1. Our Philosophy and Values
We believe that our central role in school is to ensure learning. Our pupils need to learn the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for their futures as citizens of the world. To this end, we see our pupils both as individuals and as part of groups and communities of learners, with ever-changing
needs. We also see our school staff as learners and believe that they have a key role in modelling positive attitudes to learning and education, especially for those, who do not have these role models elsewhere in their lives.
Our philosophy is therefore simple, we want the best for all those connected with our school, we have high aspirations in terms of learning and we believe we will get these through staff professional development and aspiration, by having a key focus on how children learn and by knowing our pupils and community well.
Our Curriculum is a reflection of this, it is flexible enough to allow for personalisation, creativity and developments in pedagogy. However, it still has a central focus on ensuring that the key skills our children need for their future are taught, refined and retained.
2. Curriculum Overviews
In 2014, the National Curriculum changed. It gave greater emphasis to the learning of knowledge and facts. Subjects, such as phonics, grammar, spelling and mathematics were given detailed programmes of study linked to year group. Other subjects, for example history and music, were less specific.
As a school we use the National Curriculum as the starting point for the development of our own school Curriculum. We need to ensure coverage of key learning and skills and recognise the expectations for each learning stage. Our Curriculum overviews have been designed to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum but with the flexibility required to appeal to an ever-changing school environment.
3. Medium Term Planning
We have developed our own format to share with others in order to explain our medium term planning for a particular subject or group of lessons. However, individual staff members are also free to plan in the way that best suits their teaching style, experience and needs. Many members of staff like to create mind-maps showing how particular subjects will join together and then furnish these with detail during short term planning.
Owing to the key focus on ‘Assessment for Learning’ and a personalised approach, detailed planning, far in advance is not recommended. Staff will need to adapt their planning to suit the needs of their class: to ensure all pupils are effectively challenged and/or able to complete work independently. A flexible approach allows for lessons to be pupil-led and therefore more effective.
Many subjects are taught in blocks over a number of weeks to allow for progression in a subject on a daily basis. This also helps teachers with marking and planning workloads.
4. Our English Curriculum
Our Curriculum states that pupils should experience a range of different text types: non-fiction, modern fiction, historical fiction, cultural, narrative and choral poetry and classic novels, to name a few. We encourage a ‘Power of Reading’ approach in school. Teachers use a single book, novel or text to aid pupils to cover a range of English skills. Pupils therefore develop in confidence and have the opportunity to see a novel through to the very end.
For example, Year 5 and 6 pupils might read ‘Wolf Brother’ by M Paver. They will use this text to develop their comprehension skills, to write in character, to write diaries, and to write in other forms such as playscripts, brochures and fact files.
All of our pupils engage in Guided Reading tasks. Groups of children working at a similar level work through a particular text as a group, Individuals and with a teacher. Guided Reading books are chosen through the year to support the development of reading skills and tasks are chosen to encourage independent thought and analysis.
Pupils have their own reading books and silent and paired reading is part of the timetable. Pupils are expected to read at home and records of individual reading are kept in reading records. We endeavour to instil a love of reading for pleasure in our pupils, championing the joys of being ‘lost in a book’ and the capacity of a novel to transport the reader into a different time and space. We model this in our weekly timetable. Our pupils have access to a range of books and other reading material within our school library, in classrooms and through their membership of the mobile library which visits the school on a termly basis. The school also borrows book boxes from the county library regularly. Some pupils in Key Stage Two follow the ‘Accelerated Reading’ programme through our links with West Lakes Academy.
Our pupils are expected to write in all subjects and from the very beginning of their time in school, they are given opportunities to communicate in this way. In the EYFS, early writing is encouraged in all areas of the continuous provision. Our staff model writing in the role-play area so that pupils feel confident in having a go- this might include writing a shopping list, planning a model or writing a postcard. We teach letters alongside their sounds in phonics from the nursery onwards using the ‘letters and sounds’ programme.
Writing is taught as part of whole English lessons and staff use a variety of methods to teach the mechanical elements as well as the creative ones. The key to success in writing is a good understanding and assessment of the pupil’s needs and using these to plan and support the next steps in learning. As with the EYFS, we do believe that modelling and talking about the writing process, in whole class or small groups, is essential for children to understand what is expected and raise standards.
