"Having had two children go through Highfield, we feel that we could not have chosen a better school for their Primary years. The staff are lovely, the teaching is excellent, the facilities are superb and, most importantly, both our children have been incredibly happy."
Year Three is a wonderful year as the children grow in independence and really begin to blossom and reveal their many talents. They are ready and proud to belong to the Junior School and we are always amazed by the ease with which they take on this new role in their school. On a practical level, it means that they play in a new playground, have their form room in a different part of the school, go into the first sitting of Lunch (very popular!), meet new teachers and subjects and experience an even wider range of activities. Mentally, they are generally encouraged to think more; they are presented with the questions “How?” and “Why?” across all aspects of the curriculum. In Maths, this means greater problem solving, explanations and showing their workings out; in English, they meet more inferential questions and greater discussion of characterisation, motivation and purpose and in their Humanities subjects they are encouraged towards greater empathy and understanding. They are also encouraged to think more about their actions and their role within the community.
Homework will now be set every night. There will be a 20 minute piece of work and reading aloud to an adult to be completed each evening. In the Summer Term, this will increase to two 20 minute pieces in preparation for Year Four. The children should only work for 20 minutes on each subject and their homework diary should be signed after 20 minutes so that teachers can see if and where a pupil is struggling. The homework diary serves as a constant communication between parents and teachers. These are checked every day and any parental comments are noted and acted upon. Teachers will always be available at the beginning and end of the day to discuss any more serious concerns.
Spellings and Times Tables will be set each week to encourage constant reinforcement of these essential skills.
In Year 3, we continue the traditional approach to the teaching of English with weekly lessons in grammar, spelling, creative writing, comprehension, handwriting and verbal reasoning. Verbal Reasoning is a new subject in Year 3 where, in their weekly lesson, the children are taught how to approach the different styles of questions. (Many of the external entrance examinations in Year 6 require the sitting of a verbal reasoning paper.) In handwriting lessons, children continue to work on writing in a cursive script with their letters joining correctly and our aim is that each member of Year 3 will be able to write in cursive script by the end of the year. Children are encouraged at all times to take great pride in the presentation of their work. The children continue writing in different styles: story writing, poetry, reports, recounts, persuasive writing, letters and instructions with an introduction to using paragraphs and speech when writing. Grammar lessons cover the National Curriculum for Year 4 and the children are given 14 weekly spellings to learn and be tested on.
Reading continues to play an intrinsic role in the life of a Highfield pupil with the children continuing to read to class teachers and classroom assistants at school and are set reading homework to read to an adult at home. They enjoy a variety of class readers where they take turns to read in class and have weekly reading sessions in the school library. Independent reading is also encouraged with the introduction of the next stage of the Highfield Reading Stars challenge – the Junior Awards. Comprehension skills are taught across all subjects with the focus on reading accurately for information, skimming a text for key points, understanding the purpose of a whole text and answering inferential questions. Particular attention is placed in English Comprehension on answering in full sentences with accurate detail and information from the text (two lessons per week). The children develop positive attitudes to reading and enjoy discussing their reading with each other and the class as a whole. Through a wide variety of texts, including the class readers, the children are encouraged to question a character’s feelings and motivation. They discuss words and phrases which capture their interest and actively work to extend their vocabulary and use new words in their own writing.
Maths lessons are divided up each week into four main areas of focus:
Topic maths e.g. Money, time, fractions, shape and space (4 lessons)
In Year 3, children are focusing on why we use our set methods to get to the answers in maths. In understanding the ‘why’ of the process they reach a clearer understanding of how it can be applied to a range of questions which are worded differently. In this way, children start to build their mathematical foundations of understanding which enable them to access the next level.
A great deal of emphasis is placed on establishing solid foundations in Year 3 and children are tested regularly on their number bonds and times tables. We ask parents to help with this too by throwing out quick fire questions in the car, at meal times, on walks…wherever! If the children can become confident with times tables and number bonds they are able to switch their focus to the strategy they are learning which helps to speed up the process and enhance their understanding.
Geography. Our initial aim is to give our children a complete understanding of where they live by learning their home address, their location within England and England’s location within Great Britain. We then look at where Great Britain is in relation to the wider world by studying the oceans and continents. The children then study Weather Around the World in detail and carry out a case study of Chembakolli in India, paying particular attention to how their lives differ from that of a child growing up in Chembakolli.
History. The three main areas of study in Year 3 are: Ancient Greeks, The Romans and World War II. The children visit The Museum of Lancashire and are greeted by an ARP Warden who shows them and allows them to handle artefacts from the War. They also sit in an Anderson shelter, hear an air raid siren and listen to Chamberlain’s famous words on the wireless. All of this helps the children to understand and feel for themselves what life must have been like. They enjoy becoming detectives and finding out what life was like for members of their own family during WW2. During their study of the Romans, the children are visited by a Roman soldier who teaches them about the Roman Army, helps them to make Roman artefacts and joins them in a Roman dinner (eating with one hand only!). In studying the Ancient Greeks, the children look at a variety of Greek myths and enjoy performing them. They also study the differences between Ancient Greece and modern Britain. We then turn our attention to sport and the legacy of the Olympic Games.
