Information about our curriculum: Purpose and delivery
We believe that strong relationships are the bedrock of effective teaching and learning. As a Christian school family, we invest time in building deep, meaningful relationships with one another. These relationships, guided by our Christian vision and values, are at the heart of our school curriculum. We are clear about our expectations and we are ambitious for every person in our school. We provide strong and coherent learning opportunities alongside carefully-planned additional learning opportunities and experiences to enable children to discover new talents, skills and interests. Underpinning this, is the belief that every child has the potential to achieve and excel.
Our curriculum seeks to enable every child to let their light shine by providing opportunities for them to grow in wisdom, knowledge and skills. This is essential as we pursue our school vision: to equip children with the vision, passion and skills needed to transform society.
Our curriculum has the following objectives:
To secure, for all children, fluent and effective reading to enable them to access the wider curriculum, develop a rich vocabulary and enjoy reading for pleasure and as a door to further learning.
To secure, for all children, a fluency in number and an ability to manipulate number to support problem-solving and reasoning.
To develop resilience and problem-solving skills to enable children to link their knowledge and skills to become creative thinkers who act with wisdom.
To ensure children are able to communicate articulately and confidently in a range of forms and situations.
To provide our children with secure knowledge and skills across all National Curriculum subjects to equip them for future learning and to enable them to discover areas of interest.
To ensure children understand how to keep themselves safe and healthy, both physically and mentally, to support their long-term wellbeing.
To share the life-giving message of Jesus and develop and understanding of, and deep respect for, the beliefs and cultures of everyone in our global society.
Curriculum anchors and landing points
To help teachers to plan for progression within every area of the curriculum, subject leaders have developed 'anchors' and 'landing points'.
Anchors are themes or concepts that are woven within the fabric of each subject. As such, children come back to them time and time again throughout their time at primary school. An example of a curriculum anchor from History would be 'to understand chronology'. Every time a child studies History (whether it be an exploration of The Great Fire of London in Year 1 or a study of The Maya in Year 6), they are deepening and developing their understanding of chronology. These anchors, essentially, are what define a subject and a strong awareness of them is essential to ensuring progression across year groups.
To ensure that understanding is deepened each year, in relation to each curriculum anchor, we have developed landing points. For each anchor, these set out the typical expectations for knowledge and skill development at the end of three key points:
- End of Year 2 (KS1)
- End of Year 4 (LKS2)
- End of Year 6 (UKS2)
These are an invaluable tool in helping teachers to ensure progression within every national curriculum subject.
Anchors and landing points have been developed for each of the following:
- Art & Design
- Design & Technology
- Languages (Spanish)
In other subjects areas (such as English, mathematics and science), we use the national curriculum to map progression across key stages.
To deliver these goals we are purposeful and strategic in our implementation of the whole school curriculum. Our rigorous self-evaluation informs school development priorities and CPD to ensure we are effective as a whole staff team in meeting these aims.
We have created bespoke curriculum overviews, ensuring coherence and progression in both knowledge and skill development across all year groups in every subject. These have been designed to maximise opportunities for purposeful links between different subject disciplines whilst ensuring that each subject in the National Curriculum is taught discretely and effectively. Our timetable is carefully structured and includes both blocked and spaced learning to ensure efficient use of resources and the retention of knowledge and skills.
This structure provides us with the framework to focus on the most important element of all, the quality of teaching and learning. We are relentless in bringing the focus of professional dialogue back to core aspects of effective pedagogy. We have worked as a staff team to develop a “Parbold Douglas Guide to High Quality Teaching and Learning” which draws upon research and is discussed regularly to ensure it is refined and reflects the best of what we know about teaching effectively to achieve the best outcomes for all of our pupils. In order to facilitate purposeful professional dialogue, we hold weekly “teach meets” where principles or aspects of teaching and learning are discussed, reviewed or shared to promote for all our staff an opportunity to reflect on their classroom practice. This is supplemented with appropriate and high quality professional development for staff closely linked to our curriculum intent, whole school priorities and individual staff need whether that be subject or pedagogy specific.
We use assessment intelligently and purposefully to ensure it fulfills its main purpose: supporting teaching and learning and promoting progress for all children. Assessment processes and structures reflect subject specific need and support, and are a valued tool used within the classroom and are not a burden to staff.
The development of our learning environment has and continues to focus on ensuring that this contributes to our strong values and ethos and supports children’s learning and personal development. Reflective worship spaces are available in all classrooms and our motto and core Christian values are celebrated in all areas of school. We balance displays and opportunities to celebrate children’s achievements and work with working walls which support the learning journey for children in all classrooms.