We believe that it is important for pupils to be able to write confidently in a variety of ways and seek to give them opportunities to do so and to learn from the re-drafting process. Pupils therefore might look at a particular writing style over a number of weeks and would be expected to edit and improve written work generated during longer writing sessions.
c. Grammar, punctuation and spelling
A key focus of the curriculum is the knowledge and application of grammar and accurate spelling. Our pupils have weekly sessions which centrally focus on these elements of learning and these are followed up in other sessions too. It is important that pupils understand that grammar and spelling runs through all the writing that they do and that we see their learning reflected in work scrutiny in a range of subjects.
Over time pupils learn, revise and embed key learning in grammar at levels appropriate for their age and ability.
Pupils are also assessed on their recall of these spelling strategies and this informs future planning.
d. Speaking and listening
We recognise that key to the development of learning is being able to articulate your ideas in a sensible way, orally. Through the process of speaking to another person, ideas can be organised, refined and rehearsed.
We encourage our pupils to be good listeners both in whole class and smaller, more intimate situations. However, we expect pupils to be active in their listening, engaging with the speaker and listening in order to learn from what is being said or to ask questions about it. Our staff model active listening with their students and teach the key elements which include making eye contact, using appropriate body language and being able to isolate the main points, tone and response needed to move a conversation on. We also discourage calling-out in class and other disrespectful behaviours like speaking over someone or disparaging remarks.
Being able to speak confidently in public is an important skill to develop. We use the opportunities provided by daily assemblies, regular drama and play events to support this. Moreover, we encourage our pupils to speak for themselves to visitors and guests. Our yearly Poetry recital and public speaking events are another way in which our pupils develop their confidence and capability in this regard.
Aspects of the English Curriculum are to be found in all other curriculum areas. Where possible our lessons in other subjects, help pupils to embed their learning in this area. For example pupils might write reports in Geography, History or Science. They might carry out a discussion or debate in Religious Education and PHSE and they are likely to develop comprehension skills when reading any text in another subject.
The National Curriculum expectations for Mathematics are very clear. As a school we use this to plan lessons and ensure coverage. Regular tests reveal areas which the class, group or individual, needs to cover in order to meet the objectives for their particular year group. Weekly tests might highlight gaps in learning which are used to plan for weekly feedback sessions and help drill and embed key skills in number and calculation. Using this approach children are easily tracked, they are aware of how well they are doing and planning and interventions are tailored to need.
We are keen that our pupils are able to use their maths in real life and practical contexts. Where possible practical and problem solving sessions are also used to evaluate pupil thinking and learning processes. We have been using resources created by the White Rose Maths Hub in lessons over the last few years.
Science has two key elements which we like to champion in school. The learning of scientific facts about the world and the development of scientific thinking and approach to a problem. Both of these are essential elements of our Curriculum and are regularly taught and assessed.
Our Curriculum overviews show how the Science curriculum themes are taught as part of a rolling programme of learning. Often links are made between Science and other curriculum areas to help deepen pupil learning.
Each class has a regular Computing lessons which is used to develop skills and teach key learning regarding programming and using the computer as a communication tool. These sessions follow a similar pattern in that skills and uses of a particular programme are taught, pupils apply this learning and then deepen their skills and independence over time. A final practical task is often used towards the end of a unit as a form of assessment.
Pupils also use computers and technology in a range of other lessons to enhance their learning in other subjects and continue to develop their skills. This might include word processing a poster or story, creating a film presentation for Religious Education, composing music or making a Maths game using scratch programming.
We recognise the importance of learning about the limitations of the internet and its safe use. It is therefore a regular feature of our curriculum but also taught through assembly and PSHE lessons. Our ‘Kidsafe’ programme also looks at the dangers posed online. As a school we will continue to keep up with advice on how to support our pupils in this ever-changing area.
The skills of perseverance, evaluating and improving work and logical thinking which are championed in the computing curriculum, are ones which we will endeavour to emulate in all subject areas.
8. Learning about our world- History, Geography, Religious Education, PHSE
These subjects are organised through the year but staff can be flexible in how they organise their planning. Co-ordinators have a role in supporting staff as they impart key factual knowledge and help pupils to build key skills yearly.
In Religious Education we follow the county scheme which seeks to develop tolerance and understanding of the main religions within the UK. We look at different religions in depth but also explore themes which run through many religions including rituals, important people, prayer and religious books.
