As children reach the top of our Early Years department we focus on supporting them through the transition to Key Stage One. This includes a curriculum that will ensure that all children achieve the Early Years Learning Goals – the foundation for their future learning.
The curriculum covers:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal social and emotional development
Under these broad headings pupils will be introduced to:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
These will be taught using a combination of approaches:
- Theme-based learning, which sets the learning in a context which engages the children’s interest and which encompasses all areas of the curriculum providing a clear link between different subjects - the beginnings of cross curricular education.
- Child initiated learning – an approach with which the children will be familiar, where they can access the curriculum through self-selected activities with the guidance of teachers and teaching assistants
- Formal, teacher-led lessons which introduce children to a more structured classroom approach in preparation for Key Stage One
- Read Write Inc. – a phonics-based programme which gives children the building blocks of literacy
Whilst the majority of the curriculum will be led by a form teacher, creating a secure and consistent learning environment, children will also be introduced to specialist teachers for French, Music, ICT and PE.
KEY STAGE ONE
Year 1 and 2 pupils will be introduced to a curriculum based on Key Stage One of the National Curriculum. Our highly qualified and experienced teachers are encouraged to use the National Curriculum as the framework for their teaching, but not to be constrained by it. As a consequence, pupils’ education is grounded in the fundamentals of Key Stage One but they are also challenged and stretched to extend their thinking and learning in order that each child can reach his or her potential.
At this stage the curriculum takes on a more formal and structured approach, with children being introduced to the concept of traditional, subject-based lessons. Whilst the broader, theme-based approach of the Early Years Curriculum evolves into more clearly differentiated subjects, pupils are encouraged to look for the links between them. This is important as it enables children to understand that the skills and knowledge learned in one subject can support them in their development across the whole curriculum. The curriculum for Years 1 and 2 covers:
- Art & Design Technology
- Religious Education
- Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education
The Read Write Inc. programme is continued through Years 1 and 2 and children are placed in streamed sets for these lessons to ensure that they access the literacy curriculum at a level appropriate to their stage of development.
Additionally, all children in Year 1 and above participate in our Creative Curriculum Programme. For a day each half of term, children across Key Stages One and Two work together to explore the curriculum through the filter of a whole-school topic or theme that the children have chosen. This encourages cooperative working and gives teachers the opportunity to introduce pupils to ideas and concepts that more structured, curriculum-based teaching cannot accommodate.
The Creative Curriculum programme enables children to develop the capability to apply their skills and knowledge in a context that is wider than the formal curriculum – the foundation of the independent learning skills that they will need if they are to succeed in secondary and higher education. It also introduces children to areas of study they might not otherwise encounter and it may well ignite an interest or passion that will enrich their whole lives; the beginning of a life-long love of learning.
KEY STAGE TWO
In Years 3-6 pupils follow an extended and accelerated version of the National Curriculum for Key Stage Two.
This covers the same range of subjects as the Key Stage One curriculum but allows for the fact that the vast majority of pupils arrive in Year 3 significantly ahead of National Expectations for the end of Key Stage One.
In Years 3-5 there is a focus on preparing pupils for the Kent 11+ test and for the Independent School s’ Examination Board (ISEB) Common Entrance Test.
Whilst there is a focus on preparing pupils for these important milestones, this is by no means a school that merely teaches to the test. Pupils benefit from carefully differentiated lesson plans that are designed to challenge and stretch the more able and to enable those whose developmental level necessitates additional support in order to successfully access the curriculum.
The Creative Curriculum continues to feature highly in Years 3-6, as do music and PE. Although a comparatively small school, Hilden Oaks consistently performs very creditably on the sports field and our musicians and performers contribute significantly to the cultural life of the school.
Our Special Educational Needs and Disability team work alongside class teachers, parents and outside agencies to ensure that all children have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Our SEND focus encompasses both those with learning or emotional needs and those at the able and gifted end of the range of ability.
Hilden Oaks offers a wide ranging and robust curriculum taught by highly skilled practitioners. Pupils are supported to achieve outstanding results in both 11+ and Common Entrance, with the overwhelming majority of pupils achieving places at their secondary school of choice. Furthermore, we place great importance on teaching pupils the skill of independent learning and nurturing a sense of responsibility for and pride in their own achievements. Our commitment to each and every child is that the choices open to him or her on leaving Hilden Oaks will never be limited by unfulfilled potential.