Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which: promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
The curriculum is planned for Foundation Stage with careful consideration for the Early Learning Goals.
The curriculum in Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2 take careful consideration of the National Curriculum and reflects the modern British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance.
At Blackgates, we encourage children to develop their skills by working with them on their speaking and listening, reading and writing. We also want our children to read for pleasure and we ask you to help us by reading with them every day. If you need help with this, please ask your child's teacher who can show you.
English is split into the areas of speaking and listening, reading and writing.
There are daily reading lessons and we have a well-stocked library which children can borrow books from regularly. Also, books are read to the pupils in order to enhance and widen their vocabulary, and understand the variety of writing styles.
The teaching of phonics we value greatly and Reception, years 1, 2 3 and 4 are taught phonics, spelling rules and grammar.
A variety of writing genres are covered throughout the year, taught in units which follow Blackgates Writing Framework.
Throughout school, we teach using the objectives from The National Curriculum for maths. This covers a range of areas including: Number and Algebra, Data Handling, Shape, Space and Measure and Using and Applying Maths. We aim to teach children using a variety of strategies, such as whole class, small group and independent work. We use lots of practical equipment and try to make maths “real” not just something which is taught for an hour a day. Our children are encouraged to be independent learners and to apply their knowledge of maths across the curriculum.
We have a newly refurbished and equipped ICT suite, complete with an interactive white board and projector, 30 flat screen PC’s and access to wireless. We are linked to Leeds Learning Network, which gives us protected use of the Internet. Every classroom has at least one PC and all classrooms have their own interactive smart board. Staff receive quality training and development to keep them up to date with the latest teaching methods.
The Computing Curriculum can be broken down into four areas of learning: Computer Science; Information Technology; Digital Literacy; and eSafety.
Computer Science: this is at the core of the Computing Curriculum. Pupils should be taught the principles of information and computation. This is done by learning how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming and coding.
Information Technology: this area of the Computing Curriculum builds on the knowledge and understanding of Computer Science. Pupils learn how to create programs or ‘apps’ (applications), systems and a range of content for different contexts and purposes.
Digital Literacy: binds the Computer Science and Information Technology together, and extends their basic IT skills. Pupils will be able to use technology and computers to develop and express their ideas. Essentially they will be able to explore technology and make use of it, therefore preparing them for secondary education and the future workplace. They will become active and responsible participants in a digital world, by investigating and creating multimodal texts, including the Internet.
eSafety: this area of the Curriculum is taught in PSHE and Computing. The pupils are taught how to be responsible when using all forms of technology, and what to do if they ever feel worried, unsafe or unsure about something. It is at the heart of our Computing Curriculum and teaching opportunities are exploited wherever possible.
Our hands on investigative approach to Science motivate our pupils. Science links direct practical experience with ideas and engages learners at many different levels. Pupils learn about a wide range of living things, materials and their properties and physical processes, such as, electricity, forces and light and sound.
History and Geography
History and Geography are important subjects within the curriculum. Geography provokes and answers questions about the world and develops understanding about the environment and their responsibility towards it. History is brought to life through music, dance and drama as well as through traditional research.
In Geography and History we learn about Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, The Tudors, The Victorians, The Great Fire of London, The Rainforest and ways to make our environment more sustainable.
Our children enjoy working with a variety of media and techniques and we enhance this with workshops with professional Artists. Work in the environment provides creative opportunities for our children.
Music is a strength of the school and as well as our weekly music lessons we provide the opportunity for individual and small group tuition in a wide variety of musical instruments. Our school choir, run by Mrs Oliver, is well established. They have attended the Morley Remembrance Service for the last two years at Morley Town Hall. The orchestra and windband are run by Mr David Bellwood and include percussion, strings, brass and woodwind sections. Mr Parnell provides excellent music support for KS1 and KS2 pupils. Every child in school will have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument. Instruments can be loaned. Music teachers visit the school on a regular basis to offer the children the chance to improve their musical ability.
We are proud to be an Active Mark Gold school. This award recognises our commitment to providing the best possible sporting opportunities for your child. Children have the opportunity to study gymnastics, athletics, a wide range of invasion and ball games, swimming and dance. We have excellent relationships with sporting agencies including The Leeds Sport Development Unit, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Leeds United Football Club and Leeds Rhinos. We regularly enter our local football leagues and take part in cross-country and other athletic competitions. In a recent Gymnastics competition our teams came 1st. Our Gym teams are representing Leeds after a very successful year competing successfully in the West Yorkshire Youth Games.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology prepares pupils to participate in tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies. This subject combines practical skills with an understanding of aesthetics, social and environmental issues and function. Pupils learn to reflect on and evaluate Design and Technology and through it all pupils have a greater awareness of products and their purpose. Design and Technology is about making things that people want and work well. Creating these things is hugely exciting for pupils, it gives them an opportunity to be inventive.
RE is not classed as a National Curriculum subject but is classed as a compulsory curriculum area. Children learn about Christianity and other faiths in their RE lessons. We have a daily act of worship, which is predominantly Christian in nature, and we encourage moral values and, self-discipline and respect throughout school life. Parents are entitled to withdraw their children from worship or RE. Applications must be made through the Headteacher to the Governors.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)
PSHCE helps to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. PSHCE is all about pupils becoming more mature, independent and self-confident. They learn how to make more informed and confident choices and how to take responsibility. PSHCE is delivered through circle time, assemblies and class council. In year 6 boys and girls have an opportunity, through our DAZL scheme, to discuss sensitive issues or concerns. These projects are linked with the school nurses and with them they help us to promote healthy living. We approach most of our Sex Education and Drug Education as part of the Science National Curriculum and therefore no child can be exempt from these lessons. Our Year 6 pupils receive training in basic First Aid and CPR techniques. We have three trained Heartstart assessors.
Governors have approved present curriculum guidelines and sex education is one of the elements in the Health Education Programme. In Key Stage One pupils will be taught that animals including humans, move, feed, grow, use their senses and reproduce and that the offspring will grow into adults. Throughout Key Stage Two this base about growth and reproduction will be expanded upon. For example, in year 5 we prepare the children for the physical and emotional changes related to the onset of puberty. In year 6, within Science work, pupils are taught about the human reproductive system. In PSHCE there are also a short series of discreet lessons addressing sex education for year 5 and 6.
Individual questions are dealt with informally and specific issues, if raised, would be taken up on a personal basis, where appropriate, and may involve parents. Parents can withdraw their children from all or part of the Sex Education Programme, except that which is required as part of National Curriculum Science.