PSHE is taught thematically but this is flexible owing to class need and current issues in school and in the outside world. Teacher’s often use circle time to support pupils in this area and allow pupils to articulate their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. As a school we are keenly aware of the need for our pupils to have a sound economics education, we routinely discuss enterprise and entrepreneurship, learn about how money is earned and spent, discuss the consequences of debt and make links between financial security, education and well-being. Year 5 and 6 pupils complete drug and alcohol and sex and relationship education on a two yearly cycle.
9. Communication and creativity- Art and Design, Design technology, Languages, Music
These subjects are organised in our rolling programme and where possible these are linked to other subjects for a more comprehensive approach. For example drawing and painting mini-beasts during the topic on mini-beasts, cooking Tudor dishes and making Roman mosaics.
In Music, we have adapted a prepared scheme and this ensures that we cover all elements of the curriculum and build on learning on a yearly basis. As a school we highly value singing and this is supported in our weekly singing assemblies and other productions and events. We believe that having the opportunity to sing in unison as a community contributes to emotional and spiritual well-being.
Key Stage Two children are learning Spanish in School, we use a structured programme, developed by County, to ensure pupils cover the key learning to have basic skills by the time they leave Primary Education. The focus is on speaking and listening and developing an interest in other languages. As part of this, we learn about the culture and history of Spanish speaking countries.
10. Physical Education
Our PE Curriculum allows us to develop our pupils’ knowledge and skills in variety of ways:
Moreover we believe that high quality PE lessons can support a life-long love of sport and we have close links with local clubs, encouraging our pupils to continue with sport out of school. Our timetable includes a weekly session with a qualified coach and we also have coaches into school through-out the year to teach additional sessions prior to an event or competition. Sports Premium funding is also used to buy-in coaching in short blocks. For example to teach archery.
As a school, our pupils enjoy a ten week block of swimming from Reception, every year through to Year 6. This allows for skills to develop with maturity and for the refinement of strokes. As our school is in an area which contains a great deal of water- both the sea and rivers and streams, we believe it essential that our children have confidence in water and be able to perform self-rescue should the need arise.
Our yearly sports day is the highlight of a yearly calendar of sporting events which include competitions, showcase events and coaching. At sports day, all pupils are expected to take part in athletics events and families are invited to show support.
11. Spiritual, moral, cultural and social learning
Our Curriculum has a role in supporting our pupils as they develop holistically. Our school culture is one which recognises the whole child, as part of a family and we have a key role in preparing our pupils for their future, not just academically but in other ways too.
Spiritual learning- this is done in a variety of ways, through lessons such as RE and English, in assembly but also in appreciation of the arts and the natural world. Most of our assemblies contain a prayer, which pupils can respond to by saying Amen.
Moral learning- we endeavour to teach children about right and wrong through our school rules and in the way we work with our students. We have age appropriate conversations about behaviour supported by our traffic light system, green cards and house points.
Cultural learning- Pupils in our school are taught about the British Values of tolerance, mutual respect, rule of law, personal responsibility and liberty and democracy in a wide variety of ways . A key area which we know we need to pay extra attention is the area of tolerance for beliefs and cultures. Our geographical area is predominately white and Christian. Our pupils are rarely exposed to people from alternative backgrounds, faiths, creeds and cultures in their everyday life. We believe that tolerance can only come from understanding and as such we try to teach pupils about the wide variety of cultures within our country and around the world, as we can. Assembly, PSHE and RE lessons are central to this, as are opportunities to visit a multi-cultural city first-hand.
Social learning- Our pupils are part of a school community, through their interactions they learn social skills and it is important that school staff guide and support them as they do this.
12. Visitors to school
There are regular visitors to school who assist with the delivery of our curriculum, these include local religious leaders, community readers, the Niscu theatre group, STEM science personnel and sporting coaches.
We also have ad-hoc visitors to school who we use to support learning when required.
13. Trips, visits and off-site learning
Where funds and opportunity allow we are keen to take the opportunities presented by off-site learning. Through-out the year pupils engage in a range of trips and visits linked to the curriculum and we know that our pupils enjoy these and find them memorable.
Recent trips have included local walks around the village, science workshops, art galleries, outdoor days in the lake district and theatre trips.
Every year we take the whole school on a number of trips including a pantomime visit and summer term trip. Moreover the older pupils are offered a residential visit on an annual basis.
Our after-school clubs often supplement the curriculum and can allow pupils to further develop their skills and interests. These clubs are mostly run by staff on a voluntary basis for the first hour after school. Recent clubs have included: sports, fun club, engineering, recorders and cinema club.