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Allenbourn Middle School

Subjects

Art and Design

Pupils at AMS get a fantastic deal in Art and Design! All students are taught for an hour a week by one of two specialist art teachers in a large, well equipped art room (we even have our own kiln!) which provides a stimulating and creative learning environment.

We firmly believe that every child can make artwork of which they can be proud. Art can be taught and all pupils will improve and succeed with a little effort and perseverance, especially when they are given the freedom to follow up their own interests and ideas.

Over their four years at AMS, pupils will draw, paint, print, sculpt and collage using a wide variety of media including paint, ink, pastels and clay. Keen and able students will be given the opportunity to attend after school extension classes.

In lessons, children do not only learn how to appreciate art and to become artists themselves, but also a wide range of more general transferable skills such as problem solving, planning, creative thinking and critical analysis. They will also become more competent in literacy and numeracy - we are always mindful of the importance of these core skills when we teach Art.

The Art department has long standing links with Roche Court Sculpture Park (we make regular visits there) and Walford Mill and we also take any opportunity to get involved in community art projects, such as Wimborne in Bloom and other local art initiatives.

We take great pride in exhibiting our pupils’ artwork, both around the school and in occasional exhibitions both at AMS and elsewhere.

Computer Science

The subject of Computer Science is about developing computational thinking and creativity to understand the world around us. Computational thinking describes the approaches and processes we draw on when thinking about problems or systems in such a way that a computer can help us with these.

Computer Science is taught as a discrete subject across all year groups. All aspects of the National Curriculum are fully covered in the three main strands of computer science, digital literacy and IT. With our pupils we look to develop young computational thinkers through tinkering, creating, debugging, preserving and collaborating through a variety of engaging topics.

In our dedicated IT suite, your child will receive specialist teaching in a range of programming languages, guidance with online safety and social networking, hands on hardware experience and computer theory. Each topic has been created to engage and enthuse inquisitives young minds no matter what the ability.

Design Technology

Design and Technology makes a unique contribution to a child’s educational experience, allowing them to apply logic, creativity and practical skills to what they learn in other subjects. This subject has the power to inspire pupils to become forward-thinking, empowering them to go on and make a real, tangible difference to the world they inherit, and the towns they inhabit. Here at Allenbourn, pupils experience Technology as a single lesson twice a week, allowing them to tackle a variety of projects on a regular basis. The outcomes that pupils create are theirs to take home and be proud of, whether they eat, wear or use what they have made!

Product Design:

The Product Design room is a large, well-equipped facility with a wide range of tools and machinery, including a laser cutter and 3D printer. In addition to designing and making products in conventional ways, pupils are encouraged to use computer aided design and manufacture to greater reflect emerging technologies used in professional, commercial environments.   

Textiles:

In Textiles, pupils have access to specialist computerised sewing machines, an embroidery machine that will follow their own computer aided designs, and a heat press that also enables imagery designed on computer to be applied directly to garments. 

Food Technology:

Food Technology has a wide range of familiar equipment, enough to enable each pupil to have their own in a lesson – there is no need to share when performing small tasks. The specialist room is also fitted with a number of electric cookers and microwaves as well as the addition of a food printer that prints edible inks onto paper!

English

At Allenbourn Middle School, we believe literacy skills are a foundation for all learning, and our aim is for pupils of all abilities to become effective communicators and lovers of the spoken and written word. We do this by equipping learners with a high standard of language and literacy skills, as well as encouraging and fostering a lifelong love of reading.

Through a clear focus on using high quality texts across the curriculum, our pupils will be challenged and learn to appreciate the benefits of reading for both information and pleasure. Regular, quality reading at home and in school helps to secure this aim. 

Oral activities and class debates establish a strong command of the spoken word, and a rigorous focus on handwriting, spelling, grammar, punctuation and language skills lead to increased confidence and fluency in pupils’ written work. This rigour is maintained and supported across the curriculum; at Allenbourn we believe pupils should be learning and applying high quality literacy skills in every subject, not just the English classroom.

