Life in Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, the children are taught English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities (History and Geography), Art and Design (including cooking), Religious Education, Computing, Outdoor Learning and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE). Physical Education, French and Music are all taught by subject specialists. In Infant 2, pupils also have lessons in English Speaking Board and sit externally assessed examinations.
Teaching ensures that work in ‘speaking and listening’, ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ is integrated into all aspects of the KS1 curriculum. In English, during key stage 1, pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. In Infant 2, pupils are entered into the English Speaking Board examinations. These exams assess the children’s memory, presentation and reading skills. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. All children are encouraged to read widely and often, for pleasure and information. KS1 pupils are involved in a range of daily reading activities. Phonics are taught through the DfE Letters and Sounds scheme which continues on from the teaching in the Foundation year. In years 1 and 2, pupils have separate weekly Spelling lessons whilst Comprehension, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) are generally incorporated into their creative writing lessons. The children use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. They are taught to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
The principal focus of mathematics teaching in key stage 1 is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numerals, words and the four operations, including with practical resources [for example, concrete objects and measuring tools] Year 2 pupils learn the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables.
At KS1, pupils develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary. Teaching involves using a range of measures to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money.
The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and constructed world around them. Pupils are encouraged to be curious and to ask questions about what they notice. Most of our learning about science is done through the use of first-hand practical experiences which includes making good use of our school grounds, the school pond and links with local farms. Pupils explore seasonal changes through the school grounds and beyond, enabling them to make observations over time. They are able to grow, identify and investigate the structure of a variety of plants. They contrast the structure of the variety of animals, begin to group and classify vertebrates and identify different animals across a range of habitats. Pupils compare the life cycles of a number of animals and research the basic needs of animals, including the importance of diet, exercise and hygiene in humans. Investigating the properties and uses of materials provides opportunities for pupils to begin carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and to carry out research using secondary sources of information.
In computing pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
History & Geography is taught through topic based lessons, which draw on a range of teaching strategies. The children are taught about significant events, people and places within history. In geography, pupils develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. Year 1 topics are ‘All about Me’, ‘Guy Fawkes’, ‘Travel and Transport’ and ‘Around the World’. Year 2 topics are ‘Castles’, ‘The Gunpowder Plot’, ‘Let’s go on Safari’ and ‘Explorers’.
Pupils will learn to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products. They will draw, paint and create sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experience and imagination. Pupils will explore techniques of colour, pattern and texture and make links between their own work and the work of artists.
Music in Key Stage 1 continues to build singing and instrumental skills which grow and develop within a framework of subject related activities (Pirates are always a great favourite) and are employed to excellent effect in performance opportunities throughout the year, such as the Harvest Service or the Infant Nativity.
Religious Education is taught through standalone lessons and Key Stage 1 celebration days. In RE lessons, pupils explore Christianity, Judaism and other world religions through stories and interactive activities. Throughout the year, significant festivals are celebrated through practical activities together as a key stage. At Christmas, together with the Foundation class, Infant 1 & 2 perform a Nativity in the local church.
In our earliest years at Abbey Gate College, PSHE is mainly taught practically through Outdoor Learning, to cover our three core areas of study: Health and Wellbeing; Relationships; Living in the Wider World: economic wellbeing and being a responsible citizen. Children take part in outdoor circle time to discuss ideas and issues and then take part in team building, problem solving or outdoor activities such as developing our vegetable patch or den building to encourage skills of enterprise, appropriate risk taking and resilience. Children also take part in whole school PSHEE focus days, such as our hugely popular Wellbeing Day, where they experience a diverse range of PSHEE workshops. These can range from police led e-safety workshops, to workshops with mental health first aid practitioners, personal safety self-defence techniques led by self-defence experts to holistic workshops such as meditation, yoga, walking or singing for fun.
Key Stage One (KS1) Physical Education (PE) introduces the importance of exercise, safely and effectively, in a fun, yet challenging environment. We progress from gross to finer motor skills over the course of the year, as well as developing coordination and core strength, through a variety of sports and experiences, introducing the basics of defensive and offensive strategy. Agility, Balance, Coordination and Strength, ABCS, play a crucial role, mid-year, at KS1. The skills learned play a vital role in developing our pupils in the fundamental skills needed in all sporting activity. Skills and an ideology that our pupils carry with them throughout their time at Abbey Gate College – skills which enable our small school to compete at a consistently high level!
Swimming is introduced at Year 2, where pupils are initially encouraged to move and play in water, in a safe, controlled environment, through constructive play and games, to develop their confidence and safe practice in water. We progress to developing the fundamentals needed to enable successful learning to swim. The improving and refining of skills continues to the lower juniors, through a well-structured program, where children achieve the required standard in water safety and swimming.
French at KS1 follows the Jolie Ronde scheme with lots of games and songs. We extend the vocabulary started in Foundation and begin to look at written French as part of our games as well as beginning an exciting activity book centred on the seasons.
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.