Our Rook’s Nest Learning Challenge Curriculum (LCC) has proved to be successful means of ensuring full National Curriculum coverage as we as an exciting broad and balanced curriculum. The LCC is a topic based curriculum focusing on exciting topics, educational visits, visitors to school and quality first teaching. These ‘wow’ activities trigger children’s imagination and help to drive up higher standards through positive engagement.
To ensure full coverage in an already squeezed curriculum as a staff we have further refined our LCC curriculum so that Key subject drivers (Maths, English, Science PE PHSE) will be taught weekly using (if relevant) the main half term topics
Unique selling points (USPs) will be covered over each half term and will be linked to the focus of the curriculum that particular half term.
At Rook’s Nest, we aim to provide children with access to an integral programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing to foster a love of language, a curiosity about how language works and to develop excellence in all areas. We aim for all children by the age of 11 to be able to:
- communicate effectively within a range of groups in both formal and informal contexts;
- develop key skills in all areas of language including speech;
- listen carefully with good concentration and be able to respond thoughtfully and appropriately
- read a range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts with confidence, independence, fluency,
- enjoyment and understanding to enable them to develop preferences and make informed choices about reading;
- write to a high standard in a variety of styles and forms showing an awareness of audience and purpose;
- write with fluent, legible joined handwriting and take pride in the presentation of all their work;
- use and transfer the skills that they are learning, in order to read and write competently throughout the range of subjects taught in school.
At Rook’s Nest, we will ensure that all children receive quality literacy teaching on a daily basis. All children are given equal access to the English curriculum. We will strive to provide a range of texts and activities which are purposeful and cross curricular, reflecting different beliefs and cultures. Activities and learning targets will be carefully planned and delivered to take account of individual abilities, needs and learning styles with the aim that most children will achieve at least age relate expectations.
We use a range of teaching tools including the Letters and Sounds programme to ensure children develop their phonic skills in a coherent and systematic way. There is direct small group teaching of phonics using this programme from Nursery upwards. Children in KS2 receive additional small group phonics teaching if they have failed to pass the phonics check in Year 1 or the retake in Year 2. It is one of our school priorities to ensure that all children develop confidence in phonics to enable them to become confident readers. We greatly appreciate parental support in this area and encourage parents to read the phonically decodable books with their child regularly.
Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing the ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables us to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in all aspects of life. Mathematics is a useful tool to communicate information in other subjects, in everyday life and the world of work. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in mathematics which we do through daily lessons. The New 2014 National Curriculum document is the basis for the weekly planning completed by teachers. Most lessons begin with whole class teaching input followed by children’s independent work. Lessons are differentiated to ensure the specific needs of groups and individuals are catered for at their own level. Groups who are identified as needing extra support often work in directed groups, led by teachers or teaching assistants. Teachers use a variety of teaching and learning styles in order to motivate and engage children. Children work independently, in pairs and in groups during maths lessons using a range of resources, activities and equipment. All classrooms should include maths areas or working walls, which should be changed regularly, where materials are displayed to support children in their learning process. Alongside the National Curriculum document, staff also use the Big Maths document to support planning and teaching of number and calculation skills. CLIC maths skills are planned into lessons daily, usually as a maths starter, to enable children to keep basic maths skills sharp. Children complete regular Big Maths Beat That tests and appropriately levelled CLIC tests to practice and assess these skills.
Rooks Nest Academy believes that learning a language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience and that it can enrich the curriculum, with the philosophy that teachers are the experts. A high quality language education should foster children’s’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The progression of skills is evident across the school and is monitored on a termly basis.
Learning a language provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. Learning a language develops communication and generic language skills.
Learning a language enhances intercultural understanding and fosters love for languages and contact with other cultures. Pupils also gain a better understanding of their own culture and are liberated from insularity.
Learning a language provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for the reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects. Children can see how language is such an important part of everything we do.
At Rook’s Nest Academy we follow the Agreed Wakefield Syllabus for Religious Education. The aim is to develop an understanding of different religions and promote tolerance of others. Our teaching often focuses on the key stories from different religions. If parents have any questions about our RE teaching please ring the school to make an appointment with our RE leader.
