The children in Key Stage 2 are taught in greater depth English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities (History and Geography), Art and Design (including cooking), Religious Education, Outdoor Learning and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE). Physical Education, French, Computing, Music, and Drama are all taught by subject specialists. Upper key stage 2 pupils also have lessons in English Speaking Board and sit externally assessed examinations. As they progress through the Key Stage, they receive further specialist teaching, including swimming tuition and benefit from having a number of their lessons at the Senior School on a Friday.
Through a range of experiences, Abbey Gate College offers its pupils an informative and invaluable frame of reference from which to draw from, and develop, particularly in their English education. We challenge the pupils to think broadly and uniquely, to take control of their learning and to develop an independent learning style that will assist them in the challenges ahead.
In English at Key Stage 2 (KS2), we build on the foundations of spelling, reading and writing from their early years: for Spelling the children have targeted lessons to focus on the rules of our complex language, at an age-appropriate level; Comprehension accompanies a developing love for reading, nurturing an understanding for the importance of reading, evident through our pupils willingness to read for pleasure, experimenting with, and sharing, new authors, books and ideas; Through our Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar sessions – affectionately known as SPaG – our pupils develop an inquisitive approach to the English language, through experimentation and discovery. This approach enables them to look closely at their own, and other’s work, critically and positively, appreciating how the formation of our language influences our understanding; and finally, writing – being able to write creatively and confidently in a range of styles and genres, from a plethora of stimuli, from traditional stories and texts, to more innovative techniques involving IT – from video, to blogs and web design.
Another facet to our English curriculum is drama and ESB – The English Speaking Board examinations are taken by Foundation, Year 2, Year 5 and Year 6, where our pupils learn the art of reading and presenting to an audience – an area which is a strength of the school, and although challenging, is a very popular and rewarding part of our English curriculum.
During years 3 and 4 pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. This enables pupils to develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers.
Pupils develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including with simple fractions and decimal place value. They learn to draw with increasing accuracy and develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties, and confidently describe the relationships between them. Pupils continue to use measuring instruments for length, mass, capacity/volume, area, money and time and develop their understanding of data handling.
During years 5 and 6 pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This develops the connections that pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio.
Pupils develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation. With this foundation in arithmetic, pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Teaching in geometry, measures and data handling consolidate and extend knowledge developed in number. Pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and they learn the vocabulary they need to describe them.
The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. This is achieved through our exploration of topics such as light, sound, electricity, simple forces, rocks, fossils and volcanoes, Earth and space. Pupils explore the properties of solids, liquids and gases and the changes of state, including the water cycle. There is a focus upon pupils developing a better understanding of comparative and fair testing through a practical approach to these topics. Pupils record their results in a variety of ways and with greater accuracy, forming simple conclusions and raising further questions for enquiry. Pupils develop a greater understanding of animal nutrition, digestion, teeth, skeletons and muscles. We make use of the school grounds to develop a better understanding of the variety of living creatures and of their classification.
The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. Pupils encounter more abstract ideas e.g. using a simple particle model to explain the properties of the different states of matter and changes of state. They explore in greater depth solubility, separation techniques, reversible and irreversible reactions and begin to construct simple word equations. Pupils develop an understanding of the circulatory system, growth and the impact of diet, exercise and lifestyle on the way their bodies function. They construct different types of electrical circuits, explore in greater depth plant structure, adaptation, photosynthesis and plant reproduction making good use of the greenhouse and raised beds to grow a range of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Pupils develop a greater confidence with different types of scientific enquiry, drawing conclusions based on their data and observations and explain their findings in terms of their scientific knowledge and understanding. They extend their understanding of forces and light to include air and water resistance, friction, reflection and refraction. Their investigation of Evolution and inheritance, Earth and Space enables pupils to appreciate that scientific ideas change and develop over time and provide opportunities for independent research across a range of secondary sources.
Computers are part of everyday life. For the majority of us, technology is essential to our lives, at home, at school and at work. Abbey Gate College recognise the growing need for ‘Computational thinking’, a skill our children must be taught if they are to be ready for the workplace and enable them to participate effectively in this digital world. Lessons for our junior pupils take place at the Senior School enabling the children to benefit from specialised teaching and facilities.
