Junior School Curriculum
The English Department at Knightsbridge School operates a flexible curriculum that balances linguistic and literary work according to the children’s ability. In the Junior School (J1-J3), the emphasis is naturally upon technical accuracy and the acquisition of basic literacy skills. Work is differentiated for all abilities, and the members of the Junior Team work closely with colleagues in the Learning Support Department. The English department seeks to develop pupils’ ability to communicate effectively in speech and writing, and to listen with understanding. We also seek to create enthusiastic, responsive and knowledgeable readers. We see English as a subject that is skills based. As English teachers, we are enthusiastic about our subject, but ultimately we see our success in the creation of young people who are able to read and write with meaning, research, explore ideas, and question. With this in mind, children are exposed to a wide variety of prose, poetry and plays, and they engage with both fiction and non-fiction texts. Every child comes to us with talents; we try to develop their creativity, broaden their knowledge and love of literature and help them say what they mean.
At KS, we employ a child-centred approach to teaching Mathematics, as we know the learning requirements for each pupil is different from one pupil to another. We combine the more conventional and traditional teaching methods with the new ideas adapted from the Government's National Strategies. Every effort is made to help the children realize that the subject is a lot of fun where games and practical activities encourage pupils to use imagination and initiative. It is not just about working through exercises in a book. We believe this provides a more stimulating environment and provides the children with a more relevant outlook in their understanding of other curriculum areas and the outside world. Mathematics is taught by the class teachers in mixed ability groups. We do have a smaller support group in J2 and J3 to enable some children to work at their own pace. Where possible we will use as many practical activities to explore and explain the topics. The main focus in these formative years is to develop their confidence in using numbers. This will be introduced as recognition, sequencing and then starting to use the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Other areas such as shape, space and measures, Handling data and basic properties of numbers will be included in this introduction and, as we work on a spiral curriculum, each topic area will be covered in more depth in its following cycle. Mental arithmetic games play a large part in the children’s learning as this is vital to build self-confidence. We also focus on the acquisition of times tables from J2 to aid mental arithmetic.
Children in the Junior School are taught a skills based curriculum, and Inquiry sessions form the basis of their learning outside of Maths and English. Exciting cross-curricular topics are used as a carrier to deliver History, Geography, Science, RE, PSHEE and DigiTech. The sessions will also undoubtedly have an English focus as well, and therefore skills are being taught and consolidated in a variety of lessons. It is hoped that children are also able to connect the skills they are learning to everyday life, instead of just leaving school with knowledge they have acquired. The Inquiry topic in each year group will last a term, and is intended to be broad to give teachers plenty of scope to plan interesting and exciting lessons, all linking back to the main skills. For example, when learning about Africa in J1, our children will learn about the climate, the animals and their adaptations using scientific skills, traditional African stories, African people and their culture, and much more. Moving into J3 children explore Heroes as an Inquiry topic, focusing on both modern day and traditional heroes and looking at the chronology of the people they study, the reasons that people are heroes, and can link in geographical skills when comparing where different people are from. The Inquiry topics covered each term are as follows: J1 - Africa, Creation, and Knights and Castles J2 – Famous Voyages, Chocolate, and London Life J3 – India, Extreme Earth, and Heroes. Trips are also planned in conjunction with the Inquiry topic, to further bring the curriculum to life. This all-encompassing approach provides children with meaningful connections between topics and supports them to use their initiative when exploring ideas. Our Inquiry Curriculum is ever-evolving, and we look at the interests and abilities of each child, to further inspire and challenge their learning.
Phonics & Reading
Phonics underpins all Reading and Writing in the Junior School and children in J1 are taught a synthetic phonic programme using Read, Write Inc. In this programme, children learn the 44 common sounds of the English language. Once children know these sounds, they are able to learn how to sound-blend words for reading, develop comprehension skills, improve handwriting skills and spelling and write about their reading. Children are grouped across the year group, to ensure that instruction is closely matched to their needs. Children progress quickly through the scheme and graduate in to a closely tailored English programme. We expect the majority of our children to reach this point by the end of J1. The reading skills that children acquire early on are continually developed throughout their time at school. As role models, teachers share their passion for reading and model the skills to strengthen and support children’s reading development. This is consistent across all subjects so that children learn that reading forms the basis of so much of their education. Children will read independently in school, as well as with an adult, and this should then be continued at home so that children are practising their reading skills. Children will bring home levelled books to share at home, and comprehension and understanding skills can therefore be further developed.
Art at Knightsbridge School is taught by a specialist teacher in the Junior School. Children use the well-equipped studio right at the top of the school, allowing for a spacious working area, which is full of light. This offers an environment that is both a creative and stimulating place to work. All the children enjoy a double lesson of Art per week. In the Junior School we also encourage children to do art activities in the classroom to link to their Inquiry topic. The main objective of the Art department is for the children to develop a love of creating. The children learn and enjoy all aspects of the process from the initial sketches to finished pieces. We aim to provide a safe environment, which encourages the children to express themselves in their own unique way regardless of attainment level. Children are introduced to a diverse range of artists, movements and culture. They are exposed to a wide variety of materials, mediums and processes: drawing, painting, textiles, perspective, sculpture, ceramics, batik, printmaking, collage; in order to give every child the opportunity to discover their own potential. Large-scale projects and individual works are displayed proudly around the school and where appropriate entered into competitions and external exhibitions.
DigiTech at Knightsbridge School is an exciting, diverse and creative subject. Emphasis is placed on teaching transferable skills that enable students to use ICT both as a tool to produce well-presented work and to communicate ideas effectively. Making sure that forthcoming generations are up-to-date with new technology is always a challenge. Students at KS will be exposed to the latest software and hardware so that they will be equipped to deal with the ever-changing nature of the technological 21st Century. In J1 and J2 children are taught ICT skills through their Inquiry topic by the class teacher on either laptops or their class Chrome books. In J3 children have a specific DigiTech lesson which is taught by a specialist teacher in the ICT suite. ICT is extensively used in all other lessons in order to enhance the learning experience of other subjects. In the Junior School classrooms have banks of brand new Chromebooks to allow children to explore ICT at various times throughout the day. All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards and each teacher has an iPad to further enhance learning and capture films and photographs.
All students study French. A second modern foreign language (MFL) is offered to all pupils and they can choose from Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Spanish. Pupils study MFL in Foundation and the Junior School through stories, games, role play, rhymes and songs. Emphasis is put on spoken language. Pupils become familiar with the cultures of different countries through a multitude of events and activities. Special events such as the European Day of Languages, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin assemblies, carol singing and trips with cross curricular links are organised every year. Language CDs and educational internet sites are also used in class providing links with DigiTech.