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Current Affairs

Current Affairs at Red Oak

Current Affairs is taught each week at Red Oak Primary school. During this time children learn about local, national and world events. They may be introduced to a topic through an online news article or video report and will be encouraged to share their own opinions, listen to the opinions of others and to ask and answer questions.

In the Early Years, the children will look at stories and articles which inspire ‘Awe and wonder’. This could be anything of interest or fascination which will help to develop their knowledge of the world.

In KS1, the children will look at news articles which cover environmental issues and advances in science and technology. In the summer term they will begin to discuss local news/ issues/ politics.

In KS2 the children will study National, European and World news.

The CBBC Newsround website is often used in class as a starting point and news information resource.

Some recent topics of discussion and debate at Red Oak have included:

EYFS –

A newly discovered dinosaur

A wildlife photography competition

Christmas decorations

KS1 –

The plastic straws ban

Robot drones cleaning oceans

The polar ice caps melting

KS2 –

Elections

The Covid vaccine

Diwali

Why this?

Current Affairs is an important part of our curriculum as it enables children to develop their speaking and listening skills, supports spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) and helps to nurture curiosity and awareness about the wider world. Current Affairs also provides a valuable opportunity to make links between subjects that are studied at school and “real life”.  The habit of listening to, reading and discussing current affairs gives a boost to the foundations of understanding and building a coherent general knowledge, and helps children to develop a social conscience and become interested in the world around them.

Literacy

Within current affairs teaching there are many opportunities to develop reading and writing skills including the reading of news articles and writing responses to these articles. It can provide a reading and writing model for children to learn the clear, concise style of news writing. Picking out the important/ relevant parts from a news story is a learned skill, as are the rules around group discussion/ debate such as taking turns, listening to another person’s viewpoint and putting an opinion across in a clear, reasoned way. Current affairs learning and subsequent knowledge deepens children’s understanding through pertinent questioning and through organising verbal responses.

 

Intent

Current affairs covers a wide range of subjects and connects to all areas of the curriculum, in particular the focus will often be on news stories/ issues connected to Geography, History, Science and Technology. It will increase the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world and lends itself very well to oracy opportunities which is a focus here at Red Oak Primary School.  It will build language, vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, oral expression and listening skills. It offers a platform for class and group discussions and debates, and for purposeful follow-up writing opportunities in Key Stage 2. Studying current affairs will help our children to understand the importance of people, events and issues in the news and to pay attention to the news they see and hear outside of school. It can be an ideal opportunity for carer/ child talk as an extension to classroom learning and can help to develop informed citizens and lifelong newsreaders. It is an ideal tool for increasing cultural capital for all children in our school by providing the essential knowledge that children need to be educated citizens, with a strong link to P.S.H.E. which can enable our pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.

 

Implementation

The teaching of current affairs will take place weekly in each classroom. It can be used as a tool for discussion and pupil perception during class assembly time. There are three different overarching themes that we as a school will be looking at in the Autumn term; EYFS will study news stories/ articles which inspire ‘Awe and wonder’, for KS1 it will be a European environmental story e.g. to do with the weather, pollution, natural disasters etc, and for KS2 it will be world news involving politics, world issues etc. These themes could possibly be changed each term. Along with the news article provided for each key stage there will be three differentiated questions to use as starting points for group or class discussion around the story for that week. Evidencing will be in the form of a written record (by adults or children dependent on age/ ability) of the children’s ideas and responses during the discussion which will be kept in the class current affairs big books.

 

Impact

We believe that the pupils at Red Oak build on their previous knowledge to progressively build a deeper understanding of the world around them. The teaching of current affairs will encourage and enhance the idea of pupil voice as the children will have the opportunity to have a say in what they believe and as such to play an active role in their education and schooling. As a result others will become more attentive and responsive to their views. It will build on cross curricular links and enable a deeper understanding of issues and of how people live, act and react to their environment. It is an ideal platform for discussion on, and the promotion of, diversity and equality, which is essential for both teachers and pupils. The aim is to create a classroom environment where all pupils can thrive positively together and understand that individual characteristics and views/ beliefs make others unique and interesting and not 'different' in a negative way.

 

Targets for subject development

  1. To use current affairs as a tool to bring class groups together after lockdown through discussion and listening to each other’s points of view.

Plan of action / ideas

  • Provide interesting news stories/ articles for discussion for each key stage each week
  • Provide differentiated questions for teachers to use with their class to promote discussion/ debate
  • Encourage group/ class talk

 

  1. To ensure that current affairs is being delivered to a high standard.

Plan of action/ ideas

  • Encourage turn taking and listening to other’s opinions
  • Audit classroom big books
  • Lesson visits
  • Pupil voice meetings with children
  • Discuss with teachers how the sessions have been received and check child interest/ participation

 

  1. To use current affairs as an opportunity to enrich oracy in the school.

Plan of action/ ideas

  • Provide interesting news stories/ articles for discussion which the children will be keen to talk about and express their viewpoints
  • Provide differentiated questions which encourage discussion/ debate
  • Implement opportunities for individual/ group/ class talk
  • Encourage all children to ‘have a go’ to voice their opinions

 

       

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