Our aim is to provide a creative, exciting and rich environment in which children are stimulated and motivated to learn through our adventurous and liberating curriculum. Underpinning every element of our curriculum are the core skills of literacy, numeracy and science.
Whether it be learning to read, writing a formal essay or engaging a lively debate, we know that excellent literacy skills are vital for success across the curriculum as well as in later life. In addition to daily English lessons, literacy skills are reinforced and extended through topic work.
Numeracy is about learning mathematical skills for life. It is about a wide range of patterns and sequences; be they numerical, algebraic or to do with colour or shape. Children will learn mental and written methods of computation and will understand how to apply their mathematical skills to a wide range of real-life contexts.
Skills of observation, prediction, investigation and research form the basis of our science programme of study. Through the range of topics we cover, children are encouraged to use logic, pose questions, form theories and draw conclusions from their findings. Quakers have a great history of achievement in Natural Sciences and we aim to nurture each child’s natural curiosity about the world around them.
A Creative Curriculum
At Bootham Junior School we believe that the children learn best when they are encouraged to see links between subjects and develop their own interests in learning. That’s why we have a creative, topic-based approach to our Arts and Humanities education. Under one umbrella topic per term such as ‘Extreme Earth’ children are able to explore aspects of all curriculum areas.
Design and Technology
Work in this area involves identifying and solving problems. Children design and make a variety of objects linked to their topic work. They make plans to design and improve their models and use a wide variety of tools and materials in a safe manner. We benefit from excellent links with the D.T. department at Bootham School, enabling out Junior children to experience woodwork, mechanics and Computer Aided Design.
We encourage artistic expression by inspiring the children to develop their individual creative abilities. We teach different artistic techniques and styles and help children to appreciate and understand the work of famous artists in different periods of history.
A wide range of materials is available for the creation of both 2D pictures and 3D models, collages and friezes. Displays around the school celebrate our children’s work, of which they are, quite rightly, very proud.
Children will be helped to develop an understanding and awareness of their local environment and that of the world. Through personal experience, field study and the use of maps, photographs and pictures, the children will begin to understand and appreciate the world in which they live. We visit a variety of locations with different classes throughout the school year to enrich the geography curriculum.
Children will learn about the development of their own community, of Britain and the world through the study of historical events. We organise visits both into York and further afield, on a regular basis. Children are encouraged to develop a sense of identity and an understanding of various interpretations of the past.
As well as having a computer suite and computers in every classroom, there are interactive whiteboards throughout the school. Tablets are used when appropriate, particularly for coding, topic-based research, animation and presentations.
Food technology is taught in the Junior years and is often linked directly to a topic, for instance Year 6 may explore cooking using rations whilst studying their topic ‘War and Peace’.
Children study a different European language each year from Years 2-4. This gives them a wealth of linguistic knowledge to draw upon at Senior School, as well as exposing them to cultures from around the world. Mandarin and Latin are taught to both Year 5 and Year 6. In Modern Foreign Languages the emphasis is on cultural understanding and communication skills. Latin is taught as a mix of classical civilisation and language with many links made to English.
Our musical tradition is a particular strength of the school. The curriculum offers a balanced programme of activities with an emphasis upon listening and performance. Children learn about pitch and rhythm and will learn to read music in Year 2 when they are taught to play the recorder. In Year 3, all pupils are given the opportunity to learn to play the violin. The choir, flute group, recorder groups, orchestra and others are well-established ensembles which give a number of performances during the year.
A broad and balanced programme of activities incorporating elements of games, gymnastics, dance, swimming, athletics and outdoor and adventurous activities are provided throughout the Infant and Junior years. Children participate in a variety of sporting fixtures throughout the year. Our many sporting extra-curricular activities include: netball, football, judo, short tennis, basketball, dance, cricket, rounders and swimming.
Religious Education and Collective Worship
Bootham School is affiliated to Quaker traditions and this plays an important part in the religious education of our children. The R.E. curriculum aims to develop the children’s knowledge and awareness of themselves and of their place in society. We encourage the exploration of how significant events are celebrated and observed and help children begin to develop their understanding about different religions as well as the Christian faith.
Sex and Relationship Education
In Years 3, 4 and 5 children’s questions relating to reproduction and sexual development will be answered sensitively, according to the context in which the questions arise. Year 5 children have a basic introduction to puberty, led by the school nurse. In Year 6 there is more direct teaching by nursing staff from the senior school to discuss reproduction and the sexual changes that lead to maturity in males and females. Children are also reassured about the changes that occur at puberty. Drugs education is started at this point. At all times, nurses and teachers will strive to share only that amount of information which is appropriate to the majority of the children.
We use Philosophy4Children as our main approach to Thinking Skills as the children really enjoy engaging with difficult questions and working together to discuss and debate.
Early Years Foundation Stage - EYFS (Nursery & Reception)
We offer our youngest children a broad and balanced EYFS curriculum, based upon the nationally recognised Early Learning Goals within the seven specified areas of learning. All children are given equal access to opportunities in order to develop their knowledge and skills in the three ‘prime’ and four ‘specific’ areas:
Personal, Social and Emotional development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
All children learn through play, with a mixture of child-initiated and teacher led learning opportunities. Learning takes place both indoors and outdoors. After observing the children’s interests, we introduce different topics which the children explore through a variety of media including malleable materials, paint, sand, water, mark-making, jigsaw puzzles and literacy and mathematics games. We gradually introduce phonics and the basics of literacy are taught daily with reference to the Letters and Sounds guidance. We have a structured reading scheme in place and children share books and take part in reading activities with an adult daily. Mathematics is introduced through different activities, such as counting games, weighing activities and measuring, and is also taught daily. Reception children follow a structured mathematics programme which supports the development of skills and knowledge required to achieve the Early Learning Goals for mathematics. All the children within EYFS are encouraged to participate in dance and music. Our EYFS children become confident with a range of technology including the desktop PC, tablets and programmable toys. By the end of EYFS, children are enthusiastic and confident learners who are ready for the more structured environment of Year 1.
We hope this information is useful to you. Please do not hesitate to call or visit us if you have further questions. We will always be very happy to help you.
"Helping children become independent learners who enjoy learning for its own sake and will continue learning after they leave school"
Bootham Junior School, Rawcliffe Lane, York, YO30 6NP