General Knowledge. We believe passionately at Highfield in giving our children a genuine interest in, and working knowledge of, the world around them. Throughout their years at Highfield, the children will be encouraged to watch the news, discuss current affairs, question and understand how their country is governed, be aware of significant world events and always ask questions. Year Three focus on: Great Britain, Current Affairs and The Living World.
Religion. Throughout their time at Highfield, children will study different religious beliefs and inspirational people. They will learn understanding, tolerance and above all a genuine interest in the faiths practised by their classmates and within their wider community. Year Three focus on: Behaviour, Faith, Inspirational People, The festival of Diwali, the Five Pillars of Islam, Christianity and The Bible.
We believe in a hands-on approach to learning, especially with regard to Science. Science lessons take place in our Science Laboratory or outdoors in our wildlife area: Highfield Haven. The children study: rocks and soil; plants and flowers; health and nutrition; forces and magnets; lights and shadows and our moving and growing bodies.
French lessons are taught by a native French speaker and focus primarily in Year Three on speaking skills. The children soon pick up their teacher’s accent and sound very impressive indeed! They learn how to present themselves and how to greet others and the topics learnt revolve around them: parts of the body, birthdays and clothes which are also linked to weather phrases.
As an essential part of the curriculum, PHSE is covered through circle time sessions which allow the children to ask and answer any questions and discuss any problems the children may be struggling to deal with in the appropriate way. The children also have a dedicated lesson each week. There are 3 core themes to the curriculum which cover a variety of topics within them. These are:
Health and Wellbeing - Health, Healthy Lifestyles, Nutrition & Food, Aspirations, Emotions, Safety, Growing & Changing and First Aid
Relationships - Communication, Collaboration, Bullying, Similarities & Differences and Healthy Relationships
Living in the Wider World - Rules & Responsibilities, Diversity, Discrimination, Economic awareness
These core themes are supplemented with work on the Fundamental British Values (FBV)
Art lessons take place in the Art and Design Studio where the children have the space and resources to get truly creative. In Year Three the pupils study the great artist Paul Cezanne and combine his love of painting apples with drawing techniques in different media to create realistic drawings of apples. Children also learn about the pop art movement and respond to artwork from this movement in mixed media. In Design and Technology, the children design wallets and purses, creating design boards which capture their ideas and plans. They go on to make their money container, learning running, over and blanket stich.
As the children move into the Juniors, their ICT curriculum focuses on the wider world and how technology is being used. Internet safety is covered, looking at the impact of online gaming with discussions around trending games such as ‘Roblox’ and ‘Pokemon’. Online communication is also covered here with a look at email and how it is used. Databases are investigated and an introduction to computerised simulation is also covered.
The study of music in Year 3 involves identifying patterns within music: the scales, descriptive sounds, rhythmic patterns and sound colours; and exploring different arrangements and how they are created. It also involves performing together and preparing for the Year 3 and 5 musical production which takes place just after the Easter holidays. Music lessons take place in the Music Room.
Highfield Public Speaking, Elocution and Drama is designed to give your child confidence and the ability to speak in public in front of a variety of audiences for many different purposes. In Year 3, we focus on helping children to present themselves in the best possible way which includes everything from how they are dressed, to how they stand and hold their bodies, to the clarity of the eye contact that they make, to the way that they speak. We try to eliminate any bad habits that might be creeping in, such as fidgeting, playing with hair, staring at the floor or…you know, like, you know…annoying speaking habits! We make this fun and encourage the children to laugh at themselves without anxiety and to be aware that we all make mistakes. This self-awareness and ability to laugh and be laughed at without giving or taking offence is one of the most important steps towards helping a child to grow in confidence. Once the children are feeling relaxed, we start doing presentation tasks as well as instructing the class how to do something (such as tie a shoelace). In the Spring Term, the focus is on Drama and the children work towards performing in front of parents and friends in their Spring production.
Children require fit and healthy bodies in order to thrive physically and mentally. At Highfield, we run an exciting PE and Games programme which runs alongside extra-curricular activities to ensure that your child is able to keep fit, active and engaged with physical activity during their time at Highfield. Within the curriculum, children will learn and develop their skills in: Football, Netball, Hockey, Rugby, Cricket, Rounders, Gymnastics, Dance, Athletics and Cross-Country running. They will also have the opportunity to attend the following clubs: Ballet, Tap, Street Dance, Netball, Football, Hockey, Cricket, rounders, Judo, Tennis and Zumbatomic. Lessons take place in the School Sports Hall, on the Netball Court, AstroTurf and School Fields.