Birkenshaw CE (C) Primary School

Birkenshaw CE (C) Primary School images

Key Stages 1 and 2 Curriculum

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All children in Key Stages 1 and 2 (Years 1 – 6) follow the National Curriculum 2014. This covers the following subject areas:

Core Subjects Foundation Subjects








Art and Design


Design and Technology






Physical Education



Religious Education is a compulsory subject, but is not part of the National Curriculum. 

We use a variety of teaching methods, including whole class, group and individual teaching as appropriate to the content of the lesson and the needs of the children. Children are grouped by ability for English and Mathematics, but are taught in a variety of other subjects.

Science and the Foundation Subjects are mainly taught within our creative, skills-based Learning Challenge Curriculum.


We aim to develop the important language skills of listening with concentration, speaking fluently and confidently, reading for information and enjoyment, and writing clearly with a good style and for a wide range of audiences.


The teaching of phonics in Early Years and Key Stage One is a strength of our school, where both the staff and the children enjoy their learning. All staff are very committed to the teaching of phonics at the correct level to enable all pupils to progress.

In Reception between 11:20 - 11:40 all pupils move around classes. They work in four smaller phonics groups which meets their individual needs. These groups are run by the teachers and support staff in Reception. During the year the children may move around different groups and be taught by different adults.

In Key Stage One from 9:00 - 9:25 the children move around school into their phonics groups. We currently have eight different groups in order to meet the individual needs of the children. Both teachers and highly trained support staff lead groups. The children move between groups and may be taught by different adults throughout the year in order to meet their needs.

In Key Stage Two, the children complete spelling, punctuation and grammar activities (SPaG) and guided reading from 9:00 to 9:25 each day. If individual children still need phonics support, they join the appropriate group in Key Stage One or they work in a phonics intervention group in Key Stage Two.

All the staff are highly motivated and they make phonics teaching fun with a wide variety of teaching strategies being used (eg bingo sound games, word lotto, computer programs such as phonics bug, treasure chest words etc). We follow the order of Letters and Sounds to teach our phonics and we teach the children the actions and songs from Jolly Phonics, however we do not follow a specific scheme. Each individual member of staff plans and delivers a tailor made curriculum to suit their groups needs. This is monitored closely by senior school staff.

Children are assessed as to their understanding frequently & any adjustments which need to be made are carried out quickly to ensure the child is being taught at the correct speed and level for them, ensuring each pupil meets their full potential.

We have purchased phonics bug reading books to support the teaching of phonics and the development of the early stages of reading.


Reading of individual words and short sentences is taught through phonics work. In each class there are guided reading sessions where staff use a range of books to develop pupils individual reading skills. Children take part in guided reading at least once a week. We use a wide range of books to support guided reading including Rising Stars, Wordsmith books, Phonics Bug and Bug Club.

All pupils have a home reading book from the colour banded book boxes. The class teacher will assess which colour each pupil needs to suit their stage of reading. They may also have Phonics Bug reading books which complement the teaching of phonics and develops confidence in 'sounding out/decoding' words. Children also have access to online Phonics Bub books which they can read at home. The teacher selects books which are appropriate and they are put in each child’s virtual book bag.

Our Patron of Reading is Conrad Burdekin. We do many different activities with Conrad throughout the year to promote a love of reading.


During mathematics lessons, we provide the children with opportunities to develop their ability to use numbers and to solve problems effectively; to develop their understanding and skills in the areas of shape and space, data handling and algebra; and to develop their ability to apply their mathematical skills and knowledge in a variety of situations.


The science curriculum is divided into different areas with the expectation that 'working scientifically' must always be taught through and related to the science content in each year group. We teach the children the skills of scientific enquiry and experimentation, and encourage them to develop lively, enquiring minds.


