The Southill Curriculum
We believe in a broad and balanced curriculum that allows all children the opportunity to develop their talents. The school has set up an extensive range of curriculum opportunities that includes a commitment to sport, art, drama and music.
The curriculum is divided into subject areas; however, we see knowledge and skills as crossing subject boundaries. Learning is integrated where appropriate and curriculum planning makes many curriculum links. The vital skills of collaboration and independence are evident in all the pupils’ learning. We work hard to plan exciting and engaging contexts for the pupils and their learning, making sure that we take frequent opportunities to explore topics beyond school on a range of fun and interesting visits.
Please see our separate pages on the Southill approach to teaching Reading, Writing (Talk For Writing) and Maths (Maths No Problem).
Children in Reception and KS1 follow Letters and Sounds; a systematic phonics programme. Lessons focus on learning sounds and then blending them together to be able to read words. All our phonics sessions are designed to be fun, lively and interactive, developing children’s skills and confidence day by day. We learn Jolly Phonics songs and actions to aid memory and we use the Floppy’s Phonics reading scheme to ensure that children get the opportunity to practise and apply their new reading skills at school and at home at exactly the right time.
Science may be central to a topic or sit discreetly outside. Children cover a range of early physics (e.g. forces) chemistry (e.g reversible and irreversible change) and biology (e.g. growing plants) topics through practical work, observation and problem solving. We place great emphasis on raising questions, practical work and discussion to develop skills of scientific enquiry.
We want our children to grow up with the skills to use this technology safely and carefully; to have the life skills that enable them to use it confidently but appropriately. We believe that if we teach our children these skills through a range of relevant, topic based tasks they will become competent and discerning users of IT.
We place emphasis on the teaching of coding (also known as programming) as it is a large part of the computing curriculum. We want even our youngest children to enjoy problem solving; to be confident to have a go, embrace when they have made a mistake and then have a go at correcting it. The software we use encourages our children to do this.
The Internet is an amazing source of information which enhances learning in many ways. Being ‘e-safe’ means teaching our children what to do when online and faced with strangers asking for details when gaming, if they see inappropriate images or if they experience cyberbullying. We use materials by Kidsmart, Thinkuknow and CBBC Stay Safe to teach our children to be digitally aware.
We have a range of desktops, laptops, chromebooks and iPads available for the children to ensure computing is taught in a rich variety of ways.
History and geography are central to the curriculum at Southill as they are the focus of many of our termly topics when children are immersed in each of these subjects and come away with a secure knowledge base.
We want children to know about the history of this country and the wider world and how events have influenced and still influence the world today. Through our topic-based approach children learn about continuity, change, cause and consequence in history and apply this learning through posing questions, writing accurate accounts and narratives. A lot of written work comes from our humanities teaching.
We approach history, like all subjects, with a critical mind, encouraging children to contrast and compare different accounts, identifying why there might be different interpretations of events.
When the topic focus is geography, children develop awareness of where they live and how it is similar and different to the world beyond. We want our children to know key facts about this country and beyond and encourage them to learn the names of oceans, rivers, capital cities etc. Our many trips and school journeys incorporate geographical skills such as map work, looking at aerial photos and making comparative studies.
As part of our wider commitment to the arts we ensure all children at Southill receive an introduction to music and music making at an age when children accept it openly and without preconception; our curriculum gives children the confidence to know that they can be part of making and enjoying music.
Music is taught by class teachers using online resources such as Charanga. We work with the Dorset Music Service to inspire children’s interest in different instruments and children are taught by private tutors in school time. Mr Price is the talented musician on the staff and he leads a singing assembly every week. He also organises the school choir and we look for opportunities for them to perform in the community, such as by joining with other schools to take part in music festivals.
Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education
PSHE and Citizenship help to give our children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. It covers physical health, emotional health and wellbeing, drug education (including alcohol and tobacco), sex and relationship education (SRE), citizenship, anti-bullying, safety and the environment.
We believe that through participating in PSHE & Citizenship, our children will grow to become adults who make sensible choices when faced with issues that are part of growing up. As a Rights Respecting School our approach gives our children an understanding of children’s rights and responsibilities and provides opportunities to develop life skills in a safe, nurturing environment.
Southill Primary School is proud to be an active school that provides an inclusive P.E. curriculum as well as an extensive range of extra-curricular activities. We offer a wide (and ever-changing) range of sports for the children to participate in, which help children to understand the importance of an active lifestyle (and associated health benefits) and increase their overall participation in borough-wide events. Children develop a range of physical skills as well as learn traditional team sports such as netball and tennis.
We also provide a wide range of sporting activities for the children to participate in both before and after school. With our weekly ‘Fitness Thursdays’ taking place in the mornings, ranging from Bike Breakfasts to Scoot and Toot, alongside after school sports clubs such as: Football, Karate, Street Dance, Netball, Multi-Skills, Change4Life and Tag Rugby, the children are provided with many opportunities to encourage them to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
We use our ring-fenced government sports grant to support the delivery and provision of P.E. and sport. The grant partially funds the work of specialist sports coaches who help all classes (from Reception to Year 6) build up their confidence and develop their agility, balance and coordination skills. The money also ensures that we can provide enough specialist equipment to ensure the curriculum is delivered to the highest standard.
We monitor and track the aerobic fitness levels of our children through regular activities such as the Daily Mile. A large proportion of our children (and staff!) walk, cycle or scooter to school each day and we are committed to doing this as much as possible. All children, when they are in Years 3 and 4, participate in a term of swimming lessons to ensure children develop water confidence and can swim competently over a distance of at least 25 metres – 97% of our current year 6 can swim at least 25 metres.
Within our core principle of inclusivity, we are dedicated to ensuring all children have the opportunity to participate in competitive sporting events both within and beyond school. We hold a Sports Day every year and take part in annual events such as the NASH Cup, the High 5 Netball tournament, the Weymouth and Portland Tag Rugby tournament and other inclusive events in the local area. We enter both a girls and boys team into both the Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 football tournaments and we currently have 34 children attending training weekly. Although we are a small school, we always compete to a high standard, attend every local competition available to us and ensure the children can enjoy and learn key skills such as reciprocity, resilience, resourcefulness and reflectiveness through physical activity.
Our aim is that all pupils understand the nature of religion and acquire an understanding of the beliefs, practices and values of all faiths, particularly those represented in our school. Children study an aspect of Christianity in every year group while features of each of the other major world religions are covered at least once at each key stage. Particular emphasis is placed on what we can learn from the world’s religions and children study units on aspects of social and moral education, rights and responsibilities and in addition, consider non-religious ethical codes such as that promoted by Humanism.
We have assemblies every day, sometimes as a whole school, sometimes as a unit, and once a week as a class. This is a chance to reflect on important ideas or to celebrate achievements. Major events in the Christian calendar are covered in our assemblies, as well as key celebrations for other faiths.
We emphasize the aims and values of our school and seek to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.