Elm C of E Primary School Curriculum Approach- Intent, Implementation and Impact (3 I's)
What are we trying to achieve through our curriculum?
As a Church school, our curriculum is based on Global Learning. Essentially, education for a fair and sustainable world, where our children learn to live life in all its fullness. This fullness involves developing academically, physically, socially, spiritually, morally, culturally, and artistically. Our curriculum is the means by which we engender this development and ensure that our children receive their fair share of the rich cultural inheritance our nation and our world affords.
Our intention is that through this marriage of values and cultural capital, children are suitably equipped to make sense of the increasingly globalized, complex and rapidly changing world in which they live. That they leave Elm C of E being able to think critically about world issues and to develop an awareness of the impact their own actions can have on others. Our young people are growing up in a world that is flooded with information, opinions, ‘alternative’ facts and ‘fake’ news. It is, therefore, essential that our learners have access to an education, evidenced in information and ‘real’ news that enables them to engage with, consider and understand global issues.
Our curriculum is mapped to include coverage of the National Curriculum and designed to challenge, engage and motivate with the ultimate goal that our learners progress academically and become successful, confident individuals, who make a positive contribution to the community and society - both now and in the future. Our curriculum is bespoke to our school and is devised according to the needs of our children, families and local priorities.
At Elm, we want our children to become Global Learners; to be aware of the wider world and its current issues and to understand and respect cultural diversity and differences. To do this, we aim to provide our children with an understanding of how the world works and encourage participation in the community at a range of levels, from the local to the global. We teach our children to make the world a more sustainable place and to take responsibility for their actions. We do this by providing learning linked to the Global Development Goals, Young Enterprise and British Values though resources such as Votes for Schools
How is our curriculum being delivered?
Our bespoke curriculum is underpinned by evidence, research and cognitive science to consciously blend the skills, knowledge and values that we believe hold an important place in our school. We aim to teach most subjects through a topic-based approach; we believe this provides a meaningful context for the children’s learning. Where appropriate, we seek to make links between the subjects.
When designing our curriculum we were influenced by Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory, Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction and Gathercole and Alloway’s Understanding of Working Memory.
Our Learning is sequenced into coherent and cumulative lessons that build and connect on previous content. Specific skills are discreetly taught and practised so that they become transferrable. Carefully sequenced units activate prior learning, build on skills and deepen knowledge and understanding. Learning, vocabulary and content is cumulative; content is learned, retrieved and built upon.
As such, each unit of Topic work has an accompanying Knowledge Organiser that is displayed in class and the children’s books. Each lesson begins with a review, checking the previous day’s learning before moving on to present new content and/or skills. Referring to a daily Knowledge Note, teacher’s model worked examples using a ‘my turn your turn’ approach that builds throughout each lesson from simple to complex sequences of learning to reduce cognitive load. Subject content is broken down as new topics are introduced and teachers pause regularly to check understanding, giving feedback throughout. High quality resources such as images, diagrams and texts are carefully chosen to support the learning journey. Our pupils are then able to apply learned knowledge and practiced skills confidently during independent application. Independent application is then followed by cumulative quizzing to assess understanding. This in turn informs planning for the next day.
Once knowledge and skills are taught these are then applied to our bespoke Elm context.
English and Maths are taught daily and, wherever possible, are linked to topic. Some lessons/subjects may be taught discretely if they do not fit in with the learning focus of the topic. To support effective teaching and learning, as a school, we may focus on a particular curriculum area for a few days. For example, rather than having one art lesson at a particular time every week, the children may have an extended period of time focusing on art to allow them to really become immersed in the subject and the learning.
Our holistic and cross curricular approach to learning exposes our children to rich real-life experiences, inside and outside of the classroom, developing a deep contextual understanding, a love of learning and commitment of knowledge to long term memory. Extended themes in integrated teaching, highlight relevance to ‘today’ ensuring children develop a rich vocabulary, alongside the essential knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions which enable social mobility and improved emotional and mental wellbeing.
Vocabulary and Opportunities for Oracy development.
After participating in the Powerful words project with great success and studying the findings of Alex Quigley - Closing the Reading Gap and Kelly Ashley - Word Power, we have developed our curriculum further to include an emphasis on oracy and vocabulary acquisition, retention and use, to break down learning barriers and accelerate progress across all subjects. We know words convey meaning, therefore we need to provide a rich diet of language and vocabulary, deliberately planned for, not only in English, but also in Maths, Science, History, Geography and across the wider curriculum. Vocabulary understanding is a clear hook throughout our curriculum for children to do more than just decode and read… we develop a love and deep understanding of words.
We use the three-tiered model of vocabulary development by Beck, McKeown, and Kucan (2013) to classify words as follows:
- Tier 1:These are the common, everyday words that most children enter school knowing already.
- Tier 2:This tier consists of words that are used across the content areas and are important for pupils to know and understand. Included here are process words like analyze and evaluate that pupils will run into on many standardized tests and that are also used at the university level, in many careers, and in everyday life. We really want to get these words into pupils' long-term memory.
- Tier 3:This tier consists of content-specific vocabulary—the words that are often defined in textbooks or glossaries. These words are important for imparting ideas during lessons and helping to build pupils' background knowledge.
Throughout English and all topic work Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary is strategically chosen and taught systematically to deepen understanding.
The Core Subjects
For our core subjects, we use a variety of planning resources as we believe that following one programme does not provide the bespoke teaching and learning experience that we want for our pupils. Using prior knowledge as a starting point for all future planning and teaching, we plan lessons which are required for all pupils to make progress. Our lessons follow a cycle of planning, to ensure that we can evidence progress over short and long periods of time.
Our mission is to teach every child to read and write, and to keep them reading. No exceptions. We give teachers and teaching assistants the skills and confidence to reach every child using the Read Write Inc. programmes developed by Ruth Miskin. Read, Write Inc is used throughout EYFS and KS1 to secure Phonic knowledge and Fresh start is used as intervention support across KS2.
Inspired by Doug Lemov, Colleen Driggs, and Erica Woolway's Reading Reconsidered we teach reading as a whole class from Year 2 to Year 6 with a focus on understanding and applying reading skills and with an emphasis on developing fluency and stamina. Reading across the curriculum and reading for pleasure is an integral part of our curriculum.
Writing has 4 purposes - to entertain, to inform, to discuss and to persuade. With lessons following a cycle through the processes of collect it, deconstruct it, construct it, plan it, write it and edit it. We place a great emphasis on teacher modelling and sharing what a 'good piece' looks like.
Maths is taught primarily through the mastery scheme Power Maths, built around a childâ€‘centred lesson design that models and embeds a growth mindset approach to maths and focuses on helping all children to build a deep understanding of maths concepts. However our children regularly need to focus for longer on individual mathematical concepts therefore we supplement Power Maths using the fully aligned White Rose Maths programme. Skills are taught in small steps and consolidated and applied throughout the lesson. Problem solving and reasoning are integral components of our Maths lessons.
In Early Years we value every child to be unique and on their own individual learning journey.
We use ‘Planning in the Moment’ an approach designed by Anna Ephgrave, to enable children to lead their own learning, exploring their interests through play and building on opportunities ‘in the moment’.
Through an enabling and play-based environment, children have the opportunity to explore, develop ideas and become independent learners. During ‘play and learn’ they can choose what they would like to explore in provision, both inside and outside, using a variety of resources.
Practitioners identify teachable moments, when learning can be modelled, explained or challenged ‘in the moment’. They plan ‘in that moment’ and record observations including the interactions, teaching and outcomes of the learning.
We focus on the Prime areas, emphasising the importance of children’s personal, social and emotional development, physical development and communication and language skills; as these are the foundations which will enable children to develop effective characteristics of learning, interact and collaborate successfully and be ready for the next step in their learning journey.
