Keeping Parents informed
We send regular information home about the curriculum we offer the children. Do see our termly curriculum newsletters in the first instance. These can be found under the ‘Children’ tab on the ‘class pages’.
If you would like an overview of the core National Curriculum for your child’s year, please click on the link to the relevant leaflet below.
Curriculum Events for Parents
We hold regular information events for parents about the EYFS, KS1 and KS2 curriculum and assessment. You may find the following useful.
An Introduction to our Curriculum
We aim to create a rich and stimulating learning environment in which each child is encouraged to develop and mature in order to achieve his or her full potential. Alongside the fostering of good relationships, we strive to encourage the development of a sense of responsibility, self-discipline and creative, independent thinking.
The Primary curriculum encourages the development of children intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically and morally and provides them with the basic skills they need for life and work.
In particular, the curriculum is intended to: –
encourage children to widen their use of language in its written and spoken forms
- help children develop their mathematical skills and to apply those skills effectively
- foster an interest in science and technology
- encourage children to express themselves through music, drama and a wide variety of art forms, and to develop concepts and skills in creative and performing arts
- impart to children an understanding of both the history and geography of the environment in which they live and the world beyond
- help children develop their physical co-ordination and confidence
- help children develop a respect for other people, including those from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds, and those with disabilities.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (age 0-5)
Children who attend Pre-School, and children in the Reception year of school, belong to the “Early Years Foundation Stage” (EYFS). Staff from Dunsford School and from Dunsford Pre-School work closely together and jointly plan activities for the children. Early Years Foundation Stage children have their own specially designed, and carefully resourced curriculum, based around structured and self-initiated play activities which encompass each child’s interests.
All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
• communication and language;
• physical development
• personal, social and emotional development
There are also four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
• understanding the world (science, humanities, technology); and
• expressive arts and design (music, art, drama, dance, design)
At Dunsford Primary School we provide a safe, caring, exciting environment, full of stimulating and challenging activities, which enable the children to persevere and develop a wide range of life skills to equip them for their school days. The children’s learning takes place in both our well resourced indoor and outdoor classrooms, where we offer a range of child self-initiated and adult led activities.
Parents are informed by regular EYFS newsletters about their children’s learning and experiences at school, regular slideshows of photographs of the children on the classroom interactive whiteboard in the mornings from 8.45am to 9.00am, as well as information provided on the Early Years pages of our school website. It is important to note that the requirements of the National Curriculum do not apply to children in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
An annual report is provided to the Reception children’s parents at the end of the summer term detailing their child’s learning journey through the Early Years Foundation Stage. It also informs parents about their child’s profile results in the Early Learning Goals. This is followed by a Parent Teacher Interview with the class teacher and higher level teaching assistant to discuss the end of this phase of their child’s learning journey and about the commencement of the National Curriculum in Year One.
The National Curriculum
Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7), Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11)
Having completed their time in Reception, children enter Key Stage 1 (which comprises years 1 and 2) and then Key Stage 2 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6).
The curriculum to which these children are entitled has been laid down in the statutory orders of the National Curriculum. It provides a framework which ensures the educational development of the children as they move through the school.
Within the National Curriculum there are three ‘core’ subjects:
English Mathematics Science
There are eight foundation subjects:
Art, Music, History,
PE, Geography, Design and Technology
Computing, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship
In addition, Dunsford children learn French and Religious Education (RE) throughout the school.
Our Approach to Learning
The children are taught through a combination of individual subjects and integrated cross-curricular projects, linked directly to the National Curriculum programmes of study. Wherever possible, we aim to exploit the natural links between different subjects of the curriculum to enrich and broaden the children’s understanding.
Throughout their time at Dunsford, children will be encouraged to apply their learning to real and practical situations.
