The Curriculum at Phoenix Junior Academy
Language is fundamental to all aspects of children’s home and school life. We aim to develop and extend language skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. By the end of their time at Phoenix, children should be able to express themselves confidently both orally and with the written word. The English Curriculum is taught according to the National Curriculum.
Speaking and Listening
Children are encouraged to develop confidence in speaking and listening skills. They are provided with a framework where they can share ideas, listen attentively, ask questions, give and receive instructions, offer explanations, argue points of view and use play and drama to express themselves.
The school’s overall objective is for each child to become a fluent and confident reader. Reading is taught as a specific skill and each child’s progress is carefully monitored. Reading skills are taught daily in classes or groups, emphasis is on inference, retrieval and vocabulary. We have invested heavily in a wide variety of new books through Bug Club, which will provide a structured approach to language/reading teaching throughout the school. There is a wide range of reading material within the school and this is supported by well-stocked fiction and non-fiction library areas. Each child is provided with a Home/School reading record, the parents are asked to acknowledge when their child reads at home. These figures are recorded for our celebration assembly where the reading class of the week wins a certificate. These results are built on throughout the term and the children from the winning class each term each win a book of their choosing.
Writing here at Phoenix is taught daily, the lessons consist of a mix of drama, reading, writing, paired work, group work, drafting, editing and GPS. We use a text (or other media) as an inspiration and immerse ourselves in the characters and plots to produce a range of genres which ensure we cover the National Curriculum. Children build up to final pieces of writing through a range of activities. Time is given for them to edit and proof read their work. Independence in this is strongly encouraged. Emphasis is placed on taking pride in their writing and focusing on the audience, each piece is published allowing the children to take pride in the work that they produce.
We aim to give the children experience and understanding of all aspects of mathematics at a level appropriate to their age and ability and in accordance with the National Curriculum. We aim to develop the following areas:
- Confidence in maths so that children can communicate their ideas fluently.
- An understanding of maths through practical experience and enquiry.
- The ability to think clearly and logically.
- An awareness of the relationship between numbers and an appreciation of pattern.
- An ability to develop strategies for use in investigations and problem solving.
- An awareness of maths as a tool for use in other areas of work and in adult life.
- Mathematical skills and knowledge and ability for quick recall of basic facts.
- The ability to use technological tools such as computers and calculators.
We have a daily focus on developing children’s mental arithmetic to enable quick recall and underpin the thinking skills needed for problem solving.
Through a variety of science activities, we aim to encourage and stimulate the children to develop enquiring minds about the world in which we live. The science work throughout the school is mainly performed in a practical and creative manner. An important part of the work is to develop scientific skills through these activities. The skills we hope to develop are: observing, prediction, hypothesising, planning, the devising and setting up of experiments and the recording and communicating of results. The content of the science work covered is planned to ensure a progression of concepts throughout the school. This structured approach will enable the children to cover the programmes of study specified in the National Curriculum. Some of the programmes of study to be covered are: Experimental and investigative science, Life processes and living things; Materials and their properties; Physical processes.
Children will be taught about important episodes and development in Britain’s past from Roman to modern times, about ancient civilisations, and the history of parts of the world. They will be helped to develop a chronological framework by making links across the different study units. They will have opportunities to investigate local history and to learn about the past from a range of sources of information. Where possible, we aim to give the children hands on experiences by either them visiting a location or inviting others in. Where links can be made to the rest of the curriculum we aim to do so for example Year 6 study a WWII text alongside their history lessons
Children will be taught to work with maps, plans, globes, information technology and other resources in order to develop their geographical skills and knowledge of places. Geographical themes to be investigated will include; rivers, weather, settlement and environmental change. Links to local, as well as global geography, are taught where possible.
Information Communication Technology
Each class has access to either laptops or tablet which are networked allowing staff and children to share information and communicate with each other electronically. All machines on the network have access to the Internet to support teaching and learning throughout the school. The school has purchased numerous software packages to support subject content as well as access rights to online resources. The use of ICT expands to all subjects. All teaching rooms have interactive whiteboards. Students are also taught about e-safety and undertake lessons developed by CEOPS.
Children are given opportunities to explore many different methods, materials and tool techniques through line, colour mixing, shape and form and 3D work. It is essential that children are encouraged to recognise the elements and influences of internationally known Artists, past and present. These connections enable children to review and develop their own work. Specialist CPD and support is given to staff from the Trust Art and Design Co-ordinator. Where links can be made to the rest of the curriculum we endeavour to do so.
