Humanities and Languages

Prep School

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Humanities and Languages


Humanities covers the subjects of history, geography and religious education. In the Prep School at Oakwood, the National Curriculum for history and geography is used as a starting point for planning exciting termly topics in each year group that are designed to give pupils the opportunity to develop and widen both their subject knowledge and skills. 

History and geography teach us about the world we live in and how we interact with our planet and the people in it. Our world is an amazing place and at Oakwood we want the pupils to be enthused with learning about our planet and its past, present and future. Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Oakwood we help the children to learn from religions as well as about religions. By following a detailed scheme of work pupils develop their knowledge and identity in the community by following investigative questions about the world’s major faiths and belief systems.

During humanities lessons pupils are encouraged to ask questions, follow enquiries and use their evaluation and reasoning skills. At Oakwood humanities is a subject that is cross-curricula, creative and memorable. The pupils venture out into the locality on geographical field trips, to places of worship and go on historical adventures. In school they make models or plan mini art projects; work on computers and tablets to carry out research; engage in role play and use the school grounds to enrich their learning. Many of the learning experiences are celebrated by forming the theme of some class assemblies.

The Head of Humanities liaises with the teachers in the department to monitor, evaluate and refresh topics on an annual basis. A topic overview ensures that there is a rich and wide coverage of knowledge and skills taught throughout the school. Pupils are given opportunities to review and make progress with the competencies of each subject area, which include areas such as chronology in history and mapping skills in geography. Individual subject teachers make formative and interim assessments of the pupils in the class. Each term the progress of pupils is monitored by end of topic assessment tasks that help to inform the teachers and Head of Department of achievement levels and progression throughout each year group and topic area. 

Humanities is an integral part of the modern day curriculum and helps to prepare pupils for the fast changing world in the 21st century. At Oakwood pupils are excited to learn about the world through the subject area of humanities because learning is often practically based and invites pupils to share their own findings and opinions in an environment that is stimulating but more importantly fun. 

Modern Foreign Languages

At Oakwood, all our pupils from Nursery upwards have the opportunity to learn a modern foreign language (MFL) as part of the school curriculum. Our teaching uses a variety of different materials and media to enable pupils to enjoy expressing their ideas and thoughts in in another language and also to understand and respond to other speakers of that language.  We aim to provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries in the future.  

In the Prep School pupils from Years 3-5 have 70 minutes of French each week, split into two 35 minute lessons. We follow a curriculum based on the guidance in the Curriculum Languages Programme of Study, and we have adapted this to the ethos of our school and the abilities of our pupils. We use a variety of techniques to encourage the pupils to play an active part in language learning, placing an increasing amount of emphasis on reading, writing and listening as well as speaking, as the pupils move through the Prep School. From Years 3 to 5, the language studied is French. In Year 6 pupils benefit from an additional single languages lesson to facilitate taster courses in Spanish and German the pupils also experience taster courses in Spanish and German in the first term.  In the summer term Year 6 enjoy a residential visit to France, staying in a château in Normandy, where they develop their language skills further through a French immersion course as well as enjoying educational visits to various places of historical, geographical and cultural interest.