Year 1 Curriculum Information


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1 The new national curriculum A guide for parents Introduction For generations, parents have found themselves visiting primary schools with their children only to hear themselves saying, “It’s not like when I was at school.” Things change quickly in education, and at no time in the past 25 years has that been truer than September 2014 when the whole school curriculum changes for maintained schools throughout England. This guide is intended to support parents of primary school children. Obviously it would be impossible to set out in detail everything your child would learn during their six years of statutory primary education, but by providing an outline of typical content and some background information about how the curriculum and assessment works, hopefully it will help parents support their children in making the most of their education. High Achievers If your child is achieving well, rather than moving on to the following year group’s work many schools will encourage more in-depth and investigative work to allow a greater mastery and understanding of concepts and ideas. The new curriculum begins in schools from September 2014. However, for children in Year 2 and Year 6, the new curriculum won’t become statutory until 2015. This is because these children are in the last year of the Key Stages. At this age, children are formally assessed to judge their progress against the requirements of the curriculum. Because the 2014 curriculum will only have been in place for nine months, these children will be assessed against the requirements of the old curriculum in the National Curriculum Tests. New tests will be produced for the summer of 2016 to assess work from the new curriculum. What’s changed? English, Maths and Science remain very important and are considered the core subjects in both primary and secondary education. The National Curriculum sets out in some detail what must be taught in each of these subjects, and they will take up a substantial part of your child’s learning week. Alongside these are the familiar foundation subjects: Art, Computing, Design & Technology, Foreign Languages (age 7+ only), Geography, History, Music, and Physical Education. For these foundation subjects, the details in the curriculum are significantly briefer: schools have much more flexibility regarding what they cover in these subjects. Much of the publicity about the changes to the curriculum has focussed on ‘higher expectations’ in various subjects, and it is certainly the case that in some areas the content of the new primary curriculum is significantly more demanding than in the past. For example, in mathematics there is now much greater focus on the skills of arithmetic and also on working with fractions. In science, a new unit of work on evolution is introduced for Year 6; work which would have previously been studied in secondary school. In English lessons there will now be more attention paid to the study of grammar and spelling; an area which was far less notable in previous curricula. Tests your child will take Lots of schools use tests at all stages of their work. For the most part, these are part of a normal classroom routine, and support teachers’ assessment. However, at certain stages of schooling there are also national tests which must be taken by all children in state schools. Often informally known as ‘SATs’, the National Curriculum Tests are compulsory for children at the end of Year 2 and Year 6. Children in these year groups will undertake tests in Reading, Mathematics, and Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling. The tests will be sent away for marking, and results will be reported to schools and parents at the end of the year. The new National Curriculum Tests for children in Year 2 and Year 6 will take place each summer from 2016. Schools may also choose to have internal tests for other year groups around the same time. Where previously these tests – and other teacher assessments – were graded in levels (normally numbering between Level 1 and Level 6 in primary school), from 2016 the tests will be reported as a scaled score, with a score of 100 representing the expected level for each age group. It will be up to teachers and schools to decide how to measure progress in the intervening years. Schools will then provide accompanying information to parents to explain how children are progressing – it makes attending those parents’ evenings all the more important!


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2 The new national curriculum – Mathematics in Year 1 As children begin their compulsory schooling in Year 1, schools will naturally work to build on the learning that takes place in the Reception year. Here are some of the main things your child is likely to be taught during their time in Year 1. Fractions UÊÊ Understand 4 and number of objects 1 1 2 to explain parts of an object or Measurements UÊÊ Use practical apparatus to explore different lengths, weights and volumes UÊÊ Use language such as ‘heavier’, ‘shorter’ and ‘empty’ to compare things they have measured UÊÊ Recognise the different coins and notes of British currency UÊÊ Use language of time, such as ‘yesterday’, ‘before’, days of the week and months of the year UÊÊ Tell the time to the hour and half-hour, including drawing clock faces Number and Place Value Place value is central to mathematics. Recognising that the digit ‘5’ in the number 54 has a different value from the number 5 or the ‘5’ in 504 is an important step in mathematical understanding. UÊÊ Count, both forwards and backwards, from any number, including past 100 UÊÊ Read and write numbers up to 100 as digits UÊÊ Count in 2s, 5s and 10s UÊÊ Find ‘one more’ or ‘one less’ than a number UÊÊ Use mathematical language such as ‘more’, ‘less’, ‘most’, ‘least’ and ‘equal’ Shape Recognise and name some common 2-d shapes, such as UÊÊ squares, rectangles and triangles UÊÊ Recognise and name some common 3-d shapes, such as cubes, cuboids and spheres UÊÊ Describe movements, including quarter turns Parent Tip There are plenty of opportunities for maths practice at home, from counting objects to simple games, such as dominoes and Snakes & Ladders. You can also begin to explore using money and clocks both in play at home and when out and about. Calculations UÊÊ Use the +, -– and = symbols to write and understand simple number calculations UÊÊ Add and subtract one- and two-digit numbers, up to 20 UÊÊ Solve missing number problems, such as 10 – ? = 6 UÊÊ Begin to use simple multiplication by organising and counting objects Using this guide Schools are allowed to reorganise content between year groups as long as the material is covered by the end of primary school. Your school may therefore make some changes to the teaching sequence – check your child’s school’s website for details on how they organise their curriculum.