Guided by the new national curriculum for computing, our children learn how computers and computer systems work, they design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a range of content. All this, as well as continuing to familiarise our pupils with the basic and fundamental skills of word processing, creating and managing files and workspaces for proficient and efficient working, whilst upholding our responsibility of keeping our pupils safe, especially through the internet and social media, through education and positive modelling.
Pupils continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They will learn about connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They will understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
Pupils extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They continue to develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.
Art and Design
Pupils learn to develop their artistic techniques and their creative use of materials, for example, pencil, charcoal, paint and clay. They explore different media, such as drawing, painting and sculpture. Pupils learn about different artists and designers in history.
Music at Key Stage 2 begins the advanced skill of reading Music. Every child has a weekly lesson in which the recorder is introduced as well as singing and percussion work. Many children choose to take the opportunity to start peripatetic instrumental lessons as there is a wide variety to choose from. Performances are a highlight and include Harvest service in Aldford church (featuring band as well as choir) and the Cathedral Carol service. Pupils also perform in a J3/4 musical play every other year and J5/6 in a challenging end of year production.
In their weekly Drama sessions pupils in Key Stage 2 build up their skills in mime, improvisation, voice training and movement, experiencing also some scripted work leading to performances for Years 3 & 4 and a final school performance for Year 6, ably assisted by Year 5. These sessions develop observation and concentration in mime and movement, confidence and projection in voice work and improvisation and inter-action and working together in their performances.
In Key Stage 2, the children continue to develop an understanding of world religions and tolerance. Throughout the year significant festivals and studied and celebrated.
Personal, Social and Health Education
As our pupils move to the Junior stage our PSHEE curriculum grows with them. Again learning covers our three core areas of study: Health and Wellbeing; Relationships; Living in the Wider World: economic wellbeing and being a responsible citizen but we introduce more current affair issues into our learning and in the latter stages of KS2 introduce work on SRE (Sex and relationship Education). Children continue to work mainly outdoors but also experience class based lessons focussing on mindset, monetary issues and enterprise, and environmental study. When learning outdoors our junior children are given greater challenge, through problem solving and team building activities along with outdoor art challenges, making a campfire or tyre swing as a team and developing aspects of our outdoor grounds. Children continue to take part in our PSHEE focus days but with advanced age-related topics such as posting online and healthy relationship workshops. Children in J6 also advance their road safety skills through our J6 bikeability level 2 course.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education
SMSC permeates throughout the curriculum and life in school. It enables children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence as well as encouraging them to accept responsibility for their actions. Pupils are encouraged to distinguish right from wrong and to respect fundamental British values and tolerance.
Progressing from the core skills developed in Key Stage One (KS1), our pupils continue their sporting education refining their skills and playing as a team, through specific sports: For the girls, hockey, netball and rounders; the boys, rugby, football and cricket, where they get the opportunity to compete with their peers at Under 9 and Under 11 level. Core fitness and strength, as well as an understanding of space, develops through dance and gymnastics, problem solving and orienteering. In the upper juniors, both indoor and outdoor athletics competitions enable the children to develop in specialised events such as long jump, high jump and javelin as well as sprints and middle distance track events.
The importance of exercising safely and effectively underpins everything we do at Abbey Gate College, developing a love for sport and fitness that moves beyond competitive sport, to enjoyment, and an understanding and desire to stay fit and healthy – that sport is for life.
Modern Foreign Languages
French at KS2 continues the Jolie Ronde scheme with lots of familiar games and songs as well as giving pupils an opportunity to be creative with their language skills through devised scenes. We extend vocabulary and there is a greater emphasis on written French as part of our activity books. The annual trip to Northern France is a focus for our learning in J6 and pupils are given the chance to use their French in the market as well as in French farms and shops.
Our pupils are also introduced to Spanish in J5 and J6. Weekly lessons take place at our Senior School and the pupils benefit from specialist teaching from a member of our Modern Foreign Languages department in preparation for year 7.