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Our School Curriculum

Our School Curriculum


The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (Reception Year) and the National Curriculum (Years 1 and 2) are taught within purposeful, exciting Learning Journeys, which follow the children’s interests and teach the key skills in all areas of learning. Each Learning Journey covers different areas of the curriculum, always incorporating English and Maths. The Learning Journeys start with engaging ‘hooks’, for example, a letter, a visitor, a phone call and then follow through to a purposeful and engaging outcome. The children are often set a challenge which leads to a purposeful outcome.

Examples of some of the children’s work can be seen on our Class Pages on our website.  A new National Curriculum became statutory in September 2014 for Year 1 and in 2015 for Year 2.  The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which we develop exciting and stimulating learning journeys to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills.  Each Learning Journey incorporates one of the children’s rights from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as we equip our children with the knowledge, skills and understanding to function as local, global and national citizens.


Examples of some of the children’s work can be seen on our Class Pages on our website.


Rights Respecting School Award

We are very proud to have achieved UNICEF’s ‘Rights Respecting Schools Level 2 Award’ (RRSA). This is a national award that promotes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a convention recognised by all but two countries in the world.  There are a large number of schools across the country working towards this award.


The Rights Respecting Schools programme teaches children about ‘The Rights of the Child’, which were originally laid down by the United Nations.  It encourages children to understand that all over the world children have the same rights. 


At The Gattons children learn that they have a responsibility to respect and uphold their rights and those of other children.  They also learn how wants differ from needs.  Most importantly, they learn that it is their needs that correspond to their rights; not their wants.


As a school we have created a School Charter, which the children have played an integral part in establishing.  This is called ‘Our Rights Respecting Rainbow’ (see overleaf).  It focuses on the rights of the child and the responsibilities associated with those rights.  The rights on our rainbow are taken from some of the articles in the UNCRC. We have chosen a rainbow as our rights respecting symbol so that each right and responsibility can be associated with one colour from the rainbow. 


‘Our Rights Respecting Rainbow’ forms an integral part of our school reward system throughout the school.  Every Friday we hold a Celebration Assembly when children who have been chosen for behaving in a responsible way by respecting their own rights or the rights of others are awarded a special ‘leaf’ to hang on our ‘Thank you tree’.  If your child is chosen you will be invited to attend this special assembly.




Following an in-depth assessment process in 2012, we are delighted to have achieved the ‘Artsmark Award’. Artsmark is the national programme that enables schools to evaluate, celebrate and strengthen a quality arts offer.

Every child in our school is encouraged to enjoy and achieve in the arts through Art and Design, Dance, Drama, Music and Creative Writing within our creative curriculum. Staff and children are given the opportunity to work with professional artists and arts organisations. Through the Arts, pupils gain in confidence and self esteem and learn to work both as team members and independently.





Travel Award
We are all very proud to have received Travel Mark Award Scheme Level 3 in 2012.  This is West Sussex County Council's highest 'Travelwise' standard and is only given to schools that are committed to ongoing excellence in safe and sustainable travel.  The Gattons is the first school in Burgess Hill to receive this award. 




Healthy School Award

We have retained our Healthy School Award, which recognises our work to promote a healthy lifestyle for all children.


Eco-school Award

We are proud to hold a bronze level Eco-school Award, which reflects our young children’s works to ensure that we look after our environment.


Fair Active School Award

We have achieved Fair Active School status which demonstrates our commitment to Fair Trade in our school community.


Key Stage 1 – Years 1 and 2


The Core Subjects:  English

This subject is broken down into three areas and our aims are:


1.  Speaking and Listening

To develop the skill of speaking in a clear, fluent and interesting way and to listen with growing attention and concentration.

We place a great deal of importance on the children's ability to listen and to express themselves. Opportunities are provided for our children to learn through talking about first hand experiences and planned activities. Talk is developed through conversation, discussion, stories and poetry, drama, music activities, and an awareness of sounds in our environment. Situations are also created where we can extend the children's speaking and listening skills. We expect children's listening to be active, where they are thinking and responding to what is being discussed. 



2.   Reading

To develop the ability to read with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment using a range of both fiction and non-fiction material .

Each class contains a range of fiction and non-fiction. The reading books are colour-coded, and the children have a wide range of choice within each level.

We aim for all our pupils to become confident, enthusiastic readers who are able to understand and respond to all kinds of writing and be able to use books to obtain information.

Our teaching of reading includes a wide range of teaching strategies. Children are supported individually as well as in focused groups. We work on the development of the whole reader, building up strategies for understanding, decoding, responding to and analysing a wide range of texts, as well as teaching a structured programme of phonics, throughout the school. The school has well resourced libraries which the children use regularly.



