Curriculum Intent Statement
Learning is a change to long term memory.
We want all of our pupils to experience a wide breadth of study across all areas of the curriculum so at the end of each key stage have an ambitious body of knowledge schemas.
Our Curriculum Model
- Curriculum Drivers: Our vision and values as a Church of England school is one of our main drivers (please refer to our Vision and Values section) but as a school with the large majority of our pupils coming from a white British background, Diversity is particularly important to us so we can accurately reflect the rich diversity of Britain alongside important British values.
- Cultural Capital: Knowledge of a wide range of subject disciplines is essential if we are to fully understand and appreciate our world and each other. This helps to support our shared British Values and equality for all regardless of their starting points.
- Curriculum breadth: This is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital and subject disciplines. Our ambition is for our pupils to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.
- Threshold Concepts: These tie together subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide range of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, pupils return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build an understanding of them.
For each of the threshold concepts three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and semantic knowledge students need to understand the threshold concepts, provides a progression model.
- Cognitive Science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for students to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.
- Within each Milestone students gradually progress through three possible domains of Basic, Advanced and Deep. The goal is for pupils to display sustained master at the Advancing stage of understanding by the end of each Milestone and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the Deep stage. The time scale for sustained mastery or greater depth is therefore two years of study.
Milestone 1 = Years 1 and 2
Milestone 2 = Years 3 and 4
Milestone 3 = Years 5 and 6
- As part of our progression model, we use different pedagogical style in each cognitive domain of basic, advancing and deep. We use direct instruction in the basic domain and problem based discovery in the deep domain.
- Also as part of our progression model we use Proof of Progress Tasks (POP Tasks) which shows curriculum expectations in each cognitive domain.
- Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science:
Learning is most effective with spaced repetition
Interleaving helps children to discriminate between topics and aids long term retention
Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength
- We understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time.
- Our content is subject specific. We make intra-curricular links to strengthen schema
- Continuous provision in the form of daily routines replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and on other cases provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.
- Because learning is a change to long term memory it is impossible to see impact in the short term.
- We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set POP tasks and in comparing a student’s work over time.
- We use lesson observations to see if the pedagogical style matches our depth expectations.
National Curriculum Framework
At Feckenham CE Primary School we value our freedom as professionals to react to what our pupils need right now in order for them to succeed, progress and thoroughly enjoy their educational experiences.
We are a Church of England school and our Christian values are promoted actively through a half termly focus. This is not only recognised in Acts of Worship but also in the everyday life of the school, in and out of the classroom.
In collaboration with staff and pupils the value for each half term is discussed and decided upon.
Early Years / Reception
Our Early Years team in Reception use a themed approach to learning which changes when the children are ready for a new ‘learning journey’.
We deliver an Early Years curriculum that focuses on the three prime areas of learning
(Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development) which are essential for children’s readiness for future learning and healthy development as well as delivering high quality learning experiences in the four specific areas of learning; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Our pupils have free, unlimited access to the outdoor classroom as well as Forest School sessions (led by a fully trained Forest School Leader) each and every week they are in school.
Although pupils enjoy choosing their own learning opportunities, we also have discrete sessions in Phonics, Maths, Reading and Writing as well as P.E and R.E.
ICT is available in the classroom with standalone computers as well as a class I-pad plus a set of I-pads that can be used for the development of IT skills and to supplement the early years curriculum.
Our curriculum themes are a movable feast as we like to react to what is happening topically or what the pupils find interesting and exciting, therefore making our curriculum organic in its design. Some examples of themed led learning has been through:
- Going on Holiday
- Fairy Tales/Castles
- People who help us
- Hot and Cold Rumble in the Jungle
Key Stage 1
The themed approach to learning is carried on from Reception, using the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum, when they enter Year 1 onwards.
The Essentials Curriculum gives the children a ‘real’ purpose for their learning. It includes all National Curriculum subjects and exceeds the requirements of the National Curriculum. Each class will have discrete lessons in Phonics, Reading, Writing, Maths and Science as well as PE, RE and ICT and PSHE.
We have chosen to follow the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum which sets out essential coverage, learning objectives and standards which are required for all subjects. Furthermore, it provides progress measures for all subjects. One of the main reasons why we have chosen to adopt this curriculum is because it emphasises the importance of developing the depth of children’s learning.
As in Reception, themes for learning develop over the school year but will cover the statutory requirements in the National Curriculum.
As well as learning in core and foundation subjects, years 1 and 2 also attend Forest School each week.
