THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
The school curriculum is delivered in three phases:
· Foundation Stage Years 1 and 2
· Key Stage 1 Years 3 and 4
· Key Stage 2 Years 5, 6 and 7
The children study a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum tailored to meet their individual needs, abilities and different learning styles. Consequently, our lessons include visual, auditory, tactile and kinaesthetic elements. We understand that children learn in different ways. We also provide support to pupils who find learning more difficult and to those who exceed expected standards.
’ We want every pupil ‘to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible.’ At Moneyrea we have high expectations of all our pupils, encouraging each child to give of their very best in order to achieve their full potential. We help our pupils ‘to develop their potential and to make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives.
We endeavour to help our children to grow as individuals, developing an awareness of themselves and an understanding of others, embracing healthy life choices, developing moral character and a spiritual understanding.
We encourage them to contribute positively in the local community; aware of the importance of being good citizens, understanding their own and other cultures, appreciating the influence of the media on their lives and being aware of ethical issues affecting the world in which they live, including inequality, intolerance and environmental issues.
We recognise the importance of preparing our pupils for the world of work, developing their knowledge and transferable skills base to ensure future employability. Part of their study will help them to develop a basic financial awareness and entrepreneurial skills.
The curriculum is delivered through the six learning areas:
Language and Literacy Mathematics and Numeracy
The World Around Us The Arts
Physical Education Personal Development and Mutual Understanding
Although the Areas of Learning are set out separately, learning is integrated, where appropriate, across the six areas to make relevant connections for children.
The use of ICT and the development of our pupils’ Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities is woven throughout the curriculum. We want our pupils to develop skills in thinking, problem-solving, decision making, self-management, working with others, managing information and being creative.
LANGUAGE & LITERACY
Language and Literacy is taught on a cross-curricular basis in every lesson, every day. Talking and listening skills are fostered in enjoyable and meaningful contexts. At Moneyrea we view the teaching of reading as central to each child’s progress in all aspects of learning. We employ a structured reading programme to establish core reading skills and when children are ready they move on to reading novels. Our goal is that our children go beyond a functional understanding of text to an appreciation and enjoyment of literature.
The children’s writing skills are constantly developing from Year 1 to the eldest child in the school. The secretarial aspects of writing are taught in a structured way that analyses, shares and models examples of good practice. Creativity is encouraged through writing in meaningful contexts for a variety of audiences and purposes.
In all literacy activities, the children are encouraged to have fun whilst acquiring new and exciting skills and to develop heir own ideas, knowledge and confidence.
MATHEMATICS & NUMERACY
Children are encouraged to develop a love for Maths and a sound understanding of mathematical principles through practical investigation and problem solving activities. We also believe that it is vital that pupils develop an understanding of place value, number bonds, basic table facts and methods of computation.
We want our pupils to understand and appreciate the value of mathematics as an essential tool for everyday use in the real world.
THE WORLD AROUND US
This Learning Area focuses on the development of knowledge, skills and understanding in Geography, History and Science. Children are naturally curious and ask searching questions about themselves and the world in which they live, questions that we address in The World Around Us. This exciting area of study helps our pupils develop an awareness of themselves and their place in the world, to appreciate the wonder of our world and to understand their own and other cultures.
This Learning Area includes Art and Design, Drama and Music.
Our pupils are offered a variety of musical experiences in class including, singing, choral speaking, percussion, musical appreciation and playing recorder. They are encouraged to develop skills in listening and responding expressively and sensitively to different musical styles, cultivating their own imagination and creativity.
Year 4 to Year 7 pupils may join our school choir. The choir performs throughout the year at school functions and services and has known recent success at a number of festivals.
We also offer strings and woodwind tuition through the Education Authority Music Service and have a vibrant school band.
ART & DESIGN
Through the medium of Art & Design we enable our pupils to explore and express their feelings and to develop skills in drawing, painting, designing and making. We look at the styles of the great painters and encourage the children to appreciate and reflect upon their own work and that of others. We believe that every child can produce work to be proud of and we great displays of children’s art in every classroom.
DRAMA & PERFORMANCE
Drama is an important element of our curriculum, allowing our pupils to explore their emotions and historical events and ethical dilemmas. We view this oral work and role play as a valuable learning approach.
In addition, our children are encouraged to participate in our annual school shows. As always, our emphasis is on inclusion and enjoyment. It is remarkable to see the children grow in confidence as a result of their participation. Recent box office hits include;
‘Pirates’, ‘Cock-a-doodle Christmas’, ‘The Camel’s Arms’, ‘Ned’s Christmas Adventure’, ‘Jungle Book’, ‘Troy Story’, ‘School’s Out!’, ‘Fleeced’, ‘Yee Hah!’ and ‘Pirates of the Curry Bean’
Moneyrea is an active school and we want our pupils to keep fit and healthy and to develop healthy lifestyles. Consequently, PE is a very important element of our school’s curriculum. All of our children are introduced to the Fundamental Movement Skills, which help them to develop co-ordination, speed, stamina, agility and spatial awareness. PE lessons are generally taught in blocks, introducing the children to dance, games, gymnastics, athletics and swimming.
At Moneyrea our pupils have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sports, including football, netball, tennis, cross-country, tag rugby, rugby, dance, athletics, gymnastics, cricket and hockey.
