Our Curriculum Intent - Three Layers of Intent
1) The ‘base layer’ is that, like all schools in England, we must follow the National Curriculum – it sets out subjects and content which we must teach. Within this, however, there is flexibility so that we can interpret and plan to meet the needs and interests of our children now and for the future.
2) The ‘middle layer’ relates to our aim in the classroom, in the playground and in everything we do: we want St Michael's CE Primary School to be a happy and safe environment to learn where children are able to shine their light!
3) The ‘top layer’ relates specifically to how we deliver our teaching and learning in each subject, and it’s made up of five specific aims:
Our curriculum is implemented in a way that covers statutory requirements of the National Curriculum and our own curriculum age-related expectations; throughout, teachers will search for purposeful, meaningful opportunities to extend and deepen pupils’ learning at the appropriate level for individual children’s needs.
We want St Michael's CE Primary School to be a happy and healthy place to learn. The more enjoyable a topic is, the more engaged our pupils will be, and the more we will be able to meet the needs of all children in our school community. Visits, visitors, themed weeks and other enriching activities help to make the curriculum enjoyable.
Ofsted sets out a criterion to judge the quality of education: ‘the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.’ (School inspection handbook, point 178, p43). The skills and knowledge set out in our age-related expectations for each subject mean our curriculum content is very relevant for our pupils’ present and future lives.
The National Curriculum sets out ‘to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement’ (section 3.1, p6). Teachers introduce pupils to British and world-wide achievements, past and present. Further, we want to promote an appreciation and sense of awe and wonder when learning about the natural world.
A characteristic of effective learning is creative thinking – we want our children to develop this from the outset of their learning journey: our children will be creative in their ideas, in their questions, in their solutions. For our teachers, our curriculum has some flexibility built into it so that they can be creative, linking learning with books that inspire, for example.
Our Curriculum Implementation - Rationale
Our curriculum has been designed following extensive consultation with teachers and children. Various models of curriculum and schemes of work were critiqued before settling on our current overviews and schemes.
Leaders took on board views, but also were very mindful of ensuring a broad and balanced learning experience e.g. in History, a balance of British and world history units across each phase which promote a greater depth of understanding of events in Britain and globally. Further details on about each subject can be found on the curriulum page under each indivual subject - you will find overviews, progression maps and what schemes we use to support the delivery. These are regularly reviewed and updated.
We evaluate the impact of our curriculum in the following ways:
Pupil achievement and progress
We measure pupil achievement – the acquisition of knowledge and skills – and progress using a number of strategies, including: on-going teacher assessments, based on questioning in class, observations and pupil outcomes (which includes their work in books), supported by moderation in school, across our cluster and externally with other schools and with the local authority, pupils complete termly assessments which provide us with information about impact and this informs next steps pupils’ acquisition of vocabulary and knowledge through book scrutinies, learning conversations and learning walks. This all informs our Termly PITA (Point in time Assessments) for Reading, Writing and Maths where teachers indicate if children are ‘currently working below’, ‘working towards’, at ‘expected’ or at ‘greater depth'.
In foundation subjects, teachers do similar: they continually assess children’s learning which informs their subsequent teaching. At the end of a topic, teachers will make a summative assessment, indicating if children are ‘currently working below’, ‘working towards’, at ‘expected’ or at ‘greater depth' in a subject. These are then reviewed and finalised at the end of the school year for all foundation subjects.
Scrutiny of progress in books and learning conversations with children are key ways to assess impact (ensuring we have a triangulated approach). During these activities, we explore how successful our children have been in acquiring knowledge and skills in relation to their stage of learning. In conversations with children, teachers and school leaders will ask questions relating directly to age-related expectations and to times when they might have needed more support or when they experienced greater challenge.
Learning walks and other monitoring tasks support our assessment of impact.
Whole school areas for development are identified as a result of evaluating the impact of what we do.
We measure pupil attitudes using a number of strategies, including: