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An exciting curriculum

Subjects are taught mainly through our exciting Creative Curriculum. We do much more than make links between traditional subjects; we always look to find the best ways to inspire all of our pupils, drawing on skills from art, music, technology, dance and drama. Integral to a Pitsford Junior School education is equipping our children with the skills and judgments to work independently and to branch off and follow their passions.

Academic subjects

English

We see English as a core skill that brings joy in its own right and is a facilitating tool which our children will use through their whole lives. Central to our strategy is to capture our children’s interest courtesy of a range of activities which, through active and participatory learning, develop skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing and to equip them with excellent communication skills. At Pitsford Junior School we love reading, and we develop that enthusiasm for literature in our children through staff modelling their own enthusiasms, and the careful choice of reading materials which are age, and individual child, appropriate.

We work hard to make sure that all of our enjoy reading independently, can speak in front of an audience, write in different contexts for different purposes, use standard English and learn how to research information.

At every key stage we want to take children to the theatre to further equip them in their studies and to fire their enthusiasm and imagination for the limitless potential that a love of English brings.

Mathematics

Alongside English, the other key building block of education is Mathematics. We are proud of our expertise within the Junior School in developing exciting and memorable approaches to the teaching of Mathematics. We place a great store on ensuring that children are confident in their studies of this subject, fully consolidating their learning as they progress and fully supported when they need it. Our pupils love Mathematics and that is a reflection of the creative approaches that we take to building and developing skills and enthusiasm in their studies. The importance of understanding the logical processes inherent in Mathematics is present in everything we do and supports the study of this, and all other subjects, in the Junior School.

Science

Pitsford School is very strong in science and the Junior School is very much part of that. We have access to up-to-date laboratories in the senior school to conduct practical work and our teachers are fully trained in the best and most effective approaches to science lessons. Science-related trips are an important part of our rich extra-curricular programme; we regularly visit the Space Centre in Leicester, for instance. We are also fortunate to have in our parental body, past and present, a number of scientists, doctors and dentists, who often visit the school to enrich our children’s learning through their practical expertise.

Older Junior School children also receive specialist teaching from Senior School science teachers, most especially in J4, J5 and J6.

Creative Curriculum

Outdoor learning is encouraged wherever possible and visits to museums and field centres take place during the study of History and Geography. Skills, places and themes are woven into a coherent fabric of geographical enquiry which helps our children to understand the Earth and its people. Environmental components are often investigated through specific place study.

In History we foster and encourage an enthusiasm for the past. Our children develop an awareness of this through trips and visits and, through their studies, gradually build an awareness of the characteristic features of periods and societies and reasons for historical decisions.

In these areas of study we are fortunate to be in such a spectacular setting: 30 acres of parkland affords a great deal of scope for practical, hands-on Geography, as does our fully-active, student-run Weather Station, which feeds data directly into the Met Office in London. In History, Pitsford Hall itself, and its glorious estate, both of which date from the mid-eighteenth century and are themselves older than the United States, are exciting and living historical monuments which colour our teaching and inspire our children.

Computing and IT Skills

We prioritise the learning of key computer skills and our children are taught to use a range of software and operating systems which enhance their ability to source information and to solve problems. Our younger children are taught to use a keyboard with confidence, to find and save pictures and information. Older children are also taught coding. The Head of IT for the whole of Pitsford School delivers this bespoke curriculum to the Junior School children, who take advantage of the computing suites in the Junior and Senior Schools.

Modern Foreign Languages

We teach French throughout the Junior School, from the Squirrels class through to J6. The subject is taught from J3 by a specialist language teacher and core skills in reading, writing and speaking, as well as a keen appreciation for and love of French and francophone culture are explored.

Religious Education

Pitsford School is officially aligned with the Church of England and core Christian principles inform our approach to education. We are, however, a proudly multi-cultural environment which include children and adults of different faiths and of none, and our Religious Education curriculum reflects that. In Key Stage 1 we study Christianity and Judaism and in Key Stage 2 we broaden that to also include Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. At all points, we focus on understanding the key tenets of faith and of respecting the opinions of all.

Music

Music enables personal expression and emotional development and is an integral part of Pitsford School. In the Junior School, singing is highly regarded as a powerful form of communication and is used as the basis of many lessons. Emphasis is also placed on the appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of all musical styles. This is fostered through listening, appraising, participating, composing and performing. Our children study music from different cultures and periods of history.

Younger children have the opportunity to sing in assemblies, in the KS1 choir and the Christmas Nativity.

Older children may sing in the annual Christmas production and join the KS2 choir or Chamber Choir.

Art and Design

As a profoundly creative school, Art and Design are an important part of our children’s educational life. Drawing and painting, collage, ceramics, textiles, printing and some 3D work are all part of what is a broad, ever-changing and ever-innovative curriculum. Our children are encouraged to develop confidence and skills in visualisation, conceptualisation, planning and construction. The works of significant art movements and great artists are also studied.

Drama

Speaking and listening skills, role-play and drama activities are used to fire our children’s imagination and social development. At all ages, they are encouraged to participate in a range of activities within lessons, assemblies and school productions in order to appreciate drama as participants, whilst annual theatre visits encourages enjoyment as observers.

Physical Education

It is well documented that children benefit enormously from participating in daily physical activity. It promotes good health in both body and mind.

Our aim is to encourage and develop a sense of well-being and enjoyment, in children of all abilities, in both individual activities and team games During KS1, children build on their natural enthusiasm for movement, using it to explore and learn about their world. They start to play and work with other children in pairs and small groups. By watching, listening and experimenting with movement and ideas, they develop their skills and their coordination and enjoy expressing and testing themselves in a variety of situations.

We offer a range of sporting activities including netball, rugby, football, rounders, cricket, athletics, cross-country running, gymnastics and dance. From J1 onwards children also have weekly swimming lessons.

Many older children have the opportunity to represent the school in a range of tournaments, such as the ISA rugby and football tournaments, regional cross-country events and the ISA athletics and cross-country championships.

An all-through school

Pitsford Junior School plays a full and integrated role in the life of the whole Pitsford School. Academically, the availability of subject-specialist teachers in the Senior School who are eager to engage with the juniors, to ignite their enthusiasm and to develop their skills, is a great strength of the Junior School. Half-termly workshops are delivered to junior school children by senior staff, be it an introduction to weapons and war of the Middle Ages with the Headmaster (with actual swords and armour), or practical Chemistry and Physics experiments with Dr Ewington, or hands-on Geology with Mrs Kirk and Mr Lewis, this is an ever-changing and developing aspect of the all-through education which runs through the philosophy of Pitsford School like a river.

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