We aim for all our pupils to become confident, enthusiastic readers who are able to understand and respond to all kinds of writing and be able to use books to obtain information

3.  Writing, including handwriting and spelling


To develop the ability to write with confidence, fluency, accuracy and independence and to gradually acquire the skills of well presented handwriting, punctuation, correct spelling and clarity of expression.

We encourage all our children to enjoy their writing, from early attempts to where they are writing independently for a variety of purposes and for a variety of audiences. We provide activities to motivate our children to express their feelings and imagination, ideas and opinions, and to help them to realise how writing is used in the "real" world in a variety of forms and situations.

We use a structured handwriting programme.

The children are first taught how to form letters correctly.  The children are taught cursive handwriting from the beginning of Reception and it is used consistently throughout the school.


In addition to using phonic skills acquired through reading to help with spelling, we use a system of `look, say, cover, write' to teach spelling as the children are developing independence within their writing. 




How you can help at home

Children are encouraged to take a book home each day, together with a Reading Diary in which parents, children and teachers can comment.  In Years One and Two teachers provide notes on specific reading strategies that have been worked upon in class. Parents are encouraged to attend a meeting about Learning to Read in the Autumn Term of the Reception Year.





The teaching and learning of mathematics at The Gattons sets its foundations in the belief that Mathematics should be rewarding and enjoyable. It is the intention, therefore, that through the organisation of classroom activities which are varied and stimulating the work should bring satisfaction and success for all children taking them to the limits of their mathematical abilities.  We aim to develop pupils’ mathematical fluency and give them confidence in their mathematical ability.

The teaching of mathematics is based on the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Mathematics, in conjunction with further school resources including Numicon, a mathematics system with a multi-sensory approach to arithmetic teaching for the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.


The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.


The children are given many opportunities for practical work because it is through doing this that the most effective learning takes place. In the early stages of teaching mathematics there is little recorded work. As the children move through the school they learn to record their work neatly and logically and to make mental calculations speedily and accurately.


Broadly, children learn to handle numbers with confidence using mental and written methods; they begin to use and appreciate the power of pattern and order to help develop their mathematical progress; they acquire mathematical skills to solve real-life problems; they learn to investigate and communicate effectively using the language of mathematics and finally the children develop a confidence in their own mathematical abilities.


The children are given many opportunities for practical work because it is through doing this that the most effective learning takes place. In mathematics four different areas are taught:

  • Using and applying mathematics
  • Number
  • Measurement
  • Geometry


Using & Applying Mathematics

Using and applying mathematics is incorporated into all areas of the mathematics curriculum and not taught separately. The children are taught to ask questions, predict, explain and justify their ideas and to discuss their work using appropriate mathematical language. The children are taught to record their work in an organised way and to check their work.



Number – number and place value

·         count in steps of 2, 3, and 5 from 0, and in 10s from any number, forward and backward

·         recognise the place value of each digit in a two-digit number (10s, 1s)

·         identify, represent and estimate numbers using different representations, including the number line

·         compare and order numbers from 0 up to 100; use <, > and = signs

·         read and write numbers to at least 100 in numerals and in words

·         use place value and number facts to solve problems


Number - addition and subtraction

  • solve problems with addition and subtraction:

o   using concrete objects and pictorial representations, including those involving numbers, quantities and measures

o   applying their increasing knowledge of mental and written methods'

  • recall and use addition and subtraction facts to 20 fluently, and derive and use related facts up to 10
  • add and subtract numbers using concrete objects, pictorial representations, and mentally, including:

o   a two-digit number and 1s

o   a two-digit number and 10s

o   2 two-digit numbers

o   adding 3 one-digit numbers

  • show that addition of 2 numbers can be done in any order (commutative) and subtraction of 1 number from another cannot
  • recognise and use the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction and use this to check calculations and solve missing number problems


Number - multiplication and division

·           recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables, including recognising odd and even numbers

·           calculate mathematical statements for multiplication and division within the multiplication tables and write them using the multiplication (×), division (÷) and equals (=) signs

·           show that multiplication of 2 numbers can be done in any order (commutative) and division of 1 number by another cannot

·           solve problems involving multiplication and division, using materials, arrays, repeated addition, mental methods, and multiplication and division facts, including problems in contexts


Number - fractions

·           recognise, find, name and write fractions 1/3 , 1/4 , 2/4 and 3/4 of a length, shape, set of objects or quantity

·             write simple fractions, for example 1/2 of 6 = 3 and recognise the equivalence of 2/4and 1/2



·           choose and use appropriate standard units to estimate and measure length/height in any direction (m/cm); mass (kg/g); temperature (°C); capacity (litres/ml) to the nearest appropriate unit, using rulers, scales, thermometers and measuring vessels

·           compare and order lengths, mass, volume/capacity and record the results using >, < and =

