In addition to the curriculum time allocated to literacy and numeracy, our children also have lessons in ICT, Food Technology, Science, Art, Design Technology, Physical Education, Humanities, Music, Drama, Personal, Social & Health Education, and Citizenship. Whilst each subject has its own distinct time within the weekly timetable the cross-curricular links and follow through of themes reinforces concepts and provides the generalisation of skills which greatly benefit our children.
‘In an outstanding lesson, very good team work and exceptional use of information technology brought the story of Goldilocks to life.’ Ofsted Report 2011
A key part of our approach to curriculum delivery is the use of disparate spaces around the school for different areas of the curriculum. Although this is an approach more familiar in secondary schools, we believe it delivers significant benefits to our children. The use of specialist spaces for each section of the curriculum allows the design of each area to enhance specific facets of learning. Individual spaces focus a child on the notion of a particular curriculum area; this in turn breeds comfort through familiarity with the expectations of the activities associated with each subject and space. Furthermore, the physical movement involved in moving between classrooms provides an excellent opportunity for our children to expend energy throughout the school day, promotes independent movement around the school and provides a regular sensory movement break required by many of our children.
As with other areas of the curriculum, the approach to literacy at Frederick Hugh House is a functional one. Our children put so much into every aspect of their learning it is our role to ensure that everything they learn is immediately useful to them not just at school but in the world we live. Throughout our school we adopt a multi-sensory holistic approach to teaching and learning. This is evident in the literacy curriculum in the tactile and visual materials as well as the songs that are used to introduce our children to concepts from letters and sound to reading and writing. Our whole school approach to literacy ensures that children have the opportunity to put their newly learned literacy skills into practise in a variety of settings and contexts. Whilst all children are taught phonetic reading and decoding we do not limit our children to this. For some children with particularly strong visual skills their first words may be learned through sight reading. The beauty of the Frederick Hugh House curriculum and the school that we are is the way we are able to implement and adapt a curriculum which is tailored for each individual child.
At Frederick Hugh House we take numeracy into the real world even for our youngest chiildren. Children visit the local shops every week to buy the ingredients they will cook in their food technology lessons. They have the opportunity to choose and pay for their ingredients. This underpins our approach to numeracy which is that it is a skill required for independence in the community so should be purposeful and functional from the beginning. Numerical concepts are reinforced throughout the school on a daily basis in order to ensure they are generalised into functional life, from board games to weighing ingredients for cooking our children are nurtured to enjoy number and quanitity. In their numeracy lessons our children hone their numeracy skills and abilities with a range of tactile and visual materials as well as rhymes and activities. Children are encouraged to handle a variety of stimuli including iPads and computers in order to enhance their learning whether they are visual, tactile, auditory or kinesthetic learners.
MUSIC & DRAMA
Music and Drama are a highlight of our school, recognising talents other than the purely academic. We see success gives children greater self-esteem and confidence. One morning per week is dedicated to our specialist drama teacher who uses music, dance and drama to reinforce the learning which takes place in other areas of the curriculum. Our children participate in end of year and Christmas plays to showcase their talents and share with families and friends of the school a range of the activities they have enjoyed throughout the school year.
The stimulating, interactive ICT used within the classrooms and ICT suite is further advanced in our ‘Journey Room’. Our tailor-made multi-sensory theatre enables pupils to travel to the flower market, The Amazon or even to outer space! The Journey Room provides sounds, smells, movement and visual stimulation, adding another vital and exciting dimension to your child’s curriculum.
Here, we focus on reinforcing positive behaviours and building self esteem and self confidence in children to reduce negative behaviours. We place great emphasis on ‘giving children a voice’ so they may express their feelings appropriately and communicate their needs and wishes, even without spoken language.
Your child’s pastoral care is a responsibilty we take great care over. From the feelings tree in the school play ground and the weekly show and tell every child is encouraged to express themselves whatever their spoken language ability may be. Rather than seeing PSHCE as a seperate subject to be taught in one time slot per week at Frederick Hugh House we embrace PSHCE as an appraoch which must be evident in every lesson of every day. Every child must feel that school is a place they will feel respected, valued and listened to before any learning can begin to take place.
THE WIDER COMMUNITY
Learning in our school extends beyond the classroom door into our local and wider community. We take every opportunity to encourage children to apply the knowledge gained in school to real world situations; an example of such is that our children make shopping lists and do indeed go shopping to our local food store for the ingredients they require for their food technology lessons!
We embrace children as members of a family and, members of a community. This is reflected in our home visits, daily home/school diaries, holiday packs which go home to parents every holiday, regular IEP meetings and our educational off-site visits which incorporate life skills such as road safety and public transport. We acknowledge that the skills and abilities we teach are only useful if they are applicable and benefit our children outside school.
We realise that although academic success is important and provides a goal for our children, success is so much more than academic skills. A child’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is the core of who they are and as such must be woven through the school day and embedded in the ‘hidden curriculum’.