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3 The new national curriculum – Science in Year 1 In the first years of schooling, much of the science curriculum is based around real-life experiences for children. This includes everyday plants and animals, as well as finding out about different materials and the four seasons. There are likely to be lots of opportunities for exploring scientific ideas both in the classroom and the local surroundings. Deciduous trees are those which lose their leaves in autumn, whereas evergreen trees – as the name implies – are those which retain their green colour all year round. Everyday Materials UÊRecognise that objects are made of materials UÊÊ Name some everyday materials such as wood, metal, glass and plastic UÊÊ Describe some of the properties of materials, e.g. that wood is hard UÊÊ Group together items based on the materials they’re made from or their properties, for example by grouping heavy objects or shiny objects Scientific Investigation Children are encouraged to carry out their own observations and experiments to further their scientific understanding. In Year 1 this may include learning to: UÊAsk scientific questions UÊCarry out simple tests, and make observations UÊCollect information to answer questions UÊÊ Group together objects according to their properties or behaviours Seasonal Change UÊObserve changes across the four seasons UÊÊ Observe and describe how the day and weather changes with the seasons Plants and Animals UÊÊ Name a selection of common plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees UÊÊ Name the main parts of plants and trees, such as roots, stems, trunks and leaves UÊÊ Name a variety of common animals, including mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians UÊÊ Name some common animals which are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores UÊÊ Name the main parts of the human body, including those related to the five senses Herbivores: animals which feed only on plants, e.g. rabbits Carnivores: animals which feed on other animals, e.g. eagles Omnivores: animals which eat both plants and animals, e.g. humans Parent Tip There are always plenty of ways in which families can support children at home with science. There may be a park or gardens near you which you can visit over the year and see how the flora changes with the seasons. You may also be able to visit a farm or nature park which provides plenty of opportunity for discussing the wide variety of the animal kingdom. Using this guide Schools are allowed to reorganise content between year groups as long as the material is covered by the end of primary school. Your school may therefore make some changes to the teaching sequence – check your child’s school’s website for details on how they organise their curriculum.


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4 The new national curriculum – English in Year 1 During the early years of compulsory schooling, much of the focus is to develop confident readers, mainly using the phonics approach. Many schools will follow a programme of phonics teaching, so it is well worth finding out from your child’s school if they have any parent support materials. Phonics is the relationship between printed letters and the sounds they make. Children will first learn the most common letter sounds, and then look at more difficult patterns such as recognising that ‘ow’ sounds different in ‘cow’ than in ‘low’, or that both ‘ai’ and ‘ay’ make the same sound in different words. Writing Skills UÊÊ Hold a pen or pencil in the correct and comfortable way UÊName the letters of the alphabet in order UÊÊ Write lower-case letters starting and ending in the right place UÊWrite capital letters, and the digits 0 to 9 UÊÊ Spell simple words containing the main sounds they’ve learned in reading UÊSpell the days of the week UÊÊ Learn to write words with common endings, such as –ed, –ing, –er and –est UÊPlan out sentences aloud before writing them UÊÊ Write simple sentences, and those using joining words such as ‘and’ UÊBegin to use full stops and capital letters for sentences UÊÊ Combine some sentences to make short descriptions or stories Parent Tip Many schools will offer books to read at home; these will range from a mix of books which your child can read to you, and those which are more complex that they can listen to you read to them – both are important skills. Children can also join the local library service and choose books of their own. Speaking and Listening The Spoken Language objectives are set out for the whole of primary school, and teachers will cover many of them every year as children’s spoken language skills develop. In Year 1, some focuses may include: UÊListen and respond to adults and other children UÊAsk questions to extend their understanding UÊLearn new vocabulary related to topics or daily life Reading Skills UÊÊ Learn the 40+ main speech sounds in English and the letters that represent them UÊBlend sounds together to form words UÊÊ Read aloud when reading books that contain familiar letter sound patterns UÊÊ Listen to, and talk about a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts UÊÊ Learn about popular fairy tales and folk stories, and retell the stories UÊJoin in with repeated phrases in familiar books UÊÊ Make predictions about what might happen next in a book UÊÊ Explain clearly what has happened in a book they’ve read or listened to Using this guide Schools are allowed to reorganise content between year groups as long as the material is covered by the end of primary school. Your school may therefore make some changes to the teaching sequence – check your child’s school’s website for details on how they organise their curriculum.


