The Intent of our Curriculum
Our curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise to promote a love of learning, personal growth and the human qualities that we aim to develop in our pupils. This includes the formal requirements of the national curriculum; learning outside the classroom encounters and the range of extra-curricular activities we offer to enrich the educational experiences of all learners. We are deeply aware that pupils only get one chance at their primary education and our ethos statement reflects our commitment to ensuring that all will flourish.
The curriculum across the Whitchurch Church of England Federation has been written and developed with the aim to encourage every pupil to care for, respect and appreciate the ultimate worth of others, developing positive relationships as they take their first steps towards independence and becoming responsible, thoughtful and confident adults of the future, making successful contributions to their local and the global community. As members of the St. Bart’s Multi-Academy Trust family, we advocate the belief that education is preparation for life and we seek to prepare each child to face life beyond the Federation with confidence.
Our curriculum pays attention to the development of key concepts, knowledge and skills across a broad range of subjects in order to help our pupils to develop long-term retention of learning. Knowledge and skills are progressive and opportunities broaden across the key stages in building knowledge of the world, cultural literacy and vocabulary. (Based on Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum).
We have developed core drivers that shape our curriculum, bring about the aims and values of our Federation and St Bart’s Multi-Academy Trust (P-passion, E-encouraging, A-ambition, C-commitment, E - enjoyment), allow pupils to make purposeful links and connections throughout their learning and to see how their subject learning is related to the world they live in. We seek to instil in our pupils not just a set of facts or a series of skills, but how to succeed as citizens, our drivers and Christian values are pillars central to this ethos.
The Implementation of our Curriculum
Senior Leaders and Subject Leaders set out a Long Term Overview for each phase across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. This documents a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered and the key concepts pupils should understand.
Key concepts are the ‘big ideas’ that shape our pupils’ thinking within each driver and then subject. Key concepts are repeated across year groups/phases so that our pupils will gradually increase their understanding of them. Whilst it is only possible to explore a concept within a context, we are conscious that we do not wish our pupil’s understanding to be context bound. By providing a breadth of contexts, we expect pupils to begin to transfer the concepts. They will achieve this by comparing the new context knowledge to previously learned knowledge, the bridge being the concept. In other words, the concept must be explored within a breadth of different contexts so that it has tangibility and meaning.
Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Where possible, we draw on a high quality text as a stimulus. We encourage all practitioners to think imaginatively about the best way to combine subjects and inspire learning.
Our curriculum, underpinned by the five drivers, sets out:
Concepts: Concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are revisited to ensure knowledge, vocabulary and skills shift from working to long term memory.
Learning Goals: Learning goals define the standards for the key concepts. We have developed age-related curricular end points through our progression documents.
Breadth: The curriculum breadth for each year group ensures teachers have clarity as to what to cover. We have chosen our content carefully and sequenced it across year groups to provide the key knowledge within subjects, it also provides for pupils’ growing cultural capital. Our post holders are developing subject intent statements in line with this whole school curriculum intent and are mapping concepts and breadth across subject overview maps.
Curriculum Breadth for Years 1 and 2
Curriculum Breadth for Years 3 and 4
Curriculum Breadth for Years 5 and 6
Learning Goals 1
Learning Goals 2
Learning Goals 3
Medium Term planning is shared with parents in a simplified overview which document the concepts, skills and knowledge learners will be taught under the themes of This is Me, The Creative Me, The Independent Me, The Inquisitive Me and The Healthy Me. Specific subject teams are reviewing medium term planning to ensure prior knowledge is activated.
Short Term Planning is produced on a weekly basis. This clearly sets out the key concept(s) and core knowledge to be delivered during a series of lessons. Teacher and Teaching Assistant provision, where relevant, is also clearly documented to evidence the support provided to learners.
The Federation bases its RE provision on the Shropshire Agreed Syllabus for RE and The Understanding Christianity Resource. In addition, the Federation uses the Lichfield Diocesan RE Resources and other appropriate units to enhance teaching and offer the extra dimension of its Church foundation.
We follow the Jigsaw scheme of work for Relationships Education.
We use the Read Write Inc. phonics programme to teach our pupils to read, write and spell. We start by teaching phonics to the pupils in Early Years. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps pupils learn to spell well. We teach the pupils simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. The pupils also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’ or ‘red words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. These are words that the pupils cannot decode through using their phonic knowledge. The pupils practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘red words’ they know.