Art and Design
At Rooks Nest Academy we believe that teaching and learning in art and design is important because it stimulates children’s creativity, inventiveness and imagination. We believe through art and design children can explore through means of personal expression. Art and Design enables children to communicate the way they feel, see and think through the use of texture, form, colour and pattern as well as through different materials and processes.
Art is taught every half term throughout the year and it underpins the LCC curriculum. Six different art skills are taught over the year (drawing and mark making, painting, 3D form and modelling, printing, digital media and knowledge of different artists/styles). The teachers can decide at which point of the year they teach each skill as some skills will link to particular topics more than others. Some art skills can be taught in isolation although we aim to make cross-curricular links where possible. Teachers will teach each particular skill and children are then given the opportunity to develop these skills in their sketchbook, gradually building up their ideas, demonstrating progress and reinforcing skills that are already established which eventually should cumulate in a final piece of artwork. We aim to display children’s artwork where possible to promote art in the academy and give children a sense of pride in their achievements.
Our Design Technology curriculum is supported by the Learning Challenge Curriculum. For half a term each year the whole focus of learning will be based around DT. Using a text as such as Kenzukie’s Kingdom or Macbeth as a key driver, pupils take part in designing, making and evaluating a range of different projects. These include projects involving mechanisms such as levers and food technology where pupils learn to bake bread and scones.
We use a wide variety of programmes to support learning of computing at Rook’s Nest. The platforms we use to teach programming are Bee-bots, Scratch, Code.org among others. The children learn programming in a physical then visual environment and in Year 6 progress to basic text programming using Python.
In Digital Literacy the children learn many different skill including word processing, spreadsheet and design work. They will learn about animation using stop-motion techniques and they learn to write, produce and edit video work.
We introduce them to the use of blogs and emails using these techniques to enhance their knowledge of safety.
History is always a popular subject at Rook’s Nest. Taught for two half terms each year is a key driver in our Learning Challenge curriculum. Wow curriculum enhancers such as spending the day at Danelaw Viking museum or recanting the Battle of Bosworth hill in the school grounds all help to both grab children’s interest in the topic as well as stimulating high quality writing. Key skills in the History curriculum are built upon and revisited as children move through the age groups. Topic books and displays around the school display the high expectations of staff as well as the children’s love of the topic.
At Rooks Nest Academy we believe that learning geography enriches a child’s knowledge of the world. Geography is taught as a topic based (LCC) approach twice a year. There is a structure for each year group to follow, however teachers can interpret this through their personal choices and ideas, with the philosophy that teachers are the experts in this subject. It is linked to other areas of the curriculum which gives children the opportunities to develop specific geographical skills and reinforces skills already established. The progression of geographical skills can be seen throughout the school and is monitored on a half termly basis. Geography work is showcased throughout the academy through displays, children’s work and trips. It is felt that residential trips, educational visits and practical experiences are the key reasons why engagement and participation of the children is so high and consequently Geography continues to be strong throughout school.
Planning for science is a process in which all teachers are involved to ensure that the school gives full coverage of the National Curriculum. We have carefully adapted and extend our curriculum to match the unique circumstances of Rook’s Nest Academy. The school teaches Science weekly throughout the year often through the Learning Challenge curriculum (such as forces and electricity with The Industrial Revolution). The academy has worked to ensue that alongside full coverage, core scientific skills are built on through the Key Stages. Children move through the year groups, acquiring a bank of scientific vocabulary and understanding. This will complement the whole school focus on practical investigations. Children developing their own hypotheses and investigating their own experiments is a priority as we work towards our children becoming resilient learners Content is taught carefully and thoroughly and is introduced in the phase areas set out in the National Curriculum: Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2. Scientific enquiry, known as ‘Working Scientifically’ in the 2014 curriculum, is taught through and embedded within the content of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Reception children are taught Science as set out in the renewed EYFS framework.
At Rook’s Nest Academy we believe that teaching and learning in music is important because it stimulates children’s creativity, inventiveness and imagination. We believe through music, children can explore through means of personal expression. Music enables children to communicate the way they feel and think through composing and performing, using a variety of instruments.
