The major aim of the school is to provide the children in our care with the necessary academic, creative, physical and social skills that will be developed throughout their education and which lay the foundation for a happy and fulfilled adult life. At Hillside we regard each child as an individual who will achieve different levels of attainment and develop different interests. Our teaching strives to ensure that the opportunities exist for each child to achieve his or her full potential through a broad and purposeful creative curriculum that includes English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Music, Art, Technology, Information Technology, Physical Education, Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education. We believe that whenever possible learning should be linked to practical experiences.
We now teach a ‘Creative Curriculum’ across school which helps the children make links between the subjects. Teachers plan a range of activities from the termly topic which enable the children to develop the correct understanding and learn the appropriate knowledge and skills for their age. Specific objectives are set out for the early phase (R,Y1 and Y2), the middle phase (Y3 and Y4) and the late phase (Y5 and Y6). Copies of the full curriculum are available in school.
English (The teaching of literacy skills)
Children bring a wealth of varied experience of speaking and listening with them. The school is able to build on this by providing opportunities to play and work together, to tell stories, to listen and recall stories and also to act out every day situations.
The teaching of phonics is very important in the early years. We use a recognised programme of daily systematic, synthetic phonics teaching (Read, Write, Inc.) which helps our children get to know all the phonics (sounds) and be able to read them and use them in their writing.
Children are surrounded by books from the moment they enter school. The children are taught to read by a variety of methods. The children are encouraged to take books home to read throughout the school. We have an excellent library in school and the children are taught to use this facility.
Children are encouraged to write from an early age on various topics of interest to them. Grammatical skills, punctuation and spelling are introduced and based on the child’s own written work. All children experience Literacy lessons at some time during each day.
Mathematics (The teaching of numeracy skills)
In Mathematics we endeavour to ensure that progress is related to individual need through the appropriate use of a variety of resource materials and that all children receive as much practical and investigative experience as possible. Throughout the school pupils will have regular opportunities to practice the fundamental skills of number bonds, tables, computation, mental arithmetic and problem solving. These skills are frequently practised during numeracy time.
Children are naturally curious and it is important that we ensure that they are provided with scientific experiences which will develop their skills, knowledge and understanding. We provide opportunities for them to investigate, carry out experiments and discover that science is not only a subject on its own but is linked to many other areas of the curriculum. Children are therefore encouraged to observe, question and communicate their findings in a variety of ways.
We believe Technology to be a vital component of the curriculum. Not only does it give children the opportunity to develop design and construction skills but it also draws on and enhances learning in other areas of the curriculum and develops problem solving skills.
Information and Communication Technology
We aim to give children the opportunity to use the school's range of computers enabling them to use I. C. T. equipment and software confidently and purposefully to communicate and handle information, and to support their problem solving, recording and expressive work. Hillside has a computer room which is timetabled for use throughout the school.
The local environment, including Helsby Hill and the estuary, provides a rich source of first hand experiences and a valuable starting point for local studies. We aim to provide experiences which are designed to acquaint children with the world and its culture patterns and to help them understand and come to terms with these.
History is about understanding the past, present and future. There is a wide variety of historical resources available which enable the children to discover why and how things have changed. We aim to help children to learn about their own history, the history of their locality as well as events which have made major changes nationally and in the wider world.
In PE we aim to provide a progression of activities to develop skills in games, athletics, gymnastics and dance that bring enjoyment and a sense of achievement. Pupils develop physical competence, artistic and aesthetic understanding and learn to cope with both success and failure in competitive and co-operative physical activities.
At Hillside we have a tradition of doing very well in local tournaments and competitions. We encourage all children to be active and get involved in sport but also develop our better athletes so they can achieve success.
Music education is a live experience from which we believe children should gain enjoyment and learn skills. They are encouraged to listen, to compose, interpret and perform rhythms. They learn about some famous composers through story, dance and listening to music.
All pupils will have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.
Children are encouraged to use a wide variety of tools and materials for drawing, painting and creating imaginative and observational three dimensional work. As well as developing their own style they look at the work of other artists and explore the use of their techniques and media. It is important that children are taught how to select and look after a range of different materials.
Religious Education and Collective Worship
As well as developing a knowledge and understanding of Christianity, Religious Education is concerned with moral and spiritual development and an understanding of all religions. Stories, discussions and drama give children opportunities to think about religious ideas, behaviour, and attitudes, as well as personal qualities such as consideration, bravery, loyalty, truthfulness etc.
Parents can withdraw their children from all or part of RE and collective worship.
Personal, Social and Health Education
Health matters are dealt with in general terms throughout school and are taught in an integrated way particularly through PE, science and food technology. Questions are answered honestly and in a simple way. Sex education is taught within the context of growth and development across school and parents are consulted about the ‘Christopher Winter’ materials used in years 5 and 6.