Primary Curriculum Aims:
Our curriculum is rooted in our Trust values of Aspire, Achieve and Excel. This is the key blueprint of our primary curriculum model, and core to our delivery of a high quality provision for all primary aged pupils.
- High expectations for all pupils, staff and wider community
- Any perceived social barriers and background of families are removed to ensure that all pupils attain at the highest levels
- Impeccable learning behaviours which embed the high quality teaching and learning
- A well-resourced, high quality menu of continual professional development for all staff, key focus of supporting learning and ensuring challenge for all abilities – All staff within the Primary Network, regardless of the job they do, to link back to supporting learning, attention to detail and high expectations.
- our own unique ‘Pathway’ programme for aspiring leaders within our family of schools – Providing a supportive structure for career development, building capacity for possible future developments
- It is our expectation that all pupils regardless of background can achieve, at least, national expectations and to be well equipped to begin their transition in to Secondary education
- Established links with the MTSA (Specialist Leaders in Education / SLEs) as well as our Senior & Middle Leadership (Cross Trust inc Secondary colleagues) to support our teachers to improve their practice, offering a detailed and individually bespoke package of support with follow up – Excellence in teaching modelled for our improving colleagues
- A creative and rich curriculum built around a strong emphasis and commitment to achieving well in Maths, English and Science
- Develop interested, independent and lifelong learners who think creatively
- Ensure maximum positive impact on our wider community through providing the highest possible quality of education for children and families in our area
- Provide a world class education for our world class children
- Highest possible attainment and achievement of all pupils
- Equity of provision for all pupils in terms of curriculum quality, breadth and opportunity
- Equity of provision for all pupils in terms of inclusion in order to achieve comparably high outcomes
- Pupils learn in the most vibrant, stimulating environment that we can provide
We believe that a broad and balanced curriculum is essential to providing children with a fulfilling and challenging experience in the primary phase. There is a strong focus on the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. Foundation subjects provide ideal forums for giving children real, multi-sensory experiences that excite and inspire them to apply their learning in core subjects in a creative and individual way. We raise the status of these subjects while continuing to provide a rigorous education in the core subjects.
We provide a strong emphasis on developing a curriculum that enables learners to grasp the fundamentals quickly, so we can spend immersing learners in to a subject area, this provides a real depth and breadth, where children can use and apply their knowledge and skills independently in a meaningful way.
There is a key focus on our learning environments, as we believe, the spaces children learn in have the potential to transform the way pupils learn; at the same time giving powerful messages about school expectations, values and beliefs. A connected approach to planning for high quality learning, placing environment at the centre of learning, shifts the focus of learning away from surface learning towards deeper levels of understanding.
Our rich curriculum ensures that we provide world class education for all of the children within our school. Enrichment is every pupil’s entitlement and we promote opportunities to learn beyond the classroom which inspire and motivate pupils to achieve outstanding progress in every lesson.
Quality First Teaching by the class teacher is at the core of this aim. All planning is therefore fully differentiated so that all children can fully access the curriculum and make progress at their level. Building on this Quality First Teaching, there is also an additional range of support and expert advice that can be put in place to meet the needs of children with special educational needs or when we identify that a child might be underachieving.
We maximise learning and progress by ensuring pupils:
- Have mutual respect between themselves, adults in the school and parents
- Staff and parents have high expectations of them and value their work
- They have high self-esteem
- They understand it is acceptable to seek help because mistakes are part of learning
- They can reflect on and evaluate their own and their peers’ work by using constructive advice
- They share responsibility for setting targets, planning and organising aspects of their work
- They understand the purpose of the task and what the finished outcome will be
- They are given challenging activities and opportunities to enquire and discover for themselves
- As learners, they move from their Early Years carefully planned experience of mainly exploration and discovery, to a clearly defined National Curriculum at Key Stage 1 and 2. This increases the need for a whole class teaching approach for the greater part of the day towards the end of Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2
- The vast majority of children can and should be taught together as a class for a good percentage of the teaching day.
- They have a wide variety of quality learning experiences which recognise the different styles (e.g.visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) and pace by which children learn
- They are taught the skills to work collaboratively and independently
- That children aspire to be lifelong learners and regard learning as a vehicle to personal enrichment.
