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 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.
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.
However, a way to tackle this difference (or disadvantage) between children is to deal directly with the disparity in their knowledge and vocabulary. Therefore, by giving these elements of the curriculum more of a focus for teaching, we aim to diminish the differences in knowledge and vocabulary, whilst still giving all our children the procedural knowledge (skills), traits and qualities they will need to function as young people and adults in society.
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 three elements that are complimentary, but also interdependent. These are;
- The Essentials
- The Foundations
- The Specialisms
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 which 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, R.E, PHSE 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.
English is taught discretely in each year group. We follow the Read Write Inc programme for phonics in EYFS and KS1 to ensure consistency with phonics teaching and learning. We follow the Talk for Writing approach which incorporates a reading into writing learning journey. English is a core subject and is at the heart of our curriculum. In addition to this, English is taught throughout the curriculum, linking to the topics and individual projects. Each project covers a range of reading and writing genres and, where appropriate, links to other areas of the curriculum.
Spoken language is a vital taught skill and is modelled and promoted throughout the curriculum and across all subjects.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are taught discretely and promoted throughout all writing opportunities, with each year group following National Curriculum objectives.
The purpose of mathematics in our school is to develop:
- Positive attitudes towards the subject and awareness of the relevance of mathematics in the real world
- Competence and confidence in using and applying mathematical knowledge, concepts and skills
- An ability to solve problems, to reason, to think logically and to work systematically and accurately
- Initiative and motivation to work both independently and in cooperation with others
- Confident communication of maths where pupils ask and answer questions, openly share work and learn from mistakes
- An ability to use and apply mathematics across the curriculum and in real life
- An understanding of mathematics through a process of enquiry and investigation
We aim to provide a stimulating and exciting learning environment that takes account of different learning styles and uses appropriate resources to maximise teaching & learning.
Breadth of study Careful planning and preparation ensures that throughout the school children engage in:
- practical activities and games using a variety of resources
- problem solving to challenge thinking
- individual, paired, group and whole class learning and discussions
- purposeful practise where time is given to apply their learning
- open and closed tasks
- a range of methods of calculating e.g. mental, pencil & paper and using a calculator
- working with computers as a mathematical tool
Through our creative approach to teaching and learning we also seek to explore and utilise further opportunities to use and apply mathematics across all subject areas.
Science is fully covered throughout the curriculum. Some projects have a science focus, and others will have less of a scientific emphasis. Scientific enquiry is planned throughout the year for each year group, with opportunities for children to plan and investigate using their scientific knowledge and skills.
Some Science objectives may be taught in a discrete, mini Science block to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum objectives throughout the year groups.
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.