At Elm C of E Primary School, we follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, published in July 2020 by the DfE. This Framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides specific areas of learning to be covered.
These areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The role of the subject leader is pivotal in the successful implementation of our curriculum. We aim for all subject leaders to have the knowledge, expertise and practical skill to be able to lead their areas effectively. Each curriculum subject has a dedicated subject leader with clear roles and responsibilities. They are responsible for the curriculum design, delivery and impact in their own curriculum area. Subject leaders and leaders at all levels, including Governors regularly review and quality assure subject areas to ensure that they are being implemented well and coverage, breadth and balance is adequate.
Continuing Professional Development CPD
In order for us to be able to deliver the best and most up to date curriculum we provide staff with high quality CPD in their subject specific areas of leadership or teaching role. This may include attending nationwide courses on the curriculum, assessment of research. Or asking for support from our local experts within school, across DEMAT or the secondary schools in our locality. Following CPD, staff feedback to each other about what they have learnt and we then discuss the impact of this on a class teacher, subject leader and whole school strategic level. We aim to give staff the expert knowledge required to deliver the subjects that they teach. Ongoing professional development and training is available for staff to ensure that our challenging curriculum requirements can be met.
As Elm C of E is a one form entry school, subject leaders often have more than one subject area to lead and subject leadership roles can change frequently. Because of this leaders enable curriculum expertise to develop across the school and teaching staff. Newly qualified teachers shadow a subject leader in their first year of teaching as part of their CPD to ensure that when they take on a curriculum leader role in school they fully understand the expectations and roles and responsibilities of the job.
Assessment at Elm C of E is designed thoughtfully to shape future learning. It is not excessive or onerous as is part of the day to day working practices of the classroom. Teachers ensure that pupils embed key concepts in their long term memory. Key skills and objectives for curriculum areas are revisited throughout the year and applied in different contexts. Pupils revisit prior learning in their work books as an introduction to their new learning and this provides a context upon which pupils can integrate their ‘new knowledge’ into a wider context. Assessments are reliable and are moderated to ensure that expected outcomes are fully understood by all staff.
What difference is our curriculum making?
Everything we do is with the child at mind, and strong relationships are built between pupils and staff which create an atmosphere for learning which is conducive to success.
Pupil progress is evident through ongoing assessment and through three key assessment points during the year. Work is planned to address misconceptions and gaps in learning identified through assessments to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Curriculum subject leaders are responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of their own subject area. Additional management time is given to subject leaders to enable them to successfully carry out their roles and responsibilities, without adding to their workload. The information from the monitoring and evaluation then forms the basis of the impact assessment for that curriculum area.
The Head and Deputy Head have overall leadership for assessing the intent, implementation and impact of the whole curriculum that we offer here at Elm C of E. These leaders have overall vision of the monitoring and evaluation and will guide staff in their roles and responsibilities each week.
A judgement on the impact of the curriculum on pupils is based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school. Work and book scrutiny, pupil voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning are all used at tools to help senior leaders assess the impact of the curriculum.
Outcomes for Pupils
The impact of the school’s curriculum can be seen through the rising quality of work in the books the pupils produce and the in-year progress demonstrated by all groups of pupils.
We have high aspirations for all expecting:
- All children will make good progress from their individual starting points academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically.
- Children will take pride in all that they do, motivated to do their best and with confidence in their own abilities and their work across the curriculum is of high quality
- Knowledge, understanding and skills will be secured and embedded so that children attain highly and are fully prepared for secondary school.
- Children have good communication skills, both written and verbal
- Children listen respectfully and with tolerance to the views of others.
- Children demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they meet challenge.
- Vulnerable Children and Children with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes from their personal starting points.
- Children demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in wider society
- Children are ready for the next phase of their education
For any additional information on our Curriculum please contact the school via 01945 860295 or firstname.lastname@example.org