We aim to ensure that pupils:

  • Are effective spoken communicators who are able to discuss, present and share information
  • Read widely, fluently and with good understanding
  • Read often for pleasure and enjoyment, both in and out of school
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary and secure understanding of the conventions of grammar and language
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently with an ability to adapt their writing for different purposes

English at Key Stage 2

The KS2 English Curriculum is split into three areas:

  • Spoken Language
  • Reading
  • Writing

Reading consists of two dimensions:

  • Word reading (including daily rigorous phonic  teaching in Key Stage One)
  • Comprehension

Writing consists of:

  • Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing

English at Key Stage 3

The KS3 English Curriculum is split into the following areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Grammar and Vocabulary
  • Spoken English

The Reading content is divided into three broad areas:

  • Developing an appreciation and love of reading, and reading increasingly challenging material
  • Understanding challenging texts
  • Reading critically

The Writing content is divided into two broad areas:

  • Writing accurately, fluently and at length for pleasure and information
  • Planning, drafting, editing and proof-reading

Grammar and Vocabulary content seeks to extend and apply the knowledge gathered at Key Stage 2 in a range of contexts and for particular effects.

Assessment

Pupils are assessed half-termly in reading and writing. Assessments will be based on a mix of teacher assessment and formal timed papers. Where timed papers are used, pupils will sit tests appropriate to the level they are working at and towards.

Class Groups

Pupils are grouped according to ability; the exact setting arrangements will vary between year groups. Sets are reviewed periodically and adjustments made as appropriate.

Homework

Pupils will be set weekly spellings, and are expected to read regularly at home and complete a record of their reading in their school diary. In addition to this, one other weekly English homework will be set by the class teacher. 

French

At Allenbourn Middle School we believe that the learning of a foreign language should be fun. Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.

At KS2 our pupils are taught in their tutor groups for one hour a week. They follow the innovative Catherine Cheater scheme, where authentically sourced songs, poems, rhymes and role play provide valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. Topics range from basic greetings, telling the time to describing the weather.

In KS3, pupils enjoys two lessons a week and build upon their knowledge of grammar and language. The curriculum encourages pupils to communicate for practical purposes expressing their ideas and thoughts in French. There is an emphasis on them learning how to become more independent and more accurate when speaking and writing. We work closely with MFL colleagues at QE so that their transition into Year 9 is smooth and repetition is avoided.

Geography

Geography is all about the world around us. During their four years at Allenbourn, all pupils will gain an understanding of the world they live in, global issues, and develop knowledge of human and physical features of the world.

All topics are underpinned by the following skills:

  • Map Skills: including using grid references; symbols; scale; contour lines
  • Fieldwork Skills: including collection of and analysis of data from a range of sources
  • Place Knowledge: including recognising their own place in the world; in depth studies of other locations; location of continents and important human and physical features
  • Physical Geography: recognising processes which are continually creating the landscapes around us
  • Human Geography: economics; settlements; different cultures and how people interact with the world.
  • Wider global issues

History

History - KS2

In History at Key Stage 2, we develop a chronological understanding of British, local and world history and compare and contrast trends over time especially in regards to change and causes. The pupils develop their historical interpretation, enquiry, organisation and communication skills.

In Year 5, pupils study the Ancient Greeks. To enhance their learning, pupils participate in a Greek Day that consists of a dance and drama workshop, Olympic Games, cookery and costume wearing. In addition, the pupils create their own research enquiry project based on the Olympic Games, Gods, Myths and Legends or the Theatre.

In the second half of Year 5, we study an aspect or theme in British History that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066. We have decided to look at British Shipping 1837 - 1937. Particular focus is on comparing the Titanic and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Pupils have the opportunity to enhance their “hands on” learning through visits to museums in Southampton and Bristol.

In Year 6, pupils study the Viking and Anglo – Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor and the Maya Empire, a non-European society that provides contrasts with British History. We are very fortunate to have a day dedicated to Maya culture.

Pupils are taught History in the same groupings as their English and are frequently assessed for historical skills and knowledge through a variety of tasks.

History - KS3

The main focus at KS 3 is the study of History using source material. This is to prepare pupils for the work that they will encounter in Year 9 and KS 4. Emphasis is also given to helping pupils to make links between events in the past and more recent history.

The new Key Stage 3 curriculum concentrates on British History. The history scheme balances out the study of British History with European and world history. In year 7, pupils look at Medieval times and the development of castles in England from hill forts to the role of the National Trust today.

In year 8, pupils study ‘The Making of the UK’ which looks at Tudor and Stuart times and then complete a study in depth on Britain 1750-1901. In connection with the English curriculum and Oliver Twist, Year 8 study the role of children in the Industrial Revolution and may even have the chance to try some gruel! A trip to Leeson House gives pupils the opportunity to explore the story of Corfe Castle and the impact of Civil War in Dorset.

