Curriculum Intent Statement & Whole School Curriculum Overview
At Monkshouse Primary School, our intent is to provide children with a rich, vibrant curriculum that is ambitious for all learners. Our primary focus is to raise aspiration; engendering a sense of personal pride; building resilience, and ensuring that all children experience success in an inclusive environment. It is designed to inspire enthusiasm for learning by being knowledge rich and rooted in a progressive skills framework, that sits within a whole school cross-curricular approach. Enriched by the provision of memorable experiences, it engages and excites the children, fuelling their curiosity and creating a thirst for learning.
Our belief is that children learn best when they enjoy the topics being covered. This enables children to make meaningful links with their learning, whilst understanding its purpose and seeing its relevance to their past, present and future.
Our school values of Caring, Confidence, Perseverance, Respect, Responsibility and Teamwork are essential elements that go across our entire curriculum and are embedded in our daily practice, thus developing self-esteem and belief in their own abilities, whilst also creating a life-long learning culture.
Community involvement is an integral part of our curriculum provision. We regularly invite families and visitors to share learning experiences with us. Our curriculum enables us to build strong relationships, celebrate diversity, encourage respect and build a sense of community, thus supporting overall pupil well-being and happiness.
Ultimately, we want all of our children to be the best that they can be, making a positive contribution to the world in which they live.
With our pupils’ emotional and physical well-being at the forefront of our thinking, we deliver a curriculum that fulfils all statutory requirements and more. The fundamental ethos of our school is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
Teaching and learning opportunities are thoughtfully mapped out to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute successfully in the modern world. Pupils revisit, apply and deepen their prior learning within and across subject areas.
A blocked curriculum approach has been implemented in the school to ensure coverage and progression across a number of curriculum areas, ensuring cross-curricular opportunities are offered where possible. This approach enables project based learning. Subjects are taught as part of a theme which is designed to be exciting and engaging. Displays in all classrooms reflect the theme and ‘memorable experiences’ are built in to engage, immerse and hook the children into their learning experience.
Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading and undertaking a regular and robust programme of monitoring, evaluation and review. All subject leaders are offered training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support their colleagues and curriculum development throughout the school. CPD for all staff is a priority to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver the highest standards across the curriculum.
Children are expected to work hard and demonstrate positive learning behaviours to both maximise their own individual learning potential, as well as contribute to the school and wider community. We are committed to working in partnership with parents as we believe that when home and school work closely together we get the best outcomes for our pupils.
Central to strong learning behaviours and the curriculum design, is an expectation of quality first teaching and learning. Teaching staff use the curriculum pathways and planning format to ensure that learning is sequenced so that children build knowledge and skills over time – both building skills and knowledge within the year group curriculum, but also building on, and making connections with, prior knowledge from other years in school.
The school takes pride in providing an inclusive environment where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make good progress. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that suits their individual needs. SEND and Disadvantaged children are an area of focus for the school to try to ensure that these children make strong progress from their starting points.
Teachers use assessment effectively to check understanding and inform next steps so that knowledge is gained, applied and consolidated. Pupil progress meetings are held x 3 a year, linked to agreed data drop points, to discuss the progress of every child and put in additional interventions as required.
We believe that our fundamental task is to teach our children to speak clearly and articulately and to read and write effectively. We pay close attention to the development of speech and language skills and have a trained TA (who now trains others) to intervene with speech and language support thereby removing as many barriers to learning as possible. Reading is promoted across the school with a focus on confidence and enjoyment. We want our pupils to develop a love of reading during their time at the school and be exposed to a range of quality literature. High quality texts are used in all year groups to promote reading skills, adventurous vocabulary and extended sentence structures. Attractive book corners are established in each classroom where children have free access to books. Children are read to regularly so that they have a love of reading and listening. Phonics teaching has priority in Reception and Year 1. We recognise that fluency in reading enables the pupils to access all areas of the curriculum.
Writing is taught across school and is centred around high quality modelling of writing by our staff. All writing units begin with a diagnostic write which is used by staff to skilfully identify the individual elements of writing that the children need to work on and include in their final draft. All writing units have a clear purpose and these are shared with children. During the writing process, all children are exposed to high quality model texts and have the opportunity to unpick these to identify what makes them a good piece of writing. Children also have the opportunity to take part in guided writing and shared writing sessions to ensure that children have a good understanding of the authorial intent prior to completing their independent writing.
Additionally, children are encouraged to read over their writing at regular intervals and edit where necessary, thus replicating the authorial process.
White Rose is used to deliver maths and we ensure that the children have sufficient practice to be confident in using and understanding numbers. The maths curriculum provides a strong basis for more complex learning later.
An increasing emphasis is put on the value of outdoor learning and the school works closely with an experienced ‘Forest School’ specialist. The outdoor environment is considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children and we are driven by our desire to ensure that all learners have access to good quality educational experiences beyond the classroom.