·           recognise and use symbols for pounds (£) and pence (p); combine amounts to make a particular value

·           find different combinations of coins that equal the same amounts of money

·           solve simple problems in a practical context involving addition and subtraction of money of the same unit, including giving change

·           compare and sequence intervals of time

·           tell and write the time to five minutes, including quarter past/to the hour and draw the hands on a clock face to show these times

·           know the number of minutes in an hour and the number of hours in a day


Geometry - properties of shapes

·           identify and describe the properties of 2-D shapes, including the number of sides, and line symmetry in a vertical line

·           identify and describe the properties of 3-D shapes, including the number of edges, vertices and faces

·           identify 2-D shapes on the surface of 3-D shapes, [for example, a circle on a cylinder and a triangle on a pyramid]

·           compare and sort common 2-D and 3-D shapes and everyday objects


Geometry - position and direction

  • order and arrange combinations of mathematical objects in patterns and sequence
  • use mathematical vocabulary to describe position, direction and movement, including movement in a straight line and distinguishing between rotation as a turn and in terms of right angles for quarter, half and three-quarter turns (clockwise and anti-clockwise)



  • interpret and construct simple pictograms, tally charts, block diagrams and tables
  • ask and answer simple questions by counting the number of objects in each category and sorting the categories by quantity
  • ask-and-answer questions about totalling and comparing categorical data    




Science at The Gattons is taught through the Learning Journeys and is designed to help children understand the world around them. Through first hand investigations, they encounter new things and new ideas. They learn different ways to solve problems. Through focused questioning they are encouraged to bring their previous experience to bear on new situations.


We aim to develop the children’s curiosity and concern for the natural and humanly constructed world around them. We make good use of our own grounds, our local area and places further afield such as Plumpton Agricultural College and local Nature Reserves.

They work scientifically to acquire a range of intellectual and practical skills, through planning and carrying out investigations, and interpreting results.

In particular we aim to help the children develop the following attributes:

  • enquiring minds to ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
  • using simple equipment and strong observation skills so that they can suggest answers to questions
  • respect for their environment
  • the confidence to carry out simple investigations systematically
  • the ability to identify and classify
  • the ability to record, interpret and communicate their findings through speech, drawings, writing, graphs and charts to help answer questions
  • the ability to use reference material including the Internet (through a West Sussex filter).





The Gattons approach to Science is based upon the Programmes of Study set out in the National Curriculum

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. 


During Year 2, the children will:

Work scientifically



living things and their habitats


Investigate plants and animals


Investigate the use of everyday materials



Design and Technology


Through a variety of creative and practical activities, the children are taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. They work in a range of relevant contexts e.g. the home and school, gardens and playgrounds, the local community, industry and the wider environment. 


When designing and making, they are taught to:



  • design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria
  • generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology


  • select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks e.g. cutting, shaping, joining and finishing
  • select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics


  • explore and evaluate a range of existing products
  • evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria


Technical knowledge

  • build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable
  • explore and use mechanisms e.g. levers, sliders, wheels and axles, in their products


By doing this the children develop an understanding of the properties of both natural and man-made materials.  They develop the craft skills needed to achieve their aims.  They are taught to test and evaluate their work, and to compare their finished products to their design plans.  The children will also be taught to use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes and understand where food comes from.










The children are taught to:

  • understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • create and debug simple programs
  • use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
  • use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
  • recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
  • use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.

Technology is used widely throughout the school day. The hardware and software used enhance the curriculum which is taught to our children.


Each class has at least two computers and every class has internet access. There is also a set of laptops and iPads for use across the school. Interactive whiteboards have been installed in all classes. They are used for whole class teaching and group or individual work.


The children are encouraged to use other equipment such as digital cameras, Beebots and video cameras across the curriculum, to ensure they become digitally literate.




Religious Education


Our Religious Education curriculum is based on the West Sussex Agreed Syllabus and the activities are designed to give children knowledge and understanding about Christianity and other principal religions.  It forms a basis for their spiritual, moral and cultural education, enabling them to develop positive values and attitudes in their relationships in everyday life.  An act of collective worship is held each day, these are mainly of a Christian character and are based on such themes as ‘feelings’ or ‘celebrations’.


Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education lessons and assemblies and should inform the Headteacher if this is their wish so alternative arrangements can be made.




Physical Education


Physical education lessons take place three times per week both in the hall and outside either on the playgrounds or the field when the weather is fine. Through P.E. lessons, the children develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They also engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.


The children will:


  • master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities
  • participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
  • perform dances using simple movement patterns


They take part in gymnastics, games and dance lessons throughout the year and in the summer athletic activities are included. We have sports days in the summer with the focus on participation and enjoyment as well as having a competitive element for all year groups. We are very well equipped with our equipment being replaced and updated regularly.


