The purpose of this document is to outline the method that has been adopted to implement the curriculum at St. Andrew’s. This framework sets out what we aim to achieve in our curriculum. The curriculum long and medium term plans sets out the knowledge and understanding that we have organized for each class year group and key stage. The decisions that have been made have been done so by reference to the school’s MISSION STATEMENT, overall vision for the future and aims of our school.
It is hoped that through this framework all members of staff will have a clearer view of the planning and organization of the curriculum and the school’s method of securing children’s entitlement to the full range of learning opportunities. The principles of breadth, balance and progression have been included. These are crucial to our curriculum design and ultimately to the enhancing of the quality of learning that takes place.
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.
WHAT MAKES OUR CURRICULUM UNIQUE?
The school’s mission statement communicates the main tasks 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 and 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 and well rounded adult of tomorrow. Throughout our children’s time at St Andrew’s they will grow in an atmosphere where all relationships are based on mutual respect and the belief that all children matter. These relationships are seen to be the foundation on which our values like sensitivity, understanding, tolerance and co-operation will be built on.
We believe each child is entitled to receive 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 this may require an adapted curriculum in order to meet the special needs of individual children. The school has a responsibility to do this so that all children 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, our children are given the opportunity to learn the skills which will equip them best for the challenges they will meet in the 21st century.
Alongside this, we endeavor to ensure 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 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.
RATIONALE OF OUR UNIQUE CURRICULUM
The school’s curriculum has undergone several changes in recent years. Recently, in 2014, the government introduced a new national curriculum. This curriculum detailed the learning objectives to be taught throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 with a strong emphasis on English and Mathematics.
In order to make our curriculum unique, interesting, fun, creative and appropriate for the children, we researched (staff and governors) curricular in other schools and on the web that were successful and effective. We wanted to design a curriculum that fulfilled our unique requirements and principles. These requirements were that:
- It enabled English and Maths to be taught discretely
- Reading was high priority
- It was specific to the needs of our children
- It utilized the rich resource and history of our local community of Boothstown
- It supported our school ethos
- It enabled our pupils to leave the school as ‘well rounded’ individuals
- Children enjoyed it
- Parents played a part in its delivery
- It taught children skills and was creative in essence
- It contributed to high standards in English and Maths
In designing our curriculum, we took the decision to teach none core objectives through topic based projects and include the unique key requirement and principles. In doing so we ensured all objectives were covered and that it was specific to our school. Although the school fulfils 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 than this.
BREADTH OF OUR UNIQUE CURRICULUM
The task set for us was 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.
We have achieved our uniqueness by including the following:
· A cross curricular approach to each topic, making links to the NC subjects and developing writing opportunities
· Compiling topic overviews which are stuck into the front of pupils’ topic books at the start of each topic and sent home
· Ensuring ‘fun’ titles e.g. Instead of skeletons try ‘Dem bones, dem bones’, instead of Vikings try ‘Vicious Vikings: Raiders or Traders?’
· Providing topic medium term planning which has been led by the children’s ideas – what do they want to learn in the topic?
- Home learning activities to be completed throughout the topic duration (not specifically in the holidays.
- Including Kagan structures as a way of delivering our curriculum
BALANCE OF OUR CURRICULUM
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 inevitably involves a compromise in terms of time. What is required is the setting of a level of ‘reasonable time’ in order that the school can meet its statutory requirements. Thought has been given to the frequency of subjects taught, a consideration of whether some subjects can be treated in ‘blocks’ rather than appearing on the timetable every week and the needs of the our children in Boothstown. 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.
PROGRESSION IN OUR CURRICULUM
A three step continuous cycle is adhered to (plan, teach, assess). Teachers plan lessons based on their assessed needs of the children. Through whole school planning, coordinators play a leading role in establishing progressive and continuous curriculum long term plans in their subject. This is then translated into a whole school curriculum map. Clearly, close monitoring of the curriculum throughout the school is necessary, but establishing progression is easier to achieve when, whole school plans are in place. At St Andrew’s teachers’ individual weekly 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.
OUR CURRICULUM PRIORITIES: – STANDARDS, THE ARTS, READING
English and maths are cornerstones of our curriculum. Without strong literacy skills children are unable to access other aspects of the curriculum. Reading is given a high priority at St. Andrew’s. We have prioritised certain aspects of the curriculum that we feel require extra time and emphasis. In using our discretion we have decided that there may be a need for our pupils to have further work in English and Maths, this might include additional writing sessions each week, booster work with teachers and teaching assistants or extra English slots added to the timetable across the school. Our decisions are always based on sound evaluations and are always implemented consistently 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. The ‘unwritten’ curriculum around ethos and values is given a high profile.
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) said 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.
ASSESSING AND REVIEWING OUR CURRICULUM
In September 2014, the DfE required maintained schools to adopt a new national curriculum. Target Tracker gave us a means of assessing pupils by recording against statements based on the national programmes of study. Alongside this, Target Tracker introduced a steps scale to allow schools to summarise attainment against age related expectation.
Over the last three academic years, target tracker have produced termly analyses of national steps attainment. In using these we have been able to compare ourselves to all the other schools using Target Tracker across the country. (KS 1 – approximately 49,500 pupils KS 2 – approximately 41,100 pupils). The cohorts in years 2 and 6 in 2016-17 are the second to have completed end of key stage assessment. As last year, the evidence is strong that schools using Target Tracker to assess against age related expectation, are doing so very successfully; there is a very close fit between users’ views of age related expectation in Target Tracker and outcomes at the ends of key stage 1 and key stage 2.