The purpose of this document has been to indicate the method that has been adopted to manage the curriculum at St. Andrew’s. The decisions that have been made have been done with reference to the school’s Mission Statement, overall vision for the future and general aims of the school.
Through this framework it is hoped that all members of staff have a clearer view of the process of planning and the school’s method of securing for all the children their entitlement to the full range of learning opportunities. The principles of breadth, balance and progression have been included. These, it is argued, are crucial to the school’s curriculum design and ultimately to the enhancing of the quality of learning that takes place.
This ‘Curriculum Framework’ document is the school’s initial attempt at implementing the curriculum following various curriculum reviews. It must be seen in terms of a ‘working’ document, flexible and open to change.
SCHOOL’S MISSION STATEMENT
St. Andrew’s Church of England Primary School is a happy, safe and welcoming environment where everyone is valued.
Our Christian faith is central to moral development, mutual respect and an appreciation for the cultural diversity within our community.
It is our intention to provide opportunities for every child to succeed and to strive towards excellence in everything they do.
We are a family, our strength is in our love and respect for one another.
Together we can achieve our goal.
The school’s mission statement is an attempt to communicate in a succinct manner the main task we have set ourselves. It reflects the school’s explicit desire to provide a relevant educational experience for all children, regardless of their ability, background, gender, age or ethnicity. It is recognised that all children are different. Each child is unique. Similarly, it is also recognised that the school has been set a task by society in general, to assist each child in his/her development, so that he/she may become a responsible adult of tomorrow. Throughout the child’s time at St Andrew’s it is our intention that he/she will grow in an atmosphere where all relationships in school are based on mutual respect and the belief that all children matter. These relationships adult/adult, adult/child and child/child are seen to be the foundation on which such desirable qualities as sensitivity, understanding, tolerance and co-operation will be built on.
Each child is entitled to receive such learning experiences that will enable him/her to reach his/her full potential. Because all children are different it is of paramount importance that each child receives appropriate learning experiences. In many cases that may require special action in order to meet the special needs of individual children. The school has a responsibility to take this special action so that all children may benefit.
It is clear to us that the society our present children will grow up in will have changed from the one we know today. It is likely that the only consistent factor we can identify with any certainty is that society will undergo increasing change, and at rates not previously experienced. Because of this, it would seem that our children should be given the opportunity to learn those skills which will equip them best for the challenges they will meet in the 21st century.
Alongside this, we hope that each child will develop a positive attitude towards learning. It is important therefore that school is a happy place and a place where each child can take advantage of the learning opportunities offered, without interference from others. We would hope that children will develop individual work habits which will lead them to exercise the qualities of experimentation, investigation and creativity. It is our task to help each child to learn how to learn and behave.
THE SCOPE OF THE CURRICULUM
Although the school makes the necessary arrangements for the fulfillment of its statutory duties with regard to the national curriculum, it is our belief that this does not fully reflect the curriculum at St Andrew’s, in fact it is broader and richer.
The school’s curriculum has undergone several changes in recent years. Recently, (since 2013) there has been a shift from a largely single subject approach throughout the school, to more skills based teaching through specific topics/themes. In 2014 the government implemented a new national curriculum. Schools now have more freedom to create a curriculum that is both more interesting and creative. We have attempted to do this at St. Andrew’s CE whilst still ensuring high standards are maintained. This decision is dependent on the particular needs and priorities of the school, which will involve consideration of the depth that foundation subjects can be covered, ensuring breadth and balance.
PRINCIPLES OF CURRICULUM STRUCTURE
The task set for schools is for them to define the curriculum more widely than just the statutory requirements alone. The statutory requirements of the 2014 national curriculum can be seen in terms of minimum provision. The school’s curriculum fully encompasses the 2014 national curriculum and provides for an expression of our own priorities such as the Arts, PE and ICT.
Balance within the curriculum is largely about the attention given to each curriculum area. It is fundamentally about time and how it is used. Curriculum planning will inevitably involve a compromise in terms of time. What is required is the setting of a level of ‘reasonable time’ in order that the school can fulfil its aims, which in themselves must take account of the subject requirements, and the needs of the children. Balance in the curriculum requires a consideration of the priority given to each area, and whether this priority is the same for all age groups. It also involves a consideration of frequency. In other words how often should a subject be taught, and whether some subjects can be treated in ‘blocks’ rather than appearing on the timetable every week. A further element is the overall attention given to each subject over the two key stages. Finally, the decisions about the amount of time given to different subjects, and the frequency of them, must not lead to teacher overload, or for that matter pupil overload. In other words are teachers allowed sufficient time to teach and are children given sufficient time to learn.
Through whole school and key stage planning questions about progression should not be too problematical. A three step continuous cycle is adhered to (plan, teach, assess). Teachers plan lessons based on their assessed needs of the children. After lessons have been delivered teachers use their formative and summative assessments to devise next steps in learning.
Through whole school planning subject coordinators can play a leading role in establishing a progressive and continuous programme in each subject. Individual teachers themselves are more appreciative of the place their own particular age group has in the whole school picture. Clearly, close monitoring of the work throughout the school is necessary, but establishing progression is easier to achieve when, whole school planning takes place. At St Andrew’s we have a comprehensive system of planning in place that ensures progression. Teachers’ plans are written using clear Learning Objectives, published schemes and the National Curriculum Orders (2014) which have in-built progression in mind. The school’s curriculum plan reflects very well how we have established breadth, balance and continuity.
CURRICULUM PRIORITIES: STANDARDS, THE ARTS, G&T
We, the staff of St Andrew’s, have prioritised certain aspects of the curriculum that we feel require extra time and emphasis. In using our discretion we have decided that at times there may be a need for our pupils to have further work in English and Maths, this might include additional writing sessions each week and booster work with teachers and teaching assistants across the school.
Moreover, as a Faith school we aim to give Religious Education a prominent and vital part to play in curriculum delivery. We strive to devote almost 10% of the curriculum to Religious Education.
Finally, at St. Andrew’s a creative and enriched curriculum plays a major part in school life. We place great importance on the development of creative thought through Dance, Music and Drama. Creative arts weeks, enrichment days and Dance Festivals play a major part in promoting this area of the curriculum. This emphasis and quality of such work has been commended in the achievement of our Artsmark Award in May 2012.
CREATIVITY AND THE ARTS
The White Paper (Nov 2011) says that, ‘if we are to prepare successfully for the 21st Century we will have to do more than just improve literacy and numeracy skills. We need a broad, flexible and motivating education that recognises the different talents of all children and delivers excellence for everyone’.
At St Andrew’s creativity means aspects of the curriculum that develop our pupils’ capacities for original ideas and action and enable them to engage positively with the growing complexity and diversity of social values and ways of life. We have built into our curriculum time for developing children’s creative thought by ensuring extra time devoted to the Arts weeks, enrichment days and Dance Festivals .
P.H.S.E. AND CITIZENSHIP
At St Andrew’s SRE is currently taught via PHSE. However, Health, Social Education and Citizenship are also taught; not discretely but permeate the whole of the curriculum. Issues are addressed on a daily basis. We aim to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy independent lives and become informed, active, responsible citizens. All pupils at St Andrew’s are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of our school and communities.
Date: May 2016
Review: September 2018