.

Place knowledge

  • Understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country.

Human and physical geography.

  • Identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles.

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to: key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather. As well as, key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop.

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage.

  • Use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far; left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a map.

  • Use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key.

  • Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

 

Key stage 2

Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

  • Locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities.

  • Name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.

  • Identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night).

Place knowledge

  • Understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America.

Human and physical geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of:

  • Physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle.

  • Human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water.

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied.

  • Use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world.

  • Use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies. 

Art & Design

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

Aims

The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.

  • Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques.

  • Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design.

  • Know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Key stage 1 pupils will be taught:

  • To use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.

  • To use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination.

  • To develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.

  • About the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work.

Key stage 2 pupils will be taught:

  • To develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.

  • To create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.

  • To improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials.

  • About great artists, architects and designers in history. 

Modern Foreign Languages

At Wheatley Hill Primary, we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides an exciting experience for our pupils. We believe it helps children to develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning. Learning another language raises awareness of the different languages spoken around the world and gives them an insight into our own culture and those of others, providing an exciting way to celebrate the diversity of the city we live in. The learning of a foreign language provides opportunities for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects. We have chosen to teach the children in KS2 French as this is one of the languages taught at Secondary school and will help to prepare our pupils for the future. The teaching of French allows our children to apply this learning during our residential ski trip to France.

Physical Education

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.

 

Aims

The national curriculum for physical education aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities.

  • Are physically active for sustained periods of time.

  • Engage in competitive sports and activities.

  • Lead healthy, active lives.

Key Stage 1

Pupils should develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They should be able to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities.

  • Participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending.

  • Perform dances using simple movement patterns.

 

Key Stage 2

Pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination

  • Play competitive games, modified where appropriate, and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending.

  • Develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance.

  • Perform dances using a range of movement patterns.

  • Take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team

  • Compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.

 

Swimming and Water Safety

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres.

  • Use a range of strokes effectively.

  • Perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations. 

Design & Technology

Design and Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art.

 

Aims

The national curriculum for design and technology aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.

  • Build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.

  • Critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others.

  • Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

Key Stage 1

When designing and making, pupils will be taught to:

Design

  • Design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria.

  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology.

Make

  • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing].

  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.

Evaluate

  • Explore and evaluate a range of existing products.

  • Evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria.

Technical knowledge

  • Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable.

  • Explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products.

Cooking and nutrition

  • Use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes.

  • Understand where food comes from.

 

Key Stage 2

When designing and making, pupils will be taught to:

Design

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups.

  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through a range of approaches.

Make

  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks accurately.

  • Select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.

Evaluate

  • Investigate and analyse a range of existing products.

  • Evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work.

  • Understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world.

Technical Knowledge

  • Apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures.

  • Understand and use mechanical systems in their products.

  • Understand and use electrical systems in their products.

  • Apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.

Cooking and Nutrition

  • Understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet. 

  • Prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques.

  • Understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.

Music

We love music here at Wheatley Hill and value its place in our school.

We all feel the enjoyment that listening or dancing to our favourite music can create, singing our favourite songs, and understand the power that a great soundtrack has to build drama or add tension to a film.

At Wheatley Hill, we aim to give every child the opportunity to experience the power of music to enhance our lives. Singing, playing instruments, performing, and composing are enjoyable, creative and fulfilling learning experiences in their own right, but research shows that this learning extends beyond the musical curriculum.

  • Making music in the early and primary years increases listening and concentration skills, and enhances a child’s ability to discriminate between sounds. This improves phonetic awareness and helps to develop language and literacy skills.

  • There is a positive impact on spatial reasoning, which is linked to mathematical thinking and on physical co-ordination, which supports handwriting skills.

  • Music-making in small groups promotes teamwork and the development of leadership skills, as well as being hugely enjoyable.

  • Pupils’ confidence can be enhanced if they have opportunities to perform.

  • Music-making has social and emotional benefits, helping children to improve their mood and relieve stress.

As we progress through the year, we will be sharing details of our musical events and successes with you.

We’d love to hear from you!

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Contact Details

 

Head Teacher - Mr Alan Scarr

Wheatley Hill Primary School, Wheatley Hill, Durham, DH63RQ

Tel - 01429 820594

E-mail: support@whprimary.com

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