When using RWI to read the pupils will:
learn that sounds are represented by written letters
learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
learn how to blend sounds
learn to read words using Fred Talk
read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
When using RWI to write the pupils will:
learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
write simple sentences
Pupils with Special Educational needs and Disabilities
We comply with the requirements set out in the SEND Code of Practice 2014 by providing a curriculum which is designed to meet the individual needs of all pupils. If a pupil’s additional need is severe, we consult with external agencies to develop and use resources and support tailored to their specific need.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Pupils entering our Nursery and Reception class will follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum’. The teaching and learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage promotes a broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundations for a good future and rate of progress throughout the rest of school and life. The practice in our early years setting is led by the overarching principles that:
• Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning;
• Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
• Children learn and develop well in enabling environments and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents/carers;
• Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
Our curriculum cares and caters for all pupils inclusively. We deliver our curriculum through the 7 areas of learning of the Early Years Foundation Stage;
• Communication and language;
• Physical development;
• Personal, social and emotional development;
• Understanding the world;
• Expressive arts and design.
Each area of learning is implemented through carefully planned, purposeful play through which our practitioners have considered the individual needs, interests and stages of development of each of the pupils. The planning is often based around the pupil’s interests, alongside seasonal celebrations. Planning encompasses a range of child-initiated, adult initiated and adult-led tasks both indoors and outdoors. The mixture of adult-led and child-initiated activity is a careful balance that the Early Years Team has confidence in providing.
In planning and guiding the pupil’s activities all our staff observe and reflect on the different ways that the pupils learn. These are formally known as characteristics of effective learning and are described using the following three key characteristics:
• playing and exploring – how each pupil investigates and experiences things, or their ‘have a go’ attitude;
• active learning – how each pupil concentrates and can keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their own achievements;
• creating and thinking critically – how each pupil develops their own ideas, makes links between their ideas, and develops strategies for doing things.
Through observing the pupils and their learning we are able to gather a full picture of each individual’s attainment.
The Impact of our Curriculum
Assessment within the EYFS
At the beginning of the Nursery year, pupils are assessed using recognised materials to make judgements about their starting points. These judgements will be used to measure the progress made by the pupils throughout the phase. Pupils are continually assessed through planned and spontaneous observations, photographs, videos and information drawn from the child’s view of his or her learning and parental discussions. These are recorded using an electronic assessment tool on a tablet. The assessment tool is used to create a ‘Learning Journey’ for each pupil. The information collected by the assessment tool is used by the class teachers to assess pupil’s attainment against the EYFS Development Matters statements.
In the final term of the reception year, the class teacher assesses whether the pupils have reached an emerging, expected or exceeding level of attainment against the 17 Early Learning Goals. We are aiming for pupils to have achieved a Good Level of Development – which means that they have achieved the expected level in the Prime areas plus Literacy and Mathematics. Pupils are also assessed against the characteristics of effective learning.
Assessment in Key Stage 1 and 2
All pupils are assessed as part of their everyday classroom learning. This formative assessment is made by class teachers through their observations, marking, pupil discussion and pupils’ application of skills to other subjects. Class teachers use these judgements to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum and identify next steps in teaching and learning. Pupils and class teachers work together through formative assessments, target setting and high quality written and verbal feedback to ensure all learners make progress. By the end of each Learning Goal, we expect the vast majority of pupils to have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it and are fluent in it.
Summative assessments are made to support the professional judgements throughout the year. These judgements, together with areas for development are communicated to families via feedback in pupil’s books, target hand-outs, planners, Parent Evening Consultation meetings, informal discussions and annual progress reports.
We recognise that all pupils require the support of parents and class teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with families by keeping them informed about the ways their children are being taught and how well each child is progressing. Curriculum plans are shared with families to highlight what is being taught, as well as suggestions, it gives guidance as to how pupils can be supported in their learning at home. Regular home learning activities and challenges are sent home with the pupils in order to develop, consolidate and reinforce knowledge, skills, concepts and understanding.
We have created pupil voice groups to ensure that pupils at the Whitchurch Church of England Federation are involved in the shaping of the curriculum.
Ensuring that pupil voice is part of classroom practice means that pupils are motivated by their learning. This area is often closely linked to choice and steering learning; however, it can be more than allowing pupils to steer a theme in a certain direction. It can also be ensuring that our planning takes into account their interests, popular culture, as well as current affairs and world events which the pupils are engaged with or excited by.
Members of the Senior Leadership Team meet termly with the pupil voice group to seek feedback on subjects or areas. Feedback from the pupils is used to reshape and modify action plans in order to ensure that each subject is both meeting the needs of its learners and maintaining relevance and interest. This means that pupils feel empowered to share their opinions in order to ensure the curriculum is engaging and relevant.
If you wish to gain further information about the Federation curriculum, please contact either one of our Academies directly.