Children are taught to use technology to communicate and handle information, for problem solving, recording, monitoring and control. The core of computing is computer science, where pupils will be taught the principles of information and computation, and how digital systems work. All children have ongoing access to networked PCs, laptops and tablets in the classroom as well as timetabled use of our state of the art technology suite with a computing specialist teacher. Technology is used to support learning in other subjects, there is a continual focus on upto date teaching which is context driven and provided in a controlled learning enviroment

The Foundation Subjects

Teaching in the foundation subjects enables children:

To learn about other countries and people, and to compare and contrast their way of life with our own.

To learn something about the past and its influence on the present, so encouraging the development of a better awareness and understanding of the world in which we live.

To develop sufficient skills, awareness, attitudes and appreciation of all art forms to enable them to express themselves creatively in a variety of artistic media and through music, drama and dance.

To develop an appreciation of the importance of a healthy diet and exercise in maintaining good health, and to develop the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities.

To develop an interest in and an understanding of the need to care for the environment.

Areas of the curriculum often interlink, giving the children the opportunity to apply the skills they have gained in one subject in another, thus reinforcing their learning.

Religious Education

Our scheme of work for religious education follows the Kirklees Agreed Syllabus. The principal religions we study Christianity and Islam, and Sikhism. However, the children will be introduced to other faiths by learning about festivals at the appropriate times of the year.

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education. If a child is withdrawn, arrangements will be made for them to undertake alternative learning activities, supervised by another member of staff.

Boys Reading

Collective Worship

There is an Act of Collective Worship each day in school, when the children come together as a whole school or as a Key Stage. Whole school assemblies take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesday. On Thursdays we have seperate Collective Worship for Key stage 1 and 2. On Fridays in each Key Stage we celebrate the children’s achievements both in and out of school and Parents and Carers are invited to join us.

The school is affiliated to the Church of England and we have close links to St Paul’s Church in Birkenshaw. Each term the members of the clergy lead some assemblies for us and we hold special services in the church every year. We also have many other visitors who lead Collective Worship.

As with Religious Education, parents have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship.

Sex and Relationships Education

The Governing Body has decided that there will be no formal teaching of sex education in school until the children reach upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5 and 6). However, where references to human and animal reproduction do arise, staff will deal with these sensitively and sympathetically in a manner appropriate with children of this age. This may include referring children back to their parents with questions.


We teach modern foreign languages throughout school. From Nursery to Year 2 our aim is to develop language learning skills, including listening to and making different sounds, and to encourage the children to become comfortable with and confident in trying to use different languages through a range of enjoyable activities. We focus on teaching French and follow a structured scheme throughout school.


Teachers are continually evaluating children’s work and recording progress. As a school we have opted to do optional SATs in Years 3, 4 and 5. The results of these tests , taken together with the Foundation Stage Profile, the end of Key Stage 1 assessments in Year 2, the end of Key Stage 2 assessments in Year 6 and our own teacher assessments, provide us with year on year comparisons and help us to chart individual progress so that we can more effectively meet children’s needs. Each term parents are informed about their child's assessment levels and targets.

The Wider Curriculum

Educational visits to a variety of venues are used to enrich our curriculum. We also invite different groups and individuals – e.g. members of the local community, charity representatives, storytellers, artists, musicians and environmental groups – into school to talk to and work with the children.

Whole school Learning Challenges, when the whole school works on a particular focus, take place each term.

Professional theatre companies are booked to perform in school at least twice a year.

Children have the opportunity to learn to play the guitar, brass instruments, woodwind, percussion or the piano with peripatetic music teachers from Kirklees Music School. The children in Year 4 have weekly whole class strings or brass tuition.

A variety of lunchtime and after school clubs are open to the children in different year groups, depending each year on the particular interests of the staff and children.

We encourage the children actively to look after the school and wider environment, and have achieved the Eco Schools Green Flag Award. The outdoor curriculum and environmental education are a strong focus for us.

The school has a tradition of supporting charitable causes, encouraging the children to develop a sense of responsibility towards those less fortunate than themselves.

We draw on the expertise of other professionals to enhance our curriculum. Sports coaches from Velocity deliver many of our PE lessons and we link with BBG to employ a French assistant to teach in school.

If you would like any further information please contact your child's class teacher.

Cello players