The focus of  P.E. is on enjoyment and participation and fostering a lifelong love of physical activity, so that the children lead healthy, active lives.





Music education aims to develop pupils’ understanding, knowledge, skills and enjoyment of music through involvement in composing, performing and listening.


The children will:


  • use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
  • play tuned and untuned instruments musically
  • listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
  • experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the interrelated dimensions of music


Singing has a high profile in our school and is also offered as an extra-curricular activity.



Art and Design

Work in Art is planned to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design, using a wide range of media and tools.  We will develop the children’s ability to express their ideas and feelings and their ability to represent what they directly observe.

They will:

·        use a range of materials creatively to design and make products

·        use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination

·        develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space

·        know about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work













Work in Geography is within our Learning Journeys and is based on direct experiences, practical activities and fieldwork in the school and its immediate surroundings. Children develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.


The children learn:


Locational knowledge

  • name and locate the world’s 7 continents and 5 oceans
  • name, locate and identify characteristics of the 4 countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas


Place knowledge

  • understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country


Human and physical geography

  • identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
  • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
    • key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
    • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop


Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
  • use simple compass directions (north, south, east and west) and locational and directional language e.g, near and far, left and right, to describe the location of features and routes on a map
  • use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key
  • use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment


Resources such as plans, maps, aerial photographs, atlases, compasses and globes are used to support their work both locally and when they study a contrasting locality. Geography is often a focus for off-site activities, including areas in our immediate locality.



Work in History is embedded in our Learning Journeys and provides an opportunity for the children to begin to develop the skills necessary to understand and interpret the past.  Children develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.


The children learn about:


  • changes within living memory – where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life
  • events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally e.g. the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries.
  • the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some are used to compare aspects of life in different periods e.g, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell.
  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality


Learning experiences may involve activities such as handling artefacts, listening to people talking about their memories, using stories, photographs, non-fiction books and audio visual resources. These include videos, DVDs and research on the internet as well as discovering more about our local history.


Modern Languages


The school is not required to teach a foreign language at KS1.  However, the children do learn informally about other languages as part of their curriculum.



Personal, Social, Health & Citizenship Education


Personal and Social Education is concerned with self and relationships with other people, as well as with the community in which we live.


PSE is carried out through our day to day conversations with the children and through “Circle Time” when all members of the class come together in a circle, and where everyone’s ideas are valued and self-esteem is developed. In PSE we aim to develop children's confidence and social skills, and a sense of respect for others.  Our “Circle Time,” is also used to teach the children about their rights and responsibilities as a Rights Respecting School, as well as the rights and responsibilities they have in the wider world.


Health education addresses areas such as medicines and drugs education, growth, and the need for exercise, rest and a balanced diet.


The children learn about Citizenship through taking responsibility for tasks in class and in school and their involvement with our Class and School Councils. Each class elects a representative who meets with a teacher regularly and discuss a variety of topics that are of concern to the children. Recent subjects include recycling and waste, behaviour while eating lunch, and playtime games and toys.


To develop the children’s sense of economic awareness we encourage each class to take part in a mini-enterprise scheme. A small investment is made and the children act as entrepreneurs! Past schemes have included a plant sale, a café, and brooch sales.





Sex & Relationships Education


Young children are interested in themselves, their bodies and their relationships. Activities in Science cover the beginnings of life through work on babies and growth. Other aspects are covered through personal and social education and include work on families, feelings, friendships, keeping safe and caring for themselves.


Children may ask direct questions and we respond by answering at the right level of understanding, consulting with the parents if necessary. Our Sex and Relationships Education policy is available for any parent who wishes to read it.


If you would like further information on the National Curriculum please go to:


Extra-Curricular Activities and Extended Schools Provision


There are opportunities for children to take part in a range of extra-curricular activities during their time at The Gattons; these change from year to year. At the moment we are able to offer cookery, singing and sports skills.  Some of these are organised by external providers, some of the courses are free and parents pay for others.

The school works with other schools in Burgess Hill to evaluate provision for holiday clubs, day care and adult education within the town.  We have a before-school and after-school care club, Pioneer, which provides a 'Walking Bus' which brings and collects children from The Gattons.











Please see our Local offer under Special Needs Provision.


Gifted and Talented Pupils


Through regular monitoring and evaluation of pupils’ work, children who are found to be very able have their work matched to their needs and are offered an accelerated pace of learning. Application may also be made to the Children and Young People’s Services Enrichment Programme for Able Pupils, which provides extra-curricular activities.


Equal Opportunities

Our school aims to promote equal opportunities and ensure that all pupils, regardless of their background, ability, gender or ethnicity receive a balanced and broad curriculum which fosters individual achievement.