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20 The new national curriculum – The Foundation Subjects At primary school, English, Maths and Science are the core subjects which make up the bulk of the timetable. That said, the other foundation subjects play a key part in providing a broad and balanced curriculum. All eight of these subjects are a compulsory part of the National Curriculum. In addition, all schools are required to include some Religious Education in their broader curriculum, although the content of this is agreed locally. Here is a very brief outline of what will be covered in the foundation subjects during primary school: All schools will also include regular teaching of e-safety to ensure that children feel confident when using computers and the Internet, and know what to do if they come across something either inappropriate or uncomfortable. Many schools will also invite parents to work with them on this aspect of the curriculum. Design and Technology This subject includes cooking, which will be taught in all primary schools from 2014, with children finding out about a healthy diet and preparing simple meals. It also includes the more traditional design elements in which children will design, make and evaluate products while learning to use a range of tools and techniques for construction. There may also be some cross-over with Science here as children incorporate levers, pulleys or electrical circuits into their designs for finished products. Art Schools will be largely free to design their own curriculum in Art, while providing a broad experience for their students. Children will explore a range of different techniques such as drawing, painting and sculpture, and will use a variety of materials, from pencil and paint to charcoal and clay, to create their own art pieces. In addition, during Key Stage 2, children will study the works of some great artists, architects and designers from history. Geography Across primary school, children will find out about different places in the UK, Europe and the Americas through studying small regions in each, and comparing these to other areas, including their own locality. In Key Stage 1, children will learn the names of the continents and oceans as well as the names of the four home nations and their respective capital cities. They will use the four main compass directions and simple maps and photographs to explore the local area. In Key Stage 2, the children will locate the countries of the world, focussing particularly on Europe and the Americas, as well as naming the counties, regions and major cities of the United Kingdom. They will begin to explore geographical features such as volcanoes and tectonic plates, as well as features of human geography such as trade links and land use. They will also learn to use grid references on Ordnance Survey maps to describe locations. Computing There are three main strands of the new Computing curriculum: information technology, digital literacy and computer science. Information technology is about the use of computers for functional purposes, such as collecting and presenting information, or using search technology. Digital literacy is about the safe and responsible use of technology, including recognising its advantages for collaboration or communication. Finally, computer science will introduce children of all ages to understanding how computers and networks work. It will also give all children the opportunity to learn basic computer programming, from simple floor robots in Years 1 and 2, right up to creating on-screen computer games and programmes by Year 6. Many schools will use programming software which is freely available online, such as Scratch or Kodu. Using this guide Schools are allowed to reorganise content between year groups as long as the material is covered by the end of primary school. Your school may therefore make some changes to the teaching sequence – check your child’s school’s website for details on how they organise their curriculum.


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21 The new national curriculum – The Foundation Subjects History In Key Stage 1, the focus of history is very much on locally significant events or events within their own memories, as well as key events of great significance such as Bonfire Night. In addition, children will find out about important historical people and events, such as Florence Nightingale or The Great Fire of London. In Key Stage 2, there are nine main areas of study that are required, some of which have optional strands. The first four are units relating to British history and are intended to begin the development of a clear chronological understanding. In many schools these will be taught in chronological order. 1. Britain in the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages 2. Roman Britain 3. Anglo-Saxons and Scots in Britain 4. Anglo-Saxons and Vikings 5. Local history 6. A study of a period after 1066 of the school’s choice 7. Ancient Greece 8. A choice from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Sumer, Ancient Egypt, or the Shang Dynasty of Ancient China 9. A choice from 10th-century early Islamic civilisation, Mayan civilisation or Benin in West Africa Music Over the course of primary school, children will listen to and perform a range of music. In the first years of schooling this will often include singing songs and rhymes, and playing untuned instruments such as tambourines or rainmaker sticks. In Key Stage 2, children will perform pieces both alone and as part of a group using their own voice and a range of musical instruments, including those with tuning such as glockenspiels or keyboards. They will both improvise and compose pieces using their knowledge of the different dimensions of music such as rhythm and pitch. During the later years they will also begin to use musical notation, and to learn about the history of music. Physical Education Physical Education lessons will continue to include a range of individual disciplines such as dance and athletics, with team sports and games. Through these sports, children should learn the skills of both cooperation and competition. During Key Stage 2, the range of games and sports taught will be broader, and the children will also take part in outdoor and adventurous activities such as orienteering. They will perform dances, take part in athletics and gymnastics, and attempt to achieve personal bests in various activities. In addition, all children should learn to swim at some point during their primary school career. Languages For the first time, foreign languages will be compulsory in schools for children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6). Schools can choose any language to study, although they should bear in mind the languages available in partner secondary schools. Over the course of their four years in Key Stage 2, children will be expected to make good progress in the main language chosen, learning to ask and answer questions, present ideas to an audience both in speaking and writing, read a range of words, phrases and sentences, and write simple phrases, sentences and descriptions. If the school chooses a modern language, such as French or Spanish, then children will also learn about the appropriate intonation and pronunciation of the language. This guide has been developed for schools by Michael Tidd and Rising Stars © Rising Stars 2014 For more information on the National Curriculum please visit Using this guide Schools are allowed to reorganise content between year groups as long as the material is covered by the end of primary school. Your school may therefore make some changes to the teaching sequence – check your child’s school’s website for details on how they organise their curriculum.



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