Curriculum

Intent

During the Autumn Term of 2019 just before the outbreak of COVID we embarked on a full review of our curriculum.  We identified the following:

  • Teachers found it almost impossible to fit the content of each year group’s curriculum into the time available
  • We needed a strong focus on basic skills, on making learning purposeful and fun.
  • Children found difficultly remembering knowledge as the curriculum felt dis-jointed with few links between subjects or between year groups
  • The quality and quantity of work that children produced was sometimes lower than in English and Maths lessons

As a result of this evaluation we decided to go back to the National Curriculum and write our curriculum to meet these Statutory requirements whilst ensuring purposeful links between subjects and year groups, and ensuring that the content was manageable when thinking about the quality time that could be spent on units of work.  We hoped this would allow children to consolidate their knowledge, understanding and skills in all subjects, hence knowing and remembering more.

We worked strategically one subject at a time in our PDM time as a whole team, starting with NC and using our existing text based writing units as starting points for each theme.  This method of collaborative planning resulted in all staff (including EYFS) having a clear understanding of each subject’s intent. Staff have an awareness of prior learning and end of Key Stage expectations.  Links were made between subjects and as many opportunities as possible for interleaving children’s learning across their full primary journey were embedded within our documentation.

We outsourced expert support where needed and worked closely with our feeder high school on a Y6 -7 curriculum transition project.  This project was a yearlong piece of work involving 11 primary schools and the high school in our cluster.  It was funded centrally by Cheshire West Improvement Board following a group bid, and led by Horn’s Mill HT.  The project identified key objectives in each subject that should be non-negotiable in terms of the primary schools and families ensuring that Y6 pupils were Y7 ready.  The project focussed solely on curriculum, moving away from the traditional pastoral focus of transition work, and allowed us a clear insight into the requirements for successful learning in each subject in Year 7.  This was a key starting point for the development of our own school curriculum.

The onset of the pandemic slowed our curriculum development process down considerably as we were unable to work effectively in a collaborative way. We were determined to continue the journey with the process as planned.  As a result of this delay, our full curriculum INTENT was not finalised and published until Summer 2022.  Autumn 2022 was spent ensuring that the subject curriculums were planned very carefully by class teachers within their class medium term plans and that our website clearly displayed our curriculum offer.

Spring 2023 allowed a focus on vocabulary development in each subject and emphasis on ensuring clear end points was the focus for our work in the Summer term 2023.  Through each of these stages, we have worked collaboratively together at a steady pace to ensure that each subject leader has the training, skills, confidence and knowledge to confidently lead their subject.  

Implementation

Each class teacher uses our carefully planned long term schemes of work to create a medium term plan for their class.  This ensures that the full curriculum is covered throughout the year and that as many opportunities for interleaving are built into planning as possible.  Lessons are delivered as creatively and purposefully as possible with our outdoor space and local community put to use to enhance learning.  Expert visitors and teachers are invited to school to enhance our planned curriculum in many subjects, most recently PSHE, History and PE. Trips, clubs and practical experiences are a priority for us and the regularity of these highlight our commitment to go beyond the National Curriculum for the offer we provide for our children.

Impact

Each class teacher is asked to collate attainment data three times per year in reading, writing and maths. Our EYFS teacher collates 17 areas of learning and phonics/reading is assessed six times per year.  All of this data is used productively to celebrate success and subsequently ensure adequate challenge.  Equally, through this collaborative process between teachers and SLT, children who are falling behind are identified so that measures can be put into place to ensure maximum achievement of potential.  Our children with SEND or those who are disadvantaged are also discussed in the context of this data, to ensure that our provision for them is as effective as possible and offers maximum impact.  

Clear end points are identified for all other subjects and these are used for teachers to assess whether children are able to remember the knowledge, skills and vocabulary that have been identified in units of learning.  We use a combination of pupil workbooks, achievement and reflection books, pupil voice and practical activity observations to assess children’s performance.  This information is used, along with day-to-day assessment for learning, to ensure that future planning allows all children to achieve the best they can in all lessons.  This is through effective deployment of support staff, adaptive planning and careful use of questioning and resources.  Our Curriculum - Access for All document offers more detail regarding this.