Organisation of the school’s learning programme
Although there is significant emphasis in the curriculum on English, Mathematics and the basic skills for life, the programme for the children at Jurby School is based firmly on the Isle of Man Government’s “Essentials for Learning” programme, to develop positive dispositions and attitudes. Most of the learning programme is designed to cut across traditional curriculum boundaries, with the aim of bringing greater meaning and relevance to learning.
The youngest children learn through experimentation and exploration. In practice this means that throughout the school day, teachers withdraw small groups of children to work on specific appropriate activities. Teachers are skilled observers and assessors of the needs of children and are constantly alert to the readiness of a child to engage in a particular activity.
As the children move up through the school our main aim still remains for them to learn independently and to take ownership of their learning, whilst having fun and enjoying coming to school. Some lessons do become more formal, with children spending longer periods of time on an activity or area of learning, but still in a challenging and enjoyable way.
Our school curriculum is moving away from each subject being taught independently, towards a merging of the subjects where it will benefit the children to do so. An example of this would be if the children study Ancient Greece, they may well look at the history of the country, along with the myths and legends from this time, the style of art work that was produced, the developments in technology that took place, and the social and political aspects of living in Ancient Greece. As they grow older the expectation to learn and study independently increases, whilst ensuring they are using their core English and Mathematics knowledge and basic learning skills as appropriate.
The teachers continuously assess the children in all the areas of the curriculum. The Department of Education and Children requires us to submit the achievement data of pupils in Foundation Stage 2 (Reception), Year 2 and Year 6. Parents are given this information about their child’s progress in Year 2 and Year 6. Children are also encouraged to assess their own work and that of their peers against the expected learning intentions. Through this they are beginning to realise that quality learning is the responsibility of each individual throughout their own life.
Incentives and rewards
Achievements and rewards for work, behaviour, good manners, trying hard, perseverance and so on are presented at a Golden Awards Assembly each Friday afternoon. A ‘Star of the Week’ award is presented to one or two children from each class, who have shown a consistent, positive attitude towards their work throughout the week.
To reward and encourage those children who consistently behave and work in an appropriate and positive manner, there is a cumulative ‘Golden Awards’ system. During the course of the day, ‘Golden Stepping Stones’ are given to children for a wide variety of reasons. When a child has earned ten ‘stones’ they are presented with a Bronze Award, followed by a Silver award when they have earned 20 more tokens, when the have afternoon tea and cake with a visitor or Mr Nelson. Finally, there is a third Gold Award (30 more tokens) for which they are given a £5 book Token.
Information Communication Technology - ICT
ICT is now very much a part of everyday life, and the Isle of Man prides itself on the provision and quality of ICT teaching. Although children are taught the core skills they need to enable them to operate computers, emphasis is placed on teaching ‘e’ safety at appropriate stages to all children throughout the school.
The children are taught ICT skills, how different software packages work and how to choose the most appropriate software for a task, and then are allowed to develop this knowledge by using the computers to help them with work in other areas. As well as a number of desktop and laptop computers, the school also has a stock of iPads which are used by the children to assist them in their learning of other subjects.
Electronic technology is used widely to support children with additional needs to ensure they are able to access reading, writing and mathematics with ease.
Manx is taught to children in Year 4 and upwards for two terms a year. The lessons involve learning not only about the language, but also the island’s culture and heritage. These lessons are taught by a Manx speaking teacher and occur once a week. Further opportunities to learn about their island home is encouraged through the class teaching.
The Road Safety Team, from the Department of Infrastructure, visits the school frequently to work with the children. Before they leave us in Year 6 the children are put through the rigours of the Cycling Proficiency Programme and while we hope they all do pass the test it is not necessarily the case. The first part of the assessment begins on Day 1 of the course with a rigorous check of road worthiness of each bicycle. Practical and formal written assessments take place during the week and verbal and written feedback is given to all on the final day.