The Learning Core
English and Literacy
As a department we aim to create an atmosphere of learning and enjoyment which challenges the able whilst supporting, with the help of our learning support staff, those who need it. We want all the pupils to feel included and motivated.
Pupils are encouraged to take an active role in the learning process through a lively mixture of discussion, reading and writing. We aim to enable the pupils to become independent and critical readers of stories, poetry, drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. All pupils will have the opportunity to enter poetry and writing competitions. Pupils will also have the opportunity to watch drama through theatre trips or films. Pupils are taught in ability sets.
At Key Stage 3, the development of good language and literacy skills is a priority for us. At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA and Edexcel syllabi which offer courses including: Entry Level English, Functional Skills, GCSE English and GCSE English Language and Literature. Students are taught in ability sets.
Mathematics and Numeracy
Mathematics at Riverston School is dynamic, ensuring an excitement and enthusiasm for the subject so that pupils share their teachers’ passion. The introduction and teaching of mathematics is a powerful tool for communication, decision-making, problem-solving, thinking, computation, analysing, research and creative skills. It is important that pupils learn that mathematics is not necessarily a subject on its own but has applications in other subjects and the world at large.
The development of basic numeracy skills is crucial for all pupils. Hands-on, practical experiences underpin the mathematics curriculum for pupils with special educational needs. Developing a good understanding of money and time is critical when expecting pupils to attain an ability to use the practical application of maths in very day situations. All learning takes place in small groups with additional support where appropriate.
For all pupils, a GCSE level 9 to 4, or equivalent grade, is our goal as we strive towards individual success in this subject.
Science is taught in two science laboratories with access to a wide range of interactive and engaging software to enhance and support learning. We follow the National Curriculum relative to the pupils’ ages but tailor made to match pupils’ individual abilities and needs.
At Key Stage 4 there is a variety of courses available for children to choose from, ranging from BTEC courses at Levels 1 and 2, to the more traditional GCSE Science courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, aimed at more academic pupils. Textbook resources have been carefully selected to enable full access by all pupils, according to their needs.
There is also a thriving Science Club which meets after school; available to pupils from years 5 to 11. This is a more fun way to learn about science and its use in technological advances. Examples of projects include making electronic games, a light up Christmas tree and slime!
Games, Physical Education and Fitness
Our whole school target for the academic year 2018/19 is:
Strong in Mind + Healthy in Body = Happy in Spirit
The PE and Games programme at Riverston is vital in ensuring that every pupil appreciates the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. The programme is specifically designed to help pupils develop their fitness levels, motor skills, strength and love of sport. Sport for life is actively encouraged and boys and girls of all ages are given a variety of opportunities in which to explore their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.
We realise the importance of aerobic exercise and want every child to enjoy getting out of breath, therefore team games are actively encouraged, as are competitive and representative sport. Riverston has had many National Champions over the years in athletics, swimming, cross-country, football and most recently karate.
Swimming is a very important part of the PE curriculum and we strive to help every pupil become a strong, competent swimmer. We are very fortunate to have a brand new swimming pool just up the road in Eltham High Street, where boys and girls visit to improve their technique and stamina. We also hope to utilise the new indoor cycling and fitness facilities at Sutcliffe Park once they open in the New Year.
Football, rugby, gymnastics, dance, badminton, tennis, rounders, hockey, climbing, cross-country, basketball, volley ball, netball and trampolining are some of the other activities included in the PE programme at Riverston.
Personal Social and Health Education provides a vital foundation for the personal development of young people in preparing them for adult life. It enables pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence as well as learning the fundamental British values. These things combined, help to combat the social exclusion and disaffection of any pupil, with the capacity to equip all young people with the skills and attitudes needed to react positively to the pressures of modern life.
Aims of PSHE:
- To enable pupils to lead confident, healthy and responsible lives as individuals, at every age and to be members of society at local, national and international levels.
- To give pupils opportunities to reflect upon their own experiences and help them to understand and manage responsibly a range of relationships.
- To encourage the pupils to show respect for the diversity and differences between people.
- To develop pupils’ self-esteem, encouraging pupils to have belief in their own ability to succeed both in and beyond the classroom.
- To enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
- To actively promote the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs (The prevent duty 2015)
- To develop confidence, self-esteem and self-efficacy
- To encourage a healthier and safer lifestyle.
- To develop good relationships and respect the differences between people.
- To become informed members of society, politically, socially and economically.
- To develop skills of enquiry and communication.
- To develop pupil’s ability to reflect on issues and take part in discussions.
- To encourage skills of participation and responsible action.
- Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect civil and criminal law
- To have a vision for their future and understanding of how to achieve this.
This year we have introduced a daily Form Time Programme to provide regular sessions, beyond that which can be covered within the standard curriculum. The programme of study for form time covers:
Literacy – handwriting, spelling, ‘drop everything and read’
Numeracy – times tables, multiplication, addition, problem solving, handling money
PSHE – citizenship, current affairs, circle time
Social Skills – speech and language, social communication, travel plan
Academic Skills - dedicated to the support and development of exam taking skills.
These will be age appropriate and for older pupils, sessions will be tailored towards exam revision, CV writing, college applications, work experience etc.