Music is taught to all the children in the school. As part of the Fort Pitt Trust we are able to offer music weekly by a secondary music specialist. Our aim is to help the children to enjoy various forms of music and to develop their listening and composing skills. In addition we aim to enhance the children’s ability to sing together as well as their enjoyment of singing which, in turn, helps to develop the ability to cooperate with a group, particularly in music-making. We are proud to be given the opportunity to join the Young voices at the O2 which is a national event. In Year 4 the children are given weekly ukulele lessons by a visiting Medway specialist. Recorders and flute lessons are offered free of charge and the children are given opportunities to perform to the rest of the school most notably at the school Christmas concerts. We also offer choir as an after school club, again performance is key and we ensure the children have an audience, we have links with a local charity Caring Hands and a local nursing home.
Design and Technology
Children are supported and encouraged to develop their capabilities in designing and making skills. In developing their technological skills children will be taught to; use tools and materials safely; plan and organise their work safely; apply and consolidate skills and knowledge previously taught as part of the mathematics, science and art curriculum. Where possible links to other areas of the curriculum are made and support learning in history or English. Here at Phoenix we also offer an after school cookery club, here the children are given 2 ½ hours to cook and bake from scratch. They learn skills in not only cookery but in safety and hygiene.
Spanish is taught weekly in Years 3,4 and 5 as part of a national initiative to increase pupil knowledge of languages. Opportunities are provided for children to learn orally and in written form. This is also supported by subject specialists from our Trust School.
Physical Education & Sport
The school has three PE instructors to ensure we deliver high standards of PE across the school. Traditional team sports are played at Phoenix Junior Academy including football, Tag Rugby, quick cricket, Hockey, rounders’ and netball. The curriculum is designed to build on the previous years skills and develop a passion for as many sports as possible. We offer an extensive range of after school clubs, here children are given the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the sport and work with children from other year groups. As a school we actively partake in the Medway Youth Games and endeavour to take children from a range of abilities. We also have a strong focus on swimming. In year 4 our children are taking swimming weekly, each child swims for between 30 minutes and an hour weekly. Our aim is that by the end of the summer term in year 4 all of our children are water confident and are able to swim at least 25 meters and use a range of strokes – as set out in the National Curriculum. Each class is also offered discrete dance lessons for a term, it is hoped this will help them realize sport is for all and can be accessed in a range of ways. In order to help the children focus in lessons and help them understand the importance of fitness to their health and well being we also take part in the daily mile. Here children are given 10 minutes to run – or briskly walk – a mile. They are able to see their own progress over time.
To broaden the children’s knowledge and encourage independence we have introduced Forest Schools into the curriculum. They will learn valuable life skills and working together with other children they will learn an array of survival techniques along with developing a healthy respect for nature and the environment.
Religious Education and assemblies are non-denominational. We aim to teach children to recognise and respect different beliefs and commitments. We have many children who come from faiths other than Christianity. We try to provide for all beliefs so that no child is left out. Spiritual and moral development is encouraged through the ethos of the school; assemblies; RE; all subjects of the National Curriculum and is built upon the LA SACRE Guidelines.
Values based Education incorporating Personal, Social, Health Education and Sex Education
Values Based Education forms the backbone of our PSHCE programme, this is stitched together with SEAL (Social, Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme. The school studies its 22 core values over a four year period, each is studied as a whole school through assemblies and weekly in classes punctuated with other relevant and topical studies.
We also by following the VBE philosophies develop the children’s inner curriculum, which concentrates on building resilience, leadership and confidence.
Sex Education and drugs education are part of the National Curriculum programme for Science in Key Stage 2. We consider sex education and drugs education to be part of the personal, social, and health education and they should be appropriate to the age and stage of the child. In Year 6, girls and boys will take part in separate Sex Education sessions run by the School Nurse and Year 6 teachers. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from sex education. However, this does not apply to the National Curriculum aspects of the programme, or to the discussions arising naturally within other lessons outside the planned sex education programme. To promote positive mental health all students and staff will take part in a six-lesson Mindfullness course; this will enable children to develop skills to overcome stress and tension, which can lead to depression and poor mental health.
Phoenix Juniors aims to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, which gives equality of access to each and every pupil, regardless of gender, race, social class, ability, or special needs to view the full curriculum, please follow the Curriculum Link here.