Curriculum Intent Statement
Changes in school leadership and the impact of the global pandemic have required us to reflect on our curriculum offer for our children. As we begin to establish a new 4 element curriculum model, we will ensure that all our children have the knowledge and love of learning to be ready to thrive in the next stage of their education.
We would describe our curriculum as ‘knowledge-engaged’. This means;
- Knowledge underpins and enables the application of skill.
- We aim for children to master a body of domain (subject-specific) knowledge and in certain subjects ‘enquiry drivers’ defined by the school.
- Our curriculum will be organised into discrete subjects with cross-curricular links only being made where they are relevant to learning.
- Although knowledge and vocabulary acquisition are our main aims, this is intertwined with procedural knowledge.
- Children will gain knowledge about their own personal development through having access to a variety of first-hand experiences.
Our children largely come from a White British family background, disadvantaged with a high level of deprivation, disadvantaged and vulnerability. We have a high percentage who start with low or significantly low speech and language and our SEND and number of children with an EHCP is much higher than national. With these facts in mind, our curriculum has to be designed to provide our children with elements that might not otherwise be gained from their experience outside of school.
It is our school’s aim to maximise the potential of all pupils including those identifiable as Disadvantaged, EAL, SEND and More Able. We aspire to accelerate the learning of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils in order to diminish the difference in progress and attainment between them and their peers. The curriculum also makes provision to enable pupils to work at greater depth within age related expectations.
Based on their backgrounds, children arrive at school with differing levels of access to educational and cultural experience – cultural capital. This leads to variable levels of knowledge and understanding about the world from child to child and often distinct difference in the richness of their vocabulary. With the limitations of school’s time and budget, it is unfeasible to ‘plug’ this gap purely through trying to offer real life experience. Although educational visits and first-hand experiences remain a valuable enrichment opportunity, they can’t realistically be the single driver for helping children learn about the world and its culture.
At West Melton Primary, we aim to provide a broad and balanced, vocabulary and language rich curriculum that meets the diverse needs of our children. We have created a curriculum that is bespoke to us. Each subject is underpinned by current research and the ambition that our children will be well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the next stage of their education. Our curriculum has been designed in four elements that are complimentary, but also interdependent. These are;
- The Essentials
- The Foundations
- The Specialisms
- The Developmentals
Our ambition is to ensure that our children thrive, achieve and succeed and that our school is the best it can be, serving the community we are part of. As part of this, we celebrate the unique nature of our community. The implementation of these core elements and principles provides all our children with the support, knowledge and skills they are entitled to learn. We aim to make every lesson count.
We are highly ambitious for all our children, irrespective of their background or academic prowess. All staff know the key knowledge and skills that children should achieve at the end of each year and learning is carefully planned to meet these points.
We ensure the intent of the curriculum considers the needs of our disadvantaged pupils with a ‘pedagogy of power’, not a ‘pedagogy of poverty’. Our children with special educational needs and disabilities are also provided with a rich and relevant curriculum which, where possible, matches that of their peers. The curriculum is not narrowed as children get older.
The essentials are English and Maths which hold a priority position in the school day. They aim at teaching the children the knowledge and understanding needed to access the other two elements of the curriculum (The Foundations and The Specialisms) but also to master the essential skills needed to be successful in the next stages of their education and on into adulthood.
As a school, reading has a particular ‘weighting’ within our English curriculum, as we believe reading to the key skill used to access all learning and from which to derive pleasure.
In order to ensure the children at West Melton achieve their full potential we have centred the Foundations element of the curriculum around three enquiry drivers; creativity, curiosity and opportunity. There is an enquiry-based approach that takes children on a journey of memorable learning through rich and purposeful experiences, culminating in authentic outcomes which leave a legacy on the wider world. Our curriculum fosters an ambition for our children to deepen their curiosity about, understanding of, and respect for, the world around them, whilst being supportive of their health and wellbeing. We are able to adapt seamlessly to changes by harnessing fluency between classroom and home learning.
The Foundations are carefully designed through enquiry drivers, taking children from what they already know to newly acquired knowledge and skills. This ensures coverage, progression and retention of transferrable knowledge and skills. It aims to provide accessible, engaging and aspirational lessons where learners thrive and build the social and ‘cultural capital’ they need to make choices about their own future, overcoming any barriers. In order to achieve this our curriculum intent is underpinned by the following principles:
- Relevant and current
- Impacts on long-term memory
- Provides wider-ranging opportunities
- Empowers children
This element of our curriculum is made up of P.E, Music, Computing and MFL. Each of these subjects are taught following a knowledge and skills-based approach/scheme which is progressive across the year groups and key stages. At the curriculum development stage, where possible, subject leaders have worked alongside specialist teachers to ensure that each Scheme of Work or Programme of Study is underpinned by secure subject knowledge.
- E – AMAVEN: Pupils at West Melton Primary school participate in weekly high-quality P.E and sporting activities. Our P.E program (AMAVEN) is carefully designed to ensure all children develop skills in a variety of sports activities. The program is progressive across all year groups from EYFS-Y6. It allows children to develop the confidence, tolerance and appreciation of their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses. At West Melton Primary school, we provide opportunities for children to engage in extra-curricular activities and competitive sporting events. This is an inclusive approach which endeavours to encourage not only physical development but all the well-being for all pupils.
- Music – Music Express: Music is an important part of primary education, and it can enhance children’s knowledge-learning, well-being and confidence. At West Melton Primary School we teach music by following the Music Express Scheme of Work. Music Express is a skills-based music curriculum that is progressive across all year groups EYFS-Y6.
- Computing – Purple Mash: We recognise that computing is a specialist subject and not all teachers are computing specialists. The Purple Mash scheme of work enables clear coverage of the computing curriculum whilst also providing support and CPD for less confident teachers to deliver lessons. All teachers at this school are Purple Mash trained.
MFL: It is our intention to ensure that by the end of our children’s primary education, they have acquired an understanding of both spoken and written French & Spanish, confidence to speak in French & Spanish with others and know how important other languages can be in their future. Throughout KS2 we give our children the opportunity to experience two languages, before the Y6 cohort specialise in their chosen language for their final year. To best prepare them for the next stage of education, this Y6 MFL Programme of Study has been designed by the Secondary school to which our children feed and is focused on language skills and engagement, vocabulary connections, etymology and word origins.
Through this element of our curriculum, we intend to offer our pupils experiences and opportunities that are designed to focus on their personal development; building resilience, confidence and self-esteem.
- PSHE: Rotherham School Improvement Service (RoSIS) has created a comprehensive scheme of work using the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning guidelines (SEAL) to ensure that schools are fully supporting children in all aspects of personal, social and health education. In each year group, your children discover different termly topics split into a number of lessons. Within each of these lessons there are helpful ideas, resources and activities, which support the way that we embed PSHE within our classrooms and more widely across the whole school, giving children the necessary support needed to help understand their world and how to live safely within it.
- E – SACRE: Pupils at West Melton engage in an enquiry based approach where they can develop an understanding and appreciation for the expression of beliefs, cultural practices of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. Pupils at West Melton also explore the contribution of these religious views and the effect on the local, national and wider global community.
As well as PSHE and RE, this element encompasses provision for Wraparound Care and extra-curricular activities that run from 7:45am to 5:30pm, alongisde enrichment opportunities that fall within the usual school day as part of certain learning themes or topics that are being covered. In order that this element doesn’t appear a ‘bolt-on’, we plan for a variety of experiences that we want our children to have during their time at West Melton, forming the basis of our Developmental Pledge ‘50 things to experience while at West Melton’. These might be anything from baking, going on a woodland walk, staying away from home overnight, going to the theatre or taking a trip to the coast.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Headteacher takes overall responsibility for the curriculum. Subject Leaders monitor their particular subject to ensure that it is implemented consistently and effectively in line with the agreed policies. Consultation relating to the curriculum is facilitated from parents through newsletters and questionnaires, from children through pupil discussions and questionnaires, class discussion and the school council, and from staff and governors at regular meetings
Assessment, Recording, Monitoring and Evaluation
Short and medium term assessment is the responsibility of the class teacher and is in line with the assessment policy. However, teachers will use informal assessment and observation on a daily basis to determine what children can do independently and therefore plan next steps for learning. Formative assessments take many different forms and are reflected in the pupil’s books/work in the detailed marking and provision of constructive feedback. Feedback follows the school’s policy and identifies areas for children to improve giving focused challenges and expecting children to take ownership of their learning and respond and reflect in order to improve. Summative assessments support teacher assessments in the core subjects and children are presented with these in a relaxed format so as to cause minimal anxiety for pupils. These are used to help prepare children though the year groups for the end of key stage testing as our statutory duty.
EYFS pupils are assessed using the Foundation Stage Profile. Pupil profiles are established for each child in the EYFS and assessments are made against the Foundation Stage Profile Statements.
Children’s progress and attainment in each subject will be assessed by their teacher against the learning outcomes and end of year expectations. Pupil progress will be reported to parents at three points in the year either in writing or at an appointment where parents are invited to discuss their child’s progress. More informal class teacher/parent discussions happen on a daily basis before or after school.
Each year group has a set of non-negotiable allocations for various aspects of the curriculum, including English, mathematics and PE. Teachers are free to arrange their afternoon timetable to make the most of cross-curricular opportunities and the needs of pupils. Sometimes subjects and activities might be ‘blocked’ or run over successive afternoons.