- They are provided with rich and varied opportunities to enhance their learning through new technologies
- Work with children to establish a stimulating, welcoming and well organised environment which encourages collaborative and independent learning and promotes children’s natural curiosity
- Create displays which demonstrate the range of children’s achievements throughout the curriculum and reflect positively the diversity of children’s experiences and background
- Provide a range of resources which are accessible, clearly labelled and used imaginatively Train pupils to choose, collect and return resources used to support their learning, and to tidy up at the end of sessions
- Establish routines that will maximise learning time
- Provide a range of learning experiences catering for varied learning styles
Planning & Delivery
- Plan according to the Trust Curriculum Framework and policies that have been agreed with reference to the National Curriculum.
- Deliver a body of knowledge – curriculum. The teacher will have good/outstanding knowledge of the subject being taught and access the expertise of colleagues
- Take account of children’s different learning styles and abilities and ensure the curriculum is accessible to all through a differentiated approach throughout all learning opportunities
- Provide a range of opportunities for pupil response and presentation of ideas e.g. whiteboards, talk partners, number fans, movement, rehearsal of answer.
- Through short, medium and long term planning ensure that there is an appropriate structure and progression to learning opportunities
- Plan to include clearly defined learning objectives and expectations to inform children of the learning focus. Learning objectives are shared with pupils both orally and visually for reinforcement
- Use assessment to inform such plans and the achievement of individual pupils to set new targets for future learning where appropriate
- Plan for effective plenary sessions that consolidate new learning and identify future learning needs.
- Summarise, review and evaluate lessons for effectiveness
- Provide relevant resources and a range of media including new technologies to make instruction more effective. Activities will be challenging but structured so that children can achieve
- Plan and model approaches to learning, such as hypothesising, discussing, reviewing, previewing, predicting, interpreting, and evaluating. Plan and use questioning techniques (skilfully framed, open and closed) to challenge and extend children’s thinking
- Respond and mark pupils’ work in ways which seek to extend their learning (see Marking Policy)
Maximising Learning Time
- Make the daily routines explicit to the children. This includes high quality early work provision from Years R-6. They ensure that the children work to the best of their ability and use their time effectively.
- Giving pupils explicit time targets can aid pace and provide clear expectations.
- Actively encourage pupils to respect and understand the value of learning time
- To sensitively balance the need for pace with the quality of learning experience.
- Ensure lessons are well paced and pupils are expected to complete work set within an appropriate time framework. However, it is accepted that children will, on occasions, need to be given opportunities to extend or complete work (in depth study/investigation)
- Devote as little time as possible to routine management (e.g. registers) so that maximum time is given to teaching and learning.
- Ensure that they and their classes arrive and leave places at the appropriate time
Climate for Learning
The quality of interaction between teachers and pupils, and the relationship they form is paramount to a successful climate for learning, as are teacher expectations. A classroom must constantly demand more from every individual yet recognise each pupil’s own self-worth and celebrate personal achievements, both big and small. As a result pupils are motivated by their surroundings and use the environment’s resources to be self-disciplined learners. This is where it is important to attribute pupil success to hard work rather than ability and to value resilience over failure.
Within our academy we aim to ensure, with careful thought and planning, an effective classroom environment for every classroom is used as an interactive resource supporting teaching, learning and assessment. We believe that a well organised and stimulating environment has a direct impact on the quality of teaching and learning, and therefore supports raising standards. Generating an effective climate for learning involves maintaining a purposeful physical working environment and developing pupils’ own positive learning behaviours.
Learning best takes place in an environment which:
- is challenging and stimulating;
- is purposeful and calm;
- is organised;
- is well resourced;
- makes learning accessible;
- is encouraging and appreciative;
- is welcoming;
- provides equal opportunities
Pupils’ Learning Behaviours
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” Bill Gates.
It is our responsibility to create a climate in which all pupils establish and maintain learning behaviours that ensure they are both well prepared for learning and develop resilience and a growth mind-set in to order to be successful.
Growth mindset is a concept discovered by the psychologist Carol Dweck following her research into achievement and success. She concluded that brains and talent do not automatically bring success, but instead nurturing and developing abilities is the fundamental key to achieving potential.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and resilience, determination and ambition that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities and these are the attributes we commit to fostering in our own pupils.
Curriculum by Stage
In EYFS/KS1 will follow the Read Write Inc programme of Phonics, Letters and Sounds (sites specifics). Practitioners will be expected to take a VAK (Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic) approach to teaching phonics to support all learning styles. We will embed the use of ‘talk for writing’ to enable children to develop their confidence and mastery of English.