Pupils are taught History in mixed ability tutor groups. Assessments are based on key questions each half term giving pupils the opportunity to demonstrate historical skills and knowledge through a variety of tasks.

Mathematics

At Allenbourn Middle School, our overall aim is to create confident and resilient mathematicians who persevere when faced with new challenges and ideas both in and out of the classroom.

To achieve this, our goal is to make maths interesting, relevant and thought provoking. We like our pupils to be excited by hands-on lessons, involving examples of maths in everyday life. Maths teaching has changed recently and, with the new mastery approach, our pupils do not learn methods just by rote, but learn to ‘think mathematically’. This is done by tackling reasoning and commonplace problem solving situations, in order to gain a fuller understanding of the underlying mathematical concepts. This leads to a more secure and broader comprehension of the subject and enables pupils to more easily make links between the topics of number (including calculation), measurement, geometry, ratio, algebra and statistics.

Maths is prevalent across the school, being used and applied in all curriculum subjects to illustrate to students its importance and relevance.

Key Stage 2:

In years five and six, all pupils receive six lessons of maths or arithmetic each week.

Pupils are set into ability groups which are reviewed periodically and adjusted as appropriate.

This year we have introduced a new scheme, ‘Maths - No Problem!’, in Year 5 which involves Singapore maths. This reinforces our use of resources, problem solving, visual representation of problems and group work to encourage pupil confidence and understanding.

Homework is set once a week. This may take the form of worksheets, mathletics (online) or research.

Key Stage 3:

In years seven and eight, all pupils receive four lessons of maths each week. As with key stage two, pupils are set into ability groups which are reviewed periodically and adjusted as appropriate.

Homework is set once a week. Additional tasks, for example personal best booklets, may also be set to consolidate and enhance learning.

Music

Music is enjoyed by all pupils at Allenbourn Middle School and there are numerous opportunities for children to immerse themselves in creative music making from Monday through to Friday. Every pupil has the chance to develop their creativity, imagination and performance skills in Music. Lessons are delivered once a week and during this time, all pupils will learn how to appreciate music by listening, playing and composing. Music is a practical subject so the learning of it is fun and energetic and pupils quickly become confident and enthusiastic about composing and performing. Pupils create music individually, in pairs and small groups and they learn musicianship skills in every lesson. All pupils are encouraged to grow as musicians individually and at their own pace and this means tasks are differentiated to ensure pupils of all abilities are engaged and challenged. The schemes of work delivered at Allenbourn allow all pupils to develop their musical skills, but also take into consideration the changing and evolving of music in everyday life making their musical learning relevant to them. All pupils will leave Allenbourn with an excellent foundation for continuing their Music education at GCSE and A-Level standard.

Many pupils learn an instrument at Allenbourn and we have a team of 10 talented and inspiring Visiting Music Teachers who provide tuition in Brass, Woodwind, Strings and Percussion as well as piano, guitar and singing. These lessons take place during school time. Our VMTs work incredibly hard and do a tremendous job and the quality of the music heard in our school concerts demonstrates this. Children are also encouraged to enter music examinations which provide them with performance opportunities and a real sense of achievement.

We also offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities and clubs for the many Musicians here at Allenbourn and they take part during lunch times, Tutor times and after school. All pupils are encouraged to take part in Orchestra and Concert Band as soon as they are confident reading the level of music that is played. This gives pupils important ensemble experience and the opportunity to take part in concerts, solo events, trips and representing the school in the community. We currently have the following clubs available:

Orchestra, Concert Band, Brass Band, Choir, Folk group, String group, Samba and Guitar group.

There are many opportunities to perform throughout the school year. We hold a beautiful Christmas Carol Concert every year in Wimborne Minster. Our Choir and Folk group also play and sing at Kingston Lacy Christmas events and our Brass Band are invited annually to the switching on of the Christmas lights in Wimborne. Pupils also have the opportunity to perform throughout the year in concerts and exam celebrations and trips into the community. We end the year with a fantastic summer concert at The Tivoli which gives pupils the chance to showcase their creative talents on stage in front of an audience of friends and family. This is also where we present our Ben Waters Trophy which is awarded to the musician who has given outstanding contribution to music at Allenbourn. The Tivoli Concert is always an unforgettable and enjoyable experience.

