The Curriculum at Smithy Bridge School
The Smithy Bridge Curriculum includes the current EYFS framework as well as the National Curriculum (and will include the New National Curriculum)
The curriculum at Smithy Bridge includes the following subjects:
Phonics is taught from YN to Y3. The teaching is differentiated according to ability and to meet need. The children have a 20 minute session daily using Letters and Sounds. Phonics is also taught where needed (small groups / individuals / SEN) higher up the school.
Writing has previously been a key aspect on the School Development and since then children from Y1 onwards have been be expected to do two pieces of extended writing per week.
Children learn to read during their Guided Reading sessions and in daily activities in literacy and across the curriculum. Reading at home is also a key part of the learning day and a session for new parents on how we teach reading occurs yearly. Grammar and spelling are also taught in Key Stages 1 and 2.
Children develop speaking and listening skills through a range of activities as well as drama.
There are a number of withdrawal / support groups to achieve different purposes related to Literacy. These are typically small groups which meet for a specific period to achieve an agreed goal related to progress. Groups can include high or low ability children
Maths is a high priority subject on the school action plan. Children have a daily maths lesson and, in addition to this, an extra 15 minutes of mental maths which focusses on each year group’s non-negotiables in maths. Most year groups do lessons as a class but there is setting in Y5 and 6. There is also a focus on problem solving, reasoning and depth of learning in Maths and all classes from Y1 – 6 are doing at least one problem solving / reasoning lesson per week. As above, there are a number of withdrawal / support groups for numeracy.
We follow the National Curriculum’s programme of study and scientific inquiry is central to our approach. Cross curricular links have been developed with D&T, computing and maths and we are always looking for other ways to develop science in other subject areas (eg PSHCE).
Computing is well provided for at Smithy Bridge with a good computer to pupil ratio and a suite of iPads. E-Safety is a specific area of study at the heart of the computing curriculum across all key stages. Computing and ICT skills are used by children across the curriculum. Workshops have been provided for parents on how to help keep children safe online also.
History, Geography, RE
These subjects are delivered through a topic based approach and involve a large number of live experiences including visitors to school and visits to relevant places of interest. All year groups have at least one Geography field trip each year.
This is taught using a planned curriculum which has the flexibility to be adapted to meet specific class needs. PHSCE is mainly taught in themes which involve a range of activities and focus on children communicating with each other and developing awareness of their feelings and opinions.
Local safety needs are covered in detail because of the dangers in the locality. Drugs and Sex and Relationships education is covered thoroughly. There is an annual Cultural Awareness Week with a whole school focus. We have looked at Asylum Seekers and Refugees, being multi-lingual, the main religions of the world, what’s special about Rochdale and, later this year, we will be looking at another topic as a vehicle for considering different cultures especially those in the Rochdale area.
Some members of staff have a pastoral responsibility and are involved in mentoring specific children. Financial Awareness is moving from being the focus of an annual school event to being embedded in the curriculum for all children.
French is taught from YR. A specialist teacher is employed for two days per week. Each class has 20-45 minutes of lessons per week. Parents have been invited to ‘join the lesson’ tasters.
Staff training to develop confidence and proper understanding of the design process has taken place. All staff have been involved in developing new design projects which often link with science.
A skills progression in art has been developed and new art topics have been introduced to cover them. The school is committed to working towards obtaining an art award for recognition of the wide range of arts experiences offered in school. Artsmark and talented Y5/6 children have been involved in studying for Arts Award Bronze (examined by Trinity College, London). Year 6 pupils participate in the Lion’s Club International Peace Poster Competition on a yearly basis with considerable success in local area and national heats.
A specialist PE teacher works in school part-time and has helped members of staff across school to develop their own skills. A coach is also used to release teachers for PPA and to provide extended school opportunities. Assessment of PE has been developing including criteria for ‘talented’ pupils in order to increase the level of challenge for them in lessons.
A music specialist is employed one day each week to teach singing to classes using a rota system and to teaching musical composition. All classes have at least one half term of each of these subjects and some receive two half terms of singing. He also leads a motivational singing session in our Achievement Assembly.
Music is generally encouraged within school. Children in Y2 learn to play the recorder in lessons and consequently learn to read music. In Y3 children have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument and the take up for this is immense. The school has two nationally recognised brass bands, a wind band and other instrumental groups. We also have two choirs being trained and taking part in competitions at a national level. All our musical groups regularly have the chance to play in assembly for the school and this motivates younger children to participate.
A group of children with significant Special Educational Needs are following a Life Skills curriculum which involves fieldwork in the local community. There are also regular, engaging units in, for example, using money, cooking, using public transport and shopping. Some SEN children (eg those with autism) participate in weekly SULP sessions (social use of language programme).
Working in a cross curricular way
Where possible and appropriate the curriculum should be approached in a cross curricular way in order to link subjects and give children an opportunity to generalise skills and to add interest. Computer skills and ICT have a place in the lessons for all subject areas. Teachers must ensure that the skills progression for each subject is addressed and to always be aware in their planning about exactly what is to be taught. The discrete learning of specific skills is also entirely necessary.
We are committed to developing and maintaining a learning environment where children have an on-going dialogue about their learning, what they have learned and what their next steps are. There is a heavy emphasis on learning behaviour and generally on respect for others. Our curriculum is fully inclusive and all children have access to it, it is fully differentiated to meet learning need and to present appropriate challenge. We also believe it is important to fully involve parents in the curriculum which we do by: hosting yearly curriculum information evenings (for each year group); publishing a termly curriculum newsletter; offering a range of open mornings for parents / carers / family members throughout the year (eg reading events, maths events, craft workshops), year group performances linked to topic work etc.
(see Teaching and Learning Policy)
The Learning Environment
Smithy Bridge is an old school and the building dates back to 1895. Every effort is made to keep the environment modern, attractive and designed current needs. We have a large purpose built Early Years Unit with discrete outdoor play facilities. Y1 have direct access to outdoor play facilities. We have a large library and study skills area. We have the benefit of a multi-use sports cage in addition to playgrounds, an outdoor classroom and a large field.
As our local environment includes Hollingworth Lake, an area of outstanding natural beauty, we ensure that all children have an annual learning experience at the Lake or the Visitors’ Centre as well as a walk around the Lake. We use Touchstones, our local museum, for visits and at timesthe Touchstones Education Leaders come to school to enhance history projects with artefacts or dramatic re-enactments. We try to offer visits for embedding learning, these are usually within walking distance or accessed by train as this is also a feature local to the school.