Our Curriculum INTENT
Learning to live life in all its fullness
As with all aspects of school, our curriculum is shaped by our Christian vision. We are inspired by Jesus promise that…
‘I have come that they may have life and have it to the full’ (John 10:10).
It is our intention to ensure that our curriculum provides opportunities for our children to flourish by doing just that throughout their childhood years and in which ever journey they choose beyond. A centred life, lived to the full, should have breadth, depth, length and height. There should be life for all and fullness for all.
BREADTH: provide a broad, relevant, progressive and knowledge rich curriculum and a whole host of memorable experiences through which the acquisition of secure basic skills will be acquired
DEPTH: ensure that everyone can learn more and remember more in readiness for the next stage of learning and life
LENGTH: enable children to establish the skills, resilience and curiosity they will need to be independent, lifelong learners in a changing world, confident that their contributions can make a difference
HEIGHT: engage and enthuse children about their learning and open their eyes to the world in which they live, supporting them to be confident in making positive choices about learning and living
LIFE for ALL: promote a strong culture of inclusion, tolerance and respect
FULLNESS for ALL: be flexibile and responsive to the various and changing needs of our children whatever their need or ambition
CENTRED: nurture the spirit of every child
(How do we organise the delivery of our curriculum?)
The action starts in the Early Years Foundation Stage which, for us, consists of a Nursery Provision where children start from the age of 3 and a Reception class. Children start on what we hope will be their life-long journey of discovery, exploration and learning as they become increasingly curious about the world around them.
We follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021) working towards children meeting the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Reception year. We are committed to play-based, active learning which fosters a sense of enquiry, a thirst for knowledge and gives children the resilience and skills to become confident, independent learners.
The curriculum is organised so that children learn through a combination of independent and focused activities. The balance between these shifts as the children progress through the Reception year in readiness for Key Stage 1. In Reception, phonics, reading, writing and maths are taught through adult-led activities in discrete lessons and have the opportunities to practise their newly-acquired skills in our carefully planned and resourced areas of provision. These early basic skills are crucial in unlocking a whole world of learning.
On-going observation of the children’s attainment and progress informs our planning and their ‘next steps’. We plan for individual needs, different learning styles and the interests of the children.
From Year 1 onwards, all pupils follow a broad and relevant and progressive curriculum which consists of the core and foundation subjects in the National Curriculum and is further tailored to the school’s ethos and our community.
Our curriculum in Key Stages 1 and 2 consists of all the subjects of the National Curriculum as a solid base: English, Mathematics, Science, Design Technology, Computing, Geography, History, Music, Art, Physical Education, Personal, Health, Social and Citizenship Education and French at Key Stage 2.
As we prepare children to ‘live life in all its fullness’ and to be able to make positive choices about their own lives, we value our PSHE curriculum through which mental and physical health, wellbeing and relationships are explored. We also place particular emphasis on spiritual, moral and cultural development which is interwoven through the curriculum as are opportunities to explore Christian Values and their place within modern Britain and the wider world.
As a Church of England Aided school, RE is a core subject and plays a major role in our distinctive curriculum. Pupils of all religious traditions and those of no religious background make up our school community. RE engages us with some of the big questions of meaning and purpose in life and develops an understanding of what followers of a religion believe and how those beliefs shape the lives of individuals, communities and wider society. This sets out a strong basis for promoting a culture of tolerance and respect.
Core areas of the curriculum are often taught discreetly but the skills learnt may also be applied to topic based learning. Termly or half termly topics are driven by foundation subjects such as Geography, history, Design Technology etc. Equally, the subject matter in a topic may be referred to or developed in the teaching of core areas. This gives more opportunity for skills to be mastered and knowledge remembered.
Areas of learning are sequential and progressive and we plan to ensure that links are made to other areas of learning where natural links and themes emerge. This helps children to make links between their knowledge, skills and concepts in different subject areas. This approach has the flexibility to follow children’s interests and their learning needs.
Each topic begins with an opportunity for assessment of previous learning which gives children the opportunity to retrieve previous knowledge and this becomes the starting point for learning. Teachers use ongoing formative assessments to judge how well children are meeting learning objectives so that they can judge the direction of their teaching to ensure children are meeting their potential. Subject Leaders support teachers in ensuring teachers are providing children with the right ‘diet’ to meet the expected outcomes and to stay on track.
Summative assessments are used periodically to ensure children are making overall progress from their starting points. Core subjects are assessed termly so that attainment is monitored and progress checked. Non-core areas are quantified at the end of each year. The outcomes of summative assessments are analysed by school leaders. We use these to ensure that cohorts and groups of children are achieving well and to check whether there are any emerging patterns which need to be tackled. Picking issues up early means we can put in place intervention strategies to accelerate progress for particular children where it is needed. The data we get from these assessments informs out school development planning.
Growth Mindset is used throughout the school as a tool to develop the skills to become engaged and resilient learners. We teach the children to embrace mistakes in learning, foster an understanding that we can all improve our intelligence and talents through purposeful effort, accepting feedback from our peers and staff members and a positive attitude without comparing ourselves to others. We know that this supports children to make connections in learning and to self-regulate. We have a series of growth mindset characters, with particular learning attributes that the children are introduced to as they move through their time at Roundhay St John’s.
Inclusion and Disadvantage
Central to our ethos is recognising the special worth of every child. As such, inclusion is a thread that runs through every area of school and the curriculum is designed with the flexibility to be accessed by all children; whatever their need of ambition.
We seek to identify as early as possible where children require enhanced levels of provision, access or support and follow a graduated response to their need valuing the involvement of parents.
We also seek to fill the gaps in children lives which can arise as a result of disadvantage for variety of reasons. We recognise the need for all staff to know children well so that there is a shared understanding of how they can best be supported day to day.
Enrichment and Extra Curricular Activities
Across each year thought is given to memorable and hands on experiences to enrich learning and life. This includes visits out of school and visitors in school to inspire children with first hand experiences and accounts. Extra-curricular activities, which take place beyond the school day, play a role in providing opportunities to follow particular interests, try something new or compete with others and there is always a high take up. Planned ‘one off’ events and engagement with the local community are often the things that the children value highly. These things range from action packed residential trips, visits to places of interest, opportunities to perform and present and taking part in community events and supporting local traditions.
Enriching experiences also stem from opportunities to get actively involved in school life through a variety of responsibilities such as School Council, Food Ambassadors, and wide ranging opportunities to take on a responsibility or duty of some sort.
(How do we know if we are being successful?)
The evidence of the impact of our curriculum success is recognised and measured in many ways.
Much of it is evident in the day to day life of the school – it is often visitors to school who recognise these things as much, if not more so, as we do who are here every day. These things include:
- The school’s distinctly Christian ethos.
- The notable high standards of children’s behaviour and conduct.
- The highly positive relationships between all members of the school community.
- The enthusiasm, confidence and engagement that can been seen amongst the children in various contexts.
- The happy and harmonious atmosphere of the school.
- The readiness of children to engage with visitors confidently and effectively.
In addition to this we measure the impact of our curriculum in a number of different ways:
- Nationally published data of statutory assessments
- Longstanding above average attendance.
- Worked produced by children, in books and in the learning environment provided rich evidence of the learning that is taking place.
- Feedback from stakeholders including parents and children.
- Take up of additional activities.
- Reports from governors and a wide range of invited professionals including those from the Local Authority and the Diocese.
- Understanding of Christian values and fundamental British values as borne out in the day to day life and work of the school