Some of the practical delivery of the core purpose of our curriculum can be seen in the following procedures, systems and processes:
To secure for all children fluent and effective reading to enable them to access the wider curriculum, develop a rich vocabulary and enjoy reading for pleasure and as a door to further learning:
- Early reading and phonics is given a high priority and taught well in school using arrange of strategies to support all learners.
- Parents are supported in helping to develop reading habits and understanding of early reading knowledge and skills through parent information events.
- Reading for pleasure is prioritised with daily whole class reading for pleasure times in every class.
- Reading and high quality books and resources are invested to support reading at all ages.
- Vocabulary is taught explicitly and rigorously (based on research).
- Reading opportunities (fiction and non-fiction) are explicitly linked to specific subjects in all year groups.
- A strategic approach to the teaching of reading is in place.
- Our school environment reflects this intent through engaging library and reading spaces being developed across the school.
To secure for all children a fluency in number and an ability to manipulate number to support problem solving and reasoning:
- Fluency in number is given a high priority and children engage in daily fluency sessions across the school. In KS1 and KS2 these are daily morning warm up sessions.
- Online resources are used to support number fluency at home and at school.
- Cross school challenges, competitions and events ensure number fluency has a high profile across school.
- A range of resources support the teaching of mathematics and the use of a “CPA” (concrete, pictorial, abstract) approach to the teaching of maths
- Reasoning and problem solving are a feature of every maths lesson in school
To develop our children’s resilience and problem solving skills to enable them to link their knowledge and skills to be creative thinkers.
- Growth mind set language is used across school
- Growth mind set sessions are specifically taught, particularly in Key Stage 2.
- We build “challenge” opportunities within our curriculum to ensure children experience “struggle” in a supported learning environment.
- Our curriculum overviews make explicit links to prior or other teaching to ensure teachers and children can draw together knowledge and skills to develop ideas and learning.
- We promote and provide a range of learning opportunities both in and out of school to promote resilience e.g. residential visits, trips, adventure days.
To ensure children are able to communicate articulately and confidently in a range of forms and situations across the curriculum.
- We have developed an overview of opportunities for children to lead events and collective worship opportunities across the school. This ensures that over their time with us, each year children will have the chance to present and speak to an audience.
- We use “Picture News” as an engaging resource to support classroom discussion and debate about national and global issues.
- We focus on quality talk in the classroom and use “pedagogies of engagement” to encourage talk to promote learning across the curriculum.
- We use “Talk for Writing” to teach English. A central tenant of this method is the importance in oral language to support the construction of written language.
- Learning overviews for each subject unit have identified opportunities for writing and so children are able to use their writing skills and knowledge across the curriculum.
To provide our children with a secure knowledge and understanding of the National Curriculum to equip them for learning in secondary education and learning beyond.
- We have created bespoke curriculum overviews, ensuring coherence and progression in both knowledge and skill development across all year groups in every subject.
- Our timetable is carefully structured and includes both blocked and spaced learning to ensure efficient use of resources and the retention of knowledge and skills.
- All classes enjoy the whole curriculum, with our focus being on hard work every day for excellent outcomes for all.
- Excellent SEND provision with Individual Support Plans in place for pupils who need targeted support and effective intervention strategies in place.
To offer for all our children the knowledge and understanding of how to keep themselves healthy, both physically and mentally, to support their long term well-being.
- PE and sports have a high priority in school and how this contributes to a healthy lifestyle is explicitly discussed.
- The effective use of the whole school day to promote physical activity e.g. lunchtimes and the range of activities, the range of before and after school opportunities.
- Specific health and well-being lessons in Y5 and Y6.
- Specific Growth Mind-set and resilience teaching – Confident Minds.
- Opportunities to engage in a range activities to enjoy physical activities.
- Heartsmart as key PSHE resource – Heartsmart high five.
- Stable Lives – wider networks of support for pupils
Through our distinctively Christian ethos and an enriching and rigorous RE and Collective Worship curriculum, to share with all our children the life giving message of Jesus and an understanding of and deep respect for the beliefs and cultures of others.
- RE has been given the status of a core subject. It is a staple part of weekly timetables and strong cross-curricular links are in place (development of Good Works).
- Collective worship plays a central role in school life each day.
- Children experience high-quality worship led by church leaders every week in school.
- A member of the senior leadership team leads our active ethos group (Footstep Followers) who contribute to whole school worship and church service.
- Our PSHE Curriculum makes explicit links to our Christian values, ethos and to scripture so that learning is firmly rooted within our Christian ethos.
- Reflection and prayer spaces are available in every classroom and in areas around school
- Our learning environment is distinctively Christian
- Designated time built into the structure of our RE curriculum to focus on other faiths and worldviews. Teachers follow the suggestions in the Questful RE units.
- Artefacts, visitors and trips to sites of religious importance enrich children’s learning.