Phonics in Reception Years 1 and 2
Phonics is taught from Reception and until a pupil has secured the knowledge and skills required to secure them as a competent reader and decoder as well as being able to spell accurately words appropriate to their age.
Reception begin teaching phonics through Jolly Phonics, a multisensory scheme that allows children to quickly experience a range of sounds that they can apply in reading and spelling.
Parents of Reception children are invited in to school for an information evening so they are equipped to assist their child at home.
In Years 1 and 2 children move through the phonics programme learning and becoming secure in phases 5 and 6. This will allow them to move forward into key stage 2 with confidence and develop their language skills further, learning more complex grammar rules.
At the end of Year 1 pupils take a phonics test provided to schools by the Department for Education. Parents will be informed of the outcome of this test. Any child who has not met the threshold will retake the test at the end of year 2 and in addition will be provided with targeted support in year 2 or beyond where necessary.
LOWER KEY STAGE 2
Key Stage 2 continue discrete lessons in Grammar, Spelling, Reading, Literacy, Maths and Science, along with Humanities, PE, RE, Art, Music, ICT, PSHE and French.
Again, teachers will ensure that the statutory elements from the National Curriculum are covered in all areas by following the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum.
As well as learning in core and foundation subjects, Years 3 and 4 also attend Forest School each week.
Grammar/Spelling in Years 3 and 4
Children will have discrete lessons in grammar and spellings each week when they are in lower key stage 2. Sessions may involve formal learning tasks or games aimed at developing a secure understanding of how our language works and how they can manipulate words and phrases to create a desired effect.
Pupils are taught the spellings from lower key stage 2 word list provided from the National Curriculum as well as very subject specific spellings.
Reading is taught through whole class and guided groups with some children having more 1:1 attention if they require it e.g. through extra reading time before or after school with the class teacher.
We want all our pupils to read well for their age and to really enjoy reading. All pupils have access to a free choice of books to take home and share with parents/carers for pleasure and also a book to guide them through the various stages of development. Adults are encouraged to read with their child especially in the early stages of reading.
Guided reading sessions in class are designed so the teacher can assess and instruct a pupil in their technical reading ability and also guide them to a good understanding of what they have read and how to interpret the text whether fiction or non-fiction. Children are encouraged to engage in conversation about the book they are reading; listening and learning from each other and challenging views constructively.
Writing is also taught as a whole class and through guided sessions. In the early stages pupils are encouraged to speak in sentences before attempting to write anything down and as they move further through the school a sequence of teaching and learning is developed so pupils are ready and equipped to write in whatever genre is being studied.
In Reception and the beginning of Year 1 pupils work closely with the teacher in focused sessions to encourage them to ‘have a go’ and be successful writers. Free writing choices are always available inside and outside the classroom (writing on the playground in chalk is encouraged!).
We view writing as a real work in progress with plenty of drafting until the piece is what you want it to be. By the time children are in lower key stage two they are used to being peer/teacher assessed and to making improvements to their work.
Children are given direct instruction in writing in different genres but there is always an emphasis and expectation that the secretarial skills of handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar are age appropriately accurate.
Maths, like Reading and Writing is taught through whole class teaching and guided groups. Sometimes 1:1 interventions may be necessary to address misconceptions or gaps in a pupils learning.
We want all our pupils to develop excellent mental maths skills as we believe this instils confidence as well as efficiency in working out maths problems and calculations. Children work towards gaining stickers and bracelets to celebrate their achievements in knowing their number bonds to any number (e.g. in Reception all number from 1-10) as well as times tables and the corresponding division facts.
Children are taught that learning is ‘messy’ therefore mistakes are not rubbed out but identified, addressed and left there as a reminder to children that they are learning
In Maths, the school is following a Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract method of learning, which allows children to learn in different ways using practical, visual and written methods to be able to achieve understanding and fluency in maths.
As a whole school approach, we are focussing on our times tables and number bonds, to achieve better mental maths skills, to allow our learners to achieve greater depth in their maths skills. We are also focussing on word problems and problem solving.
Number skills and knowledge is taught solely in maths lessons for at least the first term, with other areas of maths such as Shape, Space, Measure and Time taught through continuous provision, where there is an appropriate link, e.g. lower key stage 2 were taught measuring length and angles through a DT project connected to making a safe environment for an elderly person to live in.
As in all sessions the time spent on each learning activity will be determined by how well the children are working, we do not stick to a rigid timetable other than adhering to lunchtime and a PE timetable for the use of the equipment