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The Curriculum at Leyburn Primary School

  

 

“In a democratic society which prizes equality of opportunity, the curriculum should be based first and foremost on the knowledge we consider all young people should have the access to and begin to acquire during the school years”   Michael Young

      

     Intent

The core purpose of education at our school is to provide all pupils with experiences and opportunities which will enable them to achieve and excel. We want children to leave our school possessing essential knowledge and the skills to use it, so that they have the best possible preparation for the next stage of their education and are ready to participate successfully in society.

Access to this storehouse of general knowledge, sometimes referred to as ‘cultural literacy’, will help all our pupils to engage fully and to think critically and independently. It is at the heart of the education which we provide.

The national curriculum is one very important part of the children’s education and we view it as a set of aspirational standards, as opposed to a scheme of work.  We know that there is a lot of content, and not enough time, and so aim to make meaningful links between subjects wherever possible.

We intend for the whole curriculum to be coherent and cumulative for all children, regardless of background or ability. The curriculum content in all subjects is carefully and thoughtfully structured, so that rich and powerful knowledge builds within and across year groups, supporting, deepening and extending learning. This means that each pupil’s ‘road map’ during their time with us, builds on their previous knowledge and lays firm foundations for what they need to know next. This includes in the short term as pupils and the longer term as responsible young people in the wider world.

 

     Local curriculum

“A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land…for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge.’’  Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

 

We are keenly aware that we serve a deeply rural community with a proud heritage which is changing and growing rapidly. The school welcomes families with strong local ties stretching back generations and others who have more recently moved into the area.  We believe that every child should be taught about, and through, our local area, to instil in them a strong sense of their place in Wensleydale and North Yorkshire. Whilst valuing the locality, we also want our children to be ready for the pace of change and the world. Through learning outside the classroom, welcoming visitors to school and making visits to places of interest, knowledge can be enhanced and deepened as all children are helped to develop an appreciation of the natural world and their local, cultural and artistic heritage. Our curriculum aims to ensure a deep understanding of ‘British values’ and their centrality to our national identity having been hard won by previous generations. Children are encouraged to be active citizens and take responsibility within school and in the wider community.  They volunteer in a range of roles and support local, national and global charities.

 

         Implementation

Curriculum review and development are fundamental and ongoing, informed by current research and best practice. Following a period of focus on the improvement of key knowledge and skills in English, maths, science and physical education, we have turned our attention to the systematic development of knowledge across all the national curriculum subject disciplines, including spiritual, moral, social and cultural education, with a focus on the personal development of each child.

Children are provided with a positive start to school in Early Years, with supportive staff who nurture their development across all areas. They begin to develop their knowledge, thinking and skills through play-based activities and focused skills that develop their knowledge of phonics, number and other areas of learning which they will encounter as they move through school. Children learn to share and work independently and learn to play with others, through direct experience outside, in the local area and the wider community. As our curriculum has the acquisition of knowledge at its heart, we ensure that pupils are supported throughout their learning to remember connected and essential knowledge as they progress into KS1 and then further into KS2.

A lead teacher is assigned to each subject. Their task, working with colleagues, is to regularly monitor whether our aims are being realised and translated into powerful learning for the children.

It is crucial that teachers are confident in their own knowledge. They are provided with continuing professional development and are supported to join subject networks and make associations with colleagues within YCAT and other schools.

 

       Reading and vocabulary

Being a frequent reader is more of an advantage than having well educated parents and finding ways to engage students in reading may be one of the most effective ways to leverage social change”  OECD 2013

 

Frequent readers are more likely to enjoy school and to be successful. A well-rounded education is the best means of attaining all-round reading skill and vice versa: they cannot be seen in isolation.

Vocabulary size is the single most reliable correlate to reading ability and so we systematically plan to teach subject specific vocabulary, thereby reducing any ‘word gaps’ as early as possible. The development of vocabulary is a fundamental feature of our early years teaching at Leyburn school. As the children move into key stage 1, it becomes an intrinsic aspect for each subject discipline and this continues into key stage 2.

Reading for enjoyment is a school priority and so we aim to ensure that our libraries are well resourced with high quality fiction and non-fiction books. Children are encouraged to read to extend both their vocabulary and knowledge as well as being introduced to new worlds and ideas.  Phonics is taught systematically from Nursery to ensure that decoding is strong. Guided reading is taught rigorously from EYFS through to KS1 to make sure that comprehension is developed. Children experiencing difficulties are identified quickly and targeted, and evidence-based interventions are implemented rigorously. Fluency is increased through Reading Plus in KS2.

 

         Impact

Termly assessments of children’s progress are used in reading and maths and the school is using comparative judgement in writing through ‘No More Marking’.

We try to implement an appropriately rigorous assessment regime and data collection to ensure reasonable workload demands. Although important, measuring and checking progress is much more than tracking groups and producing charts and percentages. It is also about catching up, filling gaps, deepening understanding and overcoming barriers. 

Same day intervention is used across the school to check progress, addressing misconceptions as soon as they arise. We aim for all children to ‘keep up, not catch up’ and so this is an important aspect of our work. Arrangements are in place to identify and support children with additional needs.

As we review our teaching and learning in the foundation subjects, we are also developing high challenge, low risk assessments, such as quizzes and word searches, to check progress across a set of lessons. A coherent and cumulative curriculum rests upon children’s prior, current and future learning and so assessment for, and of learning, are integral to ensure that children achieve the ambitious aims that the school and their parents have for them.

Our curriculum is responsive, kept under regular review and updated when necessary.

 

Developed with all staff and governors - March 2019

  

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