Arts & Culture
Where my Wellies Take Me - Year 1/2 - acrylic on canvas
one of two works made with artist in residence Maggie Stewart to celebrate our ethos of caring for our environment
Art and Culture includes two distinct areas of study: the Arts and Humanities.
Foundation subjects have less lesson time than the core learning in English, Mathematics and Science. Therefore pitch, expectations and progress are planned for over three phases:
Key Stage 1 - years 1 and 2
Lower Key Stage 2 - years 3 and 4
Upper Key Stage 2 - Years 5 and 6
You can read more about all these subjects here and in our curriculum document.
Meet the Art and Culture Team
The Art and Culture team work together and to maintain provision and plan improvements in opportunities for children's artistic and cultural development. Mrs Helliwell and Ms Stewart both studied for degrees in visual art, Mrs Miller has a degree in Geography and Mrs Bagley a specialism in environmental science. Ms Stewart represents secular beliefs on the SACRE (standing advisory council on religious education). Last year we looked at progression in Humanities, Art and Music. This year we are working to introduce the new SACRE scheme of work for RE.
Reception children study art and culture in the Foundation Stage Curriculum through Expressive Art and Design and Understanding the World. From year 1 children move into the National Curriculum where they are taught key content and skills from the different subjects as outlined in the National Curriculum, this is planned within thematic units or topics.
For every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
We value the Arts as unique forms of expression through which we share interest, knowledge, understanding and feelings about the world, its people and ideas. Arts support and develop imagination, the capacity to imagine being an important part of understanding others, the world and yourself. While not traditionally 'academic' the Arts are about thinking deeply and communicating: deep thinking executed practically. The Creative Arts have value in their own right as well as making a positive contribution to developing intellect and improving achievement more generally.
Arts education is central to personal development and academic success.
Akala - author of Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
The Arts include children's studies in other curriculum subjects. In English lessons pupils engage in drama, poetry and creative writing. In Geography, History and RE they may use role play and drama) and in Physical Education children will study dance.
In Reception children follow the Foundation Stage curriculum for Expressive Arts and Design enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of materials as well as opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings about their own work, that of other artists and their peers. Reception children learn from the Foundation Stage curriculum for expressive Arts and Design. This curriculum enables children to explore and play with a wide range of materials to make work as well as opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings about their own work, that of other artists, musicians and their peers.
The Arts: Art & Design, Dance, Drama, Music, Poetry, Creative Writing.
Art, craft and Design
In Year 1-6 children study the National Curriculum for Art and Design. They learn to use an increasing range of media for making drawings, paintings and 3D work. Studies include Artists from history and the world with children having opportunities to apply what they have learned to their own work.
Art and Design learning is mostly in class and links to children's topics in Humanities, Science and English. By linking their art and design to their wider learning and understanding children are, like artists, expressing their knowledge and understanding of the world through making work. Art Club enables those children with a particular interest to develop thier gifts and talents in the visual arts.
If you could say it in words there'd be no reason to paint.
Dance and drama
While part of the Arts curriculum, dance is taught largely within PE. However, as a language of expression and communication, dance has links to other subjects. Teachers and children develop dance sequences to communicate their learning and understanding in other subjects as well as develop physical skills including core strength and control. For example in a dance about life children may express their Scientific understanding of cell division and biodiversity through shapes and movements through a dance.
Drama has strong links to the English curriculum as well as being a key element of children learning through a Inquiry approach (see our curriculum document page 7 for more on this). Children will learn through role play, hot seating and other drama techniques as well as learning to read, write and perform in plays. In Upper Key Stage 2 we are visited by the Young Shakesepare Company each year and on moving to High School every child has learned about and experienced two Shakespeare plays.