For some areas of the curriculum, the children will be set into age or ability groups. This ensures that all children are given work that is suitable for their own level. Teaching methods are flexible in order to accommodate the variety of situations that occur in Primary education. Throughout a typical week your child is likely to experience individual, small group and whole class teaching. From time to time we also hold special ‘themed’ weeks, when the children work across the school with other classes. Recent ‘themed’ weeks have included Book Week, Wild Week, Cultural Awareness Week, Anti-bullying, RSPB Birdwatch and Jump Rope for Heart.
Dunsford has a programme for staff training that enhances and supports the work of teachers and teaching assistants. Teachers share specific expertise in subject areas and we are able to provide support and guidance across the whole curriculum. Further professional support is available through a variety of external providers.
Speech is the most commonly used means of communication. Opportunities will be created in school for children to discuss and describe, so that they may develop confidence and coherence. Listening attentively is a skill vital to language development and children are encouraged to understand that listening is both necessary and courteous.
The attitudes of parents and teachers towards books are, without doubt, a key factor in promoting reading skills. Children will quickly learn to find enjoyment in reading if they see their parents and teachers doing so. Equally, children can build up barriers if reading is tackled with undue haste or pressure.
Our task is to equip children with the skill and desire to read. We shall help them to read accurately and to make efficient use of reference books and libraries.
From Reception year, the children are taught a daily programme of systematic phonics called “Letters and Sounds”. This phonic knowledge enables the children to blend letters and sounds for reading, and to segment them for spelling and writing.
At Dunsford Community Primary School, we do not use a reading scheme from a particular publisher. Instead, we use the best reading books on the market from a range of publishers as advised by our Devon Literacy Consultants (including Rigby Star, Bug Club phonic readers, PM Benchmark and ORT). We use the PM Benchmarking process to grade the books into colour-banded levels. Children start at Lilac level and progress through to being Free Readers.
As a parent, it is extremely important that you offer your child a quiet time when they can read with you on a regular basis – ideally daily! It is our wish to present reading in such a way as to instil a love and respect for books that will provide a rich and lifelong source of pleasure.
The school produces booklets called “Reading With Your Child” and “Reading In Our School” to help guide parents. A copy is given to each family when children start school. These leaflets are also available on this website, under the Parents tab. Book bags are available from the school office (for children to carry their reading books to and from school – price £3.00).
Children will need to write as a means of communication and recording. Our task is to help children to write fluently for a wide variety of audiences and purposes. The children at Dunsford will develop their skills in writing creatively and informatively across all areas of the curriculum. The school also produces a booklet called “Writing With Your Child” to help guide parents.
It is important for children to develop a functional hand, which reflects pride in the presentation of the written word. In their early years at Dunsford children work in pencil, developing a style and preparing to join letters. As their skills develop they will be taught a joined style of handwriting and they will progress to using an ink pen.
Our aim, in the teaching of Maths, is to ensure that children show breadth and depth in their understanding of mathematical concepts. We want them to be able to do this confidently in both their mental and written work. The Maths in the new curriculum is organised under four headings: number sense, additive reasoning, multiplicative reasoning and geometric reasoning. Children will do a great deal of number work and will be expected to learn their multiplication tables up to 12×12, together with addition and subtraction facts. In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of mental calculation, and we are currently working on resourcing and teaching a wider range of rich, suitably differentiated tasks.
Science has been designated as a core subject in the National Curriculum because it is considered to be one of the subjects that underpins all learning. For example, it links directly to what children see around them and it stimulates their imagination and curiosity. It answers many of the questions that children have about what they observe around them, and helps them to answer some of these questions for themselves. By teaching children how to investigate and experiment to find out more, their creative and critical thinking skills are developed. Learning about science helps them to understand the impact they themselves can have on the outside world and at the end of their time at school, science qualifications open the door to a huge range of interesting careers. The emphasis throughout is on practical, investigative activities, and from their earliest days in school, the children extend their knowledge and understanding of the world through science-based topics and investigations.
Our History and Geography teaching at Key Stage 1 aims to increase children’s awareness of their immediate situation and surroundings. These two areas will, together, be the basis of class topics.
