English and the Arts
The Arts at Great Bowden Academy
Please look at our curriculum page for an overview of the way that we have split our Arts curriculum into teaching units across the school.
All children have daily English lessons. In Foundation Stage, this may take place throughout the day, whilst in Years 1 – 6, a dedicated lesson and further cross-curricular opportunities are designed to develop the children’s writing and reading skills. In KS2, separate guided and independent reading activities also take place every day.
We use the progression grids in the Learn-AT English Framework document (see below) to ensure the skills for each year group are taught. With the exception of the spelling scheme of work, we only state the whole year’s content, rather than the progression at points throughout the year. This is because we want skills to be taught and retaught in an iterative process during the year and because embedding skills in context and with purpose is the best way for children to learn.
Reading: We aim for all children to become fluent, independent, enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry, drama and non-fiction texts. The children are taught a range of reading strategies including phonic knowledge, grammatical awareness, word recognition and contextual understanding. Children will have opportunities to read and respond to a range of literature and non-fiction texts. Please see our separate phonics and reading document for more details.
Spoken Language: We encourage children to listen attentively and respond to stories, plays and poems. They have many opportunities to discuss, explain and describe situations whilst also listening to the viewpoints of others. They learn to use language in imaginative ways and express their ideas and feelings through drama, and through reciting poems and stories.
Spelling: We know that supporting children in making automatic choices about the way words are spelled is key to developing automaticity in writing. Spelling is taught discretely and regularly throughout the school.
The phonics lessons that the children have in their early years at school feed into more focused spelling lessons, beginning in Year 2. We use a Linguistic Phonics programme called Sounds-Write which is a master approach to learning how to read. The children learn to break words down into their constituent sounds and syllables and are able to write these down. To develop their orthography skills, the children use an approach called Word Study, learning to recognise patterns in spellings and to identify what makes a word unique. This also involves understanding the meanings behind parts of words: knowing how a word has evolved in our language is an important step towards understanding how it is spelled as well as how it can be used. Investigating and sorting words also supports children in their vocabulary development.
Sometimes the children are given some words to rehearse at home using Word Study techniques. A few regularly occurring but unusually spelled words need learning out of context but, for the most part, we aim to support the children in being aware of the choices they have about ways of spelling different sounds and in feeling confident about how to apply them correctly most of the time.
Writing gives children a voice, an ability to share their thoughts and ideas. Children use their writing skills in almost all areas of the curriculum and we want our children to be able to communicate with others confidently and creatively through their writing. Therefore, we place importance on making writing meaningful and emphasising its purpose – to entertain, to persuade, to inform or to discuss. Children write every day across the curriculum.
Underpinning our writing curriculum is our reading curriculum: we know children’s reading experiences are closely linked to the progress they make in writing. Carefully chosen, high-quality and challenging texts support the development of the children’s vocabulary and writing techniques. They expose children to a breadth of literature and allow them to engage with authors and the way they write.
Learning to write is complex. Central to our children’s learning is achieving increasing fluency in the skills of handwriting, grammar and punctuation. Each year group has a specific set of skills to learn in order to ensure a steady progression through school. Grammar and punctuation are taught in context and linked to the texts children are reading in class. We have grammar knowledge organisers that we share with parents at home to reinforce the work we are doing in school.
Children also explore writing through drama and the spoken word. They are encouraged to articulate their thoughts and experiment with ideas and techniques. Clear teacher modelling of writing ensures that children are well supported in creating their own compositions before being able to work independently.
We are aiming to build and develop cultural capital exposing children to some of the best known works and artists as well as giving them opportunities to develop their own skills and knowledge. As well as being progressive and building on prior skills and knowledge as children progress through the school, the arts curriculum is also linked horizontally to the units and themes children are studying. Art and Design is an essential part of the broad and balanced curriculum that we provide for all of our children. Through Art and Design, our children learn about history, different cultures and forms of expression as well as how to express themselves, envoke emotions and recreate the world around them.
Our Art and Design curriculum promotes a love of creativity and is taught through positive reinforcement and encouragement.
