The key features of our school curriculum for academic year 2020-21
- Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content: Prioritisation within subjects of the most important components for progression is likely to be more effective than removing subjects, which pupils may struggle to pick up again later.
- Aim to return to the normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021: Substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time should be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge.
- Plan on the basis of the educational needs of pupils: Curriculum planning should be informed by an assessment of pupils’ starting points and addressing the gaps in their knowledge and skills, in particular making effective use of regular formative assessment (for example, quizzes, observing pupils in class, talking to pupils to assess understanding, scrutiny of pupils’ work) while avoiding the introduction of unnecessary tracking systems.
- Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning: Remote education may need to be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum for some pupils, alongside classroom teaching, or in the case of a local lockdown.
For pupils in Reception, teachers will also assess and address gaps in language, early reading and mathematics, particularly ensuring children’s acquisition of phonic knowledge and extending their vocabulary.
For pupils in key stages 1 school leaders are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics), identifying opportunities across the curriculum so they read widely, and developing their knowledge and vocabulary. The curriculum should remain broad, so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including sciences, humanities, the arts, physical education/sport, religious education and relationships and health education.
Curriculum Intent, Implementation & Impact Statement
The curriculum at Sudley Infant school is a really creative curriculum to develop interest, skills and fun. Every child is good at something, so it is really important to have a rich and diverse curriculum. Our curriculum is designed with our school motto ‘building bright futures’ in mind and is aimed to develop vocabulary as well as health and well being.
Primary education is now viewed as a valuable opportunity to teach children a number of complex skills which will form the foundations for a lifetime of future learning. The knowledge and skills taught in the early years of life will directly influence the child’s success as an adult in a now multicultural society. Therefore, the thrust of education at Sudley Infants must be to create a rounded experience for all children, through a range of subjects, delivered in an enriched environment by knowledgeable, dynamic teachers with an effective pedagogy.
By fostering creative skills, be it in visual arts, music, dance or drama, we allow children to build greater confidence in their abilities, both as individual learners and as a performers. When you have a rich curriculum where children feel valued and everyone has an opportunity to excel in different areas, it gives children the confidence to spread it over the rest of the curriculum.
We have seen time and time again not only that it doesn’t detract from their academic progress, but actually serves to bolster the more traditional aspects of their education. Accountability is a factor in all aspects of school life but we stand by the importance of the arts and I am sure anyone who has been to one of our performances would agree that they are a key ingredient to what makes our school so special.
By ensuring the children are all given a wide range of opportunities to flourish outside of purely academic pursuits – and by this we mean not simply creative arts but sports, communications and entrepreneurial areas as well – we can guide them towards their natural path as they grow older.
Confidence is really important and it comes when children excel at something – their self-worth grows.
The foundation of our curriculum is based on Characteristics of Effective Learning. These are:
- Playing and exploring – engagement: namely finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, and being willing to “have a go”.
- Active learning – motivation: namely being involved and concentrating, to keep trying, and enjoying achieving what they set out to do eg we are developing lunch active time
- Creating and thinking critically – thinking: namely, having their own ideas, making links, and choosing ways to do things.
Our curriculum, meanwhile, consists of several areas of learning:
- Personal, social and emotional development: developing confidence and independence as part of a group, learning to take turns and show awareness of their own abilities, developing perseverance and empathy.
- Communication and language: communicating with one another through speaking and listening skills, taking turns when speaking, speaking in front of a group, using language to retell or make up stories.
- Physical development: improving control and coordination of the body and learning to move and handle equipment efficiently, developing gross and fine motor skills, learning to move in different ways, learning how to keep healthy, developing fine motor control for handwriting and letter formation, taking care of their own physical needs (e.g. using the toilet and managing own clothing).
- Literacy: developing early skills in reading and writing, using phonics to read and write words and sentences.
- Maths: learning about number, counting, quantity, measurement, shape and space.
- Understanding the world: investigating and beginning to understand the things, places and people around the local community; showing an awareness of other cultures and religions.
- Expressive arts and design: finding ways to communicate by using colour, shape, sound, texture, dance, movement, role play and stories.
To aid the delivery of our curriculum we use a range of external schemes of work or resources. These are used to enhance teaching and learning and are adapted to suit the needs of the children.
To ensure the ideas, implementation and the smooth execution of the curriculum, the community plays a key role. This consists of the teaching staff, parents and the school governors.
It is thinking outside of the box, drawing people in, keeping an eye on the ball that keeps our curriculum developing, currently we have exciting topics through which children learn some subjects. The topic lengths vary between one to four weeks depending on the curriculum covered- this helps to keep children motivated and interested. Teachers are encouraged to have a flexible approach to their planning and adapt the topic content according to the individual needs of their class. However, we feel that it is important to not force subjects to fit into topics and made the decision to keep some subjects as discrete, these subjects are taught alongside the topics.
We have a great staff, but we also get other members of the wider community to share their skills and give children the opportunity to learn from those who excel in their field. We involve people who are puppet experts, an artist in residence and professionals such as doctors, so that they are learning from the best educators in their field, imparting their knowledge. It is about giving children the opportunities to learn in different ways, it is not necessarily traditional Maths and English, but it is also learning about so many wider things.
Educational visits and visitors are a key feature of the curriculum; the school subsidises a range of these to enrich the curriculum for all children. During academic year 2018-2019 the following additional experiences have been organised for the children: Mandarin, French and Spanish lessons, Victorian classroom sessions, mobile farm, Circusology sessions, Samba Bamba, origami, money workshops, pantomimes, puppet show, sea-life touch tanks, watercycle workshops, online safety talk, art sessions with a local artist, fairtrade assembly, road safety sessions, archery sessions, parents talking about working in airport security, doctors, air stewards, architects and a parent due to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity.
Off-site visits included Church Farm, bulb planting at Sudley Field, tree planting at Otterspool, Forest School sessions, a visit to St Anne’s Church, canoeing, bouldering, science sessions at Liverpool John Moores University IM Marsh campus, Liverpool Maritime Museum, Chester Zoo, Imagine That, swimming, Liverpool World Museum to see the Terracotta Warriors. These visits supplement our curriculum and provide children with opportunities they may never have had.
How do we maintain an innovative and creative curriculum?
At Sudley Infant School we strive for all pupils to achieve their maximum potential, by having high expectations and excellent standards. Our stimulating curriculum teaches core skills in English, maths and science whilst actively promoting all other curriculum areas.
Our children enjoy lessons and we believe this early love of learning stimulates children to become life-long learners.
Our work on promoting social skills including good manners, resilience, self-awareness, consideration and cooperation throughout the curriculum enables most children to become fantastic role models and the very best version of themselves.
Informal, ongoing assessment is used to help the teacher plan the next steps to be taught. At key points during each term assessment data is gathered and progress is checked by the leadership team. Children are expected to make good or better progress in all subjects and this individual progress is tracked.
The work and curriculum content completed in class is regularly reviewed by class teachers, individual subject leaders, children and sometimes groups of parents. Changes are made to the curriculum where are when necessary.
At Sudley Infant School we are always open to new ideas, not scared of change or doing things differently and have the confidence to go with it and to make well-thought-out choices about our curriculum.
We continue to build upon people’s expertise and have a really good knowledge of our staff and knowing who is good at what. We all try to be good listeners and we want to be there for others, to be approachable. We aim to listen to parents and carers who sometimes come up with really good ideas.
These are exciting times in education.