Nurture, Aspire, Achieve
The OFSTED framework for September 2019 places an important focus on the broad and balanced curriculum:
At the heart of the EIF is the new ‘quality of education’ judgement, the purpose of which is to put a single conversation about education at the centre of inspection. This conversation draws together curriculum, teaching, assessment and standards. In doing this, we draw heavily on the working definition of the curriculum that Ofsted has used over the last couple of years. This definition uses the concepts of ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’ to recognise that the curriculum passes through different states: it is conceived, taught and experienced. Leaders and teachers design, structure and sequence a curriculum, which is then implemented through classroom teaching. The end result of a good, well-taught curriculum is that pupils know more and are able to do more. The positive results of pupils’ learning can then be seen in the standards they achieve.
Inspecting the curriculum - May 2019
As a school, we follow the current statutory National Curriculum. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject.
The aim of our curriculum is to support children to be successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens through a broad and balanced curriculum that can be accessed by all children. As a school, we believe that all children excel in something - and this may not be literacy and/or Mathematics. Our aim is to give every child a chance to shine in some aspect of their school life and perhaps nurture a passion for the future.
At the heart of our curriculum is ‘Nurture’ – we firmly believe that if children are not happy and safe and that their wellbeing is not high on the agenda, then children will not learn to the best of their ability. That is why PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) as well as developing a positive growth mindset, are the main drivers for our curriculum. They are embedded into all aspects.
The curriculum is centered around carefully chosen themes which link with the class novel. Although staff teach through a cross-curricular approach, we do not make tenuous links between subjects. Therefore, some subjects are taught discretely.
From September 2019, the topic themes are be based around a question / a line of enquiry that will support the children to reach their own conclusions based on evidence gathered during the topic. This then supports oracy and writing.
THE GILDERSOME CURRICULUM
Please click on the links below to see how we have organised our curriculum:
Firm emphasis on Reading, Writing and Mathematics
Our topics are carefully designed to support the children's learning in Literacy as a main focus. Constructive links to other subjects are made throughout.
An example of how the focus of a topic can enrich writing can be seen in the Year 2 topic, 'Castles'. Here pupils learn about 'Traditional Tales'. Many of these are set around castles, thus providing good opportunities to compliment the learning in both History and English.
In Key Stage 1 we use the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) phonics programme. For more information on phonics, click here.
In order to reach their full potential children should be challenged. We build this into our curriculum by beginning each topic with a challenge. The challenge provides our pupils not only with motivation, but also adds a sense of purpose to their work.
In many cases the challenge involves entering a local or national competition, such as submitting a film to the Leeds Young Person's Film Festival. In other topics the challenges might include performing dramas, or holding exhibitions for parents.
50 Things to do before you leave gildersome primary school
We recognise that learning is more than just the National Curriculum and that in order for children to get the best out of life, we have to consider how Cultural capital impacts on children's life long learning skills. With this in mind, we have created '50 things to do before you leave Gildersome Primary School. We hope this list helps to promote positive play, outdoor experiences, life skills and enjoyment. There are so many experiences that contribute to a child’s education, many of which are free and on our doorstep.
In 2012 a report by the National Trust entitled ‘Natural Childhood’ highlighted how today’s children are losing touch with the natural world and the long-term effect this can have on a child’s education and health. It found that fewer than 1 in 10 children play regularly outdoors and that time spent playing in parks, woods, and fields has reduced dramatically due to digital technology, lack of time, green spaces, and parental fears.
In February 2016, a two-year study funded by the government found 1 in 9 children in England have not set foot in a park or forest, on a beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months. We are so fortunate to live in an area in which parks and forests are so close by. Beaches are a little further away, but certainly not inaccessible
The list of ‘50 Things to do Before you Leave Gildersome Primary School’ will be sent home at the beginning of each school year as a reminder to you and your child about what fun you could be having in the school holidays. We have worked hard as a staff to identify where these activities can be used to enhance your children’s learning in and around school, linked to our topics from Nursery to Year 6 (hence the ticks so far). We encourage you to add to our ticks every time you enjoy these experiences with your child- as you can see, they are not one-offs and most of them cost very little (or nothing).
You can see the list here
Learning with experts
Children respond well to seeing a different face in the classroom so, where possible, to enhance each topic, we identify key partners with whom we can work. Many of our partners are now regular visitors to school. Currently our teachers are regularly supported in school by professional dance instructors, sports coaches and representatives from our local religious organisations.
We also plan educational visits for each year group to supplement and support the work done in school. These visits are carefully planned and costed to ensure that they represent good value for money. Parents are asked for voluntary contributions to cover the costs. However, if an insufficient amount of money is raised, the difficult decision may have to be taken to cancel trips and visits. The policy is that all children or none of the children partake in the visits. We will not exclude individual children unless there are extenuating circumstances. If parents have concerns around the costs then please speak to the school as we may be able to help. We aim for costs to be no more than £30 in any one year, with the exception of residential visits in Year 5 and 6 where the costs tend to be around £150.
Please see the educational visits policy for more information - this can be found on the 'Policies' page.
If you'd like to share your area of expertise with our children, please contact us to discuss the potential opportunities.
Learning with families and our community
Parental support is very important to the progress that children make. To build on this, opportunities for parents to become involved in the learning are identified at the very beginning of each topic. These opportunities are primarily communicated to parents via the 'Learning Blogs' on this site.
The Learning Blogs showcase life in school, enabling parents to gain a clear view of what their children are learning, how they can best support this at home and what opportunities exist for them to become involved in school itself. Homework is a part of learning - it helps to reinforce, support and extend children's learning so that they can make quicker progress. Your support with homework tasks is an essential aspect of school life and we appreciate parent and carers help with this.
Each term, we hold an 'Open Session' where parents and carers can come into school to join in with our curriculum and see what a typical day is like. The focus for these sessions have been closely linked to the curriculum and have included lessons on 'Numicon' and 'anti-bullying' activities. The feedback from these sessions has always been overwhelmingly positive and there are usually in excess of 100 parents and carers attending each session.
The pandemic has prevented our 'Open Sessions' over the past year but we look forward to when they can be reinstated.
Children are individuals. They learn things in different ways and enjoy variety in how their learning is acquired. To provide this we carefully plan our topics making sure that opportunities to learn through performing arts, computing, design technology and art are all provided.
Past examples of how we have used Creative Learning to develop our children's Literacy skills include Year 5 and 6 pupils taking part in the 'Schools Shakespeare Festival' where children performed a play to an audience in The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds.
To provide an even better environment in which to achieve this, plans for our new school building included the following features:
- An allotment for children to plant, grow and eat their own produce
- Dedicated Food and Design Technology area
- Large sports hall
Learning outside the classroom
Children enjoy being outside. Each topic of our curriculum provides opportunities for learning outside the classroom. To provide our pupils with more opportunities to do this, plans for our new building contain the following outdoor features which have been planned to improve our outdoor learning environment:
- Direct external access from each classroom.
- Secure fenced outdoor gardens and learning areas for Foundation Stage.
- New habitat areas to be created.
- Allotments have been created in school grounds.
- There are plans to create an outdoor classroom structure with support from the PTA to achieve that.
More information about the National Curriculum can be found on the government website by clicking here.
Our curriculum pages can be accessed here.