Music is taught every half term throughout the year either as part of the topic or as a standalone topic, although we aim to make cross-curricular links where possible. Four different music skills are taught over the year (performing, composing, transcribing music and describing music). These skills are linked and cannot be separated.
Children develop skills in singing, playing instruments, composing, writing musical notation, understanding music theory, listening and evaluating and developing an understanding of the history of music.
There are opportunities for group music, such as lunch time recorder group, ukulele group and choir. Children can opt to have additional instrumental lessons at an extra cost where they are withdrawn from lessons in the school day. These include:
Small group keyboard lessons
Small group guitar lessons
Small group woodwind lessons (flute and clarinet)
Small group brass lessons (trumpet and cornet)
One to one drum lessons
One to one piano lessons
Children use their skills learned during their instrumental lessons during class music lessons, playing their instruments wherever possible. Some of these children take ABRSM examinations in their chosen instrument at Manygates Music Centre.
We have regular opportunities for children to perform music in the academy, such as in assemblies, Harvest Festival, Christmas concerts, musical talents concert and outdoor music summer festival. This gives children a sense of pride in their achievements and gives them confidence
At Rook’s Nest Academy our vision for Physical Education and Sport is that every child should have the opportunity to take part in physical activity on a regular basis and become more physically confident and competent. We hope that, through all the sporting opportunities and physical activity we offer, the children will potentially develop a love and passion for sport and continue this into their later lives.
We aim to provide the children with at 1-2 hours of fun, exciting and active PE lessons every week and where 2 hours is not possible provide other active lessons. We ensure children are healthy and active with at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and by educating them on a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.
At Rook’s Nest Academy, we also strive to give as many children as possible the opportunity to compete in a variety of competitions, during school time or by representing the school at local events. We hope that in doing so the children will develop greater confidence, team work and learn to win or lose with grace and sportsmanship. Due to Covid-19, the opportunity to represent the school has been less frequent so far this year when compared to previous years.
It is also of paramount importance that we create sporting leaders during the children’s time at Rook’s Nest Academy. We aim to offer lots of children the opportunity to lead sporting activities, organise games and events and learn to lead by example. By emphasising leadership, we hope the children learn the importance of communication, organisation, team work, resilience, perseverance and a respect for rules. Again, due to Covid-19, the opportunity for older pupils to lead younger pupils in sporting activities has been less frequent this year.
PE and Sport are a proud part of the Rook’s Nest Academy experience and we hope that this continues to grow in the future and prepare our children for life after Rook’s Nest Academy.
Please see the primary school sports funding section for more information about PE in our school.
Special events & Curriculum Diversity
As well as promoting curriculum diversity through our Learning Challenge curriculum. Our curriculum promotes diversity through a series of school led or national celebrations including.
Language immersion days.
Black History Month (celebrated biannually)
National Science week.
World Book Day.
Parent emersion days
Word Mental Health Days.
Preparing for SAT tests
Children in Year 2 and Year 6 take SAT tests in the Summer term to check how they are progressing with their learning. SATs include tests of reading, grammar and mathematics. At Rook’s Nest we want all our children to achieve good results in these tests as they are good indicators of their general ability in maths and English. While we value the tests, we believe that a broad curriculum helps children to succeed rather than narrowing teaching to focus on English and Maths. We pride ourselves on ensuring that Year 6 children have access to the full range of subjects in the lead up to the tests in May. As our curriculum is rigorous and built on high expectations we do not run additional booster during holidays and weekends.
If you are interested in find out out more about the SATs please speak to your child’s class teacher. For more information and examples of exam papers you can visit
At Rook’s Nest Academy we use a range of teaching and learning styles to meet the PSHE requirements of government legislation on the teaching of Personal, social, health and economic education. We emphasise active learning by including the children in discussions, investigations and problem-solving activities. We encourage the children to take part in a range of tasks that promote active citizenship both in the local and wider community including their involvement in helping other individuals or groups less fortunate than themselves. Delivery is through Quality First Teaching with additional support and guidance by the learning Mentor. In addition to this each class has nominated a charitable organisation or volunteer group to support – including The Woodland Trust, Shelter, Guide Dogs for the blind and the RSPCB. Children will raising funds and taking part in community projects concerning their charity