At Key Stage 2, the study of Humanities reaches to the wider world and further into history. Wherever possible, emphasis is placed on using investigational skills and techniques from first-hand experience. Topics include Dartmoor, Rivers, The Rainforest and India in Geography; and Ancient Greece, Aztecs, Romans, Victorians, Tudors and the Second World War in History.
Design and Technology
In Design and Technology activities, children have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials and tools to produce “products” that meet a particular need or perform a specific task, e.g. designing and making a glove puppet for a performance of a favourite story, or planning and preparing a healthy nutritious salad lunch. Children first generate ideas, then design their product, make it and evaluate how successful it was. Throughout, the children learn to use different techniques and resources safely and with increasing accuracy and control.
From the time they enter school, children are involved in work with computers. Significant investment has been made in computers in our school in recent years. We have a full suite of networked computers in Class 3. All three classes use this facility. In addition, Classes 1 & 2 have their own PCs, all with internet access and colour printing facilities. Interactive whiteboards have been installed in all classes, replacing the traditional blackboards.
The children are encouraged to use the computer as a tool that will support their work across all curriculum areas. In addition the children learn how to use a range of other technologies including CD players, digital voice recorders and digital cameras.
Through a varied programme of games, athletics, gymnastics and dance, we aim to develop each child’s co-ordination and creativity. Games lessons are held on the playground or on the school field. Other P.E. lessons are taken in the Village Hall, where we have extensive equipment for gymnastics. During the summer months, the swimming pool enables us to provide every child with a programme designed to achieve confidence and competence in the water.
Sporting Aims and Provision
The school aims to provide for all children (especially in classes 2 and 3) the opportunity to take part in a range of team sports, including football, netball, tag-rugby, rounders, Dartmoor 3-ball, cricket and athletics. In the summer term we hold a traditional Sports Day and Swimming Gala involving every child in the school. Each year, we also hold a “Team Challenge” day, where teamwork and co-operation are the main focus.
In addition, clubs are organised for netball, football and other sports. Regular inter-school festivals and competitions are held throughout the year, particularly at Teign School.
Please also see our Sport Premium page, under the Key Information tab.
Our school’s Religious Education policy has been drawn up in accordance with the Local Authority’s Agreed Syllabus. The daily Act of Collective Worship reflects our country’s Christian tradition. Assemblies may also include music, poetry and contributions from the children or visitors.
It is also important that our children gain an awareness and understanding of other religions through topic work and assemblies.
Under the provisions of the Education Reform Act, 1988, all parents have a right to withdraw their child from the school’s daily Act of Collective Worship, or from Religious Education. Any parent wishing to withdraw a child from these elements of the curriculum should make a written request through the Headteacher.
Class music is taught regularly, and from a child’s first weeks in school the emphasis is placed on developing an enjoyment and appreciation of many types of music. The composition and performance of music encourages confidence and success for all children and there is a regular opportunity to share and perform during assembly. Once a week, all three classes join to sing and listen to a wide variety of music. Instrumental lessons can be arranged in a wide range of instruments – see “Extra-curricular Activities”. Key Stage 2 children also have the opportunity to join Singing Club, Recorder Club or Guitar Club.
Children are encouraged to experience and appreciate a variety of art forms, and to communicate their ideas and feelings creatively through art activities. They learn to record what they see, experience and imagine using a range of two and three-dimensional media. They are able to experiment with different materials and techniques, and to develop an increasing repertoire of practical skills.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
Through our Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum, we have plenty of opportunities to develop our children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) understanding. We actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- enable children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable children to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- encourage children to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- enable children to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling children to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage respect for other people; and
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
Our PSHE curriculum includes coverage of ‘citizenship’. During key stage 1 children learn about themselves as developing individuals and as members of their communities, building on their own experiences and on the early learning goals for personal, social and emotional development.
They learn the basic rules and skills for keeping themselves healthy and safe and for behaving well. They have opportunities to show they can take some responsibility for themselves and their environment. They begin to learn about their own and other people’s feelings and become aware of the views, needs and rights of other children and older people.