Physical Education

At Allenbourn, sport plays a very important part of school life. Our aim is for all pupils to develop confidence, skills and knowledge in a range of sports with an emphasis on fair play, sportsmanship and respect for others. We encourage leading a healthy, active lifestyle and the pursuit of excellence through hard work and determination to develop a life-long love of sport and exercise. Pupils will also experience ways to develop their sporting knowledge and enjoyment, through the organisation of intra-school activities such as Inter-House events and our extensive extra-curricular opportunities. Through this pupils will learn teamwork and sportsmanship and be given the opportunity to develop leadership and coaching skills.

All pupils receive two PE lessons a week and have the opportunity to take part in sporting activities that take place at lunch times and after school. We are extremely lucky to have 3 specialist PE staff and 2 very experienced PE TAs in the department. We have a dedicated hall with a basketball, volleyball and badminton court and a wide range of gymnastics equipment. Outdoors we have 4 tennis and netball courts, 4 table tennis tables, a further hard court area with outdoor basketball equipment and a field with football, hockey and rugby pitches in the winter and an athletics track, rounders and cricket pitches in the summer.   

We are keen to give pupils the opportunity to experience competition. We do this through fixtures and tournaments that take place regularly in school and with other local schools and the School Games initiative. These range from Inter-House activities, such as rugby and netball, athletics, boccia and cross-country, to friendly matches with local schools, to taking part in local, county, regional and nationally organised competitions. We try to accommodate the needs of all pupils from those who want to take part in a club for fun and exercise to those who want to progress and have the opportunity to compete at a friendly or higher level. The school prides itself on being well represented in the local school games activities and PEDSSA tournaments and where possible, sending more than one team.

At Allenbourn we have high aspirations for all pupils. We have an excellent reputation for sport both locally and regionally and strive for each child to reach their potential.   

Personal, Social & Health Education

PSHE - KS2

In KS2, the pupils follow the new Jigsaw scheme of work which builds on their studies from reception to Year 4. We promote SEAL as a practical resource to develop social and emotional skills and well-being. The areas covered are: Being Me in My World, Celebrating Differences, Dreams and Goals, Healthy Me, Relationships and Changing Me. In particular, we focus on the changes that the pupils experience within their own developing bodies and parents are invited into school to attend a Sex Education information evening in the summer term. In Year 5, we also complete a practical unit of work based around First Aid skills to include the recovery position and CPR.

Most of these lessons are discussion based and all are age appropriate. The rationale behind this scheme of work is to give pupils the opportunity to discuss decisions that they may have to take in the future and to enable them to become responsible citizens – of the school, the locality, nationally and globally.

The pupils have two sessions a week and additional enrichment periods throughout the year within their tutor groups.

PSHCEE - KS3

PSHCEE (personal, social, health, citizenship and economic awareness) education is a planned programme of learning through which young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives – now and in the future. At Key Stage 3, pupils look at a variety of subjects including health matters, risk, sex and relationships, risk and personal financial education (in association with Pfeg).

The Citizenship programme concentrates on embedding fundamental British Values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. In addition, as a Rights-Respecting school, pupils study young people’s rights in the UK and globally.

Key stage 3 pupils have a discrete lesson each week for PSHCEE within their tutor groups. Throughout the year, both year groups have enrichment sessions from outside agencies.

Allenbourn has a thriving School Council that is based upon our ethos of mutual respect and aspirational mind-set for the future, represented by all year groups.

Religious Education

In the multicultural society we live in today, it's important to equip our children with the tools and ability to interpret and engage with the world around them. This approach is central to Allenbourn's RE teaching, which seeks to give children a thorough understanding of a wide variety of religious and ethical beliefs, whilst linking these concepts to current events and cultural debate. Through this, we aim to equip them with practical knowledge whilst also enabling them to develop their own opinions and philosophical thinking to take them forward in the future.

Science

Allenbourn Middle School has some of the finest science facilities within Dorset middle schools. This includes two purpose built, secondary-style laboratories equipped with everything from digital microscopes to Bunsen burners as well as specialist science teachers who teach all of the lessons to Key Stage 3 pupils.

There is a real emphasis on learning through enquiry and pupils in all year groups are encouraged to ask their own questions and develop the skills to help them collect scientific evidence. Whether it’s using role-play to understand the digestive system, travelling to the local Jurassic coastline to study marine habitats, building models to learn more about cells, or carrying out standard experiments to test for the different food groups, learning is build abound practical experiments that drive a sense of wonder in the world around us.