Curriculum Overview

Information regarding our whole school approach to our curriculum can be found on the 'Curriculum' page of this website.

The broad curriculum coverage for each year at Blackthorns is listed below:

Reception: Our EYFS children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Within this, they identify their areas of interest and the topics are created based on these. Among this range of topics, children usually cover Fairy Tales and All About Me.

Year 1
Inventors

Autumn Term 'Toys' including learning about the 'Properties of materials' in Science
Spring Term 'To infinity and beyond': a focus on transport. 'Once upon a time' will focus on fairy tales. Plus, including learning about naming 'Parts of the human body' and the 'Weather and the seasons' in Science
Summer Term 'The Secret Garden' - famous authors, including learning to 'Identify animals and their characteristics' and looking at 'Trees and their changes.'

Year 2
Explorers

Autumn Term 'Oceanography and Zoology' - delving into the continents and oceans and considering 'Living things and their habitats' and 'Food chains' in Science
Spring Term 'Pole to pole' - learning about local history and the impact of the weather at the poles. Investigating 'The use of everyday materials' such as ice, in Science.
Summer Term 'A land down under' - a country study on Australia, including learning about 'Growing plants' and 'Life cycles' in Science.

Year 3
Sussex Past

Autumn Term 'Invasion': The people of Sussex - Establishing the historical timeline, and focus on Vikings, Normans and Anglo Saxons - and investigating the 'Geology of Rocks' in Science.
Spring Term 'Revolution': The Railway- local history and investigating 'Forces and Magnets' and 'Light' in science.
Summer Term 'Beside the seaside': Brighton and the south downs - looking at the impact of the Victorians on the local area, and investigating 'Animals and humans' and 'Plant life cycles' in Science.

Year 4
Time Team

Autumn Term 'Tribes at war' - Stone age to Iron age, plus investigating 'Animals and humans' and 'Living things and their habitats' in Science.
Spring Term 'Treasure Seekers': Looking at rivers and a focus on geography field skill. Plus investigating 'States of matter' and 'The water cycle' in Science.
Summer Term 'Britannia' - Roman Britain, looking at 'Sound' and 'Electricity' in Science.

Year 5
Archaeologists

Autumn Term 'Looking for Atlantis' - Ancient Greece and exploring 'Forces' and 'Earth and Space' in Science.
Spring Term 'Kingdoms and Politics' - origins or migration and refugees, investigating the 'Properties of materials' in Science.
Summer Term 'Wonders of the world' - Ancient Egypt and looking at 'Animals and humans' and 'Living things and their habitats' in Science.

Year 6
Pioneers

Autumn Term 'Word At War' - the impact of world war 2 locally and nationally, and investigating 'Electricity' in Science.
Spring Term 'Maya mysteries' - the Ancient Mayans, investigating 'Light' and 'Inheritance and Evolution' in Science,
Summer Term 'The New World' - looking to the future, plus a fun mini topic(TBD) looking into 'Animals and Humans' and 'Living things and their habitats' in Science. Big Business project and the end of year show!

Our curriculum overview has been compiled to ensure that the 2014 National Curriculum is covered across the different year groups at our academy. Wherever possible, cross-curricular links are made so that the requirements for all of the different curriculum areas are learnt about within the context of the class topics. Therefore, the range of different reading and writing genres, mathematical problems, as well as Music, Computing and the many other areas are learnt through the topic. More information regarding all of the curriculum areas will be provided to parents each term as a new topic begins.

All maths and English learning is based on the new National Curriculum (2014). More information about this National Curriculum can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum

About Our Curriculum

The teachers at Blackthorns underpin the curriculum with a philosophy based on how children learn best. The curriculum is about the children themselves, their varied and personal questions, and developing their awareness and understanding of their world.

Teachers plan a broad, balanced, creative and engaging curriculum which covers the National Curriculum (updated in 2014). Our strong focus is on developing English, Mathematics and Computing skills through the children’s topic-based cross-curricular learning. Each class covers a topic each term and all of the areas of the National Curriculum are covered within this topic. Through termly planners, the children and their families are involved in planning and directing the learning opportunities in school.

