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Friar's Grove Primary School

Growing minds and hearts for a whole world of opportunity.

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Our School Curriculum

Teaching and Learning Principles

 

In order to achieve our school vision, school staff consider research, considering all the latest findings, advice and new ideas in education. These approaches are considered in the light of what we understand about our children and our school, and which would be beneficial to introduce at the current time. In this way, we can allow new approaches to embed and be successful. These are the principles that we follow at our school:

  • That the curriculum needs to be knowledge based, to ensure that all children, especially those who may be disadvantaged, gain the knowledge and vocabulary they need to do well.

Gaining knowledge and vocabulary allows children to take part in further and future learning. This deepens their understanding of the world and of themselves. Talking about what they have learnt develops their communication skills and self confidence and improves their understanding and written work. Using the knowledge in activities and tasks develops their skills, concepts and interests.

  • That the curriculum needs to be designed with our children in mind and allows them to study fewer things in greater depth (rather than rushing through a too-full curriculum)

We have made our curriculum ambitious and linked to what our children in particular need. We want to allow children to build their knowledge across the school years, returning to and building on previous learning, so that by the time they leave us they will have developed the knowledge, concepts and skills which will be most useful for their future study and for their personal development. We offer regular recall activities, so that this knowledge is embedded in the long term memory.

  • That learning is best understood when it is broken down and taught in chunks, taking account of prior knowledge and cognitive load.

Teachers teach with an end result in mind. They use what the children already know and they are clear about what they want the children to remember, understand and be able to do by the end of a unit of work. The teachers break down and sequence this learning so that it is manageable for their class. They understand the principles of cognitive load (appendix 1) and apply these to their approaches.

  • That children learn best when they feel safe, happy and accepted.

We ensure that the ethos of our school is calm, friendly and welcoming. We take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously and have robust systems in place. Our Behaviour Policy encourages positive learning behaviours and our approaches allow children to reflect on their behaviour, repair and restore. We develop positive relationships with children. We are an inclusive school and work hard to accept and include all children, whatever their need.

  • That teachers teach best when they work in an environment that champions team work, personal development and trust.

Teachers work at their best when they have the respect, understanding and support of the whole school team, including the Senior Leadership Team and children’s families. As a school we encourage questions and concerns to be raised in a positive way. Teachers are aware of ‘how we do it here’ as this gives security and consistency, but also know that they are trusted to develop and investigate a new approach and report back on its effectiveness. Senior Leaders take workload and well-being into account when making any decisions and take into account staff views when introducing new approaches and expectations. Leadership is shared and delegated across the school, with all teachers having a whole school subject leader role, alongside their teaching role.

  • That learning is most powerful when it is linked to the children’s own lives and the lives of others and when it involves real experiences and high quality stories.

All humans are innately interested in themselves and other people and we use this interest to help the children reflect on how their learning relates to them and their lives and to encourage empathy for the lives of others. We plan memorable experiences to develop a love of learning and give our children experiences that they may not otherwise have. We use the power of books to help children learn about different eras, ideas, people and places, while also increasing their knowledge, vocabulary and reading skills.

 

 


 

Our School Curriculum

 

We are proud of our curriculum! And rightly so, because we have worked hard to put together a curriculum that doesn’t just reflect the National Curriculum, but uses approaches and content which are just right for our children. 

 

What is the intent of our school curriculum?

We aim to ensure that all of our children learn through a planned, progressive curriculum, learning the knowledge and skills of each subject to a depth that enables them to access the next stage of learning. 

In addition, we designed our curriculum with the following Drivers in mind:

 

Reflective communicator – 

Children have the vocabulary and skills to communicate effectively, explain and reflect on their learning.

 

Self-motivated learner – 

Children are willing to take risks, question, seek out challenges, make connections and take pride in their learning.

 

Community Participant – 

Children feel a sense of belonging as empathetic, respectful and supportive members of our school community as well as wider communities, able to take on different roles and work in a team.

 

These drivers were developed following input from staff, children, parents and Governors and our knowledge of the needs of our children is at the heart of our curriculum work. 

Our drivers link to our school values of AMBITION, INTEGRITY and RESPECT and will allow our children to develop a love of learning and to be positive and effective future citizens of their local, national and global community.

 

How do we implement our school curriculum?

We have designed our curriculum to enable progression of knowledge and skills throughout the children’s time in our school. The children are taught through projects, and links are made with different subjects where this benefits their learning. These projects are planned by the teachers and will often include subjects such as science, geography, history, art and design technology. Our curriculum also benefits from carefully-chosen commercial schemes of work in some subjects, which complement our projects and still allow us to work towards our Drivers.

We have designed our curriculum to be engaging, using different methods of learning, including practical activity, learning outside the classroom and educational visits.

We ensure that children are given the opportunity to recall previous learning and to practise new skills. We also encourage them to improve their ability to discuss and explain their learning, using appropriate vocabulary, to enjoy challenges and to work together.

Year group teachers share planning across the year group so that both classes follow a similar curriculum, and each subject is overseen by a subject leader, working within a curriculum team.

Our curriculum is being regularly reviewed and monitored to ensure that it remains ambitious and suits the needs of our children.

 

We recognise that there are children with widely different starting points in their learning, and we adapt the learning opportunities to ensure that all children are supported to reach a common objective. We achieve this by: 

  • Setting tasks which are open-ended, can have a variety of responses and encourage individuality in outcome; 
  • Modelling and chunking the learning, working towards a mastery of the curriculum; 
  • Being ambitious for all children, planning additional steps to attain the final objective, so that all children are supported to be successful.
  • Providing additional or different manipulatives and resources.
  • Ensuring that all adults in class are aware of children needing adapted strategies and understand their role in this.

 

What is the impact of our curriculum?

We use monitoring information, children’s work, children’s voice and assessment outcomes to monitor the impact of our curriculum and continuously review and improve our approaches according to our findings.

 

Our intended impact is that our curriculum fulfils all its intentions, so that by the time children leave us at year 6 they have built knowledge and skills in a wide range of subjects and are able to discuss their learning with confidence and reflect a love of learning that we hope will stay with them for life.

 

Our long term curriculum plans can be found below. But to be honest, these plans can never tell the full story. One would need to look at our children’s workbooks, where the building of knowledge can be seen first hand; one would need to visit a lesson to see the enthusiasm and great behaviour-for-learning of our children as they take part in lessons which give them opportunities to explain their thinking; one would need to talk to any of our children to hear how they are developing their vocabulary, explanations and concepts and how they speak of their school work with interest and pride, and one would have to enjoy some of the outcomes of the work the children are involved in – exhibitions, plays, assemblies and community activity.

Parents and carers can find out more information about what their children are learning in the Curriculum Overviews, which we share with you each half term. These can be found on the Class Pages.

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