The curriculum is taught through a topic based approach where possible, with themes designed to appeal to the childrens’ interests as well as covering the Core subjects (English, Maths and Science) & Foundation subjects, e.g. Geography, History, Music, Art, PE.
Children from the age of five follow the new National Curriculum, which entitles pupils to a broad and balanced education.
Children are taught in the following Key Stages:-
Foundation Stage 3 – 5 yrs
Key Stage 1 from 5 - 7 yrs
Key Stage 2 from 7 - 11 yrs
The new National Curriculum became statutory from September 2014.
At Bellingham First School we aim to develop a range of English skills and competencies across all subjects and try to ensure that: -
Pupils learn to read fluently and with understanding therefore being able to read for enjoyment.
Pupils write for a variety of purposes using grammar, spelling, punctuation with increasing confidence.
Pupils can express themselves with increasing confidence in a variety of speaking and listening situations and respond appropriately.
Pupils will develop well-formed and legible handwriting. We use 'Letter Join' as an aid to this. (available as an on line tool for children to use at home too)
We promote reading through a variety of schemes and approaches. Children are taught to read through the use of phonics, beginning with the individual letter sounds and progressing according to ability through all the relevant letter combinations and word recognition. As a school we follow the Ruth Miskin ‘Read Write Inc’ programme.
Reading books are sent home daily and we ask parents to help by reading with their child at home each day. A reading record will come home too - please feel free to write your comments in this. A school book bag is available to purchase from school for carrying library and reading books to and from school.
We aim to ensure that each child is given a thorough grounding in basic mathematical skills. Much of the work, particularly in the early years, is practical. There is an emphasis on basic mathematical principles, mental calculations and problem solving. The children work individually or in groups according to need and ability and games are used to consolidate learning. The new National Curriculum is used as a basis for planning, alongside White Rose.
Science is undertaken by all children from the time they enter school. Initially it takes an exploratory form, but by the time the children leave the school they will have learned to explore and question, to record and ultimately to predict what is likely to occur. We are fortunate to have extensive school ground to develop outdoor learning in Science and the World around Us.
History and Geography
History and Geography are planned through topics in line with the new National Curriculum, and include local history and geography.
Our topics include: Around the World, Seaside, Rivers, World War II, The Fire of London.
Children in Class 2 have a weekly French lesson looking at basic conversational vocabulary.
We aim to develop physical competence and confidence through P.E. and Games. Our whole school do a 'Daily Mile' (yes, every day) to increase daily physical activity and improve personal wellbeing. We have a PE specialist teaching each class for a minimum of 60 mins a week as well as regular after school skills club. Weekly swimming lessons are held in the autumn and summer term at Hexham swimming pool. These lead to the award of recognised badges as proficiency increases. Additional coaching sessions may also take place throughout the year as curriculum and after school activities.
We have excellent indoor and outdoor facilities including a multi-use games area, playing field and hall. We take part in inter school activities – cross country and football most recently as well as encouraging participation in club activities.
Art, Design and Technology
It is our aim to encourage pupils to develop their creative and technical skills in Art, Design and Technology so that they can express themselves through these media using a variety of tools, materials and techniques, and also begin to develop an aesthetic appreciation of the world they live. An after-school art and craft club is an available option during the school year.
All children have the opportunity to become familiar with the use of computers and portable devices. Computing is taught as a discreet subject and encouraged across the curriculum. We have class sets of lap tops and ipads as well as PCs. Each class has an interactive screen.
Music and Drama
All children participate in music, dance and drama lessons. They are given the opportunity to sing, use a variety of percussion instruments, compose their own music and listen to works by various composers. We currently have a specialist teacher delivering whole school singing sessions on a weekly basis.
Individual music tuition is often available to Years 3,& 4 – letters are sent home prior to tutors being in school. Drama is used across the curriculum in addition to the annual Christmas school production and various concerts put on by the children. We feel these are important in developing self-confidence and self esteem and are therefore an important aspect of school life, shared with the community.
RE is taught using material suggested by Northumberland LA. Our collective worship consists of hymns, prayer and a short reading, story or talking point and is of a broadly Christian nature. Parents have a right to withdraw children from RE and assemblies should they not wish their children to take part. Visits to places of worship take place regularly including our local village churches and a hindu temple in Newcastle.
We have regular Bible-themed assemblies led by our local churches (Open the Book) which are very popular.
Pupils are taught how to develop confidence and responsibility and make the most of their abilities, how to develop healthy, safer lifestyles and how to develop good relationships and respect the differences between people. We have close links with the Operation Encompass the Next Steps team, delivering PSHE sessions to all children.
Sex & Relationship Education
Sex Education is not taught as a separate subject. It is taught to the children through the study of the natural world where they encounter ideas of human and animal development. It is designed to be appropriate to the age and experience of the child and questions are answered as they arise.
Extra Curricular Activities
We enrich our curriculum with a range of additional activities: visits to the theatre, museums and a variety of locations of historical and local interest.
Opportunities to work with other schools with visiting authors, performers and musicians, are regular.
Throughout the year we provide various after-school and lunch time clubs which include art, gardening, computing and athletics.
It is hoped that a shared partnership visit for Y5-6 children will be possible as a newly formed Primary school.
When children first enter school they are assessed against the development bands and then Early Learning Goals . The children are regularly assessed from then on so that progress can be evaluated. Progress of younger children is monitored and assessed through observation and records kept in learning journals and workbooks. Our Reception teachers use 2Simple to record EYFS observations and parents are encouraged to add to these on line.
Teachers do not assess children using the old "levels" system. Instead, schools will be required to assess children using their own systems which relate to the expected outcomes for each year group in the new National Curriculum. Parents can expect to be kept informed of how well their child is achieving in line with these expected levels.