Embedded in our curriculum are wonderful opportunities to learn through the delivery of the different arts subjects (art, craft and design, music, dance, drama and still and moving photography). This has a positive impact on academic achievement and the self-esteem of the children, providing breadth to their learning and depth to their development as individuals and young citizens.

We recognise that children learn best through memorable, first hand experiences. The curriculum is made memorable by a range of visits and experiences, and made relevant by making links between subjects in engaging contexts.

We recognise the need for pupils to experience a rich range of opportunities to excel, and therefore offer enriching provision such as specialist music teaching, specialist sports coaching, and specialist Modern Foreign Languages lessons for all pupils.

Learning and teaching takes place inside and outside, engaging all children and inspiring meaningful, novel and relevant learning. The children build on their local history to learn more about their world and the geography of their global world.

We strongly believe that enjoyment and achievement go hand in hand; teachers provide opportunities for children to bring their interests and experiences to their learning. They encourage children to be reflective learners, build on success and achieve their ambitions.

A Curriculum Overview is available on this website. For further information regarding our school curriculum, please contact the school Curriculum Manager, Mrs Nicky Aplin, via the school office.

Visits and Visitors

Children learn best from a wide range of first-hand experiences, and our children will take part in visits related to their learning throughout the school year. These visits are often at the start or end of a class topic. Children in Year 5 take part in a two-night residential trip to Sayers Croft and Year 6 pupils spend a week at Little Canada on the Isle of Wight. Other trips have included Cuckmere Haven, Bodiam Castle, Weald and Downland Museum, The Cabinet War Rooms, London Zoo, Hampton Court Palace, a day at the seaside in Brighton and The Natural History Museum to name but a few.

We also often welcome visitors to our school to come and talk to the children about their areas of expertise. These range from Mr Pineapple Head to the Fire Service.

Parents, grandparents and local Rotarians visit each week to read with children and support their learning in a range of ways.

Collective Worship and Religious Education

We have an act of Collective Worship every day, linked to a set theme. These are arranged as follows:

Monday Whole School Assembly led by Mrs Brand
Tuesday Class assemblies led by Class Teachers
Wednesday Whole School Assembly led by a group from the local churches
Thursday Whole School Music Assembly led by Mrs Moffatt
Friday Whole School Celebration Assembly led by Mrs Brand

Collective Worship contributes significantly to the ethos Blackthorns Primary Academy and it is our aim that it is a time when the school community can:

  • share common aims and values
  • celebrate achievement and special times
  • explore together the world in which we live
  • develop a community spirit

Our funding agreement states that

The Academy Trust must provide for the teaching of Religious Education and a daily act of collective worship at the academy.”

Any parent who objects to their child attending an act or acts of Collective Worship may request that their child is withdrawn. Parents are encouraged to discuss this with the Head Teacher. Any pupil who is withdrawn from an act or acts of Collective Worship will be supervised during that time by a member of the school staff.

As a school, we celebrate Christian festivals in All Saints Church, Lindfield at various times during the year. The basis for these services is largely Christian as they are celebrated within a church. Parents may request to withdraw their children from these services should they wish to.

Children learn about a range of religions and cultures through our Religious Education lessons in school. Festivals from different faiths are covered and celebrated and children often act as experts within their own religion to help to share their experiences with the rest of their class or year group.

Homework

Children are encouraged to complete learning activities at home independently or with support from their families. Younger children will be encouraged to read at home on a daily basis with an adult and may also complete other tasks usually linked to acquiring the skills of reading, writing and number. The children within EYFS and Key Stage 1 will complete a ‘take-away task’ prior to the start of a new topic.

Children in Key Stage 2 will gradually be set a larger quantity of homework in order to prepare them for their transfer to secondary school. Each week a homework task is chosen from a grid, encouraging the children to develop independence and demonstrate their learning in a range of different ways. These are shared weekly in class and the children then have the opportunity to learn from one another’s homework activities.