Our curriculum is based on themes for learning which means that we link subjects together to give our children a cohesive learning experience. Themes are suggested by our pupils before being created and developed by our leaders. This is done by considering the content we are required to teach in the National Curriculum for each subject. Some examples of our thematic units are “Fire of London”, “Journey to Africa” and “Fighting Fit”.
The themes are taught over a term. This allows teachers to deepen learning over a sustained period of time without needing to rush the delivery of the content. The National Curriculum forms the foundation of our curriculum. The school’s leaders have devised a progression of knowledge, skills and understanding document for each foundation subject which relates very closely to the National Curriculum. This ensures that children develop skills, and acquire knowledge and understanding in a sequential order and relevant to their age group. It also means that our children’s learning can build on what has previously been taught by connecting prior knowledge to new knowledge. This document ensures that all subject leaders are clear in what we want our children to know and do by the end of each year.
At the start of the term, all the children ask questions related to what they would like to find out about their new theme of learning. Some of these questions are displayed in every classroom around school. During the term, the children find out the answers to these questions and record the answers for everyone to read. At the end of the unit of work, some children speak to the subject leaders about what they have enjoyed learning and what they would like to do differently next time. This allows leaders to adapt planning to fulfil the needs of our children. One example of this is where children now learn how to use a Crumble control board to improve their coding in Year 5.
We recognise that we have a high percentage of disadvantaged children compared to the national average. With this in mind, we ensure that each theme has one visit or a visitor to provide first-hand experiences for the children to support and develop their learning. Other events might take place over the term in order to develop the children’s understanding of the content that has been taught. Children will also be asked to research aspects of the theme independently both in and out of school. This allows the children to have ownership over the curriculum and lead their own learning.
We also recognise that some of our children join the school with communication, language and literacy skills that are below those typical for their age. To ensure that these children keep up, there is a constant focus on reading. Our children have lots of opportunities to practise their developing skills. They regularly read to adults, to reading buddies and to each other. They do this during English lessons, the foundation subjects and extra-curricular sessions. It is crucial that our pupils develop a love of reading. The classrooms are designed so that age-appropriate language is always displayed to engage and stimulate the children.
Not all subjects naturally ‘fit’ within a theme and so these subjects are taught discretely. Subjects will not be tenuously linked as this means that learning lacks the depth of understanding we want to provide our children. English and maths skills are taught during discrete lessons but revisited in the curriculum so children can apply and embed the skills they have learnt in a purposeful context.
We make sure that children learn additional skills, knowledge and understanding and enhance our curriculum as and when necessary. For example, if a class show an interest in a particular subject, teachers will try to include this in the school year. An example of this was when our Year 6 children wanted to find out more about the recent refugee crisis. Current local, national or international events can provide a great basis for learning. These are also covered in special assemblies each week to ensure our children are aware of what is happening on a local and global scale.
By the time the pupils leave our school, we want all of our children to be ready for the next stage of their education and their life. In order to do this, children will need to develop crucial life-skills and positive personality traits to ensure that they make a valuable contribution to society. Some of the skills we want them to develop are problem-solving, resilience, independence, responsibility, teamwork, co-operation, confidence and appreciation.
We want all of our children to understand what it means to be a British Citizen or, someone from another country who lives in Britain. Children should be aware of the rule of law, tolerance and being mutually respectful whilst understanding what it means to be living in a democracy and to have individual liberty. In addition, we also promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through all aspects of our work. We ensure children are developing skills and discussing issues relating to multi-culturalism, religion, race, gender and ethnicity.
We also want all of our children to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world around them and their place within it, understanding and respecting similarities and differences between themselves and others. Children should understand the importance of community cohesion and the need to respect our local, national and global environment. We ensure children are developing skills and discussing issues linked to sustainability, mutual respect, morality and kindness.