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. 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.
The new National Primary Curriculum was implemented in September 2015 in Year 2. Please follow the link for more information - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum
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.
Artsmark - Bringing learning to life through arts and culture
Following an in-depth assessment process in 2018, we are delighted to have achieved the ‘Artsmark Silver Award’. Artsmark is a creative quality standard for schools, accredited by Arts Council England that enables schools to develop, celebrate and strengthen our commitment to arts and cultural education.
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.
Healthy School Award
We have retained our Healthy School Award, which recognises our work to promote a healthy lifestyle for all children.
We are proud to hold a silver 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.
Quality Start Award
We have achieved the silver quality start award which recognises and rewards schools for their commitment to PE, School Sport and Healthy and Active Lifestyles.
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.
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 books. 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.
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 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:
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 & 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
The children are taught to:
Number – Addition and Subtraction
The children are taught to:
Number – multiplication and division
The children are taught to:
Number – fractions
The children are taught to:
The children are taught to:
Geometry – properties of shapes
The children are taught to:
Geometry – position and direction
The children are taught to:
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 world. 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 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
· strong observation skills
· respect for their environment
· the confidence to carry out simple investigations systematically
· the ability to record, interpret and communicate their findings through speech, drawings, writing, graphs and charts
· 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:
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.
Art experiences will involve drawing, painting, printmaking, work with textiles and thread and sculpture.
Children will be introduced to the work of artists, craftspeople, and designers and they are encouraged to discuss, and offer opinions on the work they view. At times, specific techniques and styles will form a focus for the children’s own work.
The children are taught about algorithms and how to create and debug programmes. They are taught the early skills of computing for activities such as communication, writing, collecting data and problem solving. They are taught to communicate their ideas in different forms using photographs, text, tables, pictures and sound. The children are taught about how to use technology safely and respectfully. 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.
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:
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.
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:
Human and physical geography
Geographical skills and fieldwork
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.
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 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:
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:
Singing has a high profile in our school and is also offered as an extra-curricular activity.
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:
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 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 meet 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.
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, ukulele, singing, drama, dance 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, which is held at Southway Junior School with a 'Walking Bus' which brings and collects children from The Gattons. For further information please see www.pioneerchildcare.co.uk
Please see our Local offer under Special Needs Provision.
More able 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.
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.
If you would like further information on the National Curriculum please go to: