LANGUAGE AND LITERACY
The aims of our Language and Literacy policy follow the aims of Language and Literacy as stated in the Northern Ireland curriculum.
In Talking and Listening we aim to develop our pupils’ ability to express and communicate meaning in spoken language, listening to and interpreting what others say and develop their ability to match style and response to audience context and purpose.
In Reading we aim to develop our pupils’ ability to read, understand and engage with various types of text for enjoyment and learning.
In Writing we aim to develop our pupils’ ability to make and shape text in order to communicate meaning in written language appropriate to context, purpose, reader or audience.
Talking and Listening
In Foundation Stage, children are helped and encouraged to communicate confidently with adults and other children, expressing their own needs, thoughts and feelings.
In Key Stages One and Two, children have opportunities to listen and respond appropriately to a range of stimuli, including multimedia. Children are given opportunities to develop the ability to speak coherently and confidently for a variety of purposes and audiences.
In Foundation Stage, children have opportunities to listen to a range of interesting and exciting fiction and non-fiction, poetry and rhymes, retell familiar stories and share a wide range of books with adults and other children. Children are involved with the Pre-Linguistic Phonics and Jolly Phonics Programmes which help to develop their understanding of letter sounds and patterns within words. Children have opportunities as a whole class, in small groups and individually to see modelled reading and participate in shared reading.
In Key Stages One and Two, children are helped to develop confidence in reading using a range of methods. They have opportunities to develop their confidence and independence through enjoyable reading experiences. As they progress, children are given opportunities to read for different purposes, developing strategies for researching, understanding, managing and refining information from traditional and digital sources. All pupils are involved with the Linguistic Phonics programme. Children are taught the skills and knowledge needed to decode quickly and accurately and the teachers provide learning experiences in which the skills and knowledge can be applied in meaningful contexts. The Linguistic Phonics approach is designed to encourage children to investigate words, problem-solve and make connections.
There are two reading programmes in operation in the school, Reading Partnership and Time to Read. Both programmes offer children opportunities for one-to-one reading sessions to further develop literacy skills. There is a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books available within the programmes and children thoroughly enjoy the sessions.
In Foundation Stage, children have opportunities to write for their own purposes using a range of writing materials such as pens, pencils, crayons and paint. Teachers model writing for the children and when they reach the appropriate stage of development, children are helped to form letters. As children begin to write with more competence, the teacher provides specific modelling of the writing process through a range of writing forms for different purposes and audiences. Children also have opportunities to use digital media to express their ideas and they are encouraged to ‘write’ during play and in every area of learning.
In Key Stages One and Two, children learn to communicate meaning through valuable writing activities. They are encouraged to develop as independent writers, learning over time to use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. As they move into P6 and P7, children produce more demanding, imaginative and factual texts including those in digital format. They are helped to develop both the compositional and secretarial aspects of writing through planning, drafting, redrafting, presenting and evaluating their work. From P1 to P3, children focus on developing accurate letter formation. From P4 to P7, children develop their cursive handwriting skills.
In St. Patrick’s, we endeavour to provide each pupil with experiences best suited to his/her level of understanding and ability. Teachers employ a variety of teaching strategies and provide differentiated activities and resources when necessary.
To date, all pupils involved with the reading programmes have grown in confidence and increased their Literacy scores.
In St. Patrick’s Primary, we aim to:
- Ensure that the key elements of mathematics; Number, Measures, Handling Data and Shape & Space are provided for across the curriculum.
- Enable teachers to have a central role by undertaking robust tracking and monitoring of pupils’ work with a particular focus on identifying and addressing under achievements in maths.
- Provide opportunities for teachers, in conjunction with the maths co-ordinators to share and learn from a good practice.
- Provide an effective means for assessing pupil progress that will inform teaching and learning.
- Promote policy of early intervention to address actual or potential under achievement.
- Foster links with parents, families and communities to help them support their children.
THE WORLD AROUND US
The World Around Us is a very important curricular area which focuses on the development of knowledge, skills and understanding in Geography, History and Science and Technology. At St. Patrick’s we have adopted a topic-based approach to this area of learning and we make relevant connections across all areas of learning while ensuring breadth, balance and progression from P1 to P7.
We, at St. Patrick’s, also aim to promote sustainable living through our involvement in the Eco-schools Project. We have an elected Eco-team comprising 10 P4-P7 children who work with the rest of the school and actively encourage all the children and adults to play a practical role in reducing the environmental impact of our school. As a school we have taken part in the “Big Spring Clean” and we have introduced a battery recycling project. We achieved the Bronze Level Award and are now working towards our Silver Level Award this year.
Children in St. Patrick’s experience a wide variety of creative and expressive activities within the area of Art and Design. They learn through developing knowledge & understanding, expressing ideas and feelings and practicing specific skills.
Across all the key stages children are given opportunities to use a wide variety of materials and tools to realise their ideas and intentions.
Drawing and painting, printmaking, textiles, malleable materials and 3D construction are all skills and processes that are developed throughout their time at St. Patrick’s.
The World Around Us and topic-based themes allow children to explore the area of Art and Design in a cross curricular way. They develop their thinking skills and personal capabilities by being artistically creative and also by being creative thinkers. They are encouraged to work collaboratively and talk about their work through self-evaluation.
The children’s artwork is always celebrated in St. Patrick’s and is showcased in the attractive, stimulating and colourful displays around the school. They have opportunities to enter a variety of competitions throughout the school year and take part in special events and whole school exhibitions.
Music plays an essential part in the life of our school. As a curricular subject it features strongly in all classes with a well-defined programme to enable each child to experience the joy and satisfaction that making and responding to music can bring.
Specialised music tuition is provided for children from P3-P7 on strings, woodwind, brass, guitar and traditional violin and bodhran.
St. Patrick's has a long and successful tradition of providing music at sacraments, school concerts, local events and music festivals. Group activities include the school choir, orchestra, traditional group and brass ensemble.
PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT AND MOVEMENT
We endeavour to provide our pupils with a variety of sporting and extra-curricular experiences to develop communication, self esteem and to raise general well-being and fitness.
All children are encouraged to eat healthily, maintain healthy lifestyles and do regular exercise. There is a detailed programme of physical education throughout the whole school which meets the requirements of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. A wide variety of PE and extra curricular sporting activities are timetabled during the school year.
Our school fields a number of sporting teams including soccer, netball, boys’ and girls’ Gaelic football, hurling and basketball. There are also opportunities for pupils to participate in other sporting activities during the year to raise awareness and to promote and encourage individuality. Other activities include swimming, rugby, tennis, cricket, golf, Olympic handball and unihoc. We strive relentlessly to raise self esteem and confidence through promoting and encouraging pupil success at all levels.