It encompasses the aims of the National Curriculum and enables children to:
- Explore and develop ideas, for example record and explore ideas from first hand experience, discuss their own work, develop their ideas and try things out, changing their minds, exploring the work of artists, craftspeople and designers from different cultures and times and looking for similarities and differences
- Evaluate and develop work, for example reviewing what they and others have done and say what they think and feel about it. Identify what they might change in their current work or develop in future work.
- Know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
Art and Design in action at GBA
Our children's artistic journey begins in the Early Years where every child develops their understanding of expressive arts through high quality provision, carefully designed to support the key developmental skill and expose them to a wide variety of media and ideas.
These fundamentals are then extended in Key Stage 1, where the children discover artists and different artwork and start to bring these ideas into their own work through provision and discrete Art and Design lessons. In Key Stage 2, the children use their knowledge of artistic techniques to explore different artistic periods and styles, including architecture and design. Key skills are revisited and built upon year on year, so by the end of their time at Great Bowden, all children have experienced and remember the basic techniques they need to be artists and designers, and have an in depth knowledge of significant artists through history. We aim for all children to leave our school as confident and inspiring artists, full of vision and creativity.
Our Art and Design scheme of work uses the Learn AT framework and is developed to complement the units of work the children are following in other subject areas while also allowing the children to engage in a high quality curriculum. We use a wide variety of material from different sources to support learning and are working with colleagues across the trust to provide high quality teaching and learning.
Music reflects the culture and society we live in and so the teaching and learning of music enables our children at Great Bowden to better understand the world they live in. Music is a powerful means of communication and is one of the highest forms of creativity. It brings our children together and creates opportunities to work with one another using a universal language. It is an art that can be practised, appreciated and enjoyed at many levels and is inclusive to all.
Our music curriculum encompasses the aims of the National Curriculum to ensure all pupils :
- perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.
- learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence.
- understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
Music in action at GBA
Children are enabled to be part of ensembles and choirs funded by the school. Recently the school has won Leicestershire Young Choir of the year. It regularly attends the Young Voices national choir performance. The choir is run by a vocal music specialist. There are links to the Great Bowden Recital Trust- In the Spring term children have opportunities to perform in the Spring Serenade and at the end of the summer term there is a high quality musical production. The school also has several peripatetic music teachers including vocal, piano, flute, recorder, guitar , trumpet. The school makes parents aware that the Great Bowden Recital Trust will fund music lessons for children whose parents are unable to afford them.
We use the Charanga scheme to teach lessons. We chose this scheme because it is well respected, because it is well resourced, because its resources support non specialist teachers in delivering the curriculum, particularly in composition and performance, and because schools within the trust also use it and this means we can work together with colleagues to make sure the scheme is implemented well. We are currently rolling out a transition between its original scheme and its new Model Music Curriculum units of work.
We are supplementing the Charanga scheme with extra listening material, videos which are produced by a music SLE working for Learn Academies Trust.
Our Languages Curriculum:
- Embeds the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills necessary to enable children to use and apply their language learning in a variety of contexts and lay the foundations for future language learning.
- Motivates children to practise, apply and build upon previous learning through a wide range of practical and engaging learning opportunities.
- Provides pupils with opportunities to acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics.
- Gives pupils a new and broader perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.
By providing a stimulating and progressive Languages curriculum, which encourages children to think and express themselves creatively, we are preparing all our pupils to be global citizens both now and in their future roles within the global community. Learning a different language liberates children and enables them to see the world from a different perspective. A high-quality language education fosters pupil's curiosity and their understanding of the world, giving them opportunities to express themselves, their ideas and thoughts in different ways (both in speech and in writing).
Languages in action at GBA
We are teaching Latin in KS2 at Great Bowden Academy. We know that this will support the work we are doing on morphology and etymology in our spelling lessons and give some context to some of the grammar teaching we are doing. It will also provide a foundation to most of the modern foreign languages that the children will go on to study in secondary school, wherever they choose to go. We use the Maximum Classics scheme of work and are supported by trainers from Classics4all to deliver it.