The school enters competitive teams in many of these sports, but pupils of all abilities are always welcome to join in at practices and to develop skills at their own level. At Moneyrea everyone gets a chance! We have enjoyed particular success on the netball court and football pitch and organise annual football and netball tournaments and the Castlereagh Primary Schools’ Netball League.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
PDMU focuses on emotional development, social skills, learning to learn, health, relationships and sexuality education and mutual understanding in the local and global community
The school endeavours to be a health-promoting community and part of each child’s schoolwork will include learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to keep safe. In this respect the school appreciates the supportive role played by various professionals, including the school nurse, ‘CIDS’ team and Education Psychology and Education Welfare at the EA.
At Moneyrea we stress the importance of ‘learning to live with one another’, learning to accept and appreciate the differences within our own school community and society at large. Our pupils’ experiences are enriched through inter-school sport, participation in cross–community activities and our involvement in International projects.
We also believe it is important that our children have an awareness of their own cultural identity and we achieve this through the teaching of traditional stories and songs, cross-curricular themes and educational visits.
In accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education our school has a Drugs Education Policy in place. This is taught as an element of PDMU and Science. Our programme raises our pupils’ awareness of the use and misuse of prescribed and non-prescribed drugs. We aim to develop our pupils’ personal and social skills to help them to make informed decisions and keep themselves safe and healthy.
Pupils in both Key Stages receive lessons in road safety through normal classes, while pupils in Primary 7 have opportunity to participate in the Cycling Proficiency Scheme.
INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
We integrate the use of information technology into as many areas of the curriculum as possible. We want our pupils to develop increasing confidence and competence in the use of ICT, i.e. E-mail, Internet, Word Processing, Publishing, Data Handling, Pod Casts etc. Our pupils have opportunity to communicate with pupils in other European countries through the ETwinning Projects. Each class has its own PC and interactive whiteboard and 10 iPads. An additional 22 computers are sited in the school computer suite. Programmable devices such as Roamers and Beebots are also used and a wide range of computer software is available to support all areas of learning. During their normal classwork the pupils complete a series of competence-based tasks and are accredited with certificates in ICT.
Our pupils enjoy learning Spanish as a Modern Foreign Language from Year 1 to Year 7. Through games, songs, rhymes and exchanges with our French partner school they develop a basic vocabulary and a little conversational French.
Non-denominational, Religious Education is taught throughout the school, following the Northern Ireland Curriculum syllabus. Our purpose in teaching RE is to promote the values and moral principles of a caring society, and to provide children with a basic understanding of the Christian Faith. This is supported through our weekly assembly, hymn singing, visits from local clergy and special services at Harvest, Easter and Christmas. Children may be withdrawn from RE lessons at their parents’ request.
The school endeavours to meet the needs of all its pupils. Where a child has a learning difficulty in a particular area, the teacher will set work at a level appropriate to the child’s ability. Where necessary the teacher will draft an action plan.
However, where a pupil achieves a significantly lower level of attainment than would be expected for his/her age group, the teacher will liaise with the school’s Additional Needs Coordinator. At this point, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may be devised and the pupil assigned periods of additional support from the Additional Needs Coordinator or classroom assistants. If necessary, the child may be referred to an Educational Psychologist who may make further, specific recommendations as regards the type of support necessary to meet the pupil’s needs.
Throughout this process the school works in cooperation with parents, keeping them fully informed at each stage.
In addition, pupils who are capable of working at higher levels will be set appropriate work to extend and challenge them.
Homework is an essential component of our pupils’ schoolwork.
1. Homework reinforces learning.
2. Homework fosters positive work habits and develops independence in learning.
3. Homework helps to keep parents informed about their children’s work.
The full text of this, and other school policies, are available on request from the school office.
EDUCATIONAL VISITS AND RESIDENTIALS
All classes enjoy educational visits, linked to the curriculum. These visits help to bring our topics alive for our pupils and are an important part of their learning. They include trips to:
A pantomime at Christmas, The Ark Farm, Apple Fest at Castleward, Castle Espie Wildfowl Centre, Crawfordsburn Country Park, Belvoir Forest, Belfast Zoo, A Victorian Day at Castle Ward, The Ulster Museum, The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum etc.
In the spring and summer terms residential visits are enjoyed to Killyleagh Sailing Centre (Yr 5), Ardnabannon Outdoor Education Centre (Yr 6) and the Loch Insh Watersports in the Highlands of Scotland (Yr 7).
Assessment is a key part of the on-going learning process. At Moneyrea, pupils are encouraged to view assessment as a helpful tool, enabling them to make further progress in their learning.
Pupils’ work is continually assessed in class and records of attainment are carefully maintained. These assessments include teacher observation, class tests, exams and standardised tests. Pupils are formally assessed in the core subjects of English, Maths and ICT.
Parent/teacher consultations are scheduled early in the second term. These interviews provide an opportunity to discuss each child’s progress. In addition, parents may, where necessary, request an interview with a teacher at any time during the year.
An Annual Pupil Profile (school report) providing a holistic summary of each pupil’s achievements and progress is sent home in June.
YEAR GROUP TALKS
Parents are invited into school early in the first term, when teachers outline expectations in respect of class work, homework, behaviour, attendance etc. Year 7 parents have an additional meeting with the Principal to discuss transfer to secondary level education.