Whole-school theme based learning happens in each year group, planning and lessons are designed to immerse pupils in a cross curricular theme.
These themes are exciting topics which act as stimuli for all the learning that takes places within most of the curriculum subjects. Our themes allow for subjects to be linked and also give context to the skills which the children are learning. Topics are chosen to meet the requirements of the national curriculum and to reflect the children’s interests as well as events happening locally, nationally or internationally.
When selecting topic themes, we give much thought to selecting topics which:
Place the development of children’s literacy at the heart of all learning.
- Are broad enough to allow for a range of curriculum subjects to be explored in sufficient depth across the school;
- Can be explored at an appropriate depth and level of challenge, ensuring across a team;
- Enthuse staff and students;
- Allow for exciting ‘wow’ events to take place to capture children’s imagination · Allow for constant reinforcement of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
- Are accessible to all students of all abilities including those with SEN and EAL
In selecting the topic themes, staff are careful to choose topics which allow a broad range of curriculum subjects to be explored. Therefore, staff give careful consideration in selecting themes which can be taken in a variety of directions, exploring a wide range of skills across the curriculum. In some themes, certain subjects are more prominent than in others. For example, in a History based theme, there may be less Geography occurring. It is the role of Faculty Leaders and the Senior Leadership Team to ensure that adequate time is dedicated to each subject across the school. It is also part of the role of Faculty Leaders to ensure that the themes facilitate the provision of their subject and suggest ways that staff could link the themes to their subject.
Depth: We understand that the topic themes must allow for the depth of study to be maintained in each year group. In order to ensure that this happens, staff only make links to the theme when it is appropriate and, if skills or knowledge need to be taught discretely, they will take place. Faculty Leaders and Senior Leadership Teams take responsibility for monitoring the breadth and depth at which their subjects are taught.
Progression: With each year group in a team following the same theme, it is important to ensure that progression takes place. Teachers have access to progression documents for each subject and these are used to ensure that the lessons they are planning for each subject are age and level appropriate. Year Leaders monitor these documents to ensure that teachers are providing appropriate challenge across the curriculum.
Curriculum learning projects
In KS1 &2 we deliver the wider curriculum through a thematic approach that aims to develop the children’s basic skills in English and Maths, make links between areas of learning and pupils’ everyday experiences, and promote good social skills. Pupils are encouraged to be ambitious and to work hard to achieve their goals.
The curriculum includes learning across many subjects including English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Design & Technology, History, Geography, Art & Design, Music, Physical Education, Religious Education and Personal, Social, Moral, Health Education and Citizenship.
Learning experiences are progressive and aim to provide our pupils with the knowledge, experiences and skills that they need to progress to the next stage of their learning and to prepare them for life in the wider community. This can mean that pupils learn different aspects of subjects and in different ways as they progress through the school. For example, pupils in Key Stage Two learn French as a modern foreign language. Pupils in Key stage one, while not required to learn a language, are prepared for this through introduction to some simple words and phrases.
We want every child to enjoy their learning and to achieve exceptional outcomes. Pupils are therefore involved in evaluating learning experiences and encouraged to identify their own next steps where possible.
Our behaviour, nurture and supportive curriculum
It is our priority to ensure children have the opportunity to learn and to make progress, it is imperative that we work with our pupils to address any identified need and how that can present a barrier to their learning. Once identified, we use a number of strategies to support improvements throughout each day and as part of our curriculum:
- Assemblies – We have daily assemblies that promote positive behaviour, rewarding effort and exploring our key theme and aspiration of ‘Impeccable’ behaviour, we explore empathy, integrity, honesty, respect, social skills and values
- Lessons – Behaviour for learning is the ‘golden thread’ that underpins our core ethos, pupils are supported to understand the triggers that can form barriers to displaying appropriate learning behaviours – We follow a PSHE programme that promotes self-awareness and the need for us to work together to overcome challenges and barriers to progress
- Self-reflection & accountability – These are tools that we teach and use constantly, mistakes are part of our everyday learning experiences, how pupils respond to and reflect on setbacks is a key indicator for how we support pupils to find appropriate strategies to be able to manage behaviour and emotions
- Break times – This could previously have been a challenging part of the day for many pupils, we use this as an opportunity to engage with pupils in positive activities, breaking the cycle of not being able to control any established behaviours. We explore some of the key trigger points that can lead to negative behaviour e.g: competition, choosing sides, sharing – we aim to facilitate cooperative and fun activities that engage pupils and enable them to have time out and reflection periods should they need this – most of our pupils lack the capacity to cope in these situations, so a key part of our work is unpicking the issues to enable us to find appropriate coping skills that will enable them to look towards re-integration
- Educational Visits – We use these to assess and model expectations of being out in public, discussing positive strategies and exploring what is appropriate and how others could perceive any negative behaviour – We support pupils to better understand how to use public transport, ensuring that key life skills form part of our wider programme
- Nurture Groups – Our staff are experienced in supporting small groups of children to develop their social and emotional skills in a safe and secure environment, our activities are carefully planned and focus on developing language skills, empathy and promoting positive behaviour.
