Our aim is to provide our children with an engaging, exciting and empowering curriculum that equips them with skills for life, where every child is recognised as a unique individual. Our curriculum is designed to: recognise individual starting points as foundations for learning; immerse pupils in literacy rich learning opportunities; engage pupils through experiences that ignite their curiosity to learn; promote creativity; and build independence and resilience. We believe that real life experiences and purposeful learning are crucial to supporting pupils to develop learning across the curriculum and in the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. They underpin the teaching of skills for reading and writing and maths. We promote positive attitudes to learning and an inclusive curriculum promoting tolerance, responsibility and an understanding of the local community and the wider world.
The curriculum has been designed with reading at its heart, using quality, key age appropriate texts. The foundation subjects are then organised to link with the main topic of the text. Texts are carefully chosen to reflect the interests of the children, where possible, and used to build upon prior learning or support future learning. This supports pupils’ learning in making connections and deepening learning, committing it to the children’s long term memory. Our rationale for the ‘blocking’ of many of the Foundation subjects is to ensure immersion in the area of study, having a greater impact on learning. Due to the limited vocabulary of many of our children, development of vocabulary is at the heart of the all subjects, alongside the use of knowledge organisers.
The learning is sequenced, through progression of skills, in all curriculum subjects. It is sequenced in a such a way that previous learning is used to make connections to future learning, through revisiting of themes, for example the book read as the class reader in one term is linked to the topic studied in a previous term. As children start a new area of study, an assessment is made of prior learning to support the children in adding new learning and making connections.
We use the White Rose Maths Mastery scheme of work and assess each unit pre and post teaching, to demonstrate the impact the teaching has had. Break weeks allow for the revisiting of areas where there have been gaps as seen in the assessments. Targets are set based on the gaps in assessment. In English we use a variety of quality texts including those from the No Nonsense Babcock literacy scheme, No Nonsense Spelling and Grammar, Cracking Comprehension. Early Reading is delivered through the Read Write Inc scheme. Once children have completed the RWI program, they move onto Reading Comprehension.
Through Monitoring we know:
- Pupils are engaged well and are excited in their learning of key texts –e.g. In the Year 4/5 class when the children’s topic was ‘Heroes & Villains’ they engaged enthusiastically reading ‘Beowolf’, story mapping and using drama to retell the story. This book was linked through history studying the Anglo Saxons and the Norman Invasion of Britain. Children were bringing into school further learning they had done at home in addition to homework.
- Recent pupil voice monitoring (November 2020) demonstrates that children are really enjoying the books they are reading and speak enthusiastically about them.
- Recent Pupil Voice Monitoring (November 2020) tells us that children enjoy the challenge that Music brings them.
- Empowering – e.g. in Music children tell us they have loved the opportunity to learn musical instruments, take part in performance, festivals and competitions to a range of audiences. We are part of the With Flying Colours Theatre & Arts Project – linked strongly to community cohesion and widening horizons bringing the theatre to the community. Singing in the choir at the Lord Mayors Carol Service (2019). Children have took part in the Remembrance Day Service at Devonport Park within the local community.
- Skills for Life – our whole school intent is for our children to leave the primary setting ready for the next stage in their learning. The heart of this is being able to Read, Write and use Maths. Results for 2020 (79.3%) demonstrate an improving trend in Year 1 Phonics (taken by Year 2 cohort in December 2020 due to the covid19 pandemic) and KS1 SATS. In KS2, there has been an improving trend over the last 3 years in Maths and Writing. Writing moved from -5.5 last year to -0.8 in terms of progress.
- The children are able to articulate the 6 defined learning characteristics, from our Visible Learning approach in order for them to be successful in their learning ( Being Prepared, Ambitious, Collaborative, Persevering, Explorer, and being Imaginative). They use the ‘learning pit’ to describe where they are on their learning journey and are more equipped to face challenge.