Music is a big part of life at Kingsmead. In Key Stage 1 the emphasis is on singing and playing untuned and some tuned percussion. From Key Stage 2 children participate in a weekly Big Sing which includes new and familiar songs. Lower Key Stage 2 is when children are introduced to learning orchestral instruments and to read music, starting with recorder in year 3. This is our first access with the instrument, book and lessons all provided at no cost to families. From Year 4 we offer instrumental lessons in brass (trumpet, horns, trombone), woodwind (clarinet, flute) and strings (violin or cello). Lessons are in school with specialist teachers and children are taught in pairs or small groups. There is a charge for these lessons though families may apply for a bursary if on a low income. In Lower Key Stage 2 children have the opportunity to hear a live orchestra e.g. the Liverpool Philharmonic Key Stage 2 concert. Upper Key Stage 2 is an opportunity to develop musicianship and join ensembles including our own Wind Band or Recorder and String Orchestra. Some pupils join Vale Royal ensembles such as Super Strings or the Training and Mezzo Band. Our older pupils play in public performances: with The county High School Leftwich at a biannual concert, with Vale Royal ensembles in Showcase concerts as well as at the Kingfisher in December and Cheshire Show. Most pupils go on to take ABRSM examinations, recognised qualifications in music which can count towards job and university applications. In year 5 we offer endangered instrument scholarships, currently in oboe, bassoon and French horn to those pupils who have shown outstanding commitment. Children learning instruments, and their families are expected to read and agree to our agreement for instrument lessons, outlining a contract of expectations for the child, school and parents or carers.
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
Geography and History
The Latin word ‘Educare’ means ‘to lead out.’ We aim for our curriculum to lead children’s interest out into the world and for this to be effective the Humanities are vital areas of study. Each has its specific knowledge and skills. While factual recall alone is insufficient to develop knowledge and understanding, some factual learning, including specific terms and vocabulary are needed for children to achieve mastery in the humanities.
In Reception Humanities are included in Understanding the World, helping children understand the physical world, their community and cultural world. The National Curriculum underpins topics in Key Stage 1, Lower and Upper Key Stage 2. History and Geography are taught alongside each other although in different topics, different subjects are emphasised e.g. History in Ancient Greece and Through the Ages and Geography in Rainforests and Water.
What is our knowledge worth if we know nothing of the world that sustains us, nothing about natural systems and climate, nothing about other countries and cultures?
Our policy towards Religious Education has meant that all children have been happily included since 2004 when the school first opened. Children are asked to reflect on ethical or moral themes in lessons and in assemblies and we have a secular 'creed' that children with religious beliefs may use as a prayer should they wish.
The locally agreed syllabus is set down locally by a group called SACRE (Standing Advisory Committee for teaching of RE). Ms Stewart sits on the CWAC SACRE as the representative of people with humanist or secular views. The SACRE sets out the RE curriculum for Community Schools and the emphasis is on Christianity, as the predominant religion in the UK and Europe. Nevertheless, an overarching aim is that children learn about the different beliefs, secular and religious, in their community and the wider world, and to respect the beliefs of others, similar or different to their own. RE at Kingsmead teaches children about beliefs and practices similar and different to their own. It fosters the understanding and interest necessary for children to be respectful of other people. We include humanist perspectives alongside teaching about religion. For example when learning about rules and laws in the Koran or Bible, we will include the humanist perspective of respecting for the rules and laws of the land.
The Cheshire SACRE curriculum:
Infants (Years 1&2): Christianity, Judaism
Lower Juniors (Years 3&4): Christianity, Islam, Sikhism.
Upper Juniors (Years 5&6): Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism.
RE units include humanist and secular thinking alongside the religious content taught. Staff in school have a range of religious and secular beliefs; if asked about their personal beliefs, adults answer honestly but don't recommend or promote any belief over any other.
At Kingsmead we welcome families of all types including heterosexual and same sex couples, single parents, foster parents and guardians. If teaching in RE lessons about the importance of 'family' teachers will include the breadth of families in modern Britain. We also welcome families from different secular and religious world views present in the UK and therefore RE lessons teach about faith, religion and humanism and do not expect children to ‘worship’ or 'pray' in any way that promotes one religion or belief over any other or none.
Parents and carers do have the right to withdraw their child from RE lessons and should speak to the headteacher should they wish to do so.