English and Mathematics are important, but we do not go down the road taken by some schools in recent years of pursuing literacy and numeracy to the exclusion of almost everything else.
All children have daily Mathematics and English lessons. The knowledge, skills and understanding gained in these lessons is then used and applied across a broad and balanced, curriculum with a creative edge, rooted in the widely acclaimed Cornerstones Primary Curriculum Project, introduced to Castle House in September 2017.
Cornerstones provides for comprehensive coverage of all subjects and further supports the school’s aim in securing the best outcomes, both academic and personal, for all pupils.
For examples of some of the learning undertaken through Cornerstones since September 2017 click here.
In addition, for pupils in Y4 upwards the school operates an 11+ plus after school club, staffed by our Year5 teacher, who is also an 11+ tutor.
In Year 5, the key preparation time for entrance examinations to our two local grammar schools, to local and more distant grammar, public, private and independent schools, the requirements of these examinations are also woven seamlessly into the curriculum.
Music is practical and offers opportunities to play all kinds of percussion, to compose and to sing. There is a school orchestra and a school choir. The latter is renowned locally for its quality and frequently invited to perform at Civic events. Lessons are available for a variety of instruments from visiting peripatetic music teachers.
Religious Education and assemblies are mainly Christian in approach, in accordance with the school’s tradition, but pupils also have opportunities learn about other faiths and traditions.
PE is a strength of the school. Wherever possible children are given a physical education lesson every day. There are specialist teachers for swimming, which is taught weekly throughout the school, dance and gymnastics. All children also have general PE skills and games lessons. In January a revised timetable will allow for daily enrichment sessions, which are planned to include an increasingly wide range of sports and other activities. (click for SPORTS)
The networked computer suite is used both for specific lessons in ICT skills and to use software in other curricular subjects.
There are also computers in the classrooms.
Art and Design Technology give all pupils the chance for practical, creative work, with end-products of which they can be justly proud. Much attractive artwork by pupils is displayed around the school.
French is taught throughout the school with many practical activities, games and songs – an emphasis on learning through having fun.
The extra length of our school day enables us to fit everything in without sacrificing any of the time needed to devote to academic subjects.
The essential principle behind the curriculum in all subjects is that CHILDREN LEARN BY DOING. They are expected to have a go and do their best. If they have difficulties, the small classes enable our teachers to encourage and help them individually. Those who are finding it hard may be referred to the school’s learning support department, led by our SENCO who has a degree in Special Educational needs and is supported by three Learning Support Specialists. (click here for SPECIAL NEEDS)
Written homework begins in year 3 (25-30 minutes plus reading, each night). By Year 6 it is 35 minutes plus reading, each night.
Year 2 and younger children will bring home reading books and may have spellings or tables to learn.
The Curriculum is supported by a busy programme of After-School Activities (click here for CLUBS)