Our curriculum is deeply rooted in our mission, vision, values and ethos. The principles on which our curriculum intent is founded were developed as a whole staff in November 2017. Governors contributed to the policy in July 2019. There was an opportunity for parental input via the Parents’ Forum in December 2019.
As a very large school, catering for an increasingly diverse community, it is our responsibility to enable each and every individual to achieve their best, both academically and personally. This diversity brings a richness to our school which we celebrate and capitalise on. Reading and vocabulary development are at the core of our curriculum to enable children from all backgrounds to achieve academic success.
Our curriculum content and delivery:
- Provide a broad and balanced education, incorporating the full range of National Curriculum subjects.
- Provide opportunities for deep learning leading to high quality outcomes.
- Enable pupils to develop knowledge, understand concepts and acquire skills that will enable them to succeed in life, particularly in the next stage of their education.
- Ensure that there are ambitious expectations for all learners, irrespective of background and additional needs, enabling them to fulfil their potential.
- Equip pupils with core skills which they can identify and apply to a range of situations across the whole curriculum and in their wider lives.
- Promote our school ethos and values in order to support pupils’ personal and social development.
- Nurture pupils’ physical and mental health and equips them with the skills and knowledge to maintain good health throughout their lives.
- Enable pupils’ creativity to flourish through a wide range of learning opportunities and teaching methods.
- Promote a love of learning, encouraging pupils to become curious, inquiring and independent learners with ‘broader horizons’ and high aspirations for their futures.
- Promote the development of pupils’ individual interests, strengths and hobbies and effectively utilises the expertise and special interests of members of staff and the wider community.
Our curriculum implementation is organised as follows to best meet our curriculum intent:
- Our curriculum is based on the subjects and content of the National Curriculum.
- Some of the content is specifically designed/modified to reflect the local context and the expertise and interests of teaching staff.
- This content is used as the vehicle for developing both subject specific skills and ‘core’ skills, as well as extending and deepening knowledge.
- Schemes of work ensure that there is an appropriate progression of skills and content within each subject, with opportunities for consolidation of prior learning.
- Each year group has a termly topic with a science, history or geography focus. Many topics include objectives for at least two of these subjects. All opportunities to exploit meaningful cross-curriculum links are taken. Therefore, wherever possible, the content of termly units of work for other subjects aims to complement these topics.
- The majority of ‘Talk for Writing’ units are derived from the termly topic and there is a strong emphasis on consolidating literacy skills in other subjects, particularly in ‘topic’ lessons. See our English policy for information on our English curriculum.
- The mathematics curriculum is more independent, following the ‘White Rose’ scheme. However, maths skills are consolidated through other subjects, particularly science and geography. See our mathematics policy for information on our mathematics curriculum.
- Subjects are generally taught as discrete lessons. However, where there are very close links, for example, between an ‘Animals and Humans’ science topic and a ‘Healthy Eating’ PSHE unit of work, the PSHE content is taught as part of the topic. These subject cross-overs ensure a meaningful context for learning and maximise the amount of time available for other learning.
- The starting point for many of the termly topics is considering the outcome with the children. This could be a presentation to parents, an information leaflet, a film, a debate etc. Once the children know what they are aiming for, they can determine, along with the teacher, what they will need to learn in order to achieve this outcome. This enables the children to direct some of their learning and see that it has a meaningful purpose thereby increasing motivation and enjoyment.
- There is a focus on creative and practical curriculum delivery: craft, modelling, drama, debates, music, film and storytelling.
- A variety of methods for recording learning are used: artwork, models, photographs, mind-maps, charts, tables, graphs, writing in role, presentations, comic strips, films, animations etc.
- Quality over quantity: there is a focus on learning smaller aspects of a topic in depth, in order to produce fewer but higher-quality pieces of work.
- At the end of each topic, classes partner with a class from a different year group in order to share and celebrate their learning. This gives the children an audience for their work, increasing motivation; and consolidates their learning, through explaining it orally to their partner.
- The majority of topics are enriched with a relevant trip or visitor to school and Key Stage 2 children participate in a topic-based history day each year (Y3 - Romans, Y4 - Vikings, Y5 -WWII and Y6 - Victorians).
- Each year, the curriculum is further enriched through whole-school themed days, weeks or terms. These are often in response to topical events or issues, such as The Football World Cup or Earth Day. These are particularly good opportunities for classes from different year groups to work together.
- Opportunities to make links with groups outside of school are maximised. These enrich the curriculum and broaden our pupils’ horizons. The school has particularly strong links with AgeUK Margate. We have links with a school in Newcastle through the Y3 topic on a contrasting locality in the UK.
- Parental engagement is maximised through an annual topic-based presentation to parents, termly ‘Come and See’ events and topic-based termly home learning projects.
- See our EYFS policy for information on how our early years’ curriculum is delivered.
The impact of the curriculum is monitored in a number of ways:
- The schemes of work for each unit of work provide the framework for curriculum delivery but the formative assessment carried out by teachers informs precise teaching of individual groups of children to ensure that their needs are being effectively met.
- Quality Assurance is undertaken by year group leaders and senior leaders three times a year. This involves lesson observations, learning walks, book and planning scrutiny and pupil voice interviews. SLT also monitors books from across the curriculum on a regular basis. This enables school leaders to evaluate whether the curriculum is fit for purpose and whether it is being delivered in a way that matches our curriculum intent.
- Termly pupil progress interviews and year team data reviews identify pupils who are making accelerated progress and those who have made insufficient progress (based on teacher assessment and PUMA and PIRA test data). This gives staff an opportunity to review and modify curriculum content, if necessary, in order to meet the needs of all pupils effectively.
- Data analysis by YGL and SLT at the end of seasonal terms tracks the progress of different groups of children, including PP and FSM pupils, pupils with SEN and EAL and gender groups. This also informs curriculum review.
- Governors monitor whether the school is complying with its funding agreement and teaching a “broad and balanced curriculum” which includes the required subjects, through monitoring visits in conjunction with school leaders and receiving reports from curriculum leads at governors’ meetings.