As members of a class and school community, they learn social skills such as how to share, take turns, play, help others, resolve simple arguments and resist bullying. They begin to take an active part in the life of their school and its neighbourhood.
During key stage 2 children learn about themselves as growing and changing individuals with their own experiences and ideas, and as members of their communities.
They become more mature, independent and self-confident. They learn about the wider world and the interdependence of communities within it. They develop their sense of social justice and moral responsibility and begin to understand that their own choices and behaviour can affect local, national or global issues and political and social institutions. They learn how to take part more fully in school and community activities.
As they begin to develop into young adults, they face the changes of puberty and transfer to secondary school with support and encouragement from their school. They learn how to make more confident and informed choices about their health and environment; to take more responsibility, individually and as a group, for their own learning; and to resist bullying.
We also use the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) scheme as part of our PSHE curriculum. These are the underpinning qualities and skills that help us to manage life and learning effectively: self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills. We aim to help children to become effective learners, to get on with other people and to be responsible citizens.
There are six whole school ‘themes’, which are covered in class and in whole-school assemblies:
– New beginnings (September/October)
– Getting on and falling out (November/December)
– Going for Goals! (January/February)
– Good to be me (February/March)
– Relationships (March/April)
– Changes (June/July).
Finally, our PSHE work also includes
Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). All aspects of the children’s health and development are supported through a broad programme of study. During their years at this school, the children will learn more and more about their bodies and about relationships between people.
In Classes 1 and 2 this takes place through Science projects and PSHE lessons, including on-going work about “Ourselves”. In Class 3 the children learn about growth, reproduction and the main stages of the human life cycle in Science and Health projects.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the sex education provided, except that which is required as part of the National Curriculum Science curriculum. Please contact our Headteacher for further information.
We believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps them to develop communication skills, including the key skills of speaking and listening, and extends their knowledge of how language works. Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own culture and those of others. At Dunsford, we recognise the value of the Government’s National Languages initiative and provide age-appropriate Modern Foreign Languages learning opportunities for all children in years R-6. The focus language taught in our school is French.
The purpose of all assessment is to monitor progress, identify strengths and weaknesses and to give teachers and parents indicators for a child’s future work. Records of children’s attainments are kept to inform teachers and parents of the children’s progress. Children are also encouraged to assess their own achievements and to help set targets for future improvements.
During Reception Year, the children’s achievements are recorded in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. A copy of your child’s profile will be provided for you at the end of the summer term and discussed with you at a subsequent Parent Teacher Interview.
In Year One, the children complete a ‘Phonics Screening Check’ in June. These results are communicated to parents by the end of the summer term.
In the summer term, year 2 children will undergo statutory teacher assessments in the core subjects and year 6 children will take statutory National Curriculum tests in Reading, Maths and GAPS (grammar, punctuation and spelling). The results of these assessments, alongside teacher assessments, will be communicated to parents during the summer term.
Annual Reports to Parents for each child in Y1 to Y6 come home during the Spring Term. These reports inform parents of their children’s effort and attainment in the different curriculum areas.
We believe that parents (and other adults) can play a vital role in supporting and extending children’s learning. Homework is one way in which this can be done and your involvement would be greatly appreciated. Please see the class pages to find out more.
Rolling Programme for the Curriculum
At Dunsford Community Academy we have mixed age classes. To ensure that we cover the curriculum we have a two year rolling programme in the Foundation Stage / Y1 and a four year rolling programme in Y2 / KS2. Please click on the documents below to find out more about what we will be learning about in the coming years.EY Y1 Long Term Rolling Programme
DCA_Long Term Plan Cycle A
DCA_Long Term Plan Cycle B
DCA_Long Term Plan Cycle C
DCA_Long Term Plan Cycle D
If you wish to find out more about the curriculum we follow, please speak to your child’s class teacher or email the Head of our Academy. Thank you.