- Recognised as a Unique Individual – Through the topic ‘All About Me’ in EYFS and KS1 pupils have been learning the importance of ‘unique’ things about them. We have ‘Achievers’ assemblies weekly, celebrating the achievements of individuals chosen by the class teacher/adults and also one chosen by the children in the class. We celebrate achievements of pupils outside of school: dance, skating, gymnastics, swimming, sports awards etc. Children who have opportunities to perform in front of classes and in whole school assemblies, and at events outside of school. Pupils identified as having a talent in performance/drama were chosen to take part in a ‘Play in a Week’ during the half term holiday at the local Boys Grammar School. We celebrate talents and encourage pupils to develop new talents – the theme of assemblies in Autumn 1. This groups went to Theatre Royal 2 for a day to see behind the scenes about how a production is put together. They then went to watch the Production of ‘Nativity’ in the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
- Recognise Individual Starting Points – At the start of every unit of work in foundation and science children are assessed on where they are with the knowledge and understanding of the learning, discussions about previous learning, support the deepening of learning. In the EYFS baseline data is crucial to assess where our children are in terms of development matters to support them to make progress in all aspects of the EYFS curriculum. A significant minority of our children have SEMH needs. Our children in EYFS this year, have a very low baseline in terms of Communication and Language, we have therefore bought in additional Speech and Language support, with the therapist working with individuals, groups and with CPD for staff.
- Experiences to Ignite Curiosity – Hooks are often used to start a topic theme. With Flying Colours – children inspired to write and perform.
- Promote Creativity – this is strongly evident through our links with the Theatre through DHSB and the With Flying Colours Project. We are an Arts Mark school, beginning the process of application for the award this year with the Statement of Commitment.
- Build Independence and Resilience – through our 6 learning dispositions, the children are developing a growth mind-set in order to learn how to persevere and to manage setbacks. Teachers use levels of challenge in their expectations of what the children can achieve. Teachers instil that grappling with learning is a positive thing and encourage children to use a range of strategies in order to overcome difficulties and challenges. Teachers model and produce a WAGOLL for children to know what Success looks like. Teachers co-construct success criteria with the children so that they can systematically check that they have achieved the expectations. The children assess their learning using the ‘Learning Pit’ in their books and talk about which Learning Dispositions they have used.
- We have a therapist who works with specific targeted pupils in order to support them to develop the ability to become more resilient.
- Real Life Experiences – Forest school and Outdoor Learning opportunities. Trips and visits/visitors in school. Local area visits to the Library, Gutter Tor – whole school Forest School Day, Local history studies in Devonport and Plymouth Hoe. Visitors to school who share stories about their lives – careers week. Reading Owl Babies in Year 2 – Reading with torches in the dark. Play in a Week – DHSB funded project. Visit to TR2 – Theatre Royal production site and then watched a performance of Nativity at the Theatre Royal. Welsh National Opera visit for Year 3. All KS2 classes Sailing in the Summer Term. Royal Marine Band Concert.
- Promoting Tolerance – in an area where racism is evident, we work closely with PSCOs and members of the community to support community cohesion. There has been a reduction in the number of perpetrators of racist incidents over the last few years. Through PSHE, RE and Assembly themes and inviting in visitors from a range of cultures, beliefs and backgrounds, to promote tolerance, and to encourage community cohesion.
- Responsibility – We have children representing their classes as part of the School Council. Year 6 pupils take on the responsibility of being ‘prefects’ to supervise lunchtime activities and events in the school. We have Litter Pickers and Gardeners who take on the responsibility of caring for the school site. Children in Year 3 initiated a project in Devonport Park working to encourage dog owners to clear up dog mess using a bags in a device made by the children an attached to fences around the park. As part of our Forest School and Outdoor Learning, children have been growing food and other plants in the school grounds and working with the Devonport Park Community. Through work done in Forest School, the school’s assessment by judges from ‘Plymouth & South West in Bloom’, has seen the school receive a number of awards over the last few years. We seek opportunities to contribute to the environment and have won trees to plant in the school grounds this term.
- Understanding of the local community and the wider world – We encourage parents and children to take part in community events, previously working with other agencies with Plymouth Respect Festival, including the Race Equality Council, local artists, Community Housing, Police, Fire Brigade and the local council. We work closely with the local police and they often come into school to engage with children and parents.