Our PSHE curriculum plays a significant role in meeting the needs of our pupils. The children are emotionally secure and are taught resilience and self-regulation through comprehensive PSHE lessons and mindfulness. Our curriculum recognises the importance of pupils’ physical and mental well-being as well as shaping their long-term lifestyle choices. In circle time they learn about tolerance, respect and care for others as well as empathy. We are also fortunate to have an ELSA-trained member of staff and others who can deliver FRIENDS, Art therapy and Lego therapy.
Children are presented with a range of opportunities relating to sport and the creative arts and have opportunities to work with specialist coaches and elite athletes who are regularly invited into the school. They develop well physically, socially and personally, participating in a full and varied PE curriculum and range of after school clubs. They enjoy challenge and are taught sporting behaviour – learning how to fail, as well as how to win graciously and have an understanding of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.
A varied timetable for extra-curricular activities is offered by the school enabling the children to extend their range of experiences eg curling, tri-golf etc.
Our children have access to a wide, relevant and varied curriculum, allowing each of them to excel as individuals and be the best that they can be. Their enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour.
The children achieve well by developing knowledge and skills as they progress through the school. Our children achieve above the expected standards by the end of Key Stage 2.
The impact of the curriculum is monitored closely by SLT, subject leaders and Governors through analysis of data, lesson observations, book scrutinies and pupil interviews.
The children demonstrate positive attitudes to learning through high levels of curiosity, concentration and enjoyment. They develop into confident, independent and resilient learners during their time with us and leave the school well-prepared to access the challenges of the secondary school curriculum. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future learners is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.
The children feel safe to try new things.
Quality first teaching supported by targeted interventions, where appropriate, impacts in a positive way on children’s outcomes.
Our children are able to form meaningful relationships based on mutual respect and trust, recognising and celebrating difference, both within our school community and in the wider world.
Our children have aspirations for the future and know that these can be realised with hard work and determination. They grow up being able to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live.
Early Years Foundation Stage
The Reception year is a child’s first year in school. It is the building blocks for developing lifelong characteristics of effective learning. We provide children with a rich variety of teaching and learning experiences that are appropriate to their needs and development. We aim to enrich our youngest learners with the passion, determination, curiosity and resilience to want to find out more about the world around them.
The EYFS is organised into seven areas of learning which lay secure foundations for their future in school. Ensuring children are ready to progress on to Year 1 at the end of the Reception Year.
These areas of learning are:
Planning and development guidance derives from the DfE Development Matters and the Birth 2 Five documents. These contain checkpoints that indicate if a child is at the expected level of development. We have used these to inform our statements of development that we assess children against every large term to see if they are working on track or working towards that expected level. The Early Learning Goals are the DfE’s checkpoint for the end of the Reception year that all our Reception children are assessed against. The ELGs do not define our curriculum which is much broader and deeper. Excellent teaching and learning with very young children is based on high quality interactions with staff. Our planning ensures that children have purposeful and progressive learning experiences that focus on the whole child. The Prime areas of learning underpin everything we do and our Reception learning environment reflects that. Our indoor shared area promotes communication friendly spaces where high quality communication and interaction occurs and children are comfortable to explore their emotions and relationships with peers. The outdoor area has a focus on physical development, language development and peer relationships. Children have access to a wide range of large construction materials, a large mud kitchen and various sports equipment that support the development of core muscles, balance and hand-eye coordination. The classrooms are hubs of innovation with small world play, art and design opportunities and creative literacy and practical mathematics activities.
Children in Reception have an outdoor learning experience every week in the school’s forest area. Forest Adventures are based on the theories of Forest School and are a tool for developing awareness of the natural world, self-confidence, team work, problem solving, communication and social skills, resilience, imagination, independence and empathy. The sessions are led by the class teacher and are greatly enjoyed by the children.
Through playing and exploring our children develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise, build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They are presented with opportunities to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others while they investigate and solve problems, helping them to become active learners and teachers of their own discoveries. We prepare our youngest learners to be capable citizens of the 22nd Century.
Key Stage 1 (5-7 years) and Key Stage 2 (7-11 years)
The school, in common with many others, is required to follow the National Curriculum. The subjects that the children study are: English, Maths, Science, Computing, History, Geography, Design and Technology (DT), Art and Design, Music, Physical Education (PE) and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL).
The school also teaches PSHE and provides Relationship and Sex education (RSE). RE is taught at all Key Stages.
The curriculum in this school is taught either through cross-curricular topic work or by more direct teaching in specific lessons. We aim to make all aspects of the children’s learning relevant and enjoyable. Parents/Carers receive termly curriculum overviews detailing what will be covered by their child's year group.