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At Greatstone Primary School we recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure we are preparing children for the future and therefore need to equip them with the skills, knowledge and passion to make the world a better place. It is our intent to create a primary school where children love learning; seek challenges; value effort and persist in the face of difficulty. As such our curriculum is shaped by the following:
- Providing children with the opportunities to demonstrate learning in different ways
- Learning which is relevant to our children’s lives and needs
- Creating projects that are real
- Mapping opportunities for depth and consolidation
- Assessing the right things at the right time
- Identifying milestones in children’s learning
Our curriculum objectives are:
- To teach children the basic skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT.
- To enable children to develop scientific enquiry.
- To enable children to be creative and to develop their own thinking.
- To teach children about the developing world, including how their environment and society have changed over time.
- To help children understand Britain’s cultural heritage.
- To enable children to develop and explore physical skills with increasing control and coordination.
- To enable children to familiarise themselves with the sounds and written form of a modern foreign language (at KS2).
- To appreciate and value the contribution made by all ethnic groups in our multi-cultural society.
- To enable children to be positive citizens.
- To fulfil all the requirements of the National Curriculum and the Locally Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education.
- To teach children to have an awareness of their own spiritual development, and to distinguish right from wrong.
- To help children understand the importance of truth and fairness, so that they grow up committed to equal opportunities for all.
- To enable children to have respect for themselves and high self-esteem, and to live and work cooperatively with others.
The curriculum at Greatstone Primary School is the planned activities that are organised in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the various extra-curricular activities that the school provides in order to enrich children’s experience. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’ – what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We want children to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and cooperate with others while at the same time develop their knowledge and skills, in order to be ‘secondary ready’.
Our Curriculum is designed to make connections between learning and understanding the world, leading children to connect taught knowledge and learned skills with agency and purpose. Therefore, we ensure learning is ‘deep’ rather than shallow. Deep learning requires planning for and modelling behaviours and actions associated with deeper thinking and deeper purpose.
In order to achieve depth of thinking we plan for children to focus on three projects across the year. Each project is driven by a hinge question and is built around core concepts. For example, the learning hinge question ‘What does war achieve?’ is built around the concepts of freedom, change, morality and segregation and the question ‘Is it too late to save the rainforests?’ around morality sustainability and responsibility.
By using concepts, we aim to develop connections that extend further than just the project the children are working on. The concepts facilitate cross curricular links, for example the concept of justice can be studied through geography, history, PHSE and RE…and then English; narrative, persuasive discursive etc. The approach also allows for further questions to be asked and explored: ‘What does freedom mean?’ ‘Does everyone have the right to freedom?’ and so on.
Metacognition plays a pivotal role within sequences of lessons which are crafted around the progression of learning outcomes (Interpret, Analyse, Generalise). Through explaining reasoning, thinking about evidence, evaluating and making judgements or decision we enable knowledge and skills to become intertwined. Again, this is instrumental in supporting deep learning. Time for learners to reflect or review their learning is central to the whole process and each project concludes with either a performance, a product, a publication or a presentation.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The curriculum we teach in the reception class meets the requirements set out in EYFS Statutory Framework 2014. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Early Learning Goals, as set out in this document, and on developing children’s skills and experiences.
Greatstone Primary School fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well planned and structured activities and as such we have Continuous Provision to support children in developing key life skills such as independence; innovation; creativity, enquiry; analysis and problem solving.
Teaching in the reception classes builds on the experiences of the children in their pre-school learning as we have strong links between our own nursery and Reception class and do all we can to build positive partnerships with other pre-school providers in the area.
Our English lessons develop children’s spoken language, reading, writing and grammar and vocabulary. English is taught in a cross-curricular way, through our projects, linking up with other areas of the curriculum. We teach our children to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions. Our children are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely. Guided reading sessions cover both fiction and non-fiction books developing the children’s comprehension skills.
We develop writing skills so that our pupils have the stamina and ability to write at the age expected standard. To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of strategies; modelled, shared and guided writing, peer editing and discussion. We encourage children to express their ideas, exchange ideas and to develop more sophisticated vocabulary. We provide opportunities for writing for purpose and we encourage children to see themselves as authors. We promote the status of written work by providing opportunities for children’s writing to be published and read by real audiences. Handwriting sessions are incorporated into English lessons.
In Key Stage 1 we follow the Letters and Sounds Phonics scheme.
Drama is used as a key tool in developing oral skills, vocabulary development, building confidence and self- esteem, and as an essential tool in developing imaginative, expressive, and persuasive spoken and written language. Imaginative role play is fundamental to developing the whole child, not just in Early Years and KS1 education, but also as the children develop, and our curriculum provides opportunities to perform to wider audiences through assemblies and events around key festivals. There are increasing opportunities for our children to perform as they progress through the school.
National Curriculum English Programmes of Study:
At Greatstone Primary School we embrace the Mastery approach to teaching mathematics. Our teachers ensure that mathematical skills are taught daily following the Big Maths programme, White Rose and Hamilton Trust resources. They also use cross curricular opportunities to develop children’s mathematical fluency. Our children understand the importance of mathematics, are encouraged to be confident in numeracy and to apply the skills that they learn to simple problem solving. The activities cover a wide range of mathematical knowledge, many with an emphasis on practical work. We build on skills and understanding in a step by step and progressive way and continue to develop place value, the four number operations and the understanding of fractional parts.
National Curriculum Mathematics Programmes of Study:
Science is taught as a separate lesson but is linked to our project work where appropriate. We encourage our children to be curious about natural phenomena and to be excited by the process of understanding the world around them. Key scientific terminology is introduced each lesson and knowledge will be built upon throughout the school. Children are encouraged to work scientifically and to carry out simple tests and experiments using equipment as well as to gather and record data. Whilst at Greatstone Primary School, children will learn about plants, animals including humans, materials, seasonal change, habitats, rocks, light, forces, states of matter, sound, electricity, earth and space and evolution and inheritance.
National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study
Art and Design
Art has an important place in our curriculum. We see art as a vehicle for creativity and individual expression and it provides opportunities for collaborative work. It is an important form of cultural expression and, therefore, has significance and meaning for all our children. Our teaching provides an understanding of different art forms so that the children experience drawing, painting, collage, textiles, 3D designs, printmaking and digital media.
Our design and technology lessons encourage the designing and making of products to solve real and relevant problems. Our children learn to select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.
National Curriculum Art Programmes of Study
We have discreet timetable time for the development of ICT skills but our approach is to integrate ICT into all lessons: the use of laptops and other hardware such as cameras and iPads is as much part of our learning tools as pencils and pens. Subject specific software, from one-off programmes to learning platforms, support teaching and learning across all years. The children develop their skills, starting in reception with mouse control, keyboard skills, saving and printing work. They draw pictures, write and use the internet to carry out research. They then progress to more complex skills such as data analysis and coding. Children will use technology safely and identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns.
National Curriculum Computing Programmes of Study:
Modern Foreign Language
From Year 3 to Year 6 we teach French to all children. Our approach is to make learning a new language fun. Young children are very receptive to learning a new language; they like to mimic pronunciation and they can easily pick up and duplicate new sounds. They feel a real sense of accomplishment when they learn to say something new. We will have discreet lessons on the timetable but we will also integrate the foreign language into the everyday routine.
National Curriculum Language Programmes of Study
In their music lessons children use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. Assemblies also provide an opportunity to practice singing. Children are taught to play a variety of percussion and tuned instruments and encouraged to play together in ensemble groups. We encourage listening to a wide range of music with concentration and understanding. Music lessons are linked to Project work and music is used in a variety of lessons and activities to create mood, atmosphere and to help thinking.
National Curriculum Music Programmes of Study:
Physical Education (PE)
Our PE sessions are both indoor and outdoor for Reception and Key Stage 1. They focus on mastering basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination. Children are encouraged to participate in team games and to develop simple tactics for being an effective team member. Key Stage 2 children also complete lessons inside and outside and may also visit other facilities including the local swimming pool. Swimming is introduced to the timetable from Key Stage 2. We ensure wider participation in the community by involvement in interschool sports, local authority and Trust based competitions.
PE Programmes of Study:
PSHE, or personal, social, health and education, is a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives. As part of a whole school approach, PSHE develops the qualities and attributes children need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. It prepares them to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up in such rapidly changing and challenging times. It also helps them to connect and apply the knowledge and understanding they learn in all subjects to practical, real-life situations while helping them to feel safe and secure enough to fulfil their academic potential. In our programmes we actively promote British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs to prepare our children for life in modern day Britain. Our citizenship lessons enable our children to understand the British democratic process and how to effect peaceful changes in society.
All our year groups have a cross-curricular approach to the development of PSHE skills and understanding. Circle time is used to listen to others and to be heard with the help of class friends. Children learn about similarities and differences between people and cultures. They participate in a variety of cultural events such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Shrove Tuesday.
National Curriculum PSHE programmes of Study
We follow the Kent Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. Our teaching promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children. It reflects the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of other principal religions represented in Great Britain. Our teaching enables children to acquire knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, attitudes, practices and rituals. They develop their own beliefs and values and be aware that some people have no attachment to religious beliefs and follow secular philosophies.
Religious Education DfE Guidance
We use projects to deliver humanities subject skills and understanding. Our projects are carefully balanced and planned to be age appropriate across the years. Project maps are produced to show how each is taught, the knowledge and skills covered and links to other parts of the curriculum. It is important to us that art, music, literacy and, where appropriate, numeracy and science are linked in project teaching. So, for example, a history Romans project could include urn making in art, catapult construction in design and technology and catapult testing and measuring in maths and science. Our projects have a history and geography base so that we teach location and place knowledge, weather and climate skills and knowledge and about significant historical events, people and places in our own locality. Project time also provides further opportunities to learn about people and cultures.
Humanities Programmes of Study:
We are committed to the broadest educational offering, and that means looking beyond the National Curriculum. A very successful enrichment programme that draws upon a wide range of adult skills is offered through school trips, visiting specialists and themed days and weeks. The programme is planned throughout the year.
The impact of our curriculum will not only be measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally:
- EYFS % of childrens achieving a ‘Good level of development’ (GLD)
- Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1
- End of KS1 % of children working towards or at the expected standard and at Greater depth in reading, writing and maths
- End of KS2 % of children working towards or at the expected standard and at Greater depth in reading, writing and maths
But, will in fact be measured by how effectively it helps our children develop into well rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
Our children will be motivated by a strong sense of morality. We hope they will make decisions for the right reasons and in the best interests of our community. They will be able to decide what is right and wrong and be resilient to the influence of others. They will go out into the world and make a difference in their own life and to others.
Monitoring and Review
Governors are responsible for monitoring the way in which the school curriculum is implemented. They review each subject area during its cycle of review and development.
Governors liaise with the respective subject leaders and monitor closely the way in which these subjects are taught. In addition, a named Governor is assigned to Special Educational needs and liaises with the SEN coordinator, and monitors the ways in which additional needs are addressed.
The Headteacher is responsible for the day-to-day organisation of the curriculum, ensuring that all classes are taught the full requirements of the National Curriculum.
Subject leaders monitor the way in which their subject is taught throughout the school. They examine long-term and medium-term planning and ensure that appropriate teaching strategies are used.