As part of our offer to support local schools, and to provide excellence at our core, our behaviour outreach team based at the Elaine Education Centre continue to work both internally and externally to ensure that we have a single point of contact for schools to be able to access required expertise.
- We aim to provide schools with the tools and knowledge to deal with behaviour effectively, leading to a greater level of inclusion, even for the most challenging pupils within the school setting.
- Pupil observation and recommendation of behaviour strategies.
- Modelling of behaviour strategies.
- Intensive support within schools.
- Attendance at professionals meetings.
- Behaviour training.
- Behaviour / Positive handling policy guidance.
- Any other behaviour support tailored to your setting.
We understand the importance of parental involvement and the impact that support from home can have on a child’s education. Therefore, we strive to maintain good communication with parents, keeping them informed of what the children will be learning and how they can support this at home. A termly newsletter, compiled by Team Leaders, informs parents of what the children will be learning during the next term, with suggestions of how parents could best support their learning.
We provide regular opportunities for parents to join us in school to learn about our topics and how we teach, every Friday we have ‘Parents in to Reading’ followed by information sessions regarding our curriculum and how we can support families to help their children at home with their learning. Parents are also invited into school for concerts, assemblies, Christmas performances and end of term productions, with the intention of sharing and celebrating the work that has happened in school.
Parent’s evenings happen three times per year and all parents are welcomed into school for a meeting with their child’s teacher regarding their learning and general development. A parent’s questionnaire is sent out in order to gain their views on a number of issues, including the curriculum. The results are compiled and a summary is provided for staff, parents and governors so that they can see how their views are making an impact on school development.
Assessment within The Williamson Trust Primary Schools
Within the Primary Schools of The Williamson Trust we have robust assessment procedures in place to ensure our staff and pupils are supported to make maximum progress.
Pupils complete baseline assessments at the start of each academic year so that staff can further personalise the learning for groups and individuals who may demonstrate gaps in their learning. Pupils are formally assessed termly as part of our timetables monitored programme. This is our opportunity to forensically examine and evaluate the impact of teaching and learning over the term; it is essential that all children are able to demonstrate the accelerated progress that they have made in a test situation. Where there is insufficient progress it is our responsibility to act swiftly to address it through our quality first teaching.
STAT Sheffield, in conjunction with Educater Online, is the data tracking system in place in all of the Trust primary schools. We have aspirational targets for our pupils and as such expect our pupils to make rapid progress. Educater Online enables staff to input their data termly, produce reports and analyse their teacher assessment. Staff prepare for termly pupil progress meetings by considering pupils who have not made the expected progress against the national curriculum objectives or those who are not at an appropriate attainment step. Discussion within the meeting leads to changes to quality first teaching to support groups and individuals. Where appropriate, timely and impactful interventions are implemented to support pupils to make the rapid progress required. Where intervention programmes are in place, provision maps are completed to evidence the support for specific pupils and to demonstrate the impact the intervention is having on progress.
All Primary staff are actively involved in termly moderation sessions with colleagues from across the Trust. This ensures staff are assessing their pupils work accurately and can articulate their knowledge of the pupils accurately. At the end of each key stage for teacher assessment, staff need to demonstrate that pupils are working at the expected national standard. Where appropriate evidence can be shared of pupils working at a greater depth within the expected standard. In addition, staff are regularly involved in external moderation with colleagues from within the Local Authority. We regularly commission evaluations